To gain our notice, facts need human attention – to collect and record, to weigh or measure, to determine significance, meaning, or connection to other facts.
They must enter the machinery of perception – where sometimes they transform themselves into something else entirely, not an objective reflection of what is but a mirroring of who we are.
My “New American Cyclopaedia” (1872) tells me that in 1855 there were 25,858 people in New York who could neither read nor write, and 21,378 of them were Irish.
This may well have been true, but why exactly did it need to be emphasized? With hindsight, we can always see through the dubious “authority” of such historical sources.
As our understanding of our physical world alters; as records are broken or measurements exceeded; as times, laws, borders, and customs change; our encyclopedias and other reference books, along with our memories, demand constant updating.
In a thought-provoking essay in the [B]ooks of facts always display localized preferences, cultural values, sometimes straightforward prejudices.
The lone dissenter, Justice Stevens, insisted that whatever conclusions were to be drawn from the video should be left to a jury to determine.
The video which recorded the entire car chase has become the subject of much debate, as well as the focus of a study by a group of legal scholars.
I collected my own list of essential bloggers to follow. How people reach judgments and make decisions is of great interest to mediators. (For those who enjoy a good whodunit, you may wish to read how Jeff Thompson, who plays a detective in real life in his work with the NYC Police Department, conducts his own investigation of Benjamin’s allegations.) As the title of his article suggests, Benjamin is known for iconoclasm, a dramatic flair and a determined willingness to declare the emperor naked (or, in this case, deceased).
You’ll no doubt find some of your own at the World Directory of ADR Blogs at ADRblogs.com, a site which tracks and catalogs dispute resolution blogs from across the globe, and one of my ongoing web projects. For intellectually curious mediators and negotiators interested in staying on top of the results of the latest research, here is a list of the best social and brain science blogs. Remaining vigilant for cognitive errors can be a challenge but is essential for effective dispute resolution practice. If you wash away the fake gore and other Hollywood special effects, Benjamin’s essay contains words of caution to be heeded.