Sunday, December 10, 2006

2006 Year in Ideas

Today's New York Times Magazine published four stories of mine as part of their annual Year in Ideas issue -- a catalogue of interesting ideas from 2006. The stories are short, but oh so much fun:

Celebrity Narcissism: A new study, by Drew Pinsky (of LoveLine fame) and Mark Young, found that celebrities are nearly 20% more narcissistic than the general public, which probably doesn't mean what you think it means.

Tushology: A scientist named David Holmes has developed an equation to examine how perfect (or not) a person's rearend is (the story ran with the above illustration, which I think is brilliant -- in case you can't tell, each of those colored lines in the drawing is a strip of measuring tape)

The Ballot That's Also a Lottery Ticket: Mark Osterloh wants to increase voter turnout by offering a million dollar incentive to show up at the polls.

Publication Probity: Creating the Journal of Spurious Correlations, the first social science journal devoted entirely to publishing negative results.

The assignments I get for the Year in Ideas issue are always some of my favorites -- they're light, fun, and totally fascinating. In previous years, I've covered Why Yawns are Contagious, Celebrity Teeth, Why Some Popcorn Kernels Don't Pop, Creating a Singable National Anthom, and Eyeball Jewelery.



Anonymous wholesomedick said...

I just wish Drew would find out how much his new co-host sucks.

More on the study in this thread:

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Dashiell said...

Just out of curiosity, for this issue, do you pitch the ideas to them or are they assigned to you a pre-determined list?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Skloot said...

Good question. For the most part, the Times Magazine comes up with the list of ideas they want to cover, then they call me to talk about which ones I want to write. My editor there knows my writing style and taste very well, so he usually just calls and says, I've got a bunch of very Skloot ideas, then he tells me them, I love them, and I do as many as I can. That said, I do keep my eyes open for ideas throughout the year -- I email my editor links to things I think might make good additions, as do many of his other regular writers. Those ideas go into the mix when they're picking the lineup at the end of the year. A few ideas I've sent over the years end up being included.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Thanks!

7:20 AM  

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