As I wrote here, Errol Morris has for the last few years been writing the occasional brilliant series of articles in the NY Times, and he’s got another one going now; this is the first installment, and I commend it to the attention of anyone interested in the influence on our thinking of things that you wouldn’t think should influence it. I kind of hate to reveal even as much as I do here, but it’s only a spoiler for the first section and the fun stuff comes afterwards; he links to this earlier piece, focused on a quiz about optimism and pessimism, then says:
Here is my confession. My quiz wasn’t really a test of the optimism or pessimism of the reader. There was a hidden agenda. It was a test of the effect of fonts on truth. Or to be precise, the effect on credulity. Are there certain fonts that compel a belief that the sentences they are written in are true?
For the exciting answer, read the essay (and I assure statistically minded folks in advance that the p-value for the main result is 0.0068). Oh, and there’s a nice bit on the Crimean War, too. Thanks, Nick!