Archive for 'Magazine (AIR)'

The special DOGS (and Cats) issue is out!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

The special DOGS (and Cats) issue (vol. 21, no. 4) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now out!

Articles include:

…and more, more, more, including new helpings of “Improbable Medical Review”, “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Soft Is Hard”, and other outstandingly improbable research snippets from many fields and countries.

We encourage you to subscribe.

Mel (right) says it’s swell.

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This special DOGS (and Cats) issue nips at the heels of the special CATS (and Dogs) issue.

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WE WANT YOUR TECH ADVICE about the future of our magazine!

Friday, April 24th, 2015

UPDATE June 2015: We have settled on a software system for this, and hope to have it running, tested, and pretty much refined in the very near future. 

We beg your knowledgeable advice:
What is a good, reliable system to sell PDFs?
If you know, please tell us!

OUR MAGAZINE’S IMPROBABLE FUTURE: PDFs will replace paper.

Teeth-Issue-v21i1-250wWe are going to gradually (no rush!) phase out the paper version of the magazine — the Annals of Improbable Research — and replace it with PDFs.

Our technical requirements are listed below.

We identified some promising systems, and are working to determine which is likely best for this task.

WHY WE ARE DOING THIS.

PDF-symbolWe are good at producing a magazine full of research that makes people LAUGH then THINK. But we are tiny, and we are not very good at handling the maddening mechanics of paper subscriptions — dealing with the ever-increasing vaguaries, complexities and breakdowns of the world’s postal systems, subscription agencies, etc. — those things have been driving us (and some of you, our ever-patient, beloved subscribers) nuts.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR EVERYONE.

The price of buying a year’s subscription will go way down. And(!) you will be able to easily, cheaply obtain any or all of the back issues. There are more than 120 back issues —six timelessly improbable issues from every year since 1995! See all of them listed at <http://www.improbable.com/magazine/>

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CURRENT SUBSCRIBERS.

We intend to keep producing the paper version for a while, while we find and test a truly good way to sell the PDF version. After we have a good PDF-sales system in place, and have seen that it really does work well, we will present some nice options to everyone who is subscribing to the paper version.

OUR TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS.

Here’s what we want the PDF sales system to do.

1A. It should be EASY and QUICK for a customer to buy and download any ONE magazine issue.
1B. It should be EASY and QUICK for a customer to buy and download ALL the issues from a particular calendar year (1995 or 1996 or 1997… or 2014 or 2015).
2. We do NOT want to copy-protect the files.
3. We DO want each downloaded PDF to be “PDF stamped” (every page includes some text that identifies the person who bought it).

BACKGROUND: Things we have tried, that failed.

1. Amazon and iTunes.
Ideally, we would sell the PDFs through the two biggest, easy-to-use online stores: Amazon.com and iTunes.
But Amazon and iTunes refuse to sell PDFs.
Damn, damn, damn.

2. Ebooks (EPUB files).
We have tried selling EPUB versions of the magazine, on Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere. But EPUBs and nicely formatted magazines, as a combination, are a complicated can-of-worms. Buy us a beer and we’ll tell you all about that. We might some day make additional EPUBs, but not in the very near future.

3. E-junkie.
We have, for some time now, been offering some back issues as PDFs, via E-junkie. E-junkie has its virtues, BUT… E-junkie does not have any good way to handle subscriptions.

UPDATE (May 2015): Thank you to the many people who gave us suggestions, and who in many cases related their own experiences with particular vendors. We identified several promising systems, then quickly narrowed the field to two strong candidates, one of which demonstrated itself to be — for our needs — much the better. The decision was easy to make, based on both (a) the the capabilities of the two systems and (b) the responsiveness and jargon levels of the vendors. We hope to have our new PDF system tested and operating by late-summer or early autumn (North American summer/autumn, that is).

Magazine: The special TEETH issue is out

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

The special Teeth issue (vol. 21, no. 1) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now out!

Articles include:

…and more, more, more, including new helpings of “Improbable Medical Review”, “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Soft Is Hard”, and other outstandingly improbable research snippets from many fields and countries.

We encourage you to subscribe.

Mel (right) says it’s swell.

AIR-21-1-cover-450

Announcing the Ig Nobel free-tickets-to-the-2015-ceremony winner

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Earlier this year we announced that people who purchased a subscription to the Annals of Improbable Research between Sept 18 and Sept 30 would be entered in a drawing for 2 free tickets to next year’s (2015) Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.

To ensure a fair drawing, we separated the duties of numbering the eligible entries and choosing a number to compare to that list.

We’re happy to announce the winner: Dan Muir of Williamston, Michigan. He writes:

“I am thrilled that I have finally won an award commensurate with my contributions to science! I heard of you through media coverage of the ig nobel prize over the last few years, and finally got around to looking at your website. At that point I was hooked. To have received such a prestigious award is simply icing on the cake.”

Dan has won 2 free tickets to the 2015 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.

The 2015 ceremony will be the 25th First Annual ceremony. We hope to announce the exact date soon.

Thanks to all who entered!

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Magazine: The special FEATHERS issue is out

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The special Feathers issue (vol. 20, no. 5) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now out!

Articles include:

…and more, more, more, including new helpings of “Improbable Medical Review”, “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Soft Is Hard”, and other outstandingly improbable research snippets from many fields and countries.

We encourage you to subscribe.

Mel (right) says it’s swell.

AIR-20-5-cover-450