Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Biggest Scams in Higher Education

After Certificate programs, Master’s Degrees Are the Second Biggest Scam in Higher Education

Adapted from:  https://slate.com/business/2021/07/masters-degrees-debt-loans-worth-it.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a troubling exposé on the crushing debt burdens that students accumulate while pursuing master’s degrees at elite universities in fields like drama and film, where the job prospects are limited and the chances of making enough to repay their debt are slim.

For colleges and universities, master’s degrees have essentially become an enormous moneymaking scheme, 

The line between for-profit and nonprofit education has been utterly blurred. There are, of course, good programs as well as bad ones, but when you scope out, there is clearly a systemic problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Power of a Moonrise

The solemnity, enormity, and power of this moonrise video struck me. Sunrises are beautiful, but something about a moonrise is empowering -- a haunting, we are coming, a proper perspective on 2020, and this too will pass -- and energizing.

A few facts (thank you Astronomy Club):

(a) Full moon on July 31, 2015; Byron Bay lighthouse at the northern tip of New South Wales, Australia.

(b) Realtime (not timelapse)! From the time the edge of the moon is first visible until it clears the horizon is a little over two minutes, and the lighthouse flashes at 15-second intervals.

(c) The photographer was nearly two miles west of the lighthouse, but if the photographer had been 100 feet north or south, no part of the lighthouse or its base would have been silhouetted during the moonrise.

(d) The next nearest eastern landmass is more than 4000 miles away - a little north of Valparaiso, Chile.

Music in this video

Song : Hallelujah

Artist : Pentatonix

Writers : Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Trump's Insurrection

It will be interesting to see what happens “the day after.” Will Republicans finally root out the Faustian opportunists like Cruz? Likely not.

Trump has made me a cynic. 81 million people think he is a hero.81 million people can’t separate fact from fiction. That has not changed and that is what is really scary.

There will be a bunch of BS speech-making by Republicans. And then they’ll go back to their true hypocritical selves. Most of them have no moral compass. They will go on the search for the next group of crazies they think can thrust them into power. I suspect the Democrats aren’t much different.

Trump’s thrust into politics was based on a lie and a conspiracy theory. He never changed. He never pretended to be anything other than his true self. Only America changed. Yesterday was America’s Krystalnacht.

Having a sitting President incite an insurrection is a first we should hope is never repeated. Yesterday seemed like a scene right out of the past popular program “24.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

New NPR/IPSOS Poll Regarding Misinformation

Originally, I shared corrections for email that I received that had misinformation, especially as it related to COVID. Then I thought, why bother. First, the sender obviously preferred to believe the BS or s/he would not have shared it with every one of their contacts. Second, they are only harming themselves. Don’t waste both of our time.

Also, misinformation is nothing new. What is new is -- it is now being sourced by people whom others assume to “be in the know.” That makes it much more dangerous.

The following article 

https://www.npr.org/2020/12/30/951095644/even-if-its-bonkers-poll-finds-many-believe-qanon-and-other-conspiracy-theories

states

It's also clear from the poll results that Americans are worried about misinformation, even if there's no clear prescription for what to do about it.

Really! That has not been my experience.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Ignorance and Fealty

The man is a damn neurosurgeon and can’t be described as ‘anti-science,’” Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine for New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said in an email. “I think it just shows how the ignorance and fealty has extended to even the least expected.”

Congressional members were more than twice as likely to test positive for the coronavirus than the general public, according to a USA TODAY data analysis that looked at cases since Sept. 1. 

Among the nation’s 382.2 million people, about 2.4% have tested positive for the coronavirus since Sept. 1. 

Over that same period, 23 U.S. senators and representatives have tested positive, about 4.3% of the 535 members of Congress, according to Ballotpedia. Of those, 74% are Republican.

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/12/03/coronavirus-hits-republican-elected-officials-hardest/6413673002/ 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Dangerous Medical News from Trump Administration

More fake and dangerous medical advice from the the Trump Administration. We cleaned up a less than professional report from Center for Inquiry that is otherwise accurate.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1331309315882446849.html

Here's a story about fake medicine, why people might use it, and why it’s so dangerous, especially during a global pandemic.

Friday, November 20, 2020

A Lie is a Lie regardless of who tells it

With so much misinformation being passed regarding COVID, the following is worth contemplation. How quick people are ready to “run with a story,” without even a minimum of validation, if the story fits one’s bias. This story is all over the internet. The liberal media is having a field day with it.

Are Covid Patients Gasping ‘It Isn’t Real’ As They Die?

An ER nurse’s anecdote of deranged denialism went viral. But when the media caught wind of the story, reporters didn’t do their jobs.

https://www.wired.com/story/are-covid-patients-gasping-it-isnt-real-as-they-die/

As the WIRED author admits, the nurse may be telling the truth, but her tweets are not evidence of the wider politicized story that these biased journalists mostlikely want everyone to believe.

When lies are promulgated at the highest levels of authority, truth loses value and lying becomes weaponized and common practice. The truth takes too long and usually isn’t as sensational. I doubt if America will ever recover from the damage Trump has done. 70 million American voters find it acceptable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

To Tell the Truth

Telling the truth with Trump gets one fired.

Christopher Krebs, the Department of Homeland Security director who had spearheaded a campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud, has been fired, President Trump on Tuesday. Trump, in two misleading tweets about the security of the U.S. election, said Krebs' termination was "effective immediately."

The CISA campaign, led by Krebs, was originally intended to target foreign interference. However, as the president continued to repeat dangerously misleading information about the security of the election, the agency's focus turned to rebutting many of the rumors and baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud that Trump had promoted from the White House.

Christopher Krebs has been fired

The firing of Krebs marks perhaps the most upsetting moment for democracy since the president’s refusal to accept his election loss two weeks ago. Trump has since spread disinformation wildly and has prevented the government bureaucracy from beginning a normal, peaceful transition. His increasingly quixotic legal battle has seen over a dozen courtroom losses across multiple states.

https://www.wired.com/story/trump-fires-christopher-krebs-cisa/

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Economic Representation of Candidates

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/11/09/biden-voting-counties-equal-70-of-americas-economy-what-does-this-mean-for-the-nations-political-economic-divide/

Overall, we rate Brooking Institution Left-Center biased based on donations to primarily Democratic candidates, as well as policy advocacy that slightly favors the left. We also rate them Very High for factual reporting due to strong sourcing and a clean fact check record.

https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/brookings-institute/ 

Friday, November 6, 2020

FINALLY!!!

President Trump Thursday made unfounded claims that the presidential election was corrupt and fraudulent. In response, we cut off his live remarks and removed the video from our platforms. I want to explain why.

Our job is to cover the news, but our mission is to spread truth and to stop misinformation.

Some things don’t have two sides. Facts are not up for debate. And when the president of the United States, from the White House, tries to tear down one of the bedrocks of American democracy, a fair and free election, that is no longer news. It is propaganda.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/11/06/trump-voter-fraud-election-remarks-president/6189637002/

Friday, October 30, 2020

Another Trump COVID Lie

Trump’s remarks came during an Oct. 24 rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Trump, Oct. 24: If somebody’s terminally ill with cancer, and they have COVID, we report them. And you know, doctors get more money and hospitals get more money. Think of this incentive. So some countries do it differently. If somebody is very sick with a bad heart, they die of COVID, they don’t get reported as COVID. So then you wonder, gee, I wonder why their cases are so low.

This country and their reporting systems are really not doing it right. If somebody has a really bad heart, and they’re close to death, even if they’re not, but they have a very bad heart and they get COVID, they put it down to COVID. Other countries put it down to a heart. So we have to be — we’re gonna to start looking at things because you know, they have things back — they have things a little bit backwards.

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/10/trump-baselessly-suggests-covid-19-deaths-inflated-for-profit/

If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?

Will Rogers

 

Friday, October 23, 2020

New measures to curb the viral spread of pandemic misinformation

In the hopes of curbing the rampant spread of coronavirus misinformation, the WHO announced yesterday that it will grant Wikipedia free use of its published information, graphics, and videos in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.  This partnership also means WHO material will be part of the Wikimedia Commons, and can be reproduced or retranslated anywhere so long as there’s appropriate attribution.

Since the start of the pandemic, Wikipedia—once widely regarded as unreliable—has been a key resource for debunking misinformation about coronavirus. By contrast, researchers from Cornell recently found that President Trump was likely the loudest source of coronavirus misinformation during the pandemic’s early months. As a result of the president’s attitudes, many prestigious scientific and medical journals have published editorials denouncing his handling of coronavirus.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Who Checks the Fact Checkers

When circulating the information about Poynter.com, I was asked, “Who Checks the Fact-Checkers?

My first response was -- use what I posted on my website https://mtskeptics.blogspot.com/2020/10/fact-checking-101.html  

However, I thought I would “google” the question to see if I could get a better answer.

I figured with the upcoming election that email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. would be Jammed with fallacious “information,” since one side or the other must lose. To avoid a lot of unnecessary hyperventilation, I would share what I find out. I hope people of either political persuasion would rather not hear misinformation that only substantiates their opinion. They prefer the truth. Maybe.  

Monday, October 19, 2020

FACT CHECKING 101

Poynter.com offers a FREE self-directed course in FACT CHECKING for Seniors. The course is very much apolitical and unbiased. However, I would not be surprised if when some people apply these lesson material to their favorite sources they find them full of mis- or dis-information and as a result think this course is biased or political.  It is. It is biased against the spread of garbage.

The course teaches the following checks and procedures:

  • How to check who is behind the information
  • What is the evidence
  • What are other sources saying
  • Lateral reading
  • Smart keyword search and click restraint
  • Using Wikipedia responsibility
  • Reverse image search

I have been asked, "Who checks the fact-checkers?" Answer is - YOU! and this teaches you how.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Why do we see ghosts?

This story appears in the Fall 2020, Mystery issue of Popular Science.

By Jake Bittle ,October 6, 2020

Let's call it the Scooby-Doo effect.MC Wolfman

Are ghouls real? That depends. Current science can’t prove that there are spirits walking through walls or screaming below floorboards. Our spooky sightings, however, have certainly felt real. Humans have been spotting specters for as long as we’ve been around, and to some degree we can explain why. These seven mental and physical factors can account for almost any creepy occurrence—including some famous ones ripe for debunking—and help to make sense of our perpetual urge to sleep with the night light on.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Dying in a Leadership Vacuum

Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.The magnitude of this failure is astonishing.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2029812

Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. This election gives us the power to render judgment. The truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs. 

New England Journal of Medicine.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Trump is a Major Source of Coronavirus lies

COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded alongside what the World Health Organization has termed an “infodemic” of misinformation. This study identifies and analyzes the most prominent topics of COVID-related misinformation that emerged in traditional media between January1 and May26,2020 based on a total sample of over 38 million articles published in English-language media around the world. To our knowledge, our analysis is the first comprehensive survey of the traditional and online media landscape on this issue. We found that media mentions of US President Donald Trump with in the context of COVID-19 misinformation made up by far the largest share of the infodemic. Trump mentions comprised 37.9% of the overall misinformation conversation, well ahead of any other topics. We conclude that the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation “infodemic”. Only 16.4% of the misinformation conversation was “fact-checking” in nature, suggesting that the majority of COVID misinformation is conveyed by the media without question or correction.

SOURCE:
Coronavirus
misinformation:quantifying sources and themes in the COVID-19‘ infodemic’

 Sarah Evanega, MarkLynas, JordanAdams, Karinne Smolenyak

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenttools/evanega-et-al-coronavirus-misinformation-submitted-07-23-20-1/080839ac0c22bca8/full.pdf  

The Cornell Alliance for Science,
Department
of Global Development,
Cornell
University, Ithaca, NY
Cision Global Insights, Ann Arbor, MI

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hands-On Lessons to Separate Fact from Fiction Online

While reviewing the content of a new ADD to this website,
I ran across this TRAINING.
MediaWise for Seniors: Hands-On Lessons to Separate Fact from Fiction Online
https://www.poynter.org/shop/self-directed-course/mediawise-for-seniors-hands-on-lessons-on-separating-fact-and-fiction-online/

With the rampant COVID misinformation and the upcoming election,
I don’t think WE can send it to enough people.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

ACCURACY OF COVID STATISTICS

     The latest COVID conspiracy we are hearing is “The Infection Rates and Death Rates are exaggerated.  If an illness looks like COVID, whether or not it is, it is being reported as a COVID illness or death.”The confirmation of this claim is the infamous friend of a friend who works in a related medical field told them.
 
     Two questions come to mind: First, why does anyone want to believe this claim and second, is it true? Answer the second question first, What data are actually being reported and can we trust the source? Here is what Judy Melinek, MD, forensic pathologist and CEO of PathologyExpert Inc, says in her article How Accurate Is the Coronavirus Death Toll? (https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/working-stiff/85925)