More competition!

If you’ve been wondering about the mysterious presentiments and portents at The Loom and Bad Astronomy, wonder no more: just head on over to blogs at Discover Magazine page, and lo, there they are. It looks like every print magazine in the universe is realizing that they need a stable of bloggers to provide continuous, dynamic content, and Discover has poached our very own Carl Zimmer, which is sad to say for us.

They got Phil, too, but that isn’t such a big deal. I’m sure he came cheap.

Still, this is a good thing overall — I’m all for expanding the universe of science blogging.

(via Tangled Up in Blue Guy)


  1. Richard Harris says

    Off topic – it’s 150 years ago today that Darwin went public with the theory of evolution by natural selection. We should celebrate!

  2. jfatz says

    They got Phil, too, but that isn’t such a big deal. I’m sure he came cheap.

    Are you insinuating something about his sexual tendencies?

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    I don’t know if this is a good move by Zimmer and Plait, Discover has been heading downhill for a while now. It changed ownership a couple years ago. They hired several “print bloggers” – i.e. boring columnists without the online benefit of being able to comment on their stories. A few months ago there was more turmoil; the print bloggers are gone, but the quality of material they replaced it with is not up to snuff: a special Einstein issue 3 years after the big Einstein centennial, with a lot of non-science gossip about his personal life? A lenghty and favorable article on HIV denialist Peter Duesenberg? Seriously. I am in the process of letting my subscription lapse.

    Discover is in trouble. Can Zimmer and Plait rescue them, or will they go down with the ship?

  4. says

    The other possibility, even if the magazine is in decline, is that Discover could expand into other media and morph into something completely different. Print journalism is hurting everywhere — getting a couple of quality science bloggers to seed (heh) an online enterprise might represent some smart diversification. Don’t judge them yet by what a different arm of the Discover empire is doing!

  5. Holbach says

    Reginald Selkirk @ 3 Glad to know that others have noticed the gradual decline of content in DISCOVER. Are these magazines sinking into the level of the fare on cable; Discovery, History, Science, etc, with inane quasi-scientific drivel with religious commercials interspersed? I only hope SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN does not slowly slide into boring and pedestrian papp. Even SMITHSONIAN is not immune with an occasional article more to amuse than inform.

  6. Jon D says

    I have to say I think it’ll be a good thing for them all(Discover, Carl and Phil).
    Discover will benefit from their experience in Science blogging, and as long as they let Phil continue to write in his casual, entertaining style, I think he’ll do really well with lots of potential extra exposure. Also really looking forward to seeing more of what Carl Zimmer has to say in his new column.

    Think Phil’s gonna be pissed you let the cat out of the bag before he got to announce his ‘Very Big News’?

  7. foole says

    Hopefully they made Phil sign a morals clause precluding him from getting naked (or semi-naked) for any more calendars.

  8. Matti says

    Well I for one am happy for both of them. More than likely this will not have any affect on Discover print, however I hope that I am wrong.

    On a similar note, is anyone else sad that Discovery Channel used to always have awesome shows instead of reality shows about disfunctional welders?

    Let’s hope that Phil and Carl can pull Discovery from its eventual demise.

  9. Greg Esres says

    The Discover sites seem overly branded. BIG “Discover”, little “Bad Astronomy”. The ScienceBlogs are the reverse, allowing more individuality from the sites.

  10. Mena says

    I haven’t bought this in years, ever since I bought one for an Ediacaran critter article. It was a very pricey bunch of ads with very few pages of interesting stuff slipped in. I got annoyed trying to use the table of contents (since the ad pages aren’t numbered) and took out a ten page or so drug company ad. Is it still that crappy?

  11. llewelly says

    Funny … If you read Carl’s latest (last) Sb post , and follow the link he gives there, you get a ‘Registration has been disabled.’ page. So far.

    Anyway, this looks like a return of the good old days, when Discover had one really good column, and little else worth reading … except now they’ll have two.

  12. says

    I hope that Phil isn’t too upset that I put it out. I happened to be nosing around and saw that they had blogs, and that the Carl and Phil had pages up all ready.

    Call me “Scoop.” I just hope that Phil doesn’t have another name.

    Thanks for the link, PZ!

  13. Annoyed says

    Carl Zimmer should have checked with Phil before telling the world that Bad Astronomy was moving to Discover Blogs. Phil’s having tech problems and is not able to post his premier blog on Discover yet. I have suggested to Carl that he remove his reference to Phil and I would like to suggest that you do the same.

  14. says

    Who are you, annoyed? You cut and pasted the same concern at my blog. Word for word..

    I’m not taking my post down. PZ doesn’t need to take his down. Complain to I wasn’t using inside information.

    Peter Mc said it best: “Balls.”

  15. sublunary says

    Ah, that explains it. I typed in Bad Astronomy’s url today and got this random page that was too messy for me to try and figure out at the time.

    And now, 30 minutes later Phil’s picture’s at the top of the blog list.

    Good for everyone. I hope he and Carl are getting paid.

  16. themadlolscientist, FCD says

    Say what you will about Discover magazine, but I sure was relieved when OMNI went bust and my former significant other’s subscription got converted into Discover. No more having to explain time after time that “this is based on real science, this is wild-ass speculation, this is wrong, this is bullshit, this is sci-fi, and this is just plain woo-woo” because everything in OMNI just sort of ran together. (Now, if only I could convince my neighbor down the hall to stop treating Popular Science as if it were the 67th book of the Bible…..)

    Granted, Discover isn’t what it used to be, but I still pick it up as light reading for when my two brain cells aren’t talking to each other.

    Who knows? Maybe adding Carl and BA to the roster over there is a sign of good things to come. We’ll see. I just hope the move doesn’t cramp BA’s style too much.

  17. beagledad says

    I don’t see a trace of Phil on the Discover page that pops up. Does this mean I have subscribe to Discover to read Bad Astronomy? Won’t happen. If I wanted to read Discover, I’d take a back issue of New Scientist and let it soak in a bucket of water for a month or two, and whatever was left would equal the content value of Discover.

  18. says

    I think it’s a good thing personally, it’s recognising blogging (and certain bloggers in particular) as a valid communication channel.

  19. HCN says

    Holbach said “I only hope SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN does not slowly slide into boring and pedestrian papp.”

    I wouldn’t count on it… especially after being alerted to a SciAm blog network that included this idiotic drek:

    Just a rehash of most of the anti-vax websites, without one reference to real science.

    I also dropped the Discover mag after they printed a very bad mercury scare story. The “journalist” even included a paragraph about the MMR vaccine, but neglected to mention it never contained thimerosal (the “evil” mercury containing compound).