The writer reports — unfavorably — that “For the first time ever in the magazine’s 175-year history the editors [of Scientific American] have endorsed a Presidential candidate.”
I’m not surprised. I let my subscription to SciAm lapse not long after Martin Gardner, author of the “Mathematical Games” column, retired in 1979. Gardner’s departure should not have been much of a loss to me (I was never good at math), except that his columns were always fascinating. From Gardner I learned why time cannot flow backwards and how it is almost — but not entirely — impossible for communication to occur given the structural ambiguities of human language. Such things, to name only two, seemed to me to be the real stuff of science. When they were gone, I sensed that science itself had somehow left the magazine.
And so it seems at last, with politics entering the void, as everywhere else in the cosmos. The direction of things is inescapable.
I could be wrong, of course, since I haven’t paid a lick of attention to the magazine in 40 years. It occurs to me to ask, however, Who actually “pays a lick” for anything?