September 19, 2017

Trump addresses the U.N. General Assembly.

"An emerging body of research is suggesting that soaring 35,000ft (10km) above the ground inside a sealed metal tube can do strange things to our minds..."

"... altering our mood, changing how our senses work and even making us itch more."

BBC reports in "How flying seriously messes with your mind."

I'd never before noticed the claim that people are more likely to cry over movies if they're watching on a plane.
There are many theories about why flying might leave passengers more vulnerable to crying – sadness at leaving loved ones, excitement about the trip ahead, homesickness. But there is also some evidence that flying itself may also be responsible.
I don't know if I've ever watched a movie on a plane. I've watched parts of movies that were being shown at me and quit. I really dislike having to focus my eyes on something that's shaky. I prefer to listen to an audiobook (with my eyes closed). And of course, I prefer not to fly at all.

"US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election..."

"... sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe. The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump... The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources. The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year...."

You may remember a series of Trump tweets last March:
1. "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

2. "Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!"

3. "I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!"

4. "How low has President Obama gone to tapp* my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"
Here's BBC discussing the response to those tweets back in March:
[The tweets] were not backed up by any evidence, and Mr Obama's spokesman and former US intelligence chief James Clapper denied that any wiretap had been ordered.... FBI Director James Comey for the first time on Monday confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the agency is investigating possible links between Russia and Mr Trump's associates as part of a broader inquiry into Moscow's interference in last year's election. He also disputed Mr Trump's wiretapping claims.

"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," he told the panel....

WaPo reports on a 15-year-old girl who prefers to stay home and spend time with her family and the mother who's worried about her.

The girl "has no interest in dating, driving, working for pay or drinking alcohol - and the rising costs of college keep her up at night," and the mother says: "On the one hand, I know she’s safe, she’s not out getting pregnant or smoking pot or drinking or doing all kinds of risky stuff that I can imagine would be age appropriate... [But i]s that stuff necessary for human development, do you have to be risk-taking as a teenager in order to succeed as an adult?"

That's the concluding anecdote in an article titled "Not drinking or driving, teens increasingly put off traditional markers of adulthood."

Teens not getting into trouble. That's the news. That's the man bites dog. Teenagers, they're supposed to be trouble.

This makes me want to quote a passage from one of my favorite books "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir" by Bill Bryson. Bryson — born, like me, in 1951 — is talking about the 1950s, when fear of teenagers raged:
Teenagers smoked and talked back and petted in the backs of cars. They used disrespectful terms to their elders like “pops” and “daddy-o.” They smirked. They drove in endless circuits around any convenient business district. They spent up to fourteen hours a day combing their hair. They listened to rock ’n’ roll, a type of charged music clearly designed to get youngsters in the mood to fornicate and smoke hemp. “We know that many platter-spinners are hop-heads,” wrote the authors of the popular book USA Confidential, showing a proud grasp of street patois. “Many others are Reds, left-wingers or hecklers of social convention.”

Movies like The Wild One, Rebel Without a Cause, Blackboard Jungle, High School Confidential!, Teen-Age Crime Wave, Reform School Girl, and (if I may be allowed a personal favorite) Teenagers from Outer Space made it seem that the youth of the nation was everywhere on some kind of dark, disturbed rampage. The Saturday Evening Post called juvenile crime “the Shame of America.” Time and Newsweek both ran cover stories on the country’s new young hoodlums. Under Estes Kefauver the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency launched a series of emotive hearings on the rise of street gangs and associated misbehavior.
Anyway, I love the mom in the new WaPo story, worrying that her daughter isn't out getting into teenager trouble because — who knows? — even that might have something to do with Success as an Adult.

"The new research... seems to potentially empower a critique of climate science that has often been leveled by skeptics, doubters and 'lukewarmers' who argue that warming is shaping up to be less than climate models have predicted."

WaPo concedes in "New climate change calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right."

Some experts have recalculated and say we have 20 years instead of 3 in the "carbon budget" (that is, how long it will take, at the current rate of emissions, to warm the earth to 2.7°F beyond what it was in the late 19th century — the "pre-industrial" time).

IN THE COMMENTS: Expat(ish) says:
Hate to be picky about a headline written by a non-STEM person, but the "calculations" don't give the "Earth some time."

First, the *new* calculations predict that more time will pass before X.

Secondly, there will still be time for the "Earth" (why is that capitalized?) no matter the climate. Unless the SMOD breaks it to smithereens when Trump is re-elected.
1. If you follow The Chicago Manual of Style, the word "the" determines whether you capitalize Earth/earth. So if they were hot to capitalize "Earth," they should have left out the "the." Notice that we always capitalize "Mars" and "Venus," but we never say "The Mars" or "The Venus" ... when we're talking about planets. One can imagine a museum curator saying "We need to relocate the Venus to the stairwell."

2. Earth isn't in the market for time. That's a human desire. George Carlin said it best (NSFW):

Poll results for "Does Trump have a sense of humor?"

I put this poll up yesterday in a post inspired by the NYT op-ed "Is Nothing Funny, Mr. President?" (which stated that Trump completely lacked a sense of humor). My personal opinion is that Trump has a strong sense of humor and frequently uses humor. He uses it like a professional comedian, not like a traditional politician.

The NYT writer (a former Obama speechwriter) talked about the "bipartisan Oval Office tradition" of "safe, well-placed quips that crowds are well primed to laugh at," which are the "presidential equivalent of dad jokes."

Yeah, that's not what Trump does. He's not about warming us all up and signaling that he's a good guy (which, by the way, is something a complete villain would do!). He's actually into comedy and may even do comedy for the sake of comedy and not necessarily as a means to an end (though he seems to believe that he's lucky and things work out for him if he does it his way).

The NYT writer observed Trump's tendency not to laugh at humor. But many professional comedians keep a straight face. I see that as a more advanced level of comedian. Laughing at your own jokes is "dad joke" style, and laughing at other people's jokes is kind of beta. Why do people laugh at the jokes of others? Sometimes, because it's really that funny, you laugh the way you'd laugh if you were alone hearing the joke on the radio. But mostly you laugh at other people's jokes to ingratiate yourself and display that you're a nice person who cares about feelings.

And if you are like that, you're probably not a high-quality comedian yourself, though I'm sure in front of a well-primed audience, you could deliver a scripted dad joke.

"Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home."

"They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation."

From "With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone" (NYT).
“They are setting a tone. It’s important early on to strike terror in the hearts of people in Washington, or else you will be rolled,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, who was deputy independent counsel in the investigation that led to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “You want people saying to themselves, ‘Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.’”
This story is also very well discussed in the NYT podcast this morning, here, strongly underscoring Wisenberg's point.

September 18, 2017

Nancy Pelosi — at her own Dreamers rally — is overtaken by bustling, screaming protesters who want action for all 11 million undocumented immigrants — not just those covered by DACA.

It's very disturbing to watch this disrespect for the venerable House Minority Leader (but she keeps her cool and looks strong):

Does Trump have a sense of humor?

1. In the NYT, we have David Litt (a former speechwriter for President Obama), contending that Trump is "a commander in chief without a sense of humor."
[Trump] uses his well-honed sense of timing as a cudgel. He jeers. He mocks. His goal is to insult, rather than to entertain.... President Trump does not possess the sense of nuance a well-told joke requires...

Without the qualities that laughter both demonstrates and fosters — a willingness to find common ground, the respect for agreed-upon norms and the awareness that we are all only human — Mr. Trump’s attitude toward the presidency is defined by the one characteristic that remains: a lust for power....
2. Meanwhile, on Twitter, Scott Adams — who's kind of a humor expert — seems to think Trump has a fabulous sense of humor. He can't stop laughing about "Rocket Man" and the golf-ball-hits-Hillary video:

3. This issue is squarely raised. You decide:

Does Trump have a sense of humor? Pick the answer closest to what you think. free polls

At the Cleome Café...


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Trump at the U.N.

ADDED: Nikki Haley was on "State of the Union" yesterday, and the host Dana Bash played her a clip of Trump saying:
"The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It's not a friend to freedom. It's not a friend even to the United States of America, where, as you know, it has its home. And it surely is not a friend to Israel."
Bash then paraphased that — very unfairly I think — in the question: "Will the president stick by his America-first message when he appears before the U.N. this coming week?"

Haley did not do what I'd have done with that question — say that it's just plain wrong to translate that statement of Trump's into "his America-first message." He spoke of democracy and freedom, principles that matter to all human beings, and he criticized the U.N. for its hostility to the United States and to Israel. To object to bad treatment is not to demand to be put first.

Haley avoids repeating and reinforcing Bash's phrase. Here's what she said, which you can see restates and augments what Trump said:

If the "smartest move" — in making a serious TV drama about porn — is "exploiting the contradictions," then how can you say "'The Deuce' is certainly a feminist series"?

I don't watch this show, and there's no way I will, but I do read The New Yorker, and that means I'm often challenging myself to understand TV shows (and movies) that I do not and will not watch. I'm keeping an eye on the culture from the safe distance of reading. For example, I read this about the Emmys show, which I did not watch:
“I haven’t had a TV since I moved out of my parents house at 18,” [Shailene Woodley] told E! News in the pre-show on the red carpet at the 2017 Emmy Awards Sunday, where Big Little Lies had received 16 nominations.

“All my friends who watch TV, I always ask them when they have time to. When do they have time to?” she said. “I’m a reader. I always have a book.”
That's reported at People under the headline "Shailene Woodley Slammed After Revealing She Doesn't Own a TV on Emmys Red Carpet: 'I'm a Reader.'" Slammed? Why? Actors are supposed to tout the industry? Or does claiming to be "a reader" sound snobby? Tell me what books Shailene Woodley reads and I'll have an opinion on that. It seems to me many of these TV shows and ponderous and hard work to watch, and lots of books are lightweight. My preference for reading is more about wanting control of my own time, to go fast or slow, to switch into my own thoughts, and to retrace my path and skip around.

Ah! I found an answer to the question what books does Shailene Woodley read:
[Shailene's] favorite is Henry and June by Anaïs Nin, a memoir about the author's passionate love for Henry Miller and his wife, June. "Anaïs is like the ultimate goddess," Shailene says. "I feel really connected to her femininity." Much like we feel connected to your femininity, Shai. (Did that sound creepy?)
That's Teen Vogue, which might explain the cutesy dancing around carnality. So, onto the subject of the New Yorker article: "'The Deuce' and the Birth of Porn/The show is a classic David Simon joint, in which sex workers and porn actors are treated like any other alienated workforce," by Emily Nussbaum:
“The Deuce” is certainly a feminist series—and half its directors are female—but its smartest move is to resist turning sex into a thesis, exploiting the contradictions instead. 
You're a connoisseur of contradictions, a resister of sex as a thesis, and yet you dictate to me: "'The Deuce' is certainly a feminist series." Why the certainty?! Why shut the door to the exploration of contradictions in the contention that this show — about pornography — is certainly feminist? I'm outraged by this pronouncement. I would begin with the hypothesis that a show about pornography is anti-feminist, but you want me not even to think about it.

I continue reading this article precisely because I'm so annoyed:
Often, this means visually scrambling cable clichés, starting with a rape role-play in the première that spills into genuine violence. In the aftermath, Darlene, dabbing her bruises, is nude, but she’s never the camera’s focus. Instead, our gaze keeps settling, with nosy clarity, on her bald trick’s big-bellied torso, his matted back hair, his exposed crotch, forcing us to consider that body—both pathetic and intimidating—not hers.

There’s warmth, too, particularly through [Maggie] Gyllenhaal’s mournful, electric presence, her fame itself upending the hierarchies of cable, which typically dictates that extras bare it all while the stars cover up. With the polarities reversed, and the biggest celebrity somehow exposed and not objectified, I found myself craving a sex scene between the one non-sex-worker African-American couple on the show: in this context, such a sequence became elevating, not debasing, a sign that the characters were taken seriously enough to see their private world.
What is the argument that this is even uncertainly feminist? I really have no idea. Getting the star to go nude is an old trick, and not one I associate with feminism. Showing an ugly man having sex with a beautiful woman is a tale as old as time. Maybe somehow the graphic depiction of rape and the bruised body of a woman is supposed to be flipped into something meaningful, but Nussbaum doesn't explain how this happens and why this isn't just another way to palm off the same misogyny that the recently departed Kate Millett wrote about in "Sexual Politics."

Is it that half of the directors of "Deuce" are women? So they hire on women to get immunity from the charge of misogyny. We're supposed to support the furthering of the careers of women and see that as feminism. Could Nussbaum please explain why the gambit of hiring women to work on projects like this is certainly feminist and not actively anti-feminist?

There's always a woman who will take the work. They can put the face of a woman on any project they want. Is it that easy to get the Certainly Feminist stamp? (If so, porn itself is certainly feminist.)

Google celebrates the birthday of Samuel Johnson.

"As a popular search engine marks the great lexicographer’s birthday, it’s a good time for some defining questions. Can you get them right without googling?" (The Guardian). ("What is Johnson defining here? 'To deprive a dog of something, nobody knows what, under his tongue, which is said to prevent him, nobody knows why, from running mad.'") I got 5/10.

"Who was Samuel Johnson? The father of the modern dictionary's funniest entries" (The Telegraph). ("Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.")

"Samuel Johnson: Who is this literary figure, what did he do and why is he so important?"
The primary reason for Johnson’s enduring appeal though, outside of his own remarkable achievements in print, is surely the ongoing popularity of James Boswell’s fantastically detailed Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).... Boswell recalls such delightful comic incidents as Johnson good-naturedly dismissing Burke as “a vile Whig”, rebuking Goldsmith for being “loose in his principles” and declining a repeat visit backstage to visit Garrick at the theatre because, “the silk stockings and white bosoms of your actresses excite my amorous propensities.” His opinions on everything from remarriage ("the triumph of hope over experience") to women vicars* and the merits of Alexander Pope are preserved for the ages in a work whose value cannot be overstated.
Don't forget Johnson's "Grammar of the English Tongue." That's the one I keep in my Kindle. Sample:

"From a loft in San Francisco in 1967, a 21-year-old named Jann S. Wenner started a magazine that would become the counterculture bible for baby boomers."

"Rolling Stone defined cool, cultivated literary icons and produced star-making covers that were such coveted real estate they inspired a song. But the headwinds buffeting the publishing industry, and some costly strategic missteps, have steadily taken a financial toll on Rolling Stone, and a botched story three years ago about an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia badly bruised the magazine’s journalistic reputation. And so, after a half-century reign that propelled him into the realm of the rock stars and celebrities who graced his covers, Mr. Wenner is putting his company’s controlling stake in Rolling Stone up for sale, relinquishing his hold on a publication he has led since its founding."

The NYT reports.

I wonder how much they thought about that phrase "an unproven gang rape" and what alternatives they considered. To my ear, it sounds as though they're implying that there was a gang rape, but it just couldn't be proved. The story was completely debunked!
On January 12, 2015, Charlottesville Police Department officials told UVA that an investigation had failed to find any evidence confirming the events in the Rolling Stone article.... At the request of Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism agreed to audit the editorial processes that culminated in the article being published....

In light of the findings, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post pronounced the story "a complete crock". In the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Grueskin called the story "a mess—thinly sourced, full of erroneous assumptions, and plagued by gaping holes in the reporting." The Columbia Journalism Review called the story "this year's media-fail sweepstakes" and the Poynter Institute named it as the "Error of the Year" in journalism.
The NYT has a separate article that's a tribute to the greatness of Rolling Stone over the years: "It filled its pages with the words of renowned writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Cameron Crowe and Greil Marcus." Yes, it's very sad that we don't get journalism like that anymore. These days, I love reading old articles by Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. And I remember the day back in the 1960s, when I was in high school, I first saw the publication waved about by a classmate who acted like he had his hands on something very special. How important is this thing supposed to be?, I wondered. We already have Crawdaddy.

Why did Sean Spicer do the Emmys? Did no one ever tell him they're not laughing with you they're laughing at you?

The yearning for acceptance from the popular kids must claw at poor Spicey.

Via WaPo: "Here's how it went down, with late-night host Stephen Colbert — who happens to be one of Trump's most unapologetic and high-profile critics — setting up the gag:"
COLBERT: What really matters to Donald Trump is ratings. You've got to have the big numbers. And I certainly hope we achieve that tonight. Unfortunately, at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. I mean, is there anyone who could say how big the audience is. Sean, do you know?

(Spicer glides out with a podium, Melissa McCarthy-style.)

SPICER: This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.

COLBERT: Wow. That really soothes my fragile ego. I could understand why you'd want one of these guys around. Melissa McCarthy, everybody, give it up!
The WaPo headline calls the cameo "yucky," and the column-writer, Aaron Blake is not grossed out because Spicey played along despite contempt for him and for the President he once served, but because:
... Spicer yukking it up over one of his most demonstrably false statements from the White House lectern strongly suggests this is just what spokesmen are supposed to do. The president asked him to do it, so it must be okay. Damn the truth.
Blake thinks this comedy "normalize[s]" the lying/bullshit/puffery of press secretaries.
[L]aughing at flouting the truth... serves notice to other spokesmen that they needn't worry about being credible.
Blake belongs to the that's-not-funny school of comedy appreciation. I'm surprised at his reaction. I thought Spicer got conned into participating in political satire that hurts him and the politicians with whom he's allied himself. I think America deserves better political satire and that it was a bad idea to load the Emmys show with political satire — especially partisan political satire (why alienate half your potential audience?). But I think comedy, done well, is powerful, important speech. The Spicer bit was criticism of the dishonesty of the White House press secretary. It didn't slough it off or "normalize" it. If the bullshit is normal, there's no joke in Spicer's line.

Now, I can see that Blake could have said that just allowing Spicer into the Emmys party sends the message that he's not completely toxic. And perhaps that's the sad-sack reason Spicer did the show, like the high school kid who's pleased to get an invitation to popular kid's party...

Well, in that movie the popular kids get it in the end. The bullying and the hate can backfire. And we all know what happened when "Laugh-In" included Nixon:

September 17, 2017

At the Garden Path Café...


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"But it's different with girls, don't you think?"

"A Silicon Valley CEO reveals her secret to getting ahead in business - dyeing her blonde hair brown, and ditching her heels and contact lenses."

BBC reports.
"The first time I dyed my hair was actually due to advice I was given by a woman in venture capital," [Eileen Carey] says.

Carey was told that the investors she was pitching to would feel more comfortable dealing with a brunette, rather than a blonde woman.
Here's a close-up of her blonde hair before she "dyed" it brown:
I don't know if there really is discrimination against blonde women, but it looks as though she was a woman who had bleached her hair blonde, and then switched to a more natural color.
"I was told for this raise [of funds], that it would be to my benefit to dye my hair brown because there was a stronger pattern recognition of brunette women CEOs," she explains.

Pattern recognition is a theory which suggests people look for familiar experiences - or people - which in turn can make them feel more comfortable with the perceived risks they are taking.

When she had blonde hair, Eileen says she was likened to Elizabeth Holmes, whose company Theranos has been through a lot of controversy.

"Being a brunette helps me to look a bit older and I needed that, I felt, in order to be taken seriously," Carey says.
If you were really concerned about being taken seriously, would you go to the press and rave about your hair color like that?

If there's a real problem with hair-color discrimination — is there? do some serious research! — then let's fight it, not cater to it and bullshit with the euphemism "pattern recognition."
In interviewing candidates for roles at her startup, Glassbreakers, which provides companies with software aimed at attracting and empowering a diverse workforce, she's encountered other blonde women who have also dyed their hair brown.

"We discussed that there's the fetishisation of blondes," says Carey. "People are more likely to hit on me in a bar if I'm blonde. There's just that issue in general. For me to be successful in this [tech industry] space, I'd like to draw as little attention as possible, especially in any sort of sexual way."
Key word: start up. This is a person looking for attention — while saying "I'd like to draw as little attention as possible." It's just embarrassing. Her company Glassbreakers is pushing software the "empower[s] a diverse workforce"?! Then don't make a joke out of color-based discrimination. I suspect she thinks her type of color discrimination isn't pernicious because it's aimed at something unique to white people, blonde hair, and she's characterizing it as bad. But she isn't characterizing it as bad! She's saying blonde women are so much more attractive that we've got to apply a chemical treatment to darken it it to erase the powerful advantage. That's grotesque. It's like advising white people to wear blackface makeup to surrender white privilege.

But, again, I don't think this woman is a natural blonde. So she was a color-changer. Maybe there's discrimination against women who don't keep their natural hair-color. I don't know that there is, but it does say something about you that you've made the effort to change. People will speculate about why you are doing that (and also why you're letting dark roots show). It may be that they're thinking you're striving for kind of conventional or Fox News look, and that really would conflict with the Glassbreakers message.

"For him, basketball was everything."

"Kim [Jong Un] drew pictures of Michael Jordan and slept with a basketball, according to Ko Yong Suk, the aunt who cared for him [when he was at school in Bern, Switzerland].... It is a measure of how impoverished America’s contact with North Korea has become that one of the best-known conduits is Dennis Rodman, a.k.a. the Worm, the bad boy of the nineties-era Chicago Bulls. Rodman’s agent, Chris Volo, a hulking former mixed-martial-arts fighter, told me recently, 'I’ve been there four times in four years. I’m in the Korean Sea, and I’m saying to myself, "No one would believe that I’m alone right now, riding Sea-Doos with Kim Jong Un."' 2013, when Vice Media, aware of Kim’s love of the Bulls, offered to fly American basketball players to North Korea. Vice tried to contact Michael Jordan but got nowhere. Rodman, who was working the night-club autograph circuit, was happy to go. He joined three members of the Harlem Globetrotters for a game in Pyongyang. Kim made a surprise appearance, invited Rodman to dinner, and asked him to return to North Korea for a week at his private beach resort in Wonsan, which Rodman later described as 'Hawaii or Ibiza, but he’s the only one that lives there.' On his most recent trip, in June, Rodman gave Kim English and Korean editions of Trump’s 1987 best-seller, 'The Art of the Deal.'"

The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea/On the ground in Pyongyang: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation? by Evan Osnos (in The New Yorker).

ADDED: Here's a WaPo article from last year: "The secret life of Kim Jong Un’s aunt, who has lived in the U.S. since 1998":
“He wasn’t a troublemaker, but he was short-tempered and had a lack of tolerance,” Ko recalled. “When his mother tried to tell him off for playing with [games and machinery] too much and not studying enough, he wouldn’t talk back, but he would protest in other ways, like going on a hunger strike.”...

He was shorter than his friends, and his mother told him that if he played basketball, he would become taller, Ko said.

"New York Times publishes eye-popping correction on campus-sexual-assault book review."

Erik Wemple (at WaPo) writes about a book review by Michelle Goldberg that led to a correction that reads:
A review on Page 11 this weekend about “Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus,” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, refers incorrectly to her reporting on the issues. She does in fact write about Department of Justice statistics that say college-age women are less likely than nonstudent women of the same age to be victims of sexual assault; it is not the case that Grigoriadis was unaware of the department’s findings. In addition, the review describes incorrectly Grigoriadis’s presentation of statistics from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. She showed that there is disagreement over whether the data are sound; it is not the case that she gave the reader “no reason to believe” the statistics are wrong.
Just above that correction are the last 2 sentences of Goldberg's review:
But if you’re going to challenge people’s preconceptions, you have to have your facts straight. “Blurred Lines” gives readers too many reasons not to trust it, even when perhaps they should.
Does that mean that if you are confirming people's preconceptions, you don't have to get your facts straight?

ADDED: That question of mine is, I think, key to understanding the prevalence of "fake news."