Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Month's Cover Stories

News stand sales for magazines are down about 20% in the past 18 months, which can be directly attributed to the reduced discretionary income we're carrying around in our collective wallets. Nevertheless, these magazines work very hard to keep people flipping through the pages. One way is to carry enticing story ideas on the cover, any one of which might be the hook that pulls a couple more dollars from a pocket or purse.

This July 2009 Popular Science announces that the following stories can be found within its pages.

DR. ROBOTO A Gallery of Amazing Medical Machines

10 SECRETS of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

POWER PLAN The Future of Energy

HOW TO BUILD A GREEN HOME

EXTRAORDINARY SOLUTIONS FOR A CLEAN-ENERGY CENTURY

ICELAND'S GEOTHERMAL BAILOUT

and at the very bottom of the page, left, in a large black dot: THIS IS A 3-D COVER! Go to POPSCI.COM/IMAGINATION to make it work.

Well, one thing I really like about this cover is that every one of these feature stories has a page number next to it. P. 62, p. 84, p. 39, etc. Don't you hate it when a magazine has a cover announcing all these great features and you search in vain for the actual article inside? Or even worse! They change the name of the article, but supposedly the content is the same but you can't tell without reading every meme of fine print between the covers.

Another observation about this cover... You can tell that the magazine's stance regarding the future is optimistic and upbeat. Technology and science are going to save the world's problems, you can be sure of that. There are no concerns about scientists pushing the earth into a different orbit and destroying all human life as we know it, or accidentally changing weather patterns so to permanently end the Summer Olympics.

Oh, oh. I stopped typing to peek at the story about the 10 things I did not know about Apollo 11, and almost couldn't get back to finishing this. Did you know that the Apollo computers had less processing power than a cell phone? Or that the American flag was made by Sears?

Now I have to decide whether to keep reading or get dressed and go to work. Life is full of hard choices. I think I better slip into something less comfortable.

Make someone smile today... and may the sun keep shining in your eyes.

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