Our latest podcast is called “Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing).” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
In the show, Stephen Dubner talks about what gossip is, or isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. You’ll hear from our usual assortment of professors and theorists but also from TV/movie star Adrian Grenier (talking about what it’s like to be the subject of gossip) and Nick Denton, the publisher of Gawker (whose tagline is “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news”). Read More »
Our latest full-length podcast, “How Biased Is Your Media?,” is about how academic researchers have been trying to measure the slant of your news.
The most common meme in this realm says that the mainstream media leans to the left. Frank Rich, a former op-ed columnist at the New York Times, who is now a writer-at-large for New York Magazine, says recent history proves this just isn’t true. Take, for instance, how his former employer handled the lead-up to the war in Iraq:
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RICH: I think it flies very much in the face of the assumption that the so-called liberal media are out to doom Republicans or conservative causes. The New York Times promoted dubious evidence of Saddam’s weapons programs on its front page. The New York Times is thought by many on the right to be a so-called liberal slanting paper. The Washington Post, also, less elaborately, failed to really vet the evidence. The networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC are often considered by the right to be liberal news organizations. None of them questioned at all the rationale for going to war in Iraq.
Sure, serving in the military long-term will likely make you a decent living, but what about the other effects military service has on veterans today? A new research paper from the Pew Research Center takes a look at the attitude of and challenges to American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 1,853 veterans were surveyed, and the poll shows some surprising things. Read More »
Here is another guest post on failure from author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford, from his new book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. In his first post, Harford wrote about why failure is often the mark of a healthy economy. Here, Harford writes about the process by which the U.S. military slowly learned from its early failures in the Iraq War. Hint: good ideas often come from the bottom and work their way up the chain of command.
Lessons in Adaptation: Winning the War in Iraq
By Tim Harford
In the spring of 1980, President Jimmy Carter gave the go-ahead for a daring special-operations mission called Eagle Claw. Fifty-two American hostages had been trapped for months in Tehran under a newly hostile revolutionary government, and negotiations appeared to have broken down. The operation called for helicopters and refueling aircraft to fly into the Iranian desert at night, under the radar screen, rendezvous in the middle of nowhere, refuel, and hide during the daylight hours. Read More »