TIME NextDraft

Why It’s Hard to Change Minds and Other Fascinating News on the Web

May 20, 2014

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1. But It Feels So Right

Hitting a buzzer. Plastering a giant red X over your face. Dropping you through a trap door. Those are just a few ways to try to alert you to the fact that you are wrong. It turns out it’s almost impossible to get people to change a belief or attitude, even when they are wildly off the mark. And “even when we think we’ve properly corrected a false belief, the original exposure often continues to influence our memory and thoughts.” From The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova: I Don’t Wanna Be Right.

Slate: “Because of the speed and abandon with which the Internet disseminates error, tracking the source of an online misattribution is usually a difficult business.” How totally fake quotes spread across the Internet.

+ Related: Pat Sajak could be o_t of hi_ mi_d.

+ On the plus side, a Michigan State research paper found that, “young people are somewhat wary of information that comes from Twitter.”

2. Vaccine Deniers

“This disguising of an intelligence-gathering effort as a humanitarian public health service has resulted in serious collateral consequences.” Three years ago, the CIA used a fake immunization survey in Pakistan to try to get data on the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted man. They’ve agreed to never do that again.

3. App-titude Test

Reminder: You can read all the day’s most fascinating news in your inbox or via the NextDraft App. TechCrunch wrote “You will feel happier and smarter after you download it,” and Pando Daily called it, “perhaps the world’s best email newsletter.” (Not sure what they meant by perhaps.)

4. Break a Leg

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Keith Van Horne once played an entire season with a broken leg. He wasn’t even told about the injury until five years later. So how could he keep playing? Pills. A lot of Pills. A new lawsuit brought by more than 500 former players asserts that “the league obtained and administered the drugs illegally, without prescriptions and without warning players of their potential side effects, to speed the return of injured players to the field and maximize profits.”

5. Storming the Palace

“When I see the eight of diamonds and the queen of spades, I picture a toilet, and my friend Guy Plowman. Then I put those pictures on High Street in Cambridge, which is a street I know very well.” That’s how one of the leading contenders described the technique known as the memory palace. All of the competitors use the technique. And they are all good at remembering … and forgetting. Welcome to the Extreme Memory Tournament, where remembering is an extreme sport.

+ How advertisers trick your brain by turning adjectives in nouns.

6. A Smite at the Museum

“Something snapped while reading about the gift shop — I didn’t want to duck and hide, I wanted to run straight into the absurdity and horror and feel every bit of the righteous indignation and come out the other side raw.” Buzzfeed’s Steve Kandell visits the 9/11 Museum: The worst day of my life is now New York’s hottest tourist attraction.

+ WaPo: Families infuriated by ‘crass commercialism’ of 9/11 Museum gift shop.

7. Get Me a Virtual Mop

“Oculus’ flagship product, the Rift, was widely seen as the most promising VR device in years … But it faced the same problem that had bedeviled would-be pioneers like eMagin, Vuzix, even Nintendo: It made people want to throw up.” Wired’s Peter Rubin with the inside story of Oculus Rift and how virtual reality became reality.

8. Ash Test Dummies

A Pennsylvania judge has thrown out that state’s ban on gay marriage. (Anyone sense a trend here?) In his decision U.S. District Judge John Jones (who was once recommended by Rick Santorum) makes things pretty clear: “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

9. Going Pro

My son and I were recently waiting in line at a 8 year-old’s birthday party in an area where there were two screens. The first showed a live NBA playoff game. The second showed looped GoPro marketing material. Every kid at the party was watching the second screen. So I believe it when GoPro says they can become media company. And if they crash and burn, at least they’ll have some great footage of it.

+ Home Depot has announced that they will no longer fax orders to vendors. (I guess it’s down to email and carrier pigeons.)

10. The Bottom of the News

“Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Contemporary Visual Culture and the Acceleration of Identity Formation/Dissolution.” Check out the academic paper that sort of led to Buzzfeed.

+ McDonald’s terrifying new mascot was made for the meme age.

+ How far your paycheck goes in 356 U.S. cities.

+ Look what the cat dragged in: A bag of weed. (Hopefully Fancy Feast makes a Doritos-flavored cat food.)

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