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Category Archive: Media

Apr 15 2014

That’s a terrible chart

badfloridagundeaths

I wish I’d had this a few weeks ago, when I was telling students how not to present their data. This is a chart illustrating the effects of stand-your-ground-laws on murder in Florida. I glanced at that and thought, “Whoa, surprise: the stand-your-ground-laws had a pretty dramatic effect in reducing murder. I did not expect …

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Mar 20 2014

#upfordebate: @DonLemon Did a chupacabra eat Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

It’s kind of neat how a twitter hashtag and my contempt for cable news are colliding right now. Apparently, True Skeptics™ are supposed to be willing to debate anything and everything, even if it gives unwarranted credibility to nonsense. The True Skeptics™ must be loving CNN right now, because with the unexplained disappearance of Malaysia …

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Mar 19 2014

Watching Nate Silver squander his reputation

Nate Silver is putting together this journalism startup, and it’s already on the path to failure. I mentioned his oblivious sexism the other day, and now we learn the name of the ‘science’ writer he’s bringing to to cover the environment. Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial …

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Jan 24 2014

The American Media know what’s important

The problem with cable news, demonstrated in less than 30 seconds.

Jan 21 2014

How Grantland totally failed

The only thing keeping me from assuming that Grantland, which published that awful outing of a transgender woman, is a haven of unethical wankerism, is that one of their writers, Christina Kahrl, seems to get it. It was not Grantland’s job to out Essay Anne Vanderbilt, but it was done, carelessly. Not simply with the …

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Jan 19 2014

What the heck is wrong with Caleb Hannan?

Hannan is a sports writer who was writing a story about the design of a golf putter. Not my cup of tea, but OK, there are interesting physics and ergonomic issues there. Unfortunately, his story got side-tracked from the relevant and interesting and into the destructively personal by his bigotry. The designer of the golf …

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Jan 17 2014

Cinematic Appraisals gets appraised

sciencey

Ashley Miller is getting legal threats from a company called Cinematic Appraisals, because she found their claims laughable, and publicly laughed at them. I have to join in the laughing. They claim to be a scientific script review company — for a fee, they’ll take a look at your movie script proposal, run it through …

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Jan 14 2014

Where a rational conversation about guns ought to start

The newspaper of record reflected the disease last night. They had an article about the man killed over texting during the previews at a movie that included this ridiculous paragraph. The killing underscored the increased debate about when to use smartphones in public. In October, the singer Madonna was spotted texting during the Lincoln Center …

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Dec 23 2013

We were more free under Nixon than we are under Obama

Edward Snowden has been unfavorably compared to Daniel Ellsberg: both leaked classified documents that exposed government wrongdoing, but Ellsberg was brave enough to stand and face the legal system. Now Ellsberg himself repudiates that argument. America has changed over the last 40 years. We now live in a country that actively suppresses whistle-blowers, with a …

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Dec 17 2013

David Brooks still has a job?

The web has been resounding with a mighty echoing “WTF?” — David Brooks has written another column in the New York Times, and it’s weird, even for Brooks. He’s sneering at “Thought Leaders”, apparently this new generation of pundits who are beneath his contempt. At first I thought maybe it was entirely autobiographical, and that …

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