In this issue
Issue #24 August 29, 2013 Aug 29, 2013 Aug 29
Issue #9 January 31, 2013 Jan 31, 2013 Jan 31
Issue #1 October 11, 2012 Oct 11, 2012 Oct 11
From Issue #14 April 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor

On us, drones, long-form articles, pages, and birds.

By The Editor Twitter icon 

Generally speaking

@ell (Elliot Neal) on

So I just finished issue 13 of @themagazine. It’s amazing how quickly this publication has gone from something I pick up and read haphazardly, to being an immersive experience that I look forward to every 2 weeks. Simply outstanding.

Thank you.

David on iTunes:

The Magazine is not a collection of news articles, but rather a collection of essays, which through good writing, attempt to turn dull or obscure subjects into interesting reading.

We know this is part of a negative review, but we agree completely with the last clause: Alongside more mainstream stories, we often try to find dull or obscure subjects that can be illuminated with good writing. (N.B.: The Magazine has included multiple reported articles since issue #6.)

On “Ground Control” and long-form stories

Our experiment with a long-form article had a generally positive response from those of you who wrote or microblogged. Those who liked it found the subject important and liked a quite exhaustive article to read through. Martin wrote:

I love the long form article on drones. Please provide more thoughtful, lengthy pieces in the electronic pages of The Magazine.

But we shouldn’t do it too often, we also heard. Typical was this note from Sam:

I loved the long-form piece in this issue of The Magazine. While I’m not sure I’d want to only have three different stories every issue, with 26 issues a year I think there is definitely space for a few issues to have this form.

Here are a few other thoughts, positive and otherwise.

Adam Wuerl:

The original Cold War era reconnaissance satellites represented a revolutionary advancement in the quality and (geographic) depth of strategic intelligence collection. Camera-equipped, mass-produced drones and micro-satellites will democratize (and enhance) what was for decades the exclusive purview of governments by making near real time imagery available to anyone (think Google Earth Live).

Such a capability would rival the utility of GPS and unleash enormous economic gains, but if we are not careful to set boundaries on its use, potentially at great cost to freedoms and an expectation of privacy we largely take for granted now.


I love to read, so long-form articles appeal to me. I would prefer not to have them split into parts as you did in this issue (it’s one article). Parts imply disconnectedness, and that article, while it developed multiple ideas, was all connected. Reading it in parts felt disjointed.


I did find the “drones” articles of some interest. Especially some of the character stories. But it seemed there was rather too much, and some of the story did not flow perfectly; I’m thinking here of my mind being made to jump back and forth between the locations. I would have enjoyed a little more about the airbase museum; I suppose I can research that myself.

On “Unbound Pages


As a web designer in the “responsive” age I was excited to see an article about the state of typesetting and its importance. It was great to learn about the history of scrolls – and I’ll admit I had forgotten where our verb “scroll” came from, though it seems to be the biggest way we interact with computers today.

On “Two in the Bush


I enjoyed Chris’ article on birding — his father-in-law knows his stuff. But Chris captures very well where the pleasure comes from, the focus on now and what is there. And identification has something of the same thrill as bug-finding in programs (I know, I do both).

For your European readers looking for a bird guide I would recommend Birds of Northern Europe the comprehensive guide is stunning value. I paid about £180 for the paper version of the Concise Birds of the Western Palearctic in the 90s and this adds songs and calls and has the full text and illustrations.

The Magazine is produced by a small but dedicated editorial staff.

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.
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