MS-Word’s helpful “View -> Focus” mode delays stress-related breakdowns.

You won’t usually catch me saying anything nice about Microsoft. (Ok, Flight Simulator was good.) A few days ago when life was a little more stressful than usual, I found myself nearly overwhelmed by what should have been a routine editing task. Then I stumbled across MS-Words’s View->Focus mode, which hides most of the intrusive accretion of menus, buttons, and readouts. After changing the default black background to a nice…

Why fake news works

Fake news works on our emotions, usually by stoking our fears or confirming our biases. Real news relies on verifiable facts, including emotions only by attributing them to credible sources, and placing those emotions in context. We help spread fake news when we let our emotions guide our reactions, rather than taking a minute to think about the credibility of the source. Even with a mountain of evidence available to…

The Man Who Photographed Ghosts

This review of a book about early photography offers some thoughtful reflections on how technology has been frequently used to distort the truth rather than reveal it. It’s a quote — I’d never seen it before — from Franz Kafka: “Nothing can be so deceiving as a photograph.” It immediately caught my interest because it captures something that I already believe: that photography is inextricably connected with lying. How could…