Epistemic resilience of the medical community: a proposal that just came through

but you don’t have to drink the stuff…

Ok so we would need an additional role/work

  • yes to storytellers
  • but we also need network weavers/partnership builders that go out into the world and partner the initiative with others doing good work e.g Data & Society
  • to this end we can probably recruit a couple of people who are working at the EC aggregating information e.g Karel Van Der Putte at DG Grow.

Here is a newsletter from Data and Society that are actually calling for partnerships around this issue:

APRIL 1, 2020

This week we’ve posted new work on [health misinformation ] and shaped broader conversations on how COVID-19 is affecting the intersection of technology and society, from human and AI, to the protection and valuation of human lives* amid accelerated supply chains.

For our community, we gathered better practices for ethical reporting on pandemics, and organized virtual power hours]) to support holistic digital community security while we’re all hyper-online. We’ve also taken pause to take care of each other, and ourselves.

Spot an opportunity for collaboration? Reach out to us at info[at]datasociety.net. The Data & Society team is here to help break down disciplinary silos, illuminate truths, and connect ideas.

  • Who Benefits from Health Misinformation?

“A public too fragmented to collectively trust health experts can’t hold an administration accountable for its lies. The grifters and snake oil salesmen are profiting now, but the uncertainty sowed today paves way for an oppressive power to take advantage of a fragmented society much more vulnerable to misinformation in the future.” — Data & Society Affiliate Erin McAweeney , Points

  • RSVP: NEW INC x Data & Society: Coping Through Precarious Work

On Wednesday, April 8 at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT , we’re teaming up with NEW INC for a virtual discussion about how creative practices evolve during precarious times . NEW INC members will give lightning talks about their projects at NEW INC and attendees will be invited to join the artists in a discussion about work, precarity, and art-making. Featuring members: [Foreign Objects])
, [Heidi Boisvert], [Mark Ramos], and [Ziyang Wu]. [RSVP here]

  • After Supply Chain Capitalism

“The illusion of a contractor’s independence as plausible deniability and the right to be exploited by someone further up the chain needs to be undone. The insistence that dignity and life aren’t as essential as efficiency and market performance needs to be undermined with a social safety net that protects all people, including and especially workers most at risk, whether faced with a pandemic or simply faced with run-of-the-mill cruelties of capitalism.” — Data & Society Affiliate Ingrid Burrington , Points

  • Pandemic Narratives

“This is the moment for combining public health best practice with empirical research on misinformation, and to explore new ways to create public health messaging that is compelling, persuasive, and effective. It is also a moment of unprecedented mismanagement and misinformation being disseminated from the highest levels of government, and the problem requires a radically different approach to save lives and minimize harm.” — Data & Society Newsroom Outreach Lead Smitha Khorana , Points Bonus: Khorana also put together this guide for journalists on ethics and best practices for reporting on COVID-19.

  • Bored Techies Being Casually Racist: Race as Algorithm

“Race-as-algorithm in the present day is tied to the long history of creating migrant casual workers in colonial and later periods where casual labor was used to replace slave labor on colonial plantations in the British Empire, and as quick labor to reconstruct bombed-out German cities through the guest worker program. Focusing on the historical relationship between casual labor and racialization shows that firms that value race as a source of creative vitality remain complicit in racism against Indian tech workers within and beyond their walls.” — Data & Society Director of Research Sareeta Amrute , Science, Technology, & Human Values

  • As misinformation surges, coronavirus poses AI challenge

“‘It’s very hard to use automation when you’re in an information environment where the information is always incomplete and changing,’ Robyn Caplan , a researcher at the nonprofit Data & Society, told The Hill, about how shifting to automated content moderation may make the problem of misinformation worse.” — Chris Mills Rodrigo, The Hill

Ping @noemi re the points above on work, do you want us to get in touch with Data & Society? If yes maybe @thornet can connect us? I seem to recall one of the foundation’s fellows has been working with them at some point?

Open letter from a few hundred Belgian health care workers: “all the government does is surveillance”.


I was referred to this discussion by a colleague in the UK, and happy to see the discourse going on here. In the US we are confronting a collapse of our medical and public health infrastructure that would have been unimaginable 5-10 years ago. Our Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have gone so far as to recommend bandanas as being “better than nothing” for protection. The public is left on its own to sift through conflicting pontificating by federal and state level officials or worse yet media outlets that are fanning the flames. A trusted, vetted source of reliable information both for the medical community and the public is greatly needed.


Would you agree with a few reports I have read asserting that the current administration has politicized the CDC in the way it controls its messaging and guidelines?

Most definitely. This politicization has taken mostly the form of taking the CDC out of its usual role of managing a situation like this. However, it has also involved controlling the messaging as you mention. Of course, this was also the case during the Bush II administration.

I read this morning that the Dept of the Interior in 2017 reversed a “bottom up” alarm-sounding policy that allowed National Parks to make local decisions about staying open in a crisis. Now they have to get permission from on high. Several parks asked for permission to close a few weeks ago and were denied. I saw a recent picture taken at Zion NP where a popular trail was loaded with people all rather close to each other as if nothing was wrong. While the President is was saying there was nothing to worry about, they didn’t want to make the parks look like they didn’t agree. This is using public health as a political weapon.

Yes. Sad.

Hello and welcome @FamDocDon! I guess @markomanka is facepalming right now about the bandanas.

Update: we set up a listening post to discuss some of these topics, specifically the bit about “fight the pandemic by repression and curtailing of civil liberties”, which happens exactly under the “better than nothing” banner. More information at the link below.

Another example of this would be UK breweries who have started making alcohol sanitizer, but still have to pay duty of about £20 on each litre of alcohol they brew…


Possibly statisticians - to help sift thru the noise of badly done statistics (usually retrospective studies), underreported deaths for a variety of confounding reasons, etc. It’d be an idea if we had an index of all the bad science that is circulating, and we could authoritatively say, ‘this is rubbish for all these reasons’ (for example, chloroquine is now being touted as the miracle cure, when there’s no evidence it works at all actually). We could be a beacon to show what is and is not true of the dozens of potential nonsense claims that keep appearing…

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Excellent point about statisticians, @salvo_cognetti. @MariaEuler has already written about the difficulty she and others have when dealing with the reporting of statistical results – she calls it statistically feeling bad.

So, we are going to be starting to look into the issue of how the pandemic shifts society towards tighter surveillance via policies that are presented as based on medical evidence next week, at this event. You are very welcome, especially if you bring any statistical expertise with you.

have a look at this crowd - maybe worthwhile reaching out and inviting them? https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/fighting-coronavirus-a-new-infection-alarm-system-on-your-smartphone-a-b4b35e3c-6499-4487-a689-6008d8d7ecc8

Thank you! Unfortunately I am no statistician. I suppose I should introduce myself. I am a medical doctor who has recently moved from UK to Italy and I am now working in northern italy.

I initially got to know about edgeryders in 2015, when I was doing my elective at CERN and I met Nadya and Massimo, and I have known Marco for quite some time.

I was a psychiatry trainee in the UK but am now working in a ‘punto di primo intervento’ - basically a scaled down a&e in a rural setting. I have had a longatanding interest in TB and infection control for it and at one point coauthored a toolkit for interprofessional collaboration for TB infection control. Many of the principles of TB IC are actually transferrable to Covid, and if you want I can get into details about things I routinely see done wrong.

Other than that, I am an avid nethack and d&d player… And when i am not doing that i read, play the flute, and play chess.

I see that Edgeryders has grown a lot from 2015 and I am impressed :slight_smile: i think we can really make a difference thanks to our… I don’t know if it’s an actual term, but I would say, ‘open source mindset’? I hope you get what I mean.

Nice to meet you all and thanks again for taking on this project! I feel we will do a lot of good.



I was reading a very interesting thread from a palliative care doctor:

Allowing people to die with dignity and as much comfort as possible seems to be more important than ever now. Yet I don’t see this topic talked about much. We (Humanity) need much more drugs for end of life care than we are currently producing, and we (doctors) need some know-how about palliative care to make its way to the frontline of docs who are treating covid. Do you think we (Edgeryders) should get involved in that? (should i make a new thread? How does it work?)


@zmorda I think this is our problem owner/ challenge for the special edition of the OCI Lab. What do you think?

This would be a valuable contribution to our Surveillance pandemic listening event. Are you coming?

You are super welcome to open a topic on Edgeryders. Ask @noemi, @johncoate or @MariaEuler if you need any help. @nadia could help if you are up for a more structured effort, with something called the OCI Lab.

About the surveillance listening pandemic event: i woukd love to, but I am scheduled to work. Therefore, depending on whether i have patients coming in (i live and work in a rather small village of 2000 souls up in the mountains, and these days patients tend come in only when they really must), i may or may not be able to participate for some or all of it, if that’s okay.

I would be up for creating a more structured effort. I can think of two areas that we could look into: one is as mentioned palliative care, another is mental health care (i was a psychiatry trainee in the UK up until i left the country) for those affected by covid/in isolation. I am thinking about:

  • seriously unwell psychiatric patients who are kept in a psych hospital against their will, and at very high risk of catching Covid there, as it involves cramming lots of people into a shared space with minimal ventilation (psych hospitals typically have shut or minimally opening windows to stop people from jumping off them, or escaping - and an open window policy is the most effective zero-cost action to prevent TB transmission via droplets ), cared for by nurses who are great at psychiatry but have little to no medical expertise depending on different countries’ training programmes for them (and doctors who are psychiatrists, not infection control experts) as well as other factors and complications caused by mental illness itself about which i can go into more detail on perhaps in a separate topic;

  • less seriously unwell psychiatric patients who can manage their life at home but need regular contact with psychiatric services.

  • people with no previous psychiatric illness who are at risk of developing one when forced into prolonged isolation

Sorry for throwing a lot of thoughts. This project / the problem of covid deals with an unprecedented level of complexity on many levels. I hope to be able to help with a few of these…


Of course, @salvo_cognetti. Best effort. No pressure. :slight_smile:

More power to you. I think @nadia and @zmorda might be able to guide you into bootstrapping some kind of early stage project. Am I wrong, ladies?

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Not wrong. Am chatting with @zmorda about this now.