Best Of The Web
“The eighth and ninth graders didn’t realize their teacher was wrapping another skill inside their classes: how to spot fake news and hate speech. Students learning about world history also learned about how propagandists could manipulate the historical narrative. Language and literature students learned about the political uses of language. Art students learned how to check whether photographs had been manipulated, or video footage was being deployed as an emotional weapon.
Long before Russian fake news and troll farms roiled American politics, Ukraine was Russia’s testing ground, a guinea pig in the bigger disinformation wars to come. Classroom education like this is one of the ways Ukrainians are fighting back. The education group IREX, working with the Ukrainian government, rolled out the pilot project Learn to Discern in 50 schools in four cities across the country in September 2018. Compared to students who didn’t get these lessons, the group’s report released last Friday declared, those receiving Learn to Discern training were twice as likely to detect hate speech, 18 percent better at identifying fake news stories, 16 percent better at sorting out fact from opinion, and 14 percent more knowledgeable about the role of the news media industry. IREX plans to expand its pilot curriculum to the U.S.
With Ukraine’s national elections approaching on Sunday, and American elections approaching next year, Ukraine’s story can be the U.S.’s biggest lesson for how to prepare for more Russian disinformation and cyber-warfare. Despite the now ample body of evidence that Russian internet campaigns were a significant force in the 2016 presidential election, the story began well before Trump’s presidency, when Russian trolls and commentators began drumming up the idea of ethnic unity with the Crimea, the strategic land jutting out into the Black Sea. After protesters ousted the Russia-friendly president of Ukraine in February 2014, militias claiming to be acting in the name of the Russian majority of the Crimea seized the peninsula. The Crimea was annexed into Russia a few weeks later. The ongoing and little-covered civil war in eastern Ukraine has since amassed a death toll of more than 13,000.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."
"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."
"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."
"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."
"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."
"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."
"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."
"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."
"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."
"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."
"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"
"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."