We can all agree tht social media plays an important part in sharing your message, services or products. But how do you start tracking what you have posted and how can it help your business, product or brand. I was researching this and have the following this to share with you.
It is important to set up a social media strategy to align with your business goals, and pulled together either paid or free social monitoring services, you’ve got one more habit to get into: tracking. From one fellow community manager to another, you know how important it is to know how one tweet performed versus another, or if one blog post rocked on one social network over another. This can only happen by having the right tracking in place.
Why Use Trackable Sharing Buttons
Not all sharing buttons are created equal, which is why you should pick sharing buttons that will give you a good signal of what’s going on in your site. You may see some insight in your analytics that tell you people visited your site, and some of them were from social. But to really know how and where your community is sharing your content, your sharing buttons should tell you.
2) Choose the social network you want people to share your content on.
3) Fill in the blanks.
4) Download a social button icon.
5) Make the icons clickable using your share link.
By using the right sharing buttons to help you see which social network is most popular among your audience, you’re going to understand your community better. Who knows? There may be a strong niche community reading your content in a social network you’re not actively engaging. These are a community manager’s dream gems to find!
Why Use Trackable Follow Buttons
Do you know, off the top of your head, how many social followers your site got for you this week? If your follow buttons were trackable, you’d be able to get this number without much digging in your analytics. And wouldn’t it rock to be able to tell your teammates you know that most of your Instagram followers came from your site? (This happened to us, actually!) As a community manager, this is the type of understanding that’ll open your eyes into exactly how your audience is engaging with your content. Discover which social networks your audience is most engaged with, and how your site is helping you drive engagement off your domain with trackable follow buttons.
Why Us Trackable Chatbots
Don’t lift a finger and still deal with your enquiries 24/7
The next big thing to hit SME’s is Chatbots Using Artificial Intelegence. The number 1 complaint about launching and running a online business or attracting responses to a posting is generating enough enquiries to make a sale or even responding to all the enquiries within 24 hours.!
Chatbots can assist you and there is “No Need To Lift a Finger Because some of the Proven System Will Do The Work And Get You More Leads!” The data coming out now is that more and more people are moving to online communications and shows that you need to start leveraging Chatbots to streamline customer communications, problem solving and sales. Individuals are using messaging Chatbots for many different reasons. However, the key things your customers want from any communication is quick response, help with there enquiry, ability to make appointments or make a purchase or have a problem attended to quickly.
You can automatically generate unique hashes appended to all of your site’s pages to help you generate unique links that you can then use to push to social. Address bar sharing adds a unique set of characters to the very end of your URL that will make that URL unique. (And don’t worry, this will not negatively affect your SEO.)
The reason you’ll want to do this is if you’re trying to monitor how the same content performs on different social networks, and which messaging performed best on the same topic.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending so much time creating awesome content, and having tons of Tweets, tiktok and instagram out there to drive traffic to your pages, and then not being able to tell which phrasing or timing actually worked best.
Go beyond the pageviews and visits by making all your site’s URLs generate uniquely. You’ll then even be able to catch where a big segment of your traffic came from.
How to embed a tweet using the Twitter website
Open Twitter in a web browser, log in if necessary, and find the tweet you want to embed.
Click the three dots at the top right of the tweet.
In the dropdown menu, choose “Embed Tweet.”
The Twitter Publish page should appear. …
When you’re done, click “Update.”
How to embed a tweet on a website using Twitter’s embed tool
Why Use Analytics
Tying all of that data together into an easy-to-read dashboard is usually the hardest part of a community manager’s job, but lucky for you, AddThis’ dashboard pulls all of this information for you in one place.
The dashboard lays out in crisp and clear graphics how all of your audience members engaged with your site, which tools they used to engage, and which content they liked the most.
Know exactly which social network is growing the most from your site, and which is being shared to the most. Know all this by just scanning your dashboard (without drowning in search queries and exported spreadsheets).
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I have been noticing that most of my food is going mouldy quicker, even in the jars! I was curious to find out why, espcially as this is happening more and more in the fridge as well. I thought the fridge was designed to keep things cool and slow down the detiriation of our food.
I also wanted to know what mould did to the body if injected, my mind started to generate all types of conspiracy theory so I decided to do a little research based on facts.
We all grow up learning mold is gross. But is it just unpleasant, or is it actually dangerous? Isn’t it mould that makes blue cheese blue? And wasn’t penicillin first discovered in moldy bread?
Are we wasting perfectly safe food when we throw it out? Or are we gambling our health when we shrug our shoulders and eat that piece of cheese that had a dusting of white fuzz?
How does mould grow on food?
I found this bit scary because is the air we are breathing so toxic? Is that why we are getting sicker even though we are more health concious? I mean think about it, our lungs are very moist!
So back to the question: Tiny mould spores are carried in the air. When these spores land on food, they take root and grow until they produce patches of mould visible to the naked eye. Once they mature, they produce new spores and release them into the environment and the cycle continues!
What is mold on food?
Mould is a microscopic fungus, and yes—spoilers!—consuming it can be bad for our health. Like its cousin the mushroom, there are thousands of different species.
Some are safe to consume, but many produce poisonous mycotoxins that cause illness and even death. Additionally, some people are allergic to mould and need to steer clear of it. So dealing with mold on food is serious business.
Why does mould grow on food?
Mould requires three things to grow: organic matter, water and oxygen. Food provides the the first two ingredients. Exposed to air, mold has everything it needs to grow.
How long does it take for mould to grow on food?
Many factors affect the rate of growth of mould: the specific type of mould, the food it’s growing on, and the ambient temperature and humidity. Many species of mould like warmer temperatures and mould growing on fruit on your counter may develop in very few days, especially in the warm humid summer months. Other mould growing on food with less water content in the cool of a refrigerator might take several weeks.
How to handle mould on food?
Mould can grow on most types of food, but not all food is the same.
Red Flag Food
Red flag food items should be automatically discarded when mouldy. These items include most food items, particularly soft and moist foods:
Luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc.
Cooked leftover meat, poultry and fish
Cooked pasta and cooked grains
Sour cream and yoghurt
Soft fruits such as tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, etc.
Some other drier, harder foods fall into this category as well:
Nuts and legumes
Bread, baked goods and other highly porous items
In general, softer food with more moisture content is more prone to moulding, and can’t be safely salvaged. In addition to the mould itself, soft moist food can provide an ideal environment for dangerous bacteria to grow. For these foods, it’s important not to assume the problem is limited to the mould you see.
Throw away the mouldy food, and carefully inspect other nearby food, especially food in the same package. Do not sniff mouldy food: spores might get into your respiratory system. Wrap the spoiled items in plastic to contain the spores, and discard.
To eat or not to eat?
Moulds can grow in the fridge and will even survive freezing. They can also survive in salty, sugary and acidic environments. This is scary!
As mould on our food is so hard to avoid, here are some general guidelines from the most Food Safety and Inspection Service on responding to the problem:
Discard all of these foods if mouldy:
Luncheon meat, bacon, and hot dogs.
Yoghurt, sour cream and soft cheese.
Soft fruits and vegetables
Bread and baked goods.
Peanut butter, nuts and legumes.
Jams and jellies – but note Dr Hocking has a slightly different view for Australian jams.
These foods can be saved from mould:
Hard salami (the dry, aged type) – scrub mould from the surface.
Hard cheese – cut off at least 2.5 centimetres around and below the mould. Don’t let the knife touch the mould and recover the cheese with fresh wrap.
Firm fruit and veg – small mould spots can be cut off.
Cheeses made with mould
The mould used in making these cheeses is safe for consumption. However, if other mold that is not part of the manufacturing process is present, these items should be discarded just like any other red flag food item. Some blue cheeses may be hard enough to be treated as a Yellow Flag item (see below for care). However, if you are unsure where to draw the line, remember: when in doubt, throw it out.
Note that while the mould that forms the blue veins inside blue cheeses is harmless when deprived of oxygen inside the cheese, the same strain of mold can form harmful mycotoxins if allowed to grow on surfaces exposed to air. Be careful of cross-contamination with these cheeses and keep them wrapped in cellophane while storing them.
Yellow Flag Food
Other foods, particularly harder and drier foods, can sometimes be kept once the mold is carefully removed. These include:
Firm fruits and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, bell pepers, etc.)
Hard salami and dry-cured ham
If you’re going to cut away mould rather than discard the item, it’s important to remember that there is more mould present than what you can see. Below the surface, mould will have penetrated up to 2cm or more. For these food items, mould can be cut away but you should cut at least 2.5cm (1 inch) outside of and underneath any visible surface mould. Be careful to keep the knife clear of the mould to avoid contaminating the rest of the food as you cut.
Note that surface mould is a normal occurrence on certain hard salamis. In this case, scrubbing the mould off the surface is sufficient. Again, it never hurts to be cautious. When in doubt, throw it out.
Different types of food mould
Black mold on food
I did not like this bit, but if you are going to understand something, you can’t disguard the ugly sides. Well here goes.. Various strains of mould can have a black appearance. Homeowners know to watch out for black toxic mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly found in attics.
However there are many non-toxic strains of black mould as well, including Rhizopus stolonifera, also known as black bread mould. You may encounter black mould on the rubber seals of your refrigerator or on food. While this doesn’t prove you have black toxic mould in your house, you are best to assume it may be harmful and discard the food item in question, meticulously scrub clean the refrigerator, and look for signs of black mould in your house.
Pink mould on food
Pink mouldy formations on food may not be mould at all, but rather bacteria growing. Aureobasidium and Fusarium are also two common fungi that grow with a pinkish colour.
Pink mould is most often seen on bread, dairy products and meat. Dangers of pink mold include infection of the respiratory, gastro-intestinal or urinary tracts.
White mould on food
White mould is seen on a variety of foods, from the white mould purposefully grown on the outside of certain cheeses, to fluffy white mold appearing on berries and other fruit.
Many strains of mould can appear white, and to complicate matters many coloured strains of mould may go through a phase where they appear white before developing the spores that give them their colour. Unless white mould is a purposeful part of a food’s production (e.g. brie and camembert cheese), assume it is toxic and handle affected food accordingly.
Green mould on food
Green mould is commonly found on citrus fruit and bread. Cladosporium is one particularly common species of green mould.
It can have a potent smell and be particularly irritating, particularly for people with mould allergies. This can lead to respiratory problems such as wheezing and coughing, as well as vomiting. Clodosporium mold can produce mycotoxins as well, so avoid exposure.
Orange mould on food
A variety of mould can take on an orange colour, including Fuligo septica and Aleuria aurantia. These orange moulds commonly have a slimy texture.
While they may be less dangerous than some other colours of mould, they can still cause respiratory problems, and where orange mould is present, bacteria are also likely to be found.
Furthermore, orange mould is particularly prone to growing on wood. So not only is orange mould a threat to your food, it is a threat to the wood in your house.
Red mould on food
While various strains of mould can be red, red mould on food is most commonly Neurospora. While this type of mould is typically less dangerous than other types of mould, some mycotoxin-producing moulds might appear red in certain conditions, or might be present alongside red mould. It’s therefore wisest to treat red mould on food with the same caution as other mould.
Blue mould on food
Blue mould on bread and the blue mould deliberately cultivated to make blue cheese are strains of the genus Penicillium. And yes, some species of Penicillium (but not all!) produce penicillin. Many species of Penicillium are innocuous, but some are not.
And while the blue mould in blue cheese, deprived of oxygen, is safe for consumption, that same strain of mould can produce mycotoxins when it grows on an outside surface exposed to air. So, eat that blue cheese but treat other blue mould as potentially toxic.
Consumers Select Food Based on Colour at the Supermarket
It is widely accepted that consumers select a food product with their eyes, so products need to look fresh and tasty.
Oxidation is the Enemy
Oxidation, a chain reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen, is responsible for the deterioration of food products, including off-flavours and off-odours. This process is affected by processing, packaging and storing techniques, as well as product ingredients.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that:
Significantly delay or prevent oxidation
Help maintain fresh appearance and colour
Extend shelf life
How Do They Work?
Antioxidants delay the onset of oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals, forming a stable antioxidant radical that is unable to participate in propagation reactions, slowing down oxidation.
What happens if you eat mould?
Is it dangerous to inhale mould spores from food?
Inhaling mould visible on food is risky and should be avoided. It may cause allergic reactions or problems with the respiratory tract. When mould isn’t visible, sniffing may be a useful way to detect it—e.g. smelling dishcloths. However, once you’ve spotted mould, avoid inhaling.
Can mould on food make you sick?
Mould on food can be harmful in various ways. Some people are allergic to mould and could have a potentially serious reaction. However, even if you don’t have allergies, mould can cause irritation in the respiratory, gastro-intestinal or urinary tracts. And the mycotoxins created by some moulds are poisonous carcinogens that can prove fatal.
What are health symptoms you can get by eating mould on food?
Allergic reactions to mould can include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, postnasal drip, irritated eyes, nose and throat and dry, scaly skin. Those with asthma may experience coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
Those without allergies may still experience respiratory problems such as wheezing, sneezing, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, this can lead to respiratory infection and even hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
A particular concern is ingesting mould that produces mycotoxins. Signs of mycotoxin poisoning include reduced appetite, a general feeling of malaise, acute illness or death in rare cases.
Food mould facts and questions
Which food will mould fastest?
Storage conditions will have a significant effect on how quickly a given food turns mouldy. However, all things being equal, food with a high moisture content will mould first. Thus, in the fridge, fruits such as strawberries or cucumber might get mouldy before other foods. Stored at room temperature, natural bread (with no preservatives) can get mouldy quite quickly.
Is it safe to eat fruits with mould on a peel you discard?
It may be tempting to think that for fruit with a peel, simply removing and discarding the peel may be enough to protect you. In the case of a firm fruit like a pineapple, it can indeed be treated as a “yellow flag” food, carefully cutting away the affected area.
Fruits with a softer peel like oranges or bananas should be treated as “red flag” foods and discarded—underneath the visible mould, it may have penetrated the peel to the flesh of the fruit inside. In the case of an avocado, while the skin is quite tough mold can still get underneath and infect the fruit inside. Play it safe and discard it.
What temperature kills mould spores in food?
Most moulds are killed off by temperatures of 60-70°C (140-160°F). Thus, boiling water is generally enough to kill off mould. Remember, though, that mould doesn’t just grow on the surface: heat will have to penetrate into whatever the mould is growing in to kill it. Also keep in mind that the mycotoxins produced by certain mould can survive intense heat: boiling may kill the mould but leave its poisons still intact.
It takes one mouldy food item to get the whole basket covered in mold! This is very important rule to remember the moment you are at the market. If you are buying nonpacked items, ensure each of them is fresh. If you notice mold on any single piece, simply don’t buy it. Examine each item for bruising, softness, oxidation or signs of mould before you buy it and avoid any items that look overly ripe.
On the other hand, when buying pre-packed food you cannot examine every single piece, meaning that mouldy items can go unseen. In that case, ensure you checked the date and chose the one that was most recently packed. Instead of buying processed or pre-packed food, where you often don’t have control of the freshness (the story of wrong dates is not rarely heard), choose local markets and stores you can trust.
Once you buy your delicious food, especially fresh fruit and veggies, it is important to keep it covered until you’re ready to eat it to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with bacteria, mold, dust and debris from the environment. Use plastic wrap to cover foods you want to keep for longest, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, salads and cheese.
Rinse the contents of canned goods under water and store them in your fridge in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers. Refrigerate leftovers and use them within four days.
Consume early to avoid mold. The first step you can take to prevent food going bad is to eat it before mould has time to take hold. Especially for moisture-rich and porous food like fruits and breads, buy in smaller quantities so you can consume it within a just a few days.
Keep food cold: the cooler the better. Keep food, especially soft moist food like fruit, in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. Only take it out while you’re using it—under two hours. To keep food mould-free for longer periods, store it in the freezer rather than the fridge.
Use heat to kill mold. High acid foods such as fruits, jams and jellies can be made safe to preserve through heat treatment. A boiling water bath is a common practice to prepare them for a long shelf-life. The amount of time required for a water bath will vary depending on what and how much you’re canning, so be sure to adapt your method to the specific food you’re treating.
Keep kitchen tools and surfaces clean. Mould may thrive on food, but it can be found anywhere. The less mould in your kitchen, the less your food will get exposed. Clean your refrigerator and other kitchen surfaces with a mixture of 5ml of baking powder to 1L of water. Watch out for black-coloured mold on your fridge’s rubber seals and scrub carefully to clean it out.
Keep your dishcloths, tea towels, sponges, mops and other kitchen tools clean. Give them the sniff test: if they smell musty, they may be harbouring mould. Any item that you can’t get clean and fresh-smelling, discard and replace.
In order to prevent mould on food you will have to work on overall kitchen mould prevention. In most cases it includes either ensuring there is enough fresh air or regular cleaning. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent mold in the kitchen.
As said above – mould can grow in the fridge and, thus, it is important to keep the inside of the refrigerator clean. We suggest cleaning it every few months with one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly before storing food again.
Ensure your food is still fresh by checking it every day or two. Toss away anything that has a sign of mould or that started rotting away.
Wash the dishes at least once a day. Don’t leave food leftovers in your sink behind you once you are done with the meal. Throw them away immediately. If you are in a rush, keep your dishes under water to prevent food stains from hardening until you can wash them properly.
Mould can be found in dishwasher and garbage disposals. It can be the reason behind the odors, thus keeping it clean should be your priority. At least once a week pour baking soda, salt and vinegar (or lemon) own the sink and leave it for 10 minutes. You can add lemon or orange peels and even essential oils to give it a nice smell. After that all you have to do is pour boiled water to wash it up and your disposal and sink will be clean, mould-free and refreshed.
Kitchen tools, especially wooden ones should be washed and well dried before set aside, because wood is one of the favourite food for mould. All you have to do is simply wash them after you used them and leave them to dry well somewhere where it is not wet and it has enough fresh air and light. (for example if you are done with cooking and your stove is still warm, you can put it next to it to dry.
Don’t forget about unused kitchen appliances. They are often sealed and if not well dried, mould can form due to water evaporation inside. The best way to prevent mold from developing inside is to ensure it is well dried before storing and, if there is a possibility, keep it open.
And last but not least, make sure that the relative humidity in your home is between 30% and 50%, especially in the warmer months, when mold is known to flourish. The easiest thing you can do to control the humidity level is to keep your windows open as often as possible. If that is not possible your next steps should bes either air vents or even a dehumidifier.
As with mould in general, there are many strains of mould that can be found on food. While some are innocuous, many are not. While mould that’s purposefully introduced into certain cheeses can be safe, always treat other mould on food as a dangerous substance. Treat “yellow flag” foods with caution and for “red flag” foods, play it safe and discard it.
And remember, the same concerns about mould allergies and mould toxicity that applies to food mould also applies to other mould in your house. Keep watch for mould in your kitchen and whole house, and if you detect signs of mould, get informed as to the steps needed to eradicate it safely.
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A lot of people refer to them as Influencers today but here’s a little secret that can help you raise your status or even attract funding to help you successfully grow your business, So what’s the secret? find and leverage mentors and advisors.
You might think this is odd and not doable, but think about it, this is a win win senerio.
So, who or what are advisors?
Advisors are successful people that you respect and that agree to help your company. Advisors are generally successful and/or retired executives, business owners, service providers, professors, or others that could help your business.
Advisors generally will not cost you any money (you don’t pay them), although I do recommend giving them stock options to incentivise them to contribute as much as possible. But one of the benefits to them is that they also need referrals and new clients.
Getting advisors is not a requirement for raising money, but they have multiple benefits as follows:
Practice: if you can’t successfully pitch an advisor to invest time in your business, then you’re not going to successfully pitch anyone to invest money in your business. So, practice your pitch on prospective advisors first, and use that practice to perfect it.
Connectionsto capital and more: as successful individuals, advisors often have the ability to invest directly in your company; and/or they tend to have large, high quality networks of individuals they can introduce you to. Likewise the right mentors and advisors can connect you with key strategic partners, employees and customers.
Credibility: having quality advisors gives your company instant credibility in the eyes of investors, partners, customers, etc., can build enormous credibility.
Operational success: Having Advisors with whom you can discuss key business matters as you grow your venture will help ensure you make the right decisions, particularly if they have encountered and dealt with the same challenges already in their careers.
Business Planning & Finance
We assist startups or established businesses to generate a business plan and projections. We then help them to raise any finaces to help setup or expand their business.
I was five years old when I first heard the phrase or taunt ‘Blacky’ I had played with all my neighbours on the street and in the garden when I was little, looking back my neighbours were black, white and asians. We use to love playing tick. My mum picked me up from my new infant school and I asked her what was a blacky.
She politely asked me were I had heard the phrase and I told her some kids were calling us it at school. She said to take no notice and focus on learning and doing as the teacher said. So I did, but for the next 7 years I could now describe all the various ways I was racially profiled, abused and taunted by both teachers and my classmates without realising it back then. I can now on reflection ask ‘How did that white young child understand to start calling me blacky when I didn’t even know they were white or indeed that I was black? I just saw Jane who was my best friend, she had freckles and ginger hair.
In view of this whilst conducting my mini research for this article, I began to understand that simply making throw away statements as to what racism is and peoples assertion that it may or may not be stamped out was coming from a place of pain, helplessness, denial or plain historical orchestrated planning.
One thing we can all agree on is that racism is alive, it is fed, it has been modernised, debated clinically, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally from generation to generaion.
Contrary to a dictionary definition, racism, as defined in social science research and theory, is about much more than race-based prejudice—it exists when an imbalance in power and social status is generated by how we understand and act upon race.
The UN does not define “racism”; however, it does define “racial discrimination”. According to the 1965 UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
UN Racial Discrimination 1965
Racism exists when ideas and assumptions about racial categories are used to justify and reproduce a racial hierarchy and racially structured society that unjustly limits access to resources, rights, and privileges on the basis of race. Racism also occurs when this kind of unjust social structure is produced by the failure to account for race and its historical and contemporary roles in society.
So with this in mind, when the slogan ‘Black lives Matter’ descended into competing factions like ‘Blue lives Matter’ or ‘All lives Matter’ I became a little confused as to why visually seeing a unarmed, handcuffed man’s life being snuffed out in broad daylight by an appointed officer sworn in to defend all people, along with insurmountable evidence going back hundreds of years starting from yesterday could then generate competitive slogans in retaliation to minimise what we all saw and witnessed as being equal to everything else?
I then discovered that racism in itself is not a simplified one paragraph statement in a dictonary, it’s not about setting up a Diversity department with one member of staff having no power to affect real change from the board of dircectors, investors, recruitment and legislation.
From Race transitioning into racism, oppression, cruelty and suppression this little child has grown up to be a sophisticated adept monster.
So began my education into the 7 forms of Racism which I have best summarised below (reminds me of the 7 deadly sins)
The 7 Forms of Racism
Racism takes seven main forms, according to social science. Rarely does any one exist on its own. Instead, racism typically operates as a combination of at least two forms working together, simultaneously. Independently and together, these seven forms of racism work to reproduce racist ideas, racist interactions and behavior, racist practices and policies, and an overall racist social structure.
Depictions of racial stereotypes are common in popular culture and media, like the historical tendency to cast people of color as criminals and as victims of crime rather than in other roles, or as background characters rather than as leads in film and television. Also common are racial caricatures that are racist in their representations, like “mascots” for instance or the “Angry Black Women” for instance.
The power of representational racism—or racism expressed in how racial groups are represented within popular culture—is that it encapsulates a whole range of racist ideas that imply inferiority, and often stupidity and untrustworthiness, in images that circulate society and permeate our culture. While those not directly harmed by representational racism might not take it seriously, the presence of such images and our interaction with them on a near-constant basis helps to keep alive the racist ideas attached to them.
Ideology is a word that sociologists use to refer to the world views, beliefs, and common sense ways of thinking that are normal in a society or culture. So, ideological racism is a kind of racism that colors and manifests in those things. It refers to world views, beliefs, and common sense ideas that are rooted in racial stereotypes and biases. A troubling example is the fact that many people in American society, regardless of their race, believe that white and light skinned people are more intelligent than dark-skinned people and superior in a variety of other ways.
Historically, this particular form of ideological racism supported and justified the building of European colonial empires and U.S. imperialism through the unjust acquisition of land, people, and resources around the world. Today, some common ideological forms of racism include the belief that Black women are sexually promiscuous, that Latina women are “fiery” or “hot-tempered,” and that black men and boys are criminally oriented. This form of racism has a negative impact on people of color as a whole because it works to deny them access to and/or success within education and the professional world, and subjects them to heightened police surveillance, harassment, and violence, among other negative outcomes.
Racism is often expressed linguistically, in the “discourse” we use to talk about the world and people in it. This kind of racism is expressed as racial slurs and hate speech, but also as code words that have racialised meanings embedded in them, like “ghetto,” “thug,” or “gangsta.” Just as representational racism communicates racist ideas through images, discursive racism communicates them through the actual words we use to describe people and places. Using words that rely on stereotypical racial differences to communicate explicit or implicit hierarchies perpetuates the racist inequalities that exist in society.
Some Comedians often paint a picture to a wide audience. Study has shown that storytelling can form the most embedded images into the subconscious mind, wrap that into laughter another very powerful emotional tool to stimulate memory and feeling, it is easy to see that monkey joke being repeated time and time again for instance. It is viewed as harmless by the presenter because it was packaged as a joke by a well known commedian.
Racism often takes an interactional form, which means it is expressed in how we interact with each other. For example, a white or Asian woman walking on a sidewalk may cross the street to avoid passing closely by a black or Latino man because she is implicitly biased to see these men as potential threats. When a person of color is verbally or physically assaulted because of their race, this is interactional racism. When a neighbor calls the police to report a break-in because they do not recognise their black neighbour, or when someone automatically assumes that a person of color is a low-level employee or an assistant, though they might be a manager, executive, or owner of a business, this is interactional racism.
Hate crimes are the most extreme manifestation of this form of racism. Interactional racism causes stress, anxiety, and emotional and physical harm to people of color on a daily basis.
Racism takes institutional form in the ways that policies and laws are crafted and put into practice through society’s institutions, such as the decades-long set of policing and legal policies known as “The War on Drugs,” which has disproportionately targeted neighborhoods and communities that are composed predominantly of people of color. Other examples include Stop-N-Frisk policy that overwhelmingly targets black and Latino males, the practice among real estate agents and mortgage lenders of not allowing people of color to own property in certain neighborhoods and that force them to accept less desirable mortgage rates, and clerks and judges automatically assuming that the presence of a black person in court must be a defendant and not a solicitor or barrister. (recently reported)
Institutional racism preserves and fuels the racial gaps in wealth, education, and social status, and serves to perpetuate white supremacy and privilege.
Structural racism refers to the ongoing, historical, and long-term reproduction of the racialised structure of our society through a combination of all of the above forms. Structural racism manifests in widespread racial segregation and stratification on the basis of education, income, and wealth, the recurrent displacement of people of color from neighborhoods that go through processes of gentrification, and the overwhelming burden of environmental pollution borne by people of colour given its proximity to their communities. Structural racism results in large-scale, society-wide inequalities on the basis of race.
We can see this when local areas that have enjoyed house prices being maintained and an assumption made that having ethnic people move into the area automatically result in house prices going down. But on the other hand a run down area could be rejuvenated automatically as soon as white people move in forcing residents who have been deprived for years to move out.
Many sociologists describe racism in the U.S. and U.K as “systemic” because the country was founded on slavery and racist beliefs that created racist policies and practices, and because that legacy lives today (more so in the U.S) in the racism that courses throughout the entirety of our social system. This means that racism was built into the very foundation of that society, and because of this, it has influenced the development of social institutions, laws, policies, beliefs, media representations, and behaviors and interactions, among many other things. By this definition, the system itself is racist, so effectively addressing racism requires a system-wide approach that leaves nothing unexamined.
But here is the cunnundrum, when what is seen as the norm to white people who have only known to do what they have been doing all along, when they believe their model is already superior and any alternate model from which to compare in order to modify would diminish their position, I would go as far as to say it would be like asking a fish to fly when its only experience has been to swim in water. The fish could end up experiencing stress and trauma or even fear. All of these emotions have a reactionary response, not dissimilar to the person being continuously discriminated against as described above.
Here me out here… However according to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution man evolved from fish and became acquainted to both Land, Sea, Air and Fire. An intelligence beyond all other creatures on earth. All around the world we can now see evidence of what man can create and sadly what he can destroy.
Sociologists observe a variety of styles or types of racism within these seven different forms. Some may be overtly racist, like the use of racial slurs or hate speech, which some people have identified and tried to be political correct whilst others use it to hurt and hammer home their pain, fright or anger.
There are some policies that intentionally discriminate against people on the basis of race. Others may be covert, (but isnt the act of covert implying complicitness?) kept to oneself, hidden from public view, or obscured by color-blind policies that purport to be race-neutral, though they have racist impacts.
While something may not appear obviously racist at first glance, it may, in fact, prove to be racist when one examines the implications of it through a sociological lens or the feedback and complaints presented by the reciepients. If it relies on stereotypical notions of race and reproduces a racially structured society, then it is racist.
Due to the sensitive nature of race as a topic of conversation some have come to think that simply noticing race, or identifying or describing someone using race, is racist. Sociologists do not agree with this. In fact, many sociologists, race scholars, and anti-racist activists emphasise the importance of recognising and accounting for race and racism as necessary in the pursuit of social, economic, and political justice. (We must however agree that the earth contains different races and that will not change unless we destroy ourselves)
Both sides of the isle often digs in because they are operating from fear. We see the oppressor become more erratic and seek to use the legal system, government, army or commercial power to justify and repackage their unfair practices whilst crushing modernisation and equality by all means necessary using disinformation to divide and sow mistrust.
What are we evolving into? Is it so painful and unjust to want to see the whole world share in our further evolution economically, geographically, socially, environmentally, policically or religiously?
With over 7 billion consumers on this planet perhaps to be serviced by almost 2 billion suppliers, designers, developers, farmers, educationalist and health specialist the list goes on why does a few elite societies prefer to move us towards destruction because they are apposed to equality and human dignity?
We have the luxury of history, it has shown us time and time again the fall of hugh empires imploding because the rulers have abused their fellow man, become corrupt, greedy, uncaring and cruel. Surely we can do better and not repeat history.
So if both parties are blinded by the ‘I lose you gain’ principles one has to ask, is Racism taught and if so who is doing the teaching?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result
So where do we go from here? There are two side to every coin, one side could not exist without the other. What I find troubling is there are some people who want to do the same thing over and over again to achieve exactly the same result as before. A chilling thought.
Ten tips to prevent being scammed out of your money online when trying to setup a Business
It is now more than ever that anyone intending to set up a business must have built into the Business Startup DNA 7 disciplines.
1. Identify proper business advice or support 2. Take a short but credible Business Entrepreneur Course 3. Prepare a Business Plan and Cashflow Projections. 4. Setup Proper Legal Status, Bank and Merchant Account 5. Identify where you can apply for business startup funds and apply 6. Established Google verified Website & Social Media Links 7. Invest in effective Customer Aquisition online A.I technology
If you want to bypass these 7 disciplines, then you might be setting yourself up for failure and an empty bank account.
I have been in business for over 15 years. It is hard work, it takes resilience, the ability to adapt to change and short, medium and long term goal setting. (Not forgetting stress, the losses and wins).
I use to help individuals and partners establish their business startup when I worked for the DTI Business Development department back in 1986. The government engaged in a big national campaign to get unemployment down and increase small business startups. We were very busy.
I learnt a lot about the challenges facing business owners and I can confirm that there is no shortcut, no quick rich route to establishing a solid business
Now everytime you switch on your phone, click on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram to name but a few, there is someone telling you how they made 5 or 6 figure income each month by just doing a few clicks and 3 hours a week work! I suspect the reason most of them do this is because they are selling a replicatable business platform and each person who want to get involved needs to pay them several hundred pounds after you have been exhausted and convienced by a pretend training video which is just a long sales pitch! There I said it!
Even if you wanted to set up a online business, even if its a replicatable business, a amazon, ebay or spotify store I still beilieve that the 7 Business Startup DNA is essential so that you know where your going and not just sat there waiting for someone to come buy from your store.
According to a large Domain Name Registration Company there are over 9 million websites in the UK. Just let that sink in….and you would need to get people to it.
So my next point is how do you keep your hard earn money safe until you are really sure your making the right investment?
Study these ten simple tips to reduce the risk of being scams or fraudulently hoodwinked out of your finances just because your eager to start a business.
1. Be sceptical
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thoroughly question all:
Online or offline deals, propositions or Quick money spinning Opportunities Presented Documents Request for or photo evidence of money transactions Information and the source
Anything can be pulled up, designed, prepared and recommended to make something look impressive.
2. A Business Plan will help you know your business inside out
Have a thorough understanding of your business so you know:
How it will operates What manpower or collaborators you will need The products and services it provides Your target market and your business SWOT Your legal and regulatory obligations Your financial Projections
This will help you realise immediately when something isn’t right when you talk to other businesses. If they cannot answer indept questions about their business and spend a lot of time blagging, don’t part with your money.
3. Find out about suppliers and how they work
When you understand who you do business with you can spot any business request or transaction that looks wrong for that customer or supplier and may be fraudulent.
Conduct due diligence using a risk-based approach, such as checking the customer or supplier details you have on file, as well as online searches. Check the website links, don’t be drawn in by glossy spotify websites for instance, anyone can set one up in minutes, which is good for the industry, but also very helpful to dishonest people.
4. Identify your vulnerability to fraud
Imagine how a fraudster might target you, both emotionally and motivationally. If you are desperate for instance to start making money, will that sway your judgement to be more risky? A business or marketing plan with your own financial projection will help keep you focused, on pointand strategic.
5. Develop a personal development strategy
It is easy to assum that if you have been working for a company for many years, or have just completed your degree, or you have had a hobby for years that setting up a business might be the next logical step especially if you want to change caeers or create work for yourself.
This is all fine, but it might be a good idea to take a credible short course in Business Management, Marketing, Social media, etc to increase your knowledge base and get up to date.
6. Take extra care against cyber attacks and data loss
With increasing threats from cybercrime, protect your mobile phone, tablet and computer. Try not to post your mobile number across the internet. For instance buy a skype number. Also if your working on projects make sure you back up your systems in the cloud in case things get lost or corrupted.
7. Protect your finances
Understand how money leaves your bank account and how hard it is to replace. A few thousand pounds in your bank account might seem like a lot, but when incorrectly invested or spent will have you kicking yourself after te event try to:
place the bulk of your money in a 30 days request account. This may help slow down any implusive purchases.
take time to study and understand the concept of Return on Investment.
Take great care with anything offering continued electronic growth like bitcoin in exvhange for real cash and flashy websites with sophisticated algorhymes.
Invstigate if you can borrow money first and keep your cash for backup and liquidity. There is a saying, ‘Us other peoples money’
Try to use a different debit visa mastercard that you have to load up online from your bank account, this will help protect your own credit and debit card numbers from fraudsters.
Always check your bank statements.
8. Secure and protect your mobile and intellectual property
This includes laptops, computers, smartphones and intellectual property. Factor in home or business insurance to cover these items if they’re compromised, damaged or stolen.
It is also worth copy righting any itellectual property that you have designed or created. This can be for instance putting logos or watermarks, saving and sendind as pdf, taking videos with you working on your project or design etc.
9. Develop an action plan
Consider when you might need professional or legal advice. While prevention is better than cure, it’s important for you to design an action plan.
10. Avoid Duplicating, copying or forwarding anything online that is not your copyright
Cybercrime is real and you could find yourself accidentially committing or participating in a crime or even become a victim. Criminals are aware that word of mouth, recommendations and reviews achieved in your excitment can act as strong validation and are the best way to legitamise their criminal activity.
If you are asked to share, copy or forward something that requires people to commit to any payments, familiarise yourself with the website copyright, privacy and legal status.
You should report and share any links to the police. Call the police cybercrime department if you suspect or have been a victim.
Remember if it sounds or reads to good to be true then the odds are you need to dig deeper.
It’s hard to be excited when talking about today’s coronavirus pandemic, when millions of people have been infected.
However, various research around the UK like GoDaddy shows the coronavirus pandemic has been a massive boon to entrepreneurship. And this could help our economy both recover and thrive for years to come.
But while jobs have suffered, new micro business startups have skyrocketed.
The government commendably offered a number of startups and etablished busiesses a lifeline at the peak of the crisis, but despite the slowly improving funding picture, we are now starting to see the pent-up effect of the pandemic on UK businesses.
Government support has artificially kept companies afloat and delayed the true impact. but with the second lockdown to non essential businesses we are only now starting to see more severe damage to UK businesses that could puts the survival of an entire bricks and mortar business generation of innovative companies at risk.
Will the Start Up Trends in 2020 continue through 2021?
A survey of 1,000 GoDaddy customers found 15 per cent of new UK entrepreneurs had made the leap due to job loss or furlough
UK workers have been turning to starting their own companies in unprecedented numbers as fears over job security have spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs.
The “State of the Nation” review, compiled by the group GoDaddy, showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in micro-businesses, start-ups with nine or fewer employees. They have experienced a 62 per cent increase in new UK customers and this is only one domain provider.
How many people actually have any desire at all to become the start ups of tomorrow?
There are, on average, 18,100 searches per month in Google UK for “how to start a business” based on data from kwfinder.com
This has surged in recent months with Google Trends predicting that January 2020 will demonstrate the highest number of searches since records began in 2004 for this query in the UK (by quite some way)
So what’s are we witnessing happening?
We are witnessing a few interesting events. “First, we are seeing unemployed workers starting their own businesses. Realising they need to be responsible for their own financial destinies, these micro entrepreneurs are opting out of the traditional workforce to start their own companies. Secondly, we are seeing virtual employees launching their own businesses.”
With 96 per cent of all UK enterprises identified as “micro-businesses” this sector could play a key role supporting an economic recovery.
With regards to the latter trend, Diane says “I think the mindset for many has become ‘if I’m going to ditch the office, why not ditch the boss too?” And many new work-from-home employees have now gained one to three hours per day as their commutes have been eliminated. Some have been using this time to develop their business plans and launch their own online companies.”
The GoDaddy Figures also revealed encouraging levels of confidence and resilience – 85 per cent were confident that their businesses would continue, with third of these expecting their businesses to thrive.
This was supported by 70 per cent who believed their businesses would recover fully within 12 months.
This was despite 38 per cent of the UK’s smallest businesses being forced to close on temporarily, and almost three-quarters having lost revenue (72 per cent), due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Micro-businesses also still planned to keep up business spending, with 29 per cent confirming that they would continue to invest in their ventures and one in 10 planning to invest more in the companies over the next three to five years
“Government initiatives alone are not sufficient to support startups most in need of funding and cashflow in the current economic climate. It’s possibly the growth of micro businesses that will provide the innovation and jobs that will drive the UK’s economic recovery, and they need urgent support.”
So How Can We Help and What is our Advice?
Don’t rush into anything because you could possible Get Scammed! If you want to start and grow a profitable online business then we recommend you take a quick course on ‘Starting a Online Business’. Without going over board you NEED to consume and LEARN every page of this work book.
Within the pages of this work book is the blueprint to building an online business from scratch…Its CPD accredited so this is proof!
And we’ve laid it out as easy as possible…even 11 year olds can follow along! (and by the way there is a growing number of online child millionaires)
So if you want to
• learn the correct way, • Explode your knowledge, • Learn how to Find a niche, • Learn how to Evaluate market viability, • Learn how to Conduct market research, • Learn how to Conduct competitive analysis, • Learn online business laws, • Learn how to Analyse your target market, • Learn how to source products • Learn how to choose the right ecommerce platform And more…
By following the strategy outlined in each module – you’ll learn how to launch and grow an organic profitable online business with minimal risk!
I know it sounds too good to be true…
But you’ll see why once you devour our work book course, (Which has to be done in 4 weeks with an accredited certificate to follow) you can begin setting up a website, mobile presence, and storefront and give your visiting clients confidence that you truly prepared for your new micro business. Click to enrol http://bit.ly/3fc4nnR
So if your thinking of setting up a online business, learn everything you need to know Plan to succeed so you don’t end up in the online business startup graveyard.
ABOUT VIRTUAL PERSONAL ASSISTANCESERVICE
We provide a suite of services for Small and Medium size businesses to help them Setup or expand by learning, executing a business plan for focus, raising finance and market tools like an effective google verified website and introducing artificial intelligence chatbots to generate quality business leads. We think of ourselves as your Virtual Personal Assistance who will help streamline your business development.
Looking for help to get a job or promotion, start a business or market your business effectively. check out our range of services http://bit.ly/3jObWBL
About Diane Shawe
Diane Shawe is author of several books on Amazon and Google Books.
The traditional belief that we must prepare ourselves to be ‘employable’ is under threat. The counter argument encourages us to ‘gear up’ for earning our own money, rather than seeing income as someone else’s responsibility. Get your copy today. http://amzn.to/3945Njd
I have been in inundated with message’s through my phone and emails that for instance Covid-19 truthers believe that 5G technology is dialing up the disease. That they are (the government killing off small businesses) trying to control us.
I became curious to find out if other conspiracy theories existed for previous pandemics and who were more gullible to them. I discovered that more than a century ago, telegraph poles and other mysterious causes were blamed for influenza. And each gave rise to dubious cures.
I also discovered that Alex Knapton had researched and written an extensive and factual article on the topic recently and I invite you to read it.
Science I write about the future of science, technology, and culture. GETTY IMAGES
As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in early 2020, a conspiracy theory about the disease went viral on social media: The genesis of the illness, proponents claim, was not the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Instead, this pandemic was actually caused by the introduction of 5G broadband, and radiation from cell towers equipped with the technology is the real culprit.
It doesn’t take Dr. Fauci to know that conspiracy theories have always been a predictable symptom of pandemics. More than a century ago, the truthers of the day tried to blame a deadly influenza outbreak on a similar technological innovation.
On January 31, 1890, the European edition of the New York Herald ran an item suggesting that the electric light was somehow responsible for a global influenza outbreak. After all, “the disease has raged chiefly in towns where the electric light is in common use,” the article noted, and went on to note that the disease “has everywhere attacked telegraph employees.
The illness in question was the first modern influenza pandemic, known as the Russian flu or “La Grippe.” The disease likely emerged somewhere in the Russian Empire in 1889 and quickly spread around the world in successive waves. It took only four months to hit every part of the globe, with the United States seeing its peak in January 1890. More than a million people (of the 1.5 billion on earth) were killed worldwide in that first wave.
The Russian flu was in part a consequence of a newly globalized world. Railroads and transoceanic steamships were perfect conduits for the disease, accelerating its growth across countries and continents. As with Covid-19, the earlier pandemic also caused a spread of misinformation, conspiracies and countless dubious therapies. Instead of the internet, these ideas were promulgated by newspaper and telegraph—but the impact was similar.
“People have an epistemic need to know the truth and they also have an existential need to feel safe,” says Dr. Karen Douglas, a researcher who studies the psychology of conspiracy theories. “In times of crisis, these needs are unmet so conspiracy theories can seem appealing.”
When reports of the Russian flu first emerged, medical science was in the middle of a major transition. The early 19th century was dominated by what’s known as “miasma theory”—the idea that diseases spread through the inhalation of “bad air” from rotting matter. By the mid-19th century, though, the germ theory of disease— what we now understand as the idea that illness is caused by microbes—became increasingly popular, though miasma proponents persisted even into the early 20th century.
Even with the advances in medicine by 1889, the causes of the Russian flu pandemic were still unknown. While scientists such as Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur had already developed vaccines to protect against and prevent diseases, the discovery of the first virus was still three years away. And it wasn’t until the early 1900s that viruses capable of infecting humans would be discovered. That the Russian flu and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 were caused by influenza viruses wouldn’t be definitively determined until 1933.
This vital knowledge gap in 1889 meant that doctors and researchers were at a loss to explain the new illness spreading around the world. Contemporary newspaper accounts chronicled the many and varied theories that doctors at the time had about the outbreak. One account in The Boston Globe noted its similarities to dengue fever. An article in the New York Times NYTcompared it to the disease that felled President William Henry Harrison in 1841. Such uncertainty about the nature of influenza helped fuel conspiracy theories and wild speculation about its causes.
The proto-trutherism from the Russian flu has close parallels in today’s pandemic. Although scientists know quite a bit about the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, that hasn’t stopped speculation about its origins. One prominent conspiracy theory is that the virus was deliberately bioengineered in a lab to cause the pandemic. Depending on which theory you believe, the culprits behind Covid-19 range from the Chinese government to the U.S. government to Microsoft MSFT cofounder Bill Gates. The coronavirus behind this pandemic almost certainly naturally evolved—there is already considerable genetic evidence pointing to it—but that doesn’t halt the rampant speculation.
“This is a classic example of a phenomenon in conspiracy theory research that people perceive patterns that are impossible, or at best very unlikely,” says Dr. Douglas. “People essentially ‘join the dots’ when connections shouldn’t be made. When there is so much information going around, and pieces of information often contradict each other, people are more likely to see these illusory patterns.”
While there weren’t any whispers about genetic engineering in the 1890s (after all, DNA itself wouldn’t be discovered for nearly 70 years), that didn’t stop more fantastical theories about the origin of the Russian flu from infecting the public. In addition to the idea that telegraph poles or electricity might be responsible for the spread of the disease, Dr. William Gentry of Chicago caught the attention of newspapers by claiming he had isolated the microbes that caused the pandemic.
The source of these microbes, Dr. Gentry claimed, was stardust passing through the Earth’s atmosphere at regular 16- to 17-year intervals. Other physicians soberly rejected Dr. Gentry’s idea—preferring instead to consider the role of volcanic dust, bird migrations or other equally misguided causes.
This lack of understanding about the new deadly strain of flu left doctors perplexed as to the best way to treat it. An 1889 article in The Lancet conceded that “our want of complete knowledge of the nature of the disease renders it difficult to suggest measures of prophylaxis other than the uniform observance of general hygienic rules.” (That’s another sobering parallel to today’s pandemic—as of now, the only approved therapy for Covid-19 is remdesivir, which has been granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA thanks to clinical trial findings showing it can reduce hospital stays.)
In the absence of science-based treatments for the Russian flu, many dubious therapies flourished—taking advantage of people scared of a disease for which no known treatment existed. This, too, has parallels in today’s pandemic. The FDA has sent multiple warnings out to a variety of companies pushing specious cures, ranging from herbal teas to colloidal silver solutions to ingesting detergent.
Newspaper advertisements from the 19th century similarly tout a number of “cures” for the Russian flu. Castor oil was a treatment pushed by at least one newspaper, and other protocols included a bronchial inhaler and an electric battery (which promised to improve eyesight, to boot.) Even doctors promoted the idea that drinking brandy and eating oysters was the key to staving off infection.
The most famous remedy for the Russian Flu, however, was the carbolic smoke ball. These were manufactured in London and widely advertised. The balls released a “smoke” of finely ground phenol powder (an ingredient commonly used in soaps at the time) that would be inhaled through the nostrils. The company that manufactured this treatment promised that it would prevent customers from catching the Russian flu. And if the product failed, the company promised to recoup its customers £100— or about $13,000 today. In December 1891, Mrs. Elizabeth Carlill purchased one of those products and used it on multiple occasions. Then she succumbed to the epidemic.
Because the carbolic smoke balls failed to work, Carlill and her husband filed a claim with the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, but it was ignored. In 1892, the couple took their case to court. In the case of Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, the court found that that Mrs. Carlill was entitled to the money and that the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company was in breach of contract for failing to pay her upon submitting the claim. The ruling was a vindication for Mrs. Carlill and the case itself is still cited as precedent throughout common law jurisdictions, including the United States, and is frequently taught in law school classes to this day.
In another parallel with the Covid-19 pandemic, there was also a class of drugs that existed on the border of sound science and wishful thinking. During the 1889 pandemic, quinine, an antimalarial drug that is the antecedent of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, was promoted by newspapers and doctors as a treatment for the Russian flu. Though many members of the medical establishment appear to have opposed the use of quinine as a treatment for the disease, these warnings went unheeded.
In December 1889, a Boston newspaper chronicled people taking quinine to combat the disease. That same month, an investigative article in the Kansas City Star bemoaned price gouging for quinine pills and noted that demand for them was keeping medicine out of the hands of people suffering from malaria. This has its own parallel today, where there have been multiple reports that excess demand of hydroxychloroquine may cause harm for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, for which that medication is often prescribed as a treatment.
While studies are still being conducted about the efficacy of these Covid-19 treatments, there is little doubt that these drugs can be highly toxic and several clinical studies bear this out. In one tragic case of desperation, a man in Phoenix died (and his wife was hospitalized) after ingesting a chloroquine derivative intended for use as a fish tank cleaner to prevent the illness.
That tragedy also has an unfortunate parallel in the Russian flu. Newspapers in January 1891 reported at least two instances in which families suffering from the Russian flu mistakenly took the poison strychnine, thinking they were ingesting quinine. Several of them died as a consequence.
An unhealthy dose of misinformation, conspiracy theories and the embrace of dubious treatments is quite common during epidemics and pandemics, says Dr. Douglas, who adds that the psychology around them is intertwined. “Research suggests that people who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to turn to alternative remedies and distrust mainstream medicine.”
More alarming, the spread of misinformation and the lack of trust in scientific evidence has the potential to cause real harm. Turning to untested treatments can lead people away from getting the care they need, exposing them to greater risk. And while some alternatives, such as drinking herbal teas, are relatively harmless, others are not. Colloidal silver, for example, which the FDA has warned against, can cause permanent skin discoloration and make it difficult for your body to absorb medicines, including antibiotics.
Occasionally, the spread of conspiracy theories can cause actual harm as well. In the United Kingdom, where the idea that 5G causes Covid-19 has taken a firm hold in a significant segment of the population, there have been dozens of attacks on telecom towers. While no one has actually been killed yet, it’s not for lack of trying—the UK conspiracy theorists are hiding razor blades in anti-5G posters on telephone poles and threatening harm to people who work on those cell towers.
Even as companies are racing to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, conspiracy theorists may prevent people from taking them. Anti-vaxxer activists have pounced on Covid-19, protesting against vaccine development efforts and teaming with protesters fed up with stay-at-home orders. “Experimental research also shows that exposure to conspiracy theories increases vaccine hesitancy,” says Dr. Douglas. And polling bears that out: In a recent poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they would not take a vaccine for the coronavirus if it became available.
Perhaps the most insidious conspiracy theory about Covid-19 is one that seems more innocuous—the simple downplaying of the harms of the disease. You don’t have to go deep into Facebook or Twitter to find speculation that Covid-19 fears are overblown. Similarly, there are numerous opinion pieces and TV segments devoted to the idea that the economic damage from stay-at-home orders causes more harm than the disease itself.
“This is very common because it allows people to pretend that nothing is wrong and they can get on with their lives,” Dr. Douglas says. “This is an example of motivated reasoning. People believe what they want to believe.”
Once again, there is a historic precedent in the Russian flu pandemic. In an article about the illness in a December edition of The New York Times, it was reported that while the disease was spreading, it was mostly harmless. “There is nothing fatal about the universal cold,” wrote the author.
By time the epidemic subsided a few months later, the Russian flu had claimed the lives of more than 2,500 New Yorkers, making it the hardest hit city in the United States.