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It's Overcast and 22.95 degrees in Burlington, VT. Today's forecast: Mostly cloudy throughout the day. Today's high will be 30.17 °F and tonight's low will be 19.13 °F. Sunset will be at 04:31 PM.

January 7 in Vermont History 📅

Landmark child labor law enacted, 1913; limits work week of children and women to 58 hours

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Dave's Corner 💭

It's terrible what happened yesterday in the capitol. What I found myself thinking about, and reflecting on, as the publisher of this newsletter, is what role Internet media had in this? Obviously there were other factors, and we all know what those were and they're easy to identify. But I think the slightly more subtle cause is that social media and online publications have distorted a significant portion of this country's grip on reality. Could those people really think they were going to overturn the election by storming the capitol building? Do they really think that's how the USA works? The education system and social media have failed these people if they have so little understanding of our system and the importance of the peaceful transition of power. And they don't have a proper sense of reality.

I have unfortunately communicated with some of these people. They have been so brainwashed by the false information that they have read on social media that they don't believe anything they hear to the contrary. Believe it or not, some of them even read this newsletter.

How do we fix this? I don't have the answers, but I do think a part of it is how we use social media. They're not going to delete Facebook and they're not going to delete Twitter (the main conduits of false information in my opinion). And the central problem is the demagogues, conspiracy theorists, and outright evil people who spread the false information that riles people up. But I think each of us that use social media have a part to play. We must be careful about what we share and re-share. We must think twice before we click that retweet button. Are we almost 100% sure the story is true? Have we identified its source as a reliable one? And have we checked our assumptions about that by the way? Just because our friend or a verified account shared it, it doesn't mean it's true. Is it worth the likes to possibly be wrong and be part of the problem?

This problem is only going to grow. It's incredibly easy to fake a tweet, and it's getting much easier to fake audio and video due to new so-called "deep fake" AI technology. So, not only am I suggesting that we should be scrupulous in believing what we see on social media. I am also suggesting that we have a responsibility to be extra scrupulous about what we share.

Dave (@davekopec)

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Random Burlingtonian Quote of the Day 📝

It may be objected that a man cannot subsist in the sun; but does it follow from thence, that God cannot or has not constituted a nature peculiar to that fiery region, and caused it to be as natural and necessary for it to suck in and breathe out flames of fire, as it is for us to do the like in air.

—Ethan Allen

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Sources: Weather is from Dark Sky. This day in Vermont History is courtesy of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. News headlines are from their stated source. Events are from Seven Days. Tweets are from Twitter. The random quote is from WikiQuotes. SeeClickFix issues are the latest public issues from SeeClickFix and are licensed under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US.
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