Curious about Everything

Day: October 21, 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

Washington issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security

The White House, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon warn that climate change will exacerbate long-standing threats to global security.

Canada, the British, many European countries, and indeed the USA have all come to the same conclusion decades ago. They have also made contingency plans and conducted military exercises based on those conclusions.

So, while this is not new or news, the timing of these reports, just ahead of COP26, is a good PR move for the US war machine.

Shane Harris and Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post »

Together, the reports show a deepening concern within the U.S. security establishment that the shifts unleashed by climate change can reshape U.S. strategic interests, offer new opportunities to rivals such as China, and increase instability in nuclear states such as North Korea and Pakistan.

The reports emerge as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow next month for crucial U.N. climate talks. And the assessments suggest that the Biden administration is preparing to take on the national security consequences of global warming after four years of inaction under President Donald Trump. During his presidency, climate-related security assessments were routinely suppressed because they did not match his administration’s skeptical stance toward climate science.

The Pentagon report in particular marks a shift in how the U.S. military establishment is incorporating climate issues into its security strategy, analysts said. Until now, when the Defense Department has considered climate change, it has tended to focus on how floods and extreme heat can affect military readiness rather than the broader geopolitical consequences of a warming world. Now it is worried that climate change could lead to state failure.

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Also » France 24

Twitter admits its algorithms amplifies conservative content more than left-leaning content

Twitter claims not to know what causes the amplification.

Anna Kramer, Protocol »

Twitter is publicly sharing research findings today that show that the platform’s algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians and content from right-leaning news outlets more than people and content from the political left.

The research did not identify whether or not the algorithms that run Twitter’s Home feed are actually biased toward conservative political content, because the conclusions only show bias in amplification, not what caused it. Rumman Chowdhury, the head of Twitter’s machine learning, ethics, transparency and accountability team, called it “the what, not the why” in an interview with Protocol.

“We can see that it is happening. We are not entirely sure why it is happening. To be clear, some of it could be user-driven, people’s actions on the platform, we are not sure what it is. It’s just important that we share this information,” Chowdhury said. The META team plans to conduct what she called a “root-cause analysis” to try to discover the “why,” and that analysis will likely include creating testable hypotheses about how people use the platform that could help show whether it’s the way users interact with Twitter or the algorithm itself that is causing this uneven amplification.

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It’s great to see Twitter releasing research that is potentially damaging, and not try to bury it. Speaks to credibility. Shows they are working on important issues, learning, and trying to be better.

Twitter »

Today, we’re publishing learnings from another study: an in-depth analysis of whether our recommendation algorithms amplify political content. The first part of the study examines Tweets from elected officials* in seven countries (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Since Tweets from elected officials cover just a small portion of political content on the platform, we also studied whether our recommendation algorithms amplify political content from news outlets.

What did we find?

  • Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline.
  • Group effects did not translate to individual effects. In other words, since party affiliation or ideology is not a factor our systems consider when recommending content, two individuals in the same political party would not necessarily see the same amplification.
  • In six out of seven countries — all but Germany — Tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group.
  • Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organizations listed above, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets. However, as highlighted in the paper, these third-party ratings make their own, independent classifications and as such the results of analysis may vary depending on which source is used.

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