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July 26, 2007



Lorie, my roomate, is VERY interested in social mapping, is actively studying social mapping, has books on it, has completed a project mapping HIV prevalence, and will hopefully get hired somewhere soon doing GIS so that she can begin to positively influence GIS towards effecting social change. EVERYTHING can be used for social change, especially something as corporate and money-making like GIS. Hell, McDonalds uses mapping to plot new locations....


It seems likely that the reason this was picked up by the press has to do with the prevalence of obesity; the novelty of the study method; the fact that it was published in an esteemed journal; and the splashiness of the idea that obesity may a social phenomenon. Most people who read anything in the newspaper (a "factual" article about Iraq, for instance), don't have much information about the context, political science, the issue at hand, the policies in place, the limitations of the type of research that has gone into the article, or anything else pertinent to understanding the story. The readership makes a lot of assumptions based on the article about Iraq that may or may not be based on facts or the best available information. This is also true in articles about health, and every other imaginable topic. I don't think we should censure the press or the journal for their relationship in this instance; instead, we should actively seek to improve the public's and policymakers' ability to understand, question, and act on what they read.

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