Why do we long to both speak and be heard? What does it mean to converse with another person? Does that conversation mean that we know the person, and that they know us?
And what if the person we're speaking with isn't human?
Those are the intriguing questions Louisa Hall poses in her appropriately titled novel Speak, a time-hopping, five-part story that imagines artificial intelligence and its capacity for language as a means of forging deeply human connections. ...
Donald Trump announced last week that he is running for president in 2016, and he did it with Trump style in a rambling bit of political theater.
Trump bragged. "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich."
Trump trash-talked. "It's like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That's the difference between China's leaders and our leaders."...
Coming from a conservative political pundit who writes columns for the New York Times, The Road to Character is not exactly what you might expect. Don't look for mentions of the current crop of presidential candidates or hand-wringing over that terrible news on the front page of the newspaper. Instead, David Brooks has written a deeply meditative reflection on personal character and living a life of meaning. To take such a deep dive into the heart of living, Brooks turns away from contemporary society and looks to historical figures — St. Augustine, George Eliot, Dorothy Day, Dwight Eisenhower, to name just a few — for his inspiration. ...
Given Tuesday's announcement that Gov. Rick Scott was backing off support for expanding Medicaid, PolitiFact Florida decided to put his position on our Flip-O-Meter, where we look at whether public officials have changed position on public policy issues. We rated his latest remarks a Full Flop from his previous position. Read our full report....
As the week came to an end, international diplomats in Switzerland announced that Iran had agreed to a framework to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
President Barack Obama, who has supported the negotiations, called the framework "a historic understanding," adding, "I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final, comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world safer."...
03/21/15 State Roundup
Predictions about the health care law were a dime a dozen back in 2010. Supporters contended that virtually everyone around the country would soon have access to affordable insurance. Opponents said the law would cost a fortune by adding to the national debt and killing jobs.
Actually, none of those things have happened.
As the Affordable Care Act makes its way to its fifth anniversary on Monday, the law has taken twists and turns, moving off course from where everyone thought it would be....
Gov. Rick Scott won a second term with a slew of promises to constituents about cutting taxes, spending more on education and improving the environment. In recent weeks, Scott has taken actionon his promises by putting forward those ideas for the upcoming legislative session, which opens Tuesday. PolitiFact Florida is tracking those promises on the Scott-O-Meter, where the promises are currently rated In the Works. Read PolitiFact Florida's report to see which promises are in play for the session....
Thomas Eric Duncan left Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 19 for Dallas. Eleven days later, doctors diagnosed Duncan with Ebola.
Eight days after that, he was dead.
Duncan's case is just one of two Ebola-related fatalities in the United States, and since Duncan traveled to Dallas, more Americans — at least nine, and likely many more — have died from the flu.
Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy....
We offered readers 10 finalists for the Lie of the Year for 2014. It's the sixth year in a row we've asked readers to weigh in via an online poll. We received 14,467 votes this year, a record turnout. • First place among readers went to "Global warming is a hoax," a statement made by a losing congressional candidate in south Louisiana. • Here are the full results:
"Global warming is a hoax." — Lenar Whitney. Pants on Fire. 31.8 % The United States has seen "a net loss of people with health insurance" because of Obamacare. —John Boehner. False. 18.8 % The State Department says the 42,000 jobs created by the Keystone XL pipeline are "ongoing, enduring jobs." —Russ Girling. False. 17.8 % "At least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas" and there are "dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol." —Duncan Hunter. Pants on Fire. 8.8 % "My position hasn't changed" on using executive authority to address immigration issues. —Barack Obama. False. 8.6 % Says President Barack Obama has issued upwards of 1,000 executive orders, more than any modern president. —Chain email. Pants on Fire. 4.1 % Amid the "crisis at our southern border," there are "reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as … Ebola virus." — Phil Gingrey. Pants on Fire. 3.5 % Some doctors say Ebola can be transmitted through the air by "a sneeze or some cough." —George Will. False. 2.7 % Says his comment about extremists being a JV team "wasn't specifically referring to" Islamic State. —Barack Obama. False. 1.9 % Other (Examples: "All of the above"; "Dick Cheney saying that torture was effective"; "if you like your health care plan you can keep it"; "they're all liars, I'm sick of everyone.") 1.8 % "The only candidate pocketing big money from people who want to destroy coal is Mitch McConnell." —Alison Lundergan Grimes. False. 0.2 %
World leaders gathered recently in Brisbane, Australia, to talk about ways to lift employment in their countries and around the world. Some of their public comments included a good bit of spin. So fact-checkers around the world went to work.
Nine fact-checking organizations from around the world, including PolitiFact, joined forces to fact-check statements from political officials from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Italy, South Africa and Turkey. One common theme: Several elected officials exaggerated how many jobs have been created in recent years....
For those of us who know and love Marilynne Robinson's luminous novels, Lila is a dearly awaited friend. Robinson has chronicled the fictional Ames family of Iowa from the Civil War to the 1950s, in books that began with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and continued with Home. With this third novel, we finally learn the story of one of the series' most intriguing characters: the old minister's mysterious young wife. ...
10/31/14 State Roundup
Through all the debates, TV ads, emails to supporters and appearances on the campaign trail, PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for Florida governor. We've published more than 80 fact-checks over the past year on everything from abortion to immigration to university tuition.
Overall, the race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist has been chock full of attacks, with each side sending out a barrage of negative commentary....
One thing we've noticed about the midterms of 2014: There hasn't been a unifying theme. Candidates around the country have launched a grab bag of talking points in races for Senate, House and governor. In Florida, it's jobs and education. In Kentucky, it's coal. In Colorado, it's abortion and contraception.
When it comes to the grossest distortions — the biggest whoppers of the 2014 midterms — the topics have been equally varied. When we put together our list, we found claims about the Islamic State, global warming, gun rights and the farm bill....
10/20/14 State Roundup
CNN is hosting the third and final debate of the governor's race tonight and the network has been clear: No fans.
That may avert another standoff like the one that held up last week's debate for seven minutes. But it probably won't stop the candidates from spinning on the issues.
Whether it's Democrat Charlie Crist or Republican incumbent Rick Scott, the two have been campaigning so long that they've started to repeat themselves on issues like jobs, education and same-sex marriage. PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for close to a year now....
A new ad with an old complaint against Charlie Crist calls it "flippin’ unbelievable" -- then recounts how Crist has flip-flopped on, well, many things.
The ad, put out by the Republican Party of Florida, could have chosen any number of Crist’s positions to highlight, but this one focused on four significant issues: party affiliation, the health care law, abortion and the stimulus. For the most part, it uses clips of Crist’s own contradictory comments before concluding, "That’s flippin’ nuts" and "Charlie Crist, typical flippin’ politician."...