True and False using SIFT

Article 1: True

I came across this Business Insider article that reports on the Chinese government’s plan to launch three additional unmanned lunar missions after finding a potential energy source on the moon.

I: Investigate the Source

A quick Google search on Business Insider showed me that it won a Pulitzer prize in 2022 for Illustrated Reporting and Commentary, which makes me confident in its reliability.

F: Find Trusted Coverage

I Googled “China moon mining missions” and saw many other recent articles discussing this topic, including a Bloomberg article. Finding that many other news outlets were picking up on this story is a good sign that it isn’t some fringe conspiracy.

T: Trace Claims

The original Business Insider actually links to that Bloomberg article as being the first to report on this topic. They also link to an article from the Global Times, a Chinese state-affiliated news site, as a source for this information. Both these articles corroborate the information that Business Insider is presenting.

Article 2: False

After looking around on InfoWars for a while, I realized that sites such as this are generally smart about not reporting outright falsehoods. Most of the time, they’ll take something that is technically true and run with it in a way that supports the worldview they’re pushing. One example of this kind of misinformation is an article titled “The Real Inconvenient Truth: Arctic Sea Ice Has Grown Since 2012”. The article misconstrues some facts about arctic ice levels as being proof that climate change and sea level rise are not happening.

I: Investigate the Source

InfoWars was created in 1999 by Alex Jones who uses it to tell conspiratorially minded readers what they want to hear and then sell them sponsored products on the InfoWars store. Alex Jones has a history of using InfoWars as a platform for disinformation or libel and then losing lawsuits in defense of his claims. All this to say InfoWars is clearly a site that values spectacle and conspiracy over facts.

F: Find Trusted Coverage

I couldn’t find any other articles covering the exact data that InfoWars pulls from, but I found a Reuters article that fact-checks a similar claim that arctic ice levels are increasing. Here’s a quote from that Reuters article:

Dan Jones, physical oceanographer at the University of Cambridge Centre for Climate Science…told Reuters, “We do expect some year-to-year variations in Arctic sea ice. That’s not a surprise. And these variations don’t change the fact that we have seen a decrease in September sea ice extent of about 13% per decade since the start of the satellite era in 1979.

T: Trace Claims

InfoWars does actually base their claims on reliable data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). However, InfoWars cherry-picked data that supported their position. For example, they claim that “summer sea ice in the Arctic was at its third highest extent since 2007” which is technically true. However, the metric that the NSIDC uses is based on the 1981-2010 median. The InfoWars article also cites an article from the Daily Sceptic, which happens to be the same site that the previously mentioned Reuters article was debunking.

Who is the internet for?

The internet is, by design, for everyone. An internet connection and a device are all that’s required to access any site on the internet. It’s up to the users of the internet, however, to bring this concept into reality. This can be achieved by making content open and accessible.

Openness

Openness on the internet is the idea of sharing your knowledge openly. If you’re working on a project, sharing each step and the decision making process behind it would go a long way to making it more open.

Why?

Just as you may find a helpful resource online, making your content open could be a useful resource for someone else. Openness also encourages collaboration. An open-source project could have many users contributing to it even if they’re not directly involved.

How?

Websites like GitHub are places for software development projects to host their code in an open source environment. You could create a website or blog where you post about anything you do, not just software development. Or you could contribute to an existing website that hosts the type of projects that you work on.

Accessibility

An accessible website fulfills the promise that the internet is for everyone. An accessible website would ideally be readable and usable by anyone regardless of their level of ability. An example of accessibility in the real world is the implementation of wheelchair ramps at building entrances.

A metal wheelchair ramp leading to the white door of a brick house

Why?

Greater accessibility makes the internet more fair to those with disabilities and makes a more streamlined experience for all. Ideally, you wouldn’t want anyone to be unable to use your website just because of their disability, so making a more accessible site only serves to increase the number of people able to use your site. A side effect of making a website more accessible to people with disabilities is that the user experience is enhanced for all other users. Just as a ramp may be easier to walk up than steep stairs, accessibility features like captions and screen readers can benefit anyone who wishes to use them, not just those who need to.

How?

Text on a website should be formatted to be readable by screen readers and images should be given alt text for screen readers to read. Any audio or video content should include captions or a transcript for those who can’t hear or those who prefer the option of text.

Carter Mitchell

Hello, my name is Carter. This is my first semester at UMW, but I’m transferring from Germanna Community College. I am majoring in Historic Preservation with the goal of working in the museum field . I love learning about all periods of history, but I’m especially interested in the pre-colonial and early colonial Americas. I also like playing video games, I mostly play on my computer and like listening to music or podcasts while I play to relax.

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