How To Spot Chain E-mail FUD

Warning!Everyone gets email these days. Most of the time it’s stuff you want, confirmation of an order made online, notes from a friend, amusing photos from a coworker. Stuff you want and know that it’s on the level. But what about the chain emails that some people think are just so important they have an overwhelming need to share it with everyone in their address book? Generally it will be a message of some dire predicament that the government is going to put everyone in if they vote a certain way or some message of warning that some food will kill you faster than life normally would or even that our country is going to hell in an express hand basket because our cities don’t look as clean and neon lit as someone else’s city.  It’s filled with FUD. What is FUD? It’s a catch all term for ‘Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt’. It’s the monosodium glutamate of today’s information, sad to say… I personally don’t make a point of correcting the enormous fallacies the chain emails promote, but in the past I have done just that. It takes time and eventually I realize that I’m just shouting in the wind, it’s going to to little good to whomever sent me the rant. I now realize that a much better plan is to attempt to educate the general population as to how best to avoid bogus email in the first place.
In looking around the interwebs I found this gem from These are the folks that go to the trouble to verifying that what politicians say is how it actually is. It matters little what your political affiliation is because this place is an equal opportunity offender. They call it like it is saying yep or nope to the points in question. Handy site to refer to in these days of amazingly polarized opinion.

If there was ever a case where readers should apply a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, this is it. We at ask the public to be skeptical about politicians’ claims. With these e-mails, outright cynicism is justified. Assume all such messages are wrong, and you’ll be right most of the time.

I like their style. ‘Question and verify’, words to live by if you read anything on the Internet or hear anything on the news. Even more so with chain emails. So have a nice sit down and read their how-to guide over a strong cup of tea and maybe you will think twice before you forward a chain email message.

That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is Likely Bogus. Seriously. |

Validity of Information, How to Be A BS Detective

mess of wiresWhen I think about how easy it is to find information on the Internet I have to pause to wonder just how accurate is that information? Back in the day you had to go to a library or dust off a volume of the household encyclopedia to get the facts on a subject. Now you just have to do a Google search of scan the Wikipedia article on it. That’s all well and good but just how do you know what you’re reading is correct? The books and periodicals that are in the library are a trusted source because publishers have fact checkers that fix incorrect data before a bazillion copies are made. Not so on the wild Internet. It’s tough to sort out the facts from the BS and like the author of the bellow mentioned article says you need to be a bit of a detective.  He outlines a number of ways to see the clues that offer insight into whether what your reading is on the mark or is crackpot nonsense. These ‘rules of thumb’ are also part of being a critical thinker.  I’m fond of saying that you should keep an open mind but don’t let it fall out. Think of critical thinking as a bungie cord for your brain. Enough give to move about but keeps everything all together when the going is rough. Enjoy the article and I hope this helps you while you navigate the ‘Net.

[via Skepchick]

Crap Detection 101

Reality Television, Friend or Foe?

Vh1 seems to be taking over the world. First we have Flavor of love then Flavor of love 2 then a spin off I love New York and yet another spin off has been released Charm school. Our form of entertainment has been lowered to watching other peoples sad lives. The sad thing is it’s not just VH1 it’s all reality TV shows. Everyone asks "Why are our kids so fat?" maybe it’s because you go out to McDonalds every night for dinner and then come home and watch OTHER people playing cards! Reality television is going to become the new history channel for this generation. Sure I like to watch Charm School when I’m really bored and we can’t go anywhere (thanks to the law that says I can’t drive) but that’s not what I see as good quality programing. I think people should turn off the TV for awhile and get some exercise stop watching the shows about other people exercising and do it yourself.

US Postal Service Removes Clocks to Speed Up Time, WTF?

USPSNormally I’d make a long winded rant about the piss poor service I have been getting at my local post offices lately but I see little point in it. Lets just say that if the overlords at the USPS would wake up they would realize that customer service and proficiency of your tasks should be ‘job one’. Whey you employ chatter boxes and inept fools at the front lines (counter help) your making a big mistake. I don’t know what genius decided that taking the clocks out of the waiting room was a good idea but I bet i was the same ass that did away with the ‘take a number’ concept. Perhaps this is a ploy to get everyone to use FedEx and UPS so the postal employees can whine and cry about being put out of a job by those guys. Somehow the ‘forever stamp‘ works into that scenario I’m sure. Jerks. I blame the unions…

[via Consumerist]
Postal Service fixes long waits by removing clocks

RFID Stapler, Office Products of the Beast?

RFID staplesLooks like a fine idea to me, I’d love to be able to sweep a scanner over a stack of papers and find out if a lost report is in it. Oh yeah, don’t let the title of the post fool you. That ‘xxx of the Beast‘ crap is for silly ninnies that don’t want the trains to run on time and like constant turmoil caused by the stupid notion of what happens to you after you die. I just figure that by using it in a title it’s a good way to get noticed. Note to all my friends that believe in that sort of thing, sorry to exploit your beliefs but why shouldn’t I  when it’s so darn easy?
Anyway, the RFID enabled staples are something that I’d buy now if I could. I’d staple everything. Papers, boxes, books, you name it! I’d never lose anything ever again. Ah, bliss! However, if I did have a cool high tech trackable stapler I’d more than likely invest on one of these fine DataSafe Security Wallets. It’s best to play it safe now and again, don’t you think? In the mean time I think I might have a closer look at this nifty RFID Experimentation kit I saw over on MAKE.  Think about it, how cool would it be to run a scanner over a sealed box of books and then be able to tell exactly whats in side of it? Anyone with a closet full of stuff will appreciate this I’m sure.

[via SCI FI Tech | SCIFI.COM]
Popluar Science (click on the slideshow)

Parking Aid For Social Harmony

Learn to park In an effort to undoubtedly promote social harmony amongst people who park their cars, my friend Kevin (aka Dusty Weasle) has come up with a simple to deploy universal sign that you can place on peoples cars when they don’t quite hit the parking slot. Feel free to print out a bunch and keep them in your glove box for when you see someone that obviously needs a little help.

Learn to park