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Malignant Disinformation with Dr. Eric Rasmussen.

Can you guess if Erik or Lyn like New Year's Resolutions?

About this Episode

Dr. Eric Rasmussen and the Lindberghs have an enlightening conversation about the global spread of malignant disinformation and what we can to help ensure we are not contributing to the issue.

Some of our favorite quotes

It's really important we don't stuff ourselves into a bubble. This makes us vulnerable to disinformation. (Erik)

Infinitum Humanitarian Systems studies the impact of false information on the American electorate. Not just 2016, but what has happened for decades and recent events that have changed the dynamic of spreading false information. (Dr. Rasmussen)

The information being presented is either not true, or it is spun in such a way that only a small portion of the truth is reflected. And that can make people close gaps that are actually inaccurate as they guess at what the real meaning might be. And there are those that are deliberately trying to dismantle some of the most valuable institutions we put together as a result of the devastation, the cataclysm, that was World Wars One and Two (example: NATO). (Dr. Rasmussen)

Russia alone in WWII lost 20,000,000 people.

According to Sun Tzu, if you can't win a war peer-to-peer a way you can win without fighting is to make your enemy subdue themselves. That is a lot of what information warfare is all about.

There's very good evidence that if you hear something over and over again, no matter how ridiculous or how many times it's debunked, it begins to take a life of it's own in your mind.

If someone manages to position the messaging that is picked up by someone who wants to believe it is true, and then he/she echos it as a real person, then you now have a useful idiot (UI), that's an actual term. A useful idiot is someone who may have all kinds of reasons to want to look smart and in touch.

A useful idiot is the person who serves as the credibility and legitimacy for a (fake) story.

Active measures used in digital-warfare. 1. Find the cracks. 2. Say a big lie... 3. ...with a kernel of Truth. 4. Conceal your hand (and cover your tracks) 5. The Useful Idiot 6. Deny, Deny, Deny 7. The Long Game

Last night, I listened to both MSNBC and then turned over and listened to FOX. I tried to give them equal time. They are two different universes, not even planets, not even galaxies, they are two different universes. They are not agreeing on the same set of facts, never-mind what conclusions to draw from those facts. That makes it very difficult to have a conversation or to establish trust. (Dr. Rasmussen)

You had Michalski on here. The concepts of trust is now becoming foreign. No matter what topic you choose it's going to be a hot-button for someone. (Dr. Rasmussen)

About 12 - 14% of Instagram accounts are bots.

There are bots all over the globe tweeting, and messaging things you are likely to be emotional about. It causes you to be upset and angry and feeling the need to tell all of your friends. Hence, the useful idiot.

The largest political party is not Democrat or Republican, it's the "Non Voting" party.

You shmuck!

When was the last time you changed your mind about something important? (Chris)

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Dr. Eric Rasmussen
Dr. Eric Rasmussen

Mentioned in this Episode

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About Eric Rasmussen

Eric Rasmussen is the CEO for Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS), a multinational consulting group built on a profit-for-purpose model. He is an internal medicine physician with both undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University and a European Master’s degree in disaster medicine from the UN World Health Organization’s affiliate CEMEC (Centre European pour la Medecin des Catastrophes) in Italy. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1997 and a Fellow of the Explorer's Club in 2014.

Rasmussen is also a Research Professor in Environmental Security and Global Medicine at San Diego State University and has been an instructor in disaster medicine at both the International Disaster Academy in Bonn, Germany and the Institute for Disaster Preparedness at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He holds an additional appointment as Core Faculty at Singularity University (within the NASA Ames Research Center) for Disaster Resilience and Global Health, focused on issues associated with Human Security and with a special interest in climate adaptation for vulnerable populations.  

He served in the US Navy for 25 years aboard nuclear submarines, amphibious ships, and aircraft carriers. His positions included Joint Task Force Surgeon (Forward) for the Hurricane Katrina response, Team Lead for the Banda Aceh Tsunami Response from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Fleet Surgeon for the US Navy’s Third Fleet, director of an Intensive Care Unit, and Chairman of an academic department of medicine in Seattle.

While on active duty Dr. Rasmussen was selected as a Principle Investigator by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. His work, on machine-based language translation, civil-military support to humanitarian operations, and soft-power operations for the reduction of social unrest in conflict zones, led to his selection as Principal Investigator of the Year for DARPA in 2003. 

His wartime deployments included Bosnia three times, Afghanistan twice, and Iraq for nine months. Lessons from those deployments informed his Directorship of three international disaster response demonstrations called the Strong Angel series. Those events reproduced, in a remote setting, challenges faced by both civilian and military participants in both disasters and wars. Lessons from those events were later incorporated into civil legislation, DoD policy, and military training.

After retiring from the Navy he was appointed the Founding CEO for the TED Prize awarded to Dr. Larry Brilliant, then Executive Director of

Since 2014 Rasmussen has also led the Global Disaster Response Team for the Roddenberry Foundation, supported by the Star Trek franchise and in partnership with MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. That team provides permanent water purification and renewable power to displaced populations and has deployed to Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Nepal earthquake, Hurricane Mathew in Haiti, and three times to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

He has an appointment as a Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute with Amory Lovins, and serves pro bono as Chairman of the Board for two NGOs – one specializing in anti-slavery/anti-trafficking efforts for refugees and the recipient of the UN’s ID2020 award in 2018, the other focused on outbreak epidemiology for One Health initiatives in Southeast Asia. He’s a Permanent Advisor to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Expert Panel on Water Disasters and has been a member of the US National Academy of Science’s Committee on Grand Challenges in Global Development since 2012. More here:

On Amazon

Books mentioned in this episode.

An Erik Lindbergh original.

Lyn Lindbergh's award winning book.

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Can you guess if Erik or Lyn like New Year's Resolutions?


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Thanks! Erik and Lyn

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