In late October, just days before I left for CSICon, the annual skeptics’ conference in Las Vegas, I heard that Kendrick Frazier, the beloved editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine had been stricken with acute myeloid leukemia, a particularly virulent form of the disease. After previously editing Science News, Ken became editor of Skeptical Inquirer in August 1977 and held the job continuously for 45 years. Sadly, Ken’s illness progressed very rapidly, and he died on November 7th. Since his death, many messages of appreciation have come in from all over the world, and this wonderful obituary was published in his hometown newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal. A future issue of Skeptical Inquirer will include a memorial section.
Ken’s death was an enormous loss, and in the following days, I was asked to step in as editor of the magazine. I have never aspired to be an editor and have turned down previous offers to edit professional publications. For me, writing is my most treasured activity, and since retiring from teaching, I have tried to avoid anything that would cut into writing time. But given the circumstances, I agreed to be the interim editor for the magazine until a longer-term plan is established. I did not get a chance to talk to him directly, but I was told that Ken was pleased I would be taking over.
In other news, over the last few weeks, I have been informed that foreign rights to my new book, The Uses of Delusion: Why It’s Not Always Rational to be Rational, have been purchased by publishers in Saudi Arabia and in Taiwan. So Arabic and Chinese readers will soon learn the benefits of—some, not all—delusions.
Finally, I am for now, at least, still writing my column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and my latest contribution, “What if Test Anxiety Wasn’t a Disability?” looks at the somewhat controversial question of whether people who suffer from test anxiety should be afforded special accommodations during testing. The article was inspired by some new research that sheds light on the issue.
That’s it for now. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. See you next year.