Why might people not believe your tales of tragedy?

Made me think back to Telegraph revealed Nazi gas chambers three years before liberation of Auschwitz:

It was under the headline “Germans murder 700,000 Jews in Poland”, that this newspaper reported the 'greatest massacre in the world’s history' on June 25, 1942. ... Zygielbojm succeeded in revealing the mass murder of Jews. But he was dismayed by the lack of public reaction. ... The Telegraph chose to report the “greatest massacre in the world’s history” on page five of a six-page newspaper. Zygielbojm’s informants were taking immense risks and their reports were meticulously accurate, yet he often encountered indifference, disbelief or even suspicion.

There you had reports of the extermination of 700,000 amidst an environment of wartime propaganda that would seem likely to make people more skeptical of reports1. If you wonder how people might have managed to disregard this, consider the Iraqi case where many fell for reports of the death of half a million children which, if this later analysis is correct, never actually happened.


  1. I think that people also underestimate the level of antisemitism in their societies at the time ... and perhaps how much of that continues to exist today. ↩︎

Random links

Risk taking and information aggregation in groups
"We find that a considerable number of subjects exhibit ‘reverse confirmation bias’: they place less weight on information from others that agrees with their private signal and more weight on conflicting information."
Is 7nm The Last Major Node?
"Fabless chipmakers, in particular, are cautious about adopting expensive new tooling and methodologies because there are fewer high-volume market opportunities at leading-edge nodes. System vendors such as Apple and Samsung have begun building their own chips for mobile phones, and Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have begun designing their own chips for the cloud. The net effect is there are fewer high-volume markets available to recoup development costs for anyone else."
Efforts to Rescue Migrants Caused Deadly, Unexpected Consequences
"Strategies to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and disrupt smuggling networks have had deadly, unexpected consequences, according to aid groups monitoring the crisis. It is part of a wrenching Catch-22: Any effort to lessen the migrant crisis can backfire as smuggling networks devise even more dangerous strategies in response."

Setting time aside for reading

Ponder the following paragraph from The death of reading is threatening the soul:

at an average reading speed of 400 words per minute, it would take 417 hours in a year to read 200 books—less than the 608 hours the average American spends on social media, or the 1,642 hours watching TV. “Here’s the simple truth behind reading a lot of books,” says Quartz: “It’s not that hard. We have all the time we need. The scary part—the part we all ignore—is that we are too addicted, too weak, and too distracted to do what we all know is important.” Willpower alone is not enough, he says. We need to construct what he calls “a fortress of habits.”

More random links

Departing AP reporter looks back at Venezuela's slide
If your news has been a bit too positive lately give this a read. See also Translating Venezuela’s political crisis into American terms to see just how much worse things could be in the US now.
The KKK started a branch just for women in the 1920s, and half a million joined
"If the WKKK was more successful in advancing their xenophobic agenda, it was because they were better than the men’s group at hiding their white supremacist mission behind a facade of social welfare."
110 N.F.L. Brains
"A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head." This study was enough to get a player working on a math PhD in the off-season to quit.
Sex-linked personality traits and stress: Emotional skills protect feminine women from stress but not feminine men
"Self-control protects masculine people from stress" / "Wellbeing protects both masculine and feminine people from stress." / "Emotionality protects feminine women from stress, but not feminine men."

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