SAN DIEGO — From South Africa to Brazil to California, the list of locations linked to new strains of the coronavirus is growing — and so are concerns that viral variants could undo the vaccine rollout. The worries come at a time when most Americans still haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. That could change by the end of May, when President Joe Biden says there will be enough vaccine for all adults in the U.S. But by then, new and faster-spreading coronavirus strains will likely account for nearly all cases. Does that mean this whole effort is for naught? Not according to local researchers w...
University of Washington associate professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering Kate Starbird on Thursday released a new data visualization showing how "participatory disinformation" fueled the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"Let's start from the beginning. We have 'elites,' including elected political leaders, political pundits and partisan media outlets, as well as social media influencers who have used disinformation and other tactics to gain reputation and grow large audiences online," she explained.
"We also have their audiences — the social media users and cable news watchers who tune into — and engage with — their content," she continued. "During the lead-up to — and for several months after — the 2020 election, political elites on the 'right' (Trump supporters) repeatedly spread the message of a rigged election. This set an expectation of voter fraud and became a 'frame' through which events were interpreted."
Here is the thread she posted to Twitter:
Working on some visuals to help explain the dynamics of “participatory disinformation” and how that motivated the J… https://t.co/8oVZo3ji7k— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334109.0
We also have their audiences — the social media users and cable news watchers who tune into — and engage with — their content.— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334293.0
An example of one of those messages is this one, from realDonaldTrump, in June 2020: https://t.co/RtXYrOvi2M— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334442.0
We see this w/ the #SharpieGate narrative, as people were initially concerned about Sharpie pens bleeding through (… https://t.co/vu9YAyj0zH— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334628.0
Political elites then echo the false/misleading stories back to their audiences, reinforcing the frame, and buildin… https://t.co/VSAWOgB1H2— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620334781.0
Political elites began to mobilize and organize the audiences into a series of rallies and protests (under the… https://t.co/itlAUwlkQi— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620335023.0
Participatory disinformation makes for a powerful dynamic. These tight feedback loops between “elites” and their au… https://t.co/Cckah0JLDc— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620336285.0
My understanding of the dynamics of online misinfo & populist political movements is informed by Ong & Cabañes work… https://t.co/bul2T90Bd0— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620337368.0
These graphs can be misleading, so a little context. This shows a three part structure. The top includes the now su… https://t.co/SvXxXL0UcZ— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620338755.0
If we lower the RT threshold on for the edges (to 3 retweets) we can see the larger audiences cluster around the in… https://t.co/WmShvZy0n4— Kate Starbird (@Kate Starbird)1620338983.0
The US military has deployed more heavy bombers and fighter jets to protect withdrawing American and coalition troops from Afghanistan, which have so far sustained no direct attacks, the Pentagon said Thursday.
"Less than one week in, the drawdown is going according to plan," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.
Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said that to defend the departing troops, six B-52 long range bombers and 12 F-18 fighters have been ordered to supply contingency support.
He said that while the Taliban insurgents groups launch between 80 and 120 attacks every day against Afghan government targets, since the withdrawal began on May 1 "there have been no attacks against US and coalition forces."
Nearly 20 years after invading the country to remove the Taliban from power and pursue Al-Qaeda following the September 11, 2001 attacks, last month US President Joe Biden ordered the final withdrawal of 2,500 US service members and 16,000 civilian contractors.
Biden set a deadline for the pullout of the the anniversary this year of the September 11 attacks.
Austin and Milley underscored that although the US continues to work closely with the Afghan security forces, the relationship will shift with the pullout.
US support will continue via funding and "over the horizon logistics" -- military support from US bases and ships located hundreds of miles away, Austin said.
Milley stressed that, amid widespread expectations that the Taliban could seize power from the government in the wake of the US pullout, the demise of Afghan forces should not be presumed.
"The Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of Afghanistan at this time remain cohesive," Milley said. "The president of the United States' intent is to support both."
Milley added the United States is in ongoing talks with the Afghan government on how to keep its air force going to provide effective support to government troops on the ground.
The Afghan air force depends heavily on foreign technicians who are included in the 16,000 contractors that are being pulled out.
"A lot of that is going to be dependent on the security conditions ont he ground," said Milley.
"The intent is to keep the Afghan air force in the air, and to provide them with continued maintenance support," he said.
The US military has no plans to shoot down an out -of-control Chinese rocket now hurtling towards Earth, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday.
"We have the capability to do a lot of things, but we don't have a plan to shoot it down as we speak," Austin told journalists.
Pentagon experts expect the body of the Long March 5B rocket, which fell out of orbit after separating from Beijing's space station, to fall to the surface some time around Saturday or Sunday.
But exactly when and where it will land is still difficult to predict.
"We're hopeful that it will land in a place where it won't harm anyone. Hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that," Austin said.
He suggested that the Chinese were negligent in letting the rocket body fall out of orbit.
"I think this speaks to the fact that, for those of us who operate in the space domain, there's a requirement, or should be a requirement to operate in a safe and thoughtful mode," said Austin.
There is a need to "make sure that we take those kinds of things into consideration as we plan and conduct operations" in space, he said.
© 2021 AFP
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