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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 17

Re: Popular Mechanics/Popular Science & UFOs

From: Bob Shell <bob@bobshell.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 06:15:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 09:59:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Popular Mechanics/Popular Science & UFOs

>From: Steven Kaeser <steve@konsulting.com>
>To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Popular Mechanics/Popular Science & UFOs
>Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 21:00:55 -0400

>>From: Al Baier <baiera@meau.mea.com>
>>To: updates@globalserve.net
>>Subject: Re: Popular Mechanics/Popular Science & UFOs
>>Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 13:18:36 -0500

>>Larry and list:

>>I must take exception to your characterization of Popular
>>Science, by associating it with Popular Mechanics. They are very
>>different magazines.

>>PS has a long and distinguished history of science reporting for
>>the layman. One of the best articles on Area 51 ever printed
>>anywhere appeared in PS a few years ago.

>>PM, on the other hand, has been justly criticized for its
>>UFO-related articles.

>>I've read PS, PM, and Scientific American for 40 years. Believe
>>me, if or, when UFOs, ETs etc. are proven fact, you won't read it
>>in SA first.

>>Best Regards,
>>Al

>Popular Science and Popular Mechanics are associated by the fact
>that they are published by the same company; however, that
>doesn't mean that they share the same editorial staff (and I
>would suspect that they do not). On the other hand, as noted
>earlier, PS is a far cry from Scientific American and their
>articles reflect an attempt to attract a large (and young)
>non-scientifically trained readership. The article about Area 51
>in PS was fairly well written, as I recall. It should not be
>confused with the PM article last year, which left a lot to be
>desired.

>But the last point raised is one that I would echo. Many young
>people obtained their first view of science through the eyes of
>PS and PM, before the bombardment of other media that in many
>respects have since taken their place. I only wish the first
>exposure of young people to the UFO genre was more accurately
>portrayed. PM was obviously trying to spark sales with their
>front page story, and like most other media it was really more
>about money than truth.

>Steve


As a magazine industry insider, I know that Popular Science has
changed in major ways recently. Their Science and Technology
Editor for many years was Arthur Fisher. Art is an old and dear
friend of mine. His name is still on the masthead, but he no
longer has much authority.

A good example is a story on dinosaur extinction which appeared
under his byline last year. It was utter nonsense. I called Art
when I read it and asked him how in the world he could write
such claptrap. He got angry, and picked up a copy of the
magazine.

He glanced at the article and apologized to me profusely. What
had appeared in print bore only scant similarity to what he had
written. Someone had condensed the article to fit in a smaller
space, and in the process of "rewriting" had changed the whole
flavor and royally screwed up the facts.

The truth is that both PS and PM have been taken over by young,
liberal, recent journalism school graduates with little
knowledge of science or mechanics, and no interest in learning.
Both magazines are on a serious downhill slide in terms of
editorial quality.

You are right, all the new people care about is selling
magazines. They don't give a damn about truth or technical
accuracy.

Bob




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