An End Of My Own Era – Discover Magazine

I used to subscribe to Omni Magazine, and loved it a lot. I was into alien stories and space stories and some of those scientific conspiracy theories one always heard about back then. It was the days of X-Files and I loved it all, even if I didn’t quite believe it all.

Then one month I got a notice saying they were discontinuing publication of the magazine and I was sad. I had just re-upped my subscription a couple of months earlier and thought that maybe I’d be getting some money back. But these folks never give you back your money. Instead, the letter said they were going to start sending me a replacement magazine, Discovericon. This was December 1995.

I love Discover magazine. I think some of the smartest people in the world must read it because the comments I see every month cover some topics that just leave my mouth wide open. And the commenters aren’t all PH.D’s either, just “regular” people that happen to know a lot about certain things.

I always felt smarter for reading Discover. It’s amazing the things you can learn. I was always drawn to the astronomy stuff, galaxies, string theory, warp speed, that sort of thing. I always read all the medical stuff and have been fascinated with the progress that’s been made over the years in the study of the brain.

Yes, I’m talking about the magazine in the past tense because after almost 16 years I’m letting my subscription lapse. This is a hard decision for me because I still love the magazine a lot. But you see that picture above? Those are magazines that I’ve yet to get to and I have a few more than I discovered after taking that photo. And the funny thing is that I’ve just finished reading two other Discover magazines and still have tons left.

As I’ve mentioned in the past I tend to speed read. Some articles in this magazine I still can do that, but others take time to get through. I also have other magazines that tend to be more pertinent to things I do, such as PC World, HealthLeaders, and a couple others. All of that and the time I spend on my computer and consulting in general doesn’t leave much time for such an indepth magazine any longer.

Why am I writing about this? Two reasons actually. The first is because I love the magazine and I would recommend it to anyone that has a love for science in general.

The second is because there’s a lesson here. Sometimes we have to let go of things we love when they’re counter productive to the rest of our lives. A magazine subscription might seem like a minor thing to some, but 16 years is still 16 years. In the past I’ve talked about the need to declutter one’s life sometimes to push forward. It’s hard to declutter when you’re still bringing new clutter into the house, even if it’s pretty or somewhat functional. It can be harder to give that up for something better, which, in my case, will be time devoted to other things. And if I really need a fix I’ll just see what they’re offering online.

What have you tried to give up lately to push forward? Go ahead, share.

14 thoughts on “An End Of My Own Era – Discover Magazine”

  1. I have read few editions of the magazine when I was in high school, the main problem was that it was not delivered regularly. During those years, I was subscribed for more than 5 different science and technology magazines, I was spending almost a fortune, I think I was looking for the future and my career, this process continued several years and when I found my niche, I switched from magazines to books. Right now, I am not subscribed for anything on paper, read information on internet or on my laptop, actually in the next couple of hours my new tablet will arrive, which I believe will be breakthrough point of gathering knowledge, so many ebooks and magazines, not enough time to read. Actually the main reason I bought this gadget is for my son. Found so many education programs for free, starting from just basics of fruits and animals going to physics and chemistry.

    1. Carl, I’ve never subscribed to tons of magazines, but I still have a couple coming mainly because they’re both industries I need to keep up with. Good deal about your son; I’ve always figured a lot of this technology could be used to help educate kids.

      1. I think I was just hungry for knowledge, I actually the school couldn’t give me the knowledge I wanted. I was doing 3D animation in high school and started programming on Delphi, as well computers were my passion since a kid.

        You are absolutely right, putting technology into education and learning through games can work really well. Learn how to shut down computer under Windows and Linux at the age of 2 and even just finding the power button on different laptops and mobile phones, I am proud of him.

        I’ve recently started digging around internet for educational programs for my desktop as my girlfriend is not working at take care for him, I think she could do this. I was surprised again how much software it is own there. A visual guides of complicated matter. Nothing against the normal ways of study, but hey reading it in a book is one think, but watching video or simulation can make thinks easy to remember, especially physics, biology and chemistry.

  2. Hi Mitch,
    thanks for this interesting post. I myself i´m interested a lot in science, and for sure will check out the Discover magazine as well. until now i used to read all the information i was interested about over the internet.

  3. Discovery magazine is one of the most informative and knowledgable magaxine that I ever subscribed to.

  4. I used to subscribe to so many magazines…that ended up decorating my end table with hopes of one day reading them. I do like Discover and used to get that. I’m down to Entrepreneur which I love and can’t give up even though I’m always 3 issues behind in reading. You do have to accept the reality that there just isn’t enough time.

    1. Thanks Melinda. Actually I saw where some designers are starting to use old magazine covers in their designs of coffee tables, which is kind of an eccentric idea, but if you have the talent you can pull it off. However, that’s not a good enough reason for me to continue subscribing to something I just don’t have the time to keep up with anymore, though I’m sad about it.

  5. I’ve noticed I gave up reading, from the traditional point of view all together, like reading books and magazines.
    I never was a big fan of magazines even I has some subscriptions for a couple of years but I loved reading books.
    I don’t do it anymore, I don’t have the time anymore to sit around and read a book. When I feel like reading about something I always do it online.

    1. Cristian, everything isn’t online, so there are those times when you just have to read stuff offline. Even the Discover magazine website doesn’t have everything the magazine has; most of them don’t. Still, I know what you mean, as much more of my reading is online.

  6. Oh – you’re the first person I’ve come across in ages who even knows what Omni was! I used to love that magazine and got it regularly (though I used to buy it off the shelf rather than via a subscription). As well as great articles I used to love the crazy cartoons it had in it!

    What have I given up? Although I still pop back occasionally (about once a week, roughly) I’ve given up using Google Reader. It was driving me mad and instead of saving me time, was actually taking up more of it. So now I have all the blogs in a folder on my desktop, sorted into my own categories, and a folder for posts I’ve commented in and, d’ya know – I’m spending far less time on reading blogs that really I think I was mostly reading because they were ‘there’. Even the blogs I’m subscribed to I now mostly read via my desktop folder. I keep them in the subscription so that they know I’m reading them.

    1. Val, I loved Omni like no other magazine I’d ever read, but it was kind of for us fringe readers. lol As for the blogs, I still visit lots of blogs but I don’t try to read all of them like I did. But I’m still out there when I can be; heck, I’m now writing 5 of my own. And it sounds like you’ve set up a great system.

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