…so…you may have heard the phrase “political correctness gone mad”…particularly if you happened to read certain bits of the british press over the last few years…but it’s hard to know what to say when the wolves are afraid of the sheep in a children’s story
Five members of a Hong Kong union behind a series of children’s books about sheep trying to hold back wolves from their village have been arrested for sedition.
The arrests by the new national security police unit, which is spearheading a sweeping crackdown on dissent, are the latest action against pro-democracy activists since huge and often violent protests convulsed the city two years ago.
Police said on Thursday that the two men and three women aged between 25 and 28 had “conspired to publish, distribute, exhibit or copy seditious publications”.
The group was attempting to stir up “the public’s – and especially young children’s – hatred towards Hong Kong’s government and judiciary and to incite violence and illegal acts,” police said in their statement.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/22/five-arrested-in-hong-kong-for-sedition-over-childrens-book-about-sheep
…now those who can remember the image of a lone figure standing in the path of a line of tanks when the protests in tiananmen square were all over the news may have a different feeling about what constitutes violence where protests are concerned
Hong Kong’s legislature, which has no opposition party, begins discussions on Wednesday on privacy laws tackling “doxxing behavior” that some technology giants fear are so broad and vague that they could hamper operations in the city.
Critics of the legislation, including human rights and tech industry groups, say the measures could be used to protect those in power and target civil society. Supporters say the legislation was long overdue to counter a problem festering since the city’s 2019 mass pro-democracy protests.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/hong-kong-begins-talks-controversial-anti-doxxing-privacy-bill
The government, which has pushed Hong Kong onto an increasingly authoritarian path since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in 2020, faces no official opposition after democratic lawmakers resigned en masse last year in protest at the disqualification of colleagues.
“The government’s interpretation of doxxing is not necessarily the same as that of technology companies,” an executive at one of the tech companies told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The government has said that doxxing acts “weaponize personal data, and have caused great harm in the society in recent years.”
…sure & one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist
Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) was formed in 1986 when Sinn Féin announced that, if elected, it would take its seats in the Irish parliament – ending its longstanding policy of abstentionism. Its alleged military wing, the Continuity IRA, emerged the following year. The Real IRA and its assumed political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) were formed in 1997, when Sinn Féin accepted that Northern Ireland’s constitutional future should be decided by a referendum solely in the north. Another organisation emerged in 2009 after a split in the Real IRA, namely Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓNH); its purported political wing Republican Network for Unity had formed in 2007. Then, in 2012, the New IRA formed, which sought to unite that disparate dissident base. Viewing itself as the latest manifestation of the Irish Republican Army, it vows to continue the armed struggle until the achievement of Irish sovereignty – the unfinished business of the IRA. Saoradh, the most recently formed dissident group, emerged in 2016, believed to be political wing of the New IRA. These organisations deny that they have military wings, rather they state that they share a position with those organisations.
Small though they may be, particularly in comparison to Sinn Féin, the New and Continuity IRAs are not going away. In the two years since McKee’s death, Brexit has brought a renewed focus on the border in Ireland and the groups are watching developments with keen interest, though regardless of what form the border in Ireland takes, they remain committed to removing that border by force. A debate has developed within the republican base around whether or not there should be any armed actions in Ireland today. Some ask, what can sporadic actions, primarily targeting police, actually achieve?
To question the armed campaign, within that dissident base, is to be met with accusations of treason and selling out. In March 2021, Des Dalton, president of Republican Sinn Féin from 2009 to 2018, was suspended from the organisation when, speaking in a personal capacity, he told an interviewer that conditions at present aren’t right for an armed campaign. When the interview was made public the ard chomhairle (executive) called an emergency meeting, during which Dalton was suspended, with some members calling for his dismissal. After 32 years as a member of RSF, Dalton resigned.
RSF remains defiant in its support for the Continuity IRA’s campaign and, two weeks after Dalton’s resignation, RSF released its Easter statement arguing: “It is the duty of the republican movement to oppose British occupation in Ireland … When a sustained campaign cannot be mounted, it is a duty to at least harass the enemy.” For RSF and Saoradh, stopping armed actions, even on strategic grounds, is republican heresy. The flame must be kept burning.
A key aim of the armed groups is to disrupt “normalisation” in Northern Ireland. In the post-1998 period Northern Ireland became increasingly demilitarised, which included the dismantling of British army barracks and the departure of foot patrols. Today it doesn’t feel like a place that is at war. For dissident groups, the more normal life becomes, the less focus there is on the fact that Ireland is still partitioned. Security alerts and attacks on the police continue to demonstrate that Northern Ireland is not a normal society. The PSNI, the RSF spokesperson told me, must not feel safe.
Saoradh member Dee Fennell says the continuing British military presence demonstrates that the dissident republican groups still pose a threat. “There’s still more British soldiers per capita in the six counties than there was in Iraq and Afghanistan combined at any time, so if republicanism isn’t a threat, if the IRA’s campaign isn’t viable, if Saoradh is futile, if republicanism is currently in a valley and not on a peak, then why does the British government have to invest so much infrastructure, personnel, logistics, technology, so much money to combat it?”
In an attempt to avoid any remilitarisation of the “soft” border between the north and south of Ireland, the NI protocol, introduced in 2020, raised the prospect of a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain. This led to loyalist anger, and claims that such a border would create a de facto united Ireland. At a rally in Newtownards in June 2021, loyalist spokesperson Jamie Bryson referred to the “unjust, unlawful and unconstitutional protocol imposed upon us, binding us in chains to the Irish Republic within an economic united Ireland.”
Conversely, any hardening of the border in Ireland between the north and south would provoke a reaction from republicans. To date, dissident republicans have not responded to the loyalist protests and riots. In a sense they don’t need to. For many, the sands have shifted with Brexit, as more people in the north may be considering whether they would be better off in a united Ireland within the EU than remaining in the UK outside the EU. Republicans will hope to capitalise on the altered political landscape which Brexit has brought, as the border is propelled back into mainstream discussion.
The republican campaign for a united Ireland continues regardless, as explained by the north Armagh former Continuity prisoner. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a soft border, a hard border, it’s still the British-imposed border there. What [Brexit] has done is probably reignited the fact that there is a real possibility that there could be some form of remilitarisation of the border.”‘While there’s British interference, there’s going to be action’: why a hardcore of dissident Irish republicans are not giving up [Guardian]
[…that’s a bigger chunk of text than might seem necessary but it’s a long article…although if you’ve a half-hour or so to spare & want to feel like you at least vaguely get the deal with the northern ireland thing you could do a lot worse?]
…as you’ll remember if you watched the george carlin clip @butcherbakertoiletrymaker posted yesterday
Just seven months after it came into force, the Northern Ireland protocol is once again a significant flashpoint in the UK’s relations with Dublin and Brussels.
On Wednesday, the UK published a “command paper” on the protocol. Some will see it as an attempt to tear up the agreement Boris Johnson struck in 2019; others will see it as a serious attempt to fix a deal they argue was flawed from the beginning but signed to help the British prime minister to get Brexit done, as he had promised.https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jul/21/why-uk-publishing-command-paper-northern-ireland-protocol
…but getting arrested over seditious sheep stories for children does put complaints of censorship by some other would-be seditionists into perspective…not that perspective is really something they show much sign of possessing…or, in some cases, the ability to distinguish two from five…so it’s no surprise what they say doesn’t add up
The House speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, announced on Wednesday that she would veto the two top Republicans appointed by the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, to the new select committee investigating the Capitol attack, saying the Trump-allied congressmen could threaten the integrity of the investigation.
But the move triggered McCarthy to pull all five of the Republicans he had chosen off the committee if Pelosi wouldn’t seat the whole cohort – and threaten to set up their own investigation into the 6 January Capitol attack.
With Pelosi refusing to back down and saying the committee would go ahead, the rejected Republicans said they considered that she had rejected all five.
Pelosi said in a statement that she was rejecting Republicans Jim Banks and Jim Jordan from the panel because of their remarks disparaging the inquiry and their ties to Donald Trump, who will be the subject of the select committee’s investigation.
McCarthy had included Banks and Jordan – both outspoken Trump allies who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election victory – among his picks on Monday, foreshadowing a bitter partisan fight over the direction of the inquiry.
“This panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth,” McCarthy said. “Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts.”
House Democrats were outraged with Banks’s appointment in part because of a statement released on Monday night in which he inexplicably blamed the Biden administration for its response to the 6 January attack, which took place during the Trump administration, the source said.
Banks also drew the ire of Pelosi and House Democrats after he arranged a trip for House Republicans to join Trump at a recent event at the southern border alongside an individual who participated in the Capitol attack itself.
Pelosi also expressed deep concern about the selection of Jordan, the source said, especially given he may have spoken to Trump as rioters stormed the Capitol and disparaged attempts to investigate the deadliest attack on the Capitol since the war of 1812.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/21/nancy-pelosi-capitol-attack-committee-republicans
…presumably that would be a minor typo, though…clearly what maccarthy meant was “our own investigation of [our own] facts”…on account of how THE facts flat out don’t work for their purposes
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re taking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially.” Fauci said. “You do not know what you’re talking about.”
While it was not a new accusation from Paul, the senator implied Tuesday that Fauci had previously lied to Congress and was aware of what the Wuhan lab was doing with grant money that came from the NIH.
“Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said in rebuking Paul’s claim, adding that the issue had been evaluated many times by qualified people.
“We don’t know that it did come from the lab, but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab, and there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself,” Paul claimed, referring to the coronavirus.
“I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, senator, because if you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible” for those viruses to result in the coronavirus, Fauci responded.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/fauci-blasts-rand-paul-s-wuhan-lab-funding-claim
“This is a pattern that Senator Paul has been doing at multiple hearings based on no reality,” Fauci said. “I have not lied. Case closed.”
…but in terms of things which maybe give a sense of perspective the facts may not prove exactly comforting
Nearly 1,000 local governments applied for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which recently announced the 406 expected recipients of its first wave of $500 million in grant funding. (Final decisions on awards will be made in September.) Interest far outstripped the available money, and many communities are set to receive nothing.
Three of the wealthiest states — California, New Jersey and Washington — are on track to receive more than half of the money, for initiatives including flood mitigation, a tsunami shelter and the removal of dense undergrowth to prevent wildfires. Plenty of poorer communities will receive funding as well, but dozens will not, including Amazonia, Missouri, with a population of just over 300, which wanted to protect critical equipment for its sewer system from rising waters, and Wilson, North Carolina, which hoped to move public housing away from areas at risk of flooding.
The long list of more than 500 communities that received no funding — many without the resources to prepare for extreme weather on their own — has raised concerns among environmental justice and civil rights advocates that better resourced communities won big, while disadvantaged areas remain in need. In some cases, that’s because poorer communities don’t have the money for the matching part of the grant, or lack the resources to prepare a competitive grant application.
The consequences of climate change are particularly pernicious for the poor and communities of color. Black, Latino and low-income families are more likely to live in flood zones, researchers have found. The nation’s wealth gap means their neighborhoods are less likely to have money to harden infrastructure and homes in advance of natural disasters, and the recovery is unequal as well. An investigation of FEMA’s data by NPR shows that affluent survivors are more likely to receive help.Climate change hits poorer communities harder. For some, FEMA’s grants are out of reach. [NBC]
The extraordinary forest fires, which have already burned through 1.5m hectares (3.7m acres) of land in north-east Siberia have released choking smog across Russia’s Yakutia region, where officials have described this summer’s weather as the driest in the past 150 years. And that follows five years of hot summers, which have, according to villagers, turned the surrounding forests and fields into a tinderbox.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/20/everything-is-on-fire-siberia-hit-by-unprecedented-burning
The unprecedented scale of the fires has prompted locals to join auxiliary fire brigades.
China’s military has blasted a dam to release water threatening one of its most heavily populated provinces, as the death toll in widespread flooding rose to at least 25 and was expected to climb further.
The death toll was expected to rise on Thursday as rescue work continues in the devastated region where a year’s worth of rain – 640mm (25in) – fell in the region in just three days.
Chinese media said the rainfall was unprecedented in the past “1,000 years”. Some worry that given the scale of the damage, the post-disaster reconstruction will be particularly challenging for one of the most populous provinces in China. Zhengzhou alone is home to 12 million people and initial estimates say at 1.2 million have been directly affected by the flooding.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/22/china-floods-military-blasts-dam-release-water-as-floods-death-toll-climbs
Catastrophic floods such as those that struck Europe recently could become much more frequent as a result of global heating, researchers say.
High-resolution computer models suggest that slow-moving storms could become 14 times more common over land by the end of the century in a worst-case scenario. The slower a storm moves, the more rain it dumps on a small area and the greater the risk of serious flooding.
Researchers already knew that the higher air temperatures caused by the climate crisis mean the atmosphere can hold more moisture, which in turn has led to more extreme downpours. The latest analysis, however, is the first to assess the role of slow-moving storms in causing extreme downpours in Europe.
The storms projected in the new study move even more slowly than those which drenched Germany, the Netherlands and other countries in the past week and so would lead to even more extreme rainfall and flooding. “The simulations give the idea that even worse can happen,” said Abdullah Kahraman at Newcastle University in the UK, who led the research.
Scientists think the rapidly warming Arctic may be the root cause of slowing weather systems, by decelerating high-level winds such as the jet stream. The phenomenon has already been linked to devastating heatwaves in Russia and floods in Pakistan.
The intensity and scale of the recent floods in western Europe, in which more than 180 people died, have shocked climate scientists, who did not expect records to be so comprehensively broken over such a wide area or so soon.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/21/catastrophic-floods-could-hit-europe-far-more-often-study-finds
In recent days, all-time record highs have been set in Turkey, northern Japan and Northern Ireland, while the mercury reached 110 in Montana
As viewed on a weather map of the globe, no fewer than five powerful heat domes are swelling over the landmasses of the Northern Hemisphere. These zones of high pressure in the atmosphere, intensified by climate change, are generating unforgiving blasts of heat in North America, Europe and Asia simultaneously.
The heat domes, in a number of instances, are the source of record high temperatures and are contributing to swarms of wildfires in western North America and in Siberia. In recent days, all-time record highs have been set in Turkey, northern Japan and Northern Ireland.
Lined up like a parade, the heat domes are also part of a traffic jam of weather systems that instigated the flood disaster in Europe last week.
Heat domes like this are normal at this time of year, the hottest point of summer, but it’s unusual to have this many this intense. Every one of these heat domes is generating exceptional weather.
Scientists have determined that climate change is increasing the intensity of heat domes and making heat waves hotter than they would have been without human influence. This explains the frequency at which temperature records are being set every summer. Already this summer, seven national high temperature records have fallen.
But the current weather pattern, in which these heat domes are not only intensified but also prolonged, may also be linked to climate change.https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/07/20/heat-wave-northern-hemisphere/
…may be linked
Diana Six’s love of the outdoors began before she could form words, run, or collect the bugs and fungi that were precious to her as a child. A tough home life eventually led her to drop out of school and live on the streets. But biology classes in community college helped Six discover her calling in studying various forms of life. “They took me right back to how I was as a kid,” she says.
“I don’t think people realize that climate change is not just a loss of ice. It’s all the stuff that’s dependent on it. The ice is really just the canary in the coalmine. To have 97, 98 degrees in Glacier national park for days on end is insane. This is not just some fluke.
“There are many years where the snow is gone so early that you just don’t see it in the mountains. And water getting that warm is absolutely devastating to fish and algae.
“Life doesn’t just deal with this. When I went up Glacier with my students a few weeks ago, the flowers were curling up. At some of the lower elevations, glacier lilies were shriveled, lupins didn’t even open. The flowers should extend for another three weeks and they’re already gone. Any insects or birds that depend upon them, like bees or hummingbirds are in trouble, their food is gone. Bird populations have just baked.
“There have been total losses of a lot of baby birds this year. You see these ospreys and eagles sitting on top of the trees in their nests and those young, they just can’t take the heat. Year after year of that and you lose your birds.
“People seem to think of extinctions as some silent, painless statistic. It’s not. You look at birds that can no longer find fish because they’ve moved too far off shore. They’re emaciated, they’re starving to death. We are at the point that there’s nothing untouched.Top US scientist on melting glaciers: ‘I’ve gone from being an ecologist to a coroner’ [Guardian]
…are we really still at “maybe” on this?
Facing a hotter future, dwindling water sources and an exploding population, scientists in one Middle East country are making it rain.
United Arab Emirates meteorological officials released a video this week of cars driving through a downpour in Ras al Khaimah in the northern part of the country. The storm was the result of one of the UAE’s newest efforts to increase rainfall in a desert nation that gets about four inches a year on average.
Scientists created rainstorms by launching drones, which then zapped clouds with electricity, the Independent reports. Jolting droplets in the clouds can cause them to clump together, researchers found. The larger raindrops that result then fall to the ground, instead of evaporating midair — which is often the fate of smaller droplets in the UAE, where temperatures are hot and the clouds are high.
“What we are trying to do is to make the droplets inside the clouds big enough so that when they fall out of the cloud, they survive down to the surface,” meteorologist and researcher Keri Nicoll told CNN in May as her team prepared to start testing the drones near Dubai.
Nicoll is part of a team of scientists with the University of Reading in England whose research led to this week’s man-made rainstorms. In 2017, the university’s scientists received $1.5 million for use over three years from the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, which has invested in at least nine different research projects over the past five years.
Water is a big issue in the UAE. The country uses about 4 billion cubic meters of it each year but has access to about 4 percent of that in renewable water resources, according to the CIA. The number of people living in the UAE has skyrocketed in recent years, doubling to 8.3 million between 2005 and 2010, which helps explain why demand for water spiked by a third around that time, according to the government’s 2015 “State of Environment” report. The population kept surging over the next decade and is now 9.9 million.
“The water table is sinking drastically in [the] UAE,” University of Reading professor and meteorologist Maarten Ambaum told BBC News, “and the purpose of this [project] is to try to help with rainfall.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/21/uae-dubai-fake-rain/
…now where did we hear about UAE just recently?
Tom Barrack, who chaired former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he unlawfully influenced the foreign policy positions of the campaign and administration to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates, the Justice Department said.
In a seven-count indictment, unsealed in a New York federal court, Barrack, 74, and two others are accused of “acting and conspiring to act as agents” of the United Arab Emirates between April 2016 and April 2018. Barrack was also charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements to federal law enforcement agents.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/thomas-barrack-trump-s-inaugural-committee-chair-arrested-federal-charges
…oh, yeah…that’ll be it…swimming with sharks & all that
Earlier this month, Allen Weisselberg — the Trump Organization’s most powerful employee not named “Trump” — resigned his post in the company’s leadership.
Weisselberg had been one of two trustees at the trust that owns and controls former president Donald Trump’s company. But Weisselberg gave up that post, and dozens of others at Trump subsidiaries, after he was charged with running a tax-fraud scheme inside the company.
Weisselberg still works at the company, according to one person familiar with the Trump Organization. But his resignation from those formal posts means that the company’s already small executive ranks have shrunk even further, at a time when the company faces a raft of financial and legal problems.
Officially, its most powerful officer is now Donald Trump Jr.
The Trump Organization is controlled by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust — a legal entity to which Trump transferred his hundreds of companies when he took office in 2017. The trust, in turn, is controlled by trustees. Previously, there were two. But after Weisselberg resigned, just one was left: Trump Jr., according to papers the company filed in New Jersey this month.
In a practical sense, people familiar with the company say, the company’s day-to-day leaders are Trump Jr., 43, and his younger brother Eric, 37. Eric, who lives in New York, usually plays a more active role, the people said, because Trump Jr. has moved to Florida and become more involved in politics. Despite his rise to the top of the company’s formal hierarchy, Trump Jr. has not listed an office address at New York’s Trump Tower — instead asking for his mail to be sent care of a Trump golf course near his new home in Florida, 1,200 miles away.
Although Trump claimed the trust would keep his businesses at arm’s length while president, the kind of trust he used — a revocable trust — still left Trump himself with all the power. He could tell the trustees how to run the company. He could fire them if they disobeyed. And he could shut down the trust and take his businesses back whenever he wanted.
Trump’s company is still running 10 hotels, 12 stand-alone golf courses, various commercial and residential buildings and a website selling Trump-branded T-shirts and candles.
The company’s holdings declined during Trump’s presidency, as four hotels closed, the Trump merchandising empire shrank, and buildings took down the Trump name. The company was hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, by its politically toxified brand, and by the indictments of Weisselberg and two Trump corporate entities.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/21/weisselberg-trump-organization-eric-donald-ivanka/
…with friends like these…not that any of these people really seem like they actually know what friends are so much as “people I don’t currently claim to hate”…but…as ever…context matters
“The Mechanisms of Cult Production” compares the behavior of political elites across a wide range of dictatorial regimes, from Caligula’s Rome to the Kim family’s North Korea, and finds striking similarities. Despite vast differences in culture and material circumstances, elites in all such regimes engage in pretty much the same behavior, especially what the paper dubs “loyalty signaling” and “flattery inflation.”
In the context of dictatorial regimes, signaling typically involves making absurd claims on behalf of the Leader and his agenda, often including “nauseating displays of loyalty.” If the claims are obvious nonsense and destructive in their effects, if making those claims humiliates the person who makes them, these are features, not bugs. I mean, how does the Leader know if you’re truly loyal unless you’re willing to demonstrate your loyalty by inflicting harm both on others and on your own reputation?
And once this kind of signaling becomes the norm, those trying to prove their loyalty have to go to ever greater extremes to differentiate themselves from the pack. Hence “flattery inflation”: The Leader isn’t just brave and wise, he’s a perfect physical specimen, a brilliant health expert, a Nobel-level economic analyst, and more. The fact that he’s obviously none of these things only enhances the effectiveness of the flattery as a demonstration of loyalty.
The only unusual thing about the G.O.P.’s wholesale adoption of the Leader Principle is that the party doesn’t have a monopoly on power; in fact, it controls neither Congress nor the White House. Politicians suspected of insufficient loyalty to Donald Trump and Trumpism in general aren’t sent to the gulag. At most, they stand to lose intraparty offices and, possibly, future primaries. Yet such is the timidity of Republican politicians that these mild threats are apparently enough to make many of them behave like Caligula’s courtiers.
Unfortunately, all this loyalty signaling is putting the whole nation at risk. In fact, it will almost surely kill large numbers of Americans in the next few months.Republicans Have Their Own Private Autocracy [NYT]
…you start to wonder how many blind eyes can be turned before we wind up with the proverbial one-eyed man in charge
At the start of the pandemic, a group of data scientists at Facebook held a meeting with executives to ask for resources to help measure the prevalence of misinformation about Covid-19 on the social network.
The data scientists said figuring out how many Facebook users saw false or misleading information would be complex, perhaps taking a year a more, according to two people who participated in the meeting. But they added that by putting some new hires on the project and reassigning some existing employees to it, the company could better understand how incorrect facts about the virus spread on the platform.
The executives never approved the resources, and the team was never told why, according to the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Now, more than a year later, Facebook has been caught in a firestorm about the very type of information that the data scientists were hoping to track.
The company has responded with statistics on how many posts containing misinformation it has removed, as well as how many Americans it has directed to factual information about the government’s pandemic response. In a blog post on Saturday, Facebook asked the Biden administration to stop “finger-pointing,” and casting blame on Facebook after missing its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults by July 4.
But the pointed back-and-forth struck an uncomfortable chord for the company: It doesn’t actually know many specifics about how misinformation about the coronavirus and the vaccines to combat it have spread. That blind spot has reinforced concerns among misinformation researchers over Facebook’s selective release of data, and how aggressively — or not — the company has studied misinformation on its platform.
Renée DiResta, a disinformation researcher at Stanford’s Internet Observatory, called on Facebook to release more granular data, which would allow experts to understand how false claims about the vaccine were affecting specific communities within the country. The information, which is known as “prevalence data,” essentially looks at how widespread a narrative is, such as what percentage of people in a community on the service see it.
“The reason more granular prevalence data is needed is that false claims don’t spread among all audiences equally,” Ms. DiResta said. “In order to effectively counter specific false claims that communities are seeing, civil society organization and researchers need a better sense of what is happening within those groups.”
Many employees within Facebook have made the same argument. Brian Boland, a former Facebook vice president in charge of partnerships strategy, told CNN on Sunday that he had argued while at the company that it should publicly share as much information as possible. When asked about the dispute with the White House over Covid misinformation, he said, “Facebook has that data.”
“They look at it,” Mr. Boland. But he added: “Do they look at it the right way? Are they investing in the teams as fully as they should?”
Mr. Boland’s comments were widely repeated as evidence that Facebook has the requested data but is not sharing it. He did not respond to a request for comment from The New York Times, but one of the data scientists who pushed inside Facebook for deeper study of coronavirus misinformation said the problem was more about whether and how the company studied the data.
Technically, the person said, the company has data on all content that moves through its platforms. But measuring and tracking Covid misinformation first requires defining and labeling what qualifies as misinformation, something the person said the company had not dedicated resources toward.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/technology/facebook-misinformation-blind-spot.html
…so…what I’m hearing is that it all comes down to who’s looking at what…& who gets to define the terms of the debate
When the European Championship began, the members of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team played in their standard uniforms: sports bras and bikini briefs that could not exceed 10 centimeters at the sides.
At their bronze-medal match on Sunday, once they’d qualified for the upcoming world championship, the Norwegian players ran onto the court in shorts. It was an opportunity to make a statement, Hammerstad said. “We are athletes who just want to be playing our sport.”
For violating the rules of the International Handball Federation, the team was fined 1,500 euros, or about $1,770.
There is a deep-rooted idea that women’s sports aren’t as interesting to watch as men’s sports, because women aren’t as “good” at athletics as men are, said Cheryl Cooky, a professor of American studies at Purdue University who specializes in gender and athletics. To make women’s sports more popular, she said, people in athletic leadership have implemented these kinds of dress codes in sports such as beach volleyball, beach handball and gymnastics. While that notion is being challenged by members of the Norwegian beach handball team and others, she said, it has “a very strong foothold.”
“It’s about patriarchy and sexism,” Cooky said. “Let’s be real here.”https://www.thelily.com/forced-to-play-in-panties-the-norwegian-beach-handball-team-decided-theyd-had-enough/
These uniform regulations are a way to force athletes to “better align with our cultural expectations for women,” Cooky said. Women on national athletic teams are “powerful and dominant, strong and competitive,” she said, descriptors that defy traditional norms of femininity. By making women play handball in bikinis, she said, the mostly male athletic federations are reminding viewers that women and men are fundamentally different, even at the highest levels of athletic competition.