Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Top Ten Myths in FBI History

This article is partly interesting in and of itself and partly because it sits on fbi.gov. The piece itself is mostly fluffy, combining myths like “The FBI has Nikola Tesla’s plans for a ‘death ray'” with a paragraph about the FBI’s reasonable record with hiring minorities.

Like I said, though, what’s more interesting is that the article lives on the the FBI’s official government site. It’s got a little “share this” button and includes such un-governmental writing as “The FBI was hardly way ahead of its time in providing equal career opportunities to all Americans, but it is not true that the FBI was unwilling to hire minorities during Hoover’s tenure” and “So, bottom line: while FBI agents chasing aliens and other supernatural creatures may make good entertainment, it’s not part of our job description, and we don’t have a secret collection of ‘X-Files’ squirreled away somewhere.” They’ve even got their own Flash video player.

While I think it’s far from perfect, it’s a pretty good example of a company (or in this case a governmental organization) recognizing what makes it interesting to people and turning that into a website (instead of putting a bunch of boring stuff up there and thinking people will read it/watch it). Other articles include “How to Protect Your Computer” and “Elliot Ness and the FBI” (doesn’t look like they update to frequently).

July 28, 2008