Going to the Source
We've got lots of great Stuff to show you this week. But before I get into it, let me drone for a bit about a subject dear to the hearts of all of us who do Field Research for the Earth Edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: checking your sources.
Far from being a tedious exercise insisted upon by Miss Zlotnik, your party-pooper of a sixth-grade teacher1, fact-checking is a form of self-defence that keeps your and your friends from becoming victims of the kind of people who should – and we say this in the kindest possible way – go and stick their heads in a pig.
What brings this on? Well, for one thing, the obituaries dedicated to Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. That book is remembered fondly by many people who used to be children, and its author's passing was noted with respect. Alas: it was also noted with inaccuracy. Far too many of these copy+paste 'journalists' copied+pasted an egregious error that arose from somebody's failure to note that an article 'deconstructing' the children's book was published on 1 April.
Now, nobody's blaming these people for having no sense of humour. We do not mock them for that. Oh, no. We mock them for being too lazy to look it up. We bet you copied Jimmy's homework in school, too.
There are some people I know – very dear, sweet people they are, too, retired folk on Twitter – who love to style themselves 'amateur historians'. They post old pictures. When I eagerly inquire, they reply, 'Oh that? I don't know where it came from, or who took it. I just liked it.' So there I am, with no provenance or way to verify.
These same people pass along urban legends as fact. When I send them source material and beg for a public retraction, they usually reply, 'Oh, but I like that story! I think I'll keep it!'
People. We do not do this. The Guide does not do this. And the h2g2 Post – while containing much that is fanciful and, in fact, completely made up – always clearly delineates its areas of doubt and uncertainty. In this way, we all do our bit to hold the line on what is becoming an increasingly foggy frontier of reality.
Here Endeth the Sermon.
Now for the Good Stuff:
We'll be back next week with more Stuff. (Send more Stuff!) Remember to ask that goose for permission before you take its picture. They have privacy rights and tend to defend them.
Quote of the Week: I was just asked one of the important questions of life: 'But how can I hold a toy when I go to sleep but not hold one when I wake up?'
Tavaron, Architect and Mother
I sold a poem, let's get married.
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Waiting for a bus.
Work in progress.
Work in progress.
Martin Hyde (21).
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