Worm Joke Causes Science Twitter Flame War Over Accusations of Sexism and Racism

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Science Photo Library / Alamy
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Science Photo Library / Alamy

It was supposed to be a fun activity. On July 18, Ellen Weatherford, co-host of the Just The Zoo of Us podcast, tweeted out a simple question:“What is the most overhyped animal?” The post made the rounds of the loose community of researchers, zookeepers, and wilderness enthusiasts that makes up Science Twitter, a community whose passion often manifests as friendly smack-talk. Answers flowed in: blue whales, lions, penguins. A grand time was had by all. 

Until a day later, when Michael Eisen, editor of eLife—a well-regarded open access scientific journal for the biomedical and life sciences—made a joke about a humble roundworm, thereby cracking open the seventh seal and ushering forth… wormageddon. 

The target of Eisen’s playful ire? A transparent, 1 millimeter-long roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans, which has been the subject of extensive

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Wiley apology for tweets ‘that looked anti-Semitic’ after Twitter ban

Wiley performs on the main stage on Day 1 of Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2018 in London, England
Wiley performs on the main stage on Day 1 of Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2018 in London, England

Grime artist Wiley has apologised for “generalising” about Jewish people after being banned from social media.

In an interview with Sky News, the artist insisted: “I’m not racist.”

“My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people. I want to apologise for generalising, and I want to apologise for comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic.”

Twitter had earlier banned his account permanently after a public backlash over a perceived lack of action.

“We are sorry we did not move faster,” Twitter said in a statement.

Sky News reported that the offensive tweets were sparked by a falling-out between the rapper and his former manager, who is Jewish. The pair cut ties in recent days.

“I just want to apologise for generalising and going

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Trump wonders why ‘nobody likes me’; Twitter gets tough on fake cures; Cuomo gets hot over The Chainsmokers

The U.S. was approaching 150,000 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday while President Trump was trying to figure out why Dr. Anthony Fauci has such a high approval rating and “nobody likes me.”

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top adviser to the Trump administration during the pandemic.

“For the most part we have done what he and others …. have recommended,” Trump said Tuesday. “He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect, and the administration, with respect to the virus?”

Trump added that “Nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.”

Twitter continued a crackdown on tweets about fake cures that has already ensnared the president. This time, Madonna got called out.

The numbers remain bleak. The three states with the largest populations – California, Texas and Florida – all set records for deaths

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Twitter and Facebook become targets in Trump and Biden ads

CHICAGO (AP) — Social media has become the target of a dueling attack ad campaign being waged online by the sitting president and his election rival. They’re shooting the messenger while giving it lots of money.

President Donald Trump has bought hundreds of messages on Facebook to accuse its competitor, Twitter, of trying to stifle his voice and influence the November election.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden has spent thousands of dollars advertising on Facebook with a message of his own: In dozens of ads on the platform, he’s asked supporters to sign a petition calling on Facebook to remove inaccurate statements, specifically those from Trump.

The major social media companies are navigating a political minefield as they try to minimize domestic misinformation and rein in foreign actors from manipulating their sites as they did in the last U.S. presidential election. Their new actions — or in some cases, lack of

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The age of blunt diplomacy? Twitter can be used to escalate global conflict, study says

Just because Twitter is predominantly filled with quips and kvetching doesn’t mean what’s said on the platform can’t have far-reaching consequences, according to a new study from the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College London on how government officials and agencies use Twitter during global crises.

In Escalation by Tweet: Managing the New Nuclear Diplomacy, authors Dr Heather Williams and Dr Alexi Drew report that while “tweets from government officials may help shape the American public narrative and provide greater insights into US decision-making”, they can also create confusion, upend diplomatic communications and escalate global tensions.

For example, Trump notoriously goaded Kim Jong-un on Twitter in 2018, writing “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button,

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How ‘Knives Out’ and a fan page for Ana de Armas harness the power of stan Twitter

Ana de Armas as Marta Cabrera in "Knives Out." <span class="copyright">(Lionsgate)</span>
Ana de Armas as Marta Cabrera in “Knives Out.” (Lionsgate)

The “Knives Out” social media team and the Twitter account @ArmasUpdates have a common goal: to celebrate last year’s hit whodunit and, by extension, the movie’s breakout star, Ana de Armas.

But two of the actress’s biggest Twitter cheerleaders found themselves at odds this month after the 23-year-old cinephile behind @ArmasUpdates publicly exposed the @KnivesOut account for blocking him on the platform. The resulting feud went somewhat viral — albeit among a niche audience — even catching the attention of director Rian Johnson who, like many others, wondered what was afoot.

When examined with a detective’s magnifying glass, the clash is a case study of the intersection of film marketing and stan Twitter — a subset of social media devoted to championing, or “stanning,” a certain celebrity, film, TV series, etc. In their approaches to audience engagement, movie studios and

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‘Tweet-tastrophe’? It could have been. Twitter hack reveals national security threat before election

It’s being called a “tweet-tastrophe.”

The Twitter accounts of some of the world’s biggest names were hacked Wednesday in a bitcoin scam. The FBI is investigating, and the Senate Intelligence Committee asked for a briefing.

“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” Jack Dorsey, the company’s CEO, tweeted.

The breach, as bad as it was – the largest in the social media company’s 14-year history – could have been much, much worse.

Had it been a foreign government looking to disrupt the election in November or bad actors looking to cause an international incident, mayhem would have ensued, Jennifer Grygiel, a communications professor at Syracuse University who studies social media, told USA TODAY.

Had the hack involved President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, it would have constituted an immediate threat to national security.

“Twitter is the fastest wire service we have ever known. This is

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The science behind why everyone is angry on Twitter on Mondays

The link between hot weather and aggressive crime is well established. But can the same be said for online aggression, such as angry tweets? And is online anger a predictor of assaults?

Our study just published suggests the answer is a clear “no.” We found angry tweet counts actually increased in cooler weather. And as daily maximum temperatures rose, angry tweet counts decreased.

We also found the incidence of angry tweets is highest on Mondays, and perhaps unsurprisingly, angry Twitter posts are most prevalent after big news events such as a leadership spill.

This is the first study to compare patterns of assault and social media anger with temperature. Given anger spreads through online communities faster than any other emotion, the findings have broad implications – especially under climate change.

[Read: Twitter wants to let you react with emoji — but why?]

A caricature of US President Donald Trump, who’s been known to fire off an angry tweet. Shutterstock
A caricature of US President Donald Trump, who’s
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