Facebook studies reveal science mistrust winning on vaccine messaging

first_imgFacebook groups that fuel mistrust of health guidance, such as those that air anti-vaccine views, have gained the upper hand over groups with reliable information from health agencies, a team led by George Washington University reported yesterday in Nature.Meanwhile, a separate study showed that Facebook posts about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine were largely negative.Losing online vaccine ‘war’For the first study, the George Washington group tracked vaccine discussions during the 2019 measles outbreak among 100 million Facebook users, then mapped out how the different groups interacted with each other.Neil Johnson, PhD, professor of physics and data science, said in a university press release, “There is a new world war online surrounding trust in health expertise and science, particularly with misinformation about COVID-19, but also distrust in big pharmaceuticals and governments.” He added: “Nobody knew what the field of battle looked like, though, so we set to find out.”Conversations around the vaccine topic were interconnected across cities, countries, continents, and languages. The communities fell into three camps: pro-vaccination, anti-vaccination, and undecided parenting groups.The investigators found that although there were fewer people with anti-vaccine views, there were three times as many anti-vaccine Facebook communities, allowing anti-vaccine communities to become highly entangled with undecided groups, with pro-vaccination communities staying on the periphery. They wrote that pro-vaccine groups targeting larger antivaccine communities may be missing medium-sized ones that are just emerging.In another key finding, anti-vaccine groups had more diverse narratives, including safety concerns, conspiracy theories, and individual choice, which increased ways to appeal to undecided groups. In contrast, pro-vaccine groups focused mainly on the known health benefits of vaccination.Johnson said he and his colleagues thought they would find major public health groups at the center of the battle, but they found the opposite. “They were fighting off to one side, in the wrong place,” Johnson said in the release.The team suggested different strategies for countering disinformation and misinformation, including using their map to identify where the largest online groups are.”Instead of playing whack-a-mole with a global network of communities that consume and produce (mis)information, public health agencies, social media platforms and governments can use a map like ours and an entirely new set of strategies to identify where the largest theaters of online activity are and engage and neutralize those communities,” Johnson said.Negative HPV vaccine messagesIn the second study, Monique Luisi, PhD, assistant professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri, analyzed 6,506 HPV vaccine Facebook posts that appeared in the first decade following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. She published her findings yesterday in Vaccine.She found that Facebook posts about the vaccine were mostly negative, focusing on barriers (physical or psychological) to vaccination, with negative posts encouraging more negative posts. Barriers to HPV vaccination appeared in 47.1% of posts, compared with benefits in only 19.8%.”The post with the most engagement (11,000 reactions, 6,100 comments, and 329,000 shares displayed) was anti-HPV vaccine, and negative posts received significantly greater engagement,” Luisi wrote. “Over time, negative tone and barriers had a greater presence.”She concluded that Facebook is a source of information for better or worse, and pro-HPV representatives should consider messaging channels, attributes, and discussion points to develop successful messaging.last_img read more

Will REITs be all right? The future doesn’t look bright as values fall and caution rises

first_imgA year ago, we decisively sold the UK REIT sector as an overvalued and over-owned bond proxy. Interest rates might well be close to zero, but real estate doesn’t cover its custodial costs of transaction, management, depreciation, etc.The sector has nosedived 30% from peak to trough in the last 12 months, and this year is down 10%, but the overall equity market is up 10% so it’s a big underperformer.The problem is that no one really knows what is happening in the real estate market. REIT shares are trading 20% below their net asset values (NAVs), but the ‘V’ in ‘NAVs’ is unreliable. It could be that the NAVs are wrong, rather than the share prices.The Bank of England has cut base rates to 0.25% and its quantitative easing programme points to the economy weakening. We think real estate pricing is heading back to the pre-inflationary 1950s economic framework with an income yield and not much more.When the Bank of England’s deputy governor Dr Ben Broadbent was asked if there was a real prospect of another rate cut, he replied: “Absolutely.”We take no comfort in collapsing interest rates because it also manifests signs of increased central bank policy ineffectiveness. Continued quantitative easing is only mortgaging future growth.Our latest forecasts – more guesswork than usual – conclude that average commercial property values will probably fall 12% during the next 12 months or so, versus our previous estimate of a fall of 5%. We put this down to high rental growth assumptions being cut back in a global growth slump.Worse still, the London office development bubble has yet to meet the potential post-Brexit vote shock of as many as 100,000 jobs moving to continental Europe with the loss of passporting rights into the EU. We also expect retail’s structural shift from physical shops to sheds to be hastened by house-price deflation and consumer retrenchment.A valuation vacuumUnlike equities and bonds, which are continuously traded with transparent pricing, the UK property market is in a valuation vacuum. The exceptions are open-ended funds, which have been forced sellers at discounted prices to try to prove liquidity and avoid the rerun of a split capital investment trust scandal.These funds still own around £25bn of inventory and need a long-term solution. We think the real estate market needed Brexit or a similar external catalyst to trigger a short, sharp pricing shock and avoid a rerun of the valuation salami slicing of 2007-08, when investors lost confidence in real estate as an asset class.Property valuations are now being qualified with ‘advisory’ and ‘uncertainty’ clauses, which is deterring lenders, so loan-to-value ratios are reducing. Sovereign wealth funds have blunted purchasing power, with oil at sub-$50 (£38) a barrel. Norges Bank Investment Management has taken a pre-emptive 5% valuation cut on its UK real estate portfolio – a collection of far-from-shabby assets – which questions the ‘wall of money’ theme REIT buyers are still pushing.US opportunity funds view AAA-grade real estate lease income as being wrapped in an AA-grade UK country, which might yet hit $1.20 to the pound.The IPD UK Monthly Property Index shows capital value fell by 2.8% in July, which after June’s 0.3% fall means the market is officially in recession. CBRE has London office values down 6% in July, with all property down 3.3%, offices down 4.1%, retail 3.6% and industrial 2.2%, with rents more or less flat.Do people really own the means of production? – Source: Shutterstock/ArtonoIntu’s upward revaluation of its discounted purchase of a 50% share of Merry Hill Shopping Centre was unexpected and we think the company’s intu Bromley Shopping Centre will sell at a meaningful discount to book value. Price discovery is on its way.It’s a wall of worry with other negatives. The proposed legislation to limit the tax deductibility of debt and the ability to use offsettable tax losses could crimp the two financing wheezes that have made much of modern property financing feasible.Office valuations will, we think, move from equivalent yields valuations to expanded initial yields at up to 50 basis points. Shopping centres will start to price in impending lease renewals and obsolescence; retail parks will price in over-renting; and long-let big-box logistics will increasingly be priced like bonds in one of the market’s few hot sectors, along with the student housing and self-storage sectors.As real estate returns flatten, deleveraging, development de-risking and cost cutting are becoming ever more popular with shareholders and every £1 on the admin charge is 90p off the dividend.So whose company is it anyway? After all, Karl Marx believed the people should own the means of production.Mike Prew is MD and head of real estate at Jefferies Internationallast_img read more

California bullet train cost estimate jumps US$1.3 billion

first_imgThe California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has released its Draft 2020 Business Plan, increasing its overall cost estimate for the rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco by US$1.3 billion, bring the total cost of the project to US$80.3 billion. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is taking comments on its 2020 business planAlthough it is making progress and putting Californians to work on the bullet train construction, future funding remains uncertain, according to industry reports.The bullet train has seen costs rise since it was first approved in 2008 and the length of the network has been scaled back.The low end of the authority’s estimate has the Northern California to Southern California route coming in at US$63.2 billion. At the high end of the CHSRA’s range, the project could cost as much as US$98.1 billion.The cost increases on the project are related to another schedule delay for service between Silicon Valley and the 119 mile (191km) Central Valley portion of the project between the cities of Merced and Bakersfield, according to CHSRA. The new draft assumes completion of the full line sometime in 2033.It remains to be seen whether or not the Central Valley portion of the project will meet the Federal Railroad Administration’s milestone requirements in order to keep a US$929 million grant. This was the segment to which California Gov. Gavin Newsom committed soon after taking office, leaving the remainder of the plan undetermined.The FRA said the CHSRA has not shown that it will be able to meet the line’s December 31, 2022, performance deadlines. The authority is in litigation with the FRA over that decision. The administration has also threatened to claw back US$2.5 billion of Obama-era funding.Brian Kelly, the project’s chief executive, is reported to have said the increase in the projected baseline cost is smaller than previous jumps and within the ranges of recent previous estimates.The 2016 business plan estimated the project would cost US$64 billion. The authority raised that to US$77 billion in the 2018 business plan and added US$2 billion to the estimate just last year.The new plan continues to project that the entire Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route will be running by 2033 — a quarter-century after California voters first approved it — “assuming funding is available when needed.”The draft business plan, which is released every two years, projects that managers can meet the more urgent federal deadline in two years, according to the Los Angeles Times.By then the state must have 119 miles (191km) completed, with track on the ground. It must also have environmental clearance for all 520 miles (836km) to meet its deadline to use $3.5 billion that the state won under the Obama administration to build an initial segment of track in the Central Valley.“We are on track to do that. It’s going to be hard, no question about that,” said authority spokeswoman Melissa Figueroa. “But we have plans in place and everyone is focused on getting that done.”The CHSRA is taking comments on the 2020 business plan and must deliver the final version to California lawmakers by May.last_img read more

Puerto Rican schools still improvising almost 2 months after hurricane

first_img PUERTO RICO (CBS) – Nearly two months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, about half of the island is still in the dark. As David Begnaud reports, school children are getting lessons in patience and perseverance. SHARE Published: November 21, 2017 2:09 PM EST Updated: November 21, 2017 3:29 PM EST Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Puerto Rican schools still improvising almost 2 months after hurricane last_img

Property portal set to go live next year

first_imgThe Law Society has unveiled a plan to revolutionise residential conveyancing by handling transactions online.A conveyancing web portal, expected to go live in 2014, will streamline the process, improve communication between parties, save costs and time and improve risk management, the Society said.Intended to be a pan-industry solution, the portal will allow all parties in a transaction to view up-to-date information on the process online in a secure and collaborative ‘deal room’, accessible through a mobile telephone or tablet computer. A feature called ‘chain view’ will enable parties to check what stage has been reached by everyone in a purchasing chain.The initiative picks up the baton from the Land Registry of England and Wales’s e-conveyancing programme, which was abandoned in 2009 at a cost of £15m.Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: ‘Moving online will save you time and avoid the costs created by traditional paper-based approaches. It will help you work greener and smarter, working on the move, enabling you to manage your time and your staff time more effectively.‘In the future we want to work with estate agents and lenders so that more of the key parties are in the portal. Right from the start it will dramatically improve collaboration with clients and other conveyancers.’The portal will be available to all solicitors and licensed conveyancers. Those not accredited under the Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme will have to undergo vetting before they can use it.Firms can participate in developing the system and be kept up to date with progress by emailing conveyancing.portal@lawsociety.org.uk.last_img read more

Grube announces new start at DB

first_imgGERMANY: In a bid to draw a line under the data abuse saga at Deutsche Bahn, the railway has decided to implement sweeping changes to the organisational structure. Four members of the Executive Board will be leaving with effect from May 31. Following an extraordinary meeting of the Supervisory Board in Berlin on May 13, Board Chairman Dr Werner Müller and recently-appointed Executive Board Chairman Dr Rüdige Grube announced that the Board Member for Freight & Logistics, Dr Norbert Bensel and Board Member, Economic & Political Affairs Dr Otto Wieseheu would be leaving. The departure of Margaret Suckale, Board Member Personnel & Legal Affairs, had already been agreed. Board Member for Purchasing Norbert Hansen has decided to take the opportunity to stand down on health grounds. During the meeting, the Supervisory Board received a report from the special prosecutors appointed to investigate the misuse of personal data within the railway and an audit conducted by KPMG. The report confirmed that the Executive Board had not been involved with the procedures adopted as part of the internal campaign against corruption, and board members had no knowledge of the actions taken. Nevertheless the board members had offered to take responsibility for the activities within their departments, and the Supervisory Board had accepted their resignations. Müller thanked the outgoing board members for their ‘outstanding contribution’ to DB’s successful development in recent years. New appointments to the Executive Board are to be announced shortly. Adding that ‘I cannot and will not tolerate failure’, Grube added that it was time for the railway to ‘make a new start’. With the departure of the senior executives, DB is making changes to its management structure. The head of Corporate Auditing will leave immediately, as well as the Head of Security and the leader of the Compliance unit. DB’s data protection and IT units are to be ‘fundamentally’ re-examined and reorganised. The Political Relations unit is to be restructured, with its current head of department transferred elsewhere in the company, and one Ombudsman will be replaced. The railway’s two personnel departments are to be merged. There will be a new executive department responsible for Compliance, Data Protection & Rights, with representation on the Executive Board to give it priority at the ‘highest management level’. External experts will be brought in to strengthen the Compliance committee in dealing with data protection and the prevention of corruption, and DB will publish an annual report on data protection issues. The railway will also examine and modify all rules and renegotiate its employment agreements using a standard model that meets national and international requirements.last_img read more

CNR Dalian locomotives exported to Ethiopia

first_imgETHIOPIA: CNR Dalian is supplying three diesel locomotives for use by contractor China Civil Engineering Construction Corp during the construction of the standard gauge route which is to replace the out-of-use metre gauge line from Djibouti to Addis Abeba.The 2 940 kW locomotives have 16V240ZJD engines and a maximum speed of 100 km/h. They are designed to operate in temperatures of 50°C and altitudes of 2 000 m, and have two level of air filtration to handle the dusty environment. When ambient temperatures exceed 40°C the onboard computer can automatically adjust the output power of the main generator to optimise performance. The air-conditioned cab has a double roof for temperature insulation.last_img read more

Export Assistance Watch: CWT boosts YTD milk-equivalent exports

first_imgFirst quarter export-assisted sales are the equivalent of 740.1 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. That’s the equivalent of the average annual production of 32,261 U.S. dairy cows.Product destinations Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) provided the content on this page. CWT was designed by America’s dairy farmers to benefit all U.S. dairy farmers. It is a voluntary, producer-funded program developed by National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) to strengthen and stabilize producer prices.advertisementadvertisementParticipating producers contribute four cents per hundredweight of milk produced to fund the program. For membership information go to Cooperative Working Together.last_img read more

Farmington Hills lights up City Hall December 3

first_imgThe City of Farmington Hills will welcome the holidays with its 27th Annual Holiday Lights Ceremony, held on Tuesday, December 3, 6:30 p.m.Trees on the City Hall campus in the southwest corner of 11 Mile and Orchard Lake Roads will be illuminated, as will a 20-foot tall candle.“The lights and candle represent our commitment to peace and unity here in Farmington Hills,” said Mayor Vicki Barnett. “We look forward to seeing families come out for this traditional holiday event.”The evening will include music by Farmington High School Vocal Harmonics, and post-ceremony refreshments and a visit from Santa inside Fire Department headquarters.For more information, call 248-473-1800. Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Moon Picks UFC 210: Cormier vs. Johnson

first_imgBUFFALO, New York– Tonight is a night in which the Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier can move one step closer to facing his demons. Jon Jones awaits the winner of this fight once he is reinstated by the UFC, so this should be interesting. If Cormier wins, the rematch between the rivals is there. If Rumble wins, the fight that never happened is there. Either way, excitement will be in the air at the Keybank Arena in Buffalo, New York.Here are my picks for tonight’s card, a card that features prominent names and matchups.Jenel Lausa vs. Magumed Bibulatov– Bibulatov is a monster and can finish anyone at any point in time. I look for him to finish Lausa in the second round by submission.Winner: Bibulatov via second-round submissionKatlyn Chookagian vs. Irene Aldana- Chookagian is a very skilled fighter who didn’t get to show that against Liz Carmouche at UFC 205. That changes here with a dominant performance over Aldana.Winner: Chookagian via Unanimous DecisionJosh Emmett vs. Desmond Green– This could be a case of the home state motivation for Green, as most of the time fighters perform well in front of their home. Green should win this fight, but will not look overly impressive.Winner: Green via Split DecisionGregor Gillespie vs. Andrew Holbrook- Gillespie will dominate this fight on the ground. Big showing for Gregor tonight.Winner: Gillespie via Unanimous DecisionPatrick Cummins vs. Jan Blachowicz- Two guys looking for a win in a fight overshadowed by other fights on the card.  I’ll take Blachowicz.Winner: Blachowicz via Split DecisionShane Burgos vs. Charles Rosa- Burgos will look to shut down the ground game of Rosa and will succeed by finishing him in the second.Winner: Burgos via Second-Round TKOKamaru Usman vs. Sean Strickland– Usman is super impressive and can really impress here against Strickland. He’ll do that.Winner: Usman via First-Round KnockoutMyles Jury vs. Mike de la Torre- Jury will have to turn it around eventually, right? I think so.Winner: Jury via Unanimous DecisionWill Brooks vs. Charles Oliveira– Brooks is looking to rebound after a tough loss against Alex Oliveira in a fight where Oliveira overpowered him after missing weight. Brooks will break down Oliveira and force him to tap.Winner: Brooks via Third-Round SubmissionThiago Alves vs. Patrick Cote- Probably the least appealing fight on the card, Cote and Alves will duke it out and somebody will get finished.Winner: Alves via First-Round KnockoutCynthia Calvillo vs. Pearl Gonzalez– This fight wasn’t expected to happen after Gonzalez got pulled from the card due to an NYSAC regulation regarding breast implants. The fight is back on and Gonzalez will get to fight in her debut. Unfortunately for her, she takes on Cynthia Calvillo. Calvillo will take her down enough to limit Gonzalez’ game, thus securing a razor-sharp victory.Winner: Cynthia Calvillo via Split DecisionChris Weidman vs. Gegard Mousasi– Two tremendous fighters who are trapped in the Middleweight shuffle right now, a division being occupied by Michael Bisping and GSP. I think the winner has a good chance of being third in line for the title shot, if that sounds like it’s worth anything.Winner: Weidman via Split DecisionUFC Light Heavyweight Championship- Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson– The winner of this fight will take on Jon Jones- no if’s, and’s or but’s. I think this is an eerily similar situation to the first fight. Rumble is an excellent striker who carries bombs in his fists. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to detonate the bombs while on his back getting pummeled by Cormier. Cormier forces Johnson to surrender again, setting up the long overdue rematch.Winner: Cormier via Third-Round Submission Elijah Mooneyham has been a dedicated sports fan his whole life. Born and raised in Cleveland, he has his best days when his hometown teams are winning. Elijah is currently on-air talent/producer on two shows, The Main Event and The Moon Hour, where you can find on AllSportsCleveland.com. He also has an insane passion for professional wrestling, so catch his opinions on the world of professional wrestling. Eli Mooneyhamcenter_img Related TopicsUFC 210last_img read more