A new study from MIT researchers has confirmed that coronavirus skeptics and anti-maskers understand science and data better than their political opponents.
The study, entitled “Viral Visualizations: How Coronavirus Skeptics Use Orthodox Data Practices to Promote Unorthodox Science Online,” was published this month, and analysed the reaction from skeptics and anti-maskers towards the pandemic from March to September 2020, during much of the initial phases of the breakout and then its expansion. The study focused on Facebook groups and Twitter posts, and the interaction between anti-maskers and visualisations of the coronavirus data that was being published by mainstream science outlets and governments.
In the study, the researchers revealed that despite current narratives that anti-maskers are simply scientifically illiterate, they actually have a very good grasp of science and data analysis. In the Facebook groups they studied, the researchers saw a serious emphasis on originally produced content, with people wanting to make sure that they were “guided solely by the data.” Many participants made their own graphs, and instructed others on how to access raw data. “In other words, anti-maskers value unmediated access to information and privilege personal research and direct reading over “expert” interpretations,” they noted:
Its members value individual initiative and ingenuity, trusting scientific analysis only insofar as they can replicate it themselves by accessing and manipulating the data firsthand. They are highly reflexive about the inherently biased nature of any analysis, and resent what they view as the arrogant self-righteousness of scientific elites.
Anti-maskers found themselves not on the side of ignoring science and data, but striving to push for “more scientific rigour” in their approach to the pandemic. The researchers argued that “users in these communities are deeply invested in forms of critique and knowledge production that they recognise as markers of scientific expertise,” and added that “if anything, anti-mask science has extended the traditional tools of data analysis by taking up the theoretical mantle of recent critical studies of visualisation.”
Could there be mushrooms on Mars? In a new paper, an international team of scientists from countries including the U.S., France, and China have gathered and compared photographic evidence they claim shows fungus-like objects growing on the Red Planet.
In their paper, which appears in Scientific Research Publishing’s Advances in Microbiology, the scientists analyze images taken by NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, plus the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera. The objects in question show “chalky-white colored spherical shaped specimens,” which the Mars Opportunity team initially said was a mineral called hematite.
Later studies refuted the hematite claim. Soon, some scientists coined the term “Martian mushrooms” to describe the mysterious objects, because of how they resemble lichens and mushrooms, while in another study, fungi and lichen experts classified the spheres as “puffballs”—a white, spherical fungus belonging to the phylum Basidiomycota found on Earth.
In the new paper, the scientists point to a set of Opportunity photos that shows nine spheres increasing in size, and an additional 12 spheres emerging from beneath the soil, over a 3-day sequence. The researchers claim Martian wind didn’t uncover the amorphous spheres, and that they “expand in size, or conversely, change shape, move to new locations, and/or wane in size and nearly disappear.”
A new video from the Center for Medical Progress exposes a gristly experiment at the University of Pittsburgh that involved scalping five-month aborted babies and implanting their scalps onto rodents.
Now, Pennsylvania leaders are demanding an investigation and urging the university to stop its experiments using aborted baby body parts.
“Publicly available information demonstrates that Pitt hosts some of the most barbaric experiments carried out on aborted human infants, including scalping 5-month-old aborted fetuses to stitch onto lab rats,” the Center for Medical Progress said in a statement.
The information comes from a study that University of Pittsburgh researchers published in September 2020 in the journal “Scientific Reports.” It describes how scientists used scalps from aborted babies to create “humanized” mice and rats to study the human immune system.