Profiles of flat earthers: report from the front lines of weaponized media literacy

Tom Usher went to a flat earth conference in Birmingham, England; he met an array of people who believe that the Earth is flat, because they believe that powerful people have conspired to control the information they receive in order to secure benefits for the elite, and this belief (which has a wealth of evidence to support it!) has been weaponized by crackpots and cynical manipulators to convince them the world is flat (despite the wealth of evidence against this!). Read the rest

Pentagon sucks up to Trump by censoring mentions of climate change in its global risks assessment

In 2016, the Pentagon released a draft of its comprehensive global risk assessment; this climate change as a driver of global instability and possible conflict. The final draft replaces "climate change" with weak-kneed, cowardly euphemisms like "extreme weather," failing to attribute this weather to anthropogenic climate change, a matter of scientific consensus which Donald Trump has stated is a "Chinese plot." Read the rest

Koch-backed climate deniers are exploiting the reproducibility crisis to discredit climate science

The National Association of Scholars is a tiny, hydrocarbon-industry backed organization that is not to be confused with the National Academy of Sciences. Read the rest

The oil industry just told a judge that climate change is undeniably real, but they still found a way to weasel

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco is presiding over a case in which California cities are suing the big oil companies over the climate-related disasters they're experiencing; Judge Alsup asked for a "tutorial" session in which experts for both sides would be asked to explain the underlying science, something he's done in earlier cases that turned on technical questions, including a DACA case and a case on lidar and self-driving cars. Read the rest

Oklahoma Republicans are tearing themselves apart as they confront the economic wreckage of their policies

Oklahoma spent eight years under full GOP rule, with Republicans controlling the governorship and the legislature, passing a fully ALEC-compliant slate of laws that benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor; the result has been a catastrophe for the party's fortunes in Oklahoma, to say nothing of a catastrophe for Oklahomans, whose schools are running four day weeks so teachers can made ends meet by getting a day's work at Walmart (no wonder they're on the verge of striking); while Republican lawmakers have run amok, introducing bills demanding that creationism be taught in schools; or that protesters be bankrupted for peaceful assembly; and making the state a haven for forced-labor camps masquerading as drug rehab centers. Read the rest

America, before the EPA: the photos that the EPA commissioned to document the conditions that led to its formation

When Nixon formed the EPA in 1970, the agency had the prescience to send photographers across America to photograph the kinds of environmental catastrophes that triggered its formation: chemical factories belching smoke; smog over cities; burning barges in the middle of waterways; clearcuts, litter and filthy lakes and rivers. Read the rest

The GOP candidate who would represent a suburban Chicago district is an open Holocaust denier, white supremacist and anti-Semite

Arthur Jones is standing uncontested to be the GOP's candidate in Illinois's 3rd Congressional District, representing suburban Chicago; he has run for office several times on a white-supremacist, Holocaust denial platform, calling the Holocaust "the biggest blackest lie in history." Read the rest

In California, an underground network of anti-vax doctors will write your kid a medical exemption letter to get them out of their vaccinations

After an outbreak of measles at Disneyland, California lawmakers had enough and passed SB277, banning kids from attending the state's schools unless they were fully vaccinated, and eliminating the waiver that let parents put their kids and others' in danger by signing a form stating that "immunization is contrary to my beliefs." Read the rest

Climate deniers beat Google and topped the page on searches for "climate change"

Google has long maintained that it must keep the workings of its search and ad-placement algorithms a secret, lest they provide a roadmap to the kinds of bad actors who'd like tweak the results and give their bad ideas (or sleazy products) pride of placement on its pages. Read the rest

Professional climate denial took hundreds of millions from the CO2 industries, then slipped off their leash

Five years ago, it looked like big oil and big coal were finally acknowledging the reality of climate change, shifting from the early posture of outright denial and the intermediate strategy of sowing confusion, and moving into an endgame of "clean coal" and monopolizing renewables, but the think tanks they had funneled hundreds of millions in dark money to were not having any of it -- and it's they, not the hydrocarbon barons, who've got the ear of the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief, Donald Trump. Read the rest

As climate deniers claim credit for killing Net Neutrality, the FCC's internal auditor reveals that Neutracide was based on a lie

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is part of the dark-money funded network of think thanks that lead the charge to deny the scientific consensus on climate change; funded by a mix of money from the tobacco industry, the hydrocarbon lobby, booze companies, and similar interests. Read the rest

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that shows promise in epilepsy and pain therapy, so the DEA wants to class it with heroin

The World Health Organization's new report on cannabidiol (CBD) found that the compound (which does not produce any kind of high -- and may actually counteract the psychoactive properties of THC) is not addictive, has no potential for abuse, and shows promise in a number of medical trials. Read the rest

For the next year, TV, newspapers, and the web will run massive ads from tobacco companies admitting that their products kill people, that they were engineered to be addictive, and that they covered this up

After losing their 19-year court battle with the US Department of Justice, tobacco giants Altria, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA are now beginning to run their court-ordered "corrective statements" as full-page newspaper ads, major web display ads, and primetime TV spots, containing frank admissions that they violated federal racketeering and fraud laws when they conspired to cover up the fact that their products killed their customers and that they intentionally designed their products to be as addictive as possible. Read the rest

For more than half a century, the sugar industry has used Big Tobacco tactics to suppress sugar/cancer link and to confuse the science

UCSF researchers have published an important paper in PLOS Biology that draws on internal documents from the US sugar industry lobby that shows that the industry deliberately suppressed research on the link between sucrose and bladder cancer and heart disease, and then deliberately sowed misinformation about the health effects of sugar, using tactics straight out of the tobacco industry's cancer-denial playbook. Read the rest

Trump's pick for EPA pollution czar says kids are less sensitive to pollution than adults

The Intercept's Sharon Lerner is Read the rest

Rich people in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are to blame for dangerous anti-vaxx surge

In Geographic and demographic correlates of autism-related anti-vaccine beliefs on Twitter, 2009-15 (Sci-Hub mirror), social scientists from U Alabama, U Colorado and the NIH take a data-driven approach to understanding the surge in vaccine denying tweets that blame vaccinations for autism, a totally discredited idea espoused by the President of the USA. Read the rest

Survey: Canadians are increasingly denying science, climate and vaccines

43% of Canadians believe "science is a matter of opinion," 47% think the science of global warming is "unclear"; 24% of Canadian millennials are anti-vaxxers, all according to a Leger survey of 1,514 Canadians. Read the rest

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