03 August 2020

The Zen of Presentations, Part 73: Seven tips for crushing your Zoom presentation

Last week, I gave a live online presentation for Plant Biology and watched a lot of recorded presentations at the Animal Behavior Society virtual meeting. Based on those experiences, here are some suggestions for how to crush your next Zoom presentation.

1. Don’t use the keyboard to advance slides. Many presenters are recording themselves talking with their device's built in microphone. These mics are very sensitive to sound transmitted through the computer, like keystrokes. I heard many presentations where audible “ka-thunk” sounds punctuated the talk every time a slide advanced. It is both distracting and can obscure what the presenter is saying.

If you must use a keyboard for some reason, use the lightest tough possible. But using a mouse or setting up your slides to auto advance is much better.

2. Place your camera carefully. Most laptop cameras are wide angle and are placed so low that viewers seeing your ceiling more than you. Some people are so close, or the camera is so poorly positioned, that viewers can’t even see all of the face. You get better images by placing a laptop on a couple of thick books (textbooks are about the right height) or a thin cardboard box, and pushing it back further from you than your usual typing distance. (When you’re the featured speaker in a Zoom presentation, you shouldn’t be typing anyway.)

Comparing images captured with laptop on table at typing distance to laptop on box where you have to reach

3. Look at the camera, not the screen – especially when presenting. Humans are insanely good at judging where other people are looking. To create that sense of personal connection, you want people to feel like you are looking straight at them. You can’t get the when you are looking down at the other participants’ images.

My laptop has a little light that comes on when the camera is recording, so I just look at the light. If your camera does not light up, put a sticky note next to the camera with a note that says, “Look here!”

4. Keep your energy levels up. There are so many distractions when people are online. A low key, “drawn people in” approach can be very effective in person, but will probably fail in an online setting. You need to be one step shy of bouncing off the walls to keep viewers watching you and not checking their email.

5. Gesture beside your head, not in front of it. Cameras love movement. Zoom is a visual medium, like television. But unlike television, webcams in computers are (as mentioned) very wide-angle, and anything that approaches the camera – like your hands – shows up huge, like looking through a door security lens. You don’t want your fingertips bigger than your face.

Comparing images where speaker has hand near camera and where speaker has hand next to head

If you want to use your hands for emphasis, which is a good idea, raise them up by the side of your face so that they look the right size. This can feel weird at first, but with a bit of practice, brings a lot of visual interest to a presentation.

(I think I might have first heard this tip from Carin Bondar.)

6. Make a custom Zoom background. This is what slides in my PowerPoint deck looked like:

Slide with blue and white colours scheme, with handwritten heading font. How long do you want to spend at a poster? Most people vote 5 minutes.

Blues and whites. Hand-written font (Ready for Anything from Blambot) for headings and Corbel font for body.

I made a Zoom background specifically for the presentation, using the same colours and fonts, and added my Twitter handle and conference hashtag. (In retrospect, the hashtag might be a bit bigger.) It is just a nice touch to tie everything together.

Slide with blue and white colours scheme, with handwritten heading font. Shows Twitter handle and conference hashtag.
I got quite a few new followers after the talk, so maybe the background helped. I had my Twitter handle on my first and last slides, too, so hard to say what was most effective.

If you do this, remember you will be roughly in the center and any video of other speakers will most likely be on the right. A background with the focal point right in the middle is kind of a waste, because your face will cover it.

7. Wear headphones. I am surprised that after so many months, I am still hearing feedback and audio howlaround from people in a Zoom meeting not wearing headphones. If you are not wearing headphones, the computer plays the sound through the speakers, which is picked up by your mic, broadcast to the meeting, then played through your speakers and picked up by the mic again. If you are the only one speaking and nobody will ask you questions, this might not happen. But if you’re not taking questions, why are you having a Zoom meeting instead of recording a YouTube video?

If it’s just a regular old meeting, you probably don’t need to take these steps. But if you are the invited speaker at a conference, you want to class it up and do more than the bare minimum.

31 July 2020

Animal Behavior Society virtual meeting, Day 4

Today, I tried to see more cool science!

Unfortunately, one talk I thought was very cool began and I to blog about began with, “Please don’t share these results on social media.”

Mike Smotherman, who once was nice enough to host me at Texas A&M, had a very cool talk about bats using echolocation to detect texture. He suggests that bats’ auditory detection of texture is very like human touch detection of texture.

Susan Finkbeiner showed butterflies could distinguish different wavelengths of ultraviolet light. But only the females could do it! The males could not do this, because only females express two photoreceptors.

My colleague Kelly Weinersmith gave a great summary of her work on crypt keeper parasitoid wasps.  I’m just going to share this screenshot because it looks like she is kung fu fighting.

Kelly Weinersmith

Thienthanh Trinh presented some new work on the increasingly famous fungi that parasitise and manipulate ants. She showed a very cool maze she created to monitor the behaviour of infected ants, and was able to show infected ants wandered more, at all times of day, unlike uninfected ants, which had more of a daily rhythm and focused on food rewards.

My favourite title for a talk today was “Ants Dance Revolution,” and the presenter, Andrew Burchill, ran with that, and created a talk with lots of fun references and sound effects to Dance Dance Revolution.Andrew showed that you can do more with a video presentation than recording a narrated PowerPoint deck. The tank, however, was more about ant-mimicking spiders than ants. He showed that not only do spiders look like ants, they walk in the same weird patterns that some ants do.

I get the impression that there are more presentations about the underlying physiology of animal behavior than in past Animal Behavior Society meetings (but then, I don’t go every year). But there seemed to be much more endrocronology than neurobiology.

One thing that is similar in the virtual and face-to-face conferences: you start to lose track of all the stuff you saw very easily. It might be worse in a virtual conference because of interruptions and such unless you are closely tracking what you have seen in real time.

I did manage to get in to some more of the live Q&A sessions on Zoom. They are turning out to be very variable. Moderators need to make sure there are questions read for each speaker so there is no “dead air” waiting for questions to be typed into the chat box.

I also couldn’t help noticing people’s skill in camera placement. I saw lots of people’s ceilings. Some people, I couldn’t see all their face. Some people were so close I could practically see their skin pores.

Nice piece of news is that the Animal Behavior Society (US) and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (UK) will be hosting a world-wide conference on Twitter in January 2021!

The talks are all up until the end of August, so I am hoping to catch up with a few more talks thatI didn’t catch in their scheduled time slot!

Related posts

Animal Behavior Society virtual meeting, Day 3

I didn’t want to mention this in my ABS Day 1 report, but the bookmarking for the conference is weird. I keep seeing bookmarked talks that I am almost certain I did not bookmark. I asked about this on Twitter, and I was not alone. This is frustrating.

A few observations as the meeting is wearing on.

The talks are 6 minutes long. That’s about half the length of a typical conference presentation, but frankly, I don’t miss the extra time. If anything, 6 minutes still feels too long. A lot of presentations would do well in a graphic abstract or poster format.

I’m finding it hard to get to all the talks I want before the Q&A session.

Screenshot from ABS Q&A session in Zoom

The Q&A sessions are moderated Zoom meetings. They go through each talk from a session in order, taking questions from the chat function. This is mixed. The interaction is pretty good, but if you haven’t seen all the talks in the session, or only have questions about one talk, there is a lot of filler for an audience member to sit through.

The meeting materials will be available until the end of August.

29 July 2020

Animal Behavior Society virtual meeting, Day 2 and Plant Biology 2020, Day 3

A particularly 2020 problem: attending two conferences simultaneously.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am attending the 2020 Animal Behaviour Society meeting. But some time ago, I also agreed to give a workshop talk about graphics at the 2020 Plant Biology meeting.

Get your message across workshop announcement

Now, my talk for Plant Biology was only supposed to be 12 minutes long, so easy to spend most of the day in Animal Behavior, dip in to the Plant Biology Zoom talk, give my presentation, and pop back to animals, right? Quart of an hour times commitment, right? Wrong!

First, I was still practicing my talk this morning. I decided I was going to give a short, snappy talk which was clocking in at 8 minutes instead of 12. But that meant I had to nail the delivery to get it done right. So the morning had no conference attendance.

Second, I had to show up early for my Plant Biology workshop and stay throughout. So the time spent there was not 12 minutes, but an hour and a half.

But the good news was that we have about 325 people in the Plant Biology workshop, with very little dropoff during the hour! As the last speaker, I was kind of worried about people drifting away. And the feedback for the workshop seemed quite positive.

So, I got to see Animal Behaviour talks in the afternoon, right? Wrong! In theory, I should have watched a bunch of talks, but in practice, yesterday and today were “interesting” days that dumped tasks and decisions on me that I did not anticipate would be happening at the start of the week.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to watch more talks tonight.

People talk about “conference fatique” and information overload with a single in person conference. Welcome to 2020, which says, “You want information?! Here, take two!”

External links

Animal Behavior Society virtual meeting, Day 1

A mix of old and new. The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) was the first scientific society I joined and the first scientific conference I attended. So I feel it’s appropriate that ABS is the first online conference I will be attending. And I’ve decided to do daily blog posts rather than tweet things, because I think it will be easier to create a coherent post from my desktop than it would be in a conference hall.

The first thing I want to talk about is also a mix of old and new. The virtual conference home page is new, because this is the first time they have done it, but the graphics?

Animal Behaviour Society virtual meeting landing page, with big "lobby" cartoon taking up most space

A very literal cartoon of a convention center. Not terribly high resolution. It kind of takes me back to 1990s Microsoft efforts like Microsoft Bob:

Microsoft Bob screenshot

It was a time when computers were becoming more common in homes, graphics were getting more sophisticated, and nobody was quite sure how people were going to interact with computers, so they interpreted everything as literally as possible.. Your calendar is shown as a calendar on a wall. Your desktop is a space on a cartoon desk.

I kind of thought we had moved past that. Most user interfaces are either more abstract and less literal (your decktop in Windows no longer has to be shown on top of a desk), or the interface is more graphically sophisticated (think of a 3-D video game environment; maybe Legend of Zelda).

Now, I suppose that for a first online conference, maybe that step back to a more literal convention center cartoon interface will help people. I don’t think it will be the sort of format you see for future conferences, though. We’ll see.

What else does the interface do? Well, there is a bookmarking function for talks you want to see. That’s good. But when you go get a list of your bookmarks, it doesn’t show when the events are. You have to click each entry individually, which defeats the purpose of bookmarking.

The times are all given in Eastern. There is a dropdown menu to change the time zone, but it doesn’t apply to all times. It will change a session time, but not the listed “Office hours,” which is confusing.

The format is that there are pre-recorded talks, live Q&A sessions, and “office hours.” You have to be really on the ball to watch the talks you’re interested in before the Q&A session starts! Hopefully, this is mainly a problem for the start of the meeting, and people can “get ahead” of the presentations before Q&A as the week goes on.

The live Q&A sessions are a little tricky, because all speakers for a session are there at once, each gets a tiny sliver of time, and questions are being taken using the chat function. So when a new speaker is on to take questions, there’s “dead air” when people start typing questions.

However, there is an asyncronous “ask a question” feature – a little like a bulletin board – which works very well. You can leave a question for the presenter, who gets an email with a notification, and then you get notified with a reply. So far, I have had 100% responses to my questions this way.

One nice thing I noticed was that recorded talks allow joint presentations. Just have people record their section, and edit together. Awesome. Nice way of showing teamwork and allowing multiple people to shine.

The system automatically logs you out after inactivity, and its not a very long delay before you’re kicked out.

But enough about the interface! What cool science did I see?

I saw some awesome talks updating me on a science story I have been following for some time: the evolution of Hawai’ian cricket populations that have lost the ability to sing. Some of those populations are evolving a new song, which is such a cool story of evolution in action.

Also saw some interesting talks related mostly to crustacean fighting.

To be honest, I didn’t see as many talks yesterday as I hoped, because yesterday turned out to be a much, much more interesting day that I expected, and I had stuff pulling me away from the computer.

That’s the biggest problem I’m finding: going to a meeting physically forces you to think about just that. An online meeting puts you in competition with the laundry, taking out the garbage, picking up mail, washing dishes, and all the innumerable little things that pull you away from the computer for a few minutes here and there.

External links

27 July 2020

Hanna aftermath

Hurricane Hanna

Hanna went through Saturday night / Sunday morning. From my perspective, it felt like the most substantial storm to hit the county since Dolly in 2008.

We lost power Saturday night and didn’t get it back until early Sunday.

No flooding where we were, though the rain caused some leaks and a little water damage that needs fixing.

And the air conditioner got broken and needed repair.

But all up, fared reasonably well. One preparation tip: download at least one movie to your portable electronic device before the hurricane. Sunday would have been much more tolerable if there was even one thing from Netflix or Amazon Prime or Vudu or something on my iPad.

Of course, personal inconvenience is not the biggest problem. I’m now waiting to see how the COVID-19 cases are going to track out a couple of weeks down the road. Hanna might have made more people shelter in place and reduce cases, or it might mean more people were stuck inside with each other and increase cases. We’ll see.

Update, 28 July 2020: Whoa. I had not gone around the corner to the back of the yard.

Tree snapped by Hurricane Hanna

More damage that I thought at first. That tree is down for the count.

I also had one strange, sad thought. Three years ago, I suspended data collection on a field project that had been running for several years. There was a point where, weirdly, Hanna would have provided an research opportunity. I could have seen the “before” and “after” effect of Hanna on the population of sand crabs out as South Padre Island. Could have been a paper in that alone.

But the project got suspended end of 2017. But even if I hadn’t stopped it then, I might have stopped it this year with COVID-19. I have been trying hard to stay put and I don’t want to go to the beach since they have reopened them, nobody is wearing masks, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of social distancing,

25 July 2020

Notes from a pandemic: Holy Hanna, it’s bad

Weather Network landing page with "Breaking news: CONDITIONS DETERIORATING"

I’ve never felt a headline so strongly. It is the current landing page on The Weather Channel, yet somehow, it feels like it’s just an apt description of... [flails hands around pointing randomly]  everything.

“Conditions deteriorating.”

You said it, Weather Channel. You said it.

So we not only have a major outbreak locally in the global COVID-19 pandemic, and fascism and white supremacy on the rise, we now have a hurricane – Hanna – heading our way on top of that.

That’s just fuckin’ ducky.

So where are we on the COVID-19 situation? Well, it’s been so bad locally, here in the lower Rio Grande Valley, that it has on the national news repeatedly, and sometimes breaking out to international news.

For me, it’s the traffic that tells the story.

Back in late March, early April, when I went out to the university to do animal care or pick up groceries, the roads were almost empty. People were staying at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, despite more cases and more deaths than ever, and the region being in national and international news, the amount of traffic on the road is around what it was before mid-March. People are not staying home.

The small piece of good news is that I haven’t seen any signs of people not wearing masks or being pissy about it. When I go out (which isn’t a lot), I see everyone masked. The problem people who can’t seem to wear a mask properly (it needs to cover your nose) or pull them down to talk to other people or some other reason.

The other comment I have is that in watching a lot of news coverage, it sometimes drifts towards a “blame the victim” feel. Lots of articles have commented on the Valley having lots of Hispanic / Latinx / Mexican people, and several articles have sort of pointed towards the “culture” as being one of the major drivers for the COVID-19 cases here.

I think there is much more to be said about the long, historic lack of resources in the area at the state level. Although I’ve been pleased that that has turned around in the time I’ve been here – notably the creation of my own university, UTRGV – that hasn’t been completely fixed.

And there is a long-standing health care issue here. Back in 2009, Atul Gawande wrote about the crazy high healthcare costs in McAllen. Back then, Gawande wrote:

She wasn’t the only person to mention Renaissance. It is the newest hospital in the area. It is physician-owned. And it has a reputation (which it disclaims) for aggressively recruiting high-volume physicians to become investors and send patients there. Physicians who do so receive not only their fee for whatever service they provide but also a percentage of the hospital’s profits from the tests, surgery, or other care patients are given. (In 2007, its profits totalled thirty-four million dollars.)

While some things did change in the years since (follow-ups: 2009, 2015, 2019), Renaissance (a.k.a. DHR) is still a physician owned hospital, and this same hospital has been the subject of much scrutiny, as I noted earlier this week.

I also think there is a lot to be said about state leadership. This hasn’t been ignored, but if I had to rank the reasons for an outbreak in the Valley, I reckon decisions made by Governor Greg Abbott contributed way more than family get-togethers. But the coverage I’ve been seeing about the Valley seems to give the two equal weight.

21 July 2020

Facebook is a superspreader of COVID-19 misinformation

Sources of misinformation have been a lot on my mind. And a new study shows one that I’ve not written enough about: Facebook.

Sure, I’ve written about recommendation algorithms being a problem, but I was thinking more about YouTube, which is a bigger platform than Facebook.

But an analysis of data here shows just how shocking Facebook is at squelching crazy COVID-19 rumours.

Graph showing origin of COVID-19 misinformation, with Facebook way out in front
Facebook spreads more wrong stories than all the others combined.

Update, 27 July 2020: Amy Maxmen points out anti-mask groups are also doing well on Facebook.

Related posts

External links

20 July 2020

Notes from a pandemic: Local hospital blasted for poor conditions

On Twitter, Nurse @shesinscrubs has started tweeting reports from local hospital, DHR.

It’s bad. Like, extremely bad. Like, horrible. I’ve compiled her first, main thread below (courtesy Spooler). It doesn’t capture everything in her thread, but it gets a lot.

My university has had a lot of ties with DHR. Here’s an internal medicine residency at DHR. Here’s a general surgery residency at DHR. Family medicine residency. Obstetrics and gynecology.

I would argue that these arrangements should be reviewed soon in light of these revelations.

• • • • •

This thread will be about the abhorrent conditions at the covid "hospital" DHR put up in McAllenTexas. Staff have walked out of this facility because of the conditions in which there are literally ants crawling over critically ill patients. Hiding PPE from staff. DHR is putting covid patients in this inadequate facility because they want the fully functioning hospital across the street to remain “clean.”

TW: Patients in abhorrent conditions. Patients placed in cramped rooms without adequate ventilation or air conditioning and full of medical equipment. Oxygen in the facility stopped working on July 5th, staff has been forced to using portable tanks for patients.

For reference these tanka last 45 minutes when run at 100% FiO2 and they only had 3 people to change them out for 90 patients.

Trigger Warning⚠️ Blood/Medical Equipment/Critically ill patient.

The black dots on the patients back and on the bed are live ants crawling all over them. This is unacceptable.

This is absolutely horrific.

Doctor’s Hospital Renaissance converted a hospice facility into a covid unit. The thread above exposes the abhorrent conditions that was not covered in this article. (texastribune.org/2020/07/02/tex…) The nurses and respiratory therapists are being threatened into silence. The hospice facility was converted into a COVID unit so that DHR would stay “clean”

I do not work at this facility. I am assisting in blowing the whistle on the conditions of this facility. Those who work at this facility have been threatened into silence. To clarify this is who “Krucial” is, a staffing agency that has been staffing surge cities.

”Race-Based disparities in health outcomes are not abstract” Texas is failing their Latinx community covered DHR in an article today and here they talk about what my contact told me, the main hospital has been “kept largely free of the coronavirus to treat patients unrelated to the pandemic....as well as some elected procedures”

From a Nurse at DHR in McAllen, Texas.

More nurses confirming this story.

Covid is not profitable. Cutting corners in order to allow for continued elective procedures is profitable.

A newly hired nurse who was basically fired for testing positive for covid because she couldn’t use her PTO as sick leave.

“Rubrics are good” and other things some professors do not believe

Man, moving to online instruction en masse because of COVID-19 has been a trip. Partly because I’m getting exposed to people’s attitudes about teaching in a way I didn’t expect.

To teach entirely online, our university has been requiring training in online instruction from an outside company. I did this, because I moved to teaching more online a couple of years ago. I wanted more time to work on the Better Posters book, and there was demand for core courses online that were hard to meet with face-to-face classes.

Since COVID-19 gave more people incentive to teach online, more people had to do the training. And wow, are they ever pissy about it. I’ve listened to people complain about:

Rubric icon
Having to create rubrics for assignments
. “I don’t want to have to spell out everything, I want the students to do something more freely.” If students are going to be evaluated, you must have some idea on what basis you’re going to evaluate them, and they deserve to be told what that basis is. It also will save you time in grading and make grading more consistent.

Not having “understanding” as a learning objective. “I think it’s important that students understand the content.” Y’all need B.F. Skinner. Internal states are not knowable directly. How are you going to tell if students understand something? You are going to ask them to do something observable, like write or talk or create something. So make it your objective that the student be able to do something, not reach some internal state that they are probably ill-equipped to judge. Lots of professors have heard, “Oh yeah, I get it, I understand” from students who tank the exam the next day.

Not wanting to provide accessible content. “Why do we have to do all this work when we might not have any student who needs it?” and “It’s not our job to close caption videos” This is perhaps the complaint that frustrates me the most. Because first of all, accessibility is the law.

Second, making something accessible, by providing something like closed captions, makes the content better for everyone. It lets someone watch a video when they maybe don’t want to play the sound out loud and don’t have headphones. It makes hard to hear sentences and spellings explicit.

I am in a weird profession where people whinge so much about wanting to do things their way and no other way even when it is demonstrably a good thing to do.

13 July 2020

Who am I citing?

There is research that indicates that women scholars are cited less than men. There is research that indicates that Black and brown scholars are cited less than white ones. So I see, and am sympathetic to, calls for people to check who they are citing. Citing only white guys perhaps means you are not capturing the full range of scholarship that exists.

This is harder than it sounds.

Star Trek title card showing "Written by D.C. Fontana" (The "D" was for "Dorothy".)
Some authors want to obscure their gender or background, sometimes to reduce bias. So they use only their initials.

Some journals show only author initials, particularly in the references.

Some names are used by both genders. Names like Terry, Kelly, Zen...

Once you get past your own language and culture, trying to work out gender from the name alone becomes much more difficult. I wonder how well most English speakers would do at guessing the gender associated with Chinese or Indian names.

So when someone asks, “What percent of your reference list in your papers are white men?”, my answer is, “I don’t know.”

I am not sure what the solution here is.

In theory, this kind of demographic data might be registered by ORCID. Eventually, I could imagine a system where you downloaded ORCID into a citation manager, which could then do an analysis on a reference list. Or you could have a plug-in or webpage that did that. But ORCID currently doesn’t capture anything like that. I don’t think any academic database does.

Otherwise, the only answer I can think of is doing a lot of googling, which will probably not lead to definitive answers in many cases.

Update, 14 June 2020: Thanks for Beth Lapour for alerting me to this work. This paper tries to examine citation bias in neuroscience journals. Excerpt from the abstract:

Using data from five top neuroscience journals, we find that reference lists tend to include more papers with men as first and last author than would be expected if gender were unrelated to referencing. Importantly, we show that this imbalance is driven largely by the citation practices of men and is increasing over time as the field diversifies.

They used a couple of automated techniques to try to distinguish gender of the authors. Using two databases, they assigned an author as male or female if their confidence was 70% or better. One was an R stats package. I seem to recall reading criticisms of this package on Twitter, but can’t find it now.

They failed to assign gender for 12% of authors: 7% because there wasn’t high enough confidence by their criteria, and 5% because no author name was available for the paper. I’m not sure what the latter group could be. Unsigned editorials, maybe?

They then tried to find an independent way to check the accuracy for the 88% of authors they assigned a gender. They did this by sampling 200 authors and Google stalking them for pronoun use. And according to that, their algorithmic assignment was about 96% accurate.

So according to this, the problem is currently small. But this is just a snapshot of one field. I wonder if the difficulty will get larger or smaller over time for reasons mentioned in the main post.

Update, 28 July 2020: Marie Rivas articulates some of the reasons I am uncomfortable with using software to assess gender for research purposes: 

1. You cannot “identify” or “verify” gender on behalf of someone else; you can only guess.
2. Guessing gender is often inaccurate, offensive, and exceptionally harmful.
3. You don’t actually need to know peoples’ genders for most use cases; and if you really must know, just ask.


Jordan D. Dworkin JD, Linn KA, Teich EG, Zurn P, Shinohara RT, Bassett DS. 2020. The extent and drivers of gender imbalance in neuroscience reference lists. Nature Neuroscience: in press. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-020-0658-y

08 July 2020

Update on the Better Posters book

Better Posters book coverThe Better Posters book is inching closer to reality!

The book now has a:

Most of the discussion about the content book will be over at the Better Posters blog, although I will occasionally talk about about the creation and backstory of the book here.

My only disappointment is that the ISBN is not a prime number. Divisible by 379. Damnit.

07 July 2020

Notes from a pandemic: You go into lockdown with the data you have, not the data you want

The Better Posters book is still in press. I am getting periodic updates from the publisher, which is exciting.

I am waiting on reviews for one project.

I am writing another big project, and I have many thousands of words down for it already.

So these are good. But I have no idea when I will be able to collect data again, and it’s kind of getting to me sometimes.

I was preparing for a journal club presentation about snapping shrimp. Which are awesome beasts. They make sound louder than a gunshot, louder than a rocket launch, with their claws. The journal club talk isn’t even about claws, but I wanted to mention how they worked because it’s tangentially relevant to the main part of the talk.

I came across this paper about the evolution of the snap. It’s comparative, got behaviour, 3-D modelling of the claws, biomechanics, a lot of the kind of stuff I was doing more back in grad school. It’s amazing work.

And I feel sad. I want to do stuff like it. I want to do good, original science.

06 July 2020

The long reach of old media: Fox News and COVID-19

I can’t stop thinking about this Washington Post article from last week.

Three serious research efforts have put numerical weight — yes, data-driven evidence — behind what many suspected all along: Americans who relied on Fox News, or similar right-wing sources, were duped as the coronavirus began its deadly spread.
Dangerously duped. ...
Those who relied on Fox or, say, radio personality Rush Limbaugh, came to believe that vitamin C was a possible remedy, that the Chinese government created the virus in a lab, and that government health agencies were exaggerating the dangers in the hopes of damaging Trump politically, a survey showed.

This has just been rolling around in my gut for days. People keep asking, “How did wearing a mask become political?” This is how.

While I still think recommendation algorithms are a huge problem for science communication, this article is a reminder of two things.

The first reminder is that while new media are influencing the information spread in ways that nobody can predict, established, pre-Internet media still exerts a huge influence on how people think about issues and problems.

In times of crisis, you need consistent and pervasive messages about what people need to to do to protect themselves and others. This is why the US Center for Disease Control keeps getting shit for: because they were slow to recommend masks. But I don’t think that is even slightly comparable to the Fox News situation. If the CDC messaging created a chink if the armor, Fox News messaging stripped off the armor and went dancing naked and blindfolded through a minefield.

The second reminder is that Fox News has a lot to answer for. The damage it has done to the United States is almost incalculable. And I am not just talking about the COVID-19 pandemic.

External links

Related posts

04 July 2020

Letter about a statue

This was a letter I set to my university president, Guy Bailey, last month. I’m posting it today because I think in the US, 4 July is a good day to have serious discussions about history.

I was also motivated by listening to “Return of Oñate’s Foot” on the 99% Invisible podcast – an excellent telling of a story about a somewhat similar historical figure.


I was pleased that you addressed issues of racism in your email of 2 June. I wanted to bring up an related item for your consideration: the statue of José de Escandón on Edinburg campus. The statue describes Escandón as a “colonizer.” I suggest you consider whether a statue of a “colonizer” is in line with UTRGV’s values.

Base of status to Jose de Escandon describing him as a colonizer

In particular, Escandón’s professional climb that led to his mandate to colonize the region was in part based on his success in quelling uprisings of Native Americans and “pacifying” them. That alone is problematic, particularly for our Native American students (5-11 students over the last four years). but also consider the larger role of colonialism in perpetrating slavery and genocide.

Other universities are taking this moment to examine and change the symbols that represent racism and colonialism. Imperial College London changed its logo to remove its motto. They recognized their motto, “Scientific knowledge, the crowning glory and the safeguard of the empire” is “is a reminder of a historical legacy that is rooted in colonial power and oppression.”

Over the last few weeks, many communities worldwide have been re-examining their statues and the messages they send. Protestors pulled down a statue of a slave trader in England. McGill University students are petitioning to remove a statue of university founder James McGill, who owned slaves.

Statues glorify individuals and values. I hope that you will consider whether this statue represents values that UTRGV supports.

01 July 2020

Canada Day 2020

Alpha Flight's Guardian

The current landing page for the Contest of Champions mobile game makes me happy.

The character shown is Guardian, leader of Alpha Flight.

Happy Canada Day!

30 June 2020

Tuesday Crustie: Servant of Hera and friend of the hydra

Based on your field study what type of mythical beast or folk-creature would you be an expert in?

Mythical crustaceans. Not many of those around. Except for the one that fought Hercules.

You see, Carcinus the crab and the hydra were buds. So when Hercules showed up all like, “I gotta take out the hydra because of penance and a chance of immortality and all,” Carcinus is all like, “Don’t touch my mate, asshole, the only way to him is through me.” So Carcinus takes on Hercules.

This moment of inter-create mateship is immortalized in Greek vases.

The crab imagery on this vase is more realistic. Shame it’s pushed off to the side and cropped in this image.

And by the way, anyone who has dealt with an angry crab knows that being attacked by one of these is no joke.

This explains something I had known for a long time, but the connection never clicked. There is an abundant genus of crabs named Carcinus. No doubt in honor of Hera’s servant.

Shore crab, Carcinus maenas

Pic from here.

29 June 2020

19 June 2020

Why people don’t believe in science and the importance of criticism

Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said:

One of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are—for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable—they just don’t believe science.
Fauci is operating in a political environment, so I think he is reluctant to list the many reasons we know why people don’t believe science.

People don’t believe in the science of evolution because of religions.

People don’t believe in global warming / climate change because of a misinformation campaign prompted by fear of communism.

People don’t believe the Earth is spherical because they watch a lot of YouTube videos.

People don’t believe in COVID-19 because of Fox News and the current US president.

But all of these examples boil down to social influence – or, to put it another way, peer pressure. Humans are social animals. We pay a lot of attention to what other people think, say, and do.

In the information / belief / influence ecosystem, professional science is relatively new (maybe a few hundred years compared to thousands of years for some religions), relatively small (Rupert Murdoch’s wealth, ~US$17.3 billion, exceeds the entire annual budget of the National Science Foundation, currently ~US$7.8 billion), and disorganized as shit (“committees top to bottom”).

We’re lucky that science gets things done. Because of that, we are sometimes able to overcome those disadvantages and punch above our weight. Honestly, it’s sometimes surprising that science has as much sway as it does.

Science is not a natural, intuitive way of thinking. There’s a reason the training for scientists goes on for so long. It doesn’t take a long time just because you have to learn a lot of facts, it takes a long time because you have to practice the patterns of thinking so that they become habitual. (“What are the alternative explanations? Does this prediction really flow from that hypothesis? And what do those error bars show, anyway?”)

Beliefs are social. Criticism is antisocial.
All of the above (most of which I tweeted earlier) got me thinking about how one of the keys of science’s success, the reason we punch above our weight, is that science institutionalized and valued behaviour that is kind of anti-social.


Because we are social animals, we do not like criticism. We feel attacked. We get defensive. We try to shut it down all the time. (In my many years of blogging, the only times I got aggressive emails about posts were from professors who didn’t like that I was commenting on student posters. It wasn’t even criticism of them.)

Science normalizes criticism in a way that a lot of other institutions don’t. A lot of institutions place a lot of value on reinforcing their existing beliefs. There may be traditions of criticism and examination within that, but there are usually some lines that you don’t cross if you want to stay part of that community.

Author David Brin like to say, “Criticism is the only known antidote to error.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that. We have to recognize how fundamental its role in science is.

And, as I said above, we have to recognize that learning how to deliver and take criticism without destroying the social glue that allows the scientific community to function is not a natural, normal thing to do. It is something that you need to learn, a habit you need to develop, and a skill you need to practice and improve.

External links

15 June 2020

Failure slays first author while co-authors skate by

Dad saying, "The world isn't fair, Calvin." Calvin replies, "I know, but why isn't it even unfair in my favor?"
I was looking back at a high-profile paper that was published some years ago. The paper ran into trouble and was widely criticized, and the main claim has not been borne out. The paper hasn’t been retracted, but it’s more a cautionary tale than a success.

The paper had twelve co-authors. I did a little digging and looked at the track records of all the co-authors in the years since publication.

The first author, who would broadly be called an “early career” researcher, never published another paper the year after this one dropped. Based purely on the publication record, it looks like the problems in the high-profile paper ended that career. It may have been more complicated than that – there may have been other factors at play that I don’t know about – but it sure looks like cause and effect.

The other eleven co-authors? All of them kept publishing. The mean for the group was 3 papers a year. The most prolific member of the team had 6.8 papers a year (according to Web of Science).

Bar graph: X axis: Author position. Y axis: Mean articles / year since controversy

It sure looks like none of the other co-authors suffered any serious professional consequences from being associated with a deeply flawed paper.

What’s the saying? “Success has many parents, but failure is an orphan”? Here, failure came from a single-parent family. One person out of twelve bore the brunt of all the criticisms.

It’s a clear-cut example that shows that how we assign authorship doesn’t line up at all with who we think is “responsible” for a scientific work. If you asked researchers, “How is responsibility split with twelve authors?”, I suspect they will not say, “100% for first author, 0% for authors 2 through 12.” (I also don’t think they will say, “Responsibility is split twelve ways evenly.” But that’s not what happened here.)

Update, 16 June 2020: I asked people, a“If there are 10 authors on a paper, much much responsibility should the FIRST author bear if the paper is flawed or flat-out wrong?” Almost all (25 out of 27, 93%) said, “Somewhere between 11-99%”. Of the other two, one person said, “All” and the other voted, “One tenth.” 

Some might argue, “This is what you get tenure for, to be able to take risks and prevent you from the shocks of having a bad paper.” Okay, but tenure and seniority should be a cushion that softens the blow of a mistake. Seniority should not be corbomite that deflects all consequences away from the senior authors and returns then back on the first author, particularly when early career researchers involved. Early career researchers are vulnerable, and power dynamics are not in their favour.

If eleven authors were able jump off the sinking ship, maybe there should have been room for one more in that lifeboat.

If only one author is going to bear all the responsibility for getting it wrong, then only one person’s name should have been on that paper in the first place.

12 June 2020

Picture a Scientist mini-review

Picture a Scientist theatrical poste
It’s late Friday night and I want to go to bed, but before I do, I have a recommendation and I want to get it out there in case I get lazy or distracted after I sleep.

I just finished watching a new documentary, Picture a Scientist.

Anyone who has anything to do with science, or academia, or is interested in matters of equality and justice in the face of discrimination and bias, should watch this film.

It mostly tracks three women: one dealing with institutional unfairness, one coping with bullying, and one navigating academia as a black women. It is both damning and hopeful (at least sometimes hopeful).

I am particularly happy to see a couple of people I know in it, who are of course awesome. And they are not alone. There is no shortage of awesome people in this film.

The film is streaming online. In a very cool promotion, when you rent it, you get to support a movie theatre of your choice with your purchase. There wasn’t a theatre in Texas involved (which sucks, especially given chemist Raychelle Burke was in Austin when they filmed this), so I picked Hawai’i, because that state has been nice to me when I’ve traveled there for conferences and my honeymoon.

Highest recommendation!

External links

09 June 2020

Tuesday Crustie: Looks big

This is a rubble crab. But it has a cool sounding Latin name: Daldorfia horrida.

Rubble crab, Daldorfia horrida

It is apparently the inspiration for one of the lesser known monsters in the Toho universe, Ganimes!

Ganimes, crab monster

From Space Amoeba (1970). No, Ganimes is not the title monster. Even monster movies know the difference between an amoeba and a crustacean.

How did I go this long not knowing there was a crab kaiju?

D. horrida picture from here.

08 June 2020

Career arcs: Stay alive!

Note: There are Black Lives Matter protests. There is a pandemic. Fascism is on the rise. I don’t know how to address this in the blog right now, except to say: I want Black people not live in fear of police. As an academic, I want more Black colleagues in my profession and Black students to get higher education. I want equality and not racist policies and racist actions. I want people to wear masks and stay home so they don’t prolong the pandemic. And I want people to not put up nazis and secret police.

With that preface, please forgive a post about career paths. It isn’t the most important thing out there now. But it’s something I’ve been working on for a while.

Cover to Big Country album, The Journey
A while ago, I stumbled across a Big Country album that had been released a few years ago. I stopped following Big Country because their lead singer, Stuart Adamson, died. I didn’t think there would ever be another album.

I dug in, and found the person singing lead vocals was Mike Peters, who led another band I followed around the same time: The Alarm. Again, I had kind of stopped looking for new music from The Alarm, because Peters had quit the band – live, on stage, with cameras rolling – without telling anyone else in the band he was about to do so.

And that was pretty much that for that version of The Alarm.

It was a big inflection point for Peters’s career. He talked about it for VH1’s Bands Reunited in 2004 (about 22 minutes in on this video):


I was committing commercial and career suicide. I was leaving what I was. I was Mike Peters of The Alarm. I still am. But the only way I could find my sanity and find myself again was to actually walk away from it.


I get the sense the Peters made peace with that decision, but that he still has a lingering sense of, “What it?” Could The Alarm have been one of those big worldwide bands, like their contemporaries, U2? But maybe I’m reading too much into it.

I went looking for how Peters came to be singing for Big Country. I’ve been thinking a lot about it ever since.

Big Country’s music was inspirational for Peters when he was first in The Alarm. The video also talks about the stuff I didn’t know:

The long road back for Peters after quitting on stage, with a new iteration of The Alarm.

An epic hoax to show the ageism of the music industry.

Multiple fights with cancer.

A lot of new Alarm music that I still have to catch up on.

And being asked to front Big Country, and getting to sing the song that had changed his life years ago, “In a Big Country.”

A little after watching that video, I listened to this WorkLife podcast about career decline. The first guest, Arthur Brooks, has advice: “Walk off the stage before you fall off it.” Brooks is not optimistic that people can stay productive in careers, and suggests lots of people should turn to things like teaching instead.

Both of these, of course, made me think about where I go from here in my career.

I had spent most of the past couple of years writing a book. That meant I wasn’t gathering new data, I wasn’t working with students. After I submitted the manuscript last fall, the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped any possibility of getting back in the lab and cranking out new data any time soon.

Is this one of those inflection points that I can’t recover from? Is this that combination of personal decisions (like Peters walking away from the band) and external factors (like pop music’s embrace of hip hop and move away from The Alarm’s rock and roll) that is going to sink me for good this time?

Peters’s career does give me some hope. The Alarm has made more albums in the twenty-first century than they did in the twentieth century (back in the 80s and early 90s). He still clearly loves performing. He gives back through charity work for blood cancer, through Love Hope Strength. Next year, The Alarm will celebrate 40 years, which is an achievement to be proud of and that few artists in music reach.

And the second part of the WorkLife also talked about people who do some of the best work in their later years.

I don’t want to quit being a researcher. I don’t want to stop being a scholar. I reinvent myself as a scientist before. I hope I can do it again. As Big Country sang, “Stay alive!”

External links

The Alarm

Big Country

Career decline isn’t inevitable

31 May 2020

Saddest day ever

I can’t get over this graph.

Friday, 29 May 2020 was the saddest day ever on Twitter. Click to enlarge. No seriously, click to enlarge. You really have to see it enlarged to feel what is going on in this data.

This is an amazing visualization of data. It is so rich. It shows a big picture (hm, why might there have been a downward trend in happiness since 2016?), but the details are so rich, both the highs and the lows.It reminds me a little of Charles Minard’s visualization of Napolean’s Russian campaign, which Edward Tufte has made famous.

And when you see what the lows were reactions to, in the labels of the data, it pushes home just how bad things have to be to create the saddest day ever on Twitter. And not just “saddest” by a little, but by a lot.

In a sense, this graph is helpful because it shows, “It’s not just you.” And it shows that anyone who does not acknowledge the pain that people are in now is not reading the room. People are hurting, badly.

I’m scared to see the data from Saturday and Sunday and the week to come.

Update, 2 June 2020: Friday’s record has already been broken. The last day of May, 2020, is now the saddest day ever on Twitter.

Spotted on the Hedonomter Twitter account. Data here.

29 May 2020

Every empire falls

When you’re a kid and you study history, you read about all these empires of the past that rose and fell. Rome. Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. The Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire. (Yes, my history was very western oriented.)

And sometimes you wonder what it must be like to be in the tail end of that, when an empire is breaking apart. “What must it be like,” you think, “to live through that?”

Well, now I know.

Living through history sucks.

Top picture from here. Bottom picture by Associated Press photographer Julio Cortez. Bruce Janu writes: “The upside-down flag has historically been used to signal ‘distress.’ And ‘distress’ may not be a word that is strong enough.”.

When manuscript formatting is a deal breaker

Academics have bugbears. And a very common one is manuscript formatting. “We shouldn't have to spend our time fiddling with a word processor to meet a journal’s formatting requirements, we should be collecting data! Grumble grumble grumble.”

I get it. I get why people like to complain about this. But to be honest, of all the things to complain about in academia, I always thought this did not warrant the amount of whinging it got.

Most journals have clear instructions. They are usually not terribly difficult to follow if you’ve had a bit of practice. With modern reference manage software, switching between reference styles – the most time-consuming, tedious part of formatting – can be as easy as pushing a couple of buttons.

But today I was reminded that everyone has their limits.

I was looking for a home for a manuscript I was working on, and came across a journal I thought would be a very appropriate home. I looked at the instructions for authors, and came to a screeching halt here.

Do not insert references using software such as EndNote, which adds a layer of embedded coding to the manuscript; use only MS Word’s built-in endnote function to insert references.

I was surprised. I’d never seen a journal prohibit authors from using a tool that so obviously exists to make writing for journals easier.

I’ve used EndNote for years, and I have no desire to learn how to use Word’s referencing tools. Too far from my writing workflow. I will not be submitting my paper to this journal.

I don’t want to piss off editors by submitting a manuscript that doesn’t meet their manuscript guidelines. I like following instructions. But with other relevant journals out there, it seems like the easiest thing for me to do is to...

"Just walk away" - Lord Humungous from Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior

Just walk away.

I’m not alone here. To my surprise, a lot of people are willing to walk away from submitting to a journal purely because of the formatting requirements, based on this Twitter poll.

22 May 2020

Notes from a pandemic: Coming back out

Depiction of virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2
Back in March, a lot of people got very stressed going into social isolation, lockdown, stay at home, quarantine, whatever you want to call it.

Me? I was good. It’s being the prospect of coming out of isolation that is stressing me out. It’s not because I’ll have to be around people again. It’s that I am not at all convinced it’s being done safely.

As I mentioned, the University of Texas system has already decided all its campuses will have face-to-face instruction for fall.

Earlier this week, my institution had a video chat with the person in charge of “reopening” the university, and I learned that food services, the gym, and the libraries were going to open back up at the start of June.

I asked, “Given the increase in cases that other countries and states have seen after "reopening", as a medical professional, are you comfortable with reopening the campus? Is this a medically advisable course of action?”

I didn’t get an answer to that.

I did get an answer to “If it was not possible for people to be on campus safely through March-May, why is it possible now? What has changed from a public health perspective?” The answer was basically, “We know more now.” Personally, I’d be happier if that answer was, “We have a vaccine now,” but of course, we don’t, and won’t have anytime soon.

I personally will be teaching online in fall, so I am not so much worried for my own health as the safety of my colleagues and students.

My worries got even worse when I saw news last night about the University of Texas’s flagship campus at Austin. Despite having an almost empty campus, they’ve had eleven of their janitorial staff test positive for COVID-19.

(University spokesperson J.B.) Bird said that UT officials did not know exactly how the virus spread among its custodial staff members, but said they had been practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

I just don’t see anything that convinces me that universities – including mine – can realistically expect to keep people safe.

External links

Q&A with Dr. John Krouse, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine (Recorded from Facebook livestream)

Virus outbreak hits nearly empty University of Texas campus: What will happen this fall?

20 May 2020

Some people will literally die rather than change their minds

I have been thinking a lot about the craziness of “re-opening” and how some people refuse to take any precautions. Just a day or two ago, I was imagining asking these people, “What would it take to get you to change your mind, short of you getting hooked up to a ventilator because of COVID-19?”

Then today I saw this. Physician Ryan Morino tweeted (lightly edited):

I’ve been called a lot of names and accused of a lot of things by emergency patients but it’s surreal to have a patient accuse me of falsifying their COVID result – because they don’t believe the virus is real – as I’m actively trying to keep them from dying from multi-organ failure from COVID.

My “short of you getting COVID-19” qualifier turned out to be an unreasonable assumption. I thought that the personal first-hand experience of getting so sick that you are hospitalized would be something would force people to reconsider their views. How wrong I was.

(Aside: Hospitalization is bad, but this description of being on a ventilator proved to me that I had not idea how bad things could while trying to keep you alive from COVID-19.) 

From my experiences trying to talk about evolutionary biology, I know lots of people are intransigent. They not going to change their minds in front of you. People have values and beliefs and community ties that matter to them more than evidence. For a long time, I’d been okay with that.

But these sorts of reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic have shaken me. I’ve never felt so depressed and pessimistic about the prospects for science communication. This is the fight of our lives, and we’re losing.

Another piece that hit me hard was this article by Adrienne LaFrance about conspiracy beliefs, and how one in particular has gained so much traction over the space of three years. For someone like me who had never heard of this much before, the conspiracy stories (I refuse to call them “theories”) are unbelievable. They are inconsistent, and they have consistently failed to say anything meaningful. Edited excerpt:

I asked for examples of predictions that had come true. They could not provide specifics and instead encouraged me to do the research myself. When I asked them how they explained the events (that had been) predicted that never happened(,) they said that deception is part of (the) plan.

It brought to mind this from Jessica Price (emphasis added):

I guess it’s time to repeat the main thing I learned from reading a fuckton of Holocaust memoirs again: propaganda does not need to be persuasive, only pervasive. Its secondary purpose is to convince. Its primary purpose is to exhaust.

LaFrance arrives at a point that I had independently been thinking about before I read her article. People often talk about the “politicization” of events in the US now, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

This moment in American history is better understood as being driven by a new religious movement rather than existing political movements.

I don’t mean “religion” in the usual sense of the major Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) – although those are often intertwined with the new zeitgeist.

Like LaFrance, I mean that people are describing and responding to events in ways that you normally see in religious communities rather than political parties. Such as the unshakable beliefs in things unseen (“COVID-19 isn’t real,” says the one about to die from organ failure from it), belief in prophecies, communities springing up around practices not held by everyone.

And certainly, some political leaders act more like old school gods than traditional politician. They demand tribute, sacrifice, and threaten those who oppose them. A thunderbolt or two aimed at demigods who aren’t “respectful” or grateful enough. They sure aren’t above lying (you know, turning into a swan to get laid).

And they sure as hell don’t care about puny mortals. “So a few humans die. So what?”

It’s a radically different vision than one I have for politics, which is more about negotiation and compromise and trying to make most people’s live better. But probably my view was skewed from living most of my life in a relatively peaceful few decades, and mistaking that as normal.

From my point of view as a scientist who wants to do science communication, I think that treating opposition to COVID19 information as being based in religious opposition (in a secular, non-tradition sense) rather than political opposition changes the dynamic and changes the approach that you take.

It makes it clear that the task ahead of us is far, far harder than we ever could have expected.

Ultimately, I have to believe that at some point, reality will sink in. I hope that many people who aren’t wearing masks today, for instance, will one day look back at their actions and think, “Maybe I should have worn that mask.”

I hoped that we might have gotten to that point by now.

Additional: Just after I posted this, Andrew Thaler wrote:

The mistake we're making is thinking we have a science communication problem when what we have is a terror management problem.

Not sure I agree, but I think we both agree that “science communication” is not what the moment calls for. Science communication is a default mode. We need a crisis mode, and we don’t have one.

More additional: Emily G also has a thread that makes a similar point:

Here’s the thing no one wants to hear: you fight propaganda with propaganda. Unless SciComm can fundamentally scale to address the propaganda machine in sum and substance – and it can’t – then it’s doomed to ineffectiveness.

Even more additional: And just to show that some elements of this problem are widespread and not just an American thing, a new report shows a lot of Canadians have false beliefs about some aspect of COVID-19.

More than a quarter think the virus was made in a Chinese lab.

Almost a quarter thought there were drugs that could treat the disease, notably hydroxychloroquine.

More than one in ten think the virus is a cover-up for 5G wireless.

And just to top it off, there’s a lot of overconfidence to go with the misinformation.

Sarah Everts, a Carleton journalism professor and co-researcher in the study, said she was “floored by the overconfidence Canadians have in their own ability to distinguish conspiracy theories and misinformation.”

For example, 58 per cent of respondents who believe the 5G conspiracy theory also said they could “easily distinguish” between COVID-19 facts and misinformation.

External links

The prophecies of Q

The hard truth about ventilators

Nearly half of Canadians can’t tell coronavirus fact from conspiracy theory: survey