The Conversation: We must make moral choices about how we relate to social media apps

The Conversation: We must make moral choices about how we relate to social media apps. “As an ethics professor, I’ve come to realise that we must make moral choices about how we relate to our technologies. This requires an honest evaluation of our needs and weaknesses, and a clear understanding of the intentions of these platforms.”

Dame: What Are We To Do With All This Grief?

Dame: What Are We To Do With All This Grief?. “I do not know how to talk about this grief. This American grief that I now carry in my heart, in my bones, in every cell and sinew of my being. This grief with which I wake up and go to sleep, this grief that has caught me, some nights, on the way back from the bathroom. It’s too big for me to frame, too vast for me to organize. It’s been overflowing the banks of each and every day since March 13, when the nation began to shut down and then looked up to see that we were dying.”

Daily Beast: 9 (Kinda) Hilarious Lessons From My 99 Days on a COVID Ventilator

Daily Beast: 9 (Kinda) Hilarious Lessons From My 99 Days on a COVID Ventilator. “Let’s rewind the tape to when this grease fire of a year kicked off. It was late February, and I was a 31-year-old comedian struggling to pay rent on my shoebox Manhattan apartment. While visiting my parents in Massachusetts, I developed flu-like symptoms and ended up testing positive for COVID-19. Despite having no pre-existing conditions, I landed in the ICU on a ventilator before being airlifted to a second hospital for a 99-day catnap powered by modern medicine. As it turns out, a person like me can learn a lot from almost dying.”

The Canberra Times: When a search engine’s the easy way out

The Canberra Times: When a search engine’s the easy way out. “Information has become so easily accessible, so addictive, it’s now the conversational equivalent of junk food, undigested chymus cycling through a common digestive tract encircling the entire planet. We gorge and we defecate. A little bit of knowledge is, of course, a dangerous thing but what’s the result when we begin to hold knowledge in such contempt it loses its primacy? How dangerous is that?”

Andy Slavitt: Be Afraid of Covid-19

Andy Slavitt: Be Afraid of Covid-19. “Now that Trump is an expert on Covid-19 — not the book-learning kind you get by reading the reports that have been presented to him for months on end — but the kind of REAL education people get — he has an inescapable conclusion. There’s a million people worldwide, many of whom presented exactly the way Trump presented and who died. Those other million people who didn’t have dozens of doctors, an arsenal of drugs, including a compassionate-use cocktail not available to anyone. Or a helicopter.”

New York Times: I Hallucinated When I Had Covid-19. Here’s What I Saw.

New York Times: I Hallucinated When I Had Covid-19. Here’s What I Saw. “One silver lining of Covid-19 is this: We may build small communities again. It isn’t easy — gossip, competition for scarce resources, political differences — but it is good for our physical and mental health, and good for the nation. We know our neighbors. There is no sense that the egg lady or the appliance repairman is a less important being than the company treasurer or the documentary filmmaker, or for that matter than the governor of the state. When someone is suffering, neighbors effectively rally to help the person, and they don’t ask for anything in return. Political choices involve people that we have met, and their work is visible.”

Washington Post: I couldn’t sit idly and watch people die from Trump’s chaotic, politicized pandemic response, so I resigned

Washington Post: I couldn’t sit idly and watch people die from Trump’s chaotic, politicized pandemic response, so I resigned. This is an editorial from Rick Bright. “Public health guidance on the pandemic response, drafted by career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been repeatedly overruled by political staff appointed by the Trump administration. Career scientists throughout the Department of Health and Human Services hesitate to push back when science runs counter to the administration’s unrealistically optimistic pronouncements. Public health and safety have been jeopardized by the administration’s hostility to the truth and by its politicization of the pandemic response, undoubtedly leading to tens of thousands of preventable deaths. For that reason, and because the administration has in effect barred me from working to fight the pandemic, I resigned on Tuesday from the National Institutes of Health.”

TNW: Beauty is in the app of the beholder

TNW: Beauty is in the app of the beholder. “There has long been whispers about phone cameras secretly post-processing your selfies to make you ‘more beautiful,’ with the iPhone XS ‘Beautygate’ scandal perhaps being the most notorious instance of this trend. Critics have argued such automated edits fundamentally cultivate a culture of unobtainable beauty standards, which in turn leads to more extreme urges to manipulate our image — there are plenty of examples of pushing this beyond the norm in the popular Instagram versus Reality subreddit.”

Andy Slavitt: Another Wave, the Same Mistakes

Andy Slavitt: Another Wave, the Same Mistakes. “Two hundred thousand people died and only 9% of the public has been infected. A year from now will those 9% have immunity? We don’t know. We still don’t understand what immunity is conferred, how long it lasts, and how many strains are covered. Message for ‘herders’ (pick one: herd immunity, herd mentality, or herd thinner): 200,000 lives is too high a price to pay. Even if we cut the death rate in half, which I believe we can, the cost of 50% immunity is another 400,000 American lives.”

Washington Post: Trump’s covid-19 diagnosis gives him one last chance to reset his campaign

Washington Post: Trump’s covid-19 diagnosis gives him one last chance to reset his campaign. “President Trump’s covid-19 diagnosis is a blessing in disguise, because it has given him one last chance to win over millions of reluctant voters who approve of his policies but not of him. His illness has created a moment of sympathy, and with it an unexpected opportunity for a reset. He needs to seize that moment by offering the American people a clear vision for how he will end this pandemic. He may not take this advice, but whether he does may well determine whether Americans give him a second term.” I think with his bonkers decision to stop stimulus negotiations, this probably is no longer a strategy, but it’s an interesting editorial.

New York Times: It’s Time for the Debates to Go Remote

New York Times: It’s Time for the Debates to Go Remote. “After the first presidential debate, it looked as if the big question looming over the next one would be whether anyone could do anything to keep President Trump from constantly interrupting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. A week later, we’re wondering if it’s possible to hold a debate without creating a biohazard.”

Former Secret Service agent: I’m stunned by what I saw (CNN)

CNN: Former Secret Service agent: I’m stunned by what I saw. “United States Secret Service Agents are mission-driven women and men who have dedicated their lives to their protectees, regardless of the personal risk they themselves may face. This is the uncompromising reality that comes with being a Secret Service agent; it is the ethos that drives every agent to ensure that something greater than themselves is protected — the office the Presidency. But the other reality is that we should never have seen the President and his Secret Service agents in the armored limo on Sunday.”

COVID-19 vaccines: how to ensure Africa has access (Nature)

Nature: COVID-19 vaccines: how to ensure Africa has access. “Last month, a grand experiment was launched. Its aim? To speed up the development of COVID‑19 vaccines and make sure they are distributed equitably among higher- and lower-income countries. This welcome endeavour is called the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) initiative. It is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. As of 1 October, 167 countries have signed up, covering nearly two-thirds of the global population. More have expressed interest, according to Gavi.”

Thank you for posting: Smoking’s lessons for regulating social media (MIT Technology Review)

MIT Technology Review: Thank you for posting: Smoking’s lessons for regulating social media. “…like secondhand smoke, misinformation damages the quality of public life. Every conspiracy theory, every propaganda or disinformation campaign, affects people—and the expense of not responding can grow exponentially over time. Since the 2016 US election, newsrooms, technology companies, civil society organizations, politicians, educators, and researchers have been working to quarantine the viral spread of misinformation. The true costs have been passed on to them, and to the everyday folks who rely on social media to get news and information.”

The Guardian: America has a super-spreader president. He put us all – and himself – at risk

The Guardian: America has a super-spreader president. He put us all – and himself – at risk. “The administration’s handling of the president’s illness has had the shambolic quality of Wile E Coyote attempting to catch Road Runner. They are caught in such absurdly transparent lies that one almost expects their noses to grow long as they speak, or a cartoon anvil to drop on their heads in divine retribution. It would be funny, if only these people did not also possess such terrifying power along with their ostentatious incompetence.”