Monthly Archives: April 2009

Swine flu infecting Internet faster than humans

C5F3878C-B3C6-4E86-BCB2-75124D21BD9A.jpgWhat’s setting the Internets ablaze today? Seems everyone is all a’twitter about swine flu. In addition to actual news coverage, there’s a lot of discussion about how this is being discussed online. One commentator calls swine flu discussions on Twitter unnecessary:

The panic has spread using social networking website, Twitter, which is almost unnecessary to the same degree as the Large Hadron Collider “destroying the Universe” back in September last year. Nevertheless, people have a right to be concerned and worried.

So remember kids, it’s ok to be concerned and worried, just keep it to yourself please.

Also weighing in is self-described Internet communications expert Evgeny Morozov with a piece titled Swine flu: Twitter’s power to misinform. It seems that everyone’s twittering about swine flu due to peer pressure:

Thus, Unlike basic internet search – which has been already been nicely used by Google to track emerging flu epidemics – Twitter seems to have introduced too much noise into the process: as opposed to search requests which are generally motivated only by a desire to learn more about a given subject, too many Twitter conversations about swine flu seem to be motivated by desires to fit in, do what one’s friends do (i.e. tweet about it) or simply gain more popularity.

So I guess twitter is like a giant global high school. Morozov’s suggestion? A real hard-ass vice principal:

In moments like this, one is tempted to lament the death of broadcasting, for it seems that the information from expert sources – government, doctors, and the like – should probably be prioritized over everything else and have a higher chance of being seen that the information from the rest of one’s Twitter-feed, full of speculation, misinformation, and gossip.

Morozov goes on to discuss the trend of corporations using Twitter to shape the conversation about their brands:

A recent New York Times piece highlighted how a growing number of corporations like Starbucks, Dell, and Whole Foods are turning to Twitter to monitor and partially shape conversation about particular brands or products. What the piece failed to mention was that conversations about more serious topics (like pandemics- and their tragic consequences) could be shaped as well.

He may be on the money there. Let’s try some searches on Twitter:

A little explanation is in order. The CDC recommends two drugs for treatment and prevention of swine flu: oseltamivir or zanamivir. Tamiflu is the brand name of oseltamivir, an antiviral marketed by Roche Pharmaceuticals and created by Gilead Sciences. You may have heard of Gilead Sciences and Tamiflu during the bird flu pandemic a few years back. You’ve also probably heard of a couple of their shareholders and former board members: George Schultz and Donald Rumsfeld. They made out all right on avian flu, and I bet they’ll do ok this time around too.

Edgar Mitchell’s UFO comments get some coverage

edmitchell.jpgApollo 14 pilot Ed Mitchell capped his speech at X-Conference 2009 with an appearance at the National Press Club on Monday, and CNN has picked up the story:

Mitchell, who was part of the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, asserted Monday that extraterrestrial life exists, and that the truth is being concealed by the U.S. and other governments.

“I urge those who are doubtful: Read the books, read the lore, start to understand what has really been going on. Because there really is no doubt we are being visited,” he said.

“The universe that we live in is much more wondrous, exciting, complex and far-reaching than we were ever able to know up to this point in time.”

Matt Taibbi has a posse

malkin9ro.jpgRolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi has a new blog chock full of gems.

From The peasant mentality lives on in America:

It pains me to say this as an American, but we are the only people on earth dumb enough to use a nationwide campaign of “teabag parties” as a form of mass protest, in the middle of a real economic crisis.

What’s next? The Great Dirty Sanchez-In of 2010? A Million Man Felch?

From the wonderfully titled article Teabagging Michelle Malkin:

When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would fuck a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating. That’s a rare quality and it commands one’s attention.

And scary bible stories:

what does it mean when my own parents tell me, with a straight face, a story about God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son? You’re a little kid, listening at bedtime in your pee-jays to the story, expecting that Abraham is going to tell God to go fuck himself because he loves his children so much, and be rewarded for doing so. Instead it’s exactly the opposite, the father in the story is rewarded for being willing to carve his innocent son up with a knife, the moral of the story somehow being not that God is an insane murderous psychopath, but that God is just and wise and should be obeyed. When the story is over, Dad tucks you in to bed and says he’ll see you in the morning. Now that’s realism for you.

Quite a few long pieces up there, mostly focused on US economic woes and bailouts. Good place to spend an hour.

Alex Jones in another movie: New World Order

alexjones.jpgSo if you’re lucky enough to be employed and still able to pay your cable bill, and blessed enough to have IFC On Demand, you should look for a documentary premiering April 16: New World Order. The film features Alex Jones along with an assortment of 9/11 truthers, Bilderberg buffs, and NWO theorists. Love him or hate him, you have to admit Alex Jones has presence. If you’ve seen A Scanner Darkly, you’ll remember Alex as the guy with the bullhorn warning the world one passerby at a time. Definitely worth tuning in whenever the urge strikes. I”m hoping the film will confirm Ann Coulter is a Ron Paul loving Lizard Man, but I’d watch it even if it didn’t.

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