Pope Francis is passively sorry about priests abusing children

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In the wake of the grand jury report on Catholic priests abusing over a thousand children in Pennsylvania, the Pope sent a message to his flock. His passive language is emblematic of how you write to escape responsibility. The words “I’m sorry” and “It was my/our fault” are incompatible with being the infallible leader of … Continued

When is it ethical to write and let others take credit?

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Is it wrong to write a paper for a student? This seems like a black-and-white ethical issue, but having now seen some comments from people with a very different cultural perspective, I’m trying to think about it more carefully. This occurred to me when I saw that the Pakistani tech journalist and entrepreneur Hira Saeed, … Continued

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