10-16-2021  3:06 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

Cascadia Whole Health Honors Community Justice Leader, Fine Artist with Culture of Caring Awards

Erika Preuitt and Jeremy Okai Davis recognized for positive contributions to community.

Salem-Keizer School Boards Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

The Salem-Keizer school board has voted to adopt a resolution outlining the board’s commitment to equity and anti-racism.

NEWS BRIEFS

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

FBI Offers up to $25,000 for Information in Mass Shooting Event

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris killed and six others injured in a Portland shooting on July 17, 2021 ...

Nearly 100 Animals Seized From Woofin Palooza Forfeited to MCAS

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City of Seattle Office and Sound Transit Finalize No-Cost Land Transfer for Affordable Housing Development

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Sierra Club Reacts to Rep. Schrader’s Comments on Climate Change

Schrader Calls Climate Change “biggest threat to Americans” after voting against key policy in committee ...

'Lawless city?' Worry after Portland police don't stop chaos

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, this week – smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least 0,000 in damage – but police officers didn't stop them. Portland Police Bureau officials say...

Legionnaires outbreak persists at Portland apartment complex

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials have confirmed that a North Portland apartment complex had a new case of Legionnaires’ disease in late September, the latest in an outbreak attributed to the waterborne illness since January. The Multnomah County Health Department said the...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

No. 21 Texas A&M tries to avoid 'Bama hangover at Mizzou

Jimbo Fisher opened his weekly news conference going through everything that Texas A&M did well the previous week, when the Aggies stunned then-No. 1 Alabama before a raucous crowd at Kyle Field. It was a long list. So it wasn't surprising that by the end...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

South Carolina awards Staley 7-year, .4 million contract

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New Mexico judge denies lab workers' claim in vaccine fight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge on Friday denied a request by dozens of scientists and others at Los Alamos National Laboratory to block a vaccine mandate, meaning workers risk being fired if they don't comply with the lab's afternoon deadline. The case comes as...

New York's likely new mayor plans to preserve gifted program

NEW YORK (AP) — The Democrat who will likely become New York City's next mayor says he does not intend to get rid of the city's program for gifted and talented students, nipping plans that outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams...

ENTERTAINMENT

Film TV workers union says strike to start next week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing film and television crews says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions. A strike would bring a halt to...

Gary Paulsen, celebrated children's author, dies at 82

NEW YORK (AP) — Gary Paulsen, the acclaimed and prolific children's author who often drew upon his rural affinities and wide-ranging adventures for tales that included “Hatchet,” “Brian's Winter” and “Dogsong,” has died at age 82. Random House Children's Books...

Todd Haynes: Finding the frequency of the Velvet Underground

The most often-repeated thing said about the Velvet Underground is Brian Eno’s quip that the band didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one started a band. You won’t hear that line in Todd Haynes’ documentary “The Velvet Underground,” nor will you see a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Jill Biden travels to Virginia, New Jersey to help Democrats

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden campaigned Friday for Democrats in governors' races in Virginia and...

Authorities call fatal stabbing of UK lawmaker terrorist act

LEIGH-ON-SEA, England (AP) — A long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting...

US vows to pay relatives of Afghans killed in drone strike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that it is committed to offering condolence payments...

At least 46 killed in Taiwanese apartment building inferno

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Lebanon buries 7 killed amid street battles over port probe

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon on Friday mourned seven people killed in gunbattles on the streets of Beirut the previous...

Moderate earthquake rocks Bali, killing at least 3

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — A moderately strong earthquake and an aftershock hit Indonesia’s resort island of...

Elizabeth Landau, CNN

(CNN) -- With nearly 1 billion users, Facebook has clearly become a feature of many people's lives worldwide. A new study suggests that the social network has the potential to get hundreds of thousands of people to engage in a single behavior -- namely, voting.

Researchers report in the journal Nature that one Facebook message may have gotten 340,000 additional people to the polls for the 2010 United States Congressional elections.

The team, led by James Fowler, professor at the University of California, San Diego, designed the experiment with the cooperation of Facebook. Cameron Marlow of the data science division of Facebook collaborated on the study, too.

"This really, I think, is the first study to show that online social networks can affect these real-world behaviors at a scale that's potentially important," Fowler said at a news briefing Tuesday.

Fowler and Harvard's Dr. Nicholas Christakis are prominent in social network research; their book "Connected" gathers copious research on how a myriad of behaviors spread from person to person. For instance, you may be happy as a result of your friend's happiness and your friend's friend's happiness. Bad habits such as smoking can also spread in this way.

"The network is key," Fowler said. "If we want to make the world a better place on a massive scale, we should focus not just on changing a person's behavior, but also on utilizing the network to influence that person's friends," he said.

This study's scope was huge: more than 60 million people received a statement on the top of their News Feed that encouraged them to vote and offered a link for finding polling locations. The item also displayed a clickable "I Voted" button, a counter showing how many other Facebook users also said they voted, and the profile pictures of up to six randomly-selected Facebook friends who had also clicked "I Voted."

There were two other groups: about 600,000 people saw all of the above with out the pictures of Facebook friends, and an additional 600,000-some didn't receive the message in their News Feeds at all. All participants were randomly assigned.

People who got messages were more likely to vote than those who did not, the researchers found -- in fact, the percentage difference between the groups in the experiment suggests that an additional 60,000 people were motivated to vote as a result of the message.

Seeing the photos of Facebook friends as part of the message appears to be critical in getting people to vote, the researchers found. Users who got the message without photos were no more likely to vote than people who didn't get any message. But those who got the message with pictures had higher voting rates.

"The messages not only influenced the users who received them, but the user's friends, and their friends of friends as well," Fowler said.

Moreover, the friends of the people who saw the messages were also more likely to vote than friends of participants who didn't see the messages, Fowler said. Multiplying this effect per friend by the number of friends by the number of people who saw the message, researchers determined that 280,000 additional votes were cast. All of these resulted from ties in the social network, not the message itself, Fowler said.

Close friends -- with whom Facebook users likely have a face-to-face relationship -- were extremely influential in this contagion of voting, the researchers found.

How do we know that these 340,000 people wouldn't have voted anyway?

Fowler compares this to a drug trial, in which some people get randomly assigned a medical treatment or a sugar pill. If the people in the treatment group tend to show more positive effects than the control group, that means the drug may cause a positive effect.

Researchers didn't just rely on the self-reported information on Facebook about who voted, they also used publicly available voting records. It appears that 4% of people who said they voted on Facebook did not actually vote.

The effect of the message appears to be nonpartisan: As many Democrats as Republicans seem to have gone to the polls as a result of the message, Fowler said, although many people do not state their affiliations on their Facebook profiles.

There are still unanswered questions about the implications of this research, however. It's not clear whether age is a factor in who voted. Researchers have yet to explore other characteristics of people who are most influenced by Facebook messages.

All in all, between the direct and indirect effects found in the study, the total percentage increase per person in voting behavior as a result of a Facebook News Feed message is about 2.2%. That's on the lower end of the spectrum compared to what other "get out the vote" studies have found with regards to other means of communication.

But the real effect could be even greater than what the study observed, Fowler said. A lot of people who saw the message had probably already voted, through early voting and absentee ballots -- in fact, one-third of voters in the 2010 election cast their votes before Election Day.

Many people who saw the message were also unable to vote because they logged into Facebook too late in the day to go to their local polling station - as high as 20% may have been in this situation, Fowler said. Also, younger people are less likely to vote, and are less susceptible to such appeals, he said.

"I think if you added all of these things up, we'd find that this was actually one of the stronger 'get out the vote' messages that we've seen in the literature," he said.

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