Kurt Pitzer on The Chief Responsibility of Journalists

Pitzer:    I think journalists, if there’s one thing that we should be doing, is to surprise people a little bit.  I think so often we have ideas about the world that are seem fully formed, and too often the media, such as this just reinforces those things partly out of habit and partly out of laziness, I think.  I think the role of the person, the farthest filler out there which is the journalist in the field is to challenge assumptions and [there] to provoke questions about those assumptions that Iraqis are like this or Afghanis are like or we’re engaged in such and such a conflict for this or that reason, and to try to break through some of that.

Above all, journalists should make us see through a different lens, Kurt Pitzer believes.

Countries with more butter have happier citizens

Butter supply and life satisfaction are linked – but by causation or correlation?

Image: Carey Tilden/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
Strange Maps
  • Haiti and other countries with low butter supply report low life satisfaction.
  • The reverse is true for countries like Germany, which score high in both categories.
  • As the graph below shows, a curious pattern emerges across the globe. But is it causation or correlation?
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One-third of all slavery is visible from space

Advances in satellite imagery are shining a light.

Boyd et al., 2018
Technology & Innovation
  • Today, there are 40.3 million slaves on the planet, more than the number of people living in Canada.
  • Slavery can be hard to find, but it commonly occurs in several key industries like fishing and mining.
  • Using satellite data, researchers and activists are using crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to identify sites where slavery is taking place.
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Will Hunt (explorer) – into the Earth: the mysteries and meanings of underground spaces

The catacombs of Paris. Secret graffiti beneath NYC. The hidden cities of Cappadocia. Writer and explorer Will Hunt is your philosophical tour guide to what lies beneath.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "The surface of the earth is where we're rational . . . Part of us dreads the chaos, and part of us is always attracted to it."
  • "There were these things hanging from the ceiling…long strands of bacteria called "snotsicles"… But at our feet was a natural stream that had been running through Brooklyn forever."
  • "It's…about death. Undergoing a death. We're going into the other world and then retreating to the surface… changed in some way."
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