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Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: Science News

It never ceases to amaze me that the cost of print magazine subscriptions is usually less than the cost of digital subscriptions (though many magazines to be fair, bundle it so that a print subscription comes with a web subscription). My biggest issue with the print+digital bundle is that my preferred long form reading is on the Kindle.

For the longest time, I've been looking for a magazine that covers science that's not written for English majors. The New York Times' science coverage, for instance, is frequently shallow, leaves out nuances, and tends to reflect journalistic tendencies to cover "both sides" rather than focus on the science. (One famous example was when one of their journalists covered "both sides" of the evolution/creation story as though both sides had a point!)

Science News turns out to be a $27/year subscription on the Kindle, and $50/year in print. The coverage isn't shallow. For instance, their February issue covers the recent "Vitamin D disappointments" studies in great detail, and includes all the nuances (basically, over a 2 year period, cancer rates are down 25%, but over a longer term the differentiation between the supplement and non-supplement groups narrows, indicating that vitamin D doesn't actually prevent cancer, but might slow it down). As a biweekly, each issue only has 2 "features", which are long, 3000+ word stories that cover a topic in detail. The rest of the issue is full of short updates (e.g., about what the far side lunar rover is doing, or some preliminary study results).

All in all, I'm impressed, both by the price and what you get. Recommended.

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