Overarching narratives. That’s what becomes obvious when reading New Scientist. Don’t get me wrong I love “the concept” of a Science Mag but I ask myself why there is such limited diversity when it comes to ideas? From reading New Scientist, with their variety of contributors, one would think that climate change caused by humans is canon. Nowhere in the Mag and in fact in none of the issues that I’ve ever picked up, are “sceptics” represented so as to offer an alternative view. The same can be said of the apparent furore over Trump. It is obvious that his administration is perceived as the greatest threat to Science since Old-European theocracy, same with Brexit, even though Alex Halliday on p.47 points out that matters may not be as serious as people would like to think in terms of getting funding and working in a post-Brexit Europe. The editorial in this issue displays hostility towards “new media” as it celebrates that ” British MPs last week grilled Google, Facebook and Twitter representatives over their ineffectual efforts to police their platforms for abuse and hate speech. A draft law in Germany has threatened huge fines if they don’t improve how they operate.” If you look beyond the various articles you can sense an overarching political narrative which makes New Scientist no better than those who they would probably refer to as “unreasonable” … as they themselves are obviously true believers and guardians of certain values. Values that would clash with anyone believing that the internet should remain free, for example. Which is a pity. The issue offers a couple of interesting book reviews, which made me curious. I intend to check out the following:
- The Vaccine Race: How scientists used human cells to combat killer viruses (Meredith Wadman)
- The Imagineers of War: The untold story of DARPA, the Pentagon agency that changed the world (Sharon Weinberger)
My last comment is that the letters provided by the readership of NS present an impressive vocabulary and are in some cases better written than the main articles in the Magazine. Maybe NS is fascinating due to their readers, they certainly display a superior word-use in contrast to those who are paid to write for the Magazine, so make sure that you check out the last few pages.