Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
MIT Technology Review
"Facebook has conducted multiple studies confirming that content more likely to receive user engagement (likes, comments, and shares) is more likely of a type known to be bad. Still, the company has continued to rank content in user’s newsfeeds according to what will receive the highest engagement."
Placing engagement above any other consideration is profitable if you never have consequences for the harms your service causes. This is a shocking amount of coordinated inauthentic behavior even knowing Facebook’s poor record on moderation. Misinformation is just another externality to Facebook so they have no incentive to fix it. They need to be regulated. (He whispered into the void.)
npr.org
"Crisis care standards mean that scarce resources such as ICU beds will be allotted to the patients most likely to survive. Other patients will be treated with less effective methods or, in dire cases, given pain relief and other palliative care."
This is happening in the United States of America because Republicans are actively undermining public health efforts.
New York Times
"One in four hospitals now reports more than 95 percent of I.C.U. beds occupied — up from one in five last month. Experts say it can become difficult to maintain standards of care for the sickest patients in hospitals where all or nearly all I.C.U. beds are occupied."
This was preventable.
reuters.com
"A one-year expansion of the U.S. child tax credit, a policy championed by President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats over Republican opposition, has disproportionately benefited states that voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020, a Reuters review of Treasury Department data has found."
Not one Republican voted for it.
apnews.com
"Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers that state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases."
Republicans want people to die. If they didn't want to maximize deaths from the pandemic, how would their actions be different? The Republican party sure looks like a death cult from the outside.
A record on a turntable with digitally altered colors
Summer Breeze
YaleNews
”Amplification of moral outrage is a clear consequence of social media’s business model, which optimizes for user engagement,” Crockett said…She added, “Our data show that social media platforms do not merely reflect what is happening in society. Platforms create incentives that change how users react to political events over time.”
The "we are merely passive mirrors showing society as it is" argument is BS. I recommend that people switch to blogging which has next to zero engagement. This void encourages you to maintain existing levels of outrage. But seriously, a primary by-product of Facebook and Twitter are trolls.
New York Times
"The odds of having long-term symptoms — lasting at least four weeks after infection — were also 49 percent lower in the breakthrough group."
So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
Washington Post
"The study “helps add to the growing body of evidence that, despite a variety of mitigation efforts, misinformation has found a comfortable home — and an engaged audience — on Facebook,” said Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, who reviewed the study’s findings."
huh, people love to hear things that confirm something they want to believe. That’s extremely profitable!
sfchronicle.com
"The rash of infections highlights just how contagious the delta variant is, underscoring “the importance of vaccinating school staff members who are in close indoor contact with children ineligible for vaccination as schools reopen,” the CDC report said."
Delta is different for kids and I'm not sure that message is getting out.

See Also: A CDC-funded simulation projects that without masking or testing, more than 75 percent of children could be infected within three months.
Washington Post
"About two out of ten unvaccinated employees said if their employer gave them paid time off they’d be more likely to get vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 1,888 adults conducted from June 8 to June 21."
It would be ironic if America's protestant work ethic is what ultimately did us in.
Photo of a leaf under running water with shifted colors
The Leaf Aquatic
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