Misinformation Control

Even if you feel that the COVID crisis is reason enough to endorse government involvement in social media content takedowns, please consider for a moment the next steps. Today we’re talking about COVID misinformation. What sort of misinformation — there’s a lot out there! — will we be talking about tomorrow? Do we want the government urging content removal about various other kinds of misinformation? How do we even define misinformation in widely different subject areas?

And even if you agree with the current administration’s views on misinformation, how do you know that you will agree with the next administration’s views on these topics? If you want the current administration to have these powers, will you be agreeable to potentially a very different kind of administration having such powers in the future? The previous administration and the current one have vastly diverging views on a multitude of issues. We have every reason to expect at least some future administrations to follow this pattern.

Quoted from: Keep Governments Away from Social Media “Misinformation Control”, Lauren Weinstein, July 2021. Thanks to m.

Scientific Authority and Media Visibility of Climate Change Scientists and Contrarians

“We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists by tracking their digital footprints across ∼200,000 research publications and ∼100,000 English-language digital and print media articles on climate change. Projecting these individuals across the same backdrop facilitates quantifying disparities in media visibility and scientific authority, and identifying organization patterns within their association networks.”

“Here we show via direct comparison that contrarians are featured in 49% more media articles than scientists. Yet when comparing visibility in mainstream media sources only, we observe just a 1% excess visibility, which objectively demonstrates the crowding out of professional mainstream sources by the proliferation of new media sources, many of which contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation at scale.”

Source: Petersen, Alexander Michael, Emmanuel M. Vincent, and Anthony LeRoy Westerling. “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians.” Nature communications 10.1 (2019): 1-14. Thanks to Julie Molinié.

A Logographic Script for Europe

Like Europe, China has many languages ​​and cultures. In contrast to Europe, everyone in China communicate with each other through a common script: Hanzi. A text drawn up in Chinese characters for every literate Chinese to understand, even if they don’t share a common language. Europe has tried to forge unity through a common currency, the market, regulation and parliament. These elements have so far not delivered a broad common identity. Europe is separated by language.

logographic script for europe

Babel is a project initiated by Monnik and Studio Rooiejas in which they design and develop a logographic script for Europe. With a logographic writing we could read (and write) each other’s newspapers even if we can not understand each other. A design solution through which one could instantly create a truly European public space. In a logographic writing each word or concept is represented by a separate symbol, called a logogram. Because these characters have a symbolic and not a phonetic value they can be used universally, even by people who do not speak each other’s languages.

A logographic language as a solution to Europe’s “confusion of tongues” sounds far-fetched and obvious at the same time. It would be practical if it existed, completely impractical to implement, and most of all insightful and evocative food for thought.

See and read more at Monnik and Flickr.

Avoid News

"News misleads, is irrelevant, has no explanatory power, is toxic, increases cognitive errors, inhibits thinking, works like a drug, wastes time, makes us passive and kills creativity." Read more: Avoid News (pdf). Via Metafilter and The Guardian.

Chronological and Thematic Database on the History of Information and Media

Coptic bookbinding From Cave Paintings to the Internet is “designed to help you follow the development of information and media, and attitudes about them, from the beginning of records to the present. Containing annotated references to discoveries, developments of a social, scientific, theoretical  or technological  nature, as well as references to physical books, documents, artifacts, art works, and to websites and other digital media, it arranges, both chronologically and thematically, selected historical examples and recent developments of the methods used to record, distribute, exchange, organize, store, and search information. The database is designed to allow you to approach the topics in a wide variety of ways.”

Illustration: coptic bookbinding.

Via Achille van den Branden.