The Wrong Stuff

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I was driven to post this in memory of Troy Davis -- and also in anger, in sadness, in intellectual disgust and moral horror. Davis, who was black, was executed just after 11:00 last night for the 1989 murder of white police officer Mark MacPhail.  That execution took place despite massive "reasonable doubt" about Davis's guilt, and despite...

I was gobsmacked when a friend sent me this 60-second video. You'll see why.

 

... it was amazing.  I was blown away by the other speakers and was therefore a bundle of nerves before my own talk (which, just to torture me, was in the very last session of the conference).  In the end, though, I had a huge amount of fun, on the stage as well as off.  Really thrilled and honored to have had the chance to participate. 

 

...

I'm delighted to announce that I'll be one of the speakers at TED 2011.  Every year, the TED conference presents a dazzling array of speakers and ideas; this year's event, which runs from Feb. 28 through March 4, is organized around the theme, "The Rediscovery of Wonder."  I'm honored and thrilled to be sharing the stage with the likes of Bill Gates, Roger Ebert, and many other brilliant writers, thinkers, and doers.  You can check out the full conference...

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a 13-year-old kid named Josh Stieber vowed that as soon as he was old enough, he would join the military. His goal: to help protect his country and spread its values of freedom and democracy around the world. With the war still on when he graduated from high school, Stieber enlisted in 2006 and was deployed to Baghdad in 2007. A devout Christian and a staunch political conservative, Stieber became troubled by the gap between the values he was...

I just got back from PopTech, the ridiculously fun annual conference of ideas in Camden, Maine.  In keeping with our intriguingly wrongness-obsessed zeitgeist, this year's theme was "Brilliant Accidents, Necessary Failures, and Improbable Breakthroughs."  I was honored to kick off the conference with Dan Ariely, and to spend several days in the company of so many smart, thoughtful, fun people. 

And speaking of kicking, I got a kick out of the...

Every conversion story is, at heart, a story about being wrong -- about rejecting one worldview in favor of another one.  Consider, for example, Chuck Colson.  During the Nixon administration, Colson was, officially, special counsel to the president. Unofficially, he was Nixon's hatchet man and "the White House tough guy." By all accounts (including his own), he was secular, self-obsessed, and scary.  Then, in 1973, as the waters of Watergate rose around him,...

Gentle readers, a survey: Are you appalled or aroused by the idea of a threesome? Do you share Christine O'Donnell's views on masturbation, or are your browser's other open windows showing porn? Have you ever regretted a sexual experience? Do you sometimes wonder if you're doing it "wrong"? Have you figured out yet where babies come from?

As these questions suggest, there's a rich area of overlap...

In the spring of 1981, a 12-year-old boy was beaten and forced to watch as his 11-year-old female cousin was raped by a stranger in a park in Cleveland, Ohio. Several weeks later, a man named Raymond Fowler was stopped by a ranger for running a stop sign in the same park and brought into the police station for questioning. After hesitating for 10 and 15 minutes, respectively, both the boy and the girl eventually chose...

Whatever else you want to say about it, wrongness is a capacious subject. Since this blog began, I've interviewed people about the relationship between error and medicine,...

Okay, maybe you don’t have strong beliefs about the “right” way to load a dishwasher, or about your sweetheart’s propensity to do it “wrong.” In that case, either you are unusually saintly or (like me) you don’t own a dishwasher. But you almost certainly get involved in domestic disputes about who’s right and who’s wrong all the time; we all do. Although interpersonal arguments can have a number of causes – from serious and painful breaches in trust to the fact that we haven’t had our coffee yet – an impressive number of them amount to a tug-of-war over who possesses the truth. We fight over the right to be right.