How Misinformation Spreads

The Off-Topic forum for anything non-LDS related. No insults or personal attacks allowed. Rated G.
Post Reply
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 5485
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Searching for the missing pieces of the Bothell Codex

How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Res Ipsa »

You may have heard of a study that found that only one in a thousand COVID cases were transmitted outdoors. Here is the remarkable story of how one reporter’s bad journalism became a zombie fact that won’t die.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1492 ... 82497.html
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
– Rene Magritte
User avatar
Binger
God
Posts: 2411
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:34 am

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Binger »

WOW! Just, wow.

What a great read. I did not read every link, which, if done, I suspect would give this even more wow. There are a few really piquing elements of the linked story.

The Process: Discussing Discussing
Most fascinating to me was the chain (including the timeline) and then the coup des gras, parallel links to NPR and Breitbart. Seeing journal links in that process was up there on the list too, but comprehensively, the process that led to this report being in two polar opposite publications is dang interesting.

This story, to me, highlights why the process of getting information and the process of consuming information is relevant.

Predictive Modeling: Garbage In Garbage Out
One thing that short sellers target when finding equities and bonds to short, or even commodities, is over weighted reliance on a predictive model that is made of garbage. The more assumptions put into a predictive model, the better - for the SHORT SELLERS. This link, or story, that you provided shows an extreme form of a garbage model and garbage math. The original report that led to the chain of misinformation was never about science, it was about clicks, headlines, feelings, ideology and a short or instant confirmation of something the author WANTED for an outcome. Again, the Breitbart and NPR parallel references show that this is happening on both sides. I mention that to say that it applies to the spectrum, not to endorse one over the other.

What We Thought/Think Was/Is Science, uh..... whatever man.
We can find anything to confirm anything - even when it falls under the huge canopy that is science.
Father Francis
Priest
Posts: 294
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:59 pm

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Father Francis »

Binger wrote:
Sun Feb 13, 2022 5:39 pm

What We Thought/Think Was/Is Science, uh..... whatever man.
We can find anything to confirm anything - even when it falls under the huge canopy that is science.
Science means "knowledge". It is a search for information and never comes to a definite conclusion, but observations confirmed by peer review. Did you even graduate high school?

I didn't, so I'm not judging.

Still, being a high school dropout didn't stop me from learning. My parents were both educators and I had a high school education by the time I reached middle school. I ended up with a few college degrees, two of them based in science (three if you count cooking, which is both science and art).
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 5485
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Searching for the missing pieces of the Bothell Codex

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Res Ipsa »

Binger wrote:
Sun Feb 13, 2022 5:39 pm
WOW! Just, wow.

What a great read. I did not read every link, which, if done, I suspect would give this even more wow. There are a few really piquing elements of the linked story.

The Process: Discussing Discussing
Most fascinating to me was the chain (including the timeline) and then the coup des gras, parallel links to NPR and Breitbart. Seeing journal links in that process was up there on the list too, but comprehensively, the process that led to this report being in two polar opposite publications is dang interesting.

This story, to me, highlights why the process of getting information and the process of consuming information is relevant.

***

What We Thought/Think Was/Is Science, uh..... whatever man.
We can find anything to confirm anything - even when it falls under the huge canopy that is science.
I found the whole chain fascinating, especially the jump to the NYT and the story ending up in Breitbart and NPR. Having it appear in a science publication was something that should not have happened. in my opinion, that's just sloppy.

The most interesting part of the whole chain is that it the mistake wasn't a politically motivated distortion -- it was a bad decision by a reporter compounded by repeated sloppy fact checking. It takes a ton of works for us consumers of information to verify facts when we can't count on scientists and journalists to be good fact checkers.
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
– Rene Magritte
User avatar
Binger
God
Posts: 2411
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:34 am

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Binger »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:51 pm

The most interesting part of the whole chain is that it the mistake wasn't a politically motivated distortion -- it was a bad decision by a reporter compounded by repeated sloppy fact checking. It takes a ton of works for us consumers of information to verify facts when we can't count on scientists and journalists to be good fact checkers.
Seeing scientific journals in that chain is kinda stunning, frankly.
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 5485
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Searching for the missing pieces of the Bothell Codex

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Res Ipsa »

Father Francis wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:59 am
Binger wrote:
Sun Feb 13, 2022 5:39 pm

What We Thought/Think Was/Is Science, uh..... whatever man.
We can find anything to confirm anything - even when it falls under the huge canopy that is science.
Science means "knowledge". It is a search for information and never comes to a definite conclusion, but observations confirmed by peer review. Did you even graduate high school?

I didn't, so I'm not judging.

Still, being a high school dropout didn't stop me from learning. My parents were both educators and I had a high school education by the time I reached middle school. I ended up with a few college degrees, two of them based in science (three if you count cooking, which is both science and art).
I'd count cooking!

I think about science as the process that, if followed sufficiently, gives us the best shot at understanding the material world. It requires an understanding that the state of knowledge produced by science is subject to revision, which is one of its strengths as a method.
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
– Rene Magritte
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 5485
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Searching for the missing pieces of the Bothell Codex

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Res Ipsa »

Binger wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:55 pm
Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:51 pm

The most interesting part of the whole chain is that it the mistake wasn't a politically motivated distortion -- it was a bad decision by a reporter compounded by repeated sloppy fact checking. It takes a ton of works for us consumers of information to verify facts when we can't count on scientists and journalists to be good fact checkers.
Seeing scientific journals in that chain is kinda stunning, frankly.
Yeah, that part of the problem started, not surprisingly, in an open access journal. All of the journal articles seemed to simply use the statistic as introductory backround, but who cites a newspaper article for something that is described as a study?
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
– Rene Magritte
User avatar
Binger
God
Posts: 2411
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:34 am

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Binger »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:04 pm
Binger wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:55 pm


Seeing scientific journals in that chain is kinda stunning, frankly.
Yeah, that part of the problem started, not surprisingly, in an open access journal. All of the journal articles seemed to simply use the statistic as introductory backround, but who cites a newspaper article for something that is described as a study?
There are very valid reasons to study the infection rate indoors and outdoors. There are specific methods for calculating outside air that is supplied to an occupied space and compare it to volumes of recycled air. There is life-saving relevance to studies that deal with outside air, recycled air and infection. These sorts of misinformation shenanigans prevent actual information from being revealed and it stops the decision making process from having the best information.

Anyways. Well. Thanks again for that link. Yowza.
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 5485
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Searching for the missing pieces of the Bothell Codex

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Res Ipsa »

Binger wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:11 pm
Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:04 pm


Yeah, that part of the problem started, not surprisingly, in an open access journal. All of the journal articles seemed to simply use the statistic as introductory backround, but who cites a newspaper article for something that is described as a study?
There are very valid reasons to study the infection rate indoors and outdoors. There are specific methods for calculating outside air that is supplied to an occupied space and compare it to volumes of recycled air. There is life-saving relevance to studies that deal with outside air, recycled air and infection. These sorts of misinformation shenanigans prevent actual information from being revealed and it stops the decision making process from having the best information.

Anyways. Well. Thanks again for that link. Yowza.
There are very valid reasons to study whatever affects the rate of infection. There's lots of evidence that ventilation, filtration and circulation have significant affect on the rate of transmission of COVID 19 in indoor settings. Unless I'm misunderstanding, the extent to which the virus is present in ambient outdoor air isn't a significant factor. (By saying ambient, I'm excluding a poor design in which the exhaust from one room is next to the intake for another.)

In this particular case, I don't see any indication that this factoid got in the way of good decision making. There are studies that show that the rate of transmission in outdoor settings is substantially less than in indoor settings, all other things being equal.
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
– Rene Magritte
User avatar
Binger
God
Posts: 2411
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:34 am

Re: How Misinformation Spreads

Post by Binger »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Tue Feb 15, 2022 3:57 am
Binger wrote:
Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:11 pm


There are very valid reasons to study the infection rate indoors and outdoors. There are specific methods for calculating outside air that is supplied to an occupied space and compare it to volumes of recycled air. There is life-saving relevance to studies that deal with outside air, recycled air and infection. These sorts of misinformation shenanigans prevent actual information from being revealed and it stops the decision making process from having the best information.

Anyways. Well. Thanks again for that link. Yowza.
There are very valid reasons to study whatever affects the rate of infection. There's lots of evidence that ventilation, filtration and circulation have significant affect on the rate of transmission of COVID 19 in indoor settings. Unless I'm misunderstanding, the extent to which the virus is present in ambient outdoor air isn't a significant factor. (By saying ambient, I'm excluding a poor design in which the exhaust from one room is next to the intake for another.)

In this particular case, I don't see any indication that this factoid got in the way of good decision making. There are studies that show that the rate of transmission in outdoor settings is substantially less than in indoor settings, all other things being equal.
Agreed. Though, there were those outdoor dining tents without ventilation. THAT was funny. You are correct though. This study is a great study for misinformation, and a non relevant study regarding transmission outdoors vs. properly ventilated areas. I think that is your point.

Yep, that was my point. And I agree about dining tents without adequate ventilation. I never understood those.
Post Reply