Daily Bread for 4.5.19

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of fifty-eight.  Sunrise is 6:28 AM and sunset 7:26 PM, for 12h 57m 21s of daytime.  The moon is new with almost none of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred seventy-seventh day.


On this day in 1860, a Wisconsin congressman is challenged to a duel:

John F. Potter, a Wisconsin representative in Congress, was challenged to a duel by Virgina representative Roger Pryor. Potter, a Northern Republican, had become a target of Southerners during heated debates over slavery. After one exchange, Pryor challenged Potter to a duel and Potter, as the one challenged, specified that bowie knives be used at a distance of four feet. Pryor refused and Potter became famous in the anti-slavery movement. Two years later, when Republicans convened in Chicago, Potter was given a seven foot blade as a tribute; the knife hung with pride during all the sessions of the convention.  Before his death, Potter remembered the duel and proclaimed, “I felt it was a national matter – not any private quarrel – and I was willing to make sacrifices.”

Recommended for reading in full:

Craig Silverman writes Old, Online, And Fed On Lies: How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet (“Older people play an outsized role in civic life. They also are more likely to be online targets for misinformation and hyperpartisan rhetoric”):

Although many older Americans have, like the rest of us, embraced the tools and playthings of the technology industry, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet misinformation and risk being further polarized by their online habits. While that matters much to them, it’s also a massive challenge for society given the outsize role older generations play in civic life, and demographic changes that are increasing their power and influence.

People 65 and older will soon make up the largest single age group in the United States, and will remain that way for decades to come, according to the US Census. This massive demographic shift is occurring when this age group is moving online and onto Facebook in droves, deeply struggling with digital literacy, and being targeted by a wide range of online bad actors who try to feed them fake news, infect their devices with malware, and steal their money in scams. Yet older people are largely being left out of what has become something of a golden age for digital literacy efforts.

Since the 2016 election, funding for digital literacy programs has skyrocketed. Apple just announced a major donation to the News Literacy Project and two related initiatives, and Facebook partners with similar organizations. But they primarily focus on younger demographics, even as the next presidential election grows closer.

(Older Americans needn’t succumb to the depredations of Trump’s lies and manipulations, and many don’t – they are active in opposition. And yet, some are now lost.  Outreach to those now enmired in bias & error will produce civic gains far beyond the next election. )

Using Hollywood Special Effects to Save Lives:

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