Today on @MorningEdition, I walked through the life cycle of a vaccine lie.

It starts with a kernel of truth: After vax, many women anecdotally reported heavy periods. That's plausible, says @aliceluculligan, because immune cells aid in menstruation.…
But the clinical trials never asked women about their experiences with menstruation, so there's no data.

That created an opportunity for misinformation, says @MelanieFSmith (then at @Graphika_NYC).

For misinfo to thrive "there is always that gap of knowledge," she says.
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC There was plenty of chatter around the question of periods in groups and message boards. But one Facebook group turned out to be particularly influential. It was frequented by anti-vaccine activists who quickly picked up on the idea and ran with it...
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC Things really got going when Naomi Wolf, feminist author turned vaccine skeptic, sent this tweet on April 19th. The tweet did 2 things:

1. Raised questions without supplying answers about vaccine safety...

2. Inserted a myth: that vaccinated people can spread side-effects.
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC Wolf kept tweeting more misinformation in the coming hours and days (She's since been suspended from twitter for spreading misinformation about vaccines).

Soon other influencers started to pick it up.
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC But what really launched the myth into the stratosphere was when it hit the MSM. A Miami Private school announced it was banning VACCINATED teachers from the classroom. The school's owner is a well known anti-vaccine advocate, but the media covered the story anyway...
@MelanieFSmith @Graphika_NYC It's a dilemma says @skirkell. On the one hand, it's the media's job to tell people what's happening. On the other... "the lie spreads faster and more people see it and more people pick up on it," Sell says.
And that's just what @Graphika_NYC's analysis showed. The Centner story boosted myths about vaccines, infertility and vaccine shedding/spreading to communities all over the world.

"This is the point at which we start to see Spanish and Portuguese content," says Smith.
Over the next few weeks, the myths also filtered into right-wing media, fake news sites, and a few other spots... Often they were adapted to the audience. Alex Jones added on some stuff about a global plot by social media companies to depopulate the earth...
But the fertility stuff didn't stick around. It started to fade. And that too is a feature of misinformation, Smith says. It's single purpose it to shock and engage... so once it's spread, it just vanishes.

Or rather it fades into the background, while another lie gets boosted.

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More from @gbrumfiel

19 Jul
NEW: A key scientist who signed the letter calling for investigation into the lab leak theory now says a natural origin "is the most likely scenario by a long shot."

It's based on his own analysis of where the first cases were found. (by @FoodieScience)…
@FoodieScience Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey, who's studied the origins of the 1918 flu and the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. He initially signed the letter because he hadn't seen anything that differentiated whether it came from the markets or the lab.
@FoodieScience But two things have swayed him that the market is (again) the most likely origin.

1. Initial cases clearly radiate out away from the markets, not the lab.

2. A newly published paper shows numerous live animals were being sold in the market...…
Read 6 tweets
1 Jul
🚨🚨SCOOPLET!🚨🚨 China is expanding its mysterious, giant airfield in the middle of the desert. New (28 June) imagery from @Maxar shows a dozen or so buildings under construction at the site.

This may be China's Area 51 under construction.

Full Story:…
This airstrip is huge at 5km (3 mi). It's weird in several ways:

✅Its in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of an abandoned nuclear test site at Lop Nur.

✅It doesn't have normal aistrip stuff, like taxiways, aprons or control towers.

✅Did I mention it's GINORMOUSLY LONG?
Last year its believed that China landed a classified "space plane" at the site. That's in part because the runway JUST HAPPENED to align perfectly with the space plane's orbital path.

Read 13 tweets
14 Jun
Short 🧵: Data from the Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration does seem to indicate a *slightly* elevated level of gamma radiation around the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant. These are the two monitoring stations closest (one on the left is at the plant).
The full list of monitoring at Chinese NPPs is here:…

As of yesterday, Taishan is at 153 nGy/h (153 nanograys per hour). That's above the level of other plants in the country.
The levels at both sites near Taishan NPP also seem to have been elevated since at least late May. This may be an indication that this has been going on for awhile, and is not an immediate emergency.
Read 19 tweets
26 Mar
And now @MAXAR's worldview satellite has supplied high-resolution imaging from earlier this very day, showing that there is still a ship stuck in the Suez Canal. #OSINTatWork
I would just like to point out that we now have confirmation of a ship stuck in the Suez Canal using multiple space-based sensors.
We also have imagery at different resolutions... And different nadir angles at different times of day... (credit: @Maxar @Airbus @planetlabs and @capellaspace for that previous tweet)
Read 10 tweets
17 Nov 20
OMG, @rebeccalramirez just put me on to the CDC's "coping with COVID" coloring book for kids, and it's an exercise in anxiety.

Not sure I'll sleep tonight.
I'm the grown-up and I feel ALL OF THESE THINGS!
It's not your fault Timmy. It's happening. You're powerless to stop it. It is affecting every aspect of your life, and your loved ones may be in danger.

... says Rover, the friendly dog.

(Also CDC guidance indicates pets can carry COVID. BACK OFF ROVER…)
Read 5 tweets
9 Nov 20
A lot of people are tweeting about how this new Pfizer vaccine finding has not been peer-reviewed. That's true, but it's also important to understand that academic peer-review is not the only way to be scientifically rigorous... 🧵
In the case of clinical trials, there are a number of methods to keep bias out of data. One is to "blind" the trial, so that both patients and those administering the vaccine don't know who gets the drug and who gets the placebo. This trial was fully blinded.
In other words, patients, scientists, clinicians, and even Pfizer executives had no idea who got the vaccine and who didn't. Only a small team of statisticians and medical monitors remained unblinded to keep the trial on track. They had no direct contact with the trial team.
Read 11 tweets

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