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Daily Archives: November 12, 2020

Taiwan Is Beating Political Disinformation. The West Can Too.

Foreign Policy – “…Taiwan takes a whole-of-society approach to fighting disinformation. Its civic technology community works with social media companies, like the island’s popular messaging service Line, to identify, debunk, and downrank viral conspiracy theories on social media platforms. When someone comes across a news story that sounds fishy, they can send it to the popular chatbot Cofacts, where teams of volunteers then rapidly research the claim to determine its validity. The independent Taiwan FactCheck Center maintains an online repository of disproven conspiracy theories. Taiwan also shows that the best defense comes from a solid offense. Rather than simply play whack-a-mole by disproving every new fake fact, the government creates new conversations by organizing public debates about issues via the citizen-run vTaiwan platform. Instead of promoting hysteria to sell more ads, vTaiwan’s algorithms highlight where there is consensus in a debate and minimize the voices at the most extreme ends. Media literacy trucks go to rural areas to educate people how to spot fake news. And with China keen to cause divides in Taiwan, local groups that knowingly receive foreign money to spread disinformation about elections can face fines, and their leaders can go to jail…”

Scientific Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2

CDC  Guidance – Wearing masks effectively protects you, and protects others: “SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted predominately by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe. CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets… Continue Reading

Vacancies, acting officials and the waning role of the U.S. Senate

Brookings – “With the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and ensuing speculation over whether Republican senators will confirm the president’s nominee before the 2020 election, the role of the U.S. Senate has taken center stage. Such an imbroglio leaves the impression that the Senate plays a pivotal role in the appointments process, and… Continue Reading

Obama’s Memoir – I’m Not Yet Ready to Abandon the Possibility of America

The Atlantic – I’m Not Yet Ready to Abandon the Possibility of America  – Story by Barack Obama – “I wrote my book for young people—as an invitation to bring about, through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an America that finally aligns with all that is best in us.”  The Atlantic… Continue Reading

The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history

Statement by the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – the Nation’s risk advisor: “The members of Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) Executive Committee – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Assistant Director Bob Kolasky, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland, National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President Maggie Toulouse Oliver,… Continue Reading

Gifting a gadget? Check its creep factor on Mozilla’s ‘Privacy not included’ list of shame

TechCrunch: “Buying someone a gadget is a time-honored tradition, but these days it can be particularly fraught, considering you may buy them a fitness tracker that also monitors emotions, or a doorbell that snitches to the cops. Mozilla has put together a helpful list of popular gadgets with ratings on just how creepy they are.… Continue Reading

States ramp up for biggest vaccination effort in US history

AP: “With a COVID-19 vaccine drawing closer, public health officials across the country are gearing up for the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history — a monumental undertaking that must distribute hundreds of millions of doses, prioritize who’s first in line and ensure that people who get the initial shot return for the necessary second… Continue Reading

How to Join a Community Garden

LifeHacker – “Gardening has always had its fair share of fans, but it’s another example of an activity—like baking, knitting, and doing puzzles—that has taken off even more since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Not only do some people find it relaxin; gardening also has mood-boosting and mental health benefits. Plus, at a time when everything… Continue Reading

What Places Are Hardest Hit by the Coronavirus? It Depends on the Measure

The New York Times – “The coronavirus is tearing across the United States at an alarming pace. Hospitals are filled to perilous levels. More than 120,000 new cases are being identified every day. And ever higher and more miserable records — of states’ cases, of positive testing rates, of hospitalizations — are being set, day… Continue Reading