I'm off for a couple of weeks to write and to visit my mom who's back in the hospital, so the posts will be few and far between.

A couple of quick thoughts.

Daniel Smith, in a New York Times magazine piece called "Political Science" notes that many scientists have come to see their dispute with the White House over climate change and stem cells in Manichaean terms, as some kind of absolute showdown between good and evil (science=good, Bush=bad). There's something ironic about that, is all I'm saying.

"How did I miss the two thousand verse about the poor in the Bible?" That's Rick Warren in the latest New Yorker, talking to Malcolm Gladwell. Warren is giving away 90 percent of the royalties from his book, and wants to use his new found influence to serve the poor and marginalized. It'll be interesting to see what comes of Warren's efforts. The New Yorker piece is not online, but ahas a nice summary.

I'm on my second go round of Gladwell's book Blink, which ought to be required reading for journalists. We journalists need to be expert thin-slicers--that is, making rapid judgements on very complicated situations, deciding on which areas to pursue, and then communicating our findings to readers. Our instincts can serve us well in this, but we also can be deceived into what Gladwell calls "Warren Harding" errors. Harding became president because he looked the part--he was tall, dark, handsome and had a presidential voice and bearing. He was also incompetent, but instead of examining Harding's abilities, voters were fooled by their initial impressions of him.

In the same way, we journalists can get fooled when a story, on the surface, fits our predjudices or our worldview, and we take things at surface value, without checking below the surface.


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