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Memo Pad: Which is Which Again?… Science Smackdown… It’s Only About Us…

Dedicated watchers of the Olsen twins have no trouble telling the two apart, but apparently the folks at Star do these days.

Page 51 from the Jan. 8 issue of Star.

Page 51 from the Jan. 8 issue of Star.

WWD Staff

WHICH IS WHICH AGAIN?: Dedicated watchers of the Olsen twins have no trouble telling the two apart, but apparently the folks at Star do these days. The cover story of the Jan. 8 issue, now on newsstands, questions whether Mary-Kate Olsen has relapsed into anorexia and assembles a raft of haggard photos of the tiny starlet to prove its case. Problem is, not all of them are of Mary-Kate. A full-length shot on page 51 of a dark-haired Olsen in a poncho and big sunglasses (to “hide sunken cheeks,” the magazine helpfully notes) is unmistakably the other twin, Ashley. A spokeswoman for the sisters confirmed the uncredited photo was of Ashley, not of Mary-Kate. Star could not be reached for comment, but perhaps it should remember next time that the two, though similar looking, are fraternal, not identical twins. — Irin Carmon

SCIENCE SMACKDOWN: Add Wired — that magazine for futurists and computer geeks alike — to the stream of Condé Nast titles pushing into multimedia.

The title has produced a pilot program, “Wired Science,” as part of PBS’s drive to find the next “Nova.” The episode, which airs Wednesday, will compete in an “American Idol”-style competition that is pegging “Wired Science” against two other pilots to find out which show PBS viewers like best. The winner will be given the green light to produce a 10-week series, set to begin airing this fall.

So what’s the competition? “Wired Science,” a co-production of KCET/Los Angeles and Wired, is up against “Science Investigators,” which adapts PBS’s “History Detectives” format for scientific subjects, and “22nd Century,” a show that will examine long-term implications of today’s scientific advances from various perspectives. Viewer feedback and additional audience-based research will drive PBS’s final selection.

But don’t expect editor in chief Chris Anderson to become the next Nina Garcia, or even Carl Sagan. Melanie Cornwell, editorial projects director at Wired, said that, although six of the top editors, including Anderson, “all provide crucial input” for the program, none will serve as the main hosts due to their main work responsibilities at the magazine. “If it gets picked up, Chris will likely make some guest appearances,” Cornwell added. — Amy Wicks

IT’S ONLY ABOUT US: The wane of the year seems to have inspired some magazines to navel-gaze more than usual — that, or the rash of magazine TV shows is getting to editors’ heads. Self is a little, well, self-referential at the bottom half of Lucy Danziger‘s editor’s letter this month, devoting it to photos of “The Self Baby Boom” of 2006, during which staffers had a total of 11 babies. Danziger also notes that another achievement last year was Self’s first National Magazine Award. “It was just an incredible year and while we don’t always do behind-the-scenes editorials, this achievement — an award-winning year and 11 babies — made me so proud of the Self team I couldn’t resist,” said Danziger.

Meanwhile, over at Esquire, the “Those Responsible” page, which is usually devoted to contributors’ bios, has been temporarily replaced with an interview with editor in chief David Granger‘s assistant for the last nine years, the “ageless” Fran Kessler. She waxes wise about religion (“The Red Sea parting. Bah! The tide was down!”) and her job (“I love the idea of getting up, putting the makeup on and going to the office.”) As for the rationale behind ignoring all the other contributors this month to focus on his assistant, Granger said: “Because the staff has all benefited from [Kessler’s] wisdom, from her experience and, especially her strong opinions, we decided to share a small portion of her insight with our readers.” — I.C.

ARRIVALS AT DEPARTURES: Newly returned Time Inc.-er and former Cargo editor in chief Ariel Foxman isn’t the only veteran of the title to land a new job. Matt Trainor, who was the magazine’s senior editor until it closed in March and started out as Graydon Carter‘s assistant, will join Departures as associate articles editor, a new position. Also filling a new, loftier spot on the masthead is Jeff Garigliano, who is jumping ship from Fortune Small Business to be executive editor. The person who previously occupied that slot on the Departures masthead, former deputy editor Norman Vanamee, left to edit the new Web-to-print Sherman’s Travel magazine. — I.C.