Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.
A patient typically leaves the hospital or clinic with a patient education package that has been vetted by department heads, checked and sanitized by the legal department, trimmed and restricted by finance, and augmented by sponsors. The patient has perhaps also spoken to physicians, radiologists, nurses, and administrative staff. Much of the information given to the patient is intended to educate the patient in self-care following the period of dependence upon hospital staff. How does this information help the patient at home when there is no medical staff on hand? Does it tell the patient how to remove the dressing, what to clean the wound with, or what to do if the drainage tubes seem to be clogged? There are questions the patient will simply not think to ask while still at the hospital.
If all patients were physicians or nurses who belonged to the medical community and all ascribed to common conventions and practices, there would be no difference essentially as to who was on which side of the stethoscope; the patient could reasonably be expected to understand exactly what was going on, and why. Each issue the nurse highlighted would fit neatly into demarcated categories and every significance placed on them would be understood and accepted by the patient. After returning home, there would be nothing that was unfamiliar to them about what to do and when to do it.
However, in reality, patients are bricklayers, plumbers, bankers, welders, accountants, teachers, lawyers, and philosophers. They cannot be expected to understand what it is you are doing or saying in the same way as your fellow physicians and nurses are likely to. These real-life patients may demarcate issues and assign significance differently from how the medical professionals do. The resonance will have been lost, and the information will stand alone without the rich context of mutuality that was shared in the previous scenario.
Just as facts are "theory-laden," so also information does not "speak for itself," it is interpreted and acted on through the spectacles and gloves of our beliefs and view of the world. The nurse needs to impinge on patients' world views, conveying the information to them by resignifying and demarcating it in such a way as to make it actionable by the patient.
As an example, one patient had the experience of being given practical instruction that included taking her physically through many sequences and procedures that would prove to be important to her. Her nurses didn't just tell her how to change a dressing or clean the surgical wound, they showed her, and critiqued her techniques. It was not just this practical, actionable knowledge that was imparted, but also the knowledge of where more knowledge resided. The nurse as an information-source stands out.
As it happened, the patient's nurse was changed and the new nurse did not become familiar with the patient's history and could not answer questions about what to do next when a particular test was returned negative. The flow of information had changed and the patient's experience was altered entirely.
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Defense lawyers say FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried can't adequately prepare for trial in six weeks while in jail without proper access to computers, necessary medications to help him concentrate, and a better diet than bread, water and peanut butter
Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Compounding natural disasters spurred on by extreme weather may lead to the FEMA disaster fund becoming completely depleted within weeks, administrator Deanne Criswell says.
Appearing on Face The Nation and CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Criswell said the disaster fund is projected to run dry in mid-September, but the situation is day-to-day.
"And as we get closer to that, I mean, this is a day by day monitoring of the situation, we will start to move some of our recovery projects and delay them until the next fiscal year," Criswell told Margaret Brennan of CBS.
When asked by CNN's Kasie Hunt what FEMA would do in the event of a government shutdown, Criswell said FEMA will continue to push projects into the next fiscal year so it can continue to respond to disasters immediately.
"We will take measures to ensure there is always going to be enough funding to continue to support immediate responses to these types of severe weather events," she said.
The projections come as Tropical Storm Hilary reaches Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and heads toward southern California where it may drop up to 4 inches of rain per hour, causing flash flooding.
There have been 15 weather-related or climate disaster events that caused more than $1 billion in damage this year prior to Aug. 8, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The combined disaster cost is more than $39 billion.
Last week the Biden administration requested $12 billion to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency as it undertakes recovery efforts related to multiple natural disasters. Criswell said the agency's response to crises will not be impacted despite the House and Senate being in recess until after Labor Day.
Washington — FEMA's disaster fund could dry up within weeks and delay the federal response to natural disasters, the agency's administrator warned Sunday.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told "Face the Nation" that the agency is watching its disaster relief fund "very closely" ahead of hurricane season and that some recovery projects that are not life-saving measures could be delayed into the next fiscal year if funding falls short.
"Our estimates do still say that we may have a depletion of our fund — now it's pushed into the middle of September," Criswell said. "And as we get closer to that, I mean, this is a day-by-day monitoring of the situation."
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 15 weather or climate disaster events this year before Aug. 8, with each causing more than $1 billion in damage. The tally does not include the, which decimated Lahaina, causing an estimated $6 billion in damage to the coastal city. The peak of hurricane season is not until Sept. 11.
President Biden asked Congress earlier this month for $12 billion to replenish the disaster fund to address the response to the wildfires and other natural disasters. Congress is on recess until after Labor Day.
Criswell said that amount may not be enough.
"The $12 billion was going to be able to cover some of the immediate needs that we were going to need to get through this fiscal year," she said. "As we're continuing to see the increasingly severe weather events that dollar amount may need to go up as we go into next fiscal year."
Criswell is traveling withon Monday to view the devastation and meet with survivors.
"The biggest thing that the president needs to see is just the genuine impact," Criswell said of the importance of the visit. "It really feels different when you're on the ground and can see the total devastation of Lahaina. He'll talk to some of the families that have been impacted by this and hear their stories."
"He's really going to be able to, one, bring hope to this community, but also reassure them that the federal government is there," she said. "He has directed them to bring the resources they need to help them as they begin to start their recovery and their rebuilding process."
While FEMA responds to the wildfires, it is also preparing for the "really significant impacts" ofon Southern California, Criswell said.
"We had a lot of staff already on the ground. We are moving in some additional resources to make sure that we can support anything that California might need, but they're a very capable state as well and they have a lot of resources," she said. "So if it does exceed what their capability is, we're going to have additional search-and-rescue teams, commodities on hand to be able to go in and support anything that they might ask for."
It was the social-science equivalent of Barbenheimer weekend: four blockbuster academic papers, published in two of the world’s leading journals on the same day. Written by elite researchers from universities across the United States, the papers in Nature and Science each examined different aspects of one of the most compelling public-policy issues of our time: how social media is shaping our knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.
Relying on data collected from hundreds of millions of Facebook users over several months, the researchers found that, unsurprisingly, the platform and its algorithms wielded considerable influence over what information people saw, how much time they spent scrolling and tapping online, and their knowledge about news events. Facebook also tended to show users information from sources they already agreed with, creating political “filter bubbles” that reinforced people’s worldviews, and was a vector for misinformation, primarily for politically conservative users.
But the biggest news came from what the studies didn’t find: despite Facebook’s influence on the spread of information, there was no evidence that the platform had a significant effect on people’s underlying beliefs, or on levels of political polarization.
These are just the latest findings to suggest that the relationship between the information we consume and the beliefs we hold is far more complex than is commonly understood.
Sometimes the dangerous effects of social media are clear. In 2018, when I went to Sri Lanka to report on anti-Muslim pogroms, I found that Facebook’s newsfeed had been a vector for the rumors that formed a pretext for vigilante violence, and that WhatsApp groups had become platforms for organizing and carrying out the genuine attacks. In Brazil last January, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro used social media to spread false claims that fraud had cost him the election, and then turned to WhatsApp and Telegram groups to plan a mob attack on federal buildings in the capital, Brasília. It was a similar playbook to that used in the United States on Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.
But aside from discrete events like these, there have also been concerns that social media, and particularly the algorithms used to suggest content to users, might be contributing to the more general spread of misinformation and polarization.
The theory, roughly, goes something like this: unlike in the past, when most people got their information from the same few mainstream sources, social media now makes it possible for people to filter news around their own interests and biases. As a result, they mostly share and see stories from people on their own side of the political spectrum. That “filter bubble” of information supposedly exposes users to increasingly skewed versions of reality, undermining consensus and reducing their understanding of people on the opposing side.
The theory gained mainstream attention after Trump was elected in 2016. “The ‘Filter Bubble’ Explains Why Trump Won and You Didn’t See It Coming,” announced a New York Magazine article a few days after the election. “Your Echo Chamber is Destroying Democracy,” Wired Magazine claimed a few weeks later.
But without rigorous testing, it’s been hard to figure out whether the filter bubble effect was real. The four new studies are the first in a series of 16 peer-reviewed papers that arose from a collaboration between Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, and a group of researchers from universities including Princeton, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford and others.
Meta gave unprecedented access to the researchers during the three-month period before the 2020 U.S. election, allowing them to analyze data from more than 200 million users and also conduct randomized controlled experiments on large groups of users who agreed to participate. It’s worth noting that the social media giant spent $20 million on work from NORC at the University of Chicago (previously the National Opinion Research Center), a nonpartisan research organization that helped collect some of the data. And while Meta did not pay the researchers itself, some of its employees worked with the academics, and a few of the authors had received funding from the company in the past. But the researchers took steps to protect the independence of their work, including pre-registering their research questions in advance, and Meta was only able to veto requests that would violate users’ privacy.
The studies, taken together, suggest that there is evidence for the first part of the “filter bubble” theory: Facebook users did tend to see posts from like-minded sources, and there were high degrees of “ideological segregation” with little overlap between what liberal and conservative users saw, clicked and shared. Most misinformation was concentrated in a conservative corner of the social network, making right-wing users far more likely to encounter political lies on the platform.
“I think it’s a matter of supply and demand,” said Sandra González-Bailón, the lead author on the paper that studied misinformation. Facebook users skew conservative, making the potential market for partisan misinformation larger on the right. And online curation, amplified by algorithms that prioritize the most emotive content, could reinforce those market effects, she added.
When it came to the second part of the theory — that this filtered content would shape people’s beliefs and worldviews, often in harmful ways — the papers found little support. One experiment deliberately reduced content from like-minded sources, so that users saw more varied information, but found no effect on polarization or political attitudes. Removing the algorithm’s influence on people’s feeds, so that they just saw content in chronological order, “did not significantly alter levels of issue polarization, affective polarization, political knowledge, or other key attitudes,” the researchers found. Nor did removing content shared by other users.
Algorithms have been in lawmakers’ cross hairs for years, but many of the arguments for regulating them have presumed that they have real-world influence. This research complicates that narrative.
But it also has implications that are far broader than social media itself, reaching some of the core assumptions around how we form our beliefs and political views. Brendan Nyhan, who researches political misperceptions and was a lead author of one of the studies, said the results were striking because they suggested an even looser link between information and beliefs than had been shown in previous research. “From the area that I do my research in, the finding that has emerged as the field has developed is that factual information often changes people’s factual views, but those changes don’t always translate into different attitudes,” he said. But the new studies suggested an even weaker relationship. “We’re seeing null effects on both factual views and attitudes.”
As a journalist, I confess a certain personal investment in the idea that presenting people with information will affect their beliefs and decisions. But if that is not true, then the potential effects would reach beyond my own profession. If new information does not change beliefs or political support, for instance, then that will affect not just voters’ view of the world, but their ability to hold democratic leaders to account.
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Aug. 22, 2023 — The entire contiguous U.S. has experienced massive urban expansions and the Atlantic Coast shows outstandingly high rates. Urban expansion has substantially squeezed the space of tidal flats and affected surrounding environments. In new urban areas, tidal flats have undergone considerable degeneration with more significant patterns as they get closer to new urban locations. Tidal flats protect ...
Aug. 21, 2023 — Researchers have developed a new tool, REBURN, that can simulate large forest landscapes and wildfire dynamics over decades or centuries under different wildfire management strategies. The model can simulate the consequences of extinguishing all wildfires regardless of size, which was done for much of the 20th century and has contributed to a rise in large and severe wildfires, or of allowing ...
Aug. 17, 2023 — The economists say more frequent use of up-front experiments would result in more effective environmental policymaking in areas ranging from pollution control to timber harvesting across the ...
Aug. 17, 2023 — Research attempts to quantify the value of U.S. property at risk in forested areas exposed to increased ecological disturbance associated with climate change, such as wildfire and tree mortality. Property exposed to such climate risks, especially in California, is project to climb substantially if emission-reduction measures are not ...
Aug. 21, 2023 — Struggling with a teenager who refuses to ditch digital devices at night and wakes up grumpy? Boarding school could be the ...
Aug. 17, 2023 — According to a recent study, improved overall diet quality and reduced consumption of red meat, as well as increased time spent in reading and organized sports enhanced reasoning skills among children over the first two school ...
Aug. 10, 2023 — Life is harder for adolescents who are not attractive or athletic. New research shows low attractive and low athletic youth became increasingly unpopular over the course of a school year, leading to subsequent increases in their loneliness and alcohol misuse. As their unpopularity grows, so do their problems. Put simply, the peer group punishes those who do not have highly valued traits such as ...
Aug. 9, 2023 — What do superheroes Deadpool and Elastigirl have in common? Each was used in a college anatomy class to add relevance to course discussions -- Deadpool to illustrate tissue repair and Elastigirl, aka Mrs. Incredible, as an example of hyperflexibility. Instructors created a 'SuperAnatomy' course in an attempt to Strengthen the experience of undergraduate students learning the notoriously difficult -- ...
Aug. 9, 2023 — New research suggests that the US municipal bond market systemically misprices risk, as the pricing of municipal debt does not account for local physical climate risk, but does demand larger credit spreads from communities with a larger proportion of Black ...
Aug. 2, 2023 — A recent interdisciplinary study used a novel method of data collection -- computer usage metrics -- to show that employees are less active and more prone to mistakes on afternoons and Fridays, with Friday afternoon representing the lowest point of worker ...
July 18, 2023 — Scientists have recently proposed a workflow that can dramatically accelerate the search for novel materials with improved properties. They demonstrated the power of the approach by identifying more than 50 strongly thermally insulating materials. These can help alleviate the ongoing energy crisis, by allowing for more efficient thermoelectric ...
July 13, 2023 — Researchers found that people with strong mind reading abilities -- the ability to understand and take the perspective of another person's feelings and intentions -- are more successful in cooperating to complete tasks than people with weaker mind reading ...
Let's be honest, it's not easy being a scientist. From science deniers to sensationalist reporting to funding refusals...it sometimes seems like the world is rather determined to undermine science at every possible opportunity. Fortunately, there are a number of individuals who are working to combat this troubling trend. Guaana is one such company.
Ultimately, science is all about the sharing of knowledge and information—breakthroughs can't happen if experts don't have access to the latest advancements; however, paywalls and corporate funding and a host of other obstacles crop up that prevent scientists from speaking to one another and accessing necessary information.
How do we fix this? How can we better share our knowledge to accelerate the next generation of scientific and technological breakthroughs? This is the fundamental question that helped make Guaana what it is; it is what prompted them on their quest to bring forth a new era of open source information and collaboration to the sciences.
In short, Guanna is a platform for scientists and researchers to come together and connect with like-minded individuals and build on each other's ideas...it is a platform for making connections, forming collaborations to make science happen. It's about trying to connect the dots in a way they haven’t been (or couldn't have been) connected before.
Marko Russiver, Guaana's CEO and cofounder, clarifies by noting that this is more than just a place to post research—it is a community of scientists working together towards a common end: "We didn't want to build a digital archive of knowledge, it's more like a buzzing saloon of people talking, sharing knowledge, and really working together."
Indeed, Russiver states that, ultimately, the company is all about the generation of scientific knowledge: "A majority of research papers published today are written to justify the received grant money instead of talking about practical, important science. This practice has alienated scientists from each other and companies...we're solving this by enabling them to work on projects they are passionate about and that actually matters."
So, how does it differ from other platforms or web forums (Researchgate, for example)?
Russiver begins by noting some of the issues that plague forms that are (supposedly) dedicated to the advancement of scientific research. As Russiver notes, “There have been a number of instances where platforms have abused scientific research papers and, sadly, used scientists as member base growth drivers.” Guaana asserts that they are all about respecting the individual. "
We don't use the smartest people on Earth to make ourselves look good. We empower them so they could do their job better, faster and with full support of individuals such as themselves in the fields they care about." Additionally, Russiver notes that most social networks revolve around authored content and past research papers. "But science shouldn’t be about what you did 15 years ago. It should be about what you do now. About finding opportunities to discuss and develop your bold ideas and make them happen."
Guaana also helps by working with the scientists who use the platform from the moment that they first join: "It's not just the tools and the features on the platform....we have around 20 research campaigns published so far, but we have 68 in the back. This is because we are working with the project proposers to ensure that they are both clear and high quality, even making intros to relevant people from our own personal networks before the project goes live.”
In short, Russiver clarifies, "If you come to Guaana to post a project, you are not going to be alone, our whole team works with you." He adds that this ultimately functions as a kind of 'vetting process,' which allows Guaana to verify identities and information and ensure that the work is sound.
Russiver asserts that Guaana came about after realizing how difficult it was for scientists to connect, and how long it takes for valuable research to come to light: "Scientific collaboration right now is really difficult. It takes quite a bit of determination to just reach the people that you need to. It all takes so much time, and what scientists should really be able to focus on is the research. So for us, what is important is trying to find ways to try and accelerate science so the breakthroughs could be applied rather sooner than later to solve real world problems.”
Indeed, research often sits in the darkened corners of the internet for decades before it is finally uncovered by someone who puts it to use or makes those "breakthrough" connections. "Can you even imagine the stuff that just lies about in random laboratories around the world? There's all this information, and many don't know what to do with it because they don't talk about it...or if they do talk, they don't know who to talk to," Russiver states. “Touch-screen technology was sitting in CERN labs for 30 years before it ended up in everyone’s pocket.”
And this is precisely what Guaana is hoping to help alleviate.
Notably, one of the keys to the project is the feedback that the team has received from scientists. Russiver asserts that Guaana focused their efforts on determining the specific tools that scientists said that they needed, and then incorporating those things into their platform.
"We connected with experts from CERN, NASA, the European Space Agency, and numerous individual scientists from around the world," Russiver begins. "We even managed to get a hold of several Nobel Prize laureates who showed their support for the concept. And when my childhood hero Jack Horner, known for his work as scientific advisory to Jurassic Park movies, said 'I quite frankly hope it actually does create some changes in how people think,' we felt we were ready to go."
And it is completely free for scientists (and always will be). You can check them out, and sign up, here.