Posts tagged “facts”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Power Players and Profanity: Talking About Talking Dirty on NPR [Bob Sutton: Work Matters] – The author of "The No Asshole Rule" talks about the role of profanity in work culture and leadership, and his recent interview on the topic for NPR All Things Considered
  • [from julienorvaisas] How facts backfire [The Boston Globe] – Researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper. The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Eerie relic of science history [Boing Boing] – [It's worth reflecting on the ethical boundaries of recruiting every once in awhile – though the Milgram study's ethical lapses went well beyond the use of questionable recruiting methods, of course.] This is the newspaper ad that recruited subjects for Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiments. As you can see, subjects were told they were being recruited to aid research on memory and learning. In reality, Milgram was studying how far down the path of evil average people would go, simply because someone in a lab coat told them to.

Get the story straight

The London Bombing story seems to be evolving crazily, with so much information being revised. First, the bombers were amateurs. Then CNN’s timeline of the explosions was radically revised from the original stories. But timers were used not suicide bombers. Then we were told the bombers were experts, given the quality of the bombs themselves. Then we hear that some people were arrested. Then that is denied, but we hear that the bombers did kill themselves aboard the trains and bus.

I’m sure this post will be out of date before you read it.

Obviously there’s a balance between keeping the public informed and getting the story straight. Personally, I find the shifting facts and emotions that those facts engender to be unsettling, leading to more of a feeling of being out of control – that the authorities are out of control and that we the public are increasingly helpless. Others may take a Law-and-Order like comfort from the narrowing in onto the truth.


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