Satire, Fake News and Bias

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A recent piece of satire from The Out And Abouter is called Concerned, But Not Wanting To Offend, Canada Quietly Plants Privacy Hedge Along Entire U.S. Border.

And we’re happy to pay for it,” say a united front of Canadian premiers, national leaders, mayors, citizens, and casual acquaintances, of the newly planted hedge that has sprung up seemingly overnight, running unbroken for 6,416 kilometers, along the world’s longest undefended border.
– The Out and Abouter, January 2017 –

Snopes, the fact checking site, has clarified that the story is False but points out that the Author of the site clearly states that he/she writes Satirical Commentary.

The Message from the Queen – Revoking American Independence was satire too, though the name of the original author remains elusive.

…the aim of satire shouldn’t be about fooling people; it should be about making them laugh. “We’re always looking at our headlines and thinking, ‘Could someone actually believe this?’” he says. “And if it does [seem believable], then we haven’t done our job properly.”
– Rhodri Marsden, Independent, July 2015 –

Worldnewsdailyreport.com is a bit different duck, in that it looks like a real news site. You have to read their entire disclaimer (on a separate page) to discover the fictional nature of the content. The headline “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting prepared to accommodate nearly 250,000 American refugees if Donald Trump is to be elected US president in November” is entirely fictional.

(The ‘immigration truth’ is – Canada accepted the most Americans during the Vietnam war (it is estimated that more than 400,000 Americans took up Canadian residency between 1968 and 1978).

CNBC,  in a round-up of Fake News Stories in 2016, pointed to these untrue headlines: “Pope Francis Endorses Donald Trump for President” and “Ireland is now officially accepting Trump refugees from America”. Politifact determined that this story was false: “Thousands of people at a Donald Trump rally in Manhattan chanted, “We hate Muslims, we hate blacks, we want our great country back.”

Of course, Donald Trump himself was the source of many falsehoods, most of which he repeatedly refused to be embarrassed about. He knew that his most ardent supporters would accept him, and understand him – in the same way they would support a friend who sometimes says things without having facts to back up what they are saying. (Politifact and other fact checking sites  have lists of falsehoods made by Barack Obama, Donald Trump and other politicians.)

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has undoubtedly uttered a few falsehoods too, though it is hard to classify what his sweet-sounding praise of Fidel Castro was, or how his government tripled the projected deficit once in power…

But if we’ve come to expect and even joke about office-seekers who seem truth averse (“How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving”), many of us have given little thought to our own fibs and to how they compare with politicians’ deceits. What if PolitiFact looked at what we say to our spouses, friends and bosses?
– New York Post, April 2016 –

Here in Canada, Federal politicians are investigating ‘false news’ as part of a broader study by the Federal Heritage Committee into the impact of digital technology on journalism. While various sections of Canada’s CRTC regulations prohibit the broadcasting of “false or misleading news” by radio and television licensees, it obviously can’t control or regulate news that is broadcast from the USA or is delivered through the internet.

So if you spot someone sharing something that you know is outlandish, strike a blow for truth and let them know. But be nice about it. After all, we’ve all had our moments of gullibility, and we certainly haven’t had our last.
– Rhodri Marsden, Independent, July 2015 –

How do we, as citizens of our respective countries, respond to this web of falsehoods? Some people speak or write mean, spiteful, horrid things about President Trump, his family, and other politicians. Does that achieve anything? If you have ridiculed, shamed, hated, scorned, or belittled someone, does that make you a better person than they are?

But every time someone quips like Donald Trump does…they reveal a streak of that same character in themselves. You tumble closer to the bottom of the pit where Trump resides. And by signaling your comfort in saying it, you give tacit permission to others to do the same. Quickly, we all find ourselves lower than before.
– Nate Hopper, Time, October 2016 –

There are many ways to express your opinions without being abusive. First, though, you should make sure your opinions are NOT based on, or propped up by Fake News.

How do you fact check? Do you know which news outlets are satirical, which ones are make up fake stories, which ones have strong bias either left or right?

 

This is the Week That Was: January 20, 2017 – Misc Quotations

Baby Boomers: You’d better believe the generation that ended a war in Vietnam and changed the flavour of Coke will have something to say about their chocolate pudding.
– Macleans – There’s a Cooking Career Gold Mine –

You don’t make yourself better by tearing others down.
If you can’t intelligently argue for both sides of an issue, you don’t understand the issue well enough to argue for either.
– Margy –

Stop crying wolf. God forbid, one day we might have somebody who doesn’t give speeches about how diversity makes this country great and how he wants to fight for minorities, who doesn’t pose holding a rainbow flag and state that he proudly supports transgender people, who doesn’t outperform his party among minority voters, who wasn’t the leader of the Salute to Israel Parade, and who doesn’t offer minorities major cabinet positions. And we won’t be able to call that guy an “openly white supremacist Nazi homophobe”, because we already wasted all those terms this year.”
– Scott Alexander, You are Still Crying Wolf –

Traversing Canada, this train has crossed red sand on the East Coast, passed beneath waterfalls in the Rockies and been blown off its tracks in an Ontario lightning storm. It’s also two inches tall. The model toy is the subject of Jeff Friesen’s venture to photograph the Canadian landscape up close.
– Tiny Train Goes Off the Beaten Track –

There are thousands and thousands of bees that are not honeybees out there, pollinating our flowers and helping plants produce food.
– The Other Bees –

Looking from the window seat on a long plane flight, you might have noticed that large swaths of the United States are divided into a latticework of farms, towns and forests. The cells of that grid, each one mile to a side, are the visible result of a land planning system first proposed by Thomas Jefferson more than two centuries ago.
– The Jefferson Grid –

In 1942 the U.S. built thousands of planes in war factories each month. Those planes needed to be delivered to air bases, but pilots were in short supply.
And so in the summer of 1943, a call went out for women to do the flying.
Twenty-five thousand women applied, and 1,100 were chosen as Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASPs.
– From Remembering the WASPs –

Art that starts with an everyday objects – Christoph Niemann is an artist who’s bursting at the seams with creativity.
– From  20 Creative Drawings –

The world is not in the midst of some imminent or unavoidable decline, and neither is our country. The species is no more flawed than we were 500 years ago, and the world no more wicked. It just feels that way, because today, we get to see more bad news than ever before. We get to see it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We get to see it live, in our newsfeed, and in our homes. We get to see it in vivid high-definition. And now, unlike any time prior, we get to see it as entertainment.
– Mike Rowe —

Shortly after my daughter was born, 9/11 happened. As I was crying to my Grandma about what kind of world my child had been born into, she said, “When your father was born, Hitler was in power.” Then she patted my hand and said, “It’ll be ok.”
– Blythe Tabor –

The Elephants and Bees Project is an innovative study using an in-depth understanding of elephant behaviour to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants using their instinctive avoidance of African honey bees.
– From Elephant and Bees –

Please note that we can only reasonably accommodate up to two pieces of emotional baggage per passenger,” she says. “Any more than that and we start to really compromise the air quality in the cabin.
– From CBC Comedy, Emotional Baggage –

Some researchers question whether dogs experience feelings like love and loyalty, or whether their winning ways are just a matter of instincts that evolved because being a hanger-on is an easier way to make a living than running down elk.
– From The Big Search –

Other countries, particularly America, have worked hard to settle the fighting between the Arabs and Israelis but so far nothing has worked. Many people want Gaza and the West Bank to be turned into a new country – Palestine. Israel won’t agree to this unless it feels safe – and Hamas accepts its right to exist.
– BBC, Feb 2015 –

You ever notice how you can’t find any naked pictures in a library?” Maxwell would sometimes say to strangers on the subway…
– From The Swiss Army Librarian – Where the Naked People Are –

I believe listening skills are something most introverts develop out of necessity, just as a way of deflecting attention away from them. They learn at a very early age to ask questions of other people and listen to the answers. That, of course, is an incredibly powerful skill to have.
– From Quiet Revolution by Susan Cain –

Every year, millions of tourists flock to Banff National Park in Canada to see and photograph the gorgeous landscapes. Photographer Meghan Krauss was fascinated by the crowds of tourists shooting selfies and other photos in these pristine locations, so in 2013, she began to shoot panoramic photos of those spots and then composite large numbers of tourists into a single frame.
– From Meghan Krauss Photography –

Dave Barry explains the colonoscopy: “I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ”MoviPrep,” which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.”
– From Dave Barry – A Journey into My Colon –

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started the Profoundly Disconnected® campaign to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all.
– From Profoundly Disconnected –

School portraits aren’t usually the result of creative photo concepts, but photographer Krijn Westerburgen was recently able to flex his creative muscles for an elementary school class photo in the Netherlands. He photographed the students in the style of a Rembrandt painting.
– From School Class Photo in the style of ‘Nightwatch’ –

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. – Barbara Bloom –
– From Examples of Kintsugi: Golden Jointery –

The language of astroturfers and propagandists includes trademark inflammatory terms such as: anti, nutty, quack, crank, pseudo-science, debunking, conspiracy theory, deniers and junk science. Sometimes astroturfers claim to “debunk myths” that aren’t myths at all. They declare debates over that aren’t over. They claim that “everybody agrees” when everyone doesn’t agree. They aim to make you think you’re an outlier when you’re not.
Astroturfers and propagandists tend to attack and controversialize the news organizations, personalities and people surrounding an issue rather than sticking to the facts. They try to censor and silence topics and speakers rather than engage them.
– From Astroturf and Manipulation of Media Messages by Sharyl Attkisson –

SmartBird is an ultralight but powerful flight model with excellent aerodynamic qualities and extreme agility. With SmartBird, Festo has succeeded in deciphering the flight of birds – one of the oldest dreams of humankind.
– From Festo – SmartBird –

Alarmists suggest the increasing use of land haul-outs is a sign of disaster, caused by the loss of sea ice. However all the evidence argues that as walrus populations increase, so does the use of land haul-outs. It is a sign of the walrus’ successful recovery.
– From Successful Walrus Conservation –

Carrie Fisher: “They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters,” she told Good Housekeeping in the magazine’s January cover story. “Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.
–  Carrie Fisher Slams Body-shamers –

Ambience of the Moon – Setting the Mood

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A perfect moon for a Halloween night
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The magic of a moon lit night
moon Mar 31 2016
Perfect conditions for a quiet night of moon watching
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Calm and Peace on Christmas Eve

In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, for ever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought… I must put a roof on this toilet.
– Les Dawson –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Ambience.

How has the moon affected the ambience of a memorable occasion for you? Did you know that ambience can also be spelled ambiance?

Bubble Filters

Photos altered with Topaz Studio. The first photo in the sequence below was one of the bubbles without any filters. The second photo was after sharpening. The third photo was smudged and textured. The last photo was converted to greys and textured. When I was done, I felt a bit like a Witch reciting transformation incantations…

Cabo San Lucas – Donkey and Pancho – Boats and Sea Lions

We were in Mexico last week – specifically Los Cabos, which is a municipality on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, in the state of Baja California Sur.

Though we spent most of our time in San Jose del Cabo, the Cabo San Lucas Marina was the scene of the most excitement – if you like all the things that ‘bob’ on top of or ‘swim’ in water. This Marina has 380 Slips and 33 Megayacht Berths and just about every craft had a name!

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The Sea Lion might have a name too. If you Google ‘Sea Lion Cabo San Lucas Marina’, you will find several items about ‘Pancho’ the bandit sea lion. The sleek dark beast demanded fish from every boat that came in to dock, and it would aggressively attempt to ‘take’ any fish it spied. A flock of brown Pelicans followed the sea lion, supplying diversionary tactics that kept the fisherman busy scooting the birds off the motor and the back of the boat. It was all quite entertaining!

Have you ever owned a boat? Did it have a name?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Names.