Does Gates funding of media taint objectivity? Originally published February 19, 2011 at 5:01 PM | Page modified February 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM Did you catch ABC's recent special on an incubator to boost preemie survival in Africa and a new machine to diagnose tuberculosis in the developing world? Perhaps you saw Ray Suarez's three-part series on poverty and AIDS in Mozambique on the PBS NewsHour. Or listened to Public Radio International's piece on the rationing of kidney dialysis in South Africa. Beyond their subject matter, these reports have something else in common: They were all bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Better-known for its battles against global disease, the giant philanthropy has also become a force in journalism. The foundation's grants to media organizations such as ABC and The Guardian, one of Britain's leading newspapers, raise obvious conflict-of-interest questions: How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings? "We're not dealing with a lively discussion among players.
Cancer research: Open ambition Jay Bradner has a knack for getting the word out online. You can follow him on Twitter; you can become one of more than 400,000 online viewers of the TEDx talk he gave in Boston, Massachusetts, last year; you can see the three-dimensional structure of a cancer-drug prototype created in his laboratory and you can e-mail him to request a sample of the compound. Bradner, a physician and chemical biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, makes defeating cancer sound easy — one just has to play tricks on its memory. “With all the things cancer is trying to do to kill our patient, how does it remember it is cancer?” DNA serves as the basic blueprint for all cellular activity, and DNA mutations have long been known to have a role in cancer. Findings over the past ten years have strongly implicated dysregulation of epigenetic instructions in cancer, where growth-driving genes express like crazy and genes that keep cell division in check are silenced. Marked for death Making good
Muckraker McClure's (cover, January 1901) published many early muckraker articles. The term muckraker was used in the Progressive Era to characterize reform-minded American journalists who attacked established institutions and leaders as corrupt. They typically had large audiences in some popular magazines. In the US, the modern term is investigative journalism — it has different and more pejorative connotations in British English — and investigative journalists in the USA today are often informally called 'muckrakers'. Muckraking magazines—notably McClure's of the publisher S. S. The muckrakers played a highly visible role during the Progressive Era period, 1890s–1920s. In contemporary American use, the term describes either a journalist who writes in the adversarial or alternative tradition, or a non-journalist whose purpose in publication is to advocate reform and change. Investigative journalists view the muckrakers as early influences and a continuation of watchdog journalism.
IRIN Integrated Regional Information Networks, commonly known as IRIN, acts as a news agency focusing on humanitarian stories in regions that are often forgotten, under-reported, misunderstood or ignored. The main purpose of this project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to create greater awareness and understanding of regional issues and events, and to contribute to better-informed and more effective humanitarian action, media coverage and advocacy. It is widely used by the humanitarian aid community, academics and others who simply want to know what's happening in the world that doesn’t always make the headlines. Editorial independence ensures impartial coverage, analysis and sourcing in news-rich Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, providing a fresh perspective on the tapestry of people and events in these regions of the globe. Every IRIN article carries a disclaimer that it may not reflect the views of the UN. Audience
Ad hominem An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Fallacious Ad hominem reasoning is normally categorized as an informal fallacy, more precisely as a genetic fallacy, a subcategory of fallacies of irrelevance. Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact. Ad hominem arguments are the converse of appeals to authority, and may be used in response to such appeals. Ad hominem as it is discussed in this article refers to the logical fallacy argumentum ad hominem, and not to the literal Latin phrase ad hominem. Types Abusive Abusive ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments. Circumstantial Examples: Tu quoque See also References
Marginal Revolution — Small steps toward a much better world. List of cognitive biases Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics. There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. However, this kind of confirmation bias has also been argued to be an example of social skill: a way to establish a connection with the other person. Although this research overwhelmingly involves human subjects, some findings that demonstrate bias have been found in non-human animals as well. Decision-making, belief, and behavioral biases Many of these biases affect belief formation, business and economic decisions, and human behavior in general. Social biases Memory errors and biases See also 
Back to School in the Twilight of Capitalism Universities serve multiple purposes in a modern capitalist society. One of those purposes–the education of young adults–is a noble and worthy one. It is how this is done that is often less noble. If capitalism requires technicians and managers, it is technicians and managers that are trained. If capitalism needs fewer of these positions, then fewer are trained. Like protests in the 1960s and onwards, the Occupy-related protests on university and college campuses last year proved the veracity of the previous sentence quite dramatically. I work at a college in a college library. Another aspect of today’s colleges that I would like to address is the shrinking of the recruitment pool targeted by colleges today. The first time I attempted college was in 1973. As news reports of protests against tuition hikes from around the world prove, this is not merely an American phenomenon. Why are there not more student protests in the United States? A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch
Climate report puts geoengineering in the spotlight Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty Images Advocates of geoengineering argue that as emissions keep rising their technology will come into its own. Attempts to counter global warming by modifying Earth's atmosphere have been thrust into the spotlight following last week's report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Mention of ‘geoengineering’ in the report summary was brief, but it suggests that the controversial area is now firmly on the scientific agenda. Some climate models suggest that geoengineering may even be necessary to keep global temperature rises to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Most geoengineering technologies generally either reflect sunlight — through artificial ‘clouds’ of stratospheric aerosols, for example — or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Critics say that the technologies are unproven, will have unforeseen impacts and could distract from attempts to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.