Saturday, April 09, 2005

The $29.95/Year Carnies

So long as there are supermarkets -- a subject of speculation a number of millennialists would like to take the unders on -- so long will the Weekly World News be with us. Its more specialized cousins, Infinite Energy Magazine and ZPEnergy, run articles of similar credibility. For instance, I always find EXTENDED USE OF ALL CAPS just that much more authoritative. "This is a NEWS PORTAL dedicated to experimental research on REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES", screams the opening sentence on Forget to take your meds? Or this passage, from Infinite Energy Magazine's sample PDF:
Perhaps you have heard of the terms "cold fusion" or "zero point energy," with claims by some scientists that from new findings in the laboratory there could come effective infinite, clean, and abundant sources of energy -- inexpensive, safe, and widely distributed forms that could beneficially transform virtually every aspect of human civilization. Perhaps you have also heard that such claims are all bogus, "pathological science," or worse. (Of course there are some unsupported claims that are in that category, from deluded people or con-men.) [Whew! Best to keep your bases covered.]

[...] So, with such great possibilities at stake, can you afford not to learn more? Why not join us in a courageous journey of intellectual exploration? Why not subscribe immediately! The subscription price for our magazine is still just $29.95 a year ...

Judging strictly on the basis of entertainment per page, legitimate publications like New Scientist or Scientific American are a positive waste of money. But here I belabor the obvious; what I'm really irked at is that junk magazines are treated with any authority by Google searches (try "sonofusion 2005" as an example). Google might be smart for a lot of things, but it's no smarter than the people choosing to link to articles on those sites.