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A nonnimous

I am not going to bother reading Freak II, given the sloppiness you have already documented. But I wonder whether Levitt and Dubner portray the "38 silent witnesses" to Genovese's murder as fact. This would be more sloppiness, since the standard version of the story, due to the NY Times, is false. See http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/a-fascinating-intersection-of-true-crime-psychology-and-media-misinformation/

for example.


A nonnimous: The point of these posts is to encourage reading of SuperFreakonomics but with a critical mindset. They raise a host of interesting issues, but will not convince every reader.

Regarding Kitty Genovese, they approached it in the usual Freakonomics style. At the start, they presented the original New York Times report of the story, setting up the "bystander effect" theme. At the end, they came back to this story, and presented the contrarian viewpoint. This latter viewpoint was presented as another person's opinion; I don't believe they presented it as the definitive version. Given the nature of these eyewitness accounts, it would be difficult to designate a definitive version, I'd think (but I am not so familiar with this case.)

A Professor

I am assigning "Numbers Rule Your World" as required reading for my intro statistics course.

This is how I plan to use the book.

Suppose the students are to have read chapter 1 by Wednesday. On Wed or Fri I will stop during the lecture and write two or three pointed questions on the board, the answers to which are to be found in Chapter 1 of Fung. But I will not tell the students that the answers are in Fung.

Some of these questions will appear on the exam. Students who have read the book will find it very easy to answer them.

A Professor

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