Category Archives: journalism

An important New York Times correction about bird poop

I can’t resist posting this tw**t from Nick Bilton, a columnist for the New York Times (sent by reader Barry): And a screenshot of the correction in situ: And here’s the original error, appearing in a column called “My life in bicycles,” by Jennifer Finney Boylan: I prefer exercising at least two miles away from any […]

When did people become “souls”?

While listening to NBC News report last night on the crash of another Malaysian Airlines plane—this time caused by a missile strike—I noticed that newscaster Brian Williams said that the plane went down and “all 295 souls were lost.”  He used the word “souls” to refer to people at least twice more in the one-hour broadcast. This is […]

NY Times implicitly accepts Biblical account of Jesus’s deeds

While reading yesterday’s New York Times, I was startled to see this headline in the first (“A”) section: Well, I thought, “may” might denote some doubt about the existence of the historical Jesus or about whether he did what scripture describes, but that wasn’t the case. It turns out that the article in question was about the […]

Doonesbury on PuffHo

I haven’t been following Doonesbury, but I see the error of my ways, for last night, in a comment, reader bric posted a link to today’s strip from The Washington Post.  It perfectly sums up PuffHo’s “journalism”: Maybe I should put “sideboob” in the title of my science posts! I had no idea that ex-reporter Rick Redfern […]

The moral obligation to drink coffee?

I have to confess that I sometimes read HuffPo, but just for the articles—not the pictures! Seriously, folks, I do peruse two sections, “Food” (a perennial topic of interest to me) and “Travel” (ditto). And in the food section I found this weird headline and the article below it:  What? Science tells us we have a moral […]

The New Scientist goes Templeton

This issue isn’t yet available through my library’s e-journal site, and it may not be an issue at all but a special collection, one dealing with “The Big Questions” Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the John Templeton Foundation’s main theme:   New Scientist’s “Big Questions”, as touted on one site, includes the following: The Big Questions The […]

The “selfish gene” redux: Aeon magazine collects opinion on the metaphor

Last December, David Dobbs published a jeremiad in Aeon magazine called “Die, selfish gene, die”.  And I criticized it in two posts (here and here), while Richard Dawkins, who of course coined the term “selfish gene,” and Steven Pinker also took issue with it. I’ll summarize Dobb’s original thesis by quoting my initial post on it: At […]

New Republic publishes my Shroud of Turin piece

Just for the record, The New Republic has published my Shroud of Turin piece—moderately rewritten, touched up, and supplemented with other stuff. They’ve called the piece “Pseudo-scientists are still trying to convince you that the Shroud of turin is real. Don’t believe them.” Thanks to the readers’ suggestions, I’ve added Richard Carrier’s objections to the […]

Muncie Star-Press’s biggest stories of 2013 omit the Ball State ID affair

Reader Amy sent me the list of this newspaper’s top stories of the year. As you may remember, Muncie, Indiana was where Ball State University (BSU) canned Eric Hedin’s “science” course on Intelligent Design (ID), a victory in the battle against creationism. That story was covered extensively by the Muncie Star-Press and got national attention, not […]

So long, and no thanks for all the Fish

Stanley Fish has written his last “Opinionator” column for the New York Times, and I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go.  His writing was dreadful (and he’s an English professor!), his opinions cranky and quirky (see here, for instance). He was the intellectual equivalent of the old man who yells, “Hey, kids! Get […]


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