The Best of the Web

Over the last week Facebook removed an iconic photograph of the Vietnam War from its site, and photojournalist Suzanne Plunkett marked 15 years since she reported on 9/11. Brain Pickings examine Blaise Pascal’s art of persuasion, and BBC Culture explore the dark side of Roald Dahl to mark his centenary. These are the stories of the week.

THE GUARDIAN: Amid the horror of 9/11, taking this photograph changed my life

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Suzanne Plunker’s photograph of people escaping as the South Tower collapsed on 9/11

15 years after the Twin Towers collapsed in New York, photographer Suzanne Plunkett describes the day she took one of the most famous photos of 9/11. An articulate recollection of a photojournalist’s assignment for the Associated Press, Plunkett describes running across Broadway to escape the debris of the collapsing South Tower. Spinning around, positioning her Nikon, and firing 13 frames, Plunkett managed to get an arresting and palpable image. The firsthand account is striking, down to the very last detail of calling her father to tell him she loved him.

Read the full story HERE

 

Brain Pickings: How to change minds: Blaise Pascal on the art of persuasion

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Wikimedia: Blaise Pascal

Looking for ways to change people’s minds? This might be the read of the week for you. 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal suggested the best way of arguing erroneous views is not by ‘slipping through the backdoor of their [people’s] beliefs.’ Pascal suggested that persuasion was not based on control, but empathy. He wrote: “People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the minds of others.”

Read the full story HERE

 

THE ATLANTIC: The iconic photograph that didn’t make it past Facebook’s censors

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Photo: AP Photo/Nick Ut

In recent weeks Facebook has had a torrent of criticism for replacing human editors with algorithms, thus publishing fake news stories as fact. Norwegian editor of Aftenposten, Espen Egil Hansen, penned an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg after the famous Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the Vietnam War was removed. The iconic image taken by Nick Ut shows children, including a naked girl, escaping a napalm attack. Hansen said: “If you will not distinguish between child pornography and documentary photographs from a war, this will simply promote stupidity and fail to bring human beings closer to each other.”

Read the full story HERE

 

BBC Culture: The dark side of Roald Dahl

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The Witches illustration: Quentin Blake

Whether you love Roald Dahl or not there’s no denying his linguistic genius. Selling over 200 million copies of his books worldwide his stories are a quintessential part of childhood. In this article Hephzibah Anderson explores Dahl’s darker side; with cataclysmic and grim outcomes in books like The Witches Dahl had a knack for blemishing the sweetness of childhood. Maria Nikolajeva, professor of children’s literature at the University of Cambridge says the revolting serves: “an important cognitive-affective function: we know it’s disgusting, and the knowledge makes us superior. It’s healthy. But it must be disgusting in combination with humour.”

Read the full story HERE

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