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Reliability of a source is not binary

A few of us at mpow have been talking about ways to put more “science” into library science, mostly in the context of using more robust research methods to study user behavior and assess library services. With that in mind, Lane Wilkinson’s recent post on using Bayesian inference to understand how users contextualize the credibility of an information source strikes me as a particularly useful thought experiment (if not an actual research agenda… which you should totally do, Lane!). There is one insight in particular that caught my attention:

“Values like credibility, reliability, or trustworthiness are not binary; they exist on a continuum between 0 and 100%. We need to stop asking ‘is this source reliable?’ and start asking ‘how reliable is this source given what it is reporting?'”

If there is one thing I could help our students to understand right now, this would be it. Perhaps simply framing the question of credibility in this way is enough to inspire them to be more critical of what they read via their everyday information consumption. One can hope.

We’re all in this together

I love that it looks like the continents are holding hands. From Mental Floss, A More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Japanese Design Award:

“AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans [and] continents, including the neglected Antarctica,” according to the Good Design Awards, and provides “an advanced precise perspective of our planet.” No longer does Africa look the same size as North America, or Antarctica look like one of the biggest continents (it’s smaller than everything but Europe and Australia).

 

Standing Rock syllabus

The NYC for Standing Rock committee has created a resource for understanding the controversies and protest surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“This syllabus brings together the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars, all of whom contribute important insights into the conflicts between Indigenous sovereignty and resource extraction.”

The syllabus contains key search terms, maps, a timeline of U.S. settler colonialism, and suggested reading arrange by theme and topic.

Zach Galifianakis on Trump

“No. [having Trump on Between Two Ferns] doesn’t interest me. Doing it the other way doesn’t interest me. He’s the kind of guy who likes attention – bad attention or good attention. So you’re dealing with a psychosis there that’s a little weird. I wouldn’t have somebody on that’s so mentally challenged. I feel like I’d be taking advantage of him. And you can print that.”

Source: Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times

Horribly destructive habits start early

I’ve been striving to stop talking about how busy I am. It’s not easy:

“How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?”

From “The Disease of Being Busy” by Omid Safi.

I can’t disagree with your experience

Krista Tippett is a national treasure. She was recently interviewed by Pico Iyer, another human being of infinite richness. I listened to the interview twice today.

Some of the best takeaways:

  • “If your inner life is rich, your outer life will never be puny.”
  • “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
  • Virtues to cultivate: Love, hope, doubt, and surprise
  • Cynicism is easy. Hope is harder. And it’s not the same as optimism.
  • “Pleasure is a virtue. […] Whatever there is to take pleasure in, do that.”