Adam Hamdy Profile picture
17 Oct, 26 tweets, 6 min read
1. THE TROLL
Last night the John Snow Memorandum got featured on an alternative news service that Media Bias rates as ‘Mixed’. This rating means it shares real news alongside 9-11, New World Order and other conspiracies. Here are the two presenters in a pretty slick studio.
2. I’ve been writing about the dark corners of the web since Pendulum, a book that centres on the concept of trolling, something most of us are now all too familiar with.
3. Despite their slick studio and professional graphics, this pair are mega trolls, who trigger an army of troll followers with their emotive language. Here’s what they had to say about the John Snow Memorandum.
4. I’ve cut it before they name one of the memo’s authors, who has since been subjected to a tirade of abuse from the troll army. There are many inaccuracies in this video, which is unsurprising because it’s basically two ‘angry pub blokes’ who’ve been given a studio.
5. But I’m just going to focus on two errors. The first is that this is a ‘British Establishment’ effort to discredit the Great Barrington Declaration. Wrong. The John Snow Memorandum is completely grass roots - @dgurdasani1 were worried about the GBD’s effect on policy...
6. ...so we asked a group of scientists if they’d like to collaborate on a paper setting out the fundamentals of what we know about #COVID19. Scientists from all over the world joined & we organised most of it on Twitter. So it’s definitely not establishment, nor is it British.
7. The next issue I have with the pub blokes’ video is their attack on the phrase “the scientific consensus”. They think it’s political, when it actually means the opposite. The John Snow Memorandum ended up with dozens of authors.
8. The scientific consensus means ‘this is the evidence on which we can all agree’. There are varying opinions on different issues in the group, how long immunity might last, the role of children in transmission etc. The John Snow Memorandum sets out the evidence...
9. ... that leaves no room for opinion. It is a statement of where things stand and if I was in the pub, I would replace ‘the scientific consensus’ with, ‘here’s what we know.’

Writing the John Snow Memorandum has been a painstaking process. The document has been through...
10. ...dozens of drafts. Any publishing pals will be familiar with the ordeal of editing. Imagine doing it with dozens of authors and editors scrutinising every statement to see if evidence supports it. @dgurdasani1 did a sterling job marshalling us.
11. Rather than being a shadowy phrase with sinister connotations, ‘the scientific consensus’ means ‘here’s what we know based on the evidence’. Science is constantly evolving, so the consensus will evolve based on new evidence, but the key elements in the John Snow Memo...
12. ...are unlikely to be dramatically affected by new discoveries. There is already robust evidence to support them. And that’s key, rather than scrutinise the evidence, the two pub blokes cast aspersions using a simple phrase that their audience has been trained to recognise.
13. Because they’ve been doing the same thing on climate change. They can’t attack the evidence because it’s strong. They can’t question the credentials of the authors because the John Snow Memorandum has been written by experts in a number of scientific fields.
14. So they imply sinister intent & use triggers to elicit an emotional response in their audience. I’m worried about the rising levels of disinformation and outright malevolent propaganda during the pandemic. It’s one of the reasons I thought the John Snow Memo would be useful.
15. These are not innocent actors. One of the guys in the video owns another ‘alternative’ news site that promotes whacky conspiracies and alt-right stories. I’ve been researching these groups for years, looking at the connections between misinformation, political extremism...
16. ...alt-right groups, dark money, politics and foreign interference. My recent novel, Black 13, is inspired by much of this. It is sad to see the same networks operating during a pandemic, but unsurprising. If you want to weaken a nation, what easier way than to spread...
17. ...disinformation during a pandemic? Don’t believe such things can happen? The FT did a profile of an interesting individual a few years ago:

ft.com/content/844815…
18. And here is an account in an Austrian newspaper of a now infamous meeting organised by this individual to recruit and fund far right groups across Europe.

tagesanzeiger.ch/ausland/europa…
19. As more and more people switch to alternative news, they are unwittingly exposing themselves to the influence of such individuals & groups. These groups want to sow distrust, because distrust leads to division, and that is a strategic advantage.
20. None of us want to be unquestioning sheep. Government needs to be challenged, science needs to be challenged, but on the basis of evidence, not rumours and superstition. We all need to be very aware of our sources. If you rely on weird...
21. ... blokes in the pub for the ‘truth’ and find yourself getting angry when they use phases like “globalist agenda”, “scientific consensus” or “new world order, congratulations, you’ve been radicalised.
22. If you can’t be convinced by dozens of leading scientists authoring an evidence-led paper, published in a highly regarded peer review journal, now endorsed by more than 3,000 of the world’s infectious disease experts, epidemiologists, medics & researchers..
23. ...I’m not sure what will convince you. You might want to see what the cat thinks...
24. We can’t afford misinformation and division during a pandemic. The countries that have successfully navigated this crisis have done so with clear leadership from government, a widespread consensus and a whole community response.
25. Lockdowns are a failure of policy. Letting the virus spread is a dangerous idea unsupported by evidence. If you want to see what the evidence is and what’s worked elsewhere have a look at the scientific consensus —
*cue dramatic conspiracy music*

johnsnowmemo.com
26. Broadcasting used to be very strictly regulated. Reputable media offers right of reply and balance. This sort of agenda led, activist broadcasting, devoid of factual criticism, propagating misinformation is a big problem for a world facing profound scientific challenges.

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More from @adamhamdy

15 Oct
1. We’ve implemented the Andromeda Protocol - otherwise known as distance learning, because one of the kids is symptomatic for #COVID19, so everyone is isolating at home. Middle youngling does a full school day online.

A few observations...
2. Why aren’t more kids learning at home? It works really well. He links into his classes via video, gets to participate, talk to his teacher and classmates - it does not feel like an inferior experience. If more kids learned at home, schools would become safer for everyone.
3. Smaller class sizes would facilitate greater physical distancing, and bubble sizes (if they’re even still a thing) would be reduced. It’s unfortunate the UK government won’t embrace innovation, particularly when it would reduce risk during the pandemic.
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
1. A while ago, I wrote about a frog in a pot of boiling water. This is the latest turn of the dial. A vaccine is not coming to our rescue. If one can be developed, it will be used 'strategically' to minimise suffering. Alarm bells should be ringing for everyone.
2. The government's response was based on pandemic flu. Some of us warned this was a mistake back in February, but we now know for certain #SARSCoV2 is not like flu. Instead of pursuing #ZeroCovid, which is the only approach that's shown success...

3. ... the UK government is planning to let the virus take root in the country. Here's what that approach has delivered so far, contrasted with other countries who've taken the opposite approach.

Thanks to @99Organisation for this chart plotting economic and health performance.
Read 9 tweets
4 Oct
1. What is the government's current #COVID19 strategy?

Here is Chris Whitty on 4th March explaining the government's strategy was late intervention and early release.

But what is it now?

2. The UK government and its scientific advisers believed it was appropriate to use the influenza pandemic plan to respond to a human coronavirus. This BMJ editorial examines why the UK's response was so deeply flawed.

bmj.com/content/bmj/36…
3. It seems we're making the same mistakes. #SARSCoV2, the virus that causes #COVID19, is not influenza. Flu is highly contagious and a containment strategy for flu would fail. #SARSCoV2 transmits differently as this excellent article by @zeynep explains.

theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Read 17 tweets
4 Oct
1. PM: “How do you ensure that places across the country continue to fight the virus effectively whilst keeping the economy moving?”

This is the wrong question. The economy cannot function effectively while this virus is spreading.
2. #ZeroCovid to best protect the economy.

#ZeroCovid to best protect public health.

Other countries have shown what works. We should learn from them instead of continuing down a middle path that maximises damage to public health and the economy.
3. Example: Japan is one of many countries to use masks in classrooms. Why are we clinging to this daft idea schools aren’t vectors for transmission when the government’s own analysis shows they are? Let’s learn from other countries.
Read 5 tweets
2 Oct
1. The nights are drawing in & the world is a mess. We all know what that means...

Sourdough. That’s right, I can smell that starter lurking in cupboards everywhere. Lurking and waiting to take over Twitter.

Well, not this time. This time the #pizza community strikes first.
2. That’s right #sourdough suckers, this is an ambush. Take 600 grams of 00 flour, 3 teaspoons of yeast, 200 ml of water, 100 ml of milk, 60 ml of olive oil and make a dough. Punch it until you’ve released your sourdough hostility and leave it to stand for 90 minutes.
3. It will rise. And when it does, cut it into two halves with the sword of justice. If you don’t have the sword of justice, a sharp knife will do. Roll out the two pieces and put their flattened remains in two pizza dishes.
Read 7 tweets
1 Oct
Another day of great books for crime and thriller fans. Mini thread of some of the brilliant authors being published today. Do support your local bookshop if you can. If not, hit those libraries.
Strangers from @callytaylor who won an Amazon Publishing Readers' Award at @CapitalCrime1 last year. Image
The Postscript Murders from the wonderful @ellygriffiths Image
Read 7 tweets

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