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The Bizarre Spread of the COVID/5G conspiracy theory: cartoon of a train pulling a coronavirus particle and 5G symbol

The Bizarre Spread of the COVID/5G Conspiracy Theory

The COVID/5G conspiracy theory has been around since the early days of the pandemic. How did such an out-there idea become so widely known? The dumpster fire that is social media has a fair bit to do with it, with a combination of misinformation (wrong information spread without manipulative/deceptive intent) and disinformation (intentionally spreading wrong …

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Homelessness & addiction: A newspaper embraces stigma

Homelessness & Addiction: A Newspaper Embraces Stigma

Last year I wrote about a police wellness check gone wrong, in which a young woman was dragged half-naked in handcuffs through her building by a police officer. While the woman was apprehended under the Mental Health Act, a story about the matter in the Kelowna Daily Courier used the word “arrested” multiple times, including …

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the word vote displayed across a blue and red background

What Political Polls Mean – And What They Don’t

With an election looming, we’re hearing results from new political polls all the time. But what do those figures actually mean, if anything? To understand that, it’s important to look at how polling works. Sample The sample is the people that the pollers gather opinions from. The goal is to get a sample that’s as …

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The free things online are never actually free: We're just paying with something other than money

The “Free” Things Online Are Never Actually Free

This came to mind recently because of a comment I saw on someone’s blog to do with a news site requiring a subscription to be able to read articles. With the explosion of the internet in recent years and the vast amount of content that’s available, we’ve come to expect things to be free. Except …

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What Is... Series (Insights into Psychology)

What Is… The Psychology Behind Conspiracy Theories

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms. This week we’re looking at the psychology behind conspiracy theories. This topic came up in a recent post by Andy of Eden in Babylon. In particular, the Q-Anon conspiracy theory has become quite popular, despite its utter absurdity. Then there’s the …

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RCMP Cst. Lacy Browning with her foot on Mona Wang's head during a wellness check

A Police Wellness Check Gone Wrong

I’ve written before about defunding the police as a way to address the mismatch of the standard police approach and appropriate mental health crisis response. The picture below from a “wellness check” is a good illustration of just how significant that mismatch is. In June of this year, information became public about an incident that …

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Tips on how to spot fake news

Separating Reality from Fake Health News

During this global pandemic, there’s a lot of wild and wacky news out there in the world. This infographic from the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions gives some handy tips for separating the facts from the crap.  In this post, I’ll go through those tips with respect to spotting fake health news. Consider …

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