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myself

To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born in Pennsylvania, on a Thursday. I was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, moved there when I was two. I have lived and worked in New York City since Robert F. Wagner was mayor. So much for David Copperfield.

My default setting is writer. I was first paid for stringing words together by Time-Life books in the 1960s — a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. My friend Tony Chiu refers to it as typing for dollars. I've typed for dollars for magazines and newspapers and book publishers and both public and cable television producers. Most of the typing was about science and technology.

In the 1970s I was named executive editor of a new monthly magazine called the Saturday Review of Science. I had absolutely no experience as an editor at the time. To tell the truth, the publishers couldn't find anybody else to do the job. After that I edited four other national popular science magazines, which is probably a record. OMNI was by far the most colorful and successful of the magazines and it made me a bit of a minor celebrity. In those days you could see me on television blathering about science and the future to David Suskind and hear me on Larry King's late night radio broadcast answering questions about UFOs, out-of-body experiences and why the government won't release that pill that will let your car get 200 miles/gallon if you drop it in your gas tank. I didn't care much for the exposure. As I said to OMNI owner Bob Guccione, I didn't mind selling science as snake oil but I didn't much care for selling snake oil as science.

The magazine editing led to desktop publishing of magazines and books, a logical step, which eventually segued into multimedia development and production, primarily of commercial web sites. I have no idea what's next.


magazines
I sold a lot of free-lance magazine pieces over the years (more than 300 is my best guess) to publications ranging from Good Housekeeping to Penthouse. About half of them began with a phone call from an excited editor with a "brilliant" story idea; for the rest, I have no excuses.
Along the way I was bullgoose editor of the five national magazines listed below. All of them attempted to make science understandable and/or interesting to a wide audience. All were startups or in serious need of major surgery. Only one is still in print. Again, no excuses.
•Science Digest, 1987-88.
•Psychology Today, 1982-83.
•OMNI, founding editor, 1978-80.
Science Digest, 1974-75.
•Saturday Review of Science, 1970-73.

television
I wrote a fair amount about the making of television science documentaries for The New York Times in the early 80s, but it was my pal Richard Hutton who actually got me working on them. Back then he was always saying "the plural of anecdote is not data." He knew that television tends to suggest that it is.
•The Brain (1984). Writer/creative consultant for eight hour-long PBS programs The New York Times called "the best series of its kind ever on public television."
•The Mind (1988). Writer/creative consultant for nine-part sequel to The Brain, aka "Brain Too."
•Firepower (1987-95). Writer/creative consultant for military technology series; more than 50 half-hour episodes have aired on the Discovery channel.
•Firepower 2000. Writer/creative consultant for series of hour-long documentaries on the future of warfare that premiered on the Discovery channel in 1997.

books
Start to finish, five of the six books listed below were produced in remarkably short periods of time which is why I liked working on them. One, the Ross Perot, went from verbal proposal to bound copies in only 19 days.
• Big Dogs, Little Dogs (GT Publishing, 1998). Author of companion volume to A&E tv special on the history and science of the bond between humans and dogs.
• Loyalty and Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob (Collins San Francisco, 1994). One of three writers.
• Ross Perot: In His Own Words (Warner, 1992). Edited and managed desktop production; written by Tony Chiu.
The Nobel Century: A Chronicle of Genius (Chapmans, 1991). Wrote physics chapter and edited all science sections.
• Rand McNally Getaway Guide: Great Escapes (Rand McNally, 1990). Wrote and desktop published.
• Life-Spans or How Long Things Last, with Richard Hutton (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1979).