My problem with books

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I have a books problem. My parents read Dr. Seuss books to me when I was a child, and that was where it started. Every weekend they would take me to the library. It started with the books on science and astronomy. Once I had read them all, they introduced me to the grownup side … Continued

Journalists are people. Their defense of the press is personal.

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The Boston Globe challenged other newspapers to write editorials in support of press freedom today. More than 350 responded. I’m a huge news fanboy. In my job as an analyst, I got to work with reporters like Jefferson Graham of USA Today, Jon Healey of the San Jose Mercury and the Los Angeles Times, Tony … Continued

Lessons from the plain, damning grand jury report on priests in Pennsylvania

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A grand jury in Pennsylvania accused more than 300 priests of sexually abusing more than 1000 children, over a period of decades. The grand jury’s 1356 page report is an amazing document, a model for clarity of description in an emotionally charged environment. I don’t clearly understand who writes documents like this or how. I’m … Continued

I feel for the satirists

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Satire is the art of exaggerating reality to make a point about its absurdity. So, this just happened: Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former game show contestant hired at the White House and fired less than a year later, claims that the reason President Trump is senile is that he drinks eight Diet Cokes a day. President … Continued

Why product warnings backfire

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This weekend I bought a Black & Decker cordless screwdriver for $18.99. It’s an underpowered little gadget that runs on batteries, but it’s just right for the job I had, driving some brass screws into pilot holes without stripping them. And it came with a little something extra: 700 square inches of instructions and warnings. … Continued

We destroyed our institutions. Now what?

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Social media helped us shake up rigid institutions and empower people, but gave us a new world that has proven to be brittle and destructive. The new power structures that have arisen aren’t up to the job of maintaining our civilization. When Charlene Li and I wrote Groundswell ten years ago, we had a utopian vision … Continued

How trolls divide America and what you can do about it

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It’s clear that Russians interfered in our elections. But their objective was not primarily to elect Donald Trump — it was to make us hate each other. And they’re succeeding. New information on Russian troll activity is now available, including a corpus of 3 million tweets from Russian trolls who were part of a foreign … Continued