Newsletter 905

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Health Journalism: Survival Of The Wrongest

David Freedman | Columbia Journalism Review | 2 January 2013

Why is so much health journalism so bad? Even the New York Times seems happy to publish collections of claims, trends and anecdotes masquerading as fact. It's partly because health is a complicated and changing subject. But it's more because journalists are content to report research, instead of scrutinising it as they should

Behind Mali’s Conflict: Myths, Realities & Unknowns

Bruce Whitehouse | Bridges From Bamako | 16 January 2013

What's going on in Mali? Short, clear, expert backgrounder. It isn't primarily about resources, or neo-imperialism, or religion. It's about saving the Malian state. "At least 9 out of 10 Malians are Muslim, they are grateful for the French intervention." France is a reluctant actor, but the only one available

The Charges Against Aaron Swartz

Orin Kerr | Volokh Conspiracy | 16 January 2013

Long, detailed legal post. Swarz knowingly broke the law. Criminal charges were appropriate. Yes, prosecutors bullied him: "But if we think agressive prosecution tactics such as this are improper, we shouldn’t be focused just on the Aaron Swartz case. Rather, we should be shining a light on the federal criminal system in its entirety"

The Mathematics Of Reddit Rankings

Matt Springer | Built On Facts | 16 January 2013

If you use Reddit, and can hack algebra, consider this piece pure catnip. Otherwise, pass by. "Each additional upvote moves the post forward in time by a smaller and smaller amount. Even with thousands of votes, a post has only moved about two days into the future, which is why posts never last more than a day or so on the front page"

I Went After Guns. Obama Can, Too

John Howard | New York Times | 16 January 2013

Australian ex-PM explains that banning assault rifles costs money and political capital. But it is the right thing to do. "In the 18 years before the 1996 reforms, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres — each with more than four victims — causing a total of 102 deaths. There has not been a single massacre in that category since 1996."

Have We Solved 'Too Big To Fail'?

Andrew Haldane | Vox | 17 January 2013

"No. Prior to the crisis, the 29 largest global banks benefitted from just over one notch of uplift from the ratings agencies due to expectations of state support. Today, those same global leviathans benefit from around three notches of implied support. Expectations of state support have risen threefold since the crisis began"

Video of the day: Coca-Cola Ad: Coming Together

Thought for the day: ““Our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong”” — Kathryn Schulz

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