I regularly read the following journals/publications/websites:
- Nature (academic)
- Science (academic)
- Popular Science
- Scientific American
I also enjoy the Best American Science & Nature Writing anthology. A new volume comes out yearly and with a different editor (and hence different opinion and selection criteria), and I always enjoy reading the article compilations on a very wide range of subjects for all interests and tastes. Truly some of the best!
Although, I never have enough time to read everything I want! So I try to divide my time and focus on the best. By exposing myself to Nature & Science articles, I am hoping to read a breadth of articles and topics and also appreciate the writing and stay on top of new and upcoming trends.
Meanwhile, Popular Science is a very gadget/technology focused publication, and a lot of their articles are very short. I consider this magazine to be entertainment more than anything, and I have a feeling a lot of the gadgets they write about are hidden advertisements in a sense. They must certainly receive some sort of income stream from writing about these different products. But again, I find it interesting to stay on top of new trends and gadgets, since I am admittedly not very tech-savvy or gadget-oriented. I don’t want to become one of those people that doesn’t know how to use a smart phone (or its equivalent) in about 20 years. Maybe I can train my brain to remain young forever ;).
Smithsonian always has a nice balance of science and culture, which I like. They have really excellent articles on conservation and archaeology every once in a while, and the writing style is less academic. I try to expose myself to different writing styles and expand beyond just academic and technical writing, because I think there is something to learn in doing so. A lot of their articles take on an in-depth journalism style.
Orion is one of my favorite publications, and it highlights very excellent nature writing. I would label it more in the realm of fiction writing and personal essays on the subject of nature, technology, and culture. They also focus on sense of place, and some of their writing takes on a descriptive or exposé bent, showcasing different places and their uniqueness. A lot of poetry, artwork, photography, and beautiful imagery are weaved between the pages, and so you also get a little bit of everything.
Scientific American is an interesting magazine because I consider it to be the most scientific of the popular science magazines. Their articles are in-depth and directed towards an educated and interested audience, and they certainly aren’t fluff either. Topics go beyond cliché conservation pieces and delve in a wide breadth of recent scientific findings, from findings on health to the science of sleep to ant sociology.
Two publications I don’t enjoy: Discover and National Geographic. Discover seems to publish a lot of what other magazines publish, several months later and with far worse writing. National Geographic is a beautiful publication and contains wonderful photography and imagery, but they might as well just convert themselves into a photo-log, since I find their topics to be extraordinarily ordinary. Interesting travel pieces, but they follow a very specific formula again, and again… and again.
From sciencedaily.com, I am able to learn about an even wider variety of recent scientific findings. Their topics aren’t limited to “hard science” (I have a B.A., nothing against the softer sciences), and they also have excellent coverage of just about everything. I enjoy reading their topics on anthropology & archaeology, health, and science & society.