April 29, 2002

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: Not only a sucky magazine, but one that’s cruel to children! Reader Andy Freeman writes:

I stopped subscribing to Scientific American in the early 70s when I noticed that one of the most common topics was nuclear disarmament.

I was a young lad then and I didn’t have much opinion either way, but I wanted science for my science dollar, even though I didn’t understand much of it.

I occasionally pick up a copy at a news stand, leaf through it, and put it down because it hasn’t changed.

I suppose that someone could go through their off-topic stuff and look at how things have turned out. I suspect that they’ve lent their veneer to a lot of dodgy things. However, that’s not the problem.

I still really want to like Scientific American. I still want to subscribe. They still don’t want anyone who wants a Scientific American full of real science. That’s a crappy thing to do to a kid.

Yeah, a content analysis of Scientific American over the past couple of decades would be interesting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed exactly what Freeman says — that’s certainly my impression. Has anybody done anything like that?