Popular Science and the self-destruction of print media

Dec 27, 2013
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Popular Science and the self-destruction of print media

One of the most surprising gifts I received this Christmas was a subscription to National Geographic. I didn't expect to get signed up for a printed publication, but I did - and I'm really excited to get the magazine in the mail each month. But when I see a story like the one Wil Weaton published today on how his name was sold to junkmail dealers by the likes of Popular Science, I become suspicious of the whole media once again.

Does it seem absurd to be suspicious of the entirety of the magazine universe because of one failure on the part of Popular Science? It's no less absurd than it is to be suspicious of computers because of the idea that one website might give visitors a virus.

"But I know that magazines rely on subscriptions, and subscribing to things I really like is a good way to support that publication’s writers, editors, and staff, so I recently went ahead and subscribed to Popular Science and Mental Floss. When I signed up, I specifically requested that my information not be shared, rented, given, sold, gifted, delivered, or handed off in a dark alleyway dead drop to any third parties.

Because I know that publishers don’t always honor these requests, I use unique and humorous names when I subscribe to magazines, so I know who isn’t honoring my requests." - Wil Wheaton

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And should I stop physically going out to retailers for goods now that Target has fallen victim to a credit card theft ring? Maybe moving back to using cash is the right idea - perhaps leaving all of the guesswork to banks is the only way to keep my cash and name from the public?

I certainly don't want to start investing in Dogecoin.

But I can compete with physical mail. While the digital spam wave continues to eat up my time with moments of tapping and deleting, physical paper mail can be used to line my bird's cage. I can use it to make paper airplanes. I can even use it to forge paper mache castles!

But I still lament it. And I can certainly do the same as Weaton if it comes to it.


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