Scientific American launches new blog network, sans climate

From Scientific American, Press release, July 5th 2011:

Blog Network Launches on

Today Scientific American launched a new blog network which unites editorial, independent and group blogs under the magazine’s banner. The community of 60 bloggers provides authoritative information and insights about science and technology, and their roles in global affairs. The blog network, overseen by Blog Editor Bora Zivkovic, who serves as moderator for the community, encourages discussion and facilitates the exchange of ideas with both the bloggers and Scientific American readers.

Zivkovic, known for his own “A Blog Around The Clock,” a blend of chronobiology, science, media and education among other subjects, has invited a diverse group of voices for the network. Bloggers range from graduate students, who are launching their careers, to veteran science writers such as John Horgan, Director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Renowned writers including Jennifer Ouellette (“Cocktail Party Physics”), Darren Naish (“Tetrapod Zoology”) and Scott Huler (“Plugged In”) join veteran Scientific American bloggers John Platt (“Extinction Countdown”) and Jesse Bering (“Bering in Mind”) on the network. The format of the blog allows for great diversity in tone and topics. Many of the bloggers focus on the bridge between science and other fields such as philosophy, sociology, music, art, gender and race, hip-hop culture and literature.

“In its 165 year history, Scientific American has built a reputation as the leading publication for science in the general media,” says Zivkovic. “The goal of the blog network is to provide a new platform for people in the science community to exchange ideas and interact with the SA readers in a dynamic way.”

The Scientific American Blog Network features three new SA editorial blogs. @ScientificAmerican provides news, updates, highlights and anecdotes from the Scientific American newsroom while “The Incubator” highlights the best work by students in science writing and journalism schools. The “Network Central” blog will feature highlights from the blog network each week. Existing SA editorial blogs such as “Observations,” “Solar at Home,” “Anecdotes from the Archive” and “Expeditions” remain. The network also features new blogs by Scientific American Editors Davide Castelvecchi (“Degrees of Freedom”), Anna Kuchment (“Budding Scientists”), and Scientific American Mind Editor Ingrid Wickelgren (“Streams of Consciousness”). There are future plans to launch additional staff-authored blogs.

The Scientific American Blog Network is hosted on its own landing page,


About Scientific American:

Scientific American is at the heart of Nature Publishing Group’s consumer media division, meeting the needs of the general public. Founded in 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S. and the leading authoritative publication for science in the general media. Together with and 14 local language editions around the world it reaches more than 5 million consumers and scientists. Other titles include Scientific American Mind and Spektrum der Wissenschaft in Germany. For more information, please visit


I looked through a number of blogs, some of which were refugees from last year’s advertising debacle over at ScienceBlogs. Interestingly, there appears to be no blogs about climate.

The filter selector has no category for it. In “Energy and Sustainability”, as well as “More Science”, I looked also, but found none on that topic. Perhaps the powers that be at SA realize that climate is not a topic for the meek, as it often gets very ugly and contentious, and it just isn’t worth the hassle.

Or maybe, climate is falling off the serious science radar at SA?

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Randy Watson
July 5, 2011 7:19 pm

A hopeful sign. I dropped my subscription several years ago, because of the unrelenting inclusion of AGW in most articles. I just finished reading ‘Future Babble’ (Gardner), it really helped me understand why we humans desire predictions and why they are so very often wrong.

John F. Hultquist
July 5, 2011 7:19 pm

Interestingly, there appears to be no blogs about climate.
Except almost everything written in SA seems to insert the standard idea so they likely didn’t think it necessary. A non-conformist bloger isn’t apt to be around long. But maybe you, Anthony, should submit a few pages and see how they respond.

July 5, 2011 7:25 pm

Unable to connect, says my browser.. Exactly, says I.

July 5, 2011 7:40 pm

Just the quiet before the storm?

July 5, 2011 7:44 pm

One of the SA bloggers had something interesting to say… I wonder if this could come back to haunt SA??
“…In turn, those scientific communities share the knowledge they have built, and deploy some of those scientists to tackle the problems the public wants or needs solved…”
–Dr. Janet D. Stemwedel in Let’s talk about “Doing Good Science”
Sharing knowledge, Janet? Novel concept. You might want to mention that to some of your colleagues.
……..Climate Change not there?? How could you be so naive to think SA wouldn’t fade it into the mix….with extra echo??? Just look at what Anna Kuchment has to say:
“..The importance of clearly defining the field and explaining the methodology behind it are paramount at a time when debates among policy-makers about addressing climate change and among educators about teaching evolution are blurring the public’s understanding of the difference between science and ideology, said the panelists at the talk, “Aiming for Scientific Literacy by Teaching the Process, Nature and Limits of Science.”…
Now, with the two blog posts above taken together, with that emphasis on “The importance of clearly defining the field and explaining the methodology…” combined with “..scientific communities share the knowledge they have built..”, SA will shortly show us its true colors, and my money is on those colors being AGW green. Dollars, that is.

Warren in Minnesota
July 5, 2011 7:44 pm

I recently read the last two issues of their magazine and saw the meme of climate and climate change mentioned more than enough for me.

July 5, 2011 7:45 pm

Nope, you can bet they will wind up under Agenda 21 Sustainability

July 5, 2011 7:47 pm

I found the climo-blog!!!
“We also want to explore how the marriage of science and art can propagate emotional impacts beyond the bald facts…”
Dead ringer, I say.

Nolo Contendere
July 5, 2011 7:54 pm

Cool. Are they going to have some science in it this time?

July 5, 2011 7:54 pm

Anthony, this is about the closest that I have been able to find so far:

Al Gored
July 5, 2011 7:56 pm

Well, not quite free of climate junk. The blog called ‘Extinction Countdown’ which appears devoted to pumping the ‘mass extinction’ story – and therefore the new UN push on ‘biodiversity’ – has stories of why x (e.g. the platypus) is doomed due to AGW.
Another case of the incestuous marriage between AGW climastrology and its twisted sister ‘Conservation Biology.’ As the latter is my favorite corrupt science due to my previous career, it promises to be a great source of garbage to dissect.
The headline story there now is about some alleged ‘subspecies’ of chimp, whose convenient status as a subspecies was just ‘discovered’ in 1997. Each time they invent one of these ‘new’ entities to save that conveniently reduces the number of each, while creating another new research franchise.
Save the South Cleveland Crow! Only joking. Save the ‘Sacramento Valley Red Fox’! Not joking.

July 5, 2011 8:12 pm

Pessimist me says wait for SA to start another blog network focused entirely on CAGW climate related issues. Skeptics need not apply.
intrepid_wanders @ July 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm …. LOL! Good find!

July 5, 2011 8:18 pm

There is a blog entry flogging the “ocean acidification” meme in there – it wasn’t too hard to find. The usual tripe about acidification shown by “the models”.

July 5, 2011 8:21 pm

I don’t think this is the right place for what is basically an advertisement for Scientific American.

Sean Peake
July 5, 2011 8:25 pm

I didn’t think it was still in business.

Bill in Washington
July 5, 2011 8:27 pm

I too cancelled my subscription to SA (and Nat Geo Mag) years ago when it became painfully clear to me that they were willing to sully the good name of science for political favors in the form of monitary grants. It is also apparent to me that it will continue until we elect political representatives who are willing to turn off the money spigot that funds the present shameful relationship between research and political idiology.

July 5, 2011 8:30 pm

Just as a newspaper doesn’t run specialized blogs about commas, spaces and periods, SciAm doesn’t need a specialized blog about carbon. It’s part of every sentence.

July 5, 2011 8:32 pm

I’m inclined to think they are avoiding blogging about the climate because they believe like me there’s no obvious science at work in “climate science”. Or worse, if they accept papers from rational interested parties such as Mr. Watts they will also have to accept the dross spewed by Joe Romm.

Mike Bromley the Kurd
July 5, 2011 8:42 pm

Unfortunately, SA replaced OMNI as the folk-science rag; a glossy National Enquirer, popularizing and institutionalizing the results of poor methods and even poorer conclusions. My subscription lapsed years ago. Such a shame, when that same magazine basically introduced the layperson to such marvellous concepts as Seafloor Spreading and Plate Tectonics, cornerstones of modern geological theory…and recently nudged by the same CC meme. Balderdash.

July 5, 2011 8:53 pm

If this is an attempt to move back toward actually writing about science, rather than being a megaphone of a propaganda agenda that would be a good thing.
After some 20 years of drivel, I will hold my breath to see if they return to the quality the magazine had in the 1960’s and 1970’s before it got hijacked by lunatics who were more interested in inserting political commentary, in every article.
I supported this magazine for years, buying every copy as soon as it came out until I could no longer justify throwing money down a rat hole and started “proof reading” every edition on the news stand before I put down my money. That lasted about 2 years before I gave up and stopped even picking up the magazine. I glance at an issue about once every 5 years now and so far have never failed to be turned off by their un-ending propaganda before I browse 3 or 4 articles, put the magazine down and sadly walk away yet again.
I loved the magazine in the high times of the race for the moon and read every edition cover to cover and then carefully put it on the stack of other back issues in my closet, so it would be available to re-read if I wanted to look up an old article.
Until they start turning out content of that quality again, they will just be another magazine that chased away its devoted readership as it pursued a new fashionable market niche that was all about selling an agenda rather than writing content worthy of the magazines historical place in market.

July 5, 2011 9:04 pm

Scientific American isn’t scientific. They stopped being scientists a long time ago. They are propagandists for the C02 cult. I used to read each issue from cover to cover, now I don’t even bother to browse through it. I suspect their coverage of other topics is a biased and nonsensical as their climate change position. Once my subscription is up, SA and I are parting ways for good, They could give it to me for free and I still wouldn’t read it. It’s a shame that a mighty magazine has fallen into such a shambles.

Crispin in Waterloo
July 5, 2011 9:13 pm

I always found SA topoically and graphically tempting and unreadably pro-CAGW. It has had quite a run with that meme. The thing is there are still lots of other memes that flow through the current sampling including a completely materialistic approach to life, the universe and everything. It has yet to become an ennobling experience – just stuff about stuff all the while playing whack-a-mole with creationists. Boring.

July 5, 2011 9:27 pm

I’m not surprised that most posters here have the same experience as I. SciAm used to be FUN, and informative… getting each issue was exciting and absorbed hours of my time. I read almost every word.
IN my opinion, it wasn’t just climate science, but Junk science in general that turned me right off the rag. Well, that, and the fact that it had whittled down to what, 40 pages?
If I really wanted a religion, there are plenty of churches around. I’m pretty sure I could find something… I do NOT want to join the church of Junk science and socialism masquerading as environmentalism, and refuse to read their church bulletin every month.

July 5, 2011 10:34 pm

poor Bora jumping onto the wrong ship. expect the expected! and what’s this obsession with being “authoritative” rather than themselves?

July 5, 2011 10:34 pm

The Amateur Scientist was a column in the Scientific American, and was the definitive “how-to” resource for citizen-scientists for over 72 years (1928–2001), making it the longest running column in Scientific American’s history.
In 2001, Scientific American came under new management. As part of a “face lift” of the magazine, all of the long-running columns were retired, including “The Amateur Scientist”. March 2001 was the last time the column ran in Scientific American.

That was the last scientific issue of ‘Scientific American’, March 2001
You can not be sucessfull in promoting a religon if you include actual, falsifiable, demonstable tests that anyone can perform independantly to verify its claims.

July 5, 2011 10:57 pm

I notice many people who were former fans of SA are dropping off because of its anti-science attitude in its articles. I too join those ranks. When I first started reading SA in the early 1960’s it was a gem of information. Now, its been dumbed down. Maybe because of their choice of writers and editors. I don’t know, but there has been a change and from the perspective of science in general, it hasn’t been good.
Now they want to set up a series of blogs? Good for circulation I suppose. But not for science.

July 6, 2011 12:08 am

What Larry said.
Scientific American used to be THE science periodical for the layman. Now it is just another left wing political rag. Not just on ‘global warming’, but on every other topic it covers. It has become an anti-science fish wrapper. Such a shame. It used to be a genuinely fun read. But now you have to deal every month with the fact that, even if you agree with the politics, it simply isn’t fun being bludgeoned with them. I gave up on them several years ago, with initial great reluctance that turned to disgust.
American Scientist is much better.

July 6, 2011 12:53 am

Wow, who knew SA was still operational. I truly hope that all good science will have a forum on this site. As I go through he blogs, several key topics are indeed missing. We will see if they get this one right..

July 6, 2011 1:54 am

Perhaps the reason there is no section devoted to Global Warming is that they see it as all-pervasive, and so falls under all other sections? Certainly, it seems to be shoehorned in at every opportunity, irrespective of the subject matter.

July 6, 2011 1:56 am

Will any of them post neat things like how to build a laser light show from common items one might find around a typical nerd-cave? How about how to build a mercury vapor laser from scratch? Both were articles in SA sometime in the early 1980’s.

July 6, 2011 3:06 am

I don’t know much about Scientific American, but one good scientific blog (though not climate related) I do know that has just moved to Scientific American is:
It is run by Darren Naish and is very worthwhile for anyone interested in zoology.
Darren and his commenters are both knowledgeable and a worthwhile read.
He previously ran his blog at:

Jack Simmons
July 6, 2011 3:20 am

Sad to see the Scientific American become the Politically Correct American.
I really miss the old SA. I had forgotten about the Amateur Scientist until Andrew30 mentioned it. Perhaps it was too focused on showing people how to do real observations on natural events?
I really believe people prefer pretend worlds to live in; look at the fare on television these days. ‘Reality’ shows that are not real. Manufactured contests in ‘Survivor’ shows. Avatar, a cartoon version of Dances with Wolves.
As long as it has slick special effects, people go for it.
SA is just responding to what people want.
And does anyone else miss the Mathematical Games column? That was fun too.

July 6, 2011 3:37 am

Like everyone above, I had to abandon SA long ago. I find Andrew30’s observation of the demise of the Amateur Scientist column as apt irony.
I got interested in amateur astronomy and meteorology in elementary school and graduated into SA thereafter, andco-founding the Minnesota Astronomical Society.
I predict they will get around to having a “climatesci” blog. But who? I suggest a thread for plausible (but PC) nominations by Anthony. Sadly (PC-sanitized). But can anyone fill that unctuous but convincing role?
My nomination is John Cook of unskeptical “skepticalscience” reknown. He is a Stick staff approved. He will have to be fact checked and edited down to less savvy audiences for popular consumption – something the SA staff knows too well how to do (PC-style, of course).

July 6, 2011 4:10 am

Their new strategy in translation:

Luther Wu
July 6, 2011 4:39 am

I can no longer think of Scientific American without thinking UN, or rather, Un-
Un-Scientific Un-American.

July 6, 2011 4:40 am

When I was born in ’65 Sci. Amer. had articles like this, full of diagrams minus any clip art. Currently Sci. Amer. acts as a device to actively stop citizens from thinking clearly by garnering their attention but then tranquilizing natural curiosity instead of arming it with discipline, knowledge and creative zest. They killed the Amateur Scientist in 2001. Obviously, I no longer subscribe.
“How the Amateur Can Identify Subatomic Particles From Their Tracks in Photographs”
“Plasticity in sensory-motor systems”
“How opiates change behavior”
“The origin and evolution of cities”
“Early man in Peru”
“Acoustic methods in psychiatry”
“Superconductivity at room temperature”
“The metabolism of the city”
“The swimming energetics of salmon”
“Photography by laser”
“The superellipse: a curve that lies between the ellipse and the rectangle”
“The’Untouchables’ of India”
“The Stirling refrigeration cycle”
“The magnetosphere”
“Computer experiments in fluid dynamics”
“De Forest and the Triode Detector”
“The Evolution of Haemoglobin”
“The Structure of the United States Economy”
“Intense magnetic fields”
“The Greeks and the Hebrews”
“Molecular beams”
“Some comments by Dr. Martix on symmetrics and reversals”
“Nuclear fission”
“The Magnetic Field of the Galaxy”
“The origins of facial expressions”
“The mechanism of muscular contraction”
“The Production of Heat by Fat”
“Heat transfer in plants”
“The synapse”
“The skin”
“”Learning in the Octopus”
“The physiology of exercise”
“The genetics of a bacterial virus”
“The flight muscles of insects”
“The chemistry of cell membranes”
“The Composition of the Earth’s Interior”

July 6, 2011 4:55 am

I’m not sure how this will play out or how long some of the blogs being hosted will survive should their contributors fail to toe ‘the party line’.
Came across this post which may be worth following to see how it develops…
I too find it strange that the topic of climate change is absent from the list, although this could easily change.

global warming
July 6, 2011 5:01 am

Jusf for information – circulation of Sci Ame according to this website has come down 20% from 2009 to 2010. (number 157 on the list)

Steve C
July 6, 2011 5:58 am

Count me in with Andrew30. The Amateur Scientist used to be probably the best thought-provoking feature in any magazine, and my CD of the entire collection (search on “Tinkers Guild”) is one of my most treasured possessions – and can still set me thinking about some unfamiliar topic. The modern mag is typical of its time, mindless and with no apparent interest in reality, and people who can produce that sort of stuff aren’t likely to have much to offer. Fond memories, SciAm, but that’s it.

July 6, 2011 6:49 am

intrepid_wanders says:
July 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm
I found the climo-blog!!!
Hey intrepid, good catch. They also say… “Whether the challenge is climate change, biodiversity at breaking point or global health, how can art communicate complex issues?”
So I left a little note. We’ll see what happens

July 6, 2011 6:51 am

I cannot imagine anyone not canceling their subscription in 1984 when Gerard Piel’s son Jonathan took over. He knew zero about science and was the Terminator of the Scientific part of the name. Two years later it was sold to Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck and the American part disappeared. I have not bought it since, though they did manage to publish a very good article on breeder reactors in December, 2005.

Tom Bakewell
July 6, 2011 7:06 am

I gave up on reading SA right after they dropped “The Amateur Scientist”, with about the same distates as expressed by Andrew30. Just like NatGeo, glossy papered propaganda for the faithful jingoists

John Scogin
July 6, 2011 8:46 am
Paul Westhaver
July 6, 2011 8:59 am

Scientific American would have to settle for second fiddle after WUWT….. and well they should for abandoning science for populism. People who are interested in SCIENCE now where to get good information and where the dialogue is taking place. It isn’t at the SA echo chamber. Facts will prevail.
Anthony, you need a succession plan. What if you bump your head getting into your electric car?

Gordon Walker
July 6, 2011 9:38 am

I used to be a subscriber to SA and when I moved to France, to its French edition “Pour la Science”. I now despise both.

Tom Gray
July 6, 2011 9:42 am

I gave up on the Scientific American just as described by many people have described here. It wasn’t the climate science aspect. it started long before that when it was “dumbed down”. I used to read every article carefully, However as the magazine became dumber, the reading became a quick skimming since the articles contained very little content. Finally it became Climate Science Monthly and I just gave up.
My subscription must have lasted fror over 30 years. I occasionally find old copies with the prices on them of 50 or 75 cents. Their articles are still interesting. I wish that I could say the same of the current version. Even at 50 or 75 cents in 2011 money, the magazine would not be worth buying

Jim G
July 6, 2011 12:12 pm

I quit SA and tried Discover. It also bows at the altar of AGW. Will cancel it when it runs out. Even my Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines periodically genuflect to the AGW idol.

July 6, 2011 12:41 pm

I also dropped my subscription due to the new heavy emphasis on morality, AWG, and “social impacts” of science rather than articles about actual science. It’s not a science magazine anymore, it’s part of the propaganda. Next up: National Geographic, who recently succumbed to inserting AWG in every article whether relavent or not.

Ed Caryl
July 6, 2011 12:47 pm

Ditto all the above. I subscribed beginning in 1964. I let my subscription lapse for good this spring. I threw away my back issues four years ago.

July 6, 2011 2:39 pm

SA-disgusted; Discontinued years ago, after being a subscriber for ever.

July 6, 2011 3:15 pm

like many here I was a 30+ year subscriber of SA – the Amateur Scientist has provided 3 generations of science fair experiments and who can forget Gardner’s math games?
to me there was no one thing but after the savage attack on Bjorn Lumborg and the trashing of Piers along with the new owners demand that only those who have piled it higher and deeper were qualified enough to pontificate in their pages
aside from professional publications down to only a few periodicals that I actually subscribe to and I’m afraid that Skeptical Inquirer (that I’ve taken since it was the Zetic) is going to be next fot the same AGW nonsense (although it was fun watching the mailman when my Mother Jones would arrive the same day as American Rifleman)

July 6, 2011 5:52 pm

As a business, this bog-collective makes sense. I suspect that for joining the SA Family, the blogster gets a cut of ad-revenues, while having his advertising efforts and accounting costs handled by the parent. The real problem is that regardless of what the SA says about editorial independence, there will be a force to follow the philosophy of SA. The force will build with time, as SA decides it only “needs” 35 (or whatever) blogs, and all those who wish to be in the lineup will be those that please SA.
This is an interesting and inevitable evolution of the blogosphere. As print outlets dry up, the blogosphere gets more active. By the MSM taking over the blogosphere, the one area where “truth”, unvarnished and suspect at times, but passionately seeking the truth according their perception, will be coralled. The blogosphere has been a place where one’s opinions could run free, even if (as I have been guilty of) comments were sometimes intemperate and plain wrong. As passions and the moment rule on blogs, sometimes the details get so out-of-line that comments are cringe-worthy (even to the writers). Once in the SA-type family, we can be assured that that will end: an “manager” will forestall anything heretical for “fact-checking” or possible legal reasons that would never have stopped the blogger (as he generally has neither reputation nor wealth to lose). Revenue-chill, if not libel-chill, will smooth the blogs into something the AAAS would approve of, i.e. into non-controversial mainstream.
For those would-be journalists and reporters, this consortium-cum-collective will be a positive career move. For SA, they get all sorts of smart researching for, essentially, free: you get $X for whatever you put up, regardless of what you put into it. SA has lassoed another clutch of stringers. No pensions or health-benefits for them. For the purists amongst us, this may be an alarming development. Who is really pulling the strings when it comes to a blog? Chevron (hah!) never had the pull that Greenpeace did and does. The SACC will corrupt through kindness and money. It can’t be helped.
In the science fiction movies the Umbrella Corporation has come to represent the control of all of our lives that some groups have without our understanding. The SACC blogosphere concept will have a greater impact on the ‘sphere than we might realise at this time. Mainstream meets rebel: you know how that meeting ends.

July 6, 2011 9:33 pm

They can’t have climate bloggers because they decided to drop The Amateur Scientist, and they’ve realized that all climate scientists are amateurs.

July 7, 2011 12:35 pm

The filter selector has no category for it. In “Energy and Sustainability”, as well as “More Science”, I looked also, but found none on that topic. Perhaps the powers that be at SA realize that climate is not a topic for the meek, as it often gets very ugly and contentious, and it just isn’t worth the hassle.
Or maybe, climate is falling off the serious science radar at SA?

Wow … not an insignificant development …
As a side note, have never ever subscribed to any of these ‘science’ journals … but instead, many, many electronics trade journals (e.g. Microwaves and RF, RF Design, ECN, EE Times … then there was always QST and Aviation Week and Space Technology etc available in the library) … spent one summer poring over all the back issues of the Proceedings of the IRE (“Institute of Radio Engineers”; predecessor to the IEEE) from the 1930’s forward in spare time at tech library work … it’s what RF guys do ‘for fun’ …

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