Tag Archives: magazine

Good-bye, National Geographic

So, it happened.  Rupert Murdoch has laid off the staff of National Geographic. They’re gone.  All gone. The award-winning staff no longer works for National Geographic. Editors, writers, photographers, all of them gone.

Who is it that thought selling National Geographic to Rupert Murdoch was a good idea? He’s destroyed it. They will no longer be pro-science, they’ll be a way for Murdoch to spread his anti-science garbage. Very sad day.

Update: Thanks to that above article, it made it sound much worse than it was. Here’s something more informative.

It’s still a massive cut in staff, including a lot of the fact-checking staff. While it’s not good-bye, I still think what’s going to happen is a reduction in the quality of the magazine. I’m hoping I’m wrong. I really want to be wrong.

A Nightmare for an Introverted Atheist

I was just talking to my wife about how annoying it can be to have small talk with a stranger for an extended period of time. It reminded me of a time when I just wanted to be left alone with a magazine.

I was reading Astronomy magazine in the Chapters store in Victoria’s Eaton Centre, minding my own business, when a woman approached me. She was around fifty years old, dressed like she had money, and a friendly face. I don’t recall what day of the week it was, but most likely Saturday or Sunday. I looked up and noticed she was looking at me and the magazine.

“The universe is so beautiful,” she said, looking at the galaxy photo on the page I was looking at. I nodded. But she continued, “Everything is so beautiful, just as God had intended it to be.”

I started feeling uncomfortable. As an introvert, I just wanted to be left alone with the magazine. I was trying to relax. As an atheist, I just wanted to be immersed in the all natural science I was looking at. I did not want a theological discussion.

She continued talking to me, but changed the subject. “Do you know Jason? Are you his brother?” she asked me.

“I don’t know anyone named Jason,” I said.

“Jason Smith, you must know him. You look just like him,” she said.

“Sorry, I haven’t met anyone with that name.”

“Well, he’s a wonderful young man. He goes to my church,” she said, smiling.

“I see,” I said, and went back to the magazine.

“Which church do you go to?” she asked me.

I looked at my watch and said as politely as I could, “I’m sorry, but I have to go now. I’m meeting my friend.” I quickly put the magazine back and walked out of the store.

At that age, I did not do well with conversations like that. I was still somewhat shy, didn’t like interaction with people in public, and as I was a very private person, I never talked about things like that. I just wanted to get away from her. Looking back now, I think she was just trying to be friendly, but completely ignorant to the fact that she was being rude. If someone is reading a book or magazine, do not interrupt them! Secondly, it was very presumptuous of her to think I was a Christian.

Today, I’d be able to handle that in a much better way. I would have said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t go to church. I’m not a Christian.” I may have added, just to politely get out of the conversation, “I’m looking up something for my studies in university right now. I’m studying astronomy. So, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my research.”

I would be polite, but direct about it. Honestly, I’m curious how she would’ve reacted. I’ll never know, though.

Have you had an encounter with someone you just wanted to get out of? Share your story in the comments below.

Magazine in Danger: Rupert Murdoch Bought National Geographic

National Geographic is a long-running magazine that I’ve always enjoyed reading. The articles are all about our world, places you should visit, cultures, history, animals, science, and the environment. Well, it’s now a dark, dark time for the magazine. Fox now owns 73% of National Geographic Society. That means that Rupert Murdoch has way too much influence over the magazine.

Why is this a bad thing? Rupert Murdoch is a climate change denier. You can read all about this in the article I linked to, but here’s a quick summary. National Geographic Society gives grants to scientists. This includes climate change researchers. As it is an organisation that is concerned with the environment, Murdoch’s influence may destroy their efforts to raise awareness of environmental issues. This may be a bad thing for the scientists who receive grants from the Society. This is very worrying.

People like Rupert Murdoch should have absolutely nothing to do with anything related to the environment. His views are easily shown through Fox News. They obviously agree with him, because he’s their boss. Will this happen with National Geographic? Are we going to see articles that deny climate change? Maybe I’m overreacting. But I don’t think so. This is a legitimate concern.

What I’d like to know is who thought it was a good idea for the National Geographic Society to be bought by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox? Thank you for potentially destroying a well-respected magazine.

According to the New York Times, James Murdoch has said “he was personally committed to continuing the culture and the mission of National Geographic as it has existed.” I certainly hope that’s true.

What do you think of this situation?

Reading and Writing Updates

This post has a bit of everything.

Reading seems to have slowed down.  At one point, I was 2 books ahead on my Goodreads reading challenge of 25 books this year.  I’m now 3 books behind.  Why?  I’m reading a couple somewhat longer books than usual.  The eBook is the longest eBook I’ve read so far, while the paper book is a Wheel of Time book.  They’re long.  I’ll be finished that one very soon, though.  Then I get to read some shorter books, and I should catch up fairly quickly.  I’ve revised my reading order by adding a bunch.  This time, I decided to alternate between best and worst overall ratings on Goodreads, though I added a couple others as well.  Here’s the new order:

  1. The Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt – Robert Jordan (currently reading)
  2. 2010: Odyssey Two – Arthur C. Clarke
  3. Eric – Terry Pratchett
  4. The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion – Peter F. Hamilton
  5. A Knight of the Word – Terry Brooks
  6. Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  7. Throne of Jade – Naomi Novik
  8. Life, the Universe and Everything – Douglas Adams
  9. Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
  10. 2061: Odyssey Three – Arthur C. Clarke
  11. Angel Fire East – Terry Brooks
  12. Xenocide – Orson Scott Card
  13. The Rise of Endymion – Dan Simmons
  14. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett
  15. A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin
  16. The Seeds of Earth – Michael Cobley
  17. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish – Douglas Adams
  18. 3001: The Final Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
  19. Homeland – R. A. Salvatore
  20. Star Trek: Nemesis – J. M. Dillard
  21. Deadhouse Gates – Steven Erikson
  22. Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
  23. The Neutronium Alchemist – Peter F. Hamilton
  24. The Iliad – Homer
  25. The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan
  26. Mercury – Ben Bova
  27. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  28. Redemption Ark – Alastair Reynolds
  29. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett
  30. Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

That’s a long list, and I won’t finish it this year. However, I’m going to try to set aside more time at home for reading.

As for writing, Journey to Ariadne is coming along, though nothing is being published on my website yet.  I have plenty of work to do on it.  But it is coming. I also have another project going, and this time, it’s for an actual magazine.  I’m writing blog posts for the World Spa & Travel Magazine blog.  Check it out!  My posts are under my name. The magazine is an actual print travel magazine from Singapore, though the writers are quite international.

Finally, with the upcoming 12th Doctor in Doctor Who, I’m getting pretty interested in starting to watch the revival series.  I used to watch the old show every weekend on PBS when I was a teenager.

So, what are you up to?