Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nine Questions with Michael and Erin Peters

Vox has a series where they ask prominent figures in American society nine questions. I think they're interesting questions, so Michael and I answered them.

What’s the first piece of media you consume every day?

ERIN: I listen to podcasts on my way to work. 

MICHAEL: podcasts

Name a writer or publication you disagree with but still read.

ERIN: A little more than a year ago, confused by Trump's rise toward the presidency, I began reading National Review online. After the election, I subscribed to the print version as well. A lot of the times I'm horrified by the things they say (and even more horrified that they don't think there's anything wrong with saying it), but I also think they occasionally make good points and present a refreshing flip side to the mainstream media coverage. At the same time, anytime I've taken a National Review with me out in public, I've been too self-conscious to pull it out of my purse.

MICHAEL: Robert Rush. He's an economist that worked in the Clinton administration. He has some good insights on things but can be too partisan.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

ERIN: Thomas Jefferson, even though he and I recently had a falling out.

MICHAEL: Tim Hartford. He wrote The Undercover Economist, and I think he does a good job explaining where markets do a good job and where they don't do a good job in the world.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

ERIN: I recently listened to a TED talk about how scientists need to revise how they teach people about science, and I realized that all of the arguments I've had with Michael over the years about why I don't have faith in science are really because my science teachers did a bad job of teaching what science really is. 

MICHAEL: I recently changed my mind about Java being a horrible programming language. Now I just think it's mildly annoying.

What’s your worst intellectual habit?

ERIN:  Even though Facebook's algorithms have turned my Facebook feed into a boring stream of memes and status updates from people I don't even know, I can't convince myself to stop getting on Facebook.

MICHAEL: Confirmation bias.

What inspires you to learn?

ERIN: Everything is awesome.

MICHAEL: That's a hard one because I just enjoy learning. How do you get inspired to do something that you just like doing?

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

ERIN: That people are basically good. I don't actually believe it, but since I need to believe it, I lie to myself daily.

MICHAEL: That most people are trying to do what they think is right.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

ERIN: Mormonism?

MICHAEL: The saxophone is a horrible instrument.

What book have you recommended the most?

ERIN: A Monster Calls.

MICHAEL: The Name of the Wind.

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