A new solicitation on the government’s Federal Business Opportunities website involves a five-year Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study trolling Twitter with algorithms for keywords about the stomach flu:
The Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) located in Cincinnati, OH is requesting a BPA to purchase Twitter messages based on search criteria EPA provide the vendor. The information gather will then be used to compile cause and affect analyses for research. The following example search terms are considered evidence of AGI:
Stomach flu, stomach bug, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
The solicitation document goes on to say that these Twitter messages, “will be evaluated by U.S. EPA human health specialists to determine if they are indicative of AGI.”
Because the agency used the phrase “human health specialists” — plural with an ‘s’ — that means that multiple people over at the EPA will be employed to sit around and analyze Tweets with the words “vomiting” and “diarrhea” in them.
That will be their job.
So hypothetically, if one of these people were to go to a diner for lunch and a waitress was to casually ask him or her, “So what do you do?,” the EPA worker might respond with, “I’m an EPA human health specialist. Part of my job is to analyze Tweets with the word ‘diarrhea’ in them to track the flu. It’s very important work.”
Considering this is a five-year study, it likely isn’t going to be cheap, either — as Elizabeth Harrington at The Washington Free Beacon points out:
Similar projects have cost millions. The National Institutes of Health recently allotted $5 million for several studies of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for research on drug abuse over a three-year period. The NIH also awarded a one-year $82,800 grant to research how to use Twitter for surveillance on depressed people.
No word on why the EPA is conducting this study instead of the CDC (which already tracks the flu on the agency’s “Flu Activity & Surveillance” webpage) or the Department of Health and Human Services which runs the government’s official Flu.gov website (tagline: “It’s not too late to vaccinate!”) and official Flu.gov Twitter account @FluGov where you can learn all about the flu and the flu vaccine, including nifty factoids like, “It takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect.”
What else could this (derisive air quotes) “research” secondarily be used for?
Well, as Daisy Luther of Organic Prepper reported, there are those pesky anti-vaccine advocates, nicknamed “Flugitives,” who simply refuse to line up for their flu vaccine:
A national campaign has begun with the intention to shame and peer pressure everyone to get the flu shot. The campaign was created by Sanofi-Pasteur, the company who makes…you guessed it…a flu vaccine called Fluzone, approved by our good friends at the FDA in 2011. (They also collaborate with the notable eugenicists of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.) You can find out more about the FLUgitive campaign on Facebook.
There’s also the potential usefulness of combating, say, adverse reaction reports to vaccines as they happen… you know, to reassure the public that the flu shot is totally safe in case they should get any other “misinformation” about it.
By the way, isn’t it great we live in a country where the government spends millions in taxpayer dollars to employ “specialists” to analyze … Tweets?