The Rights of Journalism and the Needs of Audiences

In Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day, one character remarks to another: “I’m with you on the free press. It’s the newspapers I can’t stand.” I don’t think that our discussions of the proper configuration of press freedom have moved very far from this impasse in the thirty years since the play was published.

Why Economists are Liars (and other stories)

At first glance, experiments suggesting that business and economics majors lie more than others provide material for yet another indictment of academic economics. But the experiments also point beyond themselves to a much more recent development – one that implicates Udacity founder and Google Glass pioneer Sebastian Thrun – and to another more complex story involving bombs, the Ford motor company, and the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Closed Trials and Open Wounds

The political repercussions of the proposed Justice and Security Bill rocked the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Brighton this weekend. Civil rights campaigner Jo Shaw resigned after renouncing her support for Nick Clegg.

My language ate my savings

Keith Chen is a vanguard, almost a Žižekian pop-intellectual fulfilling the necessary clichés (receding hair, slightly squint-eyed, untucked shirt). His theory is daring and far-reaching. It could not only influence, but revolutionise our way of thinking about the economy (at least our way of excusing economic incompetence).

Billions of pounds to map billions of neurons

In the last month, both the European Commission and U.S. president Barack Obama have pledged to give billions of dollars to fund two separate projects geared towards creating a working model of the human brain.

How to annihilate a royal

The irony was delicious. The Mail runs a story headlined “Kate puts her baby bump on parade”, mixing an attack on Hilary Mantel’s alleged literary offensive against the Duchess with incessant cooing over Middleton’s “gently swelling stomach”.

Let’s Beat Up The Poor

The Bullingdon Club is back in the news. The Oxford Student recently ran a story about a student who was admitted to the club only after an initiation ceremony which allegedly included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp. The publication of the story generated a lot of huffing and puffing about its reliability and its source (a third party). More generally, toff-bashing seems to have lost its allure. It is felt to be in political bad taste, an expression of the ‘politics of envy’.

Google me, Google me not

A fortnight ago Eric Schmidt took to the stage in Cambridge to preach hellfire and brimstone. He opened by describing a dystopian society shut off from the world – one whose population is kept in ignorance by an all-powerful state.

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