Our picksDefeating tomorrow’s terrorists; electronics-zapping weapons; flat-earthers, British style, and more

Published 16 May 2019

·  You can’t defeat tomorrow’s terrorists by fighting yesterday’s enemy

·  Why the government pays billions to people who claim injury by vaccines

·  Shhh—no need to fear Russia, says Russiophobia report paid for by Russia

·  An Iranian disinformation operation impersonated dozens of media outlets to spread fake articles

·  China eyes earthquake warning and prediction technology

·  Polarizing propaganda by the state: A multitude of lies and absurd news

·  UK-taught developer “devised software Russia used to try to sway Brexit vote”

·  How Venezuela’s vice grip on the internet leaves citizens in the dark during crises

·  U.S. Air Force has deployed 20 missiles that could zap the military electronics of North Korea or Iran with super powerful microwaves, rendering their military capabilities virtually useless with no collateral damage

·  Flat-Earthery, British style

You can’t defeat tomorrow’s terrorists by fighting yesterday’s enemy (Daniel Byman, Foreign Policy)
Countries from Sri Lanka and Israel to the United States and Norway have failed to prevent attacks because their intelligence agencies were fixated on the last threat rather than the next one.

Why the government pays billions to people who claim injury by vaccines (James Hamblin, The Atlantic)
A little-known deal protects drug companies in the U.S. from being sued—and feeds conspiracy theories in the process.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) — is a system through which the U.S. government has, over the past three decades, paid more than $4 billion to people who claim to have been harmed by vaccines.
According to its
public record, from 2013 to 2017 alone, the program paid out an average of $229 million a year to patients and their families. The average payment was about $430,000.
As America enters the
worst measles outbreak since the disease was declared eradicated two decades ago, it is worth examining this rarely talked about element of vaccination requirements. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has long percolated at the heart of misinformation and misunderstanding. It also raises questions about where large sums of tax money are flowing.
A person might say “drinking water is safe” without meaning to downplay the cases of waterborne gastroenteritis. Vaccines are, as all things in life, not without risk. In the mid-20th century, when vaccines were rapidly adopted as common practice, incurring a small personal risk for the greater collective good may have been a more obvious tenet of life in a modern society. This was at least part of the idea behind a government program aimed at taking care of the injured and ill. While we watch as measles returns, it may have less to do with ignorance than the basic fact that this communal social fabric has been displaced by distrust, isolation, and fear.