Photographing Tragedy, the Risk of Killer Robots, and More

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Friday, December 07, 2012

The ethics of photographing human tragedy, studying the risk of a robot uprising, and one man's attempt to be the trendiest guy in New York.

The Ethics of Photographing Tragedy

This week a man was shoved off a New York subway platform and killed by an oncoming train. A freelance photographer on assignment for the New York Post happened to be on the platform, camera in hand. He shot the scene, and the Post printed a photo of the man’s last moment before being struck by a train on the front page. Brooke talks to New York Times media columnist David Carr about the resulting controversy around the photo.

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The NFL and Player Concussion

In the past two years, seven former NFL players have killed themselves, and in each case, many argued that depression and dementia brought on by job-related concussions were to blame. The pressure is on the NFL to better protect its players, and the league is defending itself by running public service announcements during games. Bob talks to NFL Chief Marketing Officer Mark Waller about the campaign.

Acid Pauli - Mst

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Private Funding, Medical Journals, and Bias

Private funding of medical studies has eclipsed public funding on the order of billions of dollars a year. Peter Whoriskey, writer for The Washington Post talks to Bob about the potential for bias and misleading information in drug studies funded by the drug companies.

B. Fleischmann - Lemmings

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In Defense of "Homophobia"

The next print edition of the Associated Press Stylebook will include a new note on the word "phobia," advising writers to avoid the word in "political or social contexts," such as "Islamophobia" or "homophobia." The AP's announcement comes as a disappointment to George Weinberg, the New York pychotherapist who coined the term "homophobia" in 1965. He defends his word to Brooke as both an accurate descriptor and a valuable tool for the LGBT movement.

Do you have suggestions for a word to replace "homophobia" in the 21st century? Let us know! 

Vic Chesnutt - You Are Never Alone

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The OED and the Case of the Missing Words

The Oxford English Dictionary has a reputation for being the definitive record of the English language. But a few years ago, it was discovered that former OED editor Robert Burchfield had inexplicably struck thousands of words from the record, most of them Americanisms. Lexicographer and OED editor emeritus Sarah Ogilvie talks with Bob about Burchfield and her new book, Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary

Sameul Yirga - Tiwista 1(Tinish Mix)

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Gambling on the Future

Last week the popular prediction market Intrade announced it would shut its doors to Americans after being sued by US regulators. US regulators have accused InTrade of violating the ban on off-exchange options trading - in other words, gambling. But others argue that sites like InTrade can be better predictors than pundits or polls. The New York Times’ Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt makes the case for prediction markets to Bob.

White Rabbits - Back For More

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Assessing the Risk of a Robot Uprising

The threat of man-made machines rising up against humanity sounds like the premise of a science fiction movie, but a group of academics in the UK are looking into the possibility that such a threat could become reality. A new research center at the University of Cambridge is examining extinction-level risks to humanity, from the rise of killer robots to nuclear war. Brooke speaks with Martin Rees, an astrophysics professor and co-founder of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk.

TV On The Radio - Don't Love You

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Living by the Trends in the New York Times Style Section

The New York Times isn't just a source for news; its also the authority on the latest cultural trends—at least, so says Slate contributor and chronically un-hip Brooklynite Justin Peters. He recently used the Times' Style section as a blueprint for living the trendiest life possible. Brooke asks Justin about the results of this "scientific" experiment.

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