Hype versus Miscommunication, or the Language of Importance
“You don’t fall in love because the target of your affections is the most perfect person in the universe, you fall in love because they’re someone who can constantly surprise you.”
A fellow amplitudes-person was complaining to me recently about the hype surrounding the debate regarding whether black holes have “firewalls”. New York Times coverage seems somewhat excessive for what is, in the end, a fairly technical debate, and its enthusiasm was (rightly?) mocked in several places.
There’s an attitude I often run into among other physicists. The idea is that when hype like this happens, it’s because senior physicists are, at worst, cynically manipulating the press to further their positions or, at best, so naïve that they really see what they’re working on as so important that it deserves hype-y coverage. Occasionally, the blame will instead be put on the journalists, with largely the same ascribed motivations: cynical need for more page views, or naïve acceptance of whatever story they’re handed.
In my opinion, what’s going on there is a bit deeper, and not so easily traceable to any…
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