Making things up when the need for accuracy is most important

Alex Berezow: Cell Phones, Cancer, And Coronavirus: Tucker Carlson Spreads Conspiracy Theories – “Tucker Carlson doesn’t know much about science, technology, or public health, but he definitely has an opinion about them. And he knows a conspiracy when he sees one.

“There are several other basic points to consider: (1) If China did accidentally release a virus to use as a bioweapon, it would probably be capable of killing more than 2% of those it infected. (2) Why create a bioweapon that is essentially a really bad cold when there are so many “better” options (e.g., plague or smallpox)? (3) The genome of the virus was sequenced and released to the public, which would be a very strange thing to do if the virus was actually a weapon. Why would the Chinese government hand over the recipe?

Tucker certainly can opine and espouse conspiracy theories, but to do so from such a public platform is somewhat reckless. He would be more persuasive if his speculation was grounded in scientific facts.

Additionally, nonsense has consequences. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reports that the conspiracy theories are hurting the Wuhan lab’s ability to research the new coronavirus.

Back in October, Tucker ran a segment about evidence for UFOs. Maybe they brought the coronavirus?

Kristyn Leonard: Program aims to raise awareness about cybersecurity, misinformation risks to elections – “This narrative was a result of both very real issues in Iowa and a rampant spread of misinformation on the internet that party leaders were unable to control. Conspiracy theories flourished.” … “While doomsday predictions about the Nevada caucus largely failed to materialize, Americans’ faith in democracy has dwindled amid perceptions that elections are insecure and the speed at which falsehoods can spread over social media.” Rather typically,they take a swipe at the President by mischaracterizing his statements but the bias is rather mild. But then the Russian Collusion fake axiom creeps in, too.

“In this volatile climate, the University of Southern California has introduced their Election Cybersecurity Initiative, a program that teaches individuals who work on elections and campaigns how to secure their devices and accounts, combat misinformation, and prepare for and address a crisis in an effort to instill a “culture of cybersecurity” and restore faith in democracy.

The program offers common sense advice about password security and the dangers of phishing, presented by Justin Griffin, the program’s managing director. It’s advice everyone’s heard before

People don’t necessarily need to gain access to a campaign staffer or candidate’s device to digitally endanger the security and integrity of an election or campaign. Another portion of the program addressed the rampant issue of misinformation and disinformation on the internet.

The program emphasizes an important difference between the two. While misinformation refers to inaccurate information that may have been shared in error, disinformation is, specifically, inaccurate information that is shared deliberately, when the propagator is aware that the information is false.

The topic of election interference from Russia came up multiple times during the one-day conference.

It’s nice to see people talking but the first thing they need to do is to look in the mirror and face their own culpability. Look, for instance at how many stories are also at The Nevada Independent about the coronavirus in a FUD mongering vein alongside this election scare story …

consider “This Is Serious” – Virus Hunter Who Discovered Ebola Discusses ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ For Coronavirus – from one who claims “I’m not the scaremongering type…” This might have more weight if properly compared to the annual flue statistics where there are millions sick instead of tens and tens of thousands of fatalities instead of none (U.S. statistics to date, not worldwide). The claim is qualified: “But I think this is serious in the sense that we can’t afford not to consider it as a serious threat.” Any communicable disease warrants this sort of concern until knowledge and precautions can be obtained to indicate otherwise. FUD mongering is competing with prudence.

Joel B. Pollak: New England Journal of Medicine: Coronavirus Could Be No Worse than Flu – “Citing an analysis of the available data from the outbreak in China, the authors note that there have been zero cases among children younger than 15; and that the fatality rate is 2% at most, and could be “considerably less than 1%.

“The vast majority of patients recover, and among those who are hospitalized, the median stay thus far is 12 days.

Coronavirus, they note, does spread easily, and the average infected person has infected two other people. That means the U.S. should expect the illness to gain a “foothold.” But they note travel restrictions on China (imposed by President Donald Trump over the objections of some critics) “may have helped slow the spread of the virus.”

John Hinderaker: Is Coronavirus a Hoax? – “Democratic Party media are claiming that last night in South Carolina, President Trump said that the coronavirus epidemic is a hoax.” … “Did Trump actually say the corona virus is a hoax? Of course not. The claim is idiotic. If the president thought the virus is a hoax, why did he do a press conference on it last week, along with various medical personnel? And why did he ban travel to China at the beginning of the outbreak?” … “The hoax, obviously, is the Democrats’ unfounded criticism of the Trump administration. Never in American history have we seen such nakedly dishonest criticism of anyone in public life.

Jeff Stier and Henry I. Miller: Nothing’s ‘Impossible’ When It Comes To Innovation – “The only side effects from the Impossible Burger are headaches, heartburn, and panic attacks in the self-designated food elite who demand that we eat “naturally” to protect the planet.

“Improvements in agriculture are typically continual and incremental, but cumulatively they can make a big difference, especially to those at the bottom of the food chain – subsistence farmers. But there are always naysayers, such as the activists who reject farming with state-of-the-art pesticides and crops developed with the most precise and predictable genetic techniques. Why would anyone do that? Simple – they are mouthpieces for the purveyors of inferior, overpriced competing organic products, which are made with primitive practices that are wasteful of water and arable farmland.

Truly disruptive innovation is not only rare, but as Impossible Foods is learning, bringing game-changing products to market requires overcoming resistance from entrenched interests that pretend to represent the public interest.

Making things up is easy. Dealing with reality can be difficult,

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