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From Issue #21 July 18, 2013

Editor’s Note

Look, don’t touch; free for all; and your letters

By Glenn Fleishman Twitter icon 

When airports are best known for architecture, it’s usually a bad thing. Eero Saarinen’s Dulles airport terminals were the height of modernity when they were built around 1960, and I still feel my pulse quicken when I see them today. They soar.

But his buildings are not suited to the volume of travel that currently passes through an airport already located inconveniently far away from the city that it serves. Every time I see the weird intra-terminal buses “dock,” I think, This isn’t quite the vision of the future that people thought they were buying into.

SFO, by contrast, is rather bland, and many travelers prefer a space that demands little of them. Some terminals are pleasant enough, but even the relatively new international terminal has little in the way of architectural flair. The architecture isn’t remarkable at SFO; rather, the art is. Managing editor Brittany Shoot discovered a secret treasure of the airport that she writes about in “Terminal Curiosity”: it’s stuffed full of exhibits and runs its own museum. She visits where the magic happens and looks at how airports manage public art around the country.

From SFO, we fly south to LAX and take a short drive to Culver City, home of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a wholly idiosyncratic institution. Nate Berg in “Through a Glass Darkly” takes us through its history and mission. You won’t leave the article the same person who entered it.

It requires changing planes at least once, but from LAX we hop to PIT: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of Carnegie-Mellon University and a storefront exhibition space full of ancient and modern biological creations. The Center for PostNatural History, our docent Amanda Giracca explains in “Biological Parents,” presents without advocacy the history and future of human interaction in the reproduction of plants and animals. Spider goats, anyone?

You’re getting weary, but let’s fly through a hub airport on to Spokane (GEG), then rent a car and drive two hours to Soap Lake, Washington, the home of extraordinary geography and geology: the world’s tallest falls (now dry) and richest mineral lake. It’s also a town that has spent 11 years failing to build a 60-foot-tall lava lamp. Why? Because. It may yet succeed as early as this year; John Pullen fills us in with his story “A Beacon of Hope.”

There’s one more tale to tell if you’ll take a short hop to SEA and visit me in Seattle as I sit in a wicker chair and spin the yarn of the 20th anniversary of the most popular cartoon ever to appear in the New Yorker: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It appeared in July 1993, a time few people even knew what the Internet was. The cartoonist, Peter Steiner, is mostly retired and mostly a novelist, and he never thought the panel would be anything special. Its caption is now ironic, as I note in “Everybody Knows You’re a Dog.”

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Letters

On “The Paste-Up

Greg:

I don’t quite have the compositing history of the author’s parents, but I do recall that smell of rubber cement as I got my start working on my middle-school newspaper, pasting up hand-typed in-column articles (that had to be first written on narrow graph paper to hand-kern each line to full justification).

That training served me well 10 years later when I was asked to modernize the paste-up department of a classified-advertising publication. My first visit to the company sent me right back to middle school as I walked into a large office space with row after row of A-frame easels with an army of workers pasting up thousands of pages of the hundreds of different classified circulars published each week. Rubber cement was consumed by the barrel.

All that disappeared less than a year later as my computerized system replaced the need for skilled design and paste-up artists. (Sadly many jobs disappeared as well.) I still have my pica ruler sitting inspirationally in my pencil cup next to my application-development machine. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it would not have been possible to develop and deploy that first system without the trusty Mac SE.

On “Well Positioned

Ben, responding to this paragraph in the story:

Horvath’s review found that young people are increasingly turning to pornography, “expecting it to educate and give them information regarding sexual practices and norms,” she explains. Obviously, anyone who has set eyes on a blue movie knows that it hardly reflects reality. Horvath says that from her research, she’s found that “young people want and need safe spaces in which they can ask questions about relationships and sex.”

Ben notes:

I have to agree with this. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with porn as a concept, I believe the ease of access to it, the range of content that can be accessed (especially at a younger age), can have a negative effect on our sexuality and belief of what is normal.

From personal experience, and from watching a fair amount of porn in my earlier teens, I found my initial sexual experiences awkward, nerve-wracking (to an unnatural degree), and difficult. Having easy access to reliable, trust-worthy information that doesn’t feel patronising would have certainly helped me.

On “Flaws and All

Adam, about the use of “f------” instead of the actual word spoken by John Vanderslice:

I appreciate the writer’s preference, but can we expect censored articles going forward? I think we can all admit that we are a) adults and b) the salty language is a valid part of our lives, especially when in quote form.

Because of our position in the iOS Newsstand and Apple’s rules about ratings for various ages, we have to skirt a fine line about the language we use. If we hit the wrong mark, then we will have to set ourselves to 17+, and we’d prefer not to make our features unavailable to the youth of today.

On “Names of the Games

Tim:

I’ve fallen behind in reading The Magazine, but I just wanted to say that his was one of the most creative and interesting articles I’ve read in a while. I’m an avid player of both games and thoroughly enjoyed this take on them.

Cover photo by Heath Korvola/Digital Vision/Getty Images. Designed by Louie Mantia, Pacific Helm.

Glenn Fleishman is the editor and publisher of The Magazine, and contributes reguarly to the Economist, Boing Boing, TidBITS, and Macworld. The father of two, Glenn won two episodes of Jeopardy! in 2012, and he won't let you forget it.

You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. We ceased publication of new work on December 18, 2014.
You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.
©2017 Aperiodical LLC. The Magazine's online ISSN: 2334-4970. We ceased publication on December 18, 2014. You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. Read our privacy policy. Learn more about us. Billing troubles? Email us. Talk with us on Facebook and Twitter. Consult our FAQ for more answers. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.