Magazine ad revenues are tanking, and many magazines are now selling ads on their covers, despite the fact that it's "not allowed." Seems like a clear-cut case of economics trumping ethics. But what happens when the cover ads are magic??

That's where we are today: in the land of magic magazine cover ads. While less scientific magazines just put the ad right on the cover, or in a flap on the cover, or in a pouch on the cover, Popular Science is doing some crazy shit I don't even comprehend:

The Popular Science cover depicts windmills that look like something out of "Star Wars," and promotes articles about energy. A box announces that the cover is three-dimensional. When a reader holds it up to a computer Webcam, it signals the computer to display Flash-based imagery. The computer shows a 3-D scene of windmills over the cover, and the reader can blow on the computer microphone to move the windmills' blades.

They created this magical technowindmillcover in conjunction with GE and then didn't even charge GE for the cover placement, because of ethics or whatever. Sell out more effectively next time, mighty wizards! It's okay as long as it's too technical for J-school grads to understand.
[NYT, PopSci]