Monday, January 09, 2017

trumpocalypse now

After the first electoral disaster of 2016, I wrote a feature warning that the same kind of wave of angry voters could send Trump to the White House, and sure enough it did. So I got the chance to write another political feature, now one step closer to the apocalypse. On current form it appears obvious to me that the age of enlightenment is over and western civilisation is heading towards a collapse sooner rather than later. Since I wrote the feature, three weeks ago, Putin's role in manipulating the election has become a more prominent issue, so that's missing in my story. Only then did I investigate how long we still may have to put up with Putin. I found out that since his two presidential terms (2000-2008), Russia extended the length of term to six years, meaning that he could remain in office until 2024 - like a certain Mr Trump you may have heard of. What the world will look like if that happens I don't want to imagine. We need to do something.

While I go looking for my thinking hat, read my feature:

The dangers of a post-truth world

Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 1, 9 January 2017, Pages R1–R4

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)


The amplification of clickbait and fake news stories through Facebook’s algorithms has been recognised as a problem in the US presidential election. (Image courtesy of Ashley George.)

PS: the artwork in the Daily Mirror front page used in my article is Oh America by Gee Vaucher, I just learned.

Some links covering the first weeks of the Trumpocalypse:

First on the White House agenda – the collapse of the global order. Next, war? by Jonathan Freedland (4.2.) - If you're not terrified yet, read this, you will be.

PPS: The last sentence of my introduction:

"Scientists are left wondering not only how this could happen, but also what they can do to make verifiable scientific truth heard in a post-truth scenario."
is quoted in a loose translation in Der Spiegel, issue 6/2017, p94:
„Was können Forscher tun, um der überprüfbaren wissenschaftlichen Wahrheit in einer postfaktischen Wirklichkeit wieder Gehör zu verschaffen?“, fragte die Fachzeitschrift Current Biology.

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