Voting Misinformation Flourishes on Facebook ; Hazmat Suits for Air Travel Are Here ; and More Picks 7/17

‘Outright Lies’: Voting Misinformation Flourishes on Facebook (Bethany)

The author writes, “Analysis … shows that Facebook is rife with false or misleading claims about voting, particularly regarding voting by mail, which is the safest way of casting a ballot during the pandemic. Many of these falsehoods appear to violate Facebook’s standards yet have not been taken down or labeled as inaccurate. Some of them, generalizing from one or two cases, portrayed people of color as the face of voter fraud.”

The West Has a Resentment Epidemic (Dana)

From Foreign Policy: “Changes in the global economy have spatially sorted voters into progressive urbanites with a large stake in a new technological future, globalization, and liberal values, and the left-behind who see their own identity and economic prospects threatened as never before. Rural areas and small towns may have always been more culturally conservative, but this divide, combined with the resentment generated by economic and wealth inequality, has triggered the most prominent recent political explosions across the West.”

Sudan Drops Islamic Social Laws in Historic Move Sparking Joy and Fury (Dana)

From Middle East Eye: “A move by Sudan’s transitional government to eliminate a number of controversial Islamic laws – including those relating to apostasy, alcohol and female dress – has provoked both praise and anger from different segments of society.”

How Climate Change Is Affecting Wildfires Around the World (Chris C.)

The author writes, “Despite a growing field of evidence suggesting that climate change is making the conditions for fire more likely, research finds that the total area burned by wildfires each year decreased by up to a quarter in the past two decades. Understanding this paradox requires scientists to assess a vast range of influential factors, including climate change, human land-use and political and social motivations.”

In the Mists of Niagara Falls, a Tale of How Differently Two Countries Reopen (Reader Steve)

From the Buffalo News: “Visitors to Niagara Falls State Park this week saw two very different boat tours bobbing at the base of Horseshoe Falls: a bustling Maid of the Mist boat, leaving from the U.S. side, and near-empty Hornblower Niagara Cruise boats, leaving from Canada. Most years, the two tour companies operate in parallel, ferrying millions of international visitors into the spray of the lower Niagara River. But in the Covid-19 era, they have become a stark example of how much safety regulations can vary from one neighboring jurisdiction to another.”

Hazmat Suits for Air Travel Are Here (Russ)

The author writes, “Yezin Al-Qaysi says haute hazmats are just the thing to make flying feel safe again. In mid-April the co-founder of VYZR Technologies, a Toronto-based company specializing in personal protective gear, launched a new product called the BioVYZR via crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The $250, futuristic-looking outer layer resembles the top half of an astronaut’s uniform, with anti-fogging ‘windows’ and a built-in hospital-grade air-purifying device. Paranoid flyers were quick to scoop it up, pre-ordering about 50,000 suits and raising $400,000 for the nascent company.”