Transparency vs. Responsible Journalism

Annie Duke, the professional poker player and Rock Paper Scissors tournament winner, has a new internet show. A recent episode included appearances by Rafe Furst and Jason Calcanis, discussing privacy and responsible journalism in the face of the recent WikiLeaks scandals.

Need Vitamin D Supplements? Depends Which Newspaper You Read

Vitamin D: should we take less or triple that intake? Whatever you do, don't just read this headline and run with it.

Super Sad Super Crunching

Gary Shteyngart's new novel, Super Sad True Love Story (more here), paints a compelling but amazingly bleak picture of a future ravaged by the twin evils of predictive analytics and texting. Following the truly prescient Snow Crash, his characters are obsessively plugged into their "äppäräts," souped-up versions of today's app phones. (One of the funnier lines occurs when one character makes a disparaging reference to another character's outmoded hand device, saying: "What is this, an iPhone?" (Kindle 1244).) Here is a world where credit scores, eHarmony-compatibility predictions and rankings are ubiquitously at hand. Characters routinely choose the reality of the shadows on their screen over the real world.

The Costs of War

A new paper reviews war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Can Computers Replace Journalists?

A new software generates news stories from data.

No Cannibalism Among the Donner Party?

A scholar finds no evidence of cannibalism among Donner Party members.

Disequilibrium in the Market for Economics Reporting?

An interesting finding from a recent Gallup poll, reporting on, well, reporting. There appears to be substantial excess demand for insightful reporting on economic issues.

Why the Israeli Organ-Harvesting Story Is Probably False

A strange story has broken out in Sweden and Israel, with an article in Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper, by a journalist named Donald Bostrom.

According to The Times, Bostrom's article "accuses the Israeli Army of harvesting organs from Palestinians wounded or killed by soldiers."

What Does This Sad Story Say to You?

In today's Washington Post, there's an incredibly affecting long article about a down-and-out family in Indiana. It's called "Nowhere to Go But Down." Husband and wife have both lost their jobs; there's a teenage son and a very young daughter, and it looks like they're all going to have to move back to Michigan to live in the basement of the wife's mother. I urge you all to read it, and to look at the photo gallery too.

When Data Tell the Story

This morning, my paper copy of The Times included a replica of the paper's special section on the moon landing from July 21, 1969. You've probably seen the iconic main headline: "MEN WALK ON MOON." The lead article is by John Noble Wilford (who's still going strong, btw), and includes one of the most elegant little uses of data I can recall seeing in a news article: