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Today in Tabs: The Good, The Bad, The Fake Diet Science

Chocolate. It’s not just a Juliette Binoche movie anymore.

Today in Tabs: The Good, The Bad, The Fake Diet Science
[Photos: Flickr user Leo Hidalgo, Screenshots: via 9to5MAC, Bloomberg Business]

I tried to categorize things into good and bad today, but it just didn’t work. I mean, there are a couple easy ones, like Good Media: The Gawker editorial staff debating in public whether or not to unionize is really Gawker at its very best. Good Science: Ed Yong wrote about dissecting a Komodo dragon in The Atlantic, and it’s great. And Bad Media: The new underwear trend is empowering for snake people although the old underwear trend is empowering too if you like that instead! Just as long as you keep buying things, you can be assured you’re empowered as hell.

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But then there’s Good Journalism About Bad Science: Michael LaCour, the grad student accused of faking the survey data for that “changing minds” study, also made up the grants list on his CV. When Jesse Singal discovered fabricated information in his “Awards & Fellowships” list as well, he set a trap:

“I emailed LaCour for comment, and he asked if I’d hold off on publishing this until he released a planned statement . . . Shortly thereafter, a browser extension I installed to notify me when his website changed pinged me.”

That’s some good data journalism. LaCour has said he will release a complete response tomorrow. Can’t wait! Also, John Bohannon helped gin up a diet study that “proved” chocolate could help you lose weight. He explains exactly how it was done, and how his study was no different than the vast majority of “diet science” news. Ed Yong objected to the ethics of the stunt, but the whole point of it was that this study was literally a real diet science study, just explicated after the fact.

We have some straightforward Bad Tech: GoPro’s weirdly orange CEO announced the company would sell a quadcopter, which I guess means they took their main product, the ubiquitous GoPro-bro-cam, and put a bird on it. What if we didn’t build robots that could figure out how to keep running when you break their legs? I mean . . . what if we just, like, didn’t do that? The newspaper wrote about algorithms again and it’s worse than usual. Send your iPhone-using friends this text to crash their phone.

But there’s also some Good Journalism About Bad Politics: Lord @Business released the first episode of political reporting sports show ScrumZone, and I’m gonna say it’s actually a pretty self-aware mockery of how ridiculous our political reporting is? Although you can never quite tell with Bloomberg. Hosts Matt Negrin and Griffin Hammond close by calling the modern media scrum “hastily assembled theater with the pretense of holding politicians accountable,” and “complete bullshit, but an integral part of our democracy,” which is at the very least honest.

And Good Commentary About Bad Media: John Herrman predicts “a fairly large shaking-out: an elimination of redundancy by platforms that incidentally encouraged it; a choosing of partners and therefore winners and losers,” which is hard to disagree with or even particularly mourn, although people seem depressed by it. If Tabs proves nothing else, it should at least prove that a huge amount of what sloshes around in our feeds is crap, and we’d be better informed without it. Is the crap what will be forced to give up its slot in our future media feed? Who knows! We’re all going to die anyway.

Intern Karen Ho is leaving us, which is bad. But she has been a very, very good intern. She brought her own reportorial eye to her topic every day, and I hate to abandon her to the vagaries of local newsgathering in a far northern town named after tableware. If you’re an editor, you’ll never be sorry you got in touch with her.

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TODAY’S INTERN TAB, by KAREN HO

I could have never gotten the Today in Tabs internship without Twitter. It would be an understatement to say the social media service was integral to all my posts. I know writers and journalists use it a lot, and there’s a lot of stupid things about it: (bad ads, harassment of women, #brands, and how the hell did Chuck Johnson get suspended four times before being banned). However, I am endlessly fascinated by how it connects people, always brings me interesting information, and serves as a never-ending source of humor and wit.

Being the Tabs intern was a (paid!) job that always felt like a privilege. Sure, sometimes it was stressful and challenging to try and find something that hadn’t been covered to death. And it was intimidating to think of what Bijan Stephen had done in the space before his move to The New Republic. But I hope that I brought something to the newsletter and column that was an interesting perspective, as well as reflective of myself.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen by Rusty as this month’s intern and have my words land in the inboxes of so many writers, reporters, editors, journalists, and thinkers that I admire and respect. I sincerely appreciate all the people who have added me as a result of the internship and hope to work with many of them soon.

And if you haven’t signed up for Today in Tabs on TinyLetter, you really should. It really is a huge amount of fun.

Lol at being intimidated by Bijan. I mean:

Anyway, next week, a new intern starts! I still have a sponsor spot open so lmk if you want it!

Meanwhile, at CodeCon: Dudes talking about diversity.

Get Out There And Shred: The CDC produced a 50+ page guide to mall walking if you need something to film with your new GoPro drone.

Today’s Song: Hardly even worth picking one, we’ve only got an hour till the big earthquake anyway.

~I got my own relationship with tabs~

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