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How Technology Disrupted The Truth

How Technology Disrupted The Truth
One Monday morning last September, Britain woke to a depraved news story. The prime minister, David Cameron, had committed an “obscene act with a dead pig’s head”, according to the Daily Mail. “A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig,” the paper reported. Piers Gaveston is the name of a riotous Oxford university dining society; the authors of the story claimed their source was an MP, who said he had seen photographic evidence: “His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal.” The story, extracted from a new biography of Cameron, sparked an immediate furore. It was gross, it was a great opportunity to humiliate an elitist prime minister, and many felt it rang true for a former member of the notorious Bullingdon Club. Then, after a full day of online merriment, something shocking happened. Does the truth matter any more?

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/12/how-technology-disrupted-the-truth

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Rewilding Our National Parks By Paula Mackay and John Davis Rocky Wilson and his wife had settled into camp for the evening when they caught sight of a bear emerging from the brush. It was late September 1968 and the Wilsons were hunting in Fisher Basin, one of their favorite places in Washington State's North Cascades mountains. Truth was the first casualty of the Great Depression. Reflecting the anguish of the time, propaganda was manufactured on an unprecedented scale. As economic disaster threatened to trigger shooting wars so, as George Orwell said, useful lies were preferred to harmful truths. Opinion: the ethics and effectiveness of nudging. Since the publication of 2008’s Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, policy ‘nudges’ have been in fashion, with smaller interventions aimed at altering public behaviour in a subtle manner being adopted by many governments, including in the UK. Frank Mols looked at this phenomenon in a recent journal article, and argues here that while nudges undoubtedly can be effective, their limitations must be kept in mind. This piece originally appeared on Democratic Audit.

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Rewilding the Future New research shows that the loss of large animals has had strong effects on ecosystem functions, and that reintroducing large animal faunas may restore biodiverse ecosystems. Rewilding is gaining a lot of interest as an alternative conservation and land management approach in recent years, but remains controversial. It is increasingly clear that Earth harbored rich faunas of large animals -- such as elephants, wild horses and big cats -- pretty much everywhere, but that these have starkly declined with the spread of humans across the world -- a decline that continues in many areas. A range of studies now show that these losses have had strong effects on ecosystem functions, and a prominent strain of rewilding, trophic rewilding, focuses on restoring large animal faunas and their top-down food-web effects to promote self-regulating biodiverse ecosystems.

Even to mention the 1930s is to evoke the period when human civilisation entered its darkest, bloodiest chapter. No case needs to be argued; just to name the decade is enough. It is a byword for mass poverty, violent extremism and the gathering storm of world war. “The 1930s” is not so much a label for a period of time than it is rhetorical shorthand – a two-word warning from history. Witness the impact of an otherwise boilerplate broadcast by the Prince of Wales last December that made headlines: “Prince Charles warns of return to the ‘dark days of the 1930s’ in Thought for the Day message.” Or consider the reflex response to reports that Donald Trump was to maintain his own private security force even once he had reached the White House. 'Post-truth' declared word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries Image copyright Reuters Oxford Dictionaries has declared "post-truth" as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a "highly-charged" political 12 months. It is defined as an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals. Its selection follows June's Brexit vote and the US presidential election. Oxford Dictionaries' Casper Grathwohl said post-truth could become "one of the defining words of our time".

Trash talk: how Twitter is shaping the new politics When Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman in American history to clinch a major party’s presidential nomination, her rival responded with all his customary grace. “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama – but nobody else does!” Donald Trump sneered on Twitter.

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