Something real, something not….

The internet is full of both the cumulative knowledge of humanity and its mindless dribble. More insidiously there is a large amount of mis-information that spans the entire gambits of the political spectrum, health and wellness, and conspiracy theories. Here a just a couple of examples of what is and what is not.

Image of man at laptop thinking.
Photo by: Andrea Picqadio

Something real:

Life expectancy falls in US, it would not appear that something like this would happen in a country like the United States, and someone may assume that the article is click bait.  However, the source that published the story immediately sites their source, which is the Centers for Disease Control.  Later in the article, US News also lists by name a professor who corroborates the claims by the other sources via an independent study.  

Stop

The source here is US News which is a well known publication that I am familiar with.

Investigate

US News and World report was launched in 1948, Wikipedia lists an extensive numbers of sources validating its history and reputation.

Find Better Coverage

In the case of this article this specific subject was covered by numerous other media outlets that are well known and generally trusted sources.

Trace claims

US News is reporting on a report generated by the Centers for Disease Control, and the article directly links to their report.

Something fake:

Food Babe posted this image and claimed that TBHQ is a toxic preservative made from butane.  This while not being a full-fledged article, it was posted by a somewhat influential food blogger on social media.  The post went viral as it appears on the surface to be truthful, and this is aided by the actual chemical name of the substance in question (a tert-butyl moiety). Butyl is similar in name to Butane. And the posts author claimed (falsely) that the preservative is made from butane.

Stop

In this case the claim is bombastic and not from an actual media company but rather an influencer with a sizeable following.

Investigate

This claim was specifically debunked by Snopes.com via several sources that are able to show that not only is the additive safe for humans but also that it is in fact not created from butane.

Find Better Coverage

Coverage on the case of whether or not TBHQ is safe for consumption is addressed by regulatory agencies sited in the Snopes.com article debunking this post they include both the FDA in the US and the EFSA in Europe.

Trace Claims

In this case the claim is directly from the author of the post so there is not a need to trace it farther back.

Accessibility and Openness for the modern world

Disability icon painted in a parking space.
Image by: Jakub Pabus @ pexels.com

What is accessibility?

For many of us “accessibility” is not something we think much about on a daily basis, unless you or someone you know has a disability that affects their ability to use computer based media. Advancements in improving accessibility for the disabled have however directly benefited society as a whole over the years. Some of these considerations are now so commonplace that they are transparent to us in our daily lives.
Accessibility can be in the form of something physical such as a design consideration in a building or a sidewalk

How can we do it?

It can be in technology based such as Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired, a web reader for the visually impaired, or voice to text technologies allowing those with mobility issues to work and communicate via tech based systems the same as anyone who is able bodied. Construction considerations can allow improved accessibility in buildings for those less mobile .

Why should we?

In the end, keeping “accessibility” in mind when creating both media content and physical structures not only benefits those who may be seen as having a direct need, it can also benefit us all by providing creative solutions to many different challenges.

Openness

Openness in the internet realm can be described simply as working in the public space, in such a way that what and how you are doing something can be viewed or emulated by anyone who happens across your work.

How can we be “Open”?

Being open is a personal choice. Working independently is the first step. Choose places to host your content that do not demand to have ownership of your content.

Why be open?

Allowing your work to be open on the internet allows nearly limitless collaboration. The benefits can be profound from aid in development to creating something that may have far reaching benefits for others. Allowing your work to be seen by others means you may not make a profit on your work but this certainly an altruistic act.

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