I am sick and tired of normal media coverage using e.g. AP Style Guide terminology being too polite and too simplistic to explain the necessary factual and legal context to the general public. It’s not really that hard! And how do you really know that the public wouldn’t get it until you try?!

“The analysis, produced by the Missing Migrants Project at the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), shows an increase in deaths coupled with insufficient search and rescue operations* in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic Route to the Canary Islands, and at a time when interceptions…


Identifying a potential methodological artefact in Nikolov, Flammini, and Menczer (2021), Right and left, partisanship predicts (asymmetric) vulnerability to misinformation, and a positive suggestion for how to fix it.

(This is not a peer-reviewed review, it’s just my personal opinions at this stage.)

Nikolov, Flammini, and Menczer’s paper is excellent, and on a very relevant question, which is a tragically rare combination in the field so far — both technically advanced and on a humanly highly relevant topic, but there’s a potential methodological artefact link between the way they define ‘misinformation’, partly relying on Zimdars et al. …


Another day, another stupid official statement from the Vatican — as reliably as the sun rises and sets, the Vatican goes on eternally hanging onto antiquated false irrelevant opinions as if they’re ‘Catholicism’ or the gospel.

I am Catholic and I chose — or chose to cooperate with the Spirit’s election of me, as an adult. I went through catechesis, very thoroughly because it was in a liberal Catholic parish, confirmation and Reception into the Church in 2014, fully adult and fully aware of the Church’s morally ambivalent history because the Church is one of the oldest continuous human institutions…


After this week’s G7 meeting, the EU leaders said in a joint statement that they ‘reject authoritarianism’ — I invite them to actually do that!

Together, the European Union and the United States are an anchor for democracy, peace, and security around the world, to peacefully prevent and resolve conflicts, uphold the rule of law and international law, and promote human rights for all, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, including by working together through multilateral institutions including the UN Human Rights Council. Together, we resolve to address humanitarian needs and stand up for international…


‘Politics’ essentially is collective information-processing, or collective cognition and behaviour. This article is about how to more consciously choose and improve how you receive input information, which is the earliest point in the process, so it’s the most efficient point to intervene at if you want to make better decisions with the same or less time and effort.

  1. Look at the URL before you react to the headline or the image or read it.

This is the simplest possible check, but it makes a big difference. Often when people believe nonsense, they haven’t even noticed the source.

Do you recognize…


Christmas presents weren’t originally for family and friends, but were for those who really need them, however unfamiliar or far away they are.

I have made small donations (25€) to each of these, and I recommend you do too. …


Just a little reminder, again, that what’s at stake here isn’t just the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, but also the whole culture of human rights as foundational for law and for legitimate state authority and institutions.

The whole of current refugee law (at least the primary law, not all of the case law is so consistent) is premised on the belief in inherent human dignity, universally, as a natural fact, which logically and ethically implies social duties to one another, which are called ‘human rights’.

If the government succeeds in abrogating the universality of human rights for the…


We will all, almost certainly, encounter some manipulative disinformation or propaganda today, and every day. We most probably won’t recognise all of it as what it really is. Foreign authoritarian regimes using manipulative online tactics have smartened up their game since 2016, so to not be gullible now is even harder. Even I can’t guess every troll account correctly.

Test yourself. What you should get from this is a sense of wow it’s hard!, and that this sort of method of checking whether a social media account has an authentic individual human being behind it is inevitably unreliable — they…


Dear colleague refugee rights advocates, I think you are mistaken in assuming that there’s a common enough basis of ethical beliefs in European societies now so that we only need to do fact-checking and explaining the law again and again. That could be worse than useless.

The anti-refugees discourse exists because populist-nationalists and fascists instrumentalize the issue to propagate their alternative system of moral values and epistemological practices. They would be probably be secretly disappointed if refugees stopped arriving irregularly on mass, because then what would they use as materials for making propaganda?

They keep repeating the same false claims…


Gerald Knaus, the author of the ideas in the EU-Turkey Deal, is proposing a Deal 2. The Deal presumes Turkey is a Safe Third Country, which has proven untrue. So the returns mechanism does not work, which causes overcrowding on the islands, which provides more material basis for populist-nationalist agitation against refugees and propaganda against the EU, rather than reducing it. Refugees do not cause EU destabilization; poor leadership does.

Gerard Knaus, pictured in his own tweet: https://twitter.com/rumeliobserver/status/1223403891045404672

Intro — context and central thesis

Analysis of Deal 1

Analysis of Knaus’ proposal for Deal 2

How Turkey is not a…

Kester Ratcliff

Lapsed biologist retraining as a social data scientist, often writing about refugee rights advocacy and political philosophy.

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