HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Blue_Tires » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 107 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 42,896

About Me

I\'m rested, I\'m ready... Is DU?

Journal Archives

What was fake on the Internet this week: Why do we even bother, honestly?

Typically, we use this space to debunk the various hoaxes, charades and conspiracy theories that afflict social media each week. But this week, I can’t do it. I must abstain. Because someone’s done a study on debunk efforts like this one, and bottom line? They’re all in vain.

To reach this heart-rending conclusion, Walter Quattrociocchi — the head of the Laboratory of Computational Social Science at IMT Lucca — and a team of seven (!) other researchers studied how two groups of U.S. Facebook users interacted with news on the site. One group was comprised of people who interact with reputable science pages. (Those are the ones who presumably have a level of news literacy.) The other group was made of people who like far-out conspiracy pages — anti-vaxxers, Illuminati-watchers, that kind of thing.

They quickly came to two conclusions about the conspiracy and non-conspiracy groups. First off: They didn’t overlap at all, which means the misinformed, as we’ll politely call them, were unlikely to ever see the truth. And second, when the conspiracy group did encounter “debunking” information, it didn’t change their mind. In fact, it just made them more resolute: After encountering a post that challenged a conspiracy theory, theorists tend to like and comment on pages about that theory even more.

Do debunk efforts change people’s minds? Well — not really. The orange line shows the rate at which people stop engaging with conspiracy posts if they HAVE seen debunks. The green line is the same rate, but if they haven’t: It’s faster. (Quattrociocchi et al)

That counter-intuitive effect, Quattrociocchi writes, has something to do with the conspiracy echo chamber: Because social environments like Facebook allow users to mold it to their own tastes, they’re only ever exposed to people and information “that conforms with their beliefs.” (More research will be needed, Quattrociocchi has said, to determine if Facebook’s algorithms exaggerate that tendency; a controversial study, published last May, suggests that it does — albeit modestly.)


Belief in ghosts rises across secular Sweden

Fake ghosts and ghouls will be taking to streets around Sweden this weekend, as towns and cities celebrate Halloween. But it seems that more and more people are embracing the idea of supernatural beings year-round.

According to a new survey, the number of Swedes polled who believe in ghosts has increased from 12 to 16 percent since 2008. The research was carried out by the Demoskop polling firm for The Swedish Sceptics' Association (Föreningen vetenskap och folkbildning), a not-for-profit organization designed to raise the public’s awareness of scientific methods and results.

Meanwhile 37 percent people asked for the study said that they believed in “paranormal phenomena” that could not be explained by science, up from 33 percent seven years ago.

The growing interest in the living dead comes amid a huge drop in belief in a god.

Only 21 percent of people quizzed said that they were believers, down from 35 percent. If the trend continues, this means that more Swedes could soon believe in ghosts than in a god.

"I’m not surprised at all," said David Thurfjell, professor of religion at Södertörn University, who has carried out separate research on the secularization in Sweden.


Bloody brilliant:

Christina Welch@cwelch97
@BreeNewsome My daughter Madison dressed up like for heroes day at her school.


Russia raids Ukrainian library in Moscow, arrests head

Armed, masked police raided a Moscow library specializing in Ukrainian literature, arresting its director before dawn on Thursday and carting off books that the authorities called illegal anti-Russian propaganda.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case against Natalya Sharina, the director of Moscow's Library of Ukrainian Literature, to determine whether she was guilty of inciting ethnic hatred and "denigrating human dignity".

Investigators had confiscated "anti-Russian propaganda", including "extremist" writings by Dmytro Korchinskiy, a Ukrainian nationalist author banned in Russia, the committee said. If convicted, Sharina could face up to four years in prison.

Kiev, which accuses Moscow of waging war on its territory on behalf of pro-Russian separatists in a conflict that has killed thousands of people, said the raid showed that the Kremlin had effectively outlawed expressing Ukrainian identity.

"This is another insolent act from the Kremlin aimed at intimidating the ethnic Ukrainian minority in Russia and launching a new round of repression against people linked to the Ukrainian language and culture," Ukraine's Culture Ministry said in a statement.


Crime scene photos, new info released in Charleston church shooting case

Source: WYFF NBC Channel 4

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) —Charleston police released limited details including crime scene photos and documents relating to the fatal shooting of nine members of a Charleston church and the arrest of the suspect.

Information released includes photos taken outside the church on the night of the June 17 incident, photos inside the church taken days later after the crime scene had been cleaned, additional photos taken after the arrest of the suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina the day after the shooting, and incident reports from police on the scene and dispatchers from the night of the shooting.

The release of information followed a Freedom of Information Act request. In response, Charleston Asst. Corporation Counsel Will Bryant explained the reason authorities were denying parts of the request in an accompanying letter addressed to "Members of the Media."

"While the public and the media have a legitimate interest in aspects of the case, those interests are not served by the release of gory and disturbing videos and photographs," he wrote "Nor is the interest of the public and media served by the release of information that would 'constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy' of the families of the nine people who were killed in the incident or those who lived through it."

Read more: http://www.wyff4.com/news/crime-scene-photosnew-info-released-in-charleston-church-shooting-case/36116682

Astronaut Scott Kelly Hits Spaceflight Milestone

Source: ABC

No U.S. astronaut has been away from Earth longer than Scott Kelly, who today became the American astronaut who has lived in space the longest during a single mission. Kelly spent his 216th consecutive day in space today, surpassing the previous record held by U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria who spent 215 days in space as commander of the Expedition 14 crew in 2006.

Earlier this month, Kelly reached his 383rd cumulative day in space, beating astronaut Mike Fincke’s record of 382 cumulative days and cementing him as the American who has spent the most days in orbit.

The 51-year-old astronaut took the first spacewalk of his career Wednesday, lasting seven hours and 16 minutes as he worked on upgrades to the exterior of the International Space Station.

Kelly is set to return to Earth in March after spending a year in space as part of a NASA study to understand the effects of long-term space flight on the mind and body. His results will be compared to his identical twin, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who has remained on Earth.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/astronaut-scott-kelly-hits-spaceflight-milestone/story?id=34821206

70s gameshows sucked so hard it ain't even funny...

EDIT: I wasn't trying to say the Gong Show was bad; clearly some here let my double meaning of "SUCK" fly right over their heads...


Civilians and Hospitals Repeatedly Attacked as Bombing Escalates in Northern Syria

DUBAI/NEW YORK—Airstrikes in Syria have killed at least 35 Syrian patients and medical staff in 12 hospitals in northern Syria since an escalation in bombings began in late September, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

According to staff at the hospitals, the attacks, which have also wounded 72 people, targeted medical facilities in Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama governorates, including six supported by MSF. Overall, six hospitals have been forced to close, including three supported by MSF, and four ambulances were destroyed. One hospital has since reopened, yet access to emergency, maternity, pediatric, and primary health care services remains severely disrupted.

"After more than four years of war, I remain flabbergasted at how international humanitarian law can be so easily flouted by all parties to this conflict," said Sylvain Groulx, MSF head of mission for Syria. "We can only wonder whether this concept is dead. So many humanitarians and health actors including MSF have repeatedly called and are calling for an immediate halt to such attacks across the country, but are our voices being heard?"

As a result of the growing number of attacks in the region, tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, said MSF. Some have sought refuge in fields and nearby villages. According to MSF community health workers, others have fled further, with some 1,700 families joining an existing 110,000 internally displaced Syrians in four cluster camps spread around Atmeh, in Idlib Governorate. In the past week alone, 225 additional families have arrived at the camps.


How Can America Respond to a Double Standard in War?

There remain many unanswered questions about the Kunduz strike, including how and when the U.S. forces involved in the strike actually learned about the hospital and how they reacted after learning. But in the meantime, it is interesting to compare how both MSF and the international community has responded to this strike, versus other strikes against MSF aid workers. It reveals a troubling double standard about American conduct that policymakers need to learn how to manage.

The closest analogy to the Kunduz strike happened just this week, when the Saudi air force destroyed an MSF hospital in Saada, Yemen. Unlike in Afghanistan, MSF has not called the strike a war crime and the UN has not led the charge to investigate the strike with an independent team (UPDATE: while MSF still does not refer to the strike as a war crime, after I wrote this the Yemen country director did so in a statement to Reuters; however, since many falsely believe the Saudis to be acting on behalf of American interests, the larger point here still applies I think). Saudi officials have admitted to Vice News that they targeted the hospital deliberately, and have accused MSF of not submitting sufficient notification of the hospital's location to their military. And yet, MSF remains mute about the strike, criticizing it (no one wants to lose a hospital) but not using the same heightened language. And no one has called for a war crimes probe.

The two strikes are similar in a lot of ways: both involve humanitarian workers providing medical care in areas controlled by insurgents (at the time, Kunduz was occupied by the Taliban and Saada is a stronghold of the Houthi insurgency). In both cases, MSF had at some point registered the hospital's location with the attacking forces, and the attacking forces both believed the hospital had either been overrun or used as a base for engaging in combat. Both strikes could, conceivably, be war crimes if investigations reveal the violated the Law of Armed Conflict governing medical facilities.

Other attacks on MSF workers reveal the same troubling tendency to only call incidents involving Americans a war crime. In August of this year, two MSF doctors in South Sudan were killed during a battle between government forces and rebels in the town of Leer. Despite photographic evidence that the hospital was the site of violence, including defamatory graffiti on its walls, MSF has not called the incident a war crime and it has not called for any party to the conflict to be investigated for war crimes (more than 30 aid workers have died in South Sudan).

The pattern repeats elsewhere: in 2014, in the Central Africa Republic three MSF workers were killed in the capital, Bangui. The attack by the mostly-Muslim Seleka rebels targeted the MSF clinic and killed more than a dozen other civilians. MSF did not call the attack a war crime, and UN did not issue a demand for a full investigation into the incident to see if any war crimes were committed. In 2008, a bomb blast at an MSF hospital in Kismayo, Somalia, killed four volunteers. Same pattern: no media campaign to call it a war crime, no UN demand for an independent investigation, no media campaign against the bombers.


How a U.S. Think Tank Fell for Putin

Last June, three months after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and just weeks before Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down a civilian airliner, killing nearly 300 people, a small group of Americans and Russians gathered on the Finnish island of Boisto. Policy analysts and former government officials, they had come to discuss the fate of the post-Soviet country whose democratic revolution had helped sink U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point in three decades.

The symbolism of the location could not have been lost on the meeting’s participants. Sharing an 800-mile border with Russia, Finland has delicately managed relations with its neighbor. During the Cold War, it adopted a policy of formal neutrality, accepted Soviet interference in its domestic politics, and imposed rigorous self-censorship to avoid provoking Moscow. This phenomenon of voluntarily choosing limited sovereignty to appease a large and aggressive neighbor earned the moniker “Finlandization,” and the Soviet Union held up Finland as an example of its ability to live in peace and friendship with its neighbors. At the time of the Boisto meeting last summer, foreign policy luminaries like Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and David Ignatius were trumpeting “Finlandization” as a model for Ukraine to follow.

But what was most notable about the Boisto meeting—which eventually produced a 24-point plan to resolve the crisis—was what it lacked: Ukrainians. Large powers discussing the fates of smaller ones while simultaneously locking them out of the room has an understandably ugly resonance in Central and Eastern Europe. By excluding Ukrainians, the Boisto initiative signatories lent credence—wittingly or not—to the Russian view that Ukraine is not a real country and that outside forces can determine its fate. As for the Boisto proposals themselves, most were amenable to the Kremlin line.

For instance, in calling for both sides to withdraw forces from certain conflict areas in eastern Ukraine, the signatories treated aggressor and victim as moral equals, likening Russian removal of its soldiers with Ukraine’s withdrawing troops from its own, sovereign land. (Full disclosure: I signed an open letter at the time rejecting the Boisto initiative alongside dozens of other foreign policy analysts, including, most important, Ukrainians.)

Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 107 Next »