Animals warn each other whenever a predator approaches, and in some cases they help each other. In the case of sperm whales they share defensive measures to avoid being killed by whalers. When whalers first started hunting sperm whales they were very successful; however, their effective harpooning rate soon started to drop. Researchers have been able to demonstrate that the whales shared knowledge to help them survive.
This provides another example of group intelligence in animals and can add to the argument that animals need protection as nonhuman persons.
Animals can mitigate human threats, but how do they do this, and how fast can they adapt? Hunting sperm whales was a major 19th Century industry. Analysis of data from digitized logbooks of American whalers in the North Pacific found that the rate at which whalers succeeded in harpooning (striking) sighted whales fell by about 58% over the first few years of exploitation in a region. This decline cannot be explained by the earliest whalers being more competent, as their strike rates outside the North Pacific, where whaling had a longer history, were not elevated. The initial killing of particularly vulnerable individuals would not have produced the observed rapid decline in strike rate. It appears that whales swiftly learned effective defensive behaviour. Sperm whales live in kin-based social units. Our models show that social learning, in which naïve social units, when confronted by whalers, learned defensive measures from grouped social units with experience, could lead to the documented rapid decline in strike rate. This rapid, large-scale adoption of new behaviour enlarges our concept of the spatio- temporal dynamics of non-human culture.
American adults who got their news about COVID-19 from Facebook were less knowledgeable and more likely to believe falsehoods about the pandemic. The solution is to spend less time on the site and more time getting your news from other sources. The good news is that most adults agreed that Facebook is not a good source to get news, whereas official government websites were.
Leaving the site entirely is too much for some people as it’s a way to stay in contact with friends; so just reduce your time on the site – and avoid all “news” on the platform.
In summary, adults whose most trusted information source is government health websites are more likely to correctly answer questions about COVID-19 than those with another most trusted source. Individuals whose most trusted source is television news and those who use Facebook as an additional source of news are less likely to correctly answer COVID-19 questions. Effective public health emergency responsiveness requires that effective information dissemination and public compliance with precautionary measures occur. To increase public knowledge of COVID-19 in order to maximize information dissemination and compliance with COVID-19 related public health recommendations, those who provide health information should consider use of the publicâ€™s most trusted sources of information, as well as monitoring and correcting misinformation presented by other sources.
Democracy functions best when the people are well educated and the group Evidence for Democracy wants exactly that: a smart public. With COVID vaccinations well underway it’s important to understand what exactly is happening with the vaccines and other public health solutions. First, we need to understand that a lot of misinformation is accurate information misrepresented in a misleading fashion, which makes it more difficult to address. Thankfully Evidence for Democracy put together a toolkit for anybody to help identify misleading information in these crazy times.
You can watch the video above and/or check out the toolkit PDF linked below.
With research on this topic quickly evolving, weâ€™ve updated our recommendations based on a review of the best available evidence and tailored our advice for the science community. In this webinar, we walk through best practices for addressing misinformation online. Tune in to learn how we can all do our part in the collective effort to address online misinformation!
The ongoing global climate crisis is still denied by some people (like the Australian Prime Minister) despite all the evidence. The predictions made by climate scientists decades ago are coming true: from crop failures to massive wildfires. Why then are we ignoring their predictions about what’s going to happen next? This question is tough since it can get people thinking about things they find uncomfortable. To help us talk with people who don’t understand the threat of ignoring the climate crisis Summer Praetorius created this helpful knowledge tree. The tree helps us find what people are thinking and how they reached their conclusion.
The thing about alarms is that they turn out to be useful. The canary in the coalmine, smoke detectors, tornado sirens, cell phone alerts; we generally agree that instruments to detect and convey impending threats are a step in the right direction. In fact, we require them in most buildings. The inconvenience of an occasional false alarm is far outweighed by the benefit of not dying in your sleep by a raging fire.
So while catastrophists may get the eye-roll of hyperbole, gradualists warrant an occasional head-slap of naivete. Their apparent inability to conceive a fundamentally different world leads them into a default mode of complacency, one that ironically makes it much more likely to provoke the thing they arenâ€™t expecting. On the flip side, catastrophists are more prone to expect disaster, and might be more motivated to prevent the potential threats. So each will unwittingly prove the other one right, if they have their way of things.
Ultimology is a new field of thought which may help is in the future when we need it the most and don’t realize it. It’s the study of of extinct or endangered subjects, theories, and tools of learning. The Department of Ultimology is an art project that has set out to interpret what the study of dead/dying studies could look like and how it can be accomplished. It’s a groovy project that explores the fringes of knowledge with some real world examples of how very recently required knowledge for some disciplines have already been forgotten.
Knowledge of how things work is always needed and it’s good practice to keep abreast of changes in how and why we keep certain knowledge sets while discarding others.
For example, we met with Dr. Sylvia Draper, Head of the School of Chemistry at Trinity, and asked her what had changed in the discipline of Chemistry. She spoke about how glassware used to be an essential part of research. If you were a student of chemistry, you might actually design a piece of glassware that goes with your research. Draper told us that Trinity College had a glassblowing workshop on site with a glassblower named John Kelly, but that he was going to retire in two years and would not be replaced. It ties back to the commercialization of the university: the reason heâ€™s not being replaced is because heâ€™s salaried and a salaried employee is a high cost for the university. And so he and his work become expendable because in theory the department can just bring in cheaper, standard glassware from abroad.
However, if youâ€™re a student and youâ€™re planning your experiment and it requires an intricate, strange, unique piece of glass, it might now be much more expensive for you to get it, which might impact how you look at your research. You might be less willing or able to do something weirder, essentially. I picture it like these tiny little cracks that maybe canâ€™t be explored in a discipline as people are funnelled down into a more particular standard route.