The Importance of Asking Good, Dumb Questions
The best way to conduct interviews -- or any kind of research, for that matter -- is to not try to make yourself look smart. Rather, asking a "good dumb question" is an approach that will often yield the best results.
When Stephen Colbert introduces a guest on his show, he runs a victory lap around the set, soaking up the raucous applause from the audience as his guest remains stoically seated. When the interview starts, Colbert fires questions at his guest only to abruptly cut the person off. In short, the interview is all about him. This satirical interviewing style wouldn't be so funny if it didn't hit so close to home: the spectacle of the egotistical TV host is thoroughly ingrained in our culture.
And yet, the best way to conduct interviews -- or any kind of research, for that matter -- is to not try to make yourself look smart. Rather, asking a "good dumb question" is an approach that will often yield the best results.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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