NewScientist magazine

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  • #1
Pengwuino
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Does anyone know what this magazine is all about? I seem to be seeing quite a few 'out there' articles or propositions originating from the magazine. Just yesterday I was in an argument where some guy said an article in NewScientist showed proof that Special Relativity was wrong (and then we got into an unbelievable argument where they basically questioned all human knowledge). So is this just a coincadence ( plus the guy didn't know what he was talking about) or is NewScientist a real 'fringe' magazine? or something else?
 

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  • #2
jcsd
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It's a non-peer-reviewed magazine which carries news and articles on deveolpments in science and related areas. It's non-technical and it's articles are geared towards people with an ineterst in scinece rather than experts in that partciualr field.

It's a mainstream publication with a large circulation. As it does have articles on some very complex areas dumbing-down happens quite alot.
 
  • #3
jcsd
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It's pretty much the equivalent of SciAm.
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
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Well I don't remember seeing (although ive only subscribed for a very short time) anything about special relativity being violated in SciAm....

boy did i get into it with these people... its like i was talking to a brick wall with the brain of a 6 year old girl.

My first theory was that it was non-communication at >c... but this guy made it very explicit that it was "communication greater then the speed of light" (and much greater). He also said it meant special relativity was wrong.
 
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  • #5
Astronuc
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I seem to remember some dubious claims attributed to New Scientist.

I would not put New Scientist in the same category as SciAm, but perhaps it is more like Omni Magazine or Popular Science.

Then there are the refereed journals - http://journals.aip.org/
 
  • #6
Pengwuino
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Who publishes Physics Rev.?
 
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Astronuc
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Gokul43201
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Pengwuino said:
I seem to be seeing quite a few 'out there' articles or propositions originating from the magazine.
Such as ?

Just yesterday I was in an argument where some guy said an article in NewScientist showed proof that Special Relativity was wrong (and then we got into an unbelievable argument where they basically questioned all human knowledge).
Why even entertain a discussion without an actual citation of the source ? Do you know which page of which edition this article was in ? It's not in the latest edition...
 
  • #9
Pengwuino
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He took a bad scan of it so you couldn't tell where it was. I also can't remember the past details of articles ive heard (second hand) off hand but some were a bit out there (crop circles were one i thiiiiink). It must have been in a very recent issue because he was acting like he just read it as opposed to it being something old.

The problem probably happened when the guy said it said special relativity was wrong. I'm thinking they did non-communicable experiments to get such speeds but the guy didn't understand what it meant to break the speed of light without SR being violated.

So he goes "yes you can communicate at the speed of light" and i'm like "no you can't...." and then i start getting him and other people going "special relativity is just a theory, there's no evidence to say that it's true". And then someone threw in "quan[t]um physics is just a theory too" and i was being bombarded with people saying Einstein was wrong about everything.

Oh and of course I got that whole "well if you move along in one direction at c and shine a flashlight the other way, it will travel away from you at 2c. special relativity is wrong" (yah i know, even in newtonian physics that doesn't make sense)
 
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  • #10
New Scientist's raison d'etre appears to be to make science look sexier to people with no scientific background. I used to read it before I started studying physics. It has an okay news section, and often provides well-written articles in laymans terms on upcoming technologies or recent (proper) research, but just as often dedicates its pages to sensationalist storms in teacups that sell issues and nothing else. I can't provide examples since I stopped reading it years ago, but more often than not the front cover will, in big, bold lettering, tell you something along the lines of: "UNIVERSE MADE OUT OF SORBET!!!" then refer you to an article by someone you've never heard of telling you his theory, often refuted by the entire scientific community, that sorbet is the fundemental building block of nature. Then you hear nothing else about it ever again, but a few months later the latest issue will have its front cover adorned with the words: "UNIVERSE MADE OUT OF EGG NOG!!!". You get the gist.

Also, its need to make sense to non-scientists means that every time it is running an article on, say, quantum entanglement, 85% of the article will be basically the same as the first 85% of the last article on entanglement, giving you a stock explanation of what entanglement is and why you should care, most probably with reference to something out of Star Trek (I 5hit ye not). Which makes it a rather dull read.

NS may be useful as a springboard to discussion of science news, but not as evidence for an argument. And to compare it to SciAm is a gross injustice to SciAm.
 
  • #11
jcsd
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Astronuc said:
I seem to remember some dubious claims attributed to New Scientist.
I would not put New Scientist in the same category as SciAm, but perhaps it is more like Omni Magazine or Popular Science.
Then there are the refereed journals - http://journals.aip.org/
Your being compleetly unfair to NS. It certainly far closer to SciAm than Omni or PS.

The main critism of NS (and the only way that it differs in conetnt from SciAM) is that it often publishes articles in areas of physics that are specualtive and well beyond the level of their readership (e.g. String cosmology). These articles are sensationalist and do not empathize the speculative nature of the underlying theories and the subject matter is necessarily (by the difference between the complexity of the subject matter and the comphrehension of the average NS reader) reduced to vague analogies. Howver it's worth noting thta these articles are more often than not written by the leaders in the particular field.
 
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  • #13
DaveC426913
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This raises a good question:

What do y'all recommend as a good science magazine? I'll have to make this "for me" request, since "good" is a relative and subjective term.

I am probably a plebe when it comes to science reading. Only high school formal ed, but 2 decades of reading of popular science (Brian Greene and such).

While Sci-Am is OK, I am less interested in its political, geographical and bio-medicinal content, though I do otherwise like to cast my net wide for science disciplines.

Discover mag is great as far as content, but I've heard some derisive comments about it being a bit too mainstream sensational.

Anyone recommend their faves, or can anyone recommend a mag that has content like Discover, but reputable like Sci Am?
 
  • #14
Moonbear
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The challenge is that making science topics readable for a lay audience requires removing much of the terminology that gives precision to the explanations. Translating to "plain English" necessarily removes a lot of the meaning, and to scientists, it comes across as "hype" and grossly inaccurate. It's just hard to remove technical jargon and still convey the same meaning. However, I have seen some rather excessively hyped articles from New Scientist...nothing that I can recall off-hand, but headlines that sort of read like the National Enquirer...you know, crazy, outlandish article titles, but when you actually read the article, it's nothing very exciting at all.
 
  • #15
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what about Science News?
www.sciencenews.org

anyone read that magazine? I am thinking of subscribing to a good mag that will keep me up to date on the latest.

Also, for the peer reviewed, which one should I subscribe to Nature or Science?

Biohish
 
  • #16
ek
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I pick up old New Scientists in the free bin at the local library. It's not a serious scientific magazine. Just something interesting to read on the can.
 

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