We’ve got a mix of science, politics, and cultural news about The Facebook Files, Jon Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, Josh Szeps, and our fabulous Stoicism teacher, Dr Matthew Sharpe, who will be teaching How To Be Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for a Happier Life next month – click here sign up!.
As always, let us know if you come across any interesting news – we love hearing from you.Warm regards, Suzi
A MAJOR STEP FOR EVOLUTION
Here's something that would make Dawko smile – evolution is now accepted by the majority of Americans!
This news comes out of a new study published in Public Understanding of Science, which examined data collected from national public opinion surveys over the last 35 years.
The data suggests that an increase in civic science literacy, and more people studying science courses and undertaking college degrees, were all strong factors leading to the acceptance of human evolution.
AI PREDICTS ARCTIC MELT
Researchers have developed IceNet, a sea ice forecasting system that can predict with 95% accuracy how much sea ice will be around in the upcoming months.
Using a process called deep learning, researchers loaded observational data from 1979 to 2011, and climate simulations from 1850 to 2100, to train IceNet in predicting the future state of the sea ice. They then tested the output and found it to be highly accurate!
Tracking sea ice is crucial to keep tabs on the impacts of climate change, but in the short term it can also give scientists a headstart in preparing for Arctic wildfires (yes they exist!), and can help provide vital information about animal migration to the local communities.
SZEPS SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Josh Szeps is doing Australia a massive service by setting the record straight on what’s happening with our quarantine system, and letting people know that NO, Australia is not building concentration camps!
We know Americans are amazing filmmakers, but let's keep the fantasy, dystopian thrillers for Hollywood- ok? Prominent figures from the States have been commenting on how dystopian Australia has become, but, as Josh explains on the Quillette podcast, Australia has had a very unique experience with COVID, and considering everything, has handled it very well.
If you’re outside Australia, this podcast is a must-listen. Josh has a really good understanding of the whole political handling of COVID from the start, so Aussies could learn a lot from it as well.
Josh is also hosting the Australian leg of our An Evening with Peter Singer shows, which we'll be announcing new dates for next week! So keep your eyes peeled for those.
THE FACEBOOK FILES
Massive news this week is about The Facebook Files, an investigation by the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ team got their hands on some internal documents from Facebook which give a tantalizing insight into how things work behind the scenes at the company, including how CEO Mark Zuckerberg set a goal for Facebook to promote vaccination, but a bit like Frankenstein, he couldn’t control the monster as Facebook became fertile ground for anti-vax conspiracy theories.
The Facebook Files also investigates Facebook’s unfair treatment of users. Publically they’ve said their conduct rules are applied equally to everyone, but privately they had a “cross-check” program in which some VIP users were "whitelisted", or allowed to post violating material with no repercussions.
The team also examines documents showing Facebook knew it was not doing enough when it came to removing posts used by criminals such as Mexican drug cartels, human traffickers in the Middle East, and even black market organ dealers.
HAIDT & LUKIANOFF'S AFTERWORD
Another investigation in The Facebook Files reveals that Facebook knows perfectly well that Instagram is toxic for teen girls, but that they’ve made minimal efforts to address these issues, and actually play them down in public.
Friend of Think Inc., Jonathan Haidt, has actually spoken to Zuckerberg twice about these issues since he started studying them in 2015.
Together with Greg Lukianoff and Jean Twenge, Jon has been advocating for changes to improve the mental wellbeing and development of young people, but it's not quite getting through to Facebook.
So why isn’t Zuck listening? Maybe it’s not just kids that are getting wrapped in cotton wool, but Zuck’s ears that are getting stuffed with it!
In 2018 Jon and Greg Lukianoff published their groundbreaking book on this topic, The Coddling of the American Mind (YES, we still have signed copies of it in our shop!) and now they’ve announced they’ll be releasing an afterword in nine parts, all published on The Fire website.
Part 1 is out and it’s all about Gen Z’s mental health decline.
MATT SHARPE TALKS TO THE ABC
Another friend we’re very proud of is Dr Matthew Sharpe, lecturer of our Stoicism course here at Think Inc. Academy, who has gone on ABC’s Radio National to talk about why Stoicism is gaining popularity in 2021.
We definitely recommend this 20-minute chat between Matt and Phillip Adams. As Matt says, people are looking for a life philosophy that’s not necessarily spiritual or religious, and Stoicism can be the perfect fit. It teaches you to be resilient, grateful, and content with whatever life throws at you. If you want to study with Matt next month, just click here. We’d love to see you there!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Check out this photo of Jared Isaacman, billionaire businessman and crew member of the SpaceX Inspiration4 team, as he orbits space in the Crew Dragon Capsule.
On 20 September the team safely touched down on Earth after 71 hours in orbit. The mission went very smoothly, and the team raised $200 million for the St. Jude Children's Hospital.
They also gathered data on how the human body reacts to microgravity.