News

Election Season Is In Full Swing, Stay Informed

It may be hard to believe but it’s September 21st already. With that, if your TV hasn’t told you already with a litany of ads, election season is upon us. While you'll mainly hear about the "hot" topics, there are many an item getting voted on in Congress that you might not even know about.

Enter Countable.

Welcome to our new home!

Well, after a couple weeks of hard work, we finally made the switch to our new host, Squarespace!  While the previous format worked okay, it was just getting to the point, where it seemed like too much focus was being placed on the "tech" aspects of the site, and not enough on content.

It may take a little time to continue to get things more and more up to speed and polished, but I THINK any posts from the old site, should hopefully redirect to here now.  If you notice anything, please be sure to contact us!  

In the meantime, feel free to look around!

Stay Away From All Romaine Lettuce Per CDC

Romaine While the news about the most recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak has been out for bit, the CDC came out with a new warning regarding the product late Friday.

Lena H. Sun, reporting for The Washington Post:

Public health officials are now telling consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable that has spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alaska prison.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that new information about the illnesses in Alaska led them to expand a warning beyond chopped romaine to include any type of romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts of romaine. The inmates who became sick at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome ate lettuce from whole heads of romaine grown in Yuma, Ariz., the CDC said.

Although the exact source of the tainted lettuce hasn't been identified, federal officials have said information indicates the contaminated lettuce was grown in that southwest corner of Arizona. Of those who have been sickened, at least 31 people have been hospitalized, including five who developed a type of potentially life-threatening kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported.

Romaine

DHS Looking to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe

Laptops Just a heads up if you're looking to fly from Europe to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security within the U.S. is looking to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights.  European security officials made mention of Thursday's expected announcement to The Daily Beast.

At first, the ban on laptops and tablets had applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East.  However, it is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.

According to the DHS in a statement to The Daily Beast: “No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

Stay tuned.

Facebook Looking to Hire for Role to Combat Fake News

A picture of a fake news newspaper Earlier this month we wrote about how search engine giant Google was stepping up its efforts to help users discern fake news.  According to Recode, Facebook is wanting join in the effort by hiring for a position to head up its news products, with the goal of helping to defeat fake news on its service.

While Facebook is said to be speaking with experienced individuals in both the tech and media industries, multiple sources are reporting that the company is said to be having trouble finding someone with both the necessary applicable skills in news and technology.

Fidji Simo, who is Facebook’s VP in charge of news and video, would oversee the role.  However, the position is not currently listed on the company's website.  Nonetheless, those sources are reporting that whomever is in the new position would assist Facebook in creating news products for media partners, such as Instant Articles, in addition to looking for ways to help prevent "fake" news from being spread.

As many know, since the US Presidential election, the sharing of misinformation has grown significantly, with some critics having blamed Facebook for the outcome of the election.

Facebook's recent efforts for combating misinformation have included flagging inaccurate news stories as well as working with third-party fact checkers.

Search Giant Google Aims To Help Extinguish Fake News

A colorful logo of a Google Doodle while looking for the news Our Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds sure have evolved over the last few years haven't they?  They started as a means to see what is going on in our friends lives to maybe having a chance to get a re-tweet from a celebrity. News mediums have taken over, with many using their social media feeds to share and re-share news links.  However, given our heated political climate, how do we know what news may or may not be "fake news"?

There is no doubt that Google reigns supreme on the Internet when it comes to searching for information, aiming to help users obtain useful content that sites and publishers create.  But as Google came to realize, multitudes of new articles are published constantly every day, and that sheer amount of content could be overwhelming to most.  Therein lies the rub of also being able to help readers decide whether information could be factual, or sadly, false.

Time to Fact Check The News

This past October, Google partnered with Jigsaw, and announced that in a few countries they would start to enable publishers to show a "fact check" tag within Google News for news stories.  The label identifies articles with information already fact checked by news publishers as well as fact checking organizations.

Now, having obtained feedback from numerous users, Google has made the fact check label in Google News available everywhere, and is expanding it into Search globally in all languages.  So now, when you perform a search query on Google, that returns an authoritative result possessing one or more public claims, that information will be clearly shown on the search results page.  The displayed snippet will show information on the claim, who made the claim, and the resulting fact check of that particular claim.

One caveat though is that there IS the potential for this information to not be available for every search result and there could be search result pages where different publishers may have checked the same claim and came to different conclusions.  Google mentions that these fact checks are not theirs and is merely a chance to allow users to make informed judgments.

For more on the new feature, you can check out Google's Help Center.