Web Notables (March 18, 2015)

19th century big data, unverifying journalists, tricks for eating less, etc.

By The Editors Published on March 18, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

How Big Data Busted Abe Lincoln by Scott Klein on the ProPublica website. The crusading editor Horace Greeley figured out how to embarrass Congressmen, and not just Lincoln, who took too much in travel expenses, though he made a lot of mistakes when he did so.

Policing Wikipedia by Matthew Hennessy on the City Journal website. In the controversy over someone at the NYPD editing the Wikipedia entry for Eric Garner, the people upset forget that that’s the way the site works.

7 Questions for Craig Silverman on Verification and Rumors by Meagan Doll on the PBS website EducationShift. When the web makes checking the truth of a story before publishing it even more important than it has been, “there typically aren’t concrete verification skills taught in a lot of journalism schools,” explains the media critic Craig Silverman. “A lot of times people try to write to just make it interesting . . . . There are too many examples of people writing things up in a way that leads people, by default, to think it is true.”

9 Ways to Eat Better Without Really Trying by Keira Butler in Mother Jones. For example: “Make sure the color of your food contrasts that of your plate. When they matched, Wansink [Cornell food psychologist Brian Wansink] found, people consumed 22 percent more food.”

A Tale of Two Ecumenisms by Carl Trueman on First Things‘ blog First Thoughts. “Protestantism represented only a partial break with medieval Catholicism,” writes the Calvinist historian. “Ecumenical dialogue in the present therefore faces an interesting dilemma which has, as far as I can tell, been little noted: How do we establish the relative priorities of, say, the doctrine of God and the doctrine of salvation?”

From the Archives:

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies by Kay S. Hymnowitz from City Journal. The “most basic truths on the subject” of poverty in America are, writes the noted social commentator, “1. entrenched, multigenerational poverty is largely black; and 2. it is intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city.”

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