Op-Ed: Covering Science at Dangerous Speeds

My father, who spent two years in Plattsburgh, New York, as an Air Force doctor during the Vietnam War, used to say that the military had to be able to pick up clerks at a desk in the US, fly them to Saigon, and have them continue typing the same sentence as if they were still sitting in their US air base.

I think it must be similar to end one day as a politics, business, or real estate reporter, then show up at work—from home, at the moment—and be told that you’re on the health beat, covering the coronavirus pandemic. The language may be the same, but the jargon is completely different. What is a confidence interval? (It’s sort of like a margin of error in a poll, but not exactly.) What is a P value? (Even scientists struggle to explain those, so I won’t try here.)

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