The White House announced this week that they’d killed Al Qaeda’s number 2 operative, but, following standard operating procedure, would not tell reporters how they'd killed him. Why? Because they killed him by targeted drone strike, a program which is widely known about but still technically classified. The New York Times reporter Scott Shane tells Bob that the administration's coy attitude towards classified secrets is stifling public debate.
When protesters try to make themselves heard at this summer’s presidential conventions they’ll likely be penned by police some distance from the candidates. Law professor Ronald Krotoszynski argues in a new book that that’s a violation of the 1st Amendment, specifically the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. He explains to Bob why protest is a form of protected speech and why proximity to the government officials you’re protesting is paramount.
Slate writer Daniel Engber set out to debunk the idea of the 5-second rule -- the myth that if you drop food on the floor and pick it up quickly, it’s still clean enough to eat. Engber's quest led him onto a bigger story, about a wellspring of scientific misinformation that's flowing into American papers from Britain.
When a paper released by a scientific journal turns out to be wrong, either due to human error or intentional fraud , the journal’s editors often will issue a retraction advising scientists to disregard the research. A Wall Street Journal study has found the number of such retractions to be soaring. New Yorker science writer Jonah Lehrer tells Brooke what he thinks is going on.
There's often a really interesting story behind a retraction. That's what Ivan Oransky told us. He's a doctor and journalist and founder, along with Adam Marcus, of a blog called Retraction Watch. They monitor scientific journals and investigate why articles were retracted. They uncovered serious ethical breaches at a variety of journals. Oransky tells Brooke about some of the stories he's covered this year.
This week the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook's plans to open up the social network to children under 13. As of now, preteens are not permitted to use the site, mainly because Facebook would have difficulty complying with COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act -- the federal law regulating how companies can collect and use information about kids. Danah Boyd talks to Bob about COPPA's origins.
Even if you're not among those who believe the world will end on 12/21/2012, it's gotta end sometime right? And if there are still journalists at the end, they'll need a game plan. At a recent journalism pow-wow, the role of journalists in two apocalyptic scenarios -- global pandemic and alien invasion -- were discussed with funny and useful results. Brooke speaks with Andrew Fitzgerald who suggested the topic.