Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the former Google data scientist is the author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. His book is predicated on the well-established truth that people answer surveys the way they believe, consciously or otherwise, their better selves would -- or failing that, what other, better people would say: ask them if they plan on voting, they will say yes; whether they harbour any racial resentment, they will reply no. Their evasions and distortions, unsurprisingly, are even more marked in intimate matters: Heterosexual American men claim to use 1.6 billion condoms a year; straight women, whose numbers should closely approximate, say 1.1 billion; condom manufacturers record their annual sales as topping out at 600 million. But alone, in front of their computers, people will let Google -- and PornHub -- know what they are truly thinking and what they truly want.

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Worse still is what Stephens-Davidowitz calls America's "underground abortion crisis." Available statistics already point to "missing pregnancies." In 2011, the 10 states with the fewest abortion clinics saw 54 per cent fewer legal abortions than the 10 states with the most clinics, a difference of 11 abortions for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age. But those states saw only six more live births per 1,000 women. Google, says Stephens-Davidowitz, is informative about the reasons behind the numerical difference. That same year, 2011, when 92 state-level provisions restricting abortion access were enacted, has been identified by reproductive rights groups as the start of the U.S.'s latest abortion crackdown. American searches for self-induced abortion information spiked 40 per cent in 2011, and have kept growing. (There was no parallel surge in Canada, where access to abortion has not changed.) By 2015, there were more than 700,000 such Google searches in America, 4,000 of them seeking directions for coat-hanger abortions; including 1,300 with the exact phrase, "how to do a coat hanger abortion." The state with the highest rate of searches for self-induced abortion? Mississippi, with its three million people and single clinic.

There are other "dark currents flowing beneath the civilized surface of America," Stephens-Davidowitz notes when discussing some of his more incendiary political findings. Americans annually launch seven million Internet searches that include the n-word. They look for "n-word jokes" 17 times more than anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, anti-everybody-else jokes combined. On Barack Obama's first election night, one per cent of the searches for his name also included the n-word or KKK. Some states recorded more searches for "n-word president" than "first black president." Explicit, if hidden, racism remains a potent political force -- the hotbeds of those searches correlate to the "surprise" areas that put Trump in the White House, including western Pennsylvania and the industrial Midwest.

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Behold, man begat god.

#1 | Posted by bored at 2017-12-20 05:10 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I've always thought for years that the most honest true feelings, editorials and political commentary was written on the walls of bathroom stalls at Truck Stops. Nowadays they've just transferred a lot of that rage and discontent to the internet in anonymous blogging.

#2 | Posted by shane at 2017-12-20 11:49 AM | Reply

"By 2015, there were more than 700,000 such Google searches in America, 4,000 of them seeking directions for coat-hanger abortions; including 1,300 with the exact phrase, "how to do a coat hanger abortion." The state with the highest rate of searches for self-induced abortion? Mississippi, with its three million people and single clinic."

Tells you everything you need to know about anti-abortion crusaders.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-20 12:07 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the former Google data scientist is the author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.

There are other "dark currents flowing beneath the civilized surface of America," Stephens-Davidowitz notes when discussing some of his more incendiary political findings.

Americans annually launch seven million Internet searches that include the n-word. They look for "n-word jokes" 17 times more than anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist, anti-everybody-else jokes combined.

On Barack Obama's first election night, one per cent of the searches for his name also included the n-word or KKK. Some states recorded more searches for "n-word president" than "first black president."

Explicit, if hidden, racism remains a potent political force -- the hotbeds of those searches correlate to the "surprise" areas that put Trump in the White House, including western Pennsylvania and the industrial Midwest.


No wonder Trump kept copies of Hitler's speeches on his nightstand.

#4 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2017-12-20 12:19 PM | Reply

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