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For a majority of the last 48 hours, Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency has traded just below the $60,000 price level, with the aforementioned level not too far from the crypto’s ATH. Ordinarily, such steady consolidation would be good news, right? Well, yes. But, everything needs to be put in context and expressed in relative terms.
Take a look down at the cryptos below BTC and you’ll find that the likes of ETH and XRP are surging. Contrary to the prevailing perception that the altcoin market follows Bitcoin, here you have two of the market’s most-prominent alts defying the general market trend to register hikes of their own.
What does this entail? Is the alt season finally here? Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is evident, however, is that both these cryptos have surged on the back of developments that are ecosystem-centric. The purpose of this article is to answer the following question – should anyone be concerned about Bitcoin’s ‘stagnant’ price movement of late?
Consider this – according to Santiment, Bitcoin isn’t in the “super overvalued territory” yet, with its 30d and 365d MVRVs well away from their local tops. In fact, these metrics suggest that there is still a lot of room for growth, with a lot of potential upside in price projected to come in. Historically, local tops in the same have been succeeded by price drops.
Since we are still away from these tops, BTC can be expected to climb some more despite recent consolidation, before correcting again.
Whether the said hike would be enough to breach its ATH, however, that will be difficult to ascertain.
Santiment’s report also looked at the cryptocurrency’s 3-year and 5-year Dormant Circulation, with the same observing that recently, a fair amount of very old coins were moved between addresses. According to the report, “This is a good sign, distribution keeps taking place.”
What’s more, other metrics such as Mean Coin Age seemed to suggest the network-wide accumulation trend is still going smoothly, despite the fact that there had been some degree of distribution back in the month of March.
Finally, the nature of whale behavior is also crucial to understand what to expect going forward. This is true especially since not only have there been cases where whales have dictated price movements, but whale sentiment is a good barometer of where BTC might end up in the near term.
Over the past year, the amount of daily whale transactions worth at least $1M has risen by over 740%, with the daily average climbing from 229 on 1 April 2023 to 1,930 on 1 April 2023.
In fact, despite brief hiccups and the fact that BTC hasn’t reciprocated or shared the bullish sentiment of alts such as ETH and XRP, its whale holders are refusing to panic, with the brief drop-off in supply looking to steady itself at the time of writing.
Consider Bitcoin’s funding rate, for instance. A few days ago, the same was recorded to be at +0.10%, very close to the 0.12% levels that were seen a few weeks ago. The latter coincided with the cryptocurrency recording its local top in March, with the same followed by a significant price drop.
This means that there isn’t a lot of room to move for the Funding Rate, with higher levels only playing into the probability of a short-term top being formed and a correction soon after.
There’s also the matter of sentiment. Whale sentiment is one thing, but what about retail sentiment? Well, Bitcoin’s weighted social sentiment at the moment is close to its one-year low. Here, it’s worth noting, however, that historically, there have been cases where similar findings have fueled the movement of Bitcoin in the opposite direction.
— Santiment (@santimentfeed) April 2, 2023
Ergo, uncertainty is the best projection one can give about Bitcoin’s short-term fortunes. While a longer case of consolidation is likely to be the case, price action in either direction on the charts cannot be ruled out.
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Last year, whistleblower and former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen shared the thousands of pages of internal company documents she obtained with 17 US news outlets, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a separate consortium of European news organizations.
These documents, called “The Facebook Papers,” formed the basis of reported news articles and analysis about Facebook’s behavior in response to key issues like how its platform might harm children, or play a role in enabling political violence, and how it reportedly prioritizes profit over safety. Redacted versions of these papers with the names of Facebook users and lower-level employees blacked out were also shared with Congress for its investigation.
However, since these articles were published, academics and smaller media outlets have been arguing that these papers be made available to the wider public for independent study and analysis. Gizmodo, which was one of the outlets that had access to the papers last year, announced in November that it would publish these papers, and said it was partnering with a group of independent experts to review the documents and block out information related to private individuals prior to publishing.
Today, the first set of these papers are now live on Gizmodo’s site and are categorized by topics such as “Papers About the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack,” “Papers Describing the Election-Related Task Force Monitoring ‘Complex Financial Organizations,’” and “Election-Related Platform and Product Updates.” Outside of the 2023 election, which was the overarching theme of all the papers Gizmodo uploaded today, there are also documents which detail how Meta (Facebook’s parent company) “tackles sensitive issues like sex trafficking, disinformation, and voter manipulation.”
Look through the internal screenshots, memos, posts, agendas, and research documents from Meta released this week here. Gizmodo will upload a new set of documents on the designated web page every week.
[Related: The Facebook whistleblower’s Congressional hearing was a ‘big tobacco moment’ for tech]
So what are some high-level takeaways? The Washington Post reported that the papers showed that internal research findings at Facebook often clashed with what Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, told the public. Additionally, Facebook was inconsistent in how it policed harmful content, and failed to do so effectively in most of the world. Lastly, Facebook reportedly designed its product to maximize engagement rather than promote safety or stem misinformation.
Additionally, according to AP News, these documents also revealed conflicts within Facebook when employees brought up problems related to how it regulated users and how its news feed algorithm surfaced toxic content only for the company to ignore the concerns. Moreover, Facebook was losing much of its young adult users that found the platform to be “boring, misleading and negative,” AP reported. This makes the content ecosystem of Facebook more fragile, as older adults tend to share more misinformation and disinformation. Recently, The Washington Post also found that Facebook was paying a Republican consulting firm to plant false negative stories about its competitor, TikTok.
Even after a rebrand and a pivot, Facebook, now Meta, is having a rough start to the year. In February, Meta lost more than $200 billion in one day as its stocks plunged. That same month, the company reported that Facebook lost average daily users in the third quarter of 2023. Since then, Meta has been trying to increase transparency into the inner workings of its platforms, starting with Instagram.
Currently, Meta, along with several other big tech companies, has also been working “round-the-clock” to fact check content from the Russia-Ukraine war, The New York Times reported. These added actions on social and internet platforms have incited discussions around conflict-related content moderation across the world.
So what if you wake up one day and Bitcoin is not there on the cryptocurrency list?
At a time when inflation is high, stocks are laundering at a no-profit zone, and investors unsure about when and how Federal Reserve is going to raise the interest rates, it is reasonable to think of investing inThe Departure of Satoshi Nakamoto
Mysterious heroes and their anonymous identity is always a matter of discussion. Satoshi Nakamoto is one such person who is believed to be behind the launch of Bitcoin. Satoshi, who could be a person or a group of people, used the amazing blockchain technology to unleash BTC as the first cryptocurrency in the market. But after the successful launch of the open-source software, he disappeared in thin air. On April 23, 2011, he sent a farewell email to a fellow Bitcoin developer with a note, “I’ve moved on to other things.” He also added that “Bitcoin is in good hands.” This was the last time Satoshi’s presence was felt. Although many people are suspected to be ‘the father of Bitcoin’, the fact about Satoshi is still behind the walls.Is Bitcoin’s Volatility Fading Away?
Even though Bitcoin’s volatility is seen as a scary thing, it is the sole trigger behind the BTC price rallies so far. The uncertainty stems from its unclear future as a digital token. When short-term price fluctuations from the past are brought into the scanner, it is highly concerning because even 10% swings look very common. BTC’s ability to yield good profits and sprout Bitcoin millionaires is a major factor behind its growth. Stepping into 2023, the level of volatility that kept Bitcoin running seems to be slowly disappearing. According to a recent study, Bitcoin return fluctuations are seen to be lower than those of roughly 900 different stocks in the S&P1500 and 190 stocks in the S&P500. The paper provides evidence that the high volatility of BTC is largely a misconception and recently, it is less volatile than commodities such as oil and solver, US treasuries, AAA-rated corporate bonds, EU carbon credits, and some of the most popular tech and media stocks. On the other hand, altcoin are already stepping over the growth percentage of Bitcoin in 2023 and the void is expected to grow in the coming years.El Salvador’s ‘Missing Bitcoin’ Case
El Salvador became the first country in the world to legalize Bitcoin usage and trading. The Prime Minister of the country was also enthusiastic about opening a Bitcoin city to boost El Salvador’s economic status. But things are going wrong since the country started facing cryptocurrency-related issues. Citizens have come out and complained about fraudulent transactions in their government-issued Chivo wallets. They claimed that the Bitcoin in their Chivo wallets have gone missing mysteriously.Africrypt Founders Vanished with US$3.6 Billion Worth Bitcoin
The co-founders of the Africrypt platform, Ameer and Raees Cajee, the two brothers behind the development of the channel, have gone missing in June 2023, taking US$3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin with them. A total of 69,000 BTC tokens have vanished along with them.A Big Share of Bitcoin’s are Lost and Unrecoverable
At a time when inflation is high, stocks are laundering at a no-profit zone, and investors unsure about when and how Federal Reserve is going to raise the interest rates, it is reasonable to think of investing in cryptocurrency . But before jumping in, you should know that the cryptocurrency market is also undergoing a serious phase of uncertainty. Even the topmost digital tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum are down. Since the beginning of 2023, BTC has lost so much value. It has even broken through its long-stood psychological resistance level of US$33,000. So what if you wake up one day and Bitcoin is not there on the cryptocurrency list? Wondering if that could really happen? Yes, it might. If you are a long-term investor, then you might’ve come across the famous cryptocurrency phrase, “ Bitcoin is a bubble!” Not just one or two, many people have called BTC a sham that could deceive people one day. In 2023, Warren Buffett, a well-known billionaire, claimed that Bitcoin has no value. But at some point, you might’ve come to a conclusion that it is a vague claim and nothing like that would happen. Since Bitcoin’s price has made record highs since the 2023 bull run, people are now crazy than ever before to try the digital token. Several companies accept BTC as a payment option while El Salvador has legalized its usage. Despite the growing dominance, there is still fear over Bitcoin’s disappearance. Unfortunately, that could actually happen one day because vanishing is a common thing in the BTC sphere.Mysterious heroes and their anonymous identity is always a matter of discussion. Satoshi Nakamoto is one such person who is believed to be behind the launch of Bitcoin. Satoshi, who could be a person or a group of people, used the amazing blockchain technology to unleash BTC as the first cryptocurrency in the market. But after the successful launch of the open-source software, he disappeared in thin air. On April 23, 2011, he sent a farewell email to a fellow Bitcoin developer with a note, “I’ve moved on to other things.” He also added that “Bitcoin is in good hands.” This was the last time Satoshi’s presence was felt. Although many people are suspected to be ‘the father of Bitcoin’, the fact about Satoshi is still behind the chúng tôi though Bitcoin’s volatility is seen as a scary thing, it is the sole trigger behind the BTC price rallies so far. The uncertainty stems from its unclear future as a digital token. When short-term price fluctuations from the past are brought into the scanner, it is highly concerning because even 10% swings look very common. BTC’s ability to yield good profits and sprout Bitcoin millionaires is a major factor behind its growth. Stepping into 2023, the level of volatility that kept Bitcoin running seems to be slowly disappearing. According to a recent study, Bitcoin return fluctuations are seen to be lower than those of roughly 900 different stocks in the S&P1500 and 190 stocks in the S&P500. The paper provides evidence that the high volatility of BTC is largely a misconception and recently, it is less volatile than commodities such as oil and solver, US treasuries, AAA-rated corporate bonds, EU carbon credits, and some of the most popular tech and media stocks. On the other hand, altcoin are already stepping over the growth percentage of Bitcoin in 2023 and the void is expected to grow in the coming chúng tôi Salvador became the first country in the world to legalize Bitcoin usage and trading. The Prime Minister of the country was also enthusiastic about opening a Bitcoin city to boost El Salvador’s economic status. But things are going wrong since the country started facing cryptocurrency-related issues. Citizens have come out and complained about fraudulent transactions in their government-issued Chivo wallets. They claimed that the Bitcoin in their Chivo wallets have gone missing chúng tôi co-founders of the Africrypt platform, Ameer and Raees Cajee, the two brothers behind the development of the channel, have gone missing in June 2023, taking US$3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin with them. A total of 69,000 BTC tokens have vanished along with them.According to a study, over 20% of all existing Bitcoin tokens are lost and can’t be recovered. An analysis by the Wall Street Journal claims that these BTC tokens are misplaced by users and can’t be brought back into circulation. The reason is that the underlying blockchain technology is structured to emphasize security and privacy, therefore, it doesn’t entertain any kind of accidents.
My Microsoft a-ha! moment came not with the surprise Surface Duo Android phone, nor with the two-screened Surface Neo, but when Microsoft unfolded the wraparound keyboard accessory that shipped with its dual-screen Neo prototype.
We’ve previously told you what microprocessor diversity means for Microsoft, as well as its chip partners Qualcomm, AMD, and Intel. What we thought then was that Qualcomm would enable all-day battery life (which emerged as the Surface Pro X), AMD would pump up the Surface’s graphics firepower (the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3), and Intel would power, well everything else. What we missed was Intel’s Lakefield, the compact, stacked-chip architecture which we already knew would be the foundation of dual-screen displays. That, of course, became the Surface Neo, Microsoft’s dual-screen device.
Use the Surface Neo however you want.
You don’t use chips, though. You use devices. What those four different chip platforms enable—and not just for Microsoft, but for every other PC maker too—is the ability to design in different computing modalities for different people, something we’ve seen Microsoft strive for in the past.
Modalities—the different ways in which users interact with Windows and other Microsoft services—is Microsoft’s stock in trade. Some people prefer a desktop. Others, a traditional clamshell laptop. Tablets appeal to others. Microsoft tried and failed to make Windows Phones a thing, but ultimately decided to use apps and services as a proxy to push users back within the Microsoft fold.
But those are hardware. While the PC space has wrestled with form factor, Microsoft has quietly evolved Windows beyond a mouse-and-keyboard-driven interface into one that can be interacted with via voice, touch, ink, holograms, a game controller, and even your eyes. Microsoft designed some of these—eye tracking, for example—as “assistive” technologies for the disabled. But we all benefit. These different Windows modalities are Microsoft’s stock in trade.
Why? Because people work in different ways. Microsoft provides a command line not just for coders, but for users who appreciate fine-grained control over their operating system. Why do people become so irritated with new Windows feature updates? Well, there are the inopportune update times, but once an update breaks the way in which a user goes about their day, it becomes a source of frustration. It breaks the “flow” that Microsoft’s chief Panos Panay so often talks about.
In the old days, when Apple first introduced the iPad, reporters who used it to take notes were offered the front rows in Apple’s small Infinite Loop auditorium. This was peak Apple: offering pride of place to those who saw the world (or were willing to) as they did. I remember happily sitting behind them, content to use a real keyboard.
The Windows 10X Wonderbar in action.
The culmination of all of this is the Microsoft Surface Neo, which provoked a “whoa” from me when I saw the keyboard. What impressed me wasn’t just Microsoft’s willingness to bridge the gap between those who prefer a “real” keyboard and those who type on glass. It was the way in which Microsoft carefully integrated the keyboard into the device itself: accommodating the reduced screen real estate that the keyboard covered up, for example, by creating the Wonderbar. (I still wonder about what content will fit itself naturally into that space, however.)
Quite clearly, the launch of the Surface Pro X, Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, as well the Neo and Duo represented Microsoft’s best Surface launch ever. And it wasn’t just the products themselves, but what their variety represented: the culmination of everything Microsoft has tried to achieve with Surface. Will the Neo and Duo succeed? Not for everyone. And that’s the point.
Causation and Correlation are loosely used words in analytics. People tend to use these words interchangeably without knowing the fundamental logic behind them. Apparently, people get trapped in the phonetics of these words and end up using them at incorrect places. But, let me warn you that apart from the similar sounding names, there isn’t a lot common in the two phenomena. Their fundamental implications are very different.
Let’s understand the difference between Causation and Correlation using a few examples below. Analyze the following scenarios and tell us whether there is a causal relation between the two events (X and Y). Answers are provided below.
Hypothesis – Students going to premium B-schools get higher salaries on an average. Are these B-school a cause of getting better jobs?
Hypothesis – People who smoke are found to have higher level of stress. Is smoking the reason of stress?
Hypothesis – People get more matured after having kids? Is having kids a cause of attaining higher maturity levels?
Hypothesis – We witness lower temperature at high altitudes. Which means, the higher you go, the colder it would become. Is higher altitude a cause of lower temperature?
I hope the examples described above would have triggered your learning appetite and have got excited you to learn more on this. Though, this is not a newly discovered topic, but people still haven’t got firm grip on using these terms. Hence, I have tried to explain the aspects of causation and correlation in the simplest possible manner.Here are the Answers:
Example 1 : Causal relation does not exist. For instance, only ambitious and intelligent people are selected from elite B-schools who further get much higher salary than the average. Hence, even if these students did not study in Tier 1 B-School, he/she still might get more than the average salaries. Hence, we have alternate reasoning issue in this case.
Example 2 : Causal relation does not exist. We can reject hypothesis based on inverse causality. For instance, higher mental stress can actually influence a person to smoke.
Example 4 : Causal relation does exist. We definitely know that inverse causality is not possible. Also alternate reasoning or mutual independence can be rejected.
Result: If you were able to answer all the 4 scenarios correctly, you are ready for the next concept. In case you got any of the scenario wrong, you probably need more practice on finding cause-effect pairs.What are the keypoints in establishing causation?
3. Mutual independence : Sometimes X and Y might just be correlated and nothing else. In such cases we reject hypothesis based on mutual independence.How can we conclusively derive cause-effect relationship?
In fields like pharma, it is very important to establish cause-effect pairs. And that’s why, there are enough researches done to find cause-effect pairs. Let’s understand the following definitions before we get down to mathematics :
1. Randomized Experimental data : An experiment is often defined as random assignment of observational units to different conditions, and conditions differ by the treatment of observational units. Treatment is a generic term, which translates most easily in medical applications (e.g. patients are treated differently under different conditions), but it applies to other areas as well.
2. Observational data : If we do not have the luxury to do a randomized experiment, we are forced to work on existing data sources. These events have already happened without any control. Hence, the selection is not random.
Deriving out causality from Observational data is very difficult and non-conclusive. For a conclusive result on causality, we need to do randomized experiments.Why are observational data not conclusive?
1. Observational Data not conclusive because the selection in observational data are not randomized. We can never conclude individual cause-effect pair.
2. For instance, if the number of students graduating from Tier 1 B-school get higher salary; this will not conclude causality relationship because the selection was based on initial performance.
3. However, if we randomly select students for Tier 1 B-schools, this analysis will become more conclusive to establish causality.Why don’t we do random experiment every time to establish causality?
There are multiple reason you might be asked to work on observational data instead of experiment data to establish causality.
First is, the cost involved to do these experiments. For instance, if your hypothesis is giving free I-phone to customers, this activity will have an incremental gain on sales of Mac. Doing this experiment without knowing anything on causality can be an expensive proposal.
Second is, not all experiments are allowed ethically. For instance, if you want to know whether smoking contributes to stress, you need to make normal people smoke, which is ethically not possible.In that case, how do we establish causality using observational data?
There has been good amount of research done on this particular issue. The entire objective of these methodologies is to eliminate the effect of any unobserved variable. In this section, I will introduce you to some of these well known techniques :
Let’s try this methodology.
1. Following is the equation of regressing y (salary) against both Premium college (subscript T) and unobserved dimensions (subscript U)
2. But, because the unobserved dimension is invariant over time, we can simplify the equation as follows :
3. We can now eliminate the unobserved factor by differencing over time
Now, it becomes to find the actual coefficient of causality relationship between college and salary.
2. Simulated Control : Biggest concern with observation data is that we do not get treatment and non-treatment data for the same data point. For instance, referring to the smoking example above, a person can’t be a smoker and non-smoker at the same time.
But, what if, we can find out a look alike for all treated in the non-treated group. And then compare the response of this treatment among look alikes. This is the most common method implemented currently in the industry.
The look alike can be found using nearest neighbor algorithm, k-d tree or any other algorithm. Let’s take an instance, we have two people with same age group, gender, income etc. One of them starts smoking and another does not. Now the stress level can be compared over a period of time given no other condition changes among them.
While this might sound a very exciting approach theoretically, it is usually difficult to carve out pure simulated / virtual control and this can some time lead to conclusions, which may not be correct. This is actually a topic for a different article in future.
3. Instrumental Variable (IV) : This is probably the hardest one which I find to implement. Following are the steps to implement this technique :
Find the cause – effect pair.
Find an attribute which is related to cause but is independent of the error which we get by regressing cause-effect pair. This variable is known as Instrumental Variable.
Now estimate the cause variables using IV.
Try regressing estimated cause – effect to find the actual coefficient of causality.
What have we done here?
In observational data, any regression technique applied between cause-effect pair gives a biased coefficient. Using this methodology, we come out with an unbiased estimation. For example (in cigarette – mental stress pair), we might think it could be influenced by reverse causality.
Now, if we can find any information which is connected to cigarette consumption but not mental stress, we might be able to find the actual relationship. Generally IV are regulatory based variables. For example, here we found a tax regulation which increased only cigarette price and lead to lesser consumption of cigarettes across board. We can now try finding out the mental stress using the 4-step method discussed above.
4. Regression discontinuity design : This is amongst one of my favourite choices. It this makes the observational data really close to experimental design.
In the graph shown below, we are finding a dimension which has a spike on treatment and non-treatment population ratio. Suppose, we want to test the effect of scholarship in college on the grades by the end of course for students. Note that, scholarship is offered to students scoring more than 80% in their pre-college examinations. Here’s the twist. Because these students are already bright, they might continue being on top in future as well. Hence, this is a very difficult cause-effect relation to crack!
But, what if, we compare students who scored just below 80% (say 79.9%) with those who scored just above 80% (say 80.1%) on grades by end of the college. The assumption being that 79.9% student won’t be much different from 80.1% student. And the only thing which can change is the effect of scholarship. This is known as Quasi Randomized Selection.
Hence, the results are very close to perfect conclusions on causality. The only challenge with this methodology is that getting such a dimension is very difficult which can give a pure break up between treated and non-treated population.End Notes
Establishing causality is probably the most difficult task in the field of analytics. The probability of getting it wrong is exceptionally high. Key concepts discussed in this article will help you address the question of causality to a good extent.
Just to end the article with some humor on the topic, here are a few images to drive the difference in correlation and causality.
A spurious correlation:If you like what you just read & want to continue your analytics learning, subscribe to our emails, follow us on twitter or like our facebook page.
If you’re like the average American, you are probably worried to some degree about climate change. But odds are you don’t spend a lot of time talking about it. At least that’s what the data show.
Social scientists disagree about why this is the case, but a new report from Yale and George Mason University offers a compelling explanation.
The report suggests there is a spiral of silence around climate change. Few Americans, even those who care about the carbon crisis, chat about climate change with friends or family. No one talks, so no one feels comfortable talking. Silence begets silence begets silence, widening the gap between popular discourse and public opinion, in an ever-descending spiral.
How social scientists imagine a spiral. Scheufle & Moy, 2000
The term spiral of silence was coined in 1974 by German researcher Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, who was attempting to understand the rise of Hitler. She wanted to know how so many people remained silent as the country slipped into the grip of fascism. She found that when everyone is silent, no one speaks up.
Over the years, scholars have applied the theory to a range of issues. Consistently, they find that people don’t speak up for fear of isolation and reprisal. Share an unpopular opinion, and you risk losing friends and social status.
With climate change, there is some evidence of this. Again and again, surveys show that Americans broadly care about the issue, but few talk about it openly. This is apparent in the findings of the Yale/GMU report.Most Americans care about global warming.
There are several ways to measure concern. The Yale/GMU report looked at who is interested in climate change and who finds the issue personally relevant. Turns out, it’s a lot of people. This is consistent with other other survey data showing that large majorities of Americans believe the climate is changing and think the government should work to cut greenhouse gases.
Yale/George Mason UniversityFew Americans say they hear about global warming in the news.
When asked how often they hear about climate change in the news media, fewer than half of Americans said once a month or more. On this measure, public perceptions are roughly in line with reality. News coverage of climate change is sorely lacking. Last year, broadcast news gave climate change less airtime than Deflategate.
Yale/George Mason University
Yale/George Mason UniversityFew Americans talk about global warming with their friends and family.
This is perhaps the most significant factor. The fear of isolation and reprisal is immediate and personal. People look to friends and family to judge which opinions are safe to share. Not many Americans hear their peers talking about global warming, and few are likely to bring it up in conversation — a fact that hasn’t changed much over the past several years.
Yale/George Mason University
Yale/George Mason UniversityHere is the smoking gun.
Among people who say they are interested in global warming and say it’s personally important, less than half say they hear about it in the media on a monthly basis. About a quarter say they hear about it from their friends once or more a month. And — here’s where the spiral of silence comes in — less than half talk about it with their peers.
Yale/George Mason UniversityWhy is this happening?
Part of the problem is that news coverage hardly measures up to the scale of the problem. It’s a well-established finding in social science that Americans take their cues about which issues are important based on the volume of coverage.
But that doesn’t explain why so few people talk about climate with their family and friends. The rise of social media may be a factor. Political polarization may be as well.
“Our sense is that most Americans don’t raise the issue in conversation because they want to avoid heated or drawn out conversations with people who may hold more extreme views than they do — one way or the other,” said Ed Maibach, professor of communications at George Mason University and lead author of the report.
Dunlap, McCright, & Yarosh, 2023
Dunlap, McCright, & Yarosh, 2023
“It’s a bit like the old adage that it’s impolite to discuss sex, religion, or politics at the dinner table, because it is likely to make someone uncomfortable,” said Maibach. “Our spring 2023 survey found that 56 percent of Americans see global warming as a political issue… that’s more than half the people at any given dinner table.”
But, while climate change has become more polarized, few Americans hold extreme views. Most linger somewhere in the middle — concerned, cautious, disengaged or doubtful, as summed up in previous research from Yale and George Mason University.
Yale/George Mason University
“Most Americans are convinced that climate change is happening, but they don’t hold strong feelings about it. Moreover, they mistakenly think that lots of Americans hold strong feelings about it — either alarmed feelings or dismissive feelings,” said Maibach.
Not everyone agrees that what we are seeing is a spiral of silence. David Karpf, professor of communications at George Washington University, offered a competing view.
“I believe the main driver here is that climate change is a quiet crisis. The problem isn’t that it is politicized, or that it isn’t a priority,” said Karpf. “The problem is (1) that there isn’t a set of routinized events that bring it to into public conversation, and (2) we don’t have a clear notion of what we can each do about it.”
“That’s not really a spiral of silence,” he said. “If there were some set of events that acted as a drumbeat and pushed us to either pay attention to climate change or actively ignore it, then I think we’d see a lot more public conversation about climate.”
Compare climate to gun violence, a problem that regularly consumes the news in the wake of mass shootings. These are moments, explained Karpf, “that seize our collective consciousness.” With climate, such flash points routinely go unrecognized. Reporters fail to connect heat waves, droughts and severe storms to global warming, despite a wealth of evidence.
So, while most Americans believe climate change is a problem and worry about it, few are passionate about the issue. What’s needed is more coverage and more conversation about global warming. It’s going to take some work to serve up climate at the dinner table.
Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him at @deaton_jeremy.
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