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Hundreds of Scientists Demand ‘Meta’ Makes Data Available for Research

What they’ve allowed us to see so far is faulty, according to the complainants.

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Is social media the new cigarette?  Is there inherent harm being done to our children through Instagram and Facebook?  Are we fomenting a mental health crisis in this country by allowing Silicon Valley to operate in a lightly-regulated way?

These are the sort of questions that we wouldn’t have dreamed of asking at the onset of the information revolution, but that seem all too poignant today, particularly as Facebook attempts one of the oldest tricks in the book:  Rebranding to avoid the stigma that they’ve cultivated for themselves.

But now that we’re beginning to realize that these apps are more addictive and depressing than some of the drugs that are currently scheduled by the federal government, science is looking for answers.

In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg published Monday, a group of academics called for Meta to be more transparent about its research into how Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp affect the mental health of children and adolescents. The letter calls for the company to allow independent reviews of its internal work, contribute data to external research projects, and set up an independent scientific oversight group.

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“You and your organizations have an ethical and moral obligation to align your internal research on children and adolescents with established standards for evidence in mental health science,” the letter, signed by researchers from universities around the world, reads.

The open letter comes after leaks from Facebook revealed some data from the company’s internal research, which found that Instagram was linked with anxiety and body image issues for some teenage girls. The research released, though, is limited and relied on subjective information collected through interviews. While this strategy can produce useful insights, it can’t prove that social media caused any of the mental health outcomes.

And, worse still…

The information available so far appears to show that the studies Facebook researchers conducted don’t meet the standards academic researchers use to conduct trials, the new open letter said. The information available also isn’t complete, the authors noted — Meta hasn’t made its research methods or data public, so it can’t be scrutinized by independent experts. The authors called for the company to allow independent review of past and future research, which would include releasing research materials and data.

But will the famously-clandestine social media maven comply?  There’s no telling at this time.

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PUTIN POKES THE BEAR: Russian Troops Move Toward Ukraine as World Warns

There may be no peaceful end to this situation.

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While it has long been understood that Vladimir Putin is a figure representing chaos on the world’s stage, (whether covertly or proudly), the sort of trouble that he’s stirring up this week won’t likely have a peaceful end.

Putin appears hellbent on finding a way and a reason to take Ukraine back under Russian control.  The tiny nation, rich in natural gas and other resources, is far too minuscule to put up a fight, and so it will be up to the rest of the world to deter the Kremlin.

And despite a number of unmistakable warnings, Putin appears unfazed.

Russia is a sending an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to Belarus for major war games, officials said Tuesday, a deployment that will further beef up Russian military presence near Ukraine amid Western fears of a planned invasion.

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Amid the soaring tensions, the White House warned that Russia could attack its neighbor at “any point,” while the U.K. delivered a batch of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said the joint drills with Belarus would involve practicing a joint response to external threats.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine from several directions, including from its ally Belarus.

As for any attempts to stop the Russian invasion?  They were squashed when a well-known Putin mouthpiece announced on television that any push to keep Putin from getting what he wants could end in the opposition being turned into “radioactive dust”.

 

While it has long been understood that Vladimir Putin is a figure representing chaos on the world’s stage, (whether covertly or proudly), the sort of trouble that he’s stirring up this week won’t likely have a peaceful end. Putin appears hellbent on finding a way and a reason to take Ukraine back under Russian control.  The tiny nation, rich in natural gas and other resources, is far too minuscule to put up a fight, and so it will be up to the rest of the world to deter the Kremlin. And despite a number of unmistakable warnings, Putin appears unfazed. Russia is a sending an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to Belarus for major war games, officials said Tuesday, a deployment that will further beef up Russian military presence near Ukraine amid Western fears of a planned invasion. Amid the soaring tensions, the White House warned that Russia could attack its neighbor at “any point,” while the U.K. delivered a batch of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said the joint drills with Belarus would involve practicing a joint response to external threats. Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine from several directions, including from its ally Belarus. As for any attempts to stop the Russian invasion?  They were squashed when a well-known Putin mouthpiece announced on television that any push to keep Putin from getting what he wants could end in the opposition being turned into “radioactive dust”.  

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Starbucks Bucks Biden’s Vaccine Mandate in Latest Blow to Agenda

WOW!

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Joe Biden has not been having the smoothest first year in office, that’s for certain, and things are only getting a little rougher as the days go on.

Currently, one of the largest failures that the administration is dealing with comes from the constitutionality of their vaccine mandate.  Or, rather, it’s lack of constitutionality, as determined by the Supreme Court of the US.

And now, even one of the “wokest” companies in the nation can’t back the plan.

Employees at Starbucks are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Roughly a week after the Supreme Court reversed President’s Biden workplace vaccine mandate, the coffee chain is following suit, according to The Associated Press.

“We respect the Court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in a memo to employees.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued mixed rulings in a pair of cases challenging Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandates, allowing the requirement for certain health care workers to go into effect while blocking enforcement of a mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Then came the lip service.

“I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Culver added. “Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

With Starbucks opting out, there are no doubt other mega-corporations who will be following suit.

Joe Biden has not been having the smoothest first year in office, that’s for certain, and things are only getting a little rougher as the days go on. Currently, one of the largest failures that the administration is dealing with comes from the constitutionality of their vaccine mandate.  Or, rather, it’s lack of constitutionality, as determined by the Supreme Court of the US. And now, even one of the “wokest” companies in the nation can’t back the plan. Employees at Starbucks are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Roughly a week after the Supreme Court reversed President’s Biden workplace vaccine mandate, the coffee chain is following suit, according to The Associated Press. “We respect the Court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in a memo to employees. Last week, the Supreme Court issued mixed rulings in a pair of cases challenging Biden administration COVID-19 vaccine mandates, allowing the requirement for certain health care workers to go into effect while blocking enforcement of a mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. Then came the lip service. “I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Culver added. “Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.” With Starbucks opting out, there are no doubt other mega-corporations who will be following suit.

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