Why I don't subscribe to Scientific American any more

It is because of beyond stupid fear mongering like this: Are Category 6 Hurricanes coming soon?


Lest people think this is some sort of “new” fear, I’ll remind them of this from 1969, well before CO2 was bogusly posited by Al Gore and other alarmists to be a “hurricane amplifier”:

From Yahoo Answers:

Hurricane Camille in 1969 broke the equipment at Keesler Air Force Base (home of the Hurricane Hunter aircraft) in Biloxi, MS when her winds reached somewhere around 205 to 210 mph. So we’ll really never know just how high her winds were.

Read the complete history of Camille here at NHC (PDF)

Then there’s this that they ignore:

Accumulated Cyclone Energy

Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy – 1972 to Present

Click to See Full Image: 24-month running sums of tropical cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy Ryan N. Maue PhD – http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/ Click to enlargeFor reference:

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August 24, 2011 2:01 pm

Err, I’m pretty sure there’s a mistake in that scale. 2135 knots is quite a clip.
REPLY: Err. I’m pretty sure you need glasses – Anthony

August 24, 2011 2:08 pm

good grief…..and they use Irene as an example
…what a sloppy………can’t even get the west side closed

Jeff Carlson
August 24, 2011 2:09 pm

a CAT 6 would be definative evidence of an alien invasion I think …

August 24, 2011 2:14 pm

“Err. I’m pretty sure you need glasses – Anthony”
Hahaha. I think you may be right. It looked like a “2” on my monitor. I was hoping to put it off until at least age 45, but it seems I might need to visit the opticians sooner rather than later.

Matt Carver
August 24, 2011 2:15 pm

If category 5 is anything greater than or equal to 156 mile per hour winds. Would that not negate the possibility of a category 6?

August 24, 2011 2:16 pm

AGW spouted by New Scientist over here in Blighty is why I don’t subscribe to it anymore..

August 24, 2011 2:17 pm

They gave up being about science a long time ago. Thinner and thinner all the time, they have to fill the pages with CAGW crud and junk now. It’s been like seeing an old friend get dementia. Sad.

David Y
August 24, 2011 2:19 pm

A CAT 6 would be messy….with all that gigabit ethernet cable flying around…. 😉
I gave up on Sci-Am long ago. Loved it as a kid–it had real science then. Now it just competes as an over-sensationalized mix of Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Time and Newsweek.

August 24, 2011 2:21 pm

now we have the technology to control hurricanes, namely their direction. this will never be openly talked about in the MSM. the significance dawns when we think of the implications of ‘weaponizing’ the weather and the cover up mechanism. ie ‘this terrible murderous weather… well it’s cause is co2, therefore… YOU!’
just watch the denial responses to this information rise like ‘global sea level’

August 24, 2011 2:21 pm

The article says “It took 14 years for the World Meteorological Organization to acknowledge that an anemometer in Australia recorded a world record wind speed of 407 kph (253 mph) during Tropical Cyclone Olivia in 1996.
I think most of that time the data sat around ignored before the owners contacted the WMO. Not worth looking up.
Perhaps we need more than 6 categories as that would permit a finer description. How about if we use a system like wind speed in kmh minus the hurricane threshhold? A storm could jump a dozen cats between passes of the hurricane hunter planes!

August 24, 2011 2:26 pm
August 24, 2011 2:28 pm

Rudi Salisbury says:
August 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm
“now we have the technology to control hurricanes, namely their direction. this will never be openly talked about in the MSM.”
Yeah. Heard about that.

August 24, 2011 2:31 pm

I read it in the 70’s and 80’s, before the Greeniacs lobotomized it… Sometimes nostalgia overcomes me and I pick up a copy at the grocery store, but as soon as I see all the purile garbage in it so clearly “on message” for the GreenPeace crowd, I drop it like a hot potato… So sad to see my once robust and respected buddy turned droopy-eyed and drooling like Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – if the green spin from Scientific American was added to hurricane Irene, it’d morph to a Category 7 in a heart beat… 😉

August 24, 2011 2:36 pm

Given that the increments of existing catogories by wind speed are about 21 to 29mph, that would make Camille at least a Cat 7 Hurricane.

geography lady
August 24, 2011 2:40 pm

Has anyone seen the latest SA? It is all about cities being the end all for man. Totally ignores the heat output that cities make. I only glanced at the “rag”. We are trying to stop our subscription. I agree….it is no longer a science mag, but worse than Popular Science. Unfortunately, schools use this for “proper” resources to cite.

Robert M
August 24, 2011 2:43 pm

I bet they have been sitting on this story for quite a long time now, waiting for the right storm… I wonder if they printed this now because they are afraid Irene will be the best they can do this year…
In other news Scientific American has become something of a joke…

August 24, 2011 2:45 pm

I nuked them many years ago, when they went to a tabloid format and hired on Alan Alda as a presenter and spokestwat.

August 24, 2011 2:46 pm

From what I’ve observed about Australia’s strong cyclones the most destructive ones –
Tracy 1974
Larry 2006
Yasi 2011
ALL developed in association with La Nina.
Am I missing something – I thought the ever increasing CO2 generated heat was going to rain death and destruction on us all with never ending EL Nino conditions. Almost all cyclonic activity I remember is associated with La Nina events here. As for ever increasing strength Teacy was equal to Yasi and completely destroyed Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974.
So for Australia’s scientists to be ignoring ENSO to study CO2 warming is insanity.
EL Nino’s bring widespread drought and heat, La Nina’s bring flooding and cyclones but our Gov’t and CSIRO continue on with the “dangerous climate change” mantra like the brain dead.

August 24, 2011 2:53 pm

Sci Am has become a rag that is very closed minded. I cancelled my subscription, also.

August 24, 2011 2:55 pm

Maybe a change in font would be more useful than new glasses. I had to study it for several minutes after reading the snarky put-down to work out that that was not a numeral “2” but in fact is a greater than or equal to symbol.

August 24, 2011 3:03 pm

Dropped my subscription in the late 90’s.
Sci Am has become a disaster,
I occasionally refer back to the old classic issues I have on PDFs, and note with sadness how far it has fallen.

August 24, 2011 3:05 pm

I, too, am an ex-reader/subscriber. The Weather Channel was for awhile carrying the water for AGW but lately they’ve dropped it. They have earned my undying respect.
SA has sadly become, as one commenter aptly titled it, a tabloid.

August 24, 2011 3:06 pm

Wasn’t “Category 10” one of those bad Sci-Fi (Excuse me, SyFy) Saturday Night Movies?

August 24, 2011 3:06 pm

Larry says:
August 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm
“Maybe a change in font would be more useful than new glasses. I had to study it for several minutes after reading the snarky put-down to work out that that was not a numeral “2″ but in fact is a greater than or equal to symbol.”
ctrl + is your friend.

John Cooper
August 24, 2011 3:06 pm

Way ahead of you, Anthony. I canceled my subscription in the eighties because of crap like this.

August 24, 2011 3:16 pm

National Geographic blazed the trail years ago.

August 24, 2011 3:28 pm

You would think there would be enough real science out there to fill their pages….
….if they are having to resort to this garbage to fill that magazine, then they aren’t as popular with people trying to get published as they pretend
….or as much as some people give them credit for

David Falkner
August 24, 2011 3:34 pm

REPLY: Err. I’m pretty sure you need glasses – Anthony
I went to the eye doctor the other day. I said, “Doc I think I need some new glasses.” And he said, “You sure do, this is a gas station.”

August 24, 2011 3:41 pm

Perhaps Robinson suffers from protanopia like I do – low red visual sensitivity – which reduces the contrast between red and black. As a result the thin lines ,not being so easily visible, appear like a 2. I thought it was 2135 initially as well!

August 24, 2011 3:42 pm

The Sci Am article seemed interesting and neutral. It is news that some researches want a new category and the article reports other criticisms of the current 5 point scale.

David Walton
August 24, 2011 3:55 pm

I canceled my sub to Sci Am some twenty odd years ago when it changed from being a long established and distinguished scientific journal to an unrecognizable, pseudo-scientific, politicized, editorializing, slanted, opinion and agenda driven pop-tabloid.
Sci Am died in the mid 80’s when it was sold to the Geman group, Holtzbrinck. It has never recovered. I had been reading it since a kid in the 1960’s when I got hooked on my father’s subscription.
Are more F-Grade, Hogwash, Sensationalist Articles Coming Soon? Well, that is what Sci Am has been all about for a very long time.
From respected journal to trashy sheet in less than 130 years.

August 24, 2011 4:05 pm

Scientific American and Nature both belong to the German Holtzbrinck group.

August 24, 2011 4:24 pm

@ Manfred, just as Thomson Reuters pushing their green agenda through the Globe and Mail in Canada…

August 24, 2011 4:28 pm

I cancelled my subscription in the mid-90s.
Up to the early-90s, they used to interview luminaries like Kuhn, or Murray Gell-Man, and others. Their articles were by prominent scientists in their fields. Then one day, when I received an issue where their interview was of Jeremy Rifkin, I decided they had definitely changed, and for the worse.

August 24, 2011 4:35 pm

DirkH: You have to recognize that you have been misled before it dawns you you that you need help.
I an too trusting.

August 24, 2011 4:51 pm

Anything that creates a break from the past and allows any new event to be some sort of ‘record’ is fair play in some eyes, it would seem.
On the substance raised, it might be worth a separate measure that combines wind speed and duration (which ACE covers if I’m not mistaken) with wind field size (which I don’t think it does). Operationally difficult to calculate with much precision, but perhaps a better guide to potential destructiveness to a stretch of land.
While Wilma in 2005 had a stupidly low central pressure (882mb), the winds dropped from 175mph to below hurricane strength in the space of less than 15 miles during that period of intensity. Katrina was packing a much smaller punch than that at landfall, but was so large that the hurricane-force winds stretched well over 100 miles from the centre and brought a massive storm surge.

August 24, 2011 5:12 pm

I stopped my subscription years ago, and these days I don’t even bother browsing through one on the newstand just to see if it’s interesting enough to buy the individual issue.
When I got the distinct sense that I was getting a lecture and not straight science, I dumped it.

Frank K.
August 24, 2011 5:14 pm

I used to read Scientific American before it became a tabloid…
By the way was hurricane Camille a Cat 6 hurricane? Yep…big hurricanes…unprecedented…

August 24, 2011 5:22 pm

Posited on the basis of more heat means more energy to dissipate – as simple as that. Of course in the cold hard light of day, this is a gross oversimplification as it is extremely difficult to determine exactly how climate translates to specific weather in any particular place.

August 24, 2011 5:41 pm

hey robinson i thought it was 2135 knots too !! we both need glasses !!!

August 24, 2011 5:42 pm

Category six Hurricanes? You’ve got to be kidding. Let’s be serious. The research out there suggests that if there is an increase in sea surface temperature and if other factors don’t change much, then there would be some increase in intensities of storms. These same studies have made it quite clear that even this hypothetical influence is sufficiently weak that, under scenarios with unrealistic amounts of warming, any increase in intensity won’t even be measurable much less noticeable, for decades. Perhaps SciAM should change it’s name to reflect the fact that it is now publishing more on science fantasy than even fiction.

Don K
August 24, 2011 6:00 pm

And let’s don’t forget the Labor Day 1935 storm — also category 5. It had a central pressure at landfall lower than Camille. It also killed many more people, but that’s probably because by 1969 meteorology was capable of tracking storms and warning folks in vulnerable areas to get to someplace safe.

August 24, 2011 6:14 pm

I religiously read SA in the library at Uni in the 80s. When employed in the 90s I got my own subscription. As a business owner in the late 90s I got a subscription for my staff room as well. Then, I noticed what you all point out. As a consultant I just bought the occasional copy from the news stand. Then just a few articles online. Now I don’t even bother to pick it up in the dentist waiting room.

Bob Koss
August 24, 2011 6:40 pm

Here is a useful link to the NHC breakdown of damages likely expected for each category of hurricane.
I noticed trivial differences in wind speed values compared to Anthony’s chart. Probably due to rounding.

J. Felton
August 24, 2011 6:57 pm

I stopped paying attention to Un-scientific American after the professor Bjorn Lomborg incident where they spent 10 pages trashing him, then refused to allow him to respond to their allegations, and threatened him with litigation. It’s nothing but a biased tabloid rag now.

Gilbert K. Arnold
August 24, 2011 7:14 pm

Surprisingly enough, every so often, a genuine science article makes it’s way into the magazine, that doesn’t mention CAGW. However the last one I remember reading was about the formation of the Mississippi Embayment, which is clearly visible on any geologic map of the US. This was about 4 years ago. Sadly not much since then. Alas… *sigh*

August 24, 2011 7:37 pm

Mpaul – That was some well timed and funny stuff. Perfect!

August 24, 2011 7:40 pm

Another ex-SA reader here. A slightly OT comment: There was an article in SA a year before Y2K. This is the citation and a very short abstract:
De Jager, Peter. 1999. “Y2K: So Many Bugs…So Little Time.” Scientific American; Jan99,
Vol. 280 Issue 1, p88, 6p. Abstract:
Evaluates the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem and the amount of time left to fix it.
The cause of the problem; Strategies to solve the problem and their drawbacks;
Windowing, date expansion, and encapsulation; Author’s prediction of the severity of
the disruption. INSET: Problems Embedded Everywhere.
The article starts out like this:
An explanation of the psychology behind the Year 2000 computer problem can be found in a perhaps unlikely place: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In the popular children’s classic, the Mad Hatter asks, “Does your watch tell you what year it is?” and Alice replies, “Of course not, but that’s because it stays the same year for such a long time together.”
There are many reasons why programmers, including me, chose to represent years by using just two digits, 55 for 1955 and 10/23/76 or 23/10/76 for October 23, 1976, for example. Decades ago digital real estate was scarce: computer memory was expensive, and typical punch cards were only 80 columns wide. People also rationalized the shortcut by citing the efficiency of reduced keystrokes. Of course, the absence of standards played an enabling role, and many of us truly believed (incorrectly so) that the software we were writing would long be retired before the new millennium. Thanks to sheer inertia and lingering Tea Party logic (why store more than two digits when the century stays the same for such a long time together?), the practice continued long after computer memory and cost constraints were legitimate concerns.
The rest of the article is behind a pay wall, but as I recall, it said Y2K was going to be a several month disaster, and at worst–much longer. I can’t say that marked the nadir of SA, but it certainly brought the problem home to me.

August 24, 2011 8:07 pm

I suspect that most of the Gentle Readers here may not know a lot about everything but instead a lot about a narrow subject. When you find something contrary to what you do know, an out-and-out lie, you can no longer trust ANYTHING in the publication. Hence, I quit reading the S/A in disgust maybe twenty years ago. But, here is the rhetorical question: When the house of lies finally collapses, will the entire editorial staff be terminated?
Probably not. The S/A is corrupt and will probably always be that way. The only hope is that they will go the same way as Newsweek (sold for $1.00-yes, one dollar). But instead of continuing as just another left wing propaganda rag actually become something respectable, unlike Newsweek.
It breaks my heart that something respected and valuable has become just another empty leftist echo. I remember when it was of value to us interested laymen.
Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

August 24, 2011 9:36 pm

I purchased a newsstand copy in Calgary Airport on the way baq to Iraq. I opened the magazine and saw the words “climate change” before I could get started. The safety card was more informative.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 24, 2011 9:48 pm

In what may sound like a page from the script of the rock-band spoof Spinal Tap with its reference to a beyond-loud electric guitar amplifier volume 11, there is actually talk of adding a sixth level to the current Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, on which category 5 intensity means sustained winds higher than 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) for at least one minute, with no speed cap.

I wonder what Spinal Tap would say about this? After all, they were at the forefront of climate science……

August 24, 2011 9:56 pm

The degeneration of SciAm is sad. Gave up on it long ago, when I found I could not be sure that the very next issue might feature BatBoy.
American Scientist magazine has picked up the mantle. More science, less politics.

August 24, 2011 10:26 pm

“Scientifik Amerikan” has been a German owned magazine for since the late 80’s, early 90’s, promoting German marketing of engineered German hardware. Most the Green gibberish has been conceived, planned and is being executed from Germany. Most of the IPCC, WWF, and Greenpeace verbiage may also be found in Siemens’ brochures (and in innocent scientifc “artkles” in S.A. (I have listed a small sample) here: http://greenfraud.blogspot.com/2011/03/neither-scientific-nor-american-but-all.html
S.A. reader 1968-1989 (I saw the light arount Copenhagen time)

Gary Pate
August 24, 2011 10:26 pm

Dang, wish I had a subscription just so I could cancel it…

Mike Abbott
August 24, 2011 10:26 pm

Mike says:
August 24, 2011 at 3:42 pm
The Sci Am article seemed interesting and neutral. It is news that some researches want a new category and the article reports other criticisms of the current 5 point scale.

I’m with you. I saw no “stupid fear mongering” in this article at all. They played down the global warming angle and acknowledged natural conditions and uncertainty. Anthony, did you read past the headline?

August 24, 2011 10:53 pm

A few years ago I was gifted with a subscription. Half that year’s issues still sit unopened.
As for seeing details: A higher resolution screen and/or graphics card would likely help. Modern software makes assumptions about graphics that older cards and screens aren’t up to.

Daryl Bergmann
August 24, 2011 10:53 pm

Next up from a Cat 5 should be Cat 5e, shouldn’t it?

Gary Krause
August 24, 2011 11:12 pm

I gave up on their rag mag in the early 1990’s. But I am an older sci guy with standards obviously left back in the dark ages. Seems to me that you folks within the current circle of science that is taking the high road would publish your own science mag. Tell us what makes a rag like Scientific American meaningful with our ability to exchange our science instantly on www?

August 24, 2011 11:36 pm

Just for point of interest, compare this with speed ratings for tires. It used to be H for up to 130mph, V for up to 149mph, and Z for above 149mph. Well, technology marches on, and I’m sure when they came up with a Z speed rating nobody dreamed there would be very many production cars capable of those kinds of speeds.
Eventually, it became obvious that not all Z rated tires could handle extremely high speeds very well, so they added W for up to 168mph and Y for up to 186mph (300km/h). There is also a (Y) for above 186, I’m wondering if they’ll need to expand on that some day.
So, although I haven’t read the article we’re discussing (yeah, as with others, I won’t even give it a chance anymore… S/A lost all credibility to me in the mid 90s), I can understand the potential need for having an extended scale. Of course, that’s not how it will be sold. An increase in sustained wind speeds of even 5mph is a significant increase in energy for something the size of a hurricane and more precise measurements or ratings could be important.

David Waring
August 24, 2011 11:58 pm

Gave up on SciAm over a decade ago when the advertising swamped the articles, which as a result became nigh on impossible to read.
It is a shame, it used to be something to look forward to each month for a dose of brain fodder.
I hope the editor(s) pass by here and read the comments about the damage that has been done to a once quality publication.

Ian H
August 25, 2011 12:48 am

Rudi Salisbury says:
August 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm
“now we have the technology to control hurricanes, namely their direction. this will never be openly talked about in the MSM. the significance dawns when we think of the implications of ‘weaponizing’ the weather”
Yes, I’m sure someone in the DOD is right now saying “Let’s slam a hurricane into New England which will cause MILLIONS in damage so we can improve the economy by… sorry, I lost my train of thought. Oh, yeah New England…”

Alexej Buergin
August 25, 2011 1:11 am

Protanomaly: I see green lighter than the average person, and red darker. But well enough to notice when the light is red at a stop sign.
The red colour selected is just too dark, and so is the orange beneath it.
As far as I know there are no glasses that correct protanomaly (or deuteranomaly). But at least I can support my hearing by listening to the TV with the help of an equalizer (which accentuates the high frequencies).

John Marshall
August 25, 2011 1:30 am

I understand that to make Kph fit in numerically with the real speeds these have been altered slightly. I bet this will lead to an increase in Cat 4+ hurricanes despite no actual change happening.

August 25, 2011 2:49 am

Sci Am died when Amateur Scientist and Mathematical Games disappeared. That was not the cause, but signs from a hidden cause.

August 25, 2011 3:09 am

Rosco notes-
‘From what I’ve observed about Australia’s strong cyclones….’
and goes on to mention the most destructive ones like Tracy and Yasi, readers should be aware that the most cyclone prone region of Australia is in the North West of Western Australia. Cyclone Trixie was more powerful and prolonged than Tracy which destroyed Darwin in the Northern Territory but the Onslow region is very sparsely settled and so gets little attention media-wise. There are large iron ore mines and natural gas rigs offshore in the region that have increased sparse populations but they’re largely fly-in fly-out operations and have more recent cyclone building codes (notably revamped afte Tracy hit Darwin in 74)
Here’s the lowdown on Trixie eventually cutting the Trans Australian Railway at Zanthus 1700km away and that’s an awful lot of water to still make it there over desert country

August 25, 2011 3:37 am

Here’s the lowdown on cyclones affecting big blow Onslow by the way and there’s a handy time series plot graph of them all and their intensities from 1910-2006 worth looking at for signs of global warming intensity. There isn’t any noticeable trend but we can see that nature took a breather in the 80s that we can put down to natural variability. http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/wa/onslow.shtml

Commander Bill
August 25, 2011 4:13 am

As a long term subscriber to Scientific American I have always known the publication editor’s strong left wing basis. For example their defense related articles are always derisory.
It has become clear that the magazine isn’t making money and they have changed their format to more sensationalism and fear mongering. I understand the Darwinian survival of the fitness potential publication death response and perhaps would have done the same if entrusted with the magazine’s continued existence.
Nonetheless it is unfortunate that such an old and prestigious publication can debase science to a cult religion.
When it becomes clearer that Man Made Global Warming supporters are an amalgamation of Leftist social destroyers, Green religious zealots and self serving “Scientists” and the speculative hypothesis is discounted there may be feels of righteous retribution. Let us hope Scientific American isn’t causality.

keith at hastings uk
August 25, 2011 4:32 am

And here was me thinking that fierce weather comes from the difference between hotter and colder air, and that evenly spread warming would and has in paleo time produced benign weather. Cooling can produce awful weather, if patchy geographically, same as warming, if patchy?
Cat 6 – must be worse than I thought.(/sarc)

August 25, 2011 5:02 am

It’s all them cosmic rays being hurled at us by little green men sitting on the moon, that cause all them damned clouds. LOL

Dave Springer
August 25, 2011 6:12 am

I still subscribe. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…
In between cheerleading for CAGW and Darwin worshippers there’s still some good articles in it.

Michael S
August 25, 2011 6:44 am

This headline immediately reminded me of this famous Spinal Tap discussion (credit to imdb for the compilation with my own edits):
Sci Am Mag: The numbers all go to six. Look, right across the board, six, six, six and…
Anthony: Oh, I see. And most hurricanes go up to five?
Sci Am Mag: Exactly.
Anthony: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?
Sci Am Mag: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not five. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at five. You’re on five here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on five on your scale. Where can you go from there? Where?
Anthony: I don’t know.
Sci Am Mag: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Anthony: Put it up to six.
Sci Am Mag: Six. Exactly. One louder.
Anthony: Why don’t you just make five louder and make five be the top number and make that a little louder?
Sci Am Mag: [pause] These go to six.
Yes, Scientific American is now as smart as Nigel and Spinal Tap . . .. . and soon Stonehenge will be in danger of being trod on by a dwarf.

August 25, 2011 6:59 am

Was in Biloxi (Keesler AFB) during Camille. Admittedly I was of an impressionable age and we didn’t have the S-S scale in those days, but I pretty much thought of Camille as Category “expletive deleted.” Though I will admit that the dozens of deep holes left after clearing away quite large pine trees that had been snapped off made for excellent fox-holes for playing “war.” I’m not certain that the adults found as much to be amusing.

August 25, 2011 7:57 am

Robinson says:
August 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm
Looked like a two to me also, and I have glasses!

August 25, 2011 8:02 am

Josualdo says:
August 25, 2011 at 2:49 am
Sci Am died when Amateur Scientist and Mathematical Games disappeared. That was not the cause, but signs from a hidden cause.
Since the late 80’s, if it were not for Mathematical Games, I would have not bought any issues at all.

August 25, 2011 8:39 am

I also do not subscribe to SciAm for the same reason and because some issues don’t interest me. What I do is look at their online material now and again and occasionally buy an issue that interests me at the news stand.
Dave W

August 25, 2011 9:36 am

Discover magazine is even worse than Sci Am. I was given a subscription to that rag & have asked that it not happen again.

Mark B
August 25, 2011 9:40 am

I started my subscribed to SciAm in 1970. I remember in the early years eagerly waiting for the new issue to arrive and then marvel at the workings of the universe. In about the 80’s I started seeing a shift to more “squishy science”. I have noted this trend in the delivery of science to the general public for some time now. Remember Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert), how NOVA once was, and how the Science and the Discovery Channels are today.
I stopped renewing my SciAm in 1989.
Cheers, Mark

James Evans
August 25, 2011 11:20 am

Mike Maxwell,
I’m a sceptic, and I don’t read the popular (?) science mags because of their ridiculous promoting of the CAGW nonsense. But I’m slightly puzzled about the point that you are making about the Y2K problem. I’ve seen it mentioned on sceptical blogs before, and I just don’t get it.
As a programmer working in the nineties, I spent some time working on the problem. It wasn’t a mirage, it was a very serious problem. Perhaps there was a huge panic about the issue in the US that I’m unaware of. Is that what you are refering to? But there’s no doubt that somebody had to go through all the vital computer systems to make sure that they coded the year with 4 digits, and not just 2. To not have done that would have been nuts. It took a lot of time and effort, and a lot of potential problems were averted as a result.

August 25, 2011 11:36 am

I had every copy of Scientific American from 1973 to a few years ago. Back in the 70s and 80s it was a pretty good read: science articles written by scientists. Increasingly it because artilce about science written by journalists, which is a very different thing indeed.
The very last sentance I ever read in Scientific American was ‘Climate models prove …’
I don’t know what came next, because I threw it in the garbage and never bought another.
Only an ignoramous could write that a computer model proves anything.

August 25, 2011 12:21 pm

I agree. I haven’t picked up a copy of SA in years, a few other magazines as well. They hitched thier wagons to AGW to chase readership because they believed the science was settled (why I don’t know). I wonder what thier circulation looks like today. Its a shame really, these used to be good magazines.
We moved recently. I discovered a box full of SA, maybe 50 copies from days long ago. Theres an opportunity here for a new science magazine to repalce SA, and Nature etc. Anthony, are you reading this?

Henry chance
August 25, 2011 3:16 pm

I read it at the library. I position it inside another open magazine so someone walking by can’t see me reading it. I glance at an issue maybe 3 times a year. That way no one would visit our home and see it lying around. It is like walking past an employee and seeing a dirty screen on a workers monitor. Not kewl. It is packed with sophistry.

Robert of Ottawa
August 25, 2011 4:27 pm

I used to feel proud when I purchase SciAm or New Scientist. Now, when I pass them in a store that actually sells them, I hang my head in shame. They have become Lysenkoist poitical mouthpieces for misanthropists.

August 25, 2011 5:26 pm

Reminds me of the movie Spinal Tap where where the amps go to 11 instead of 10

Chris Korvin
August 26, 2011 2:51 am

I read somewhere that when a news or journal article is in the form of a question the answer is almost always no.

Frederick Michael
August 26, 2011 7:02 am

I would give anything to get my hands on the SciAm cover picture on the recognition of faces (from the late 1960s, I think). It was Gilbert Stewart’s portrait of George Washington, digitized to only 140 pixels.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 26, 2011 7:02 am

@Robinson etc:
Got problems seeing graphics? Got Firefox or a similar Mozilla-based browser? Get the Image Zoom plug-in. Zoom in or out, see the finer detail or even shrink oversized pics. Also does simple 90°-increment rotations. I use it.
Here on WUWT, with wordpress’ system, sometimes “zoom in” will only expand to the width the template allows for the story, so the image gets distorted as it expands as far as wanted just on the vertical. So view the graphic just by itself when zooming in (right-click, View Image or view in another tab). It works great.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 26, 2011 7:29 am

Frederick Michael said on August 26, 2011 at 7:02 am:

I would give anything to get my hands on the SciAm cover picture on the recognition of faces (from the late 1960s, I think). It was Gilbert Stewart’s portrait of George Washington, digitized to only 140 pixels.

November 1973 issue.
Info source here says it’s actually 624 pixels. Has link to “larger” version of cover (440 x 616 pixels). Source link also has a 104 pixel Lincoln as well as other interesting info.
If this is what you were actually looking for, please leave “anything” at the handy “Donate” button found above on the right. ☺

Frederick Michael
August 26, 2011 9:15 am

Done. Since it’s to surfacestations.org, is it tax deductible?
Thanks a ton. I had spent HOURS in a library looking for this.

Dave Springer
August 26, 2011 9:38 am

Frederick Michael says:
August 26, 2011 at 7:02 am
“I would give anything to get my hands on the SciAm cover picture on the recognition of faces (from the late 1960s, I think). It was Gilbert Stewart’s portrait of George Washington, digitized to only 140 pixels.”
Now, about that “give anything”… what’s on the offer? 🙂

Ann Albertan
August 26, 2011 1:48 pm

I subscribed to SA for years, including the ridiculous costs of having it mailed to me in Southeast Asia in the ’90’s. Gave up after their pogrom treatment of Bjorn Lomberg. Haven’t bought it since.

August 26, 2011 1:53 pm

that 108-pixel image of Lincoln is classic and amazing.
As the source notes, that these are NOT computerized images is even more so; Chuck Close, who is unable to recognize faces, painted them.

Michael J. Dunn
August 26, 2011 6:11 pm

I believe it was Edward Teller who famously quipped that Scientific American “was neither scientific, nor American.”
I passed on it in the mid-1980s when it was obvious they were “stacking the deck” in their critical articles against the then Strategic Defense Initiative. I was working on those SDI programs at the time, and knew full well the critiques were sophistical puff-pieces.
For similar reasons (mostly AGW-related), I gave up on Science News several years ago. And Popular Science is just a travesty of its former self (I started reading it in 1959). You pretty much have to cut the cord completely, because once they start to tarnish a story, you can never be sure which stories they won’t tarnish next.

Michael J. Dunn
August 26, 2011 6:19 pm

I should also have mentioned that “SciAm” is 80% “scam.”

Kevin MacDonald
August 27, 2011 9:35 am

I’m not sure how this is scaremongering when all it does is report on an existing debate within the atmospheric research community about whether or not the existing categorisation is adequate for the most severe hurricanes; storms that we are already witnessing and have been for some time (both Camille, 1969, and Allen, 1980, are mentioned in the article).
Further, the article says that wind speed is not a terribly good indicator of a hurricanes destructive power. Not a great approach if you’re trying to instill fear of new, windier hurricanes.
Also, I fail to see why Scientific American should include the graph of Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy. It has no bearing on the article which is only concerned with the most powerful category 5 storms.
I might take your point if Scientific American were speculating about a new breed of super cyclone with hitherto unimagined power, but as it is this seems more like hatemongering on your part that than scaremongering on theirs; an opinion cemented somewhat by the fact at least two commenters have made the “but this one goes up to 11” joke, demonstrating that they haven’t even bothered to read the article and don’t know the author noted the same absurdity in the second sentence.

August 27, 2011 12:25 pm

I stopped reading SciAm when Michael Shermer, the “skeptic”, put all of his eggs in the AGW basket. When a skeptic (yeah, right) drinks the koolaid, it’s time to bail. I did, and I’m glad.

August 31, 2011 10:45 am

I remember when scientific articles were thought provoking and interesting and not as politicized, but now it seems most science is reported from the perspective of an anthropologists or some kind of sociologists, and even views from misanthropists and Malthusians get more publication these days than well thought out scientific reports of advancements in science.
Climate science isn’t the only area being flooded by bizarre theories and beliefs, Archeology is riddled with reports of aliens building our Ancient structures such as the pyramids and stone henge, any find these days in Archeology becomes anecdotal proof of a religious ritual of one sort or another, just watch an episode of Tony Robinson Time Team and all the claims of religious rituals and beliefs.
Over the past few years Google has had a link to science news articles which I dread clicking on as it is full of the biggest amount of BS any one can find in one place online, and it is mostly dominated by articles that are promoting a man made climate driven change, or environmentalists co2 taxing drivel from human hating proponents of CAGW.
NOTE: Tony Robinson claims that the archaeologists involved with Time Team have published more scientific papers on excavations carried out in the series than all British university archaeology departments put together over the same period.
Too harsh?? 🙂

Larry Brown
September 7, 2011 3:03 pm

It’s interesting how many commenters have dropped subscriptions to the rag. I dropped mine in about 1990.

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