Twitter, Science, Power & Cal Newport

Normally I would be all over this new Cal Newport piece in WIRED about how Expert Twitter could be so much more helpful about the pandemic if only it were supplemented by blogging.

In the new piece, Newport (author of the bestseller “Deep Work” and high priest of social media renunciation) begrudgingly admits that Twitter has introduced us to all sorts of crucial expert voices and angles — such virologist Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute.…

The Authority Void & How You Fill It

Boy, do we have an authority void right now when it comes to reliable, timely, actionable information about COVID-19. How to fill that void? Three options:

1) Wait for a centralized authority to get its act together. Good luck. As Matthew Karnitschnig searingly puts it in his Politico piece, “The incompetence pandemic”:

From Beijing to Brussels, from Rome to Washington, London and beyond, politicians haven’t just failed to rise to the occasion, they’ve engaged in a dangerous game of parsing, obfuscation and reality-denial that has cost lives and delayed a resolute response.

Journalism vs. Research

For decades, research has been a supplicant to the media — dependent on media for wider exposure. And research has complained incessantly about the distortions media make to its work and messages — all while contorting itself to be ever more attractive to the media and its currency of headlines for communication.…