Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't believe everything you read

Sarah Palin not knowing Africa is a continent? No one knows who from the McCain campaign leaked this anecdote, but we do know it's not Martin Eisenstadt.

Because he doesn't exist.

It's remarkably easy to fall for false authority. Even the news "professionals" do it sometimes, let alone regular people looking for info.

In a class I'm taking, we recently had to analyze and discuss two elaborate web sites: the Dihidrogen Monoxide Research Division, and RYT Hospital Dwayne Medical Center. Follow the links- they're both pretty cool. Each brings up an about important point about information literacy: one pitches absolutely true information with a wicked slant, and one is a slick, elaborate hoax/digital art project that may take even trained observers a few minutes to catch on to.

In the class we discussed several different methods for evaluating web page information, but it all boils down to two things: WHO is telling you this, and WHY.

Because you really shouldn't believe everything you read. As the police captain said to Nick Nolte in 48 Hours, "Just 'cause you say it with authority doesn't mean sh!t to me!"

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