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For your kids: Scientriffic and Helix Grant Jacobs Feb 02

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Two science-oriented magazines from this part of the world for younger readers.

One for 7+, one for 10+.

Readers are welcome to share other possibilities in the comments below. (Adults reading, too, even!)

Scientriffic

scientriffic-cover

Curious little scientific minds can dig into Scientriffic.

Published every two months, it’s a production of CSIRO Education intended for those from 7 years old, upwards. There’s stuff on the website, too.

To get the magazine readers join the Double Helix ClubThe subscription form has a rate for those from overseas. New Zealanders ought to also find it in local libraries.

The magazine is a mix of short ‘articles’ ranging up to a full page and a few longer ones as centrepieces. As you might expect it’s (very) brightly coloured and includes experiments, quizzes, puzzle, a cartoon strip (in the reviewed edition, Midge Bristol Investigates) and  competitions.

There’s content from readers too. One page features calls for penpals. Another includes book reviews by kids – in the edition I’m reviewing these are by kids ages 9, 10 and 13, one being of Kitchen Science Experiments: How Does Your Mold Garden Grow?

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In good health or not? – “natural health” advertising in newspapers, magazines Grant Jacobs Jun 17

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Should newspapers take care to not place advertisements with dubious claims alongside sound medical advice?

My local paper is the Otago Daily Times. Today the ODT – as it is known locally – contained a supplement,* good health, which I think is let down by including advertising of some rather dodgy services and products.

see-thru-body

Don’t get me wrong. I like the ODT. It’s easily one of the better papers. Overall the good health pull-out looks fine too; it’s a case of a few letting down the many.

As you read on, bear in mind that I’m interested the wider point the advertising in this feature raises, not this particular supplement, which I’m just using to illustrate my point.

The good health supplement is presented as a 12-page pull-out magazine with an A-Z series of short pieces on Asthma, Burns, Chilblains, Drug and alcohol addiction, … Yellow fever and Zoster (as in herpes zoster infection, or shingles).

A brief skim suggests that the short pieces look sound. A number cite sources, including WWW sites, and some encourage readers to visit registered practitioners: well done.

The presentation is so much that of an informative magazine that I didn’t notice the (not so small) ’small print’ that it was an advertising feature until after I spotted a few dubious advertisements and decided to look closer.

It would be nice to know who wrote the informative pieces. I presume these are by staff writers, or free-lancers contracted for this feature. Let’s assume it’s not the advertisers but by one means or other representatives of the Otago Daily Times.

Here’s my beef:** a few of the advertisements strike me as too dubious to be placed alongside the rest of the material, including the other advertisers. Including them undermines the credibility of the supplement.

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137 years of Popular Science back issues, free Grant Jacobs Mar 08

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One-hundred and thirty-seven years of back issues of the monthly magazine Popular Science are now available on-line free.

Popular Science cover, October 1977. (Source: Google books)

Popular Science cover, October 1977. (Source: Google books)

You can either search the Popular Science archives, or access issues via Google books. It does not appear to be possible to download copies to read them locally, as some might prefer.

Popular Science was first published in May 1872 with quite substantial editions, over 100 pages in length.

With it’s long history, it will appeal to many different readers.

Those on a short budget will like the free access last year’s editions. Some will enjoy exploring the historic ’science’–not all of it would be considered science today–of the editions from the late 1800s. Others might prefer the early colour illustrations. Fans of old advertising will be in for a treat, too.

Popular Science was intended to address the non-scientific public, as explained in the Editor’s Table of the first edition, to ’contain papers, original and selected, on a wide range of subjects, from the ablest scientific men of different countries, explaining their views to non-scientific people.’

Before I continue I should confess I’ve never read Popular Science. My own science reading tends more to the research literature, books or blogs.

I’m going to limit this article to mainly the first edition, partly in the interest of time, and partly as what drew my attention to this resource being made available was access to early attempts to bring science to the wider public.

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