Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation

  • Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation - Bad news, fans of rational political discourse: A study by an MIT researcher shows that attempts to debunk political rumors may only reinforce their strength. "Rumors are sticky," says Adam Berinsky, a professor of political science at MIT, and author of a paper detailing the study. "Corrections are difficult, and in some cases can even make the problem worse." More specifically, Berinsky found in an experiment concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that rebuttals of political rumors about the supposed existence of "death panels" sometimes increased belief in the myth among the public.
  • Robert Fisk: Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It amazes me that all these warriors of the air don’t regularly crash into each other. ... The sectarian and theological nature of this war seems perfectly clear to all who live in the Middle East – albeit not to our American chums. The Sunni Saudis are bombing the Shia Yemenis and the Shia Iranians are bombing the Sunni Iraqis. The Sunni Egyptians are bombing Sunni Libyans, it’s true, and the Jordanian Sunnis are bombing Iraqi Sunnis. But the Shia-supported Syrian government forces are bombing their Sunni Syrian enemies and the Lebanese Hezbollah – Shia to a man – are fighting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Sunni enemies, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and an ever-larger number of Afghan Shia men in Syrian uniforms.
  • Tweets analysed for clues to UK general election result - Analysis of Twitter comments could provide an accurate forecast of the UK general election result, computer scientists from Warwick university said on Tuesday. The method, which includes negative as well as positive tweets, aggregates this information with the latest estimate of the parties’ share of the vote as measured by conventional opinion polls to produce a daily prediction of voting share. Tuesday’s prediction shows the Conservatives slightly ahead of Labour with 33.48 per cent of votes compared with the opposition’s 33.06 per cent.
  • Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?
  • Warren Buffett versus the hedge funds - With three years to go, Warren Buffett is comfortably winning his charity bet that a low-cost index tracker would trounce a portfolio of hedge funds over ten years. Returns from the S&P 500 index fund is beating a portfolio of funds assembled by hedge fund manager Protégé Partners by 63.5 per cent to 19.6 per cent, according to a slide Mr Buffett presented at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this past weekend.
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