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Opening Arguments

Head fake

The U.K.'s Indpendent is, I believe, supposed to be a serious newspaper, not a supermarket tabloid. And yet . . . Here is the headline:

Huge asteroid that 'could end human life' defying gravity as it moves towards Earth, scientists say

But here is the fourth paragraph in:

They were studying asteroid 1950 DA, which has a one in 300 chance of hitting the planet on 16 March, 2880.

Yeah, well, OK, then. A one in 300 chance, more that 800 years from now. Guess I'll scratch that off my worry list.

This is an extreme example, I know, but the lesson applies to more mundane concerns: Don't just skim the headlines; always read the actual story. You have the feeling that we are sourrounded these days by "just skim the headlines" types? Some of them, alas, are in charge.