a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew


Who the heck is Thomas Nephew?

I was born in 1958 in Schweinfurt, Germany. My mother is German, and I grew up speaking German — first just a few words, then somewhat more fluently following a summer’s worth of at-home schooling, followed by a trip to see my relatives in “Franken,” in North Bavaria. All of this by way of explaining the frequent entries about Germany. For the most part, I grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; I’ve also lived in Jülich and Tübingen, Germany, St. Louis, MO, Davis and Oakland in California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

My home is now Takoma Park, MD, just north of Washington, DC.

I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Before that, I studied biology at Washington University in St. Louis and the Universität Tübingen (year abroad program), and then genetics at U.C. Davis. I got “sidetracked” while at U.C. Davis, and worked for the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign there and then later in Oakland, California. Following that I worked at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley.

I’m married to the lovely and talented Cricket Dadian, and we have a beautiful girl named Madeleine (Maddie).


I welcome e-mail correspondence; you can e-mail me at thomasn528 at gm@il d0t c0m. You’ll need to replace the ” at ” and ” dot ” with “@” and “.” (Sorry for the inconvenience. I’m hoping this keeps spammers’ computers from getting my e-mail address by hunting through my web site.)

You can use HTML or text format e-mail, I don’t care. I will try to answer all serious e-mail, or explain why I can’t do so on the blog.

When your correspondence is about a blog post or an issue you’d like to see discussed, please indicate whether you mind being quoted, and if not under what name (true, pseudonym, anonymous) you’d prefer to be quoted.

However, abusive e-mails I suspect to be responses to posts in the “newsrack” blog or to the blog in general will be published at my discretion, with your name attached. I’ll also take other steps as warranted.

What rules are there about commenting?

Just be polite with eachother, and to some extent with me; treat the comment area not as a megaphone or a substitute blog, but a place for on-topic, polite, conversational length comments.   I reserve the right to take action about a comment if I think it is too impolite or offensive, or for any other reason I see fit, particularly including comments that are…

1) off-topic (including but not limited to commercial spam),
2) way too long (e.g., 1, 2), or
3) from an IP source reasonably suspected to indicate that the commenter is truth- or candor-challenged on the topic.

When necessary, I will either…

1) delete the comment,
2) block the IP address of the commenter,
3) or both.

I don’t mean to cut off or chill normal discussion, which can get heated now and then. Also, I’ll hold comments about me to a lower standard than comments about other readers. This is mainly about foul language, racist language, or sexist language. All are out of bounds.

Hey — what happened to my comments from a while back?

I messed up at one point and lost comments from my old commenting service, BlogBack Plus, which went out of service a short while later. I had backed up a bunch of the old Blogback comments, and hope to add them to the archived Haloscan comments at some point and hook that all up again. But some (roughly from early June 2005-September 2005) are gone for good. I’m sorry.


The small rainbow-hued square near the bottom of each page on this site (see image to right) is a “Sitemeter” visit and page counting application. I’ve set the “privacy” level of visitors who click through on that image to “medium”:

Your visitors can’t see any of your site reports and charts but the information in the “General Summary” report may be used and displayed in public lists or rankings with other sites (for example: a list of sites ranked by their average daily visits).   If someone clicks on the Site Meter counter on your page, it will not take them to your statistics page.

However, as the owner of the site and the “sitemeter” application, I see more information, including:

Domain Name, IP Address, ISP, Location (approximate): Country, State, City, Operating System, Browser, Javascript, Monitor resolution, Color Depth, Time of Visit, Last Page View, Visit Length, Page Views, Referring URL, Visit Entry Page, Visit Exit Page, “Out Click” (most recent page, if any, visited via a click from this site), Time Zone, Visitor’s Time, and Visit Number.

I pledge to keep this information to myself unless I think someone is engaging in hostile behavior (spamming and the like) or deceptive behavior, i.e., pretending in comments to be someone they aren’t or (in my judgment) failing to reveal important bias that may reasonably be inferred from the domain or other information.  My usual interest in the information, however, is simply to see how many visits I get, which posts of mine are linked to by other web sites, and what those web sites are.

What are your blog policies? Or do you just do whatever you want?

I sometimes go back and tinker with my posts after I publish them to the web. I usually add “EDIT:” or “UPDATE:” comments within the post when I do so, so people returning to the post (especially via a link to the post established before the edit) have an explanation for the change.

Yes, I do pretty much whatever I want.


I have no control over and do not endorse any external Internet site not owned by me that contains links to or references this site.  Also, if I link to a site, that does not imply I approve of the site or any specific opinions expressed there.

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