News

21 May, 2020

The political battles over COVID-19 statistics are just the latest in a two-decade-long war over counting people -- a war that's about to explode, I argue in Wired.

19 May, 2020

A quick data visualization of the effect of COVID-19 on subway traffic in NYC, revealing significant disparities in lockdown behavior, posted on Twitter.

6 May, 2020

"The CDC Has Been on a Steady Decline. We’re Just Finally Noticing." An essay in Slate likening CDC's and FDA's failures to the FAA's in the 737 MAX crisis.

13 April, 2020

Op-ed in STAT News about how lax enforcement of clinical-trials reporting requirements is robbing us all, written with Peter Lurie and Christopher Morten.

11 April, 2020

A subtle problem with datagathering is causing an underestimate of coronavirus deaths in New York City, I argue in Undark.

8 March, 2020

At a moment when our society needs reliable scientific information the most, the most dangerous source of misinformation in the U.S. has become our own president, I argue in Scientific American.

23 February, 2020

Legal victory in a lawsuit against the FDA; with co-plaintiff Peter Lurie, we argued that the agency was improperly creating a loophole in a law requiring reporting of results from clinical trials.

1 April, 2019

An argument against amending CPRA, California's FOI law, to privilege scientists' communications from disclosure, in the Los Angeles Times

6 November, 2018

Due to popular demand, I have published the code to the "Python-based Twitter analysis tools" I use to capture and track the spread of false information on Twitter. (Roughly 2000 source lines of code.)

4 November, 2018

In what Kurt Eichenwald calls "The greatest pwn of all time," I explain an unflattering data visualization to a major source of online misinformation.

2 November, 2018

"Humans are getting more botlike on Twitter," in which I explore the surprising reasons that bots are passing the Turing test.

21 June, 2018

"The Real Meaning of Koko's Purported Nipple Fetish," a quasi-obituary for Koko the Gorilla.

10 January, 2018

"In Washington-speak, Censorship is Called 'Transparency,'" an investigative feature that describes how the CDC and FDA clamp down on the flow of information to the public; published in Scientific American. Some of the documents obtained through FOIA available here.

Appearances

October 23, 2020

Panel discussion about misinformation and COVID-19 at the Journalism in the Time of Crisis conference at Carleton.

May 28, 2020

I discuss failures at the CDC on WBUR's On Point radio show.

March 21, 2020

I talk about misinformation in Al Jazeera's Deadly Deception: COVID-19 in Trump's America.

December 3, 2019

Panel discussion about fake news at the #SpreadingFacts conference at MIT.

April 27, 2019

"The Fakening," on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

April 3, 2019

"Futureproofing," on BBC Sounds.

October 16, 2018

"PIOs and Journalists... the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Practices of Questionable Legality," presented at the NASW Information Access Summit.

May 14, 2018

"Sockpuppets, Bots, and the Vectors for Fake News," presented at "Fake News and Beyond: How to Improve News Literacy" at Tel Aviv University.

April 11, 2018

"Fake News, Bogus Science, and Bad Math: A Journalist’s Advice for Cutting Through BS," a Poynter Fellowship in Journalism talk at Yale University.

December 19, 2017

"Unorthodox Strategies to Clinical-Trial Success: Fibbing, Fraud, Fudging, and Friends in High Places," at NYU Langone.

September 6, 2017

"Science, Journalism, and Democracy: Grappling with a New Reality," at the Rockefeller University.

September 29, 2016

"Clinical Trial Transparency: Promises, Pitfalls, and Reform Efforts," at NYU Langone.

September 9, 2016

"Virtual Unreality: The Web, Big Data, Information, and Truth," at the Festival della Communicazione in Camogli, Italy.

May 9, 2016

Grand rounds, University of Texas Southwestern: "Researchers behaving badly: (Unreported) misconduct in clinical trials."

April 19, 2016

"Information Battles: The Double-Edged Sword of Big Data," at the Weissberg Forum for Discourse in the Public Square, Washington DC.

April 7, 2016

"What Buzzfeed Journalists Learned From a 4 Month Study of FBI, DHS, drone flight patterns." (KPCC.)

February 16,2016

Talk: "Understanding clinical trials... despite heavy opposition." At the 3rd Kavli Symposium on Science Coverage.

February 15,2016

Session: "Using investigative reporting and data analysis to make an argument." At the American Association for Advancement of Science annual meeting, 2016.

December 16, 2015

Colloquium: "Anatomy of a retraction" at Langone/NYU Medical Center's Department of Population Health.

October 30, 2015

Talk: "How to report on scientific fraud" at the AHCJ Journalism Workshop on Evidence-Based Medicine

June 12, 2015

Talk: "Researchers Behaving Badly: Misconduct in Clinical Trials" at the 5th PharmedOut Conference at Georgetown University.

June 11, 2015

Talk: "Data-Jitsu: How to go (way) beyond Excel" at the 9th World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea.

June 10, 2015

Talk: "What are we going to do with data?" at the 9th World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea.

February 26, 2015

"The Leonard Lopate Show" (WNYC).

February 19, 2015

"Midpoint" (Newsmax TV.)

February 13, 2015

"Science Friday" (PRI).

December 23, 2014

Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. (KFI-AM and other radio stations.)

December 2, 2014

Symposium: "Does Privacy Really Matter in Healthcare?" NYU School of Medicine's Department of Population Health.

August 9, 2014

Signing at the East Hampton Library's Authors Night.

July 10, 2014

Talk at the Westport (CT) Library: "Virtual Unreality."

July 4, 2014

"Science Friday" (PRI).

June 30, 2014

"The Leonard Lopate Show" (WNYC); also "Central Time" (Wisconsin Public Radio.)

June 30, 2014

Appearance at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn to discuss Virtual Unreality.

May 14, 2014

Keynote at Blue Waters/Petascale Science Symposium: "Information Feast, Information Famine: Big Data, Big Computing, and Big Trouble."

February 11, 2014

Moncrieff. (106-108 FM, Ireland.)

March 20, 2013

The 2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. (The American Museum of Natural History.)

December 1, 2012

"This is Hell." (WNUR Chicago.)

December 1, 2011

Authors@Google. (YouTube.)

September 13, 2011

"Afternoons with Jim Mora." (Radio New Zealand.)

January 7, 2011

"More or Less." (BBC Radio 4.)

December 12, 2010

"Open Mind." (WGVU.)

December 11, 2010

"The John Batchelor Show."

November 30, 2010

"Topical Currents." (WLRN.)

November 17, 2010

"Think." (KERA.) Also, "Nine to Noon." (Radio New Zealand.)

November 16, 2010

"Statistics are facts, right?" (KPCC.)

November 9, 2010

"Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn."

November 4, 2010

"The Kathleen Dunn Show." (Wisconsin Public Radio.)

November 2, 2010

"Roundtable." (WAMC.)

October 28, 2010

"Bogus Figures" (AARP radio), "Viewpoints" (WTKF) and the "Dr. Alvin Jones Show." (WCBQ.)

October 26, 2010

"StudioTulsa." (KWGS.). Also, "Strategies for Living" and "Let's Talk." (WBOI.)

October 22, 2010

Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. (KFI-AM and other radio stations.)

October 19, 2010

Moncrieff. (106-108 FM, Ireland.)

October 11, 2010

The Journey Home with Diego Mulligan. (KSFR.)

October 8, 2010

Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg TV.)

October 6, 2010

IEEE Spectrum. (Podcast.)

September 28, 2010

Talk at Strand bookstore: Proofiness. (828 Broadway at 7th St, 7:00 PM.)

September 25, 2010

America's News HQ. (FoxNews.)

September 19, 2010

All Things Considered. (NPR.)

Books

Virtual Unreality

Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You So, How Do You Know It's True?

Proofiness

Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception

Sun in a Bottle

Sun In A Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking

Decoding the Universe

Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, From Our Brains to Black Holes

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe

Zero

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea