Great search links
Library, search engine, and fact checking resources
Including section of issues organized by topic
(right, left, and center-- and in alphabetical order)
• Fact-checking, Articles and books about
• Verification sites
• Fake news, deep fakes, misinformation or disinformation
(Where to check them out)
GREAT SEARCH LINKS, ALPHABETICAL BY TOPIC
• Abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, shortenings, contractions, chat shorthand
• Academia (on another page)
• Accents, symbols, scripts, diacritical marks
• Addresses and phone numbers, area codes and ZIP codes
• Covid-19 fact-checking and misinformation tracking sites
• Criminal justice, injustice, law, and the courts
• Currency converters
• Diplomacy and foreign affairs
• Economics: wealth, poverty, and the big $ picture
• Editing Wikipedia
• Election fraud and disinformation
• Elections: What to know and where to find it
• Fact finding, fact checking, and news resources
• Gardening & plant world
• Geography, maps, place names, place name changes, addresses, phone numbers
• Genealogy and family history
• History and history timelines (on various events, periods, themes)
• How things work
• Images and reverse image searches
• Issues, pro and con (fact-finding)
• Journalist's Toolbox (SPJ) Jam-packed, on many topics!
• Local and regional writers organizations and events (U.S., by state, on separate page)
• Math and statistics
• Medical links for patients, families, and caregivers (on another site)
• Medical and health news (sources for journalists)
• Military ranks and other hierarchies
• Miscellaneous facts of daily life
• Newspapers and other news sources
• Online archives
• Online viruses and petitions (Sarah Wernick)
• Open access journals
• People finders (potential sources)
• Public domain works
• Politics, government, and military history
• Pronunciation guides
• Quotations, sayings, aphorisms, etc.
• Signs, signals, and codes
• Social and population statistics
• Systems of measurement
• Timelines and genealogical and historical references
• Timelines (of various events, periods, themes)
• Travel sites
• Weather and weather-related events (weather reports and watches: general, air quality, avalanches, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, volcanoes)
• Angie's List (reviewed here, given an A rating in NY Times). Paid subscription. No anonymous reviews.
• Better Business Bureau (BBB)
• College Scorecard (U.S. Dept. of Education)
• Company Contacts (The Elliott Report) The names, numbers and email addresses of executives responsible for customer service at major companies (and rated for their responsiveness to consumers).
• Consumer Reports (the very best)
•The Elliott Report is a consumer news site dedicated to resolving problems between businesses and their customers. See How to win your consumer dispute using the Elliott Method: Basically, put things down in writing instead of trying to talk it out with someone; and quickly get your complaint to someone who can actually do something about it (not arguing with someone who can't). See their list of Company Contacts.
• Planet Feedback
• Ratings for hospitals, doctors, surgeons, home health agencies, nursing homes (Pat McNees, comfortdying.com)
• The Squeaky Wheel . Your complaint goes on a website and every day someone views the website the person you are complaining about is notified.
• Washington Consumers' Checkbook (excellent ratings for important categories, from automobiles to health care professionals)
• Whose Consumer Reviews Do You Most Trust? (Talk of the Nation, NPR, 7-14-2010) An interesting appraisal of the appraisers. Consumer Reports gets a very high (but not perfect) rating.
• Yelp (mostly bars, restaurants)
• How to complain constructively (and get results) (Danielle Page, Better, NBC News, 5-25-17) Constructive complaints are solution oriented, versus unfiltered rumination on negative experiences. "Short bursts of complaints are preferable so stress hormones don't build. (...venting, or going on one long rant, is harmful to our mental health. Aside from not having a favorable outcome in mind, venting is also typically the result of holding something in that's been eating away at you for too long — which comes with its own set of health implications.)
"When we provide constructive feedback, explaining how specifically to change so as to improve the situation, then mood and performance are likely to increase, despite the nature of the conversation."
"Focus on feelings, not facts. Facts invite your listener to think about them and agree or disagree, whereas feelings invite your listener to understand."
Use "the complaint sandwich," where you stick your negative complaint between two positives. Don't just "give a rundown of what happened, but instead share how these events impacted you."
• How to Complain, Effectively (Skills You Need) Simple rules, explained: Know what you want to achieve. Threaten the company’s reputation. Aim high and get personal. Write or go in person, don’t phone. Use social media, especially if you don’t get an immediate response. ("A complaint expressed via Twitter, especially with the hashtag of the company’s name together with ‘bad customer service’, is likely to get a very quick response.") Etc., up to "At all times, remain polite and clear about what you want to achieve."
• The 9 Habits of Highly Effective Complainers (Meg Selig, Psychology Today, 3-16-12) There are ways to get attention, and ways to get ignored. Learn the difference.
#3: Identify the person who has the power to make the changes you seek; then complain to that person directly.
#5. Before you complain, get your anger under control.
#9. Practice! Start with easier complaints and work your way up to more meaningful ones.
• How to Complain (to Actually Get What You Want) (Avery Augustine, The Muse, 6-19-20) Pick your battles. Choose things that are both important and changeable. Do not whine.
"Venting can be cathartic, but if you really want the problem to be addressed, you need to bring it to light the right way."
"To complain most effectively, you’ll need both relevant examples of the problem and a feasible way to fix it. Respectfully pointing out an issue, explaining how it affects you, and suggesting a possible solution will put you on the fast track to a resolution."
• Other tips: Voice one complaint at a time. Be sure your grievance is valid. Keep track of what happens and is said. Consider the opposite point of view.
• Charity Navigator rates 3,600 charities with one to four stars, rating them on organizational efficiency provides free financial evaluations of America's charities, rating them on organizational efficiency and organizational capacity.
• Charity Watch, a nonprofit charity watchdog, rates nonprofits with a letter grade (A to Z). Formerly American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP). For a $50 contribution, you can get its Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report
• Forbes's list of America's 200 Largest Charities. Forbes lists American's largest charities (by donations) and America's most efficient charities.
• Evaluating Charities Not Currently Rated by Charity Navigator. One helpful tool is the Foundation Center's 990 Finder.
• Charitable giving and volunteering (many helpful links, including bad practices in charity and donating your body or body parts)
Libraries and libraries of the world: Writers and editors love you. We know that librarians are among the best (most helpful) researchers in the world, and many library systems are excellent portals to whole other research worlds. I will add more links here as time allows; here's a start:
• WorldCat. World's largest library catalog, a global catalog of library collections, containing the complete listings of 72,000 libraries around the world. Looking for an earlier edition of a particular book? WorldCat's search function can help you find the one closest to you. (Then see if your library can do an interlibrary loan for you.)
• Library of Congress Online Catalog (with many subcategories, including Archival Finding Aids, Copyright Office Catalog, Sound Online Inventory and Catalogs, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, E-Resources Online Catalog, Thesauri & Controlled Vocabularies for subject cataloging and indexing, and so on). Video about the library itself: But be aware that there are quite a few things that you can only find by going in person to the Library of Congress itself.
• Research and Reference Services Library of Congress collections and research tools.
• Introducing the Library of Congress (loc.gov) (YouTube video) Peter Armenti, a Digital Reference Specialist in the LoC's Researcher and Reference Services Division tells you the best starting points, search strategies, and tricks for placing the Library's vast digital collections—photographs, maps, sound recordings, films, books and historical documents, and so much more—at your fingertips.
• The World's Largest Library (David Crotty, Scholarly Kitchen, 5-26-17) There's something for everyone at the Library of Congress.
• The British Library, tremendous resources, including a sizable online gallery
• ArchiveGrid (a database containing 1.7 million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world--historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts and family histories, described and cataloged by librarians and archivists)
• Ask a Librarian (online reference service with librarians at the Library of Congress). Your local library may also offer an Ask a Librarian service (by phone or email).
• Federal Depository libraries. See Federal Depository Library Directory and searchable catalog of U.S. government publications
• Internet Public Library (IPL). Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens. Also known as Librarians' Internet Index .
• Jacksonville Public Library (good general links)
• Kanopy An on-demand video streaming service that allows patrons of public and academic libraries to stream thousands of movies, films, and documentaries for free. Content owners and creators are paid on a pay-per-view model by the institutionLibrary systems.
• Librarian Chick (Stacy Reed's fab site)
• Lib Web (Library Servers via WWW). Browse online libraries worldwide. Use interlibrary loan if you find what you need
• Library Spot (gateway to many excellent library and reference sites), sister site to Homework Spot
• Library Genesis or LibGen was a search engine for scientific articles and books, which allowed free access to otherwise paywalled content, which was wrong, so link taken down.
• Hathi Trust Digital Library (a free public database, from a consortium of academic & research institutions, offering millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world). HathiTrust has a reputation for digitizing books without permission from the copyright owners, so writers: check to be sure your aren't on there without your permission.
•••• Library of Congress (LOC). Online reference materials, digitized collections, photos, films, poems, the works--our nation's library)
• Library of Congress Online Catalog
• Library of Congress American Memory Collection (old motion pictures, Coca Cola ads, etc.)
• Columbia Center for Oral History (Columbia University's “living archive” of more than 8,000 aural and visual interviews that explore diverse topics in United States and global history)
• Oral history collections, online (Telling Your Story, Pat McNees site)
• Musings about librarianship (ideas librarians might use and others might eavesdrop on!)
• National Agricultural Library (great links and not just agricultural)
• OCLC Global Gateway. The world's libraries. Connected.
• Overdrive vs. Hoopla (Genie in a Novel, 5-27-22) Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby (now just Libby) are online library services that enabled patrons of many hometown public libraries to read ebooks or listen to audiobooks during the pandemic when many libraries were closed to the public.
• Professional Associations, Library & Information Science (USC Libraries Reference Guide)
• Oxford Reference (combines content of Oxford Reference Online and Oxford Digital Reference Shelf). Subscribers have full access to the site’s two million entries; free resources include more than 300,000 “overview” pages, with definitions of topics and links to more information; 270 timelines, with links to free reference entries; and an online-only section of quotations.
• ETS: Best Free Reference Web Sites Combined Index, 1999-2016 (an index of outstanding reference websites included in the 1999-2016 annual lists issued by the Best Free Reference Web Sites Committee of the ETS: Emerging Technologies Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association)
• PubMed (PMC), a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). Possibly helpful: PubMed Tutorial
• USDA A-to-Z Index
• U.S. National Library of Medicine Databases & Electronic Resources (National Institutes of Health, NIH/NLM)
• World Digital Library (scans of original works and images of primary materials from cultures around the world, from ancient Chinese oracle bones to the first European map of the New World, plus photos, films, audio tracks)
• Project Wombat, a discussion list for difficult reference questions, continuing in the tradition of the now-defunct Stumpers list--fueled by research librarians (who get obsessed with a search) helping other research librarians who are stumped. For trivia lovers, get a copy of Stumpers! Answers to Hundreds of Questions that Stumped the Experts, edited by Fred Shapiro..
• Federal Depository Library Program and Federal Depository Library Directory (FDLD). Use clickable map to find a local Federal depository library or click on Browse Search to look for a specific library or library item.
• Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research (Chris Stobing, VPN and Privacy, Comparitech, 6-2-17) Google searches the surface web; it does not cover the "deep web," which includes "documents that keep records for things like census data, NASA mission data, patents, and academic paper databases." Stobing writes about how to access the deep web and recommends sites such as JSTORE ("one of the first stops for any academic researcher on their way down the rabbit hole"), Archive.org (Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine--see Using the Wayback Machine), CGP (Catalog of U.S. Government Publications), HighWire ("catalog of the largest repository of free full-text and non-free text, peer-reviewed content, from over 1,000 different journals"), and others. Stobing recommends the Google Chrome browser extensionUnpaywall, if paywalls are a problem. "Unpaywall automatically scours the web for a free version of any content you’re trying to access that says it’s behind a paywall. You may not always get back a free result for every paper you search..."
• The WWW Virtual Library (the oldest catalogue of the Web, run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert--excellent for specific subjects, from agriculture to society)
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston
•Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center (NewsGuard) Sites identified as publishing materially false information about the virus.
• The 'Plandemic' video: full of inaccurate conspiracy theories (Daniel Funke, PolitiFact, Poynter Institute, 5-7-2020)
• Covering the coronavirus amid infection, misinformation and scared sources (Emilia Díaz-Struck, Scilla Alecci, Will Fitzgibbon, Jelena Cosic, Delphine Reuter, and others, Press Freedom, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 5-7-2020) Journalists covering the coronavirus from Hungary to Chile are not only faced with the risk of contagion. They are battling secretive governments, restricted movement, misinformation and sources who are too scared to speak.
• Social Media Posts Spread Bogus Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory (FactCheck.org)
• The coronavirus ‘infodemic’ is real. We rated the websites responsible for it (John Gregory, First Opinion, STAT 2-28-2020) I’m an editor at NewsGuardNewsGuard, which rates the credibility of news and information websites. Our ongoing analyses show that misinformation about the outbreak is clearly beating reliable information when it comes to engagement on social media worldwide. NewsGuard has rated the credibility and transparency of more than 3,200 news and information sites in the U.S., accounting for 96% of online engagement, previously reporting that more than 1 in 10 of these sites share health misinformation. An overview of the misinformation epidemic. conspiracy theories, and the most prolific peddlers of health misinformation.
• Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center (Newsguard)
• PolitiFact on Coronavirus (See what's rated "Pants on fire")
• FactCheck.org to Work With Facebook on Exposing Viral Fake News (Annenberg Public Policy Center, 12-15-16)
• Coronavirus Coverage (FactCheck.org)
• How you can use ‘Uncounted’ CDC data to explore the COVID-19 pandemic’s hidden death toll (Dillon Bergin, Betsy Ladyzhets, Muckrock, 1-6-22) The Documenting COVID-19 project and the USA TODAY Network spent months investigating where and why COVID-19 deaths go uncounted. Short-staffed, undertrained and overworked coroners and medical examiners were all but unified in when and how to investigate a possible death from COVID-19. The Uncounted series tries to answer the following questions: Where have COVID-19 deaths been undercounted — and why? And what other causes of death are rising in the United States, in the pandemic era?
• SciCheck (FactCheck.org)
• Debunking False Stories
• Social Media Posts Spread Bogus Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory (Jessica McDonald, FactCheck.org, 1-24-2020)
• News Right (The Q Patriot Hub) "News Right" and other conservative resources. Not fact-checking, but positions taken, newspapers on the right.
• Donald Trump’s 4 biggest falsehoods on ABC News (Katie Sanders, Aaron Sharockman, and Amy Sherman, PolitiFact, Poynter Institute, 5-8-2020) If those specific lies aren't enough, check this: Timeline: How Donald Trump responded to the coronavirus pandemic
• All the other fact-checking sites, which may check some of the same facts, misinformation, myths, and plain old lies.
• How to Talk to Your Facebook Friends about Fake News (Brooke Borel, The Open Notebook, 2-21-17) How to "have a healthy dialogue without fighting—talking to each other instead of arguing and being enemies.” When we see fake news on social media, our first instinct may be to correct it. But "when someone shares a piece of political fake news, it is an act of confirmation bias, an attempt to buttress their existing point of view" and fact-checking goes to the core of their identity. Websites that peddle fake news have tapped into that "sense of identity, whether intentionally or not, by using dramatic headlines and inflammatory language that appeal to emotions....Try to figure out why a friend is sharing a particular piece of fake news—what narrative does it support in their overall worldview?...Keep in mind that “People don’t like to be proven wrong in a public environment."
• Conservatives Sue, Investigate Disinformation Researchers (Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 6-23-23) A co-director of a COVID-19-vaccine skeptics’ group and the founder of the Gateway Pundit conservative website filed a federal lawsuit filed last month alleging that university disinformation and misinformation researchers colluded with the federal government and social media companies to “censor” Americans’ speech. They’re represented by lawyers from, among other firms, America First Legal. Former Trump administration officials, including former senior adviser Stephen Miller, lead this nonprofit, which opposes the “radical left.”
“This case challenges probably the largest mass-surveillance and mass-censorship program in American history—the so-called ‘Election Integrity Partnership’ [EIP] and ‘Virality Project,’” their nearly 90-page complaint begins. “Four entities—Stanford Internet Observatory, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, Graphika and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab—collaborate closely with federal, state and local government officials to monitor and censor disfavored viewpoints on social media.” [that is] to target and suppress speech on the basis of content (i.e., COVID vaccine-related speech) and viewpoint (i.e., speech raising doubt or concern about COVID vaccines’ safety and efficacy and the extent and severity of side effects),” that third suit says. The Stanford Internet Observatory is a "cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies, with a focus on social media."
"In March, Starbird and other co-founders of the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public released a lengthy rebuttal to several “false impressions” they identified about the Election Integrity Partnership. “At the core of most of the false impressions of our work is a rhetorical argument that seeks to equate efforts to understand and counter false and misleading information with ‘censorship,’” they wrote. “This argument has increasingly been employed against social media moderation efforts—as though these companies do not routinely act to limit spam, pornography, harassment, impersonation and other harmful content on their networks."
• Combating Disinformation Wanes at Social Media Giants (Steven Lee Myers and Nico Grant, NY Times, 2-14-23) As the companies have shed jobs recently, many teams assigned to combat false and misleading information have taken a hit. [Weird: British spelling is "combatting," which makes sense; American spelling is with a single t, as in this title, which to me would rhyme with "hating," not "hatting."]
• Content Marketing, Native Advertising, Sponsored Posts, etc.
• The Banality of Conspiracy Theories (Colin Dickey, The Atlantic, 7-1-23) Moral panics repeat, again and again. "The same script gets recycled again and again, only to be memory-holed as soon as the fervor subsides. What happened in Boston in 1834 would resurface in 1920s, with the Ku Klux Klan’s willingness to use violence to defend against fictitious assaults on Protestant women’s “purity” by Catholics and Jews, and again in the ’80s during the Satanic panic, when children were coerced into accusing day-care employees and even their own parents of ritualistic abuse and murder. Contemporary conspiracy theories about Clinton’s murderous sex cabal may sound outlandish, but it’s only the latest page in a playbook that is more than 200 years old. If we remember this, perhaps we can rob the next panic of its heat and fury."
See also Colin Dickey's book Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy and listen to him discuss his book on WAMU's 1a program: America’s unfaltering obsession with secret societies and conspiracy theories (NPR, 7-17-23) The first line of his book: “The United States was born in paranoia.”
• Why is Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover increasing hate speech? (Rashawn Ray and Joy Anyanwu, Brookings, 11-23-22) "Twitter saw a nearly 500% increase in use of the N-word in the 12-hour window immediately following the shift of ownership to Musk. Within the following week, tweets including the word “Jew” had increased fivefold since before the ownership transfer. Tweets with the most engagement were overly antisemitic. Likewise, there has also been an uptick in misogynistic and transphobic language.
"Even if this hateful conduct is coming from a small number of troll accounts, this phenomenon speaks to how fringe, alt-right networks not only feel empowered by Musk’s takeover, but protected as well. Shortly after the acquisition, Musk laid off almost 50% of Twitter employees....As a result, the team that was previously in place to monitor and censure hate speech is no longer at Twitter....As Musk is now the primary owner of the platform, he may follow through with loosening standards of harmful content and dissolving the so-called censorship he has criticized in the past."
• Getting Wise to Fake News (Paula Span, NY Times, 9-11-20) Older adults are particularly vulnerable to misinformation on social media. But resources have emerged to help them learn to discern true from false. Enroll here for How to Spot Misinformation Online.
• MediaWise for Seniors (Poynter) AARP partnered with MediaWise to create two media literacy training modules that AARP volunteers will present digitally and in person across the U.S. to its 38 million members. This free self-directed short course will teach you how to tell what’s true and false on the internet. Learn techniques for identifying false information and how to seek out trustworthy sources.
• ‘Belonging Is Stronger Than Facts’: The Age of Misinformation (Max Fisher, NY Times, 5-7-21) Social and psychological forces are combining to make the sharing and believing of misinformation an endemic problem with no easy solution.
• Fact-checking sites on which to check the veracity and facts of anything you suspect isn't true.
• Letters, Tweets, TV: How Midterm Disinformation Has Washed Over Pennsylvania (Steven Lee Myers, NY Times, 10-31-22) One state’s experience underscores how pervasive false and misleading information has become in the country’s electoral process, online and off. Donald J. Trump made a series of false statements about election fraud and other issues at a rally in Wilkes-Barre in September, according to FactCheck.org.
• Navigating mis- and disinformation online
• Trump joins conspiracists stoking doubts about Pelosi attack (Meridith McGraw, Politico, 11-1-22) "The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out so it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out. I don’t know, you hear the same things I do,” Trump said. Police reports of the incident have debunked several claims from conservatives surrounding the attack. Trump is not the only conservative who has sought to place doubt on the idea that Speaker Pelosi was DePape’s target or to make light of it.
• ChatGPT-3.5 Generates More Disinformation in Chinese than in English (Macrina Wang, NewsGuard, 4-26-23) When tempted with China-related myths in English, ChatGPT-3.5 generally refuses to comply. But when fed the same myths in Chinese, ChatGPT becomes a disinformation superspreader, NewsGuard found.
• Rise of the Newsbots: AI-Generated News Websites Proliferating Online (McKenzie Sadeghi and Lorenzo Arvanitis, NewsGuard, 5-1-23) NewsGuard has identified 49 news and information sites that appear to be almost entirely written by artificial intelligence software. A new generation of content farms is on the way.
• Beware the ‘New Google:’ TikTok’s Search Engine Pumps Toxic Misinformation To Its Young Users (Jack Brewster, Lorenzo Arvanitis, Valerie Pavilonis, and Macrina Wang, NewsGuard, 9-11-22) Does mugwort induce abortion? Can and should I make hydroxychloroquine in my kitchen? Was the 2020 election stolen? Did Ukrainians fake the civilian deaths in Bucha? If you search on TikTok, you might think the answers to these questions are all, “Yes.”
• How Our Efforts to Bring Competition to Television Unknowingly Helped Create the Fox Disinformation Machine (Boulder Preston, 7-12-23) “Preston Padden, Ken Solomon and Bill Reyner express their deep disappointment for helping to give birth to Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox Television that came to include Fox News Channel — the channel that prominently includes news that, in the words of Sidney Powell’s counsel, “no reasonable person would believe.” ...We never envisioned, and would not knowingly have enabled, the disinformation machine that, in our opinion, Fox has become.”
• Republicans Continue to Spread Baseless Claims About Pelosi Attack (Steven Lee Myers and Stuart A. Thompson, NY Times, 10-31-22) Some of the conspiracy theories have already seeped into the Republican mainstream. Fox’s coverage shifted over the weekend, much as it did after the 2020 election, when the network initially reported the outcome accurately only to later give credence to the false claims by Mr. Trump and others that the vote was somehow fraudulent.
• How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World (Craig Silverman, Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica,10-29-22) The largest-ever analysis of Google’s ad practices on non-English-language websites reveals how the tech giant makes disinformation profitable. How Google’s sprawling automated digital ad operation placed ads from major brands on global websites that spread false claims on such topics as vaccines, COVID-19, climate change and elections.
• How We Determined Which Disinformation Publishers Profit From Google’s Ad Systems (Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao, Craig Silverman and Anna Klühspies, ProPublica, 10-29-22) We identified websites that collected Google ad revenue despite publishing false claims about COVID-19, climate change and other issues in apparent violation of Google policies.
• An Unrepresentative Democracy: How Disinformation and Online Abuse Hinder Women of Color Political Candidates in the United States(Dhanaraj Thakur and DeVan Hankerson Madrigal, Center for Democracy and Technology, 10-27-22).
• Inside Chelsea Green, the publishing house peddling Covid-19 misinformation and other conspiracies. (Chelsea Edgar, Monterey County Weekly, 12-2-21)
•Women of color running for office face higher rates of violent threats online (Cat Zakrzewski, WaPo, 10-27-22) Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott (D) says she constantly faces harassing threats online and on her voice mail.
• Factually: The next COVID-19 misinformation wave (Susan Benkelman and Harrison Mantas, American Press Institute).A number of pieces about misinformation--about politics, science and health--not just about Covid.
• Roundups of reports and articles on cases of misinformation (American Press Institute)
• That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is (Likely) Bogus. Seriously. (Lori Robertson, FactCheck.org)
• Debunking False Stories(FactCheck.org working with Facebook)
• How disinformation evolved in 2020(Josh A. Goldstein and Shelby Grossman, Tech Stream, Brookings Institute, 1-4-21) Five takeaways on how online disinformation campaigns and platform responses changed in 2020, and how they didn’t. These are the headlines only; read the report for how things work in
---Platforms (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) are increasingly specific in their attributions. Platforms often face costs to attributing operations.
---When the defense improves, disinformants innovate.
---Political actors are increasingly outsourcing disinformation.
---All countries are not targeted equally. The most targeted countries by foreign actors, at least among takedowns publicly announced by Facebook and Twitter, were the United States, the United Kingdom, and Egypt.
---Fake news outlets remain a popular tactic.
• Guide to Misinformation and Fact-Checking (Ohio University Master of Public Information)
• The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Election: The Final Report (The Election Integrity Partnership) The 2020 election demonstrated that actors—both foreign and domestic—remain committed to weaponizing viral false and misleading narratives to undermine confidence in the US electoral system and erode Americans’ faith in our democracy. Mis- and disinformation were pervasive throughout the campaign, the election, and its aftermath, spreading across all social platforms. The EIP was formed out of a recognition that the vulnerabilities in the current information environment require urgent collective action.
• Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content (Craig Silverman, A Tow/Knight Report, Academic Commons, Columbia University, 2015). Download his report for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, 2015.
• Digital Investigations (Craig Silverman) This newsletter is focused on digital investigations: tips and techniques, examples of great reporting on disinformation and digital deception, links to resources, and occasional analysis of the digital ecosystem.
• Facebook groups topped 10,000 daily attacks on election before Jan. 6, analysis shows (Craig Silverman, Craig Timberg, Jeff Kao, and Jeremy B. Merrill, WaPo, 1-4-22) Review of millions of posts show Facebook played a critical role in spreading false narratives that fomented violence that day. See also How ProPublica and The Post researched posts of Facebook groups Data analyzed for the ProPublica-Washington Post examination of Facebook posts was collected from over 100,000 public Facebook groups tracked between January 2020 and June 2021 by CounterAction, a firm that studies online disinformation.
• How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump (Zeynep Tufekci, MIT Technology Review, 8-14-18) How did digital technologies go from empowering citizens and toppling dictators to being used as tools of oppression and discord? There are several key lessons. To understand how digital technologies went from instruments for spreading democracy to weapons for attacking it, you have to look beyond the technologies themselves. A must-read article.
• The Era of Misinformation Is Here To Stay (The Interpreter, ) “The problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone,” the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote [link above]... “It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one.” In an ecosystem where that sense of identity conflict is all-consuming, she wrote, “belonging is stronger than facts.”
"President Trump might have left office, and you can always switch off Facebook, but rumors and falsehoods will be defining features of American life for some time."
• The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online (Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center) "Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology.
• A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world (Daniel Funke and Daniela Flamini, Poynter) From misinformation to hate speech, from bots and disinformation to fake news)
• Is fake news here to stay? (Nausicaa Renner, The media today, Columbia Journalism Review, 7-19-17). Links to resources such as When To Trust A Story That Uses Unnamed Sources (Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight, 7-18-17)
• Disinformation and coronavirus (Natasha Kassam, The Interpreter, The Lowy Institute, 3-25-20) The dilution of information on the internet is currently posing a risk to global health and safety.
• Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch agree: Misinformation is threat to America (Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 4-14-21) Ideological opposites on the U.S. Supreme Court, the two justices agree about this threat. Sotomayor cited a recent study from MIT which found false news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. "That's frightening, isn't it," she said, "that people don't learn about truthful statements as much as false statements through social media. That is a true threat to our national security."
• House lawmakers reintroduce bipartisan bill to weed out foreign disinformation on social media (Maggie Miller, The Hill, 1-22-21) House lawmakers Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) reintroduced legislation intended to cut down on foreign disinformation and propaganda spread on social media, in particular following a spike in the content after the presidential election and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• CoVaxxy (Indiana University's Observatory on Social Media) Visualizing the relationship between COVID-19 vaccine adoption and online (mis)information.
• Cloaked Science: The Yan Reports (Joan Donovan and Jennifer Nilsen, The Media Manipulation Casebook, Jan. 2020 ongoing) The Yan Report is a misleading article masquerading as science, which falsely claims that the novel coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab....By exploiting open science during a health crisis to further their political aims, Steve Bannon and exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui utilized Yan’s status as a research scientist fleeing Hong Kong to sustain public attention to the “COVID-19 as a bioweapon” narrative.
Fake news includes fictitious articles deliberately fabricated to fool readers and profit through clickbait; fake news websites (often spoofing/mimicking legitimate news websites) designed to mislead readers for financial or political gain (whose partisans complain of "censorship," when fact-checked); and in recent times full campaigns to undermine elections. Fake news spreads through social media. With Trump, calling a report "fake news" also became a ploy for defending himself against criticism.
• How to hunt fake history. (Fake History Hunter, 5-8-22) H/T Jack El-Hai at Damn History (8-1-22)
• Fake News & Misinformation: How to Spot and Verify (St. Louis Community College) Excellent set of links to websites tha thave taken on the mission of fact-checking rumors, health claims, and political claims.
• "Fake News" & Misinformation (Macdonald-Kelce Library, University of Tampa)
• Chrome Fake News Detector A simple extension that shows an alert when you visit a site known for spreading fake news.
• SciCheck (FactCheck.org) False and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy. See other Fact-check sites here.
• Fake News Gets More Engagement on Facebook—But Only If It's Right-Wing (Gilad Edelman, Wired, 3-3-21) Far-right pages that publish misinformation get the most interactions by far compared to other news sources, new research shows--but only if it's right wing.
• Case Studies, The Media Manipulation Handbook Using the Life Cycle of Media Manipulation, each case study features a chronological description of a media manipulation event, which is filtered along specific variables such as tactics, targets, mitigation, outcomes, and keywords.
• Fake news game confers psychological resistance against online misinformation (Jon Roozenbeek & Sander van der Linden, Nature, 2019) In this game, players take on the role of a fake news producer and learn to master six documented techniques commonly used in the production of misinformation: polarisation, invoking emotions, spreading conspiracy theories, trolling people online, deflecting blame, and impersonating fake accounts. The game draws on an inoculation metaphor, where preemptively exposing, warning, and familiarising people with the strategies used in the production of fake news helps confer cognitive immunity when exposed to real misinformation. (Trolling "refers to slowly dragging a lure from the back of a fishing vessel in the hope that the fish will bite.")
• Internet Deception Is Here to Stay—So What Do We Do Now? (Paris Martineau, Wired,12-30-19) Fake followers. Fake news. Foreign influence operations. The last decade revealed that much of what's online is not as it seems.
• Twitter launches "Birdwatch," a forum to combat misinformation ( Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, NBC News,1-25-21) Twitter has unveiled a feature meant to bolster its efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation by tapping users in a fashion similar to Wikipedia to flag potentially misleading tweets.
The new system allows users to discuss and provide context to tweets they believe are misleading or false. The project, titled Birdwatch, is a standalone section of Twitter that will at first only be available to a small set of users, largely on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will not be provided to high-profile people or traditional fact-checkers, but users will have to use an account tied to a real phone number and email address.
• Misinformation Amplifiers Target Georgia Senate Races (Sheera Frenkel and Davey Alba, NY Times, 12-22-2020) Diamond and Silk, the conservative social media personalities who spread baseless rumors of election fraud are starting to focus on the races that will decide control of the Senate.
• Misinformation peddlers have shifted gears from the election to coronavirus vaccines. (Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 12-16-2020) Sidney Powell, a lawyer who was part of President Trump’s legal team, spread a conspiracy theory last month about election fraud. On Dec. 4, she posted a link on Twitter with misinformation that said that the population would be split into the vaccinated and the unvaccinated and that “big government” could surveil those who were unvaccinated. Researchers said the spread had been amplified by far-right websites and a robust network of anti-vaccination activists like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
• How Do We Get to Herd Immunity for Fake News? (Greg Weiner, Opinion, NY Times, 12-14-2020) "When Fox News turned out to be insufficiently loyal to Mr. Trump, in his view — by which the president meant that the network would not fully validate his fantasy world — he directed his followers to the friendlier confines of One America News Network and Newsmax. In the three weeks after the election, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, Fox News lost 29 percent of its prime-time viewership. Newsmax nearly tripled its audience. Lies will always find an outlet."
• Disinformation and propaganda – impact onthe functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States (Disinformation and propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States) Study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs and requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
• The Constitution of Knowledge (Jonathan Rauch, National Affairs, Fall 2018) “Unlike ordinary lies and propaganda, which try to make you believe something, disinformation tries to make you disbelieve everything.” Understandably disoriented, many people conclude they might as well believe what they prefer to believe....Although disinformation is old, it has recently cross-pollinated with the internet to produce something new: the decentralized, swarm-based version of disinformation that has come to be known as trolling....the clickbait economy created a business model. Disinformation went from vandalistic to profitable. Google Ads and Facebook (among others) monetized page views, thereby monetizing anything that generates clicks, regardless of truth value."
• 7 ways to recognize fake news (Audrey Novak Riley, Women of the ELCA, 1-12-17)
• Facebook and Twitter take unusual steps to limit spread of New York Post story (Elizabeth Dwoskin, WaPo, 10-15-2020) "Four years after Russian operatives exploited tech giants’ services during a presidential contest, the companies’ swift and aggressive steps in responding to the unverified story, and their divergent responses, are a real-time case study in their ability to protect the integrity of an election that has been marred by domestic disinformation and misleading accounts. That activity has included misinformation about Biden’s health, the dying wish of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the validity of mail-in ballots — much of it spread by Trump and his supporters."
• 'Fake News' Sites In North Macedonia Pose As American Conservatives Ahead Of U.S. Election (Ron Synovitz and Maria Mitevska, RadioFreeEurope, Radio Free Liberty, 10-22-2020) American researchers say websites in North Macedonia are gathering ad money by pretending to be conservative Americans and spreading disinformation ahead of next month's U.S. presidential election.
• Combatting coronavirus misinformation Many links.
• Five Myths About Misinformation (Brendan Nyhan, Outlook section, Washington Post. 11-6-2020) Assertions about “filter bubbles” are often overstated.
• How to Spot Fake News (Infographic, to share, from International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, or IFLA) based on FactCheck.org's article How to Spot Fake News (Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson, 11-18-16)
• How to Talk to Friends and Family Who Share Conspiracy Theories (Charlie Warzel, Opinion, NY Times, 10-25-2020) Fringe movements will persist long after Election Day. Here’s how to help. Older social media users who may not be well versed in the way platforms use recommendation algorithms and create environments like filter bubbles. “If people really knew how these platforms worked or how much money they generate, they’d be more wary,” she said. “I would not advocate replacing one conspiracy theory with another, but if these people are already wary of authority, it’s worth asking them questions like, ‘Whose interest does your online engagement serve?’”
• PEN America’s Guide for Combating Protest Disinformation (PEN America Tip Sheet, 6-5-2020)
• Bad News: Selling the Story of Disinformation (Joseph Bernstein, Harper's Magazine, Sept. 2021) "Want to change an output—say, an insurrection, or a culture of vaccine skepticism? Change your input. Want to solve the “crisis of faith in key institutions” and the “loss of faith in evidence-based reality”? Adopt a better content-moderation policy. The fix, you see, has something to do with the algorithm."
• President Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading claims over 1,055 days (Fact Checkers Database, Washington Post, a succinctly annotated list, quoting what Trump said in one column and what the facts are in another). See also Trump, the Press, and the Truth.
• The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, March 2020) ow new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election.
• Misinformation: 3 tips to help journalists avoid being part of the problem (Thomas Patterson, Journalist's Resource, 11-6-19) "Patterson, the founder of Journalist’s Resource, examines the forces that are misleading Americans and pitting them against each other: politicians for whom deception is a strategy; talk show hosts who have made an industry of outrage; foreign agents and social media operatives who spread disinformation to promote a cause, make a buck or simply amuse themselves...he shows that many of the mistaken beliefs Americans hold originated with mainstream news outlets or were amplified by them" and offers tips on how to avoid spreading misinformation.)
• Responsible Reporting in an Age of Information Disorder (Victoria Kwan, First Draft, Oct. 2019) The tipping point: Should I cover this story? Brief chapters on covering extremism, covering conspiracy theories, covering manipulated content, responsible headlines, linking and search engine optimization (SEO), social media amplification, and empathy, concluding with a responsible reporting checklist.
• Watch six decade-long disinformation operations unfold in six minutes (Alexa Pavliuc, The Startup, Medium, 1-26-2020) Pavliuc studied the similarities and differences between the evolving structures of six state-backed information operations on Twitter. All six datasets began their activities around the turn of the last decade, and have shifted languages, structures, and hashtags. Some countries mostly stayed focused on the languages of their own countries (Egypt & UAE, Ecuador), while the rest (Russian IRA, Venezuela, Iran, China) pushed beyond their own country’s main language to tweeting in others, such as English and Indonesian. Most datasets began with steadily quiet amounts of tweeting, and graduated to deploying multiple bursts of hashtag use (when a large amount of hashtags are used at once for a period of time). In August 2019, Twitter specially released information on a Chinese disinformation operation which included an attack on Hong Kong protesters. The accounts released “ were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground”, and engaging in spammy activities.
• The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine (Jane Mayer, New Yorker, 10-4-19) How a conservative dark-money group that targeted Hillary Clinton in 2016 spread the discredited story that may lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment. See also the book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green, as well as the article “Stupid Watergate” Is Worse Than the Original (David Remnick, New Yorker, 10-4-19) "...his corruption is totally as we see it, out front. He doesn’t try to hide it. He doesn’t try to hide the conflicts of interest or the lying. He is not a secretive conspirator. Donald Trump’s behavior echoes Nixon’s in one sense: he and his confederates appear to have been engaged in an effort to undermine the integrity of a Presidential election."
• News literacy and fake news (a blog post)
• First Draft, "a global nonprofit that supports journalists, academics and technologists working to address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age....With a firm focus on tackling information disorder, First Draft is building on its pioneering work around elections in the US, France, UK, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria. See Fake news. It's complicated.
• 6 tips to debunk fake news stories by yourself (Alexios Mantzarlis, Poynter, 11-23-15)
• Wikipedia's list of fake news websites (a good overview)
• Factually Newsletter (Daniel Funke, Susan Benkelman, and Cristina Tardáguila, for Poynter and American Press Institute) If you're arguing with someone about specific legitimate vs. fake news, you might start here.
• Fake news (NPR stories about)
• NewsGuard (Restoring Trust and Accountability).
• How fake news from Macedonia affected the US Presidential Election 2016 (YouTube story, ) Did you read a fake news story during the US Presidential election? Well, it could have been written by a 16-year-old in Macedonia--where fake news websites earned young people lots of $$. Channel 4 News' Ciaran Jenkins visits the village of Veles to investigate.
• This is how an Iranian network created a “disinformation supply chain” to spread fake news (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 5-17-19) How the "disinformation supply chain" worked, and WhatsApp clones are getting around some restrictions designed to limit the spread of fake news.
• NewsGuard Wants to Fight Fake News With Humans, Not Algorithms (Issie Lapowsky, Wired, 8-23-18) NewsGuard "is a browser plug-in for Chrome and Microsoft Edge that transcends platforms, giving trustworthiness ratings to most of the internet's top-trafficked sites."
• What Research Says About How Bad Information Spreads Online (Denise-Marie Ordwary, Senior Women Web [originally Harvard Business Review], 7-19-18) Read all three pages.
• A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world (Daniel Funke, Poynter, 1-8-19)
• Fake news and the spread of misinformation: A research roundup (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 9-1-17)
• These Are 50 of the Biggest Fake News Hits on Facebook in 2018 (Craig Silverman and Scott Pham, Buzzfeed, 12-28-18) A BuzzFeed News analysis found that 50 of the biggest fake stories of 2018 generated roughly 22 million total shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.
• False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College, made this list of more than a hundred problematic news sites, along with tips for sorting the truthful from the troublesome. Listen to Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Fake News Edition Brooke Gladstone (WNYC Studios, 11-18-16) talks with her about how to be a savvy news consumer in a misinformation-filled world.
• Truth Disrupted (Sinan Aral, Harvard Business Review, 6-25-18) False news spreads online faster, farther, and deeper than truth does — but it can be contained. This six-part series on Reality Wars explores how to fight misinformation.)
• How To Spot A Deepfake Like The Barack Obama–Jordan Peele Video (Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed, 4-17-18) This "deepfake" video starring Jordan Peele as Barack Obama shows how easy it's getting to create convincing audio and video fakes. Here's how to fight back.
• Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News (Gillian Tett, Financial Times, Medium, 7-10-18) Marra says that “90 per cent of fake news is driven by financial incentives...The bad guys just want a click, they want an ad dollar — their incentives rely on you clicking from News Feed over to their site, so they will create sensationalist headlines." Facebook is collaborating with fact-checking groups but Facebook is not transparent or accountable about how it classifies 'fake news' and "keeps denying that it is a publisher." See also Hacking the Facebook news problem (Evangeline, Global News Network, 2-16-17) 'According to Frédéric Filloux, Facebook needs to keep its users on its services as long as possible to sustain its pageview-based business. It has no objective interest in exposing them to news that contradicts their beliefs and could make them leave the site. Its algorithm is built to maintain users “in the warm, comfort of the cosy environment (they) created click after click”. That might be why we should not expect too much change from within Facebook.'
• Newspapers Are Fighting Harder Than Ever Against the Spread of Misinformation (Jennifer Swift, Editor & Publisher) When an explosion rocked Manhattan on a recent Thursday afternoon, the local media went into a frenzy. The Twittersphere became like the classic game of telephone. If your mother shares something on social media, check the source before you share. Since the advent of the internet, reporters on every regional and national panel have been asked how the web has made what has always been a cutthroat competition to get things up and get things up first even worse.
• The Global Disinformation Index Defined as “deliberately false information designed to deceive for financial or political gain” the index will be: The world’s first rating system for all media sites based on the probability of them hosting and distributing disinformation -- a risk score."The internet is one of the greatest agents of free speech and democracy the world has ever seen...Yet at the same time those same decentralising qualities have made the internet and social media vulnerable to abuse by some of the darkest forces in our society..."
• This media literacy program made people better at identifying disinformation. (They still weren’t great at knowing what to trust.) (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 5-16-18)
• 5 takeaways from First Draft’s identifying misinformation course (Journalist's Resource, 3-18-18) A new, free online course from First Draft helps journalists use free tools to track down, source and verify information they find online. Meanwhile, useful tips.
• Bots, trolls, and fake likes, followers, and influencers
• You’re extremely gullible and there’s probably not much you can do about it (Lisa Fazio/The Conversation, Popular Science, 4-3-18) Failing to notice what you know is wrong. Why humans stink at finding falsehoods. That's why Fact-checking sites are so important.
• Reliability ratings from journalists could actually help audiences identify misinformation (Taylor Blatchford, Poynter, 6-27-18) And here's one source of reliability rating that may be doomed: With Funding Scarce, HealthNewsReview.org Hurtles Toward Closure (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-26-18)
• Fake news and media literacy (blog post)
• Mad Magazine’s clout may have faded, but its ethos matters more than ever before (Michael J. Socolow, The Conversation, 5-11-18) “‘Think for yourself. Question authority’ -- Mad Magazine's editorial mission statement has always been the same: ‘Everyone is lying to you, including magazines. Think for yourself. Question authority,’” according to longtime editor John Ficarra.
• Is it satire or fake news? Depends on who you ask (Daniel Funke, Poynter, 4-30-18) Sites that mock (like Onion) and "Fake news sites often claim they’re satirical, only to fabricate entire stories without a semblance of humor or irony — all the while profiting off clicks."
• The Era of Fake Video Begins (Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, May 2018) The digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint. the problem isn’t just the proliferation of falsehoods. Fabricated videos will create new and understandable suspicions about everything we watch. Politicians and publicists will exploit those doubts. When captured in a moment of wrongdoing, a culprit will simply declare the visual evidence a malicious concoction.
• Can artificial intelligence beat fake news? (Brooke Borel, ScienceWriters, 5-3-18) The automated fact-checker Claimbuster was pitted against a human fact-checker to see if it could detectd fake news from InfoWars, a known peddler of fact-challenged posts. Claimbuster won for speed but not for ability to spot fake news about global warming.
• Can AI solve the internet's fake news problem? A fact-checker investigates. (Brooke Borel, Popular Science, 3-20-18) "The Pew Research Center reported last year that more than two-thirds of American adults get news on social media, where misinformation abounds. We also seek it out. In December, political scientists from Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Exeter reported that 1 in 4 Americans visited a fake news site—mostly by clicking to them through Facebook—around the 2016 election." The Duke Tech & Check Cooperative is supporting the development of virtual fact-checking tools (robots), including ClaimBuster and TruthGoggles. Can they "recognize context and nuance, which are both key in verifying information" or spot sarcasm or irony? They tested ClaimBuster to see if it could detect fake science news from a known peddler of fact-challenged posts: infowars.com. "The trick will be getting the accuracy to match that efficiency."
• Fact-checking the network. (Denise-Marie Ordway, NiemanLab, 4-17-18) Journalist’s Resource sifts through the academic journals so you don’t have to. Roundup of academic research on fake news, audience analytics, populism, VR, and fact-checking, from several academic reports:
---Fact-checking efforts almost never reach consumers of fake news.
---"The findings suggest Twitter users are more likely to accept corrections from friends and individuals who follow them. But they’re less likely to accept corrections to an error related to politics than another topic."
---“Overall, a closer relationship with journalists on Twitter is associated with lower levels of perceived media bias.”
---“There is little research focused on fake news and no comprehensive data-collection system to provide a dynamic understanding of how pervasive systems of fake news provision are evolving."
---"About 1 in 4 adults visited a fake news site — mostly Donald Trump supporters looking for pro-Trump content. An estimated 15 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters read at least one article from a pro-Clinton fake news website. Interestingly, the findings suggest that 'fake news consumption seems to be a complement to, rather than a substitute for, hard news — visits to fake news websites are highest among people who consume the most hard news and do not measurably decrease among the most politically knowledgeable individuals.'”
---'The big takeaway: Reporters and columnists argued that a host of factors contributed to Trump’s success, while academics largely credited the media. “Journalistic discourse generally asserted that Trump’s victory occurred due to media illiteracy in the public; social media propagation of fake news and allowance of filter bubbles; and failure of the press to understand the depth of voter anger. Scholars viewed the rise of Trump as predictable, when considering long-established routines of the press; journalists’ misunderstanding of both the public and populism; and the dire economics of legacy journalism.”' --from Populism, Journalism, and the Limits of Reflexivity: The case of Donald J. Trump
• A claim-by-claim analysis of a climate denial 'news' story (Brooke Borel, Popular Science, 3-20-18) An excerpt from a professional fact-checker's claim-by-claim analysis of a climate denial "news" story.
• How consumers can fact check the news in the age of misinformation (Julia Waldow, CNN Media, 4-2-18)
• Fact-checking sites (Glenn Kessler, The Fact Checker, WaPo, 11-20-18) Vice President Pence and the State Department defend reporters overseas. But their efforts are undercut by the president's rhetoric on “fake news” and “enemy of the people.”
• The disconnect between President Trump and his administration on freedom of the press
• This Company Made Up Fake News and Fake Celeb Quotes to Sell Supplements, FTC Says (Stephanie M. Lee, BuzzFeed, 11-15-17) A Southern California company has settled charges that it created fake news articles and fake endorsements from stars like Jennifer Aniston to push unsubstantiated health claims about supplements and make millions of dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission, "this reporting and marketing was all untrue. The agency alleges it was part of a vast online network of fake news sites, fake customer testimonials, and fake celebrity endorsements that existed to promote unsubstantiated health claims about more than 40 weight-loss, muscle-building, and wrinkle-reduction products. It apparently worked: People nationwide spent $179 million on these products over a five-year period, the FTC alleges....On the order pages of these websites, customers were told the “total” cost for a 30-day supply of a trial product was $4.95 for shipping and handling. But once they entered their credit or debit card information, they were likely to be charged about $87 for the item — plus recurring amounts for future shipments, the FTC alleged. The websites didn’t make their auto-enroll, cancellation, and refund terms clear, so many customers reported never seeing them, the FTC alleged. And getting a refund was hard."
• Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth (PDF, PEN America report, 10-12-17) Invaluable.
• How to squash fake news without trampling free speech (Callum Borchers, WashPost, 10-12-17) About the PEN report and its findings and recommendations.
• Fake news and media literacy (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors, 12-12-16 updated 2-11-18) Roundup of and links to important stories about who is producing fake news, why, with what consequences and effects, and what we can learn from what analysts are saying.
• How to Spot Fake News (Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson, FactCheck.org, 11-18-16)
• How ‘half true’ happens (Justin Peters, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-30-12) Our correspondent sits in as PolitiFact editors rate Nikki Haley's claim.
• Snopes’ Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors ( Kim LaCapria, Snopes, 3-6-17) Snopes.com's updated guide to the internet's clickbaiting, news-faking, social media exploiting dark side.
• Let’s fight back against fake news (Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact, 11-16-16) See PolitiFact's newsfeed about recent fake news
• Fact-checking fake news reveals how hard it is to kill pervasive 'nasty weed' online (Joshua Gillin, PunditFact, 1-27-17)
• Google Rolls Out ‘Fact Check’ Tool to Combat Fake News Worldwide (Good News Network, 4-13-17)
• Confessions of a Trump Fact-Checker (Daniel Dale, Politico, 10-19-16) "The fewest inaccuracies I’ve heard in any day is four. The most is 25. (Twenty-five!) That doesn’t include the first two debates, at which I counted 34 and 33, respectively."
• The New Yorker’s chief fact-checker on how to get things right in the era of ‘post-truth’ (Shelley Hepworth, CJR 3-8-17). “People who have never been involved in journalism, in fact-checking, think the world is divided into facts and opinions, and the checkers just deal with facts,” says Canby. “For us the bigger complexity is what we think of as fact-based opinions….The way you construct an argument, if there are egregious missing ingredients to it, then it’s something we bring up.”
• How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down (Caitlin Dickerson, NY Times Magazine, 9-26-17) At the height of the 2016 election, exaggerated reports of a juvenile sex crime brought a media maelstrom to Twin Falls — one the Idaho city still hasn’t recovered from. A report inaccurately blaming Syrian refugees for a crime spread throughout Twin Falls. As more time passed without a solid account of what happened, lurid rumors continued to surface online and came to dominate conversations in grocery stores and at school events, sparking an outcry of hatred and anger.
• 2016 Lie of the Year Award: Fake news ( Angie Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact, 12-13-16) "Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word. In 2016, the prevalence of political fact abuse – promulgated by the words of two polarizing presidential candidates and their passionate supporters – gave rise to a spreading of fake news with unprecedented impunity."
• Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All (Max Read, New York Magazine, 11-27-16) "Powerful undemocratic states like China and Russia have for a while now put the internet to use to mislead the public, create the illusion of mass support, and either render opposition invisible or expose it to targeting."
• Fake news website (Wikipedia). Good overview and good links to more resources.
• Study suggests people less likely to fact check news when in company of other people (Bob Yirka, Phys.org, 5-23-17) Phys.org is also a good fact-checking site.
• How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News (Craig Silverman and Lawrence Alexander, BuzzFeed News, 11-3-16) BuzzFeed News identified more than 100 pro-Trump websites being run from a single town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The young people "who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters....Most of the posts on these sites are aggregated, or completely plagiarized, from fringe and right-wing sites in the US."
• Ignored factchecks and the media’s crisis of confidence (Brendan Nyhan, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-30-12)
• 7 FREE Genealogy Websites You're Probably Overlooking (Genealogy with Amy Johnson Crow) Subscribe, if you're researching your family tree.
---Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) (DPLA) An organization of "thousands of libraries, archives, and museums with links to more than 37 million images, text files, audio files, and video files. Basically, if it can be digitized, it could end up being accessed through DPLA." This includes photographs, original records, yearbooks, city directories, county histories, family histories, family Bibles, oral interviews, maps, all sorts of annual reports for institutions and government agencies, and more.
---Internet Archive (associated with The Wayback Machine) A nonprofit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
---State archives, libraries and historical societies. Two excellent examples: Library of Virginia and Wisconsin Historical Society
---State and local genealogy societies, among which the Indiana Genealogical Society "has a ton of records that are available to non-members."
---Lindpendium, like a Google for genealogy. Search by name and/or location. Maintained by Brian and Karen Leverich, the original developers of RootWeb)
---WorldCat (short for “world catalog,” put together by OCLC, a consortium of libraries around the world). If it can be cataloged by a library or an archive or museum, it could end up with an entry in WorldCat.
---FamilySearch Research Wiki Find the birth, death, marriage, census records, and other genealogy resources for your ancestor by selecting the region and country on the map.
• Genealogical and family history resources (on Pat McNees site)
---The big picture
---Family trees (genograms)
---More family history resources
---Genealogy gateway sites
---The joys and perils of genealogy research
---Searchable genealogy and family history databases, sites
---Online newspaper archives (historic newspapers)
--- Immigration, ports of entry, U.S,
---Land and residential data, U.S.
---U.S. and Canadian census records
---Finding maiden names and female ancestors
---African American genealogy and history
---Irish and UK genealogy resources
---Resources on the Holocaust
---Adoption issues and resources
"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic." ~ John F. Kennedy
• Media Bias Chart (Allsides)
• Media Bias Chart (Ad Fontes) Vanessa Otero's chart shows not only the left-right bias of various publications but also (up-down) the level of reliability. Images are grouped by level and direction of bias (or not).
Fact-checking sites right, left, and center:
In alphabetical order:
• Accuracy in Media (a conservative citizens' watchdog group, watching mainstream media for fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting). See, for example, Ken Burns: Student of History—or Left-Wing Gasbag?
• AllSides. Not fact-checking per se, but curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so readers see how how bias influences reporting on each topic.
• AP Fact Check (fact-checking stories that aren't entirely true, saying so, offering the facts) See especially NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
• AFP Fact Check Canada
• Bad Science (Ben Goldacre's old column from The Guardian) By the author of Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
• Catalogue of all projects working to solve Misinformation and Disinformation (MisinfoCon) Includes many sites not listed here.
• Charity Navigator Alphabetical listing of charities star-rated for financial, accountability & transparency, impact & results, leadership & adaptability, culture & community.
• Charity Watch, Rating Guide & Watchdog Report (Charities rated from A to F on how much of the money they take in is spent on fundraising rather than charity, formerly American Institute of Philanthropy).
• ClaimBuster (authomated live fact-checking, ). See Meet the bot builders: How our student team is automating fact-checkers’ work (Julianna Rennie, Reporters Lab, 4-30-18) A team of Duke students is building tools that automate the most tedious task for fact-checkers: finding claims to check.
• Climate Feedback (a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in climate change media coverage--to help readers know which news to trust)
• Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center (NewsGuard) Sites identified as publishing materially false information about the virus. All the Red-Rated news and information sites in the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy, and Germany that NewsGuard has identified — 624 so far — as publishing materially false information about the virus.
• COVID-19 Fact-Checking sites (College of Staten Island)
• Reliable sources of information about COVID-19
• PEN America’s Guide on COVID-19 and Disinformation (3-25-2020)
• Cross Check Archives from 2017; no longer active. A collaborative journalism project, with a French focus.
• Dollars for Docs search tool (Pro Publica). Use this to see if your doctors receive money from drug or device companies (which might influence which drugs and devices they prescribe)
• Donald Trump fact-check (Annenberg Public Policy Center) Three sites, because Trump is particularly loose with "facts."
• Donald Trump fact-check (PolitiFact, Poynter Institute)
• Donald Trump Fact Check (Toronto Star)
• Duke Reporters' Lab database of global fact-checking sites. Use the map to find fact-checking sites around the world or browse the fact-checking sites (listed by continent). See also Trump Claims Database (Washington Post, a succinctly annotated list, quoting what Trump said in one column against what the facts are in another).
• EU vs Disinformation European Union site that challenges disinformation coming from the Russian Federation’s ongoing disinformation campaigns.
• Evidence-based medicine, links to resources such as HealthNewsreview and Cochrane (on coronavirus) and Cochran Reviews.
• Fact-Checking (various Poynter columns, pieces)
• FactCheck.org (Annenberg's excellent nonpartisan political fact checker--monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, and interviews.
• Fact Checker (Glenn Kessler's Washington Post column, The Truth Behind the Rhetoric, fact checks statements by politicians and political advocacy groups and doles out one to four Pinocchios for politicians' statements that don't pass muster)
• FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a national media watch group)
• FEC Itemizer (Derek Willis and Sisi Wei, ProPublica, and Aaron Bycoffe, Special to ProPublica. Updated regularly.) Browse Federal Campaign Finance Filings
• Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986, a national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation.
• Flack Check (FlackCheck.org) is Annenberg's companion site to FactCheck, designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general (politics, science, and health) and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.
• Flack Check Science
• Full Fact A team of independent fact checkers and campaigners in the UK who find, expose and counter the harm bad information does.
• Government Information Watch "Tracking openness and accountability in government."
• Hall of Justice (Marshall Project) A searchable inventory of publicly available criminal justice datasets and research (archived and read-only).
• HealthCheck PolitiFact and Kaiser Health News team up to truth-squad health care claims made by politicians and policymakers leading up to the 2020 election.
• Hoax Alert (Lead Stories) "Just because it's trending doesn't mean it's true."
• Hoax Slayer (Wikipedia entry), now closed down, debunked email hoaxes and internet scams. Links to urban legends.
• International Fact-Checking Network (Poynter). Code of principles for organizations that regularly publish nonpartisan reports on the accuracy of statements by public figures, major institutions, and other widely circulated claims of interest to society.
• KSJ Fact-Checking Project (Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT) "Our mission: To provide free fact-checking resources for journalists around the world."
• Media Bias/Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased; those that are pro-science, conspiracy-pseudoscience, questionable sources (including "fake news"), and satire (because it's not always clear when people ARE being satirical).
• Media Matters for America (MMfA), a politically progressive media watchdog and advocacy group with a stated mission of "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
• MisinfoCon (Hacks, Hackers) Trust, Verification, Fact Checking and Beyond. Important stories, linka, and information.
• Newsbusters A project of the conservative Media Research Center (MRC) "exposing and combating liberal media bias"
• NewsDiffs NewsDiffs archives changes in articles after publication. It tracks nytimes.com, cnn.com, politico.com, washingtonpost.com, and bbc.co.uk.
• NewsGuard. A file extension for your browser rates sites on nine criteria of accountability (assigning shades of green for generally basic standards of credibility and transparency and shades of green, if not; gold if it's satire or parody, not straight news, and gray if it's a platform that primarily hosts user-generated content that it does not vet). Fighting misinformation with journalism, not algorithms. Transparent, accountable trust ratings for thousands of news outlets.
• NPR Fact Check. For example, NPR Fact Check: Trump And Clinton Debate For The First Time NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the first Clinton-Trump debate. Great service!
• The Observatory (University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication) Student journalists, UW scholars, and Wisconsin-centered platforms partner to connect and engage voters in Wisconsin and beyond to provide information vital to the practice of democracy.
• On the Issues (every political leader on every issue--what they said, how they voted)
• OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics). This nonpartisan, independent, nonprofit website tracks where candidates get their money, how much they get, and its effects on U.S. elections and public policy. Advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy. Keeps track of which representatives in the U.S. Congress receive contributions from which companies or organizations. Lets you easily track campaign spending and contributions and tracks the money that the private sector, industry groups, unions, and other lobbyists spend to lobby Congress.
• PolitiFact.com (@PolitiFact , nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"--especially handy during political campaigns). The Principles of the Truth-O-Meter PolitiFact’s methodology for independent fact-checking. Ownership transferred from Tampa Bay Times to Poynter in 2018. Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize. Here are articles on current issues, events and be sure to check out the fact-check results for people (particularly active political candidates)
• PunditFact (Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute, dedicated to fact-checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media)
• ProPublica (not fact-checking per se, but this independent nonprofit newsroom produces investigative journalism in the public interest, which has won many, many awards.
• Quackwatch (your guide to quackery, health fraud, and intelligent decisions, operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
• Quote Investigator Invaluable.
• rbutr (tells you when the webpage you are viewing has been disputed, rebutted or contradicted elsewhere on the internet). Get the plugin. But my computer wouldn't download because the file was "corrupted."
• Regret the Error (Craig Silverman, on Poynter site, reports on trends and issues regarding media accuracy and the discipline of verification. Stories about errors, corrections, fact checking and verification. The book: Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech
• SourceWatch (Center for Media and Democracy) "We Track Corporations and PR Spin")
---ALEC Exposed Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.
---KOCH Exposed (wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash)
• The Straight Dope (Cecil Adams).
• SciCheck (FactCheck.org's site for fact-checking false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy)
• The Skeptic's Dictionary. exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions since 1994. See Skeptimedia Archive
• Snopes.com (David and Barbara Mikkelson created this in 1995 as a site about urban folklore site. It expanded to fact-check internet rumors and other stories of doubtful veracity. See its fake news archive.See also The Co-Founder of Snopes Wrote Dozens of Plagiarized Articles for the Fact-Checking Site (Buzzfeed, 8-13-21) He used the pseudonym Jeff Zarronandia for articles about Trump and others. Criticism: Snopsing Snopes (8-14-21) "In August 2021, Snopes’ co-founder and CEO David Mikkelson was revealed to be a serial plagiarizer, sloppily violating copyrights of other publications in an attempt to make the site look extremely proactive in uncovering news."
• The Straight Dope (Cecil Adams) Fighting ignorance since 1973.
• Sunlight Foundation (making government & politics more accountable and transparent)
• Trump Claims Database (Washington Post, a succinctly annotated list, quoting what Trump said in one column against what the facts are in another).
• Verificado 2018 (Joseph Lichterman, Lenfest Institute, 5-31-18) How 90 outlets are working togethe to fight misinformation ahead of Mexico's election.
• Verify (WUSA-9, DC news) Is Tuesday the best day to book a plane ticket? and similar questions, but maybe not easy to view online, after the day it comes out.
• Google News Initiative in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists offers several teaching modules: Finding Data Stories in Google Trends; Creating a Story Dataset; Visualizing Data for Stories; Verification & Fact Checking; Safety & Security; Search & Data Acquisition.
• Verification: If your mother tweets she loves you, check it out (Investigate Washington) For guides, tip sheets and more, visit Global Investigative Journalism Network.
• Can Citizen Science Help Fight Misinformation and Biased News Coverage? (Julia Travers, Citizen Science Salon, Discover, 10-9-2020) A new project called Public Editor asks citizen scientists to work together and vet the credibility of the news.
• Verification and Fact Checking (Craig Silverman (@craigsilverman), Additional Materials, Verification Handbook) And I quote: “Verification is the editorial technique used by journalists — including fact-checkers — to verify the accuracy of a statement,” says Bill Adair, the founder of PolitiFact and currently the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University. Verification is a discipline that lies at the heart of journalism, and that is increasingly being practiced and applied by other professions. Fact checking is a specific application of verification in the world of journalism. In this respect, as Adair notes, verification is a fundamental practice that enables fact checking.... it’s useful to know where they overlap, and where they diverge. (And he explains...)
Verification Tools, free access to chapter 10, from the Verification Handbook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coveragePoynter (1-28-14).
• Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting. A guide to online search and research techniques for using USG (user-generated content) and open source information in investigations. Read free online.
• CrossCheck: Our Collaborative Online Verification Newsroom (First Draft News) "Our first project brought together 37 newsroom and technology partners in France and the UK to help accurately report false, misleading and confusing claims that circulated online in the ten weeks leading up to the French Presidential election in May 2017." See NiemanLab story: As a presidential election looms in France, Google and Facebook team up with news outlets to factcheck (Shan Wang, 2-6-17)
• A pocket guide for verifying details of a video (Malachy Browne, Reportedly, First Draft, 6-10-15) Three case studies on how Reportedly verified videos and photos of airstrikes in #Syria and a rocket attack in #Ukraine
• PEN America’s Guide for Combating Protest Disinformation (6-5-2020) (1) Verify images and videos. Photos and videos might be distorted or taken out of context. (2) Verify accounts. A Gmail account inviting you to attend a protest might be bogus. (3) Verify sources. Keep an eye out for unverified sites that promote false headlines.
• 8 ways to avoid falling for the next viral fad study (Daniel Funke, FactCheckingDay.com, 4-13-18) And reprinted on Poynter.
• Filtering Fact from Fiction: A Verification Framework for Social Media (Alfred Hermida, Academia.edu) Read online or download.
• 14 tips for running a verification project when it matters most (FactCheckingDay.com)
• Tin Eye (a reverse image search engine). You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. Reverse image search (I have no idea if it was Tin Eye) was used for this New York Times piece: Debunking 5 Viral Images of the Migrant Caravan (Kevin Roose, 10-24-18) Caption: "A group of Hondurans heading toward the United States has been the subject of misinformation on social media."
• Jeff Flake's remarks at the 2018 dinner of the Radio & Television Correspondents (YouTube, 17 minutes, 11-14-18). Flake, in an excellent talk about the search for truth, says that our country is in a crisis of communication, in which people on opposite sides don't even agree on shared facts, and engage in insults and abuse rather than rational dialogue. It is the press's job to question what government does, he says. Full video here (C-Span)
• It’s a Fact: Mistakes Are Embarrassing the Publishing Industry (Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 9-22-19) In an era plagued by deep fakes and online disinformation campaigns, we still tend to trust what we read in books. But should we? Publishers have long maintained that fact-checking every book would be prohibitively expensive, and that the responsibility falls on authors, who hold the copyrights. But in today’s polarized media landscape, that stance appears to be shifting as some publishers privately agree that they should be doing more, particularly when the subject matter is controversial.
• Don’t Get Fooled Again: Best Practices for Online Verification (Craig Silverman, Poynter webinar, 2-21-13)
• Izitru, a new website, iPhone app, and developer API which incorporates the same forensic test as FourMatch, along with five additional tests. Recommended by FourMatch (FourAndSix) when it was discontinued.
• How consumers can fact check the news in the age of misinformation (Julia Waldow, CNN Media, 4-2-18)
• Fact-Checking the Final Presidential Debate (NY Times, 10-23-2020) Essential reading.
including resources for teaching fact-checking
• Checking Facts In Nonfiction (Lynn Neary, Books, NPR, 6-8-19)
• The Hidden Signs That Can Reveal a Fake Photo (Tiffanie Wen, BBC Future, 6-9-2020) A picture may say a thousand words, but what if the photograph has been fabricated? There are ways to spot a fake – you just have to look closely enough.
• Fact Deserts: How a lack of local fact-checking leaves states vulnerable to election lies (Duke Reporters' Lab, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nov. 2022) A Duke Reporters’ Lab census finds politicians in 29 states get little scrutiny for what they say, while local fact-checkers in other places struggle to keep pace with campaign misinformation.
Amid the political lies and misinformation that spread across the country during the 2022 midterm elections, statements by candidates in 29 states rarely faced the scrutiny of independent fact-checkers because there weren’t any local fact-checkers. And some states without fact-checkers, like New Hampshire, Kansas, and Ohio, were having hotly contested political contests. Duke researchers identified 46 locally focused fact-checking projects during 2022's campaign in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
• The Fact Checker's Bible: A Guide to Getting It Right by Sarah Harrison Smith (fact-checking tips from a former fact-checker for the New Yorker and currently for New York Times Magazine).
• The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking by Brooke Borel
• A Fact-Checking Primer (Better News, American Press Institute)
• Fact-checking and accountability journalism project (American Press Institute) API’s Accountability Journalism and Fact-Checking Project
• Fact Checking Is the Core of Nonfiction Writing. Why Do So Many Publishers Refuse to Do It? (Emma Copley Eisenberg, Esquire, 8-26-2020) Emma Copley Eisenberg discusses the dangers of authors being forced to hire their own fact-checker out of pocket. If they do so at all.
• Fact-checking tips for all types of editing (Gerri Berendzen, ACES,4-29-20) Any person doing editing, of any type, might be called on to do fact-checking work. That’s right — even if you’re editing a dystopian novel about a virus that changes humanity. and offers conscientious practitioners principles to aspire to in their everyday work."
KSJ Fact-Checking Project, Recommended Reading Links to interesting articles, including several linked to at KSJ Fact-Checking Project.
• Checkpoints (John McPhee, New Yorker, 2-2-09) "A classic read on fact-checking, which gives insight into not only the storied fact-check department at The New Yorker, but also the lengths a checker may go to confirm an anecdote — and how things can occasionally go wrong."-KSJ Fact-Checking Project
• How to Fact Check The Atlantic (Yvonne Rolzhausen, The Atlantic, 1-25-18) A fact-checker at The Atlantic walks readers through her process for fact-checking a passage from the feature story, “What ISIS Really Wants.”
• Checking in on Fact Checking (WNYC Radio, On the Media, listen or read transcript, 9-21-12) The team at On the Media discusses fact-checking with Ira Glass, Peter Canby, Chris Turpin, and Craig Silverman.
• Fact-checking at The New Yorker (Peter Canby, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-23-12) An overview of fact-checking by the head of the fact-checking department at The New Yorker.
• The hidden signs that can reveal a fake photo ( Tiffanie Wen, Lockdown Longreads, BBC, 6-9-2020) Fake photos are rampant on the internet, and they especially circulate after big news events such as natural disasters. Learn tips on spotting the fakes with this article.
• The State of Fact-Checking in Science Journalism (PDFBrooke Borel, Knvul Sheikh, Fatima Husain, Ashley Junger, Erin Biba, and Deborah Blum and Bettina Urcuioli of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, June 2018
• International Fact Checking Day (Poynter) The tools and technology journalists are using to tell the coronavirus story.
• Fact-Checking News (Duke Reporters' Lab) and database of global fact-checking sites
• Conspiracy-Pseudoscience Sites (Media Bias/Fact Check) Fact-check articles from sources on this list, which may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence.
• Fact or friction: the problem with factchecking in the book world (Britni de la Cretaz, The Guardian, 5-16-18) Recent controversies surrounding books by Sally Kohn and Amy Chozick have revealed a system that makes it hard to authenticate the claims of authors. The "bar for factchecking books during the editing process is low, if it even exists at all. Not only that, it’s common for publishers to never have a conversation with authors about the issue of factchecking and to assume that getting it right is entirely on the author."
• From fact checking to live fact checking: what to learn from the US presidential election (Clothilde Goujard, Global Editors Network, 11-3-16) Five tips on how to fact-check an electoral debate.
• Methods Brooke Borel's new podcast series, reviewed on CJR: Methods: A journalist’s new podcast explores the secrets behind fact-finding (Joshua Adams, CJR, 8-24-17). Borel puts 'a spotlight on the behind-the-scenes processes of those who work with facts. In an era of “fake news,” she hopes fact-checking will become as an integral part of all forms of journalism.' Borel is author of The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking by Brooke Borel.
• Fact-Checking Won’t Save Us From Fake News (Brooke Borel, FiveThirtyEight, 1-4-17) "Facebook and Google keep giving users more of what they want to see through proprietary algorithms. This may be great for entertainment, but it doesn’t help when it comes to news, where it may just strengthen existing bias....Click-based advertising has left us adrift in a sea of inaccurate, sensational headlines, even at legitimate news outlets; this makes it easier for dramatic fake news headlines to survive....Maybe the news should stop trying so hard to entertain. Political reporting could improve by refusing to force false balance..." and so on. Worth a read.
• Automated fact-checking has come a long way. But it still faces significant challenges. (Daniel Funke, Poyner, 4-4-18) The biggest challenge: figuring out which experts can be trusted.
• Fact-checking triples over four years (Mark Stencel & Riley Griffin, Fact-Checking News, Duke Reporters' Lab, 2-22-18) The annual fact-checking census from the Reporters' Lab finds 31 percent growth in the past year alone, and signs that many verification projects are becoming more stable.
• How We Identify Fact-Checkers (Bill Adair & Mark Stencel, Fact-Checking News, Duke Reporters' Lab, 6-22-16)
• Quiz: How well can you tell factual from opinion statements? (Pew Research Center)
• A big year for fact-checking, but not for new U.S. fact-checkers (Mark Stencel, Fact-Checking News, Duke Reporters' Lab, 12-13-17) Following a historic pattern, the number of American media outlets verifying political statements dropped after last year's presidential campaign.
• Database of Global Fact-Checking Sites The Reporters’ Lab maintains a database of global fact-checking sites. You can use the map to explore sites around the world or use the menu below.
• When Fact-Checking Becomes Censorship (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 9-11-18) "Four of Facebook’s chosen fact-checkers—the Associated Press, Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, and Snopes—are widely trusted and nonpartisan. The fifth, the Weekly Standard, has generally high-quality editorial content with a conservative ideological bent. This week, the Weekly Standard used its gatekeeping role in an incredibly troubling way, declaring that a story written by Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress was false, essentially preventing Facebook users from accessing the article. ThinkProgress is as liberal as the Weekly Standard is conservative....Facebook should not let conservative editors police liberal outlets’ analysis under the guise of fact-checking."
• The 6 best political fact-checking sites on the internet (DailyDot.com)
• Fact checking (how to spot fake news, etc.)
• The least and most trusted news sources (MarketWatch, 8-31-17) Most trusted: 1. The Economist (UK), 2. public television, followed by Reuters and BBC. "National Public Radio placed just ahead of PBS at No. 5, while the U.K.’s the Guardian clinched the seventh spot. The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Morning News rounded out the 10 most trusted brands."
• List of fake news websites
• Fact-Checking Your Writing (Custom-Writing.org) Advice for students.
How to communicate honestly
• Six tips to make science and health fact-checks sexier (and trustworthy) (Cristina Tardáguila, International Fact Checking Day, Poynter, MisinfoCon@NASEM 2020). Hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Suggestions on how media, fact-checkers, health organizations and governments could improve the work they do when communicating health-based facts, along these lines:
1) Delivering more information doesn’t mean they will agree with the facts
2) Allow peeks behind the curtain and use sources they can relate to
3) Platforms should find a way to highlight trustworthy sources
4) Correct others on social media — it works
5) Use local influencers
6) Health literacy should be taught at school/university.
• Find a ZIP Code (U.S. Postal Service)
• Look up a ZIP code (by address, by city and state, or Cities by ZIP code
• Frequently asked questions about ZIP codes (U.S. Postal Service)
• Zip Code Maps (free printable maps, shipping calculator)
• 10 Best People Search Engines to Find People Easily (Beebom, 4-22-17) Brief descriptions of features of Pipl, BeenVerified, Whitepages, Spokeo, PeekYou, Intelius, Facebook, Instant Checkmate, LinkedIn, MyLife.
• Pipl (search by name, email address, social username, or phone number)
• BeenVerified.com Search public records: People search, phone lookup, address lookup, email lookup.
• Intelius. People search, Background check, Criminal records, Reverse phone lookup. An interesting way of organizing a people search.
• AllAreaCodes.com (US and Canadian) Area code lists. Reverse phone lookup. Area code map. Canada area codes list.
• North American Area Code Locations, in numerical order (AreaCodeLocations.Info)
• Area Codes by US State, Canadian Province. (You can also search by city.)
• Reverse Phone Lookup (AnyWho) Find people by phone number. Doesn't work for cell phone numbers.
• Country Calling Codes and HowtoCallAbroad (International calling: country codes, area codes, phone books)
• Animal Diversity Web (online database of animal history, distribution, classification and conservation biology provided by the University of Michigan)
• Animal Pictures and Facts (National Geographic)
• Biology Virtual Library (Illinois Library)
• Bird species search (BirdLife International)
• Catalog of Fishes (California Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability)
• Checklist of North and Middle American Birds (American Ornithologists' Union)
• FishBase. A global species database of fish species (specifically finfish)
• Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) An "open-access biodiversity platform hosting over a million species-occurrence records from both institutions and citizen-science platforms."
• iNaturalist A nature app that helps you identify the plants and animals around you.
Merlin (a competitor app developed by The Cornell Lab) is especially good at identifying bird sounds.
• Animals (Nature, PBS) Lovely, informative animal programs.
• IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) The IUCN Red List's application programming interface (or API) is a programming platform researchers may use to download massive amounts of data in bulk. Journalists can apply for an API key to use the interface.
• Animalcams, several zoos (Earthcam)
---Scientists solve mystery of why thousands of octopus migrate to deep-sea thermal springs (YouTube video, MBARI, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) Scientists solve mystery of why thousands of octopus migrate to deep-sea thermal springs
---"Livecams" African safari
---Webcams, Smithsonian's National Zoo
---Webcams, San Diego Zoo
• Collectives: These are so charming! A chime of wrens, a charm of goldfinches, a murmuration of starlings, an exaltation of larks, a prickle of hedgehogs, a romp of otters, a drift of sheep, a crown of kingfishers, an ostentation of peacocks, a leash of deer, a circus of puffins, a murder of crows, a paddling of ducks, a pump of seals, a bouquet of pheasants, a squabble of seagulls, a trip of hares, a leap of salmons, a skulk of foxes, a cete of badgers. From James Lipton's An Exaltation of Larks and Steve Palin's A Murmuration of Starlings, among other books on this topic.
This Wirecutter piece lists and explains these apps for identifying plans using your cell phone. Their top two are listed first.
---Plant.net With the Pl@ntNet app, identify one plant from a picture, and be part of a citizen science project on plant biodiversity. Quick, easy, and accurate.
---iNaturalist A nature app that helps you identify the plants and animals around you. A citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe.
---Seek (by iNaturalist)
---What's That Flower (clumsy)
---Flora Incognita (also clumsy)
• The Plant List provides the accepted Latin name for most species, with links to all synonyms by which that species has been known.
• Monrovia Find plants in your region. Filters: plant types, USDA hardiness zone, light needs.
• USDA Plants Database
• USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map categorizes every region in the U.S. based on plant-growing conditions. The lower the zone number, the colder the temperatures in winter.
• Winter Vegetable Production on Small Farms and Gardens West of the Cascades (Pacific Northwest Extension Publoication May 2022) for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, which spans zones three through eight, winter vegetable production is possible thanks to oceanic weather patterns that bring more rainfall. (H/T Page Curtis, Don’t Overthink Gardening, The Atlantic, 8-9-23)
• Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder Look up, view a photo and read about over 7,500 plants. Try its wonderful name pronouncer)
• plant lust (H/T 12 Best Websites for Plant Descriptions (Amy Campion)
• Dave's Garden Plant Files (an important online plant database)
• Plant Explorer (Longwood Gardens) Check out their plant tours.
• The Plant Guide (Fine Gardening) An excellent alphabetical guide which includes images. May require a subscription.
• Top 50 Botany Websites & Blogs for Botanists and Plant Scientists
• Insect Identification Lab (Virginia Tech)
• Vegetable MD Online (Cornell's photo gallery for identifying what's wrong with your vegetable plants, and suggesting remedies) H/T to Marie Iannotti's Top Gardening Websites for Your Online Tool Shed.
• A new book explains how QAnon took hold of the GOP — and why it's not going away (Terry Gross interviews journalists Will Sommer, Fresh Air, NPR, 3-2-23) Sommer went to road shows and spoke to believers and their families while investigating QAnon. His book, Trust the Plan, makes the case that there are more conspiracy theories to come. A woman named Teresa said that "she was there because she believed that world elites keep children in tunnels where they drain them of their blood—they call them mole children—and that she believed that, you know, the sort of the greatest forces in the world were committing horrible crimes against children and that there had to be this kind of climactic moment that she believed would be that day."
• Elon Musk Visits Israel Amid Backlash Against His Endorsement of Antisemitic Post (Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Ryan Mac, Technology, NY Times, 11-16-23) Elon Musk traveled to Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, touring the scene of a Hamas attack in a visit that appeared aimed at calming the outcry over his endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X, the social media platform he owns. The flight of advertisers threatened to cost X tens of millions of dollars, and the White House denounced Mr. Musk for “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.”
See also Antisemitic and Anti-Muslim Hate Speech Surges Across the Internet (Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers, Technology, NY Times, 11-15-23) Fueled by the conflict between Israel and Gaza and stoked by extremists, hate speech has spiked on social media platforms such as X, Facebook and Instagram, researchers said.The increases have been at far greater levels than what academics and researchers who monitor social media say they have seen before, with millions of often explicitly violent posts on X, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
• Facebook Knew It Was Fueling QAnon (David Gilbert, Vice News, 10-5-21) "The shocking revelations about how Facebook mishandled the rise of QAnon—as well as other militarized social movements—are revealed in one of eight whistleblower complaints filed by former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen" with the Securities and Exchange Commission and published by CBS. A complaint focusing on Facebook’s role in the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol reveals how quickly new accounts can become radicalized and how Facebook failed to recognize the threat posed by QAnon on its platform. "It also reveals that employees were exasperated by the company’s continued failure to act on that threat."
• The Prophecies of Q (Adrienne LaFrance, Shadowland, The Atlantic, June 2020) American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase. This article is part of “Shadowland,” a project about conspiracy thinking in America. Check out the rest of the lineup.
• Food Supply Disruption Is Another Front for Russian Falsehoods (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 9-19-22) As the war in Ukraine has put pressure on the global markets for food, Russia has spread conspiracy theories that blame the West.
• It’s overly simple to tie all political rhetoric about sexual abuse to QAnon (Philip Bump, Washington Post, 3-29-22) “Dems, the White House & Judge Jackson spent last week saying sentences for child porn offenders are too harsh,” Hawley falsely claimed on Twitter. “They’re wrong. Child porn & exploitation is exploding. It’s time to protect our children.”
"For some observers, all of this — and particularly that last bit of rhetoric about protecting children — smacks of QAnon.
"QAnon is an extremist, dangerous and evolving ideology centered on the idea that there’s a massive, clandestine battle between good and evil in which the side of good is (or was) represented by Donald Trump and the side of evil anything from the Deep State to a cabal of satanic, leftist politicians and celebrities who abuse, murder or eat children for their gratification. Generally, though, it’s presented as a fight against child abuse and sex trafficking. Protests over the past few years organized by QAnon adherents focused on a “save our children” message — very similar to what Hawley is talking about."
• The Far-Right Bounty Hunter Behind the Explosive Popularity of “Died Suddenly” (Kiera Butler, Mother Jones, 2-3-23) After many tries, the former bounty hunter finally found the sweet spot for vitality by fusing anti-vaccine rhetoric with far-right conspiracy.
• They’re worried their mom is becoming a conspiracy theorist. She thinks they’re the ones living in a fantasy world. (Jose A. Del Real, Washington Post, 3-12-21) A family struggles with truth and trust in a country divided by disinformation. Something fundamental had changed since Claire and her husband "pulled the cord on mainstream media" a few years ago.
• What to Know About the Alex Jones Defamation Case (Daniel Victor, NY Times, 8-6-22. This page links to several related stories.) The Infowars host has already been found liable in lawsuits filed by the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims. A trial this week will determine how much he owes them. "Mr. Jones said on his show and in interviews that the attack in 2012, in which 20 first graders and six educators were killed, was a hoax and that the victims’ families were actors. Just a few hours after the shooting, he began calling it a “false flag,” a secretive plot planned by the government as a pretext for taking away Americans’ guns." See also the next entry.
• The Alex Jones Verdict and the Fight Against Disinformation (Sabrina Tavernise interviews Elizabeth Williamson, The Daily, NY Times, 8-8-22) Listen and/or read but it's a fascinating listen. What is the significance of the defamation case against America's most prominent conspiracy theorist? His theories took a particularly dark turn in 2012 when he said that the Sandy Hook shooting was a conspiracy, a plot by the government as a pretext to confiscate American’s firearms. The parents of a six-year-old who was killed in the attack took Jones to court. A horrible story of the damage a fabricated story can cause, ending with some justice at last. Mr. Jones learns that defamation is not protected by the First Amendment.
• ‘An American Tradition’: Lessons from a year covering conspiracy theories (Jose A. Del Real, reported essay, WaPo, 12-29-21) A reporter reflects on conflicts over truth, trust and belonging in America. 'Now, as in the past, conspiracy theories are about power — who has it, who wants it, who is losing it. In that way, they offer a reflection on American life. They reveal the deep anxieties people feel about the unknown. Distortions and rumors flood into the cracks that exist between individuals, and over time their overwhelming force can drown people and communities entirely.
"Consider,...that simply being told a lie or false information multiple times can make people more likely to believe it, something called the illusory truth effect...Now consider that effect in a media landscape that rewards partisan echo chambers. Now consider it in the social media age. “Our brains are not built for the truth,” David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told me earlier this year. “Our brains weren’t even built to read.
“In particular, people become misinformed because they tend to trust those they identify with, meaning they are more likely to listen to those who share their social and political identities.” We choose who to believe, we choose who to trust, often before we realize we are doing it. It is no wonder our disinformation battles can feel so personal, especially within families....If our methodologies of truth are broken, I see again and again, then it stems from the fact that so, too, are our methodologies of trust."
• Who Is Behind QAnon? Linguistic Detectives Find Fingerprints (David D. Kirkpatrick, NY Times, 2-19-22) Using machine learning, separate teams of computer scientists identified the same two men, Paul Furber and Ron Watkins, as likely authors of messages that fueled the viral movement. Studies by forensic linguists identify the two as playing the lead role in writing QAnon messages (Watson now running for Congress in Arizona) and some polls indicate that 'millions of people still believe that Q is a top military insider whose messages have revealed that former President Trump will save the world from a cabal of “deep state” Democratic pedophiles.'
• I’m an Investigative Journalist. These Are the Questions I Asked About the Viral “Plandemic” Video. ProPublica health care reporter Marshall Allen describes the questions he asks to assess coronavirus misinformation, starting with a viral video that claims the coronavirus is part of a “hidden agenda.”
• Elon Musk’s Anti-Semitic, Apartheid-Loving Grandfather (Joshua Benton, The Atlantic, 9-20-23) The billionaire has described his grandfather as a risk-taking adventurer. A closer read of history reveals something much darker. Musk’s grandfather spelled out his beliefs most clearly in a 1960 self-published book with the weighty title The International Conspiracy to Establish a World Dictatorship and the Menace to South Africa. (Its existence was first reported by Jill Lepore in How Elon Musk Went from Superhero to Supervillain(The New Yorker, 9-11-23), writing "Walter Isaacson’s new biography depicts a man who wields more power than almost any other person on the planet but seems estranged from humanity itself."
• A QAnon con: How the viral Wayfair sex trafficking lie hurt real kids (Jessica Contrera, Washington Post, 12-16-21) An Internet mob wanted to rescue a 13-year-old girl. Instead, they terrified her, derailed real trafficking investigations and incited ‘save the children’ violence. The story behind the story: How a reporter found the true story behind a false story of sex trafficking (Trevor Pyle, Nieman Storyboard, 2-15-22) Jessica Contrera of The Washington Post revealed the numerous victims of a viral internet thread, from a retailer to a 13-year-old girl.
•The New Anarchy (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 3-6-23) America faces a type of extremist violence it does not know how to stop. What had seemed from the outside to be spontaneous protests centered on the murder of George Floyd were in fact the culmination of a long-standing ideological battle. We face a new phase of domestic terror, one characterized by radicalized individuals with shape-shifting ideologies willing to kill their political enemies
• QAnon and on: why the fight against extremist conspiracies is far from over (Tim Adams, The Guardian, 6-20-22) Far-right conspiracies ran unchecked online in the Trump years. It’s all gone quiet since the Capitol riot, but author Mike Rothschild believes there’s a radicalised audience waiting for a new rallying point.
• QAnon’s hallmark catchphrases evaporating from the mainstream internet (DFRLab, Medium, 5-26-21) The conspiracy’s followers on alternative platforms have failed to out-post their counterparts on mainstream ones.
• Reporter helps readers dissect a pandemic conspiracy theory (Bara Vaida, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-22-2020) Marshall Allen offered readers some agency by offering criteria in the form of a checklist they can use, such as asking:
---Is the presentation one-sided?
---Is there an independent pursuit of the truth?
---Is there careful adherence to the facts?
---Are those accused allowed to respond?
---Are all sources named and cited, and if not, is the reason explained? Does the work claim some secret knowledge?
• Who is Q? Maker of HBO docuseries ‘Q: Into the Storm’ believes he has the answer (Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 3-28-21) The six-part HBO series "focuses less on the many Americans sucked into the QAnon vortex, or even the theory’s destabilizing impact on democracy, than the digital cesspool from which it emerged. Hoback gained unique access to Fred Brennan, the founder of 8chan, as well as Jim and Ron Watkins, the shadowy father-son team who took over the platform and fought to keep it online amid growing public backlash....This is a carefully curated and thought-out piece of work designed to reveal Q for what it is.
• Embedded within a mass delusion: The challenge of reporting on QAnon (Angela Fu, Poynter, 2-10-21) Online harassment, Telegram channels and difficult conversations — what it’s like for the journalists covering a viral conspiracy theory.
• The Prophecies of Q (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 5-14-2020) American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase--the ascent of QAnon—and the disappearance of a nationally shared reality.
• How QAnon uses religion to lure unsuspecting Christians (Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor, 10-15-2020) "During the pandemic, QAnon-related content has exploded online, growing nearly 175% on Facebook and nearly 63% on Twitter, according to a British think tank...."Where We Go One We Go All" is one of several mottoes of QAnon, a collective of online conspiracists." Pastor John MacArthur of California, an influential evangelical who is battling county officials over the right to continue indoor services at his Grace Community Church, espoused a theme popular in QAnon circles when he misinterpreted CDC data and informed his congregation that "there is no pandemic."..."Right now QAnon is still on the fringes of evangelicalism," said Ed Stetzer, an evangelical pastor and dean at Wheaton College in Illinois who wrote a recent column warning Christians about QAnon. "But we have a pretty big fringe."
• What is QAnon? (CNN, 7-22-2020) CNN's John Avlon explains what fringe conspiracy theory QAnon is and its ties to the GOP party, Republican candidates, and President Donald Trump.
• QAnon and other conspiracy theories are taking hold in churches. Pastors are fighting back (Jaweed Kaleen, LA Times, 3-3-21) "Details emerging from investigations into hundreds of Capitol rioters have cast an unsettling light on the toxic roles that fringe religious beliefs and QAnon conspiracy theories are playing in shaking big and small churches across the nation. Trump’s false insistence that he won the 2020 election may have incited the mob, but it also pointed to a dangerous intersection of God and politics."
• I understand the temptation to dismiss QAnon. Here’s why we can’t. ( Alyssa Rosenberg, Opinion, WaPo, 8-7-19) The best way to think of QAnon may be not as a conspiracy theory, but as an unusually absorbing alternate-reality game with extremely low barriers to entry. Watch video "'8-chan,' the self-proclaimed 'darkest reaches of the internet.'" "QAnon players have shown an increasing tendency to enlist the rest of us as unwilling participants in their fantasies, sometimes with violent consequences."
• QAnon is still spreading on Facebook, despite a ban. (Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 12-18-2020)
• The Flashing Warning of QAnon (Matt Alt, New Yorker, 9-26-2020) The embrace of apocalyptic memes is a symptom of hyperconnected societies in distress.
• How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 Billion From the Government They Disavow (Ashley Powers, NY Times, 3-29-19) As Boing-Boing puts it, "where UFOlogy meets antisemitism by way of Cliven Bundy and cat-breeding."
• The Man Behind the Right Wing’s Favorite Conspiracy Theories (Seth Hettena, New Republic,12-9-19) Meet David Booth, the fake news peddler who is helping Russia spread its lies. David Booth told Justin that What Does It Mean takes in between $5,000 and $7,000 a month in donations, which is more than the average salary in Tennessee. Despite a total of five bankruptcies between them, Booth and his wife now hold title to more than 100 acres of land in Kentucky
• ‘Conspiracyland’ Debunks Theories About Murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich (Terry Gross, Fresh Air, 8-8-19) Journalist Michael Isikoff hosts a six-episode podcast exploring the motivation and methods of those who promoted wild conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, who was killed in a suspected failed robbery in 2016. When the young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered in Washington, D.C., in 2016, it appeared to be a street robbery gone wrong. But Seth Rich's death became the subject of wild conspiracy theories, some planted by Russian intelligence operatives and promoted by allies of President Trump and covered on Fox News. The theories assert that Seth Rich was the person who gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks, which were then released to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
• Survivors of Mass Shootings Face Renewed Trauma from Conspiracy Theorists (Samantha Raphelson, Here & Now, NPR, 3-20-18) "From Sandy Hook to Parkland, the idea that the victims are hired actors who stage tragedies in order to achieve sinister political goals has drifted from dark corners of right-wing media into the mainstream....in recent years, certain right-wing media figures have propagated the idea that disasters are staged by actors hired by the federal government in order to achieve some political aim. Alex Jones, host of the website Infowars who has been the subject of praise by President Trump, is one of the main propagators of conspiracy theories connected to these violent incidents."
• The enduring appeal of conspiracy theories (Melissa Hogenboom, BBC, 1-24-18) While some conspiracy theories are largely harmless, others have damaging ripple-effects. With new insights, researchers are getting closer to understanding why so many people believe things which are not true.
• Is a Conspiracy Theory Protected Speech? (Jared Keller, PS Magazine, 8-6-19) The FBI labeled conspiracy mongering a domestic terror threat. What does that mean for Donald Trump and others who propagate misinformation?
• (Mis)informed podcast: What’s the line between debunking conspiracies and amplifying them? (Daniel Funke, Poynter, 12-19-18) When does debunking just become amplification of bogus claims? Subscribe here to (Mis)informed podcast (a podcast from the International Fact-Checking Network about fake news, fact-checking and everything in between. Each episode, we talk to journalists and experts around the world to try and answer one big question about the battle against online misinformation--a unit of the Poynter Institute).
• List of conspiracy theories (Wikipedia)
• The Counteroffensive Against Conspiracy Theories Has Begun (Peter Pomerantsev, The Atlantic, 8-7-19) Around the world, authoritarian governments have been using disinformation to disrupt protest movements. The protesters are evolving to take them on.
• Conspiracy Theories Made Alex Jones Very Rich. They May Bring Him Down. (Elizabeth Williamson and Emily Steel, NY Times, 9-7-18) Video and story.
• Right-Wing Media Uses Parkland Shooting as Conspiracy Fodder (Michael M. Grynbaum, NY Times, 2-20-18) In certain right-wing corners of the web — and, increasingly, from more mainstream voices like Rush Limbaugh and a commentator on CNN — the students are being portrayed not as grief-ridden survivors but as pawns and conspiracists intent on exploiting a tragedy to undermine the nation’s laws.
• The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Is a Genius (Michelle Goldberg, OpEd, NY Times, 4-6-18) Last week Roseanne Barr — who, with the hit reboot of her show, has become one of the most prominent Donald Trump supporters in the country — tweeted that the president has freed hundreds of children a month from sexual bondage. See The conspiracy theory behind a curious Roseanne Barr tweet, explained (David Weigel, WashPost, 3-31-18). You can't make this stuff up. Or can you?
• Twitter briefly shut down @Bitcoin, sparking wild conspiracy theories (Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge, 4-9-18)
• YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies (Casey Newton, The Verge, 3-13-18) Pushing back on crazy theories.
• How the internet’s conspiracy theorists turned Parkland students into ‘crisis actors’ (Daniel Arkin and Ben Popken, NBC News, 2-21-18)
• After Orlando Shooting, ‘False Flag’ and ‘Crisis Actor’ Conspiracy Theories Surface (Christopher Mele, NY Times, 6-28-16) ' After the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, Twitter brimmed with news reports of the carnage. But some posts on the massacre that claimed 49 lives also included a curious phrase: “false flag.” It was a code used by conspiracy theorists to signal their belief that the government had staged the massacre and the information the public was reading and hearing from the mainstream media was untrue.'
• Fox News hosts ramp up ‘deep state’ conspiracies (Jason schwartz, Politico, 1-26-18) Fox News opinion hosts have seized on claims by Republican lawmakers about an FBI “secret society” and “deep state actors” to fashion unproven narratives designed to protect Trump and delegitimize Mueller. Other conservative commentators are now expressing alarm at what they see as a threat to their movement and the country.
• Tech's biggest companies are spreading conspiracy theories. Again. (Seth Fiegerman, CNN Today, 2-22-18) The most common line in Silicon Valley right now may be: We'll try to do better next time. When Facebook (FB) inadvertently promoted conspiracy theories shared by users following a recent Amtrak crash, the company said it was "going to work to fix the product." When Google (GOOGL) shared a conspiracy theory in its search results after a mass shooting last year in Texas, the company said it would "continue to look at ways to improve." And when Google's YouTube spread conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the devastating shooting in Las Vegas, the video service decided to update its algorithm to prevent it from happening again. They don't have enough humans to monitor social-media-spread conspiracy theories.
• Senior HHS official placed on leave for promoting unfounded claims and conspiracy theories on social media (Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott, CNN, 2-20-18) In one he compares Move On and BLM to Hitler's Brown Shirts. Many of the messages were anti-Muslim.
• Facebook Pushes ‘False Flag’ Amtrak Conspiracies in Trending Section (Ben Collins, Daily Beast, 1-31-18) Facebook once again surfaced wild conspiracy theories about ‘commie-lib resisters’ and Hillary Clinton staging terror attacks on Amtrak in a part of its Trending News section.
Before you forward that "true fact," e-mail petition, warning, amazing opportunity, or piece of gossip, run it by one of the sites below.
See also Fact-checking sites
• AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for AARP's free Watchdog Alerts, review their scam-tracking map, or call their toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.
• Charity Navigator (find out if a charity or charitable request is legitimate)
• Factually: The Power of Simple Hoaxes (Harrison Mantas and Susan Benkelman, American Press Institute, 10-22-2020)
• CoronaVirusFacts Alliance: Fighting the Infodemic Led by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, the #CoronaVirusFacts unites more than 100 fact checkers around the world in publishing, sharing, and translating facts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Snopes.com (a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
• Hoax Alert (Lead Stories) "Just because it's trending doesn't mean it's true."
• Sree's tips on hoaxes
• Hoax-Slayer (email and social media hoaxes, current internet scams)
• Urban legends, fact-checking (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
• Urban Legends: New & Trending (About.com)
• Current hoaxes and legends (About.com)
• Hoax Busters (verify virus hoaxes, chain e-mails and urban myths)
• Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop&rsqu
• Scams in College and How to Avoid Them (IvyPanda, 9-22-22) (a real-time rumor tracker)o; of the Internet (Noam Cohen, NY Times, 4-6-18) by the author of The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball.
• Quatloos (check out financial scams and fraud)
• How to Determine If a Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12)
• Purportal (freely searchable database of scammy spams)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• Consumerist (archives through 2017 of a consumer affairs watchdog blog, hosted by Consumer Reports. Highlights from a site called Find This Best)
• Symantec Threat Explorer (a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)
• A running list of viral hoaxes about Irma — including one shared by the White House (Abby Ohlheiser, WaPo, 9-11-17)
• Reflecting on the coverage of Hurricane Harvey (Nic Dias, First Draft, 9-5-17) What we got right, and how we can improve upon our response to disaster hoaxes. Dias was a researcher investigating disinformation at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy.
• Truth or Fiction (another reality check on email hoaxes, rumors, scams, and advisories--to verify the truth or falsity of rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails)
• Verification Junkie (Josh Steams' directory of tools for verifying, fact checking and assessing the validity of social media and user generated content)
• How to Spot Phone Scams (Background Checks.org. once over lightly on various scams: "Can you hear me?" scams, free vacation and prizes scams, phishing scams, fake charities, IRS scams, loan scams, debt collector scams, credit card security number scams, warrant scams, medical scams,lottery scam, tech support scams. And additional resources.
• Is Twitter Wrong? (public service pedantry hub. run by @flashboy, who sometimes retweets stuff without fact-checking)
• That'sFake.com (how to spot fake news, the difference between satire and fauxtire, etc.)
• That'sNonsense.com (exploring internet nonsense, hoaxes, etc.)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• Urban legends, fact-checking (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
• VMyths (Truth About Computer Security Hysteria)
• Symantec Threat Explorer (a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)
• That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is (Likely) Bogus. (Lori Robertson, FactCheck.org, 3-18-08)
• 5 of the Best Books About Real-Life Hoaxes (Cleo Harrington, BookBub, 9-20-19) Writeups of
---My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams (about Anna Sorokin, a Russian con artist who left her trail of trickery across Manhattan and beyond);
---Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes);
---The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (about the infamous Enron scandal that left Wall Street in shambles when it collapsed in 2001);
---Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale and Stan Redding, about Frank W. Abagnale, who passed as an airplane pilot, a lawyer, a sociology professor, and a resident at a hospital, and a millionaire — all without any official background in the fields;
---Billion Dollar Whale by Bradley Hope and Tom Wright (the story of Low Taek Jho, aka Jho Low, the social-climbing Wharton School of Business graduate who had a yacht and a private jet and was funding political campaigns and major Hollywood films--who fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, and is now a fugitive sought by the authorities of Malaysia, Singapore and the US in connection with the 1MDB scandal. See The story behind “Billion Dollar Whale” (The Economist, 9-19-19). Threats of defamation suits have scared some but have also brought publicity.
---And then there's The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett.
• Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
• BMC (BiomedCentral), part of Springer Nature)
• CORE (UK, aggregating the world’s open access research papers)
• Google Scholar
• OCLC (a global library cooperative)
• Open Access Button (searches for Open Access versions of articles in journals and repositories)
• PLOS ( a nonprofit publisher, innovator and advocacy organization)
• Paperity ("first multidisciplinary aggregator of Open Access journals and papers")
• Top Best Open Access Journals• Open Archives Initiative
• Public domain resources (The Public Domain Review's excellent links--from here you can link to the PDR version of sites below to find public domain resources)
• Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online (The Public Domain Review)
• Creative Commons search tool (beta, ith list-making and one-click attribution)
• DPLA (Digital Public Library of America)
• Flickr: The Commons (begun in 2008 to increase access to publicly held photography collections and to provide a way for the public to contribute information and knowledge)
• HathiTrust's digital library
• Internet Archive (Wayback Machine)
• Last 20 (Sonny Bono Memorial Collection)"We believe the works in this collection are eligible for free public access under 17 U.S.C. Section 108(h) which allows for non-profit libraries and archives to reproduce, distribute, display and publicly perform a work if it meets the criteria of: a published work in the last twenty years of copyright, and after conducting a reasonable investigation, no commercial exploitation or copy at a reasonable price could be found."
• Library of Congress (PDR links to public domain, by medium, style, time period, genre, content, type, rights)
• The Medical Heritage Library (promotes free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine; a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries)
• The National Archives (UK government's official archive, 1,000 years of history)
• Project Gutenberg (free ebooks)
• U.S. National Library of Medicine (NIH). Includes PubMed/MEDLINE, MeSH, UMLS, ClinicalTrials.gov, MedlinePlus, TOXNET, Images from the History of Medicine, digital collections, LocatorPlus, and other databases--not all public domain)
• Wikipedia Commons (for images, sound, and other media files)
• 5 Privacy-Oriented, Conservative Search Engine Alternatives to Google (Anil Agarwal|, BloggersPassion, 5-6-22) Search engines like Google and Bing use trackers to collect our data and online activity. Google knows your online searches, IP addresses, and other personal information. These 5 private search engines (with details about them) don't track such information:
---DuckDuckGo (the best)
• 21 Great Search Engines You Can Use Instead of Google (Chuck Price, Search Engine Journal, 2-24-23)
• AllSides Don’t be fooled by media bias and fake news. Unbiased news does not exist; we provide balanced news and civil discourse. AllSides Media Bias Ratings help you identify different perspectives so you can know more, understand others, and think for yourself.
• Amazon (great information on books and other products sold online)
• Ask (a/k/a Ask.com; see its FAQ)
• A to Z Databases (University of South Florida) Find the best library databases for your research. Maybe you can't access them directly, but you can see what's available and find a library through which you can get access.
• A-Z Index (USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service)
• Baidu (major search engine in China and in Chinese)
• BASE (Bielfeld Academic Science Engine) More than 100 million scientific documents, 70% of them free--powerful for academic studies.
• Bing (a visual search engine from Microsoft) I hate that when I click on a URL and paste it somewhere else it pastes the title, not the URL.
• Bioline International an open access scholarly library of research journals published in developing countries
• Boardreader Searches a wide variety of online message boards and forums.
• boingboing A "directory of wonderful things, with certain common topics: technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, intellectual property, Disney, and left-wing politics.
• Brave Blocks ads, prevents malware, and blocks third parties from tracking your activity.
• CC Search (Creative Commons) Now Openverse
• CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Datahub.io Thousands of datasets, from financial market data and population growth to cryptocurrency prices.
• Disconnect Search Stop search engines from tracking your searches.
• DKB A blog mostly about search engines, including why Google has declined in usefulness. Good reading, analysis.
• Dogpile Searches many Web search engines.
** Duck Duck Go ("Search anonymously. Find instantly.") Default browser for many writers. Concerned about privacy issues? Doesn't track your movements. Click on "Press" (lower left corner) to learn more about it. See also Worried about Privacy? 5 Reasons to Leave Google for DuckDuckGo (A. J. Sørensen, Crixeo)
• ESPN Sports information.
• Gibiru Uncensored private search.
• Google (long-time chief of Search Engines, with powerful ranking algorithms and special searches: images, groups, news, maps, shopping, etc. but increasingly clogged with ads, which is where it makes its money). See How does Google's monopoly hurt you? (WashPost, 10-19-20) "Right under our noses, the Internet’s most-used website has been getting worse."
--- Google Advanced Search
--- How to make the most of Google
--- How to hide/block sites in your Google searches (requires a Google account).
• Google Ngram Viewer (an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of comma-delimited search strings using a yearly count of n-grams found in sources--for example, plug in "Elisabeth, Elizabeth" to learn which spelling is more common over time (in that case, 1800 to 2000). A/k/a Google Books Ngram Viewer
• Google Scholar Searches peer-reviewed journals and scholarly literature (across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles) and case law.
• Google Scholar Button vs. Lazy Scholar
• HighWire (Stanford University) Search engine of articles in peer-reviewed journals, some free, some not.
• Info (top results from Google + Yahoo! search+ bing)
• Infospace (top results from Google + Yahoo + bing)
• Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) Search old websites, free books, movies, software, music, websites, etc. When a search returns "404 File Not Found," plug the URL in and see what turns up.
• IPL (Internet Public Library--find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens).
• Invisible Web (UC Berkeley tutorial on the "Deep Web," what you cannot find using using general search engines and subject directories) See also Deep Web (Wikipedia)
• Journalist Studio (Google) Many excellent search engines: The Common Knowledge Project, Pinpoint, Flourish.Studio,
• Lazy Scholar (finds free scholarly full texts, metrics, and provides quick citation and sharing links automatically)
• Library-related resource guides (by topic, American Library Association)
• Local Food Directory Listings (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
• My Web Search
• Neeva. Created by ex-Google executives to offer offer ad-free, affiliate-free searches experience, browser extension blocks ads and third-party tracking tools. A New Search Engine Worth Trying: Neeva (James Fallows, 11-4-19) "Billions of people use Google search. Now it's billions minus me."
• 100 Search Engines For Academic Research (TeachThought)
• Online subject guides (AcademicInfo, from Abraham Lincoln to Zoology Societies, Associations, Centers, Institutes and Organizations)
• Oxford Companion Websites (excellent links to websites for many specialties, from Accounting to Film Studies to Zoology)
• PHYS.org (a news site addressing trending topics in science and medicine, which also posts articles debunking popular rumors--links to sources when it can)
• ProPublica Data. Find investigative results and such specialties as Represent (Find lawmakers, votes and bills), Dollars for Docs (how industry dollars reach your doctors), Nursing Home Inspect, and more.
• PubMed (U.S. National Library of Medicine, NIH).More than 28 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. See PubMed and beyond: a survey of web tools for searching biomedical literature (Zhiyong Lu, Oxford Academic Database, 1-17-11)
• RefSeek (for academic information)
• RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) 4 million publications on economics and related sciences collected by volunteers from 102 countries
• Safe Search for Kids (a feature of Google Search that acts as an automated filter of pornography and potentially offensive content--but Wikipedia reports that Harvard reports that many innocuous sites are blocked and some pornographic sites slip through using innocent key words)
• Science Daily (has a huge database of articles to search, most of which link to the source journal articles and studies)
• Science.gov Over 60 databases and 2,200 scientific websites give users access to more than 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information including research and development results.
• Search Engine Colossus (international search engine -- search in other languages and 310 countries)
• Search Encrypt This private search engine uses local encryption so your searches remain private.
• SlideShare (a Scribd company). Search for documented slideshow presentations, ebooks and PDFs (helpful for business presentations)
• Snopes (a rumor debunker, which detects if something that has been forwarded or linked to is an urban legend, folklore, myth, rumor, or other misinformation)
• Springer Link provides access to peer-previewed journal articles, e-books and other resources, chiefly in the science, technical and medical subject areas
• stacksear.ch (Substack) Find the best newsletters.
• Start Page Google search without tracking, storing your searches.
• Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau)
• Swisscows A "family-friendly data-safe semantic search engine." Values your privacy.
• tl;dr: this AI sums up research papers in a sentence (Jeffrey M. Perkel & Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 11-23-2020) TLDRs (the common Internet acronym for ‘Too long, didn’t read’) activated for search results at Semantic Scholar, a search engine created by the non-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in Seattle, Washington. The search engine’s tool for summarizing studies promises easier skim-reading.
• USA.gov (U.S. government's official portal)
• Virtual Reference Shelf (Ask a Librarian. Excellent resource, Library of Congress)
• The WWW Virtual Library (the oldest Web catalog)
• Wikipedia (written by volunteers, not always correct, but you can generally track down information through the sources). Of interest: Know It All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? and how does it compare to Brittanica (Stacy Schiff, New Yorker, 7-31-06) See also Donald Trump’s Wikipedia Entry Is a War Zone (Aaron Mak, Slate, 5-28-19) It’s one of the most popular pages on the internet. But behind the scenes, editors are fighting a brutal, petty battle over every word.
• WolframAlpha A computational knowledge engine. Compute expert-level answers using Wolfram’s breakthrough algorithms, knowledgebase and AI technology.
• World Bank Group: Open Knowledge Repository (click on a category to find resources in that category)
• WorldCat Find items (articles, books, DVDs, CDs) from 20,000 libraries worldwide, including your local libraries. Find the nearest copy of a rare book.
• Yahoo (second only to Google and Bing in popularity)
• Yandex (“Yet Another iNDEXer”) Major Russian search engine; search for pages in English, German, French and other European languages.
• YouTube How to search this popular video streaming service: 10 Simple Tricks to Search YouTube Like a Pro! (Tech Gumbo)
• Introduction to Wikipedia Helpful tutorials on things like the Wiki markup source editor, visual editing, adding images, etc.
Possibly helpful articles:
• 100 Search Engines For Academic Research (Association of Internet Research Specialists)
• Best Academic Search Engines (Dissertation Proposal, UK)
• Tips for Optimizing Google Search in Investigations (Henk van Ess, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 7-12-22)
• How Search Engines Work (Search Engine Journal)
• What Are Open Directories and What You Should Take Note Of (Ryan Lynch, Make Tech Easier, 4-29-21)
• 6 Search Engines Better Than Google at Finding Niche Content (MakeUseOf, MUO) Blog Surf (best-written blogs on the Internet), Occamm, YouCode (for code and hackers), StudyByte (for educational content), Memegine (for Memes on Reddit Including Text in Images), Needl (Windows, macOS): Search Google, Notion, and Slack for Any File or Chat.
• 33 Best Deep Web Search Engines (Erin R. Goodrich, Association of Internet Research Specialists, 1-31-22) The deep web is a hidden part of the internet that isn’t indexed by regular search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. It's more extensive than you may think. Search engines index less than 10% of the web, with the remaining 90% of web content referred to as the Deep Web. areas of the Internet that are inaccessible using standard search engines. The deep web is not indexed by web crawlers; the dark web is intentionally kept hidden. See 5 Key Differences Between the Dark and Deep Web (Hossein Ashtari, Spiceworks)
• Who posted what? A non public Facebook keyword search for people who work in the public interest.
• Journalist's Toolbox: Search Engines
• The 10 Best Video Search Engines (Search Engine Journal)
• ETS: Best Free Reference Web Sites Combined Index, 1999-2016 (Reference and User Services, American Library Association, RUSA/ALA). Great links to topic-specific reference sites)
• A broken system – why literature searching needs a FAIR revolution (Neal Haddaway and Michael Gusenbauer, LSE [London School of Economics], 2-3-20) Searches on Google Scholar are neither reproducible, nor transparent. Repeated searches often retrieve different results and users cannot specify detailed search queries, leaving it to the system to interpret what the user wants. As the matching and ranking algorithms of semantic or AI-based search engines are often unknown – even to the providers themselves – these systems do not allow comprehensive searching. Databases should be developed so that material searched is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.
• Browsers & Search Engines: Not the Same Thing (Market Mentors)
A browser is your access to the internet, and a search engine allows you to search the internet once you have access. You have to use a browser to get to a search engine.
• The Pros and Cons of Different Web Browsers (Reality Solutions, UK) Mozilla Firefox (the only cross platform browser that isn’t built on Google’s Chromium engine), Microsoft Edge (now Windows default browser, rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of Internet Explorer), Google Chrome (most popular browser since launching in 2008; overtook both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox), Safari (default browser for Apple devices), Opera (has its own native VPN which you can run from the browser as well as a built-in ad blocker and other security features), Vivaldi (for which you can customize almost everything)
Browsers: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Vivaldi are browsers. Microsoft sunsetted Internet Explorer in 2022, announcing "we will no longer be ensuring the compatibility of Internet Explorer with this site. They recommend consumers switch to one of the other browser technologies they support - Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari."
Search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo!Search, Baidu, Ask, Aol Search, DuckDuckGo, WolframAlpha,Yandex, WebCrawler, Search, dogpile. ixquick, excite, info (Source: Top 15 Best Search Engines, eBizMBAGuide)
• How Do Search Engines Work? (Joshua Hardwick, Ahrefs.com blog) "Search engines work by crawling billions of pages using web crawlers. Also known as spiders or bots, crawlers navigate the web and follow links to find new pages. These pages are then added to an index that search engines pull results from.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of growing a website's traffic from organic search results. It involves things like keyword research, content creation, link building, and technical audits.
Paid results: Businesses pay Google to be here.
Organic results: Nobody can pay Google to be here. SEO is all about putting your website in organic results.
• Web Browser Pros and Cons (AB Web Developers)
• Pros and Cons of Microsoft Edge (Pros-Cons Info)
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Chrome Browser (Kristy Simon, Profolus, 6-22-21)
• Pros and Cons of Brave Browser: A Review (Alex Ivankov, Profolus, 7-4-21)
• Use Search Operators To Find Stories, Sources and Documents Online (Meranda Adams, Adweek, 2011) Site, filetype, "quote marks" + contains:)
• Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research (Chris Stobing, VPN and Privacy, Comparitech.com, 6-2-17)
• Best Free Reference Sites 2014, 16th annual list (Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of American Library Association, as with previous entry, but this is a one-year list with different entries in a different order)
• Most popular search engines. According to Search Engine Journal and Visual Capitalist:
Google is the most popular search engine, with about 60.5 billion monthly visits,
YouTube is second with about 25 billion monthly visits,
Amazon is third with about 2.4 billion monthly visits, and
Facebook is fourth, with about 2.4 billion monthly visits.
• MarketRank: The Anti-SEO Ranking Algorithm (DKB, 3-11-22) "The websites at the top of Google are not the highest quality websites, but the ones that put the most effort into SEO. There is an entire industry whose purpose is to game their way to the top of search results, which inevitably leads to those results being debased over time.... This has led to websites that many consider to be “spammy” or “low quality” being at the top of Google results." We need a ranking algorithm that cannot be easily gamed. This paper describes MarketRank, a ranking algorithm that is immune to SEO and simple to compute. We discuss the advantages and limitations of MarketRank, and show how it compares to Google’s rankings.
• 21 Google Search Tips You'll Want to Learn (Jason Cohen, PC Magazine, 1-24-22)
• How to Conduct Successful Google Searches (Roccie Hill, Trace, 10-2017) Geared to genealogists ("one of the best genealogical resources") but good advice for general searches as well.
• The Tragedy of Google Search (Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic, 9/22/23) "With a landmark antitrust trial under way, a giant of the modern web is buckling under its own weight and an infinitely renewable supply of content, both human- and AI-generated. Unlike its streamlined, efficient former self, Google Search is now bloated and overmonetized.It’s harder now to find answers that feel authoritative or uncompromised." "Over the next several weeks, the Justice Department and a group of states will argue that the company violated antitrust laws by striking deals to protect its monopoly position in the online-search business."
• 20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently (Joseph Hindy, LifeHack)
• Google's Search Engine Results Page (SERP): 11 Features You Should Know About (Joy Okumoko, MakeUseOf, 7-19-21)
• How Google Works (PPC blog)
• Live Trainings in Better Search Results (recorded webinars)
• Power Searching with Google . To see how handy this site is, take a look at Lesson 4 Image Searching. Did you know you can drag a photograph into the search bar and find out what or where it is and even its provenance?
• Power Searching with Google Course
• Google News
• Google News Revamped: This Is Your News, Personalized and Localized (Dan Nosowitz, Fast Company, 7-1-10)
• Google news archive search
• 10 Simple Google Search Tricks (Simon Mackie, NY Times Technology, 4-2-10). These items may become dated as Google changes constantly.
• How to Ghost-Google: Searching Google without Google to Know about You [sic] (SEO Smarty)
• Google Scholar (finds scholarly documents on a subject and citations of such documents in other texts)
• Info ( top results from the World's favorite search engines: Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Yandex)
• Infospace (top results from Google, Yahoo!, Yandex)
• Google image search
• CC Search (Creative Commons)
• Artstor Digital Library (more than 1.8 million high-quality images for education and research). How to access.
• Getty Images
• Hubblesite's Greatest Hits (unprecedented pictures of celestial objects)
• New York Public Library Digital Collections
• Photos and other images (Pat McNees, Telling Your Story) Links to many interesting sources of images.
• Picsearch (search engine for images, photos, animations)
• Public Health Image Library (CDC)
• Wikipedia Commons , collection of 37,711,891 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute
• Yahoo Image search engine
• Where to Find Images Online: Image Search Resources (Wendy Boswell, Lifewire, 3-9-17)
• 10 Web Resources for Public Domain Images (Lifewire)
Reverse Image Searches
• Best Reverse Image Search Engines, Apps And Its Uses (2016) (Beebom)
• Google reverse image search (CTRLQ.org) (upload a picture and learn more about it)
• Image Raider allows you to specify a URL or upload an image from your computer to check on the web who is using the image
Abbreviations (abbr) are shortened forms of word or phrases, as Dr. for Doctor, lb. for pound, pm or p.m. for afternoon or evening, and two terms from journalese: CK for "check later" and TK for "to come."Wikipedia has a good explanation of variations on this theme.
Initialisms are pronounced one letter at a time (FBI, DVD, KFC).
Acronyms are pronounced as words (RAM for random access memory, NASA for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, laser for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, sonar for sound navigation and ranging).
Style guides vary on whether to use periods with initialisms (as each letter stands for a word); the New Yorker does (C.I.A.); most publications don't (CIA). Urban Dictionary talks of four types of abbreviations: shortenings, contractions, initialisms, and acronyms. Examples of shortenings: cont. for continued, hippo for hippopotamus. Examples of contractions: Dr. for doctor, St. for saint or street, can't for cannot.
Here are useful websites for identifying the various forms of abbreviation.
• Abbreviations.com (Acronyms & Abbreviations)
• Acronym Finder (AF), look up acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with Acronym Attic.
• Acronyma (acronyms and abbreviations in several languages
• Chat Acronyms and Text Shorthand (Netlingo) ***
• Elements of Medical Terminology (American Medical Writers Association's quick reference guide)
cervic/o: neck (of body or of body part)
chol/e or chol/o: bile
• How The States Got Their Abbreviations (Gary Gulman, video, humor)
• Text messaging and SMS abbreviations (Webopedia)
• Urban Dictionary on Abbreviations.
• Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs) Are Taking Over the World (PerfectIt, Intelligent Editing) Watch video or read transcript. Acronyms can confuse or distract your reader, especially if they have multiple meanings. A document littered with undefined TLAs will not win you much love from your audience. See also The Top 10 Undefined Acronyms
• Accents & Accented Characters (Fonts.com) The most common accents are the acute (é), grave (è), circumflex (â, î or ô), tilde (ñ), umlaut and dieresis (ü or ï – the same symbol is used for two different purposes), and cedilla (ç). Accent marks (also referred to as diacritics or diacriticals) usually appear above a character. One exception is the cedilla, which appears directly underneath the letter c; several less common accent marks appear next to the character.
• Keyboard Help (with foreign language characters, diacritics, accent marks, for Windows, Macs, etc.), including Alt Key Codes or Alt numbers, so you can memorize codes for frequently used symbols -- e.g., ALT + 0224 = à, ALT + 0225 = á, or the Control key codes for Windows
• 12 Types Of Diacritical Marks And How To Type Them (Thesaurus.com)
• Diacritics specific to non-Latin alphabets (Wikipedia)
• Accents (character codes for accents in online copy, on the helpful PennState website on Computing with Accents, Symbols & Foreign Scripts), which includes Accent codes for the Mac. Check the Straight Dope message board I Recently Found the 'Character Map' on My Computer, and Just Have to Try It Out!
• Chronicling America (Library of Congress, Historic American Newspapers, emphasis on front pages --digitized and selectively preserved historic pages)
• Newspaper Navigator (Library of Congress) Free tool. Search 1.56 million historic newspaper photos.
• **Newsroom Navigator (NY Times links to resources for reporters and editors, great for fact-checking)
• Newspapers.com (3,500 newspapers from the 1700s–2000s)
• Newspaper Archive (Storied)
---Obituary Search (U.S.)
• Miscellaneous research tools (SPJ, Journalists' Toolbox) Invaluable resources on many topics, including crime.
• US Newspaper List Media Directory (USNPL, links to US newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and colleges.) Contact information and mailing addresses for US newspapers and TV stations. A good way for writers to find direct contact for reviewers. (H/T to Gary McAvoy, via Authors Guild) A fabulous resource.
• List of newspapers in Canada (Wikipedia)
• Press Mob (AI) Search for journalists and reporters.
• PubMed Central (PMC), a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
• Newspaper Research Links (The Ancestor Hunt). Historical newspapers--links by state for US; by province for Canada; and special collections. Useful for genealogy and family history research, among other things.
• Newspapers (Journalist's Toolbox) Many more links! See also NewspaperLinks.com
• New York Times Learning Navigator (Rich Meislin, a selective guide to the Internet)
• NY Times Business Navigator
• NY Times Politics Navigator (a selective guide to political sites on the Internet)
• NY Times Health Navigator
• Toronto Telegram Fonds York U collection, Canada. Section on obituaries for Canada.
• Radio-Locator (links to over 15,300 radio stations' web pages and over 10,400 stations' audio streams from radio stations in the U.S. and around the world--plug in city name, zip code, etc., and find available radio stations)
• NASA STI Repository (NTRS) (a world-class collection of aerospace-related citations, full-text online documents, images, and videos created or funded by NASA.)
• The Big Index of Global Newspapers (Website Planet) Lists and links to newspapers from all major countries and regions.
• Ulrichsweb (Global Serials Directory). You can access Ulrich's periodical directory in any library, do a boolean search, and download a list of every specific type of newspaper in the U.S. or world, sorted by circulation, advertising page rate, or anything else you might find useful. You will find editor's name and phone number, etc., which will usually be out of date. But call to say you are fact-checking the name of the editor and you may get the editor you want. Norman Bauman (my source for this item) suggests sorting by advertising rate to find the publications that can afford to pay freelancers decently.
• What will yesterday’s news look like tomorrow? (Adrienne LaFrance, Medium.com 4-4-14)
• Front Pages (seems to be defunct now--too bad: The Newseum used to have each day's front pages posted in front of the museum. A sad loss.)
• U.S. news archives on the Web (for papers in states from Alabama to the District of Columbia)
• Wikipedia list of online newspaper archives (with hyperlinks)
• Google's historical newspaper search
• Mike Dash's list (of larger major-language newspapers or multiple-title archives, mostly, that are searchable and can be accessed privately online - anything, essentially, that looked beyond the narrow purview of small-town doings and local politics for its news) Alas, it seems to be defunct.
• ProQuest Historical Newspapers (hosts archives for many, many newspapers, with coverage as far back as 1764. Searching is free; small fee to view the full article.
• U.S. newspapers, by state (USNPL, also major news Twitter feeds)
• SmallTownPapers (read free 250+ small town newspapers)
• GenealogyBank's Historical Newspaper Archives (over 320 years of obituaries, birth, marriages and newspaper articles about other key life events)
• America's historical newspapers (Readex's online database, from 1690 to recent past)
• Google News
• HealthNewsReview.org rates health and medical news stories (about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures) for accuracy, balance, and completeness. See fuller entry below
• The Cochrane Collaborative (systematically reviews and evaluates research in health care and health policy)
• EurekAlert, sponsored by AAAS, the science society, as a way to disseminate info through reporters to the public. There's a public section, a reporters section, and an embargoed news section (for research appearing in peer-reviewed journals). News is filtered by subject: Agriculture (crops, food, forestry...), Archaelogy (new world, old world), Atmospheric Science (climate, pollution...), Business & Economics (health care, grants...), Chemistry & Physics (energy, atoms, superconductors...), Earth Science (geology, oceanography...), Education (science literacy, K-12, graduate...), Mathematics (models, systems, chaos...), Medicine & Health (cancer, diet, drugs...), Policy & Ethics (patients, treaties, laws...), Social & Behavior (addiction, parenting, mental health...), Space & Planetary (astronomy, comets, space missions...), Technology & Engineering (electronics, Internet, nanotechnology...). And various portals: News for Kids, Marine Science, Nanotechnology, Disease in the Developing World, Bioinformatics, Multi-Language.... And there is a Calendar of events in science (by month).
• Internet Public Library (IPL). Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens
• The Legislative Process (Congress.gov) Scroll down to find links to invaluable resources on government.
• Newslink . See Most-linked-to local news sites by U.S. state
• Journalist's Toolbox (Society of Professional Journalists) Look by topic, along left side.
• Knight Science Tracker (hot science news, peer reviewed by journalists)
• Database Finder (A to Z): News and Popular Media (Occidental College Library)
• Metrics for News
• Newswise (chiefly for journalists). List of Newswise services (Daily Wire, MedWire, SciWire, LifeWire, BizWire)
• Talk to The (New York) Times: Q. and A. With Staff Members
• Consumerist (a consumer affairs blog through 2017, hosted by a division of Consumer Reports)
• Journalism Organizations (Writers and Editors site)
• Where journalists get their medical news and information (Writers and Editors site)
• Journalists on Journalism (Writers and Editors site)
~ James Baldwin
Let me know of good history timelines and history resources missing here. And check out this book, out in 2022: Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past by Richard Cohen, as discussed in the New Yorker: The People Who Decide What Becomes History (Louis Menand, 4-18-22) "However fastidious they may be about facts, historians are engaged in storytelling, not science." (Did you know, for example, that Vladimir Putin's grandfather was Lenin's and Stalin's cook?)
• The Alamo. Texas Republicans rush to guard the Alamo from the facts (Jason Stanford, Opinion, Washington Post, 7-5-21) And Heather Cox Richardson on "rewriting history."
• American History Timeline
• American Memory Collection (Library of Congress)
• American Memory Timeline (Library of Congress)
• Atlantic archive The Atlantic's digital archive gives you unprecedented access to the ideas and stories that shaped American history—from 1857 to today.
• British History timeline (BBC)
• Brittania's Timeline of British History
• Censorship history, Timelines of
• Chinese Dynasties
• The Classroom Electric, I found this stumbling backward from Imprisonment and captivity during the civil war...and after (Kirsten Silva Gruesz) and I don't remember how I found that!
• Clearing the Smoke: Timeline of Tobacco Events (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
• Costume Gallery
• Damn History (subscribe to Jack El-Hai's newsletter)
• Digital History
• Digital History Resources (American Historical Association)
• Dining Through the Decades: 100 Years of American Food (David Leite, 1-21-19)
• Egyptian kingdoms and dynasties
• Encyclopaedia Britannica (here, the Monroe Doctrine, under American History)
• Famous People, Timelines of (History timelines, DateandEvents.org)
• Fashion Timeline (by decade, Vintage Fashion Guild, 1800-2000)
• The Federalist Papers (1777-1778, the full text)
• First Amendment Timeline (Middle Tennessee State University)
• Food timeline
• Fold3 Discover your family's military past.
• Front Pages (NewseumEd) Archived front pages from key moments in history.
• General History Resources (EdTechTeacher, Best of History Websites)
• Graphic Timeline of History (Dudeman's layered timeline so you can see what things are going on at the same time, 1900 on)
• Halcyon infographics, including Timeline of the universe and Timeline of human history and Timeline of inventions.
• Hidden History newsletter (Narratively). Themed stories along a timeline, on topics from the death penalty and indigenous resistance to fashion and cults, from Canada's not so nice side and foreign interference in elections to America's national parks, from the U.S.-Russia relationship to Me Too Before #MeToo.
• Hidden History (archives of forgotten history, compelling history stories for one newsworthy topic each month)
• Hidden History (Facebook page)
• Historic Vids @historyinmemes (Twitter)
• History (The History Channel)
• History (National Archives)
• History Buff. Hmmm...see What Happened to HistoryBuff.com? (Papers Marketplace, 7-10-18) Don't you hate it when a good site gets bought and loses its original value and appeal. Can you answer the questions: How did ownership change from Rick Brown to David Segura? Why did David Segura stop publishing the site?
• History.com. Look up information under Topics, or This Day in History or History shows (cable, or you can watch online) or History Stories ("news" from a historical perspective), including How the Three Mile Island Accident Was Made Even Worse By a Chaotic Response and Why Thomas Jefferson's Anti-Slavery Passage Was Removed from the Declaration of Independence.
• History Detectives (PBS, Online Resources) See Lesson plans on the lower right of website.
• The History Engine
• The History Guide (Primary documents, U.S. history, and history of Western civilization)
• History of Mathematics (Preceden)
• A History of Social Movements in the U.S (links and resources, ThoughtCo.)
• The History Teacher (Organizaation of American Historians)
• How the Hiroshima bombing is taught around the world ( Herman Wong, Washington Post, 8-6-15)
• Human History Timeline
• Infoplease Timeline Archive, examples of which include:
---Timeline: U.S. Domestic and International Spying and Surveillance (InfoPlease)
---News and Events Year-by-Year (1900 on, plus decade by decade)
---Ancient world history (4.5 billion thru 1 B.C.)
---Notable events in pirate history
---World War II (1939-1945)
• Internet Ancient History Sourcebook (Fordham University). Includes such sections as Ancient History in the Movies.
• Internet Modern History Sourcebook (Fordham University)
• Library of Anglo-American Culture & History
•Library of Congress resources for classrooms:
---Student Discovery Sets
---Primary Source Sets
---Resources for Teachers
• Old Computers (links along left; paused here at Victor 9000, about which read James Fallows (1982)
• Online resources (NPR, The History Detectives) Excellent links.
• Oral History Collections, online (Pat McNees site)
• Race relations, timelines about. Here are four:
---A Revealing Timeline of Race Relations In the U.S. (Oprah site) Emphasizes the push-pull, progress and regress
---Historical timeline of race relations (Women of the ELCA)
--- Trends in US Corrections (The Sentencing Project) Note how the number of incarcerated escalates, starting in 1970s, with Nixon's War on Crime, and how many of those imprisoned are black or Hispanic.
---History of Racism and Immigration Timeline, 1790-2005 (Racial Equity Tools). A search with different terms (e.g., "racial injustice") will turn up more. As Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) explains, there were four stages of racial injustice: Slavery, Lynching, Segregation, and (currently) Mass Incarceration. Tell me if you find another excellent timeline on this theme.
• Senate Timeline (in this case, a link to "Have You No Sense of Decency?" for 6-9-54, from the period 1941-63, the incident that ended Senator Joe McCarthy's relentless anticommunist campaign.
• The 1619 Project (an important New York Times series. Marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, it aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
• States (U.S.) by order of entry into the union (InfoPlease.com)
• Spying, espionage, surveillance:
---CIA history (CIA)
---Espionage (Timelines Database)
---NSA Spying timeline (1791-2015) (EFF)
---U.S. Spying and Surveillance (InfoPlease)
• Technology Timeline (Explain That Stuff!)
• Thirty Years of America's Drug War: A Chronology (Frontline, PBS) Late 1960s to 2000.
• This Day in History, a popular feature on History.com (thousands of history articles, videos, and History shows)
• Timeline.com. Sign up for the Timeline newsletter ("The stories that got left out of textbooks, delivered weekly"), with stories such as This was the only refugee camp in America for Jews fleeing the Nazis.
• Timeline of Psychiatry
• Timeline of Scientific Discoveries (Wikipedia)
• Timeline of Scientific Thought (Wikipedia)
• A Timeline of the 20th Century (ThoughtCo, decade by decade)
• Timelines and Key Events of American History (ThoughtCo)
• Timeline Tools (Writers and Editors)
• The Women's Library (London School of Economics and Political Science)
• Women's Suffrage (NewseumED)
• The Secret Bunker Congress Never Used (All Things Considered, 3-26-11)
• Aboard the Underground Railroad (National Park Service map/s)
• Africans in America (PBS)
• Civil War (National Archives, photos and other resources)
• Civil War Artillery
• Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints (Library of Congress)
• The Civil War Interactive
• Confederate Texas and the Reconstruction
• Documenting the American South (DocSouth)
• Find military records (Genealogy.com)
• Freedmen's Bureau (History Channel)
• The History Place
• National Museum of Civil War Medicine (three sites, thousands of stories)
• Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War
• Soldiers and Sailors Database (The Civil War) (National Park Service)
• Stratford Hall Plantation (generations of the Lee family)
• Teaching American History Strengthen our civics classes by discussing primary documents.
• The History Teacher (Society for History Education)
• The Theft of the Commons (Eula Biss, New Yorker, 6-8-22) Across centuries, land that was collectively worked by the landless was claimed by the landed, and the age of private property (and Robin Hood) was born.
• The Underground Railroad (National Geographic Society map)
• US Civil War (Fordham University)
• The Valley of the Shadow (Two Communities in the Civil War)
• Women in the Civil War (History.com)
Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, 2-27-17) New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason. "Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups....Living in small bands of hunter-gatherers, our ancestors were primarily concerned with their social standing, and with making sure that they weren’t the ones risking their lives on the hunt while others loafed around in the cave. There was little advantage in reasoning clearly, while much was to be gained from winning arguments. 'As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding.'...If we—or our friends or the pundits on CNN—spent less time pontificating and more trying to work through the implications of policy proposals, we’d realize how clueless we are and moderate our views....
"One way to look at science is as a system that corrects for people’s natural inclinations....In Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us (Oxford), "Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous.... They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe." The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach, and Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us were all written before the November 2020 election. And yet they anticipate Kellyanne Conway and the rise of “alternative facts.”
• Free public data: The lifeblood of press freedom (Poynter) Let's celebrate our freedom by finding and reporting information. Wonderful links to resources on many key topics and issues.
• ProCon.org (pros and cons for a wide range of controversial issues) Click on Category or on Topics A-Z. A nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is "promoting education, critical thinking, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a simple, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format."
• How did we get $32 trillion in debt? (The Weekly Sift)
• On the Issues (every political leader on every issue--what they said, how they voted)
• Opposing Viewpoints in Context (Thrall Databases worth exploring)
• The Outrage Machine (Retro Report, NY Times) Looks back at the major stories that shaped the world using fresh interviews, analysis and compelling archival footage.
• Public Agenda DiscussionGuides (outline several approaches to solving specific public policy problems, along with the pros, cons and trade-offs of each choice)
• Congressional Digest, recent pro and con issues
• CQ Researcher (excellent in-depth reports on today's issues--available in libraries)
• ISideWith polls
• The Most Popular Social Issues of 2018 (abortion, LGBT adoption rights, gay marriage, Planned Parenhood funding, Religious Freedom Act, marital rape, gender identity, government mandates, women in combat, death penalty, gender workplace diversity, safe spaces, Confederate flag, euthanasia, niqab (or niqāb), First Amendment.
• Current Issues (Choices.edu, Brown University)
• Global Issues (Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All)
• Researching Pros and Cons Issues (Cal State University Library)
• Our 100 Most Popular Student Questions for Debate and Persuasive Writing (Michael Gonchar, The Learning Network, NY Times, 2-24-16)
• The Next Real-Time Test for the Press (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 9-24-21) 'The "debt limit" is a serious threat. It's not a serious issue.The check you get at the end of a restaurant meal reflects what you have ordered and eaten. In just the same way, the annual deficit-and-debt totals indicate what Congress has already decided on. They’re a measure, not a control. Putting limits on them is like limiting what the bathroom scale can show.' A chronicle of whether media can remain clear about the difference. "And the test for the press is whether it conveys that blunt fact—or whether, by contrast, it portrays this threat as one more "both sides have a point!" disagreement."
• The secret history of the U.S. government’s family-separation policy An investigation by Caitlin Dickerson (The Atlantic, 8-7-22) Trump-administration officials insisted for a whole year that family separations at the border weren’t happening. Finally, in the spring of 2018, they announced the implementation of a separation policy with great fanfare—as if one had not already been under way for months. Then they declared that separating families was not the goal of the policy, but an unfortunate result of prosecuting parents who crossed the border illegally with their children. Yet a mountain of evidence shows that this is explicitly false: Separating children was not just a side effect, but the intent. Instead of working to reunify families after parents were prosecuted, officials worked to keep them apart for longer.
• Records, The Marshall Project Since 2014, The Marshall Project has been curating some of the best criminal justice reporting from around the web. In these records you will find the most recent and the most authoritative articles on the topics, people, and events that are shaping the criminal justice conversation. Find articles here on police accountability, police tactics, protest, policing, public safety, race, gun violence, Trump, Department of Justice, violence interrupter, and more.
• Fix the Court, a nonpartisan advocacy group.
• Supreme Court Case Quick Update (ABA)
• SCOTUSblog (Supreme Court of the United States)-- the best interpretations of what is going on in the Supreme Court. See items under various categories (a sample only and in random order):
---Petititions We're Watching
---Cases for previous and current terms
---Cases in the pipeline
---Arguments by sitting and other categories
• Empirical SCOTUS blog (Adam S. Feldman)
• The Supreme Court's Greatest Hits (a CD-ROM compiled by a Northwestern University political scienprofessor, with recordings of oral arguments in 50 major cases dating back to 1957, plus texts of the court's opinions and graphics showing how the justices voted)
• A Lab Test That Experts Liken to a Witch Trial Is Helping Send Women to Prison for Murder (Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, Ilya Marritz, ProPublica, 10-7-23) The “lung float” test claims to help determine if a baby was born alive or dead, but many medical examiners say it’s too unreliable. Yet the test is still being used to bring murder charges — and get convictions.
• We Don’t Talk About Leonard (Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, Ilya Marritz, ProPublica, 10-6-23) The conservative legal movement in the United States is more powerful than ever. One largely unknown man has played a significant role in pushing the American judiciary to the right: Leonard Leo.
The end of affirmative action
• The End of Affirmative Action? (blog post, with quotes from comments by Ketanji Brown Jackson and others).
• A New Legal Blitz on Affirmative Action (Liam Knox, Insight Higher Education, 9-20-23) Challenges to race-conscious policies are surging in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action, including a new lawsuit against West Point.
• Friends of the Court: SCOTUS Justices’ Beneficial Relationships With Billionaire Donors (ProPublica series, starting with this story by Andy Kroll, 10-10-23) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ decades-long friendship with real estate tycoon Harlan Crow and Samuel Alito’s luxury travel with billionaire Paul Singer have raised questions about influence and ethics at the nation's highest court. Scroll down for several stories in this series.
--- Justice Thomas gifts highlights 'double standard' for ethics in government (Domenico Montanaro, NPR, 4-24-23) Justice Clarence Thomas has been scrutinized for failing to disclose two decades of luxury gifts from a wealthy Republican donor. Chief Justice John Roberts declined to testify, citing "separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving Judicial independence."
--- Clarence Thomas Acknowledges Undisclosed Real Estate Deal With Harlan Crow and Discloses Private Jet Flights ( Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski, ProPublica, 8-31-23) The new filing comes after ProPublica’s reporting on the Supreme Court justice’s beneficial relationship with the billionaire GOP megadonor. Thomas also reported three private jet trips provided by Crow.
--- Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire (Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott and Alex Mierjeski, ProPublica, 4-6-23) "Friends of the Court. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ decadeslong friendship with real estate tycoon Harlan Crow and Samuel Alito’s luxury travel with billionaire Paul Singer have raised questions about influence and ethics at the nation's highest court. "In late June 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef. Island-hopping on a superyacht. Private jet rides around the world. The undisclosed gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the Supreme Court. “It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” says one former judge. Update, April 7, 2023: "Since publication, Justice Clarence Thomas has made a public statement defending his undisclosed trips."
--- Billionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property From Clarence Thomas. The Justice Didn’t Disclose the Deal. (Same reporters, ProPublica, 4-13-23) The transaction is the first known instance of money flowing from Crow to the Supreme Court justice. The sale netted the GOP megadonor two vacant lots and the house where Thomas’ mother was living. https://www.propublica.org/article/clarence-thomas-harlan-crow-private-school-tuition-scotus
--- Clarence Thomas Had a Child in Private School. Harlan Crow Paid the Tuition. (ProPublica, May 4, 2023)
--- Clarence Thomas’ 38 Vacations: The Other Billionaires Who Have Treated the Supreme Court Justice to Luxury Travel (Brett Murphy and Alex Mierjeski, Courts, ProPublica, 8-10-23) The fullest accounting yet shows how Thomas has secretly reaped the benefits from a network of wealthy and well-connected patrons that is far more extensive than previously understood.
--- Clarence Thomas Defends Undisclosed “Family Trips” With GOP Megadonor. Here Are the Facts. (ProPublica, 8-7-23) In response to a ProPublica report, Thomas explained why he did not disclose lavish travel provided by billionaire Harlan Crow. But legal experts maintain the justice was required to make these disclosures.
---It’s Not Personal: Why Clarence Thomas’ Trip to the Koch Summit Undermines His Ethics Defense (ProPublica, 10-5-23) Even by Thomas’ own permissive interpretation, the justice’s recently revealed travel to Palm Springs and the Bohemian Grove appear to violate the disclosure law, experts explained. Numerous ethics law experts have said that gifts of transportation, such as private jet flights, must be disclosed under the law because they are not “food, lodging, or entertainment.”
--- Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court (ProPublica, 6-20-23) In the years after the undisclosed trip to Alaska, Republican megadonor Paul Singer’s hedge fund has repeatedly had business before the Supreme Court. Alito has never recused himself.
--- Behind the Scenes of Justice Alito’s Unprecedented Wall Street Journal Pre-buttal (Jesse Eisinger and Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, 8-25-23) The Journal editorial page accused ProPublica of misleading readers in a story that hadn’t yet been published.
---SCOTUS Ethics Hearing (Up First, NPR, 5-2-23) NPR's Nina Totenberg thinks "we're at a bit of a tipping point." On Up First, she says the court "just can't perceive the idea that times have changed and people don't just trust them." Totenberg notes that other government agencies have "some form of independent investigator," and the court will continue to be scrutinized until it tries to do something similar." (H/T Suzanne Nuyen on Up First, an NPR blog, 5-2-23)
• Community Resources for Justice (Working with local, state, and national criminal justice organizations to improve public safety and the delivery of justice)
• Resources on Justice (American Bar Association, ABA) CourtSystem.org Legal and law enforcement office locations, hours, and phone numbers: Courts, district attorneys, jails and prisons, police departments, and sheriffs. Search by state. Pages for some states provide access to Public Records.
• Justice Clearinghouse calendar of webinars
• Black's Law Dictionary ed. by Fred R. Shapiro.
• Famous Trials (Professor Douglas O. Linder's site) A mini-encyclopedia of well-known trials over the centuries.
• How Can You Destroy a Person’s Life and Only Get a Slap on the Wrist? (Editorial Board, NY Times, 12-4-21) Prosecutors are among the most powerful players in the criminal justice system. Yet when they don't wield power honorably, "they rarely pay a price, even for repeated and egregious misconduct that puts innocent people behind bars. Why? Because they are protected by layers of silence and secrecy that are written into local, state and federal policy, shielding them from any real accountability for wrongdoing.
In the Stevens case, the office found misconduct but said it was unintentional, and it let the prosecutors off with a slap on the wrist. A possible "fix is straightforward: Eliminate the loophole in the 1988 law and empower the inspector general to review claims against federal prosecutors, just as the office currently does in cases involving other Justice Department employees."
• New Mexico Has Lost Track of Juveniles Locked Up for Life. We Found Nearly Two Dozen. (Eli Hager, ProPublica,3-10-23) New legislation would require the New Mexico Corrections Department to help schedule parole hearings for prisoners given life sentences as children. But the agency wasn’t aware of at least 21 “juvenile lifers” in its custody. As one of the forgotten prisoners, Sigmundr Odhinnson, told ProPublica in an email from behind bars, “We are, quite literally, missing children.”
• ICE Raids Toolkit (Immigrant Defense Project)
• Race and the Criminal Justice System (Equal Justice Initiative, EJI)
• The Presence of Justice: Beyond the age of mass incarceration (huge wonderful series in The Atlantic)
• Open Sanctions is "an international database of persons and companies of political, criminal, or economic interest. It combines and standardizes data from 20+ sources, such as the US Treasury’s sanctions lists (DIP 2018.02.21), Interpol’s Red Notices, members of EU parliament, and the CIA’s index of world leaders. The project uses a detailed schema to represent the particulars of each entity, including aliases, known cryptocurrency wallets, aircraft registrations, sanction dates, and more. You can download the data with those detailed representations or in simpler formats." Check out its Dataset Collections. Source: the wonderful Data Is Plural, a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets, published by Jeremy Singer-Vine.
• Immigrants and immigrant children in detention (Central Issues of Our Time section, Pat McNees site)
• What's wrong with America's prisons? (Central Issues, Pat McNees site)
• U.S. Criminal Justice History Resources (links to key resources about criminal justice history, crime, punishment, the legal system, police history)
• 4LawSchool (case briefs and other free resources for students and practicing attorneys)
• Caselaw Access Project. Harvard Law School and Ravel Law, making all U.S. case law freely accessible online. Read Harvard Is Digitizing Nearly 40 Million Pages of Case Law So You Can Access It Online and For Free (Bruce Gellerman, WBUR, Bostonomix, 8-30-16)
• FindLaw (providing legal information, lawyer profiles, and a community to help you make the best legal decisions (check out Findlaw Answers).
• LexisNexis (online legal research, documents and records from more than 60,000 legal, news, and business sources)
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, United Nations)
• Law Library of Congress
• Oyez Database on major constitutional cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, with multimedia resources including digital audio of oral arguments.
• PACER: Public Access to Court Electronic Records provides electronic public access to federal court records. Provides the public with instantaneous access to more than 1 billion documents filed at all federal courts. The PACER Service Center can assist you at (800) 676-6856 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or by email at email@example.com.
• The Supreme Court: On life tenure, and its drawbacks (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 1-26-22) We should end lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.
• A Year of Dominance and Defiance at the Supreme Court (Jeannie Suk Gersen, New Yorker, 12-26-22) Following the shocking leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we fully entered the era of conservative dominance, with aggressive rulings on abortion, guns, and religion. Doubts about the Court’s legitimacy reached a fever pitch, and its unpopularity hit alarming lows. Soul-searching about the Court and the rule of law has rarely been as cynical or as fundamental.
• Abortion in the courts: a political football (Heather Cox Richardson, 9-2-21) "While it is hard to remember today, the modern-day opposition to abortion had its roots not in a moral defense of life but rather in the need for President Richard Nixon to win votes before the 1972 election. Pushing the idea that abortion was a central issue of American life was about rejecting the equal protection of the laws embraced by the Democrats far more than it was ever about using the government to protect fetuses."
• Heather Cox Richardson on the Supreme Court's decision on abortion (9-3-21) "The fact that the Fox News Channel is not mentioning what should have been a landmark triumph of its viewers’ ideology suggests Republicans know that ending safe and legal abortion is deeply unpopular. Their base finally, after all these years, got what it wanted. But now the rest of the nation, which had been assured as recently as the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that Roe v. Wade was settled law that would not be overturned, gets a chance to weigh in."
• The conservative club that came to dominate the Supreme Court (Harvard Gazette, 3-4-21) Of the current nine members of the Supreme Court of the United States, six are current or former members of the conservative Federalist Society (Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett).
• Supreme Court Rejects Voting Map That Diluted Black Voters’ Power (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 6-8-23) Voting rights advocates had feared that the decision about redistricting in Alabama would further undermine the Voting Rights Act, which instead appeared to emerge unscathed. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a slashing dissent.
• The Supreme Court’s Surprise Defense of the Voting Rights Act (Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker, 6-9-23) The Chief Justice appeared impatient with the maximalist demands that partisans on the right are placing on a Court they seem to feel they own. Allen v. Milligan arose from three challenges (eventually consolidated) to Alabama’s congressional-district map, which a lower court found was impermissibly racially gerrymandered. “The heart of these cases is not about the law as it exists,” Roberts wrote. “It is about Alabama’s attempt to remake our §2 jurisprudence anew.”
"Partisan litigants hit their mark last term in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, and in Bruen v. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which threw out or called into question gun-safety laws around the country.
"Roberts’s vote in this case doesn’t necessarily mean that he will hesitate for a minute in finding that race-based affirmative action in higher education is unconstitutional, which is the issue in the tandem cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and S.F.F.A. v. University of North Carolina.
"And it might not say much about his vote in certain other major outstanding cases, involving such matters as the adoption of Native American children, wedding-site designers who refuse same-sex couples as clients, and the Biden Administration’s student-loan forgiveness and border policies. However, it offers a slim, cautious hope that Roberts, and perhaps Kavanaugh, will not go to extremes in Moore v. Harper, a case involving North Carolina’s voting districts and what is known as the independent-state-legislature theory, which has the potential to destabilize the electoral system.
• Police stage ‘chilling’ raid on Marion County newspaper, seizing computers, records and cellphones (Sherman Smith, Sam Bailey, Rachel Mipro, and Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector, 8-11-23)
• When the Police Knock at Your Door: Newsroom Search Warrants (Jonathan Buchan and Corby Anderson, McGuireWoods.com, Media Law, Jan 2001) 'The federal Privacy Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000aa-2000aa-12, protects journalists from most searches of newsrooms by federal and state law enforcement officials. The Act supplements the protections that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides to all citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures of their person, home, papers, and possessions. The Fourth Amendment requires that searches be “reasonable” and that search warrants be issued only when there is “probable cause” to believe that the evidence sought is in the place to be searched.'
• Society of American Archivists (SAA), whose many resources include Richard Pearce-Moses's Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology and Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research (by Laura Schmidt)
• Archive Finder (brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland. Here's a fuller description.
• ArchiveGrid ("Open the door to history" -- a database containing nearly a million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world, including Historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts)
• National Archives, Subject index (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
• National Archives FAQs
• The National Archives (UK) (official govt archives, from Domesday Book to various websites. Here's Getting Started overview
• National Archives of Norway (now in English)
• BYU Family History Archives (Mormons, Family Search)
• Canadian Library and Archives (in English and French)
• The Times Machine. What One Little Button Reveals About The New York Times 'Brain' (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 8-5-14) The newspaper's new archival search function offers suggested terms, and a window into how it categorizes world events. "TimesMachine is, in other words, a context machine. And it's a historical record designed to be used, not just saved." See The Times Machine (online archive that lets New York Times subscribers explore millions of pages of past newspapers) and NYTimes Archives twitter account.
• Timelines, archives, family history, genealogical and other historical resources (Telling Your Story, Pat McNees's website)
• C-Span Puts Full Archives on the Web (Brian Stelter, NYTimes, 3-15-10). Find them at C-SpanVideo.org.
• "Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources" (PDF, Marcus Zillman's Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation). A few of the items listed:
~Academic Archive Online (DiVA (full text theses, dissertations, and other publications from Nordic universities)
~Academic Earth (a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give people all over the world access to video courses and lectures from the world's leading scholars)
~Academic Index (Michael Bell's meta-search tool indexes only research-quality reference and information sources selected by prof. librarians and educators)
~Archive Finder (brings together ArchivesUsA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland--annotations are fuller
~Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) For a full list of academic and scholarly search engines and sources, check this PDF
• GenealogyBank's Historical Newspaper Archives (over 320 years of obituaries, birth, marriages and newspaper articles about other key life events)
• Resources for Genealogists (National Archives). Most requested: Military service records, immigration records, naturalization records, passport applications, land records, bankruptcy records.
• Census Records, U.S. National Archives, where you can go to find a huge amount of information (but if you need to do it online, go to ancestry.com or HeritageQuestOnline). See How can I search the Census Records?
---1940s Census, U.S. (most recent decade released)(National Archives how-to page)
---The 1940 Census: 72-Year-Old Secrets Revealed (Linton Weeks, NPR, 4-2-12)
---1940 Census Release Is 'Super Bowl For Genealogists' (NPR staff, All Things Considered, 3-30-12) "The 1940 census was very close to the end of the Depression, but it was also right at the beginning of all the uncertainties associated with World War II," Maury says. "The census itself tells terrific stories about what we were as a people and what we are as a people now."
---How to get the most out of Census.gov (BackgroundChecks.org)
---Documenting the American South (primary resources for the study of Southern history, literature, and culture)
• The Internet Archive Brewster Kahle set out to "archive" the internet in the mid-90s and boy, howdy, others came forward to add video, audio, live music, texts, etc., including The TV News Archive. However:
---Could the Internet Archive Go Out Like Napster? ( Nitish Pahwa and Emma Wallenbrock, Slate, 9-12-22) In addition to lending books digitally, the Internet Archive hosts the Wayback Machine, a tool that has chronicled internet history since 1996; the concern is that if legal costs drain the archive of its funds, all of its services could be affected. But the IA also practices "controlled digital lending," in which a library scans each individual page of a physical book that it already owns, uploads a digital copy, and generally allows one patron to check it out for a period of time. Except during the pandemic IA started lending out multiple copies. Publishers clearly won't stand for this. Where will things end? Stay tuned. Learn about the issue of controlled digital lending (CDL) and how a decision in a landmark US copyright lawsuit, brought by big publishers, could significantly change its operations.
--- The Internet Archive, Trying to Encompass All Creation (David Streitfeld, Bits, NY Times, 10-31-14)
---Book publishers say Internet Archive 'stonewalling' discovery (Reuters, 11-19-21) A group of publishers sued nonprofit digital archive in 2020 claiming "willful mass copyright infringement" and attorneys say "Internet Archive withholding key documents" saying IA is "trying to "run out the clock" on the discovery process in their Manhattan federal court dispute over the digital archive's alleged copyright infringement.
• JSTOR provides access to more than 12 million journal articles, books, images, and primary sources in 75 disciplines, including collections of millions of high-quality images and primary sources from libraries, museums, and archives around the world, including artworks, maps, photographs, and more. Calling itself "a digital library for the intellectually curious," JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Artstor, Ithaka S+R, and Portico.
• Veterans FAQ about archival military records, veterans' service records, military personnel records
• Virtual Wall, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (look up Vietnam War casualties by name, place, date, and other details--get more info, add a photo, etc.)
misinformation, myths, voter suppression, and various reports
• Documentary “Plot to Overturn the Election" Reveals Origins of the Stolen Election Myth (ProPublica and Frontline, 3-29-22) A group of people working from a plantation in South Carolina spread misinformation about the November 2020 election. These falsehoods have since become articles of faith for many Republicans. Watch "The Plot to Overturn the Election" (54 min.) ProPublica has published an excellent series about challenging integrity in U.S. elections.
• Churches Are Breaking the Law by Endorsing in Elections, Experts Say. The IRS Looks the Other Way. (Jeremy Schwartz and Jessica Priest, ProPublica, 10-30-22) For nearly 70 years, federal law has barred churches from directly involving themselves in political campaigns, but the IRS has largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen about publicly backing candidates.
• Heather Cox Richardson on Voter Suppression by House Republicans (Letters from an American, 9-9-23)
• Trio of Texas Churches Donated to Political Candidate Despite Clear IRS Prohibition (Jessica Priest and Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, 5-5-22) A candidate for the Abilene, Texas, City Council said that three churches made an honest mistake by donating to his campaign and that he is returning the money. The race has been beset by allegations of electioneering by churches.
• The Hypnotherapist and Failed Politician Who Helped Fuel the Never-Ending Hunt for Election Fraud in Wisconsin (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 5-23-22) How obscure retiree Jay Stone played a crucial, if little-known, role in making Wisconsin a hotbed of conspiracy theories that Democrats stole the state’s 10 electoral votes from Donald Trump.
• How Rep. James Clyburn Protected His District at a Cost to Black Democrats (Marilyn W. Thompson. Photography and video by Cheney Orr for ProPublica, 5-5-23) Facing the possibility of an unsafe district, South Carolina’s most powerful Democrat sent his aide to consult with the GOP on a redistricting plan that diluted Black voting strength and harmed his party’s chances of gaining seats in Congress.
• Bullied by Her Own Party, a Wisconsin Election Official’s GOP Roots Mean Nothing in Volatile New Climate (Megan O’Matz and Mariam Elba, ProPublica, 8-7-23) In the face of repeated calls to back Donald Trump's bogus claims that the 2020 election was stolen, Marge Bostelmann of the Wisconsin Elections Commission remains resolute: “I’m a Republican who stands up for the truth and not for a lie.”
• Wisconsin Republicans Sowed Distrust Over Elections. Now They May Push Out the State’s Top Election Official. (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 6-15-23)The fate of Wisconsin election administrator Meagan Wolfe is a stark reminder that even though courts and voters across the country have rejected election denialism, it remains a factor in this key battleground state.
• Close to 100,000 Voter Registrations Were Challenged in Georgia — Almost All by Just Six Right-Wing Activists (Doug Bock Clark, photography by Cheney Orr for ProPublica, 7-13-23) The recent transformation of the state’s election laws explicitly enabled citizens to file unlimited challenges to other voters’ registrations. Experts warn that election officials’ handling of some of those challenges may clash with federal law.
• Dispatches ProPublica's newsletter about wrongdoing in America
• My local polling station has become a hostile environment (Jennifer E. Rizzo, Boston Globe, 9-29-22) Increasing numbers of allegations of voter fraud and outbursts from angry and uninformed voters have me wondering whether I will continue to work at the polls on election day.
• Fight over mail-in ballots plays out in Wisconsin (Here and Now, 10-7-22) Despite the claims of voter fraud propelled by former President Donald Trump that were wholly unfounded, widespread distrust in the election process lingers in Wisconsin. Here & Now's Chris Bentley reports from Green Bay about the election officials and poll workers trying to restore trust in the system.
• Block the Vote A series from 1-A radio, 2023. Looks at different forms of voter disenfranchisement ahead of the November election, talking to experts about the history of voter identification laws, registration restrictions, misinformation and disinformation about voting, voter roll purges and gerrymandering.
---Blocked from the Ballot An earlier 1A series about people living in the U.S. who are legally prohibited from casting a ballot (because of where they live, or because they've been convicted of a felony, or because they're too young). See more about gerrymandering below.
• Electoral Integrity Project (Electoral integrity in the 2020 elections--Trump et al.)
• Election Integrity Scorecard (Heritage Foundation). From conservative viewpoint. For a corrective, see Votebeat. "While, for example, Colorado tends to lead the nation in election security according to organizations like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, American Progress , the Brookings Institution, and others, Heritage has ranked the state 34th. And much of its basis for the rankings of Colorado — and other states — is literally false.
• Judge Imposes Sanction on Fox for Withholding Evidence in Defamation Case ( Katie Robertson and Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 4-12-23) The judge overseeing Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News said on Wednesday that he was imposing a sanction on the network and would very likely start an investigation into whether Fox’s legal team had deliberately withheld evidence, scolding the lawyers for not being “straightforward” with him
• Defamation Suit About Election Falsehoods Puts Fox on Its Heels (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 8-13-22) In the weeks after President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election, the Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed to have “tremendous evidence” that voter fraud was to blame. A lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems could be one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in a generation.
Dominion, a voting technology company, accused Fox and some of the network’s executives and hosts of smearing its reputation by linking it to a nonexistent conspiracy to rig voting machines in the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost.
• The Myth of Voter Fraud (Brennan Center for Justice) The Brennan Center’s seminal report The Truth About Voter Fraud conclusively demonstrated that most allegations of fraud turn out to be baseless and that most of the few remaining allegations reveal irregularities and other forms of election misconduct. Numerous other studies, including one commissioned by the Trump administration, have reached the same conclusion. Extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare. Yet repeated false allegations of fraud can make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to participate in elections. See also Billionaire-Backed Group Enlists Trump-Supporting Citizens to Hunt for Voter Fraud Using Discredited Techniques (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 3-9-22)
• Houston Chronicle's "Big Lie" series (winner of a 2022 Pulitzer Prize) In this editorial series, Lisa Falkenberg, Luis Carrasco, Michael Lindenberger and Joe Holley examined decades of Republican attempts to spread misconceptions about voter fraud and restrict voting rights. "The Big Lie" earned the Houston Chronicle its second-ever Pulitzer Prize in 2022.
---If voter fraud is an epidemic, why can’t Texas find it? (Opinion)
---The Big Lie — How Texas steals your voting rights while you are sleeping (Opinion) Ask yourself: If Texas voters are truly clamoring loud and clear, in broad daylight, for the voting restrictions that GOP leaders tell them will protect election security, why do lawmakers insist on passing the legislation in the dead of night? The biggest problem Republican lawmakers have in pushing restrictive voting legislation in the name of integrity is that they themselves have none.
---For 20 years, the GOP has groomed their voters to believe in fraud (Opinion)
• Popular Political Podcasts Dataset (Political Podcast Project) Over the past decade, monthly podcast listeners have risen from just over 10% of the U.S. population to more than 40%. The articles from Brookings were written by Valerie Wirtschafter, Chris Meserole, Jessica Brandt, and Adya Danaditya, in 2022.
---Audible reckoning: How top political podcasters spread unsubstantiated and false claims
---Policy recommendations for addressing content moderation in podcasts
---Popular podcasters spread Russian disinformation about Ukraine biolabs
---Prominent political podcasters played key role in spreading the 'Big Lie'
---The challenge of detecting misinformation in podcasting'
• A Government Official Helped Them Register. Now They’ve Been Charged With Voter Fraud. (Bianca Fortis, ProPublica, 7-21-22) Ten Republican lawmakers in Florida passed a law to clarify that people convicted of felonies could only vote if they first paid off any money they owed for committing their crimes. The penalty for registering or voting without doing so: a felony charge for voter fraud. Florida men with felony convictions have been charged with voter fraud because prosecutors say they registered and voted illegally. Critics say the punishments are unfair. Florida has no centralized database to allow people to figure out what legal financial obligations they owe to the state.
• In Voting, Demographics Is Often Destiny (Jo Freeman, Public Seminar, 1-21-22) Sex, race, religion, and party polarization.
• Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war (Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy, 11-9-2020) "Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy. Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days....As Tuesday night moved into Wednesday morning, Trump held the Sunshine State comfortably, mainly thanks to Latino voters in the state's most populous county, Miami-Dade, shifting in huge numbers from Clinton in 2016 to Trump this time around. Why? One reason is the months of YouTube videos and Facebook posts that led many in Miami to believe that Biden was a stalking horse for socialism, anathema to the city's large Cuban ex-pat population. These conspiracy theories were shared widely and then repeated incessantly on Spanish-language radio."
"Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
― Abraham Lincoln
"If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children."
- Coretta Scott King
• RockTheVote How Do I Vote? Find all the deadlines, dates, requirements, registration options, and information on how to vote in your state.
• Election Protection (866 our vote) Call or text 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) if you need help:
✅ Finding your early voting location
✅ Returning your absentee ballot
✅ Locating your polling place on Election Day
• The League of Women Voters is a good source for information about candidates and issues, honest and unbiased in what it posts. Search for that name plus the name of your county and state, and you will find answers to a set of questions from the LWV that are the same for each candidate for an office as well as reasons to vote for and/or against each issue being voted on (in other words, what's at the heart of each proposed change).
• ***How to vote by mail in all 50 states.
• A User’s Guide to Democracy (ProPublica) Congress Works For You. Here’s How to Be a Better Boss. Short guides to understanding political ads, seeing what your representatives are actually doing (or not doing), etc. Sign up for personalized emails from ProPublica, which specializes in investigative reporting.
• Who Is My Member of Congress? Here’s How to Find Out What Your Reps Have Been Up To. (Karim Doumar and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, ProPublica, 10-12-22)
• Open Secrets Follows the money in politics. Plug in a name and see who supports them.
• How to “Follow the Money” in an Election (Cynthia Gordy Giwa, ProPublica, 10-30-22) You don’t have to be an investigative journalist to see who is funding who when it comes to U.S. politics, especially during an election year. Some ways to see what’s at play in the national and local races that matter to you.
• How to Follow Your Congressional and Local Elections in 2022 (Karim Doumar and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, ProPublica, 10-23-22) From competitiveness ratings to campaign contributions, there’s a lot to follow in local and down-ballot elections. Learn how to decipher election coverage in this edition of the User’s Guide to Democracy.
• How to Fix America’s Confusing Voting System (Aliyya Swaby and Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 9-12-22) Voting can be a convoluted obstacle course, especially for those who can’t read. Here are proven ways of fixing the system and enabling millions more voters to participate.
• FWIW A newsletter tracking digital spending, strategy, and trends in our elections.
• Election Legal Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) Download in English or Spanish. An overview of legal issues that journalists may face while reporting on the 2020 general election. Information on accessing ballots and election records for each of the following battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (States marked with an asterisk also include specific information on exit polling, newsgathering in or near polling places and ballot selfies.) See also RCFP's Police, Protesters and the Press, which helps journalists understand their rights at protests and how to avoid arrest when reporting on such events.
• How to have civilized, productive conversations in a polarized world (blog post)
• How Wisconsin’s extreme politics are fueled by crazy maps (Megan O'Matz, Pro Publica, 9-23-23) "In the northwest corner of Wisconsin, the 73rd Assembly District used to be shaped like a mostly rectangular blob. Then, last year, a new map drawn by Republican lawmakers took effect, and some locals joked that it looked a lot like a Tyrannosaurus rex.
"The new map bit off and spit out a large chunk of Douglas County, which tended to vote Democratic, and added rural swaths of Burnett County, which leans conservative.
The Assembly seat had been held by Democrats for 50 years. But after the district lines were moved, Republican Angie Sapik, who had posted comments disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement and cheered on the Jan. 6 rioters on social media, won the seat in November 2022.
"The redrawing of the 73rd District and its implications are emblematic of the extreme gerrymandering that defines Wisconsin — where maps have been drawn in irregular and disconnected shapes over the last two decades, helping Republicans seize and keep sweeping power.
---Wisconsin’s Republicans Went to Extremes in Gerrymandering. Now They’re Scrambling to Protect That Power. (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 9-23-23) Heavily redrawn election districts in the battleground state gave Republicans firm control of the legislature — and the leeway to move aggressively against officials and judges they perceive as threats.
---Wisconsin Republicans Sowed Distrust Over Elections. Now They May Push Out the State’s Top Election Official. (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 6-15-23) The fate of Wisconsin election administrator Meagan Wolfe is a stark reminder that even though courts and voters across the country have rejected election denialism, it remains a factor in this key battleground state.
• It’s Like You Want to Stop People From Voting’: How U.S. Elections Look Abroad (Video by Chai Dingari, Brendan Miller, Adam Westbrook and Emily Holzknecht, NY Times, The Future of Democracy series, 11-2-2020) From gerrymandering to voter roll purges, we showed people around the world how the American system works. It didn’t go well.
• Gerrymandering Explained (Brennan Center for Justice)
• American Democracy Was Never Designed to Be Democratic ( Louis Menand,New Yorker, 8-22-22) The partisan redistricting tactics of cracking and packing aren’t merely flaws in the system—they are the system.
• How Ron DeSantis Blew Up Black-Held Congressional Districts and May Have Broken Florida Law (Joshua Kaplan, ProPublica, 10-11-22) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made Florida’s congressional map far more favorable to Republicans. This may have violated the state constitution. How gerrymandering works (with maps to illustrate).
• One Person, One Vote: A Surprising History of Gerrymandering in America by Nick Seabrook. A study of the practice of shaping electoral districts.
• Race and Redistricting (Jo Freeman, Public Seminar, 3-15-22) Gerrymandering is old, but the routine redrawing of districts is a legacy of the Civil Rights Movement’s success. "Eventually, all legislatures conformed to the Supreme Court’s mandate that the only basis for representation was population. States where one party dominated the legislature gerrymandered to consolidate its position. In states with large minority populations that largely voted for one major party and whites the other, party gerrymandering became racial gerrymandering."
• Why the Defense of Abortion in Kansas Is So Powerful (Sarah Smarsh, NY Times, 8-3-22) "In a state where registered Republicans far outnumber Democrats, the results reveal that conservative politicians bent on controlling women and pregnant people with draconian abortion bans are out of step with their electorates, a majority of whom are capable of nuance often concealed by our two-party system. "This is not news to many red-state moderates and progressives, who live with excruciating awareness of the gulf between their decent communities and the far-right extremists gerrymandering, voter-suppressing and dark-moneying their way into state and local office."
• How Stephanie Hofeller’s estrangement from her family may have altered American political history. (Charles Bethea, New Yorker, 7-12-19) Stephanie Hofeller's father, Thomas, was a master of gerrymandering."In May, with the Supreme Court’s decision pending, attorneys at Common Cause were going through Hofeller’s files when they found evidence that seemed to confirm what many had suspected: that adding a citizenship question to the census was a way to drive down immigrant participation—thus weakening their representation when subsequent congressional districts were drawn—and had nothing to do with enforcing the Voting Rights Act."
• Polarization Is an Old American Story (Jason Willick, WSJ, 2-2-18) Gordon Wood, the noted historian of early America, says Adams’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Republicans were far more divided than today’s political parties. See also The Roots of American Political Polarization (WSJ, 2-13-18) Thomas Jefferson lost the popular vote yet was named president due to the Electoral College.
• Defamation Suit About Election Falsehoods Puts Fox on Its Heels (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 8-13-22) The suit, filed by Dominion Voting Systems, could be one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in a generation. It threatens a huge financial and reputational blow to Fox.
• A County Elections Director Stood Up to Locals Who Believe the Voting System Is Rigged. They Pushed Back Harder. (Doug Bock Clark, ProPublica, 10-31-22) Even in a county where Trump won more than 70% of the 2020 vote, local election deniers have mounted a campaign to access voting machines and slash the elections director's pay.
• ‘Nowhere I feel safe’: Election officials recount threats (Farnoush Amiri, AP News, 6-22-22) Wandrea “Shaye” Moss testified Tuesday to lawmakers about how her life was upended when former President Donald Trump and his allies falsely accused her and her mother of pulling fraudulent ballots from a suitcase in Georgia.The former Georgia elections worker recounted in a wrenching appearance before the House Jan. 6 committee how the defeated president latched onto surveillance footage from November 2020 to accuse her and her mother, Ruby Freeman, of committing voter fraud — allegations that were quickly debunked, yet spread widely across conservative media.
• They Were Trying to Help Run Elections. Then They Got Criminally Investigated. (Cassandra Jaramillo and Joshua Kaplan, ProPublica, 11-3-22) Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hasn’t just been pursuing supposed voter fraud. His office has also criminally investigated at least 10 election workers, in a harbinger of potential post-midterm turmoil.
• Conspiracies enter Wisconsin midterms (Chris Brentley, Here and Now, NPR, 10-6-22) As midterm elections approach, absentee ballots are a source of contention in Wisconsin. The number of mail-in ballots skyrocketed during COVID-19 and some used that as a way to spread baseless claims of voter fraud and call for changes to the election process. Here & Now's Chris Bentley reports.
• What Increasingly Partisan and Venomous Wisconsin School Board Races Reveal About American Elections (Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 4-1-22) As traditionally nonpartisan school board campaigns become polarized battlegrounds, voters in next week’s Wisconsin races may set the tone for how contentious races across the country will become this year. Republicans, and particularly the wing of the party that still supports former President Donald Trump, have come to see local races as a way to energize their base and propel voters to the polls — part of what some leaders have called a “precinct strategy.”
• The Extremely Muddled G.O.P. Logic Behind Moore v. Harper (Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker, 12-15-22) "The story of Moore v. Harper is one of a fringe legal theory that managed to get a hearing in the Supreme Court because it seems to offer a quick fix for certain very specific, recent Republican grievances, among them maps that they don’t like and expanded mail-in voting, which they feel makes it easy for the wrong people to vote. The fact that the case offers an even quicker way of breaking a lot of things, including dozens of state constitutions and the Electoral College, was secondary. From one perspective, it’s shocking that, in past rulings, three Justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—have expressed not only willingness but eagerness to take on such a far-out case, as has, to a somewhat lesser extent, a fourth, Brett Kavanaugh. It’s shocking that any Justices did."
• What if a U.S, presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election? (Van Jones, TED Talk about how to stop a coup, October 2020) You can read transcript as you listen. "The president’s litigation strategy is unlikely to succeed, but it’s doing great harm in the meantime." Explaining why the customary concession speech is one of the most important safeguards for democracy, Jones exposes shocking legal loopholes that could enable a candidate to grab power even if they lose both the popular vote and the electoral college.
Did you know "that under our constitution a presidential candidate could actually lose the popular vote, fail to get a majority in the electoral college, refuse to concede, manipulate hidden mechanisms in our government and still get sworn in as the president of the United States of America? Everyone essentially ignores the elite electoral process...". A concession speech is "the one speech no presidential candidate ever wants to give, and yet, it is that public address that is most important for the health and the well-being of our nation....The best way to stop a coup is to update and strengthen our democratic system as soon as this election is over. Maybe we need to rethink, reimagine or just get rid of this whole electoral college, extra inning thing in the first place.
"Get informed. A number of progressive organizations are already working hard to warn Americans about this growing threat to our democracy. Some organizations you could look into and research for yourself: choosedemocracy.us, electiontaskforce.org, protectdemocracy.org, mobilize.us, allamericans.org, civicalliance.com and the Fight Back table at demos.org. All these groups are working on this. Now, on the right, if that's your cup of tea, you could also check out The Heritage Foundation or the Government Accountability Institute."
"Some existing organizations, powerful groups, like the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the ACLU, NAACP, Legal Defense Fund, Indivisible, ColorOfChange.org, these groups are going to be fighting in the courts, fighting in Congress, to try to make sure that we have a fair outcome. Those groups could use your help and your donations."
• How Trump and His Enablers Are Laying the Groundwork For a Coup d'État (Anita Bartholomew, A Pointed View, blog 11-10-2020)
• The GOP's Post-Trump Identity Crisis: What's Next for the Republican Party? (Dave Davies, Fresh Air, NPR, 11-17-2020)
• F.B.I. Director Warns of Russian Interference and White Supremacist Violence (Zolan Kanno-Youngs, NY Times, 9-17-2020) Testimony by Christopher A. Wray contradicted efforts by President Trump and other officials to downplay the threats.
• Robert Reich@RBReich's tweet "The reason the Justice Department has a longstanding policy of keeping prosecutors out of elections, and the Defense Department of keeping the military out of domestic politics, is the same: To avoid even the appearance of a coup. It looks today like Trump is revoking both."
• 10 things you need to know to stop a coup (Daniel Hunter, Waging Nonviolence, 9-10-2020) While keeping people focused on a strong, robust election process is a must, we also need to prepare for a coup.
• Pennsylvania’s Blue Shift (Eliza Griswold, New Yorker, 11-6-2020) "Democrats had requested more mail-in ballots than Republicans had by a margin of two to one. The state’s Republican legislature had prevented county commissioners from sorting or counting these ballots ahead of time, a process called pre-canvassing. This meant that in-person results, which tended to favor Republicans, were announced first. But, as mail-in votes were painstakingly counted, Biden gained steadily. (A similar story played out in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where mail-in ballots added to Biden’s tally in the days after the election.)...This year, ahead of the election, the Republican legislature passed a law requiring that mail-in ballots be sent in with two envelopes, ostensibly to insure a voter’s privacy, and that policy seemed likely to cause confusion. "
• How GOP lawyers intimidated a blue Texas county (and its judiciary) into shutting down 9 polling sites (Ian Millhiser, Vox, 11-3-2020) This is not how the law is supposed to work.
• Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure? (Sue Halpern, NY Times, 7-7-2020) A mathematician’s quest to make American elections more trustworthy. “We’ve decided in this country that private venders will play a central role in running our elections and counting our votes.
•The Trouble with Election Projections (Jill Lepore, New Yorker, 11-1-2020) Projecting a winner isn’t the same as counting votes—and that’s true more than ever in 2020.
• Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, on voter rights legislation (1-11-22, who's for and who's against what). Worth a read, and her pieces link to other useful articles.See also
---Heather Cox Richardson on a decision by Judge David Carter that Trump had likely committed a federal crime when he was part of a conspiracy to obstruct Congress’s count of the votes of the Electoral College on January 6, 2021 (Letters from an American, March 29, 2022
---Heather Cox Richardson on the March on Selma (Letters from an American, March 6, 2022) In the 1960s, despite the fact Black Americans outnumbered white Americans among the 29,500 people who lived in Selma, Alabama, the city’s voting rolls were 99% white. So, in 1963, local Black organizers launched a voter registration drive. The story of March 7 in Selma is the story of Americans determined to bring to life the principle articulated in the Declaration of Independence that a government’s claim to authority comes from the consent of the governed. It is also a story of how hard local authorities, entrenched in power and backed by angry white voters, made that process.
---Heather Cox Richardson on the politics of voter rights law (Letters from an American 6-8-21) McConnell said today that restoring the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that protect minority voting would give too much power to the federal government and that such protection was unnecessary anyway. Not so.
---HCR on the federal government's authority to enforce citizens' rights to vote with legislation that counters state efforts to limit those rights (1-16-22)
---HCR on how Republicans keep popular national preferences from being enacted (9-6-21)
---Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson, 6-22-21) "The bill S1, the For the People Act, would protect voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering, establish new ethics rules for federal officials, and curb big money in politics. All 50 of the Republicans voted against the measure, which would have helped to combat the voter suppression laws being enacted by Republican-dominated legislatures across the country....According to the nonpartisan Voting Rights Lab, 18 states have put in place more than 30 laws restricting access to the ballot. These laws will affect around 36 million people, or about 15% of all eligible voters."
---Heather Cox Richardson on America's 2020 census and redistricting (8-13-21) "For a century now, the machinery of redistricting has favored rural whites. With the 2020 census information reinforcing the idea that white, rural Americans are under siege, it seems unlikely that lawmakers in Republican states will want to rebalance the system. But it seems equally unlikely that an increasingly urbanizing, multicultural nation will continue to accept being governed by an ever-smaller white, rural minority."
---Heather Cox Richardson on anti-government protesters in Kazakhstan (1-6-22) fighting for the right to have a say in their own government and Republican efforts in U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection to restrict voting.
---HCR on whether the state legislature alone can determine election laws in a state.
• The 2020 census shows America is changing. We’re looking at how. (The Morning, NY Times newsletter, 8-13-21) 'The data was less favorable to Republicans than some experts expected, The Times's Nate Cohn writes. Rural areas and white people's share of the population shrank, while traditionally Democratic cities and increasingly Democratic suburbs grew. But Republican-controlled legislatures will still get to redraw 187 maps, compared to Democrats' 84. "The parties do not compete on a level playing field," our colleague Nick Corasaniti, who covers politics, told us. "While it is still very early to fully grasp the impact" of the new data, "it is perhaps most important to remember who will be drawing the maps."'
• As Republicans Push to Limit Voting, Disagreements on Strategy Emerge (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 4-21-21) Trump-friendly state lawmakers trying to enact new voting laws are facing pockets of opposition from fellow Republicans who argue that some measures go too far or would hurt the party’s own voters.
• From fact checking to live fact checking: what to learn from the US presidential election (Clothilde Goujard, Global Editors Network, 11-3-16) Five tips on how to fact-check an electoral debate.
• Inside Elections (Nathan L. Gonzales) Non-partisan analysis in a non-partisan online newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns, presidential politics, and political developments.
• Election Resources (National Archives and Records Administration). See also FAQs (such as Why do we have the electoral college?) and U.S. Voting & Election Resources (many helpful links)
• Election Resources (Electoral Integrity Project)
• Federal Election Commission (protecting the integrity of the US campaign finance process)
• Task Force on 2020 Pre-Election Polling (report from the American Association for Public Opinion Research). A highly anticipated report from the leading association of pollsters confirms just how wrong the 2020 election polls were. AAPOR isn’t the only organization struggling to nail down where things went wrong.
• Introducing Civic: Elections Data Management from POLITICO (Tyler Fisher, Source OpenNews.org, 11-19-18) "Our new, highly flexible system is midterms-tested and ready for your contributions."
• The consequences of ‘horse race’ reporting: What the research says (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 9-10-19) One of the most common ways reporters cover elections — with a focus on who’s in the lead and who’s behind instead of on policy issues — hurts the public and the news industry. Studies show it is linked to:
---Distrust in politicians
---Distrust of news outlets
---An uninformed electorate
---Inaccurate reporting of opinion poll data.
• Democracy: For Helping Voters Who Can’t Read, She’s Been Criminally Charged — Twice. That Hasn’t Stopped Her. (Mauricio Rodríguez Pons, Aliyya Swaby and Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 9-14-22) Olivia Coley-Pearson offered help to Georgia voters who struggle to read. For taking on one of America’s oldest forms of voter suppression, she got threats, a trip to jail and a reminder of the nation’s long legacy of weaponizing literacy. A ProPublica investigation found that the efforts to block people who have difficulty reading from casting a ballot continue, especially in the South. In fact, today's election system remains a modern-day literacy test. To learn more, check out ProPublica’s investigation of Coley-Pearson’s fight and the persistent suppression of low-literacy voters, read our story about successful voting reforms, and see our guide on how to get help with voting.
• How the U.S. election looks to pro-democracy activists around the world (Miriam Berger, Washington Post, 11-3-2020) Anxiety over the state of democracy in the United States is running high as the presidential election unfolds. And beyond America’s borders, pro-democracy activists around the world, already accustomed to following U.S. politics because of its global impact, see echoes of and implications for their own struggles.
• The Making of the New Left (Louis Menand, New Yorker, 3-15-2021) The movement inspired young people to believe that they could transform themselves—and America. Wonderfully succinct, though long. Part of American Chronicles series.
• CrossCheck: Our Collaborative Online Verification Newsroom (First Draft News) "Our first project brought together 37 newsroom and technology partners in France and the UK to help accurately report false, misleading and confusing claims that circulated online in the ten weeks leading up to the French Presidential election in May 2017." See NiemanLab story: As a presidential election looms in France, Google and Facebook team up with news outlets to factcheck (Shan Wang, 2-6-17)
• AP's live election results map updates which states were won by which candidates, over time, so you can see who reported winners, when. AP has traditionally been the site to watch for election results, though many do so now.
• One big flaw in how Americans run elections (Kim Zetter, Political, 11-2-2020) The lack of organized systems for resolving questions about election integrity could haunt the country this year.
• Trump Needs Three Consecutive Hail Mary Passes (Richard L. Hasen, The Atlantic, 11-11-2020) See several other Hasen articles about problems with U.S. election process.
• Senators, current (phone numbers etc.)
• Find your Representative (US House of Representatives)
• Representatives, current (phone numbers, etc.).
• U.S. Senate Press Gallery
• USA.gov (A to Z of US federal agencies, departments)
• Inspectors General (audit major agencies, investigate federal programs)
• U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO, Congress's investigative arm) Reporters can subscribe to e-mail alerts for newly released reports and testimony.
• Ballotpedia (online encyclopedia of American politics). Check out weekly coverage of election news, public policy, and other noteworthy events.
• The best non-partisan fact-checking sites (Daily Dot)
See also Fact-checking sites, Verification sites, and How and why to spot and identify fake news.
• Campaign Finance Information Center. See Tracker, the center's quarterly newsletter, and the website for stories, tips, tactics, links helpful for tackling complex pieces. Administered by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.(IRE) and the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).
---Governing Magazine covers issues local and state government officials are concerned about.
Tweet by Robert Reich @RBReich: Reform and expand the Supreme Court. Abolish the Electoral College. Grant D.C. statehood. Give Puerto Rico self-determination. End the filibuster. Do searches on his name and those topics for more material.
The rest in alphabetical order:
• American Heritage Education Foundation (links to historical content)
• America's Wars (VA fact sheet on total servicemembers, battle deaths, nonmortal woundings)
• Charity ratings and information
• Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments (CIA World Factbook)
• The Children of the Nazis’ Genetic Project (Valentine Faure, The Atlantic, 2-22-23) Across Europe, some adoptees have had to face a dark realization about their origins. 'Nazism was an ideology of destruction, one that held as its primary aim the elimination of "inferior races."'
• CIA World Factbook (rank order pages on such data as population, birth rate, GDP, energy production and consumption, spending, health, transportation, and communications)
• The Communist Manifesto, Introduction to (Tariq Ali, Verso, 2-21-23) In this introduction to the new edition, on the 175th anniversary of its original publication, Tariq Ali contextualises the period—the eve of the 1848 revolutions—in which Marx and Engels penned their masterpiece and argues that it desperately needs a successor.
• Conflicts of Interest. Citing ProPublica’s Reporting on McKinsey, Senators Propose Bill Addressing Contractors’ Conflicts of Interest (Ian MacDougall, Regulation, ProPublica, 4-1-22) McKinsey consulted for the FDA without informing the agency of its work for opioid makers. Now lawmakers have introduced a bill to ensure federal contractors disclose conflicts of interest arising from private-sector work.
• The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter. A nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes American political campaigns from the perspective of someone who has actually worked both in campaigns and as a pollster. Click on The Cook Partisan Voting Index (Cook PVI℠), for example, which measures how each state and district performs at the presidential level compared to the nation as a whole.
• Coup d'État Project (CDP) (University of Illinois’ Cline Center for Advanced Social Research) A dataset detailing more than 900 coups, attempted coups, and coup conspiracies from 1945 to 2019. Each entry indicates the country and date, plus the “type of actor who initiated the coup (i.e. military, palace, rebel, etc.) as well as the fate of the deposed executive (killed, injured, exiled, etc.).” See glossary.
• Congressional Record searchable, at Library of Congress online).
• Congressional Research Service reports (a invaluable resource, with items such as The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor
• Conservative Alerts
• Constitution Finder (University of Richmond School of Law) <
• Countries, background on. You can learn a lot about the world's countries in states in various sets of notes, including the U.S. State Department's Background Notes and the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, online.
• Country information (CIA Factbook) Regional and world maps; flags of the world; guide to country comparisons; World Factbook User Guide.
• Country Profiles (WIPO)
• Country Studies (Library of Congress)
• CourtSystem.org. Legal and law enforcement office locations, hours, and phone numbers: Courts, district attorneys, jails and prisons, police departments, and sheriffs. Search by state. Pages for some states provide access to Public Records.
• Crime and punishment (Poynter links)
---The Marshall Project
---Vera Institute of Justice "Research on everything from who is in jail and prison to arrest patterns."
---Uniform Crime Reporting (FBI.gov)
---Fraud Statistics (U.S.Dept of Justice) False Claims Act statistics including Healthcare Fraud and Abuse
---Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act (Dept of Justice)
---Statistical Briefing Book (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
---Clemency Statistics (Dept of Justice)
---Bankruptcy Data & Statistics (Dept of Justice)
---A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Jails (free two-day workshops Poynter offers, covering "the gateway to America’s criminal justice system, an institution often closed to the public and overlooked by newsrooms." `
---Free public data: The lifeblood of press freedom (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 2020) Superhelpful. Links to many search resources and topics, including IRE, SEC, FEC.gov, politics, government contracts, charities, environment, health, crime and punishment, education statistics, data portals, and reporter tricks.
---Data.gov The home of the U.S. Government’s open data. Data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more.
---Data Portals (Open Knowledge Foundation) “Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose”
---Data Wrapper Enrich your stories with charts, maps, and tables.
---GitHub An Internet hosting service for software development and version control using Git.
---Education Data and Statistics (Princeton University Library)
---Condition of Education report (National Center for Education Statistics, NCES) Key indicators on all levels of education, labor force outcomes, and international comparisons
---Digest of Education Statistics (NCES) A set of tables covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school.
---The Chronicle of Higher Education A good place to "keep up with what is happening in college circles"~Al Tompkins
• Eyes on the Right (Damon Linker, paid subscription, but you can try it first) The challenges and dangers posed by right-wing politics and ideas
• FactCheck.org (Annenberg sorts political truths from half-truths). See, for example, A Campaign Full of Mediscare, 8-22-12. (Obama and Romney both aim to slow Medicare spending. But each accuses the other of hurting seniors in the process. What are the facts?)
---How does the filibuster work? (PBS News Hour, 1-27-21) A filibuster primer, with some extra nerdy moments, in response to listener questions. The Republicans in 2021 and forward will no doubt be using filibusters to close off even the discussion of some issues they don't wanted voted in. Democrats have done the same in the past on other issues.
---Four Facts About the Filibuster (James Fallows, 1-14-22) None of these is “new.” But nearly all of them are AWOL from political and press discussion of a major threat to American governance. A primer with links to more explanations and arguments.
---The Filibuster, Explained (Brennan Center for Justice) The filibuster has often been used to block civil rights legislation intended to combat racial discrimination. Former President Barack Obama called the filibuster a “Jim Crow relic,” arguing that the procedure should be eliminated if it is used to block voting reforms. Others note that certain types of legislation are already exempt from the filibuster’s supermajority requirement and argue that a similar exemption should be made for voting rights.
---The History of the Filibuster (Sarah A. Binder, Brookings. 4-22-10)
• FindLaw (providing legal information, lawyer profiles, and a community to help you make the best legal decisions (check out Findlaw Answers).
• Full Fact A team of independent fact checkers and campaigners in the UK who find, expose and counter the harm bad information does.
• Government Information Watch "Tracking openness and accountability in government."
• GovTrack, a service that monitors Congress.
• Great Presidential Lives (University of Mary Washington Great Lives lecture series, online, free).
• Health and health care
---Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) See especially its 'How I Did it' and Tip Sheet and Shared Wisdom series (for members only; a superhelpful organization).
---Hospital Inspections (AHCJ) Bringing transparency to federal inspections
---Hospital Finances (AHCJ)
---Kaiser Health News (KHN) Invaluable daily health-related stories, keeping you up-to-date on what's covered in U.S. media.
---Health Law Federal
---Centers for Disease Control and Statistics (CDC)
---CDC Vital Signs
---Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (CDC data on who is dying from what)
---CDC State and Territorial Data
---Disability and Risk Factors (CDC)
---Infectious or Immune Diseases (CDC)
---Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) (CDC)
• How America Fractured Into Four Parts (George Packer, The Atlantic, 7-21) People in the United States no longer agree on the nation’s purpose, values, history, or meaning. George Packer argues that the country has fragmented into four groups, each informed by a distinct narrative about the nation’s moral identity. These narratives “overlap, morph into one another, attract and repel one another.” The groups are:
---1. Free America. Libertarians who resent regulation in favor of individual freedom, tracing a through line from Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Ted Cruz
---2. Smart America. A class of high earners and technocrats who attend competitive schools, embrace meritocracy, own MacBooks, and don’t intermingle with the rest of the country
---3. Real America. White Christian nationalists, as recently energized by Sarah Palin and Donald Trump
---4. Just America. A young generation that believes injustice is at the heart of the country’s problems and speaks the language of identity politics.
• How to Build a Twenty-first-Century Tyrant (Adam Gopnik, New Yorker, 5-23-22) Autocracies are resurgent, and today’s would-be strongmen are using a new set of tools. Guriev and Treisman’s book, Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century, takes the contrast between old and new as its singular subject, drawing a yin-and-yang distinction between “fear dictators,” the classic kind, and “spin dictators,” the contemporary kind. A survey of contemporary autocrats and would-be autocrats.
• How the North Beat the South, Morally and Economically (Roger Lowenstein, LitHub, 3-16-22) Davis’s ability to wage a war depended on his ability to persuade poor southerners that slavery, and thus the Confederacy, benefited all whites. Unlike economies had pitted two disparate civilizations against each other; they also determined the result and shaped America that was to emerge.The North finished the war stronger and richer in every respect; the South was completely depleted.
• Internet Modern History Sourcebook (outlines of or gateways to history, including other aspects of history)
• Leaked Video: Dark Money Group Brags About Writing GOP Voter Suppression Bills Across the Country (Ari Berman and Nick Surgey, Mother Jones, 5-13-21) “We did it quickly and we did it quietly,” said the executive director of Heritage Action.
• Media Bias/Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased.
• Military records, history, and archives (Pat McNees site)
• National Archives (for searching anything related to US history or the state of the nation).
• Opp Art: Artistic Dispatches from the Front Line of Resistance (curated with a progressive and political point-of-view, a Nation series celebrating the art of protest)
• OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics, which advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy ). This nonpartisan, independent, nonprofit website tracks where candidates get their money, how much they get, and its effects on U.S. elections and public policy. Advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy. Keeps track of which representatives in the U.S. Congress receive contributions from which companies or organizations. Lets you easily track campaign spending and contributions and tracks the money that the private sector, industry groups, unions, and other lobbyists spend to lobby Congress.
• Outstanding politics reporters to follow in every state (Natalie Jennings, The Fix's 2020 list, by state, 12-11-20)
• Political MoneyLine (tracking money in US politics--more than 30 years of data on political contributions). Many searches require $ubscription. Helpful
• Politics Navigator (NY Times selective guide to political sites on the Internet)
• PolitiFact.com (nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"), St. Petersburg Times service. See articles on current issues, events. Get the app!
• Project on Government Oversight (POGO) A nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
• Real Clear Politics
• Representing US: Voter Profile Tolls (APM Research Lab) Voter Profile Tools include Grid by Electoral Power (States); Traditional Map, States; Sort Districts and States, etc.
• Republicanism in the United States (This is not about the Republican party.)
• Resources.data.gov An online repository of policies, tools, case studies, and other resources to support data governance, management, exchange, and use throughout the federal government. required by the OPEN Government Data Act, resources.data.gov serves a broader purpose as the central repository for Federal Enterprise Data resources including tools, case studies, playbooks, and guidance on how to manage and use Federal data. Required by the OPEN Government Data Act, it serves as the central repository for Federal Enterprise Data resources including tools, case studies, playbooks, and guidance on how to manage and use Federal data.
• The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax (Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 6-8-21) ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing. See also Dems call for taxing the ultrarich after report shows they don't pay them (Aaron Lorenzo, Politico, 6-8-21) The revelations by ProPublica will undoubtedly put a sharp focus on the debate in Congress over raising taxes on wealthy people and revive calls for a "wealth tax" that supporters say would capture a greater amount of the assets held by the rich. If the information was leaked by someone with access to IRS data, it would be one of the biggest breaches in the agency's history. The IRS has opened an investigation into apparently leaked tax documents.
• Transparency International (a global collaboration against corruption). See its Corruption Perceptions Index (available on Wikipedia), 'published annually by Berlin-based Transparency International since 1995, which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as an "abuse of entrusted power for private gain." ' Before you look through the chart, guess where your country (or any country of interest) ranks.
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, United Nations)
• VoteView allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative ideological map including information about the ideological positions of voting Senators and Representatives. DW-NOMINATE process explained here.
• Robert Reich@RBReich RBR's liberal twitter feed (e.g., "From 2006 to 2018, Jeff Bezos increased his net worth by $127 billion. At the same time, he paid a true tax rate of 0.98%. Bezos is a modern-day robber baron."
• Human Events (Wikipedia entry). On this conservative website's "Most Harmful Books" list, "honorable mention" (votes by two judges) goes to The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin; Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader; and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
• Top 15 Conservatives to Follow on Twitter Mind you, "most Americans aren't paying attention to Twitter."
• The 25 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for The Anti-Trump Resistance (Los Angeles Times)
• Trump and the Trapped Country (Corey Robin, New Yorker, 3-13-21) "Seeking to counter their waning position, the Republican Party and the conservative movement have come to depend upon three pillars of counter-majoritarian rule: the Senate, the Electoral College, and the Supreme Court. These institutions are not authoritarian or fascist—indeed, they are eminently constitutional—but they are antidemocratic....the design of our institutions, which privilege the interests of states with small populations, often white and rural, that can block the will of the majority."
• The Many Wars Within the Last Great War (LitHub, 4-8-22) Richard Overy on the Second World War Made and the Fall of Global Empires. Centuries of remorseless European expansion gave way to the contraction of Europe. Imperial designs and imperial crises from the Great War onwards…brought to an end half a millennium of colonialism and supported the consolidation of the nation state. Most general histories of the war focus on “great power” conflict and the role of ideology but miss out or gloss over the significance of territorial empire in defining the nature of the long period of war. Historian argues for a more expansive view of the causes and effects of the Second World War, giving more weight to events in Asia. "The warfare between 1939 and 1945 may provide the heart of the narrative, but the history goes back at least to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1931, and forward to the insurgencies and civil wars prompted by the war, but unresolved in 1945." Excerpt from Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945 by Richard Overy
• Population Statistics Simplified Munchings. Pretty amazing.
• Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa ( Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist, 2-19-20) Really puts country sizes in perspective.
• American Fact Finder (AFF, will be taken offline March 31, 2020, replaced by the new platform, data.census.gov
• What is data.census.gov? It's the new platform to access data from the U.S. Census Bureau, providing one centralized place from which data users search for data content.
• U.S. Census Guide: How to get the most out of Census.gov
• U.S. Census Bureau
• FAOSTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Statistics Division
• Population Reference Bureau (PRB) "Inform. Empower. Advance."
• UNdata (United Nations statistical databases)
• How America’s ‘places to be’ have shifted over the past 100 years (Harry Stevens and Nick Kirkpatrick, WaPo, 5-12-21) Newly released Census data adds a new chapter to the story of the nation’s winners and losers and hints at changes to come in the decades ahead.
• Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau)
• America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers (U.S. Census Bureau) Links to many stories.
• Other subtopics within Population(U.S. Census Bureau)
• United Nations Statistics Division
• USASPENDING.gov All government contracts (apart from CIA black budget stuff) should be searchable here, I'm told.
Scroll down for sections on general weather, air quality, avalanches, earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons, tornadoes, volcanoes, and historical weather info
See also How prepared are you for disaster?
• Weather.gov, the U.S. National Weather Service.
• Forecast Advisor Get a 5-day forecast for any US zipcode or city. Learn the accuracy of the major weather forecasters.
• National Weather Service (NOAA, which also provides info on past weather)
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA: NCEI) America’s central source for weather and natural-disaster data.
• Weather Underground (interactive map, excellent radar interface; click on More to get to historical weather)
• Accuweather.com (local video weather reports, etc., this one geared to Bethesda, MD)
• The Best Weather Apps (Max Eddy & Jordan Minor, PC Magazine, 6-5-22) These useful Android and iOS apps can help you prepare for Mother Nature's many faces.
• PeepWeather Enter your zipcode and get a local weather forecast for roday and the coming week.
• Wind Map (useful during Hurricane Sandy)
• UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index) (developed by scientists and public weather officials)
• Dial a Forecast (NOAA phone numbers for local National Weather Service forecasts in U.S.A.)
• Weather resources for teachers (Teacher Vision)
• National Weather Service Safety Tips
• Video: Watch Lightning Strike One World Trade Center During a Recent Storm (Viewing NYC
• Lightning facts vs. myths (National Weather Service) See also Lightning Safety Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects, where lightning is most likely to strike. Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity.
• Here’s how local TV meteorologists can stay relevant (Matthew Cappucci, WaPo, 3-3-22) Weather apps are becoming pretty good. TV forecasters might think about how to reinvent themselves.
• What is a weather forecast model? (Windy App) There are two main types of forecast models: global ones, covering the entire planet, and local ones, covering specific areas, such as continents, countries, mountain ranges and so on. Both global and local models also vary in their resolutions (the distance between two grid points). Several models are ilustrated and explained.
• Weather Forecast Models - Explained (Bryan Allegretto, OpenSnow,9-20-19) Two of the more well-known/used weather models are the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) a.k.a. the "Euro" model, and the United States' Global Forecast System (GFS) model. Both of these models cover the entire globe.
• Will a New GFS Weather Model Upgrade Close the Gap with The European Model? (Paul Douglas, Aeris Weather, 4-18-21) The European model is run by The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, England. At the risk of oversimplification, there are many reasons why ECMWF is better. Over time it is consistently more accurate than GFS. ECMWF was first to predict that Hurricane Sandy would not sail out to sea, but hook inland, toward the New Jersey coast in late October, 2012. For many meteorologists that was one (of many) aha-moments in deciding which model to rely on most days. Recently announced updates to NOAA’s flagship GFS model leave me hopeful that the accuracy gap may finally shrink over time.
• Weather Channel
• Internet Weather Source (U.S. Weather) (NOAA, National Weather Service)
• Plymouth State Weather Center
• Wind chill is a terrible, misleading metric. So why do we still use it? (Joseph Stromberg, Box, 1-19-16). Why it's misleading, why we should drop it, and why it lingers on.
• What is the cryosphere? (National Ocean Service, NOAA) The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system.
• John Branch Forms a Rich Story Out of Fog’s Hazy Future (Shi En Kim, The Open Notebook, 3-28-23) Fog permeates San Francisco’s charm and culture. Residents have even given it a name: Karl.
• What’s the Difference Between a Rainforest and a Jungle? Does this question belong in a section on weather?
• AirNow (EPA and partners) Get air quality data where you live.
• BreezoMeter (Google) APIs for air pollution, pollen, tracking wildfires, and current, daily, and hourly weather forecasts.
• Worried About Your Local Air Quality? Track It With These Apps (John Bogna, PC Magazine, 6-8-23)
• Avalanches (National Geographic) Avalanches are masses of snow, ice, and rocks that fall rapidly down a mountainside. While avalanches are sudden, the warning signs are almost always numerous before they let loose. Yet in 90 percent of avalanche incidents, the snow slides are triggered by the victim or someone in the victim's party.
• The Complete Guide to Preventing and Surviving Avalanches (Slopehound) "After one hour, only 1 in 3 victims buried in an avalanche is found alive. The most common causes of death are suffocation, wounds, and hypothermia"
• Snow Avalanches (National Snow and Ice Data Center, NSIDC,a good site for information about snow)
• Winter Sports Safety (Disadvantage). A collection of resources, including Ski Resorts in Colorado and Beyond Are Hiding Risks, What to Do When Someone Has Hypothermia, Hypothermia: Causes and Risks (Mayo Clinic), Frostbite vs. Hypothermia: What's the Difference.
EARTHQUAKE WATCHES AND INFORMATION
• USGS earthquake watch
• QUAKES (live earthquakes map)
• Seismic Monitor (click on map to zoom)
• Earthquake FAQs (USGS)
• Earthquakes in U.S., last 7 days (USGS, and there are many other pages of resources: maps, animations, seismogram displays, etc.). And here's a good explanation of the Mineral VA earthquake of August 23, 2011, Callen Gentley's entry on the AGU Blogosphere.
• See One Historic Turkish Street Before and After the Earthquakes (Anjali Singhvi, Bedel Saget, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Sergey Ponomarev and Jeremy White, NY Times, 3-22-23) A barbershop that doubled as a ‘therapy room.’ A 150-year-old church. Doner kebab shops. The Times flew a drone over a street in Antakya’s Old City to show what has been lost.
• There Have Been a Lot of Earthquakes Lately. Don’t Panic. (Jacqueline Ronson, Daily Beast, 1-30-18) It could all just be coincidence. Both earthquakes and volcanoes are most active at tectonic plate boundaries, and their interactions are limited.
• Earthquake Warning Report: Japan
CYCLONES, HURRICANES, TYPHOONS, AND TORNADOES
"The word cyclone is a general term for a large storm system, the most severe kind of which is called a tropical cyclone. The words hurricane and typhoon are simply different names for tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones that originate in the West (mostly over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico) are called hurricanes. Tropical cyclones that originate in the East (mostly over the western Pacific and northern Indian Ocean) are called typhoons.
A tornado is different altogether—it's a funnel cloud that forms from a storm over land (sometimes as part of a hurricane). Tornadoes are much smaller in scale than hurricanes."~Dictionary.com (emphasis added)
Tropical storms are given names when they display a rotating circulation pattern and wind speeds of 39 miles per hour (63 kilometers per hour). A tropical storm develops into a hurricane when wind speeds reach 74 mph (119 kph).~ EarthSky.org
Which is worse: Category 1 or Category 5? The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale defines hurricane strength by categories. A Category 1 storm is the weakest hurricane (winds 74-95 mph or 64-82 kt); a Category 5 hurricane is the strongest (winds greater than 155 mph or 135 kt). The category of the storm does not necessarily relate directly to the damage it will inflict.
• Cyclone vs. Typhoon vs. Hurricane vs. Tornado: Are They All The Same? (Dictionary.com's excellent explanation, in brief:
---Cyclones are massive, rotating storm systems.
---Those that form in the tropics are called tropical cyclones.
---Less severe tropical cyclones are called tropical depressions.
---More severe tropical cyclones are called tropical storms.
---The most severe tropical cyclones are called either hurricanes or typhoons depending on where they occur.
---Tornadoes are rotating funnel clouds that only form over land, and they're much, much smaller than hurricanes.
"A hurricane is a storm—or, more precisely, a storm system that's often made up of multiple thunderstorms. A tornado, on the other hand, could be described as a single element of a single storm."
• National Hurricane Center (NOAA)
• The Skywarn Storm Spotter Program was created by the National Weather Service (NWS) to improve warning services. The NWS needs real-time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain, tornadoes, and waterspouts to effectively warn the public of inclement weather. Even as new technology allows the NWS to issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will always be needed as links between radar indications of severe weather and ground truth.
• How do hurricanes get their names? (Deanna Conners, EarthSky, 5-31-19) The U.S. National Hurricane Center started this practice in the early 1950s. Now, the World Meteorological Organization generates and maintains the list of hurricane names. See also Tropical Cyclone Naming History and Retired Names (National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific HurricanCenter, NOAA)
• Daylight Images of Deadly Tornado Outbreak Show Extent Of Destruction (Ron Brackett,Weather Channel, 4-1-23) Still and video images in cities ravaged as large tornadoes tore through the Midwest and South.
• How One Reporter Covered the Tornadoes in Kentucky (John Otis, Times Insider, 12-17-21) Rick Rojas, who is based in Nashville for The Times, got on the road at 5:30 a.m. Saturday to do his part for the National desk. “The scale of it was just something that I hadn’t seen before,” he said.
• The Hybrid System That Spots Tornadoes (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 5-30-19) While radar detects the formation of a tornado, a network of in-person tornado spotters also confirms its existence.
• Tornado watch vs warning: What to do when you see alert messages (ABC Eyewitness News) AccuWeather explains the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning (A warning is generally a higher alert level than a watch.)
• Why Storm-Based Warnings? (US Weather Service, Wayback Machine)
• Tornadoes (Wikipedia's entry is pretty thorough, with lots of links to more specific information.)
• Wind Map (useful during Hurricane Sandy)
• Live Storm Chasing (Severe Studios) Experience live storm chasing & watch top storm chasers stream dashboard video of tornados and extreme weather as it happens.
• Spotter Network brings storm spotters, storm chasers, coordinators and public servants together in a seamless network of information. It provides accurate position data of spotters and chasers for coordination/reporting and provides ground truth to public servants engaged in the protection of life and property.
• 2017 Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation (YouTube viceo, NASA Goddard) Visual showing how scientists create simulations of how the atmosphere works, by tracking what is carried on the wind, using mathematical models.
• Hurricanes: Science and Society (Hurricane Science) Many interesting, useful pages on this website.
• Storm Surge: The Science Behind This Year’s Unusual Hurricane Season (Andrea Thompson channels meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd, Scientific American, 8-25-20) "One of the things that often gets missed in discussion about climate change is that most of the warming is in the ocean—90 percent or more. And . . .all of that warming is going to find its way back to the atmosphere somehow. Hurricanes are one way that it does that."
• What’s the Difference Between Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and Typhoons? (Brette Warshaw, What's the Difference?)
--Hurricanes always rotate counterclockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere. Tornadoes usually spin in the same manner, though there can be rare "anticlyconic" tornadoes that spin in the opposite direction.
---Hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes all have eyes: an area of mostly calm weather in the center of the storm. The most violent conditions are in the "eyewall," the area directly surrounding the eye.
---A tornado that forms over water is called a "waterspout."
• New Jersey’s Stunning Storm Toll Includes Many Who Drowned in Cars (NY Times, 9-3-21) Hurricane Ida killed at least 25 people in New Jersey — more fatalities than in any other state — as the monster storm whipped its way onto the Gulf Coast and tore north to New England. “Ida is going to be dropping water on already saturated ground, heightening the threat of flash flooding,” Mr. Murphy said. “If you are out and come across high waters, do not go into them — turn around, don’t drown.” "I just don’t think people expected the magnitude of the flash flooding,” he said.
VOLCANOES AND VOLCANO WATCHES
• Volcano Hazards Program (USGS, U.S. Volcanoes and Current Activity Alerts)
• Volcano Discovery (reports on volcano activity around the world)
HISTORICAL WEATHER INFORMATION
• WeatherSpark (beta), interactive weather graphs allow you to pan and zoom through entire history of any weather station on earth
• Weather Warehouse. Historical weather data. Want to know if it was raining in a certain year and place?
• Weather Underground. Click on More, then Historical Weather. Goes back only to 1945 (on my searches).
• National Weather Service (Weather-Ready-Nation, Finding past weather...Fast). See instructions for certified weather data for use in litigation.
• National Centers for Environmental Information (part of NOAA, extensive array of climate datasets)
• How the Washington Post built the nation’s most beloved weather blog (Simon Owens) "Self-appraisal isn’t an anomaly on the Capital Weather Gang blog. In fact, I would argue that it represents why the journalists who run it are among the most beloved weather reporters in the nation."
• Weather: An Illustrated History (From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change) by Andrew Revkin with Lisa Mechaley
Journalist's Toolbox (SPJ) (excellent links and guide to sources for current stories) If a link doesn't work, check categories along left side on JT website, and keep clicking through, as they update and things change.
• Advertising • Agriculture • Audience engagement tools • Broadcast Journalism • Business news • Business resources (economic crisis) • Cool and Offbeat Sites • Copyediting • Design and visual journalism • Disability and Accessibility • Diversity • Economic Crisis: Banking Bailout, Gas, Housing and Food Costs • Education • Food and Cooking • Free Speech and First Amendment issues • Global Reporting Tools • Holiday Trends and Traditions • International News • Internet and Tech Tools and News • Iraq Background • Labor Issues• Legal Resources• Legislative Branch • Marketing and Advertising• Military and Bioterrorism • Miscellaneous Crime Sites • Miscellaneous medical and health (and flu) sites • Olympics • Politics and elections• Search Engines• Sports Medicine and Psychology • Weather • Women's Issues • Urban Legends and Fact-Checking• Writing and Publishing Resources • Writing with Numbers
PS:Free public data: The lifeblood of press freedom (Poynter) Let's celebrate our freedom by finding and reporting information. Wonderful links to resources.
• Great geography and map websites for kids (American Library Association)
• National Geographic Atlas (zoomable version, also available as an app)
• Topo Maps, Points of Interests and Places to Visit (AnyplaceAmerica.com) Topographic maps and photos of over 1.25 million water, land and man-made landmarks in the United States. For example, 720 maps of arches, 7,532 maps of swamps, 36,127 maps of mines.
• 12 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Google Maps Could Do (JR Raphael, Fast Company, 10-25-17) Some of the best features of Google’s mapping app are among the hardest to find—until you know where to look.
• DistancesFrom.com (find distance by road miles)
• How Far Is It Between (FreeMapTools)
• David Rumsey Map Collection
• CIA World Factbook (rank order pages on such data as population, birth rate, GDP, energy production and consumption, spending, health, transportation, and communications). See also broad index.
• National Ocean Service (NOAA) Explore topics about America's ocean and coastal communities, economies, and ecosystems.
• Lake, Mere, Tarn and Water – The Difference (Paul Steele, Baldhiker, 2-8-21) What is the difference between a lake, tarn, and mere? Lake and water? Lake and pond? Lake and sea? Sea and ocean? Lake, lough (Ireland), loch (Scotland), and llyn (Wales)? And reservoir?
• List of waterways (Wikipedia) defined as navigable rivers, canals, estuaries, lakes, or firths. In practice, and depending on the language, the term "waterway" covers maritime or inland transport routes, as suggested by "way". Wherever a free-flowing river cannot bear load-carrying vessels, the correct term is "watercourse", with no connotation of use for transportation of cargo. See also Lists of waterways (Wikipedia, by various categories--interesting and helpful!) Did you know that the East River in NYC is an estuary?
• Still looking for: What is the difference beween a fell, hill, mountain, peak? Dell, valley, ravine? Fell, tor, and ben? Cliff, crag, craig, cairn, boulder? Summit and peak? Moor and prairie, pasture, savanna, sand dune, plain, flood plain, wetland, bog, marsh, swamp, woodland, forest, bluff, fen, river? Grasses, sedges? See What is the difference between "mountain", "hill", and "peak"; "lake" and "pond"; or "river" and "creek?" (Geographic Names Information System, or GNIS) and see table at GNIS Domestic Names Feature Classes
• Beating the Bounds (Amelia Soth, Cabinet of Curiosities, JSTOR Daily, 5-7-2020) How did people find out where their local boundaries were before there were reliable maps?
• Maps Showed People Their Worlds (Livia Gershon, JSTOR Daily, 6-12-19) In the 19th century, most Americans weren’t used to seeing maps of their communities. New forms of color lithography changed all that.
• Expansion of Christianity (National Geographic Map showing area claimed by Roman Catholic or Western Church and area claimed by Greek or Eastern Church. Even religion may be viewed as politica/geographic.
• This Is the Most Detailed Map of the Universe to Date (Futurism, superb video) Laniakea: Our home supercluster. Do watch this.
• Country Place Names
• Historical Country Names (formerly used country names and names of countries which have ceased to exist)
• An A-Z of country name origins (Oxford Dictionaries)
• List of city name changes (by country)
• Modern names for biblical place names (Wikipedia)
• Geographical Renaming (Wikipedia) Interesting categories, such as Changes resulting from splits and mergers, Unusual name changes, and Exonyms and endonyms,
• GeoNames Search (Foreign Place Names). GeoNames Server (GNS), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Obtaining U.S. Street Name Changes in One Step (Stephen P. Morse, Joel D. Weintraub, and David R Kehs). Genealogists probably know about Morse's other webpages.
• Planetary Place Names (Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, USGS, NASA)
• Redundant place names (Wikipedia list of places where two different words for the same thing are used--e.g., Gobi Desert where "Gobi" is Mongolian for "desert"
• Toponymy (Wikipedia entry for "the study of place names," a branch of "onomastics," the study of names of all kinds)
• This Map Explains the Hidden Ways L.A. Places Got Their Names (Britta ny Martin, LA Magazine, 7-13-18) Do a search for your home state or city and "origins of place names" for something similar. Chances are someone has done the research and posted the results.
•World Bank Translation Style Guide (lots of useful info, including, starting on p. 25, the adjectives associated with country names, such as Congo (country), Democratic Congolese (adjective, sing./plu.), Congolese (adj. of nationality), Democratic Republic of the Congo (correspondence designation).
(Mind you, for a complex trip it may pay to use a travel agent.)
• Best Road Trip Apps (John Corpuz, Tom's Guide)
• AirGorilla (good for international travel)
• BringFido (pet-friendly hotel and dog travel directory)
• Cheap Air (airline tickets)
• Cheap Tickets (good for flights and hotels)
• Country Calling Codes and HowtoCallAbroad (International calling: country codes, area codes, phone books)
• DistancesFrom.com (find distance by road miles)
• Elliott Report, On Travel See also Elliott Advocacy Tips on how to deal with travel problems, like canceled trips.
• Expedia (vacation packages)
• Flight Tracker Tracks flights for arrivals and departures. Plug in airline, flight number, and date, and see where plane is, whether it will be early, on time, or late.
• GasBuddy (search for local gas prices by city, state, or zip code)
• Going Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights
• Google Flights With "explore" feature, "enter is your home airport, and Google Flights will give you lots of travel bucket list ideas all around the world."
• Google Translate (easy translator)
• Guide to sleeping in airports
• Hipmunk (discover and book trips with your very own travel assistant on Facebook, Slack, or Skype)
• Hotwire (all-purpose but especially good at hotels)
• HubBub (bicycling accessories, including a helmet mirror)
• Orbitz (valued for its transparency)
• Priceline (all aspects of travel, easy to navigate)
• Project Visa (visa and embassy information for all countries)
• SeatGuru (cheap flights plus seat maps)
• Skyscanner Book cheap flights, hotels and car rentals
• Rick Steves' European trip-planning links
• Travel.State.Gov (US Dept of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs: foreign entry requirements (passports and visas), travel warnings, and more.
• Vrbo Good at finding you travel accommodations, including cabin rentals, lake house rentals, treehouses,
• WebFlyer (information site for frequent flyer networks)
• XE Live Exchange Rates
• World Time Zones
• Best Summer Travel Apps: GasBuddy, SeatGuru, Packing Pro, BringFido And More(TechTimes)
• Top Websites for Traveling (My Global Viewpoint) H/T for great tips.
"Economics is the study of scarcity and its implications for the use of resources, production of goods and services, growth of production and welfare over time, and a great variety of other complex issues of vital concern to society." ~ The Economist
"Econometrics is the branch of economics that applies statistical methods to the empirical study of economic theories and relationships."
• What the 1% Don't Want You to Know (YouTube video, Economist Paul Krugman's talk, Moyers & Company, 4-18-14) Economist Paul Krugman explains how the United States is becoming an oligarchy - the very system our founders revolted against. Roughly 60% of the economy is inherited wealth (the wealthy becoming wealthier). Huge jumps in executive compensation may have more of an effect on our widening income inequality than previously thought. A new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.
• Robert Reich's Wealth and Poverty course (watch 14 courses free, online).
1: The problem of widening inequality
2. Wealth and Poverty: The Investor's View
3. Globalization, technological change, and you: The jobs of the future
4. Why your income increasingly depends on where you live
5. Power: Why corporations have so much and workers have so little.
6. The Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Political Power
7. How to make America fairer? From pre-distribution to redistribution
8. Inequality and the macroeconomic mess
9. The shameful legacy of systemic racism and inequality
10. The “deserving” poor: Who should get public assistance?
11. Why we have the most expensive and least effective health care system in the world
12. How climate change worsens inequality
13. Beyond affirmative action: The shame of education and widening inequality
14, My last “Wealth and Poverty” class! Forever!
• Economics For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Sean Masaki Flynn, 2-16-22) People have to make choices because of scarcity, the fact that they don’t have enough resources to satisfy all their wants. Economics studies how people allocate resources among alternative uses.
Macroeconomics studies national economies, and microeconomics studies the behavior of individual people and individual firms. Economists assume that people work toward maximizing their utility, or happiness, and firms act to maximize profits.
• Covering tax avoidance and the wealthy (Journalism and journalists)
• Gutting the IRS Who wins when a crucial agency is defunded? (Journalism and journalists)
• Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (YouTube video of business journalist Christina Alexandra Freeland's talk at the Aspen Institute, 7-25-13) There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but in the last few decades, what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Alarmingly, the greatest income gap is not between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, but within the wealthiest 1 percent of our nation—as the merely wealthy are left behind by the rapidly expanding fortunes of the new global super-rich. American workers are paid least of all the G7 countries, while CEO pay has risen nearly 1000%.There is a hollowing out of the middle class.
• Historian Steve Fraser on America’s Income Inequality (Bill Moyers Journal, 6-13-08) The BBC reported startling economic equality figures in a recent documentary: the top 200 wealthiest people in the world control more wealth than the bottom 4 billion and the United States is the most economically stratified society in the western world
• One Economy, Two Americas (Hedrick Smith, Moyers, 3-16-13) A disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, between profits and wages, between the winnings of the 1% and the stagnation of the 99% — what I call “wedge economics” — has been the prevailing pattern in the American economy for the past three decades. And it has been financially killing the American middle class and stealing the American Dream from average people.
• The Economy (Journalist's Toolbox, 5-25-23) Links to many expert sources.
• Regional Federal Reserve banks: The ultimate guide Tip sheets and explainers to help journalists understand academic research methods, find and recognize high-quality research, and avoid missteps when reporting on new studies and public opinion polls.
• The Beige Book Information on current economic conditions published eight times a year from a variety of sources in each Federal Reserve district.
• Covering Poverty (University of Georgia)
• Top YouTube Channels to Learn Econometrics and Economics (INOMICS Team, 5-5-22)
• Five good books on economics (H/T Shepherd: The 5 Best Economics Books (go there to read why these books were chosen):
---Returns to Education by George Psacharopoulos
---If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics by Marilyn Waring
---The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Prostitution edited by Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah
---Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by MIchael Lewis
---The Ascent of Moneyy: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
• Air quality (check out your local air quality, according to the American Lung Association)
• Ars Technica (a technology news and information website that publishes news, reviews and guides on issues such as computer hardware and software, science, technology policy, and video games)
• Directory of State and Local Regulatory Officials (AFDO, Association of Food and Drug Officials) involved with food, animal feed, animal health, and food defense. See also their links to resources related to food, drug, cosmetics, and medical product safety.
• Business Navigator (NY Times guide to business, financial and investing resources on the Internet)
• Center for Public Integrity
• Consumerist (archives of consumer watchdog site, inactive since 2017)
• EDGAR (SEC) database. Every domestic public company in the United States with must submit forms and reports to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. EDGAR is the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system the SEC uses to transmit documents to investors. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Possibly helpful:
---Important Information about EDGAR
---Researching Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors
---Search the Next-Generation EDGAR System
• Energy glossary (U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA)
• Doing Historical Company Research: A Resource Guide (Library of Congress)
---FOB (firms out of business) A database of publishing, literary and other firms out of business -- that is, printing and publishing firms, magazines, literary agencies and similar organizations that no longer exist -- and, where possible. which successor organizations might own any surviving rights. More About FOB, which is run jointly by the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas, Austin) and University of Reading Library.
---How to Find Information on a Business That No Longer Exists (WikiHow site)
---Finding Historical Information for a Defunct Company (Kipkis)
• FRED (free database out of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, important for research in US finance and economic theory--509,000 US and international time series from 87 sources--with research news on privacy, cash, cryptocurrency, country wages, etc.)
• Hopstop (subway and bus directions for New York City, still being developed for other cities)
• Hoover's (a Dun & Bradstreet directory of companies)
• Periodic Table of Accounting Elements (Open Colleges)
• Global Trademark Research International Trademark Association (INTA), one-stop resource for worldwide trademark law
See also Labor.
• Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, data on inflation, prices, employment, unemployment, pay & benefits, productivity, workplace injuries, more)
• Labor Issues (Journalist's Toolbox, an excellent, full set of links)
• State of the Unions (Caleb Crain, New Yorker, 8-26-19) Since the fifties, the proportion of union members in the labor force has declined by nearly twenty-five percentage points.
• 7 big things you should know about the monthly jobs report (Clark Merrefield, Journalist's Resource,
• 6 tips for journalists covering teachers unions (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 2-18-19)
• How teachers unions affect school district spending, student achievement (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 2-12-19)
• How Teachers’ Unions Are Influencing Decisions on School Reopenings (Madeline Will, Education Week, 12-2-20)
• 13 Pros and Cons of Teachers Unions (Louise Gaille, Vittana blog, 8-1-17)
• Privatization Watch
• Labor Unions in the United States (excellent overview, notes, and links)
• Union membership falls to record low of 10.3 percent (Niv Elis, The Hill, 1-22-20) Explains why.
• The Great Divergence and the Death of Organized Labor (Timothy Noah, Slate, 9-12-10)
• Math for Journalists (Bob Baker's Newsthinking)
• Statistics Every Writer Should Know (RobertNiles.com)
• Metric prefixes (Wikipedia)
• Math & Numbers (EditTeach.org)
• CARstat (statistical tools for computer-assisted reporting)
• Math Competency Test for Journalists (CARstat)
• QuickMath (automatic math solutions)
• Martindale's Math Center
• Ask Dr. Math
• Analytic Journalism (start looking and you'll find plenty here).
• Home School Math
• Read online: The New Precision Journalism by Philip Meyer
• A Dictionary of Units of Measurement (Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
• The International System of Units (SI) (Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
• Units of Measure: Scientific Measurements & SI System (ProEdify's video tutorial) From the ProEdify TEAS V prep course, this is part 1 of the lesson on units of measure. SI stands for Système International d'Unités (French)
• Weights and Measures (Physical Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, in US) The seven SI base units are
--- Length - meter (m)
--- Time - second (s)
--- Amount of substance - mole (mole)
--- Electric current - ampere (A)
--- Temperature - kelvin (K)
--- Luminous intensity - candela (cd)
--- Mass - kilogram (kg)
• The Metric System (Rowlett and UNC)
• Why Isn't the U.S. on the Metric System? (How Stuff Works)
• System of measurement (Wikipedia)
• The Unified Code for Units of Measure (Wayback Machine)
• Medieval weights and measures (Wikipedia)
• arXiv.org (open access)
• BioOne (online academic journal directory for biological, environmental and ecological sciences)
• Circuit Scout (circuit diagrams and schematics)
• Dimensions (Re-imagining discovery and access to research: grants, publications, citations, clinical trials and patents in one place) (See Nature article: Science search engine links papers to grants and patents (Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 1-16-18) The Dimensions database promises a financial perspective on scholarly literature.
• Earthquake Hazards Program (USGS)
• Google Scholar
• Microsoft academic search
• National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
• PLOS One (free access platform to search for science-related information)
• Project on Government Secrecy (Federation of American Scientists)
• RefSeek (like Google but removes results that are not related to science, academia and research)
• Reported Calls The FTC and FCC receive thousands of complaints about unwanted phone calls and messages. Consumers can find complaints statistics for each here.
• Science Daily
• ScienceDirect (scientific, technical, and medical research)
• Science.gov (gateway to U.S. federal science)
• Science in Sci-Fi, Fact in Fantasy (Dan Koboldt's science links for science fiction and fantasy novelists)
• Scopus (Elsevier's abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature inscience, technology, medicine, etc.)
• 7 ways journalists can access academic research for free (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 9-21-18)
• Undark: Truth, Beauty, Science (a magazine--science at the point where it intersects — and sometimes collides — with politics, economics and culture)
• U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
• USGS Current Water Data for the Nation
• WWW Chemistry Guide (chemistry-related search engine)
• Interfaith Voices (leading religion news magazine on public radio, with host Maureen Fiedler). These programs are interesting even to infidels! See archive of past shows.
• Research on Religion podcast (Tony Gill, host). See Archives.
• Religion Stylebook (by journalists, for journalists, a free resource from Religious Newswriters Association)
• Bible Gateway (searchable Bible, with translations available in several languages)
• Biblos.com, site for Bible studies, with atlases and maps, concordances, Bible timeline, parallel texts, lists of names, thesaurus, chronologies, story lists, translations, and more.
• The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent)
• Jewish Virtual Library (a project of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise)
• The Holy Qur'an (searchable--a compilation of the verbal revelations given to the Holy Prophet Muhammad)
• Bible Hub (search, read, study the Bible in many languages). This link is to translations of one verse, in many Bible versions. See Bible study tools.
• Religion Link
• Religion RefDesk
• Glossary of spiritual and religious terms (Religious Tolerance)
• Official Denominational Web Sites (Hartford Institute for Religion Research). This organization has some other topic-specific links to material, including New Religious Movements (which also links to material on cults) and Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) (lists provide data on American and international religion in rank order)
• Losing Our Religion: David Brooks on the Allure of Tribalism (YouTube video, The Russell Moore Show, 8-23-23, 45 min.) An interesting discussion.
• Schisms (Wikipedia overview) The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the Great East–West Schism or the Western Schism. (See National Geographic map showing line between Roman Catholic or Western church and Greek or Eastern church). Online you can find dozens of charts showing various schisms over time, including the Great Schism in 11th century (Catholic/Eastern Orthodox), the Protestant Reformation (Anabaptism, Anglicanism, Calvinism, Lutheranism).Under Schism in Christianity you'll find links to pages on various schisms before and after the Reformation.
• Virtual Bible Project (podcast). See their graphic resources (accordances, Bible atlases, etc.)
• Who Knows What About Religion (Religion & Public Life, PewResearchCenter, 9-28-2010). Results of Pew Forum’s religious knowledge survey,
• U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey (PewResearchCenter, 2010). Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
• The Most American Religion (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 12-16-2020) Perpetual outsiders, Mormons spent 200 years assimilating to a certain national ideal—only to find their country in an identity crisis. What will the third century of the faith look like? (Posted as a good example of how to explain a religion most people know little about.)
• Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (Library of Congress)
•Oral History Interviews (alphabetical listing, Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training) Subcollections include
---Moments in Diplomatic History
---Memoirs and Occasional Papers
• Foreign Affairs, the magazine. See, for example, The Transformation of Diplomacy: How to Save the State Department (William J. Burns and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Nov./Dec. 2020) and The Demolition of U.S. Diplomacy (William J. Burns, 10-14-19)
• Diplomacy and Foreign Policy (Archives Library Information Center (ALIC), National Archives) Many important links on this page, to articles by or about the Department of State and other sites related to foreign policy issues.
• Foreign policy of the United States (Wikipedia)
• When Hollywood Put World War III on Television (Tom Nichols, The Atlantic, 11-23) "But although we might feel safer, I wonder if Americans really understand that thousands of those weapons remain on station in the United States, Russia, and other nations, ready to launch in a matter of minutes. The Day After wasn’t the scariest nuclear-war film—that honor goes to the BBC’s Threads—but perhaps more Americans should take the time to watch it. It’s not exactly a holiday movie, but it’s a good reminder at Thanksgiving that we are fortunate for the changes over the past 40 years that allow us to give thanks in our homes instead of in shelters made from the remnants of our cities and towns—and to recommit to making sure that future generations don’t have to live with that same fear."
• Wikipedia's three core content policies:
Neutral point of view (NPOV)
No original research (NOR)
Be firm about the use of high-quality sources. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by an inline citation to a reliable, published source. Contentious material about living (or, in some cases, recently deceased) persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.
•Under Wikipedia's rules--learn them before you contribute--secondary sources must support an article.
• No original research Wikipedia policy.
• Primary, secondary and tertiary sources "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources and primary sources. Secondary or tertiary sources are needed to establish the topic's notability and to avoid novel interpretations of primary sources."
• Identifying reliable sources (Wikipedia)
• What counts as a reliable source (Wikipedia)
• Wikipedia:Notability (people) On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.
• How To Develop and Create a Wikipedia Page That Sails Through the Approval Process (Ann Gynn, Content Marketing Institute, 3-31-22) Test your skills by making minor edits to existing pages before creating new content. Wikipedia tracks all changes made through your user account. With enough editing and creating activity under your belt, your user level can become an “auto-confirmed user.” This level lets you perform restricted functions, such as uploading images and moving pages to the public space.
Wikipedia: Biographies of living persons Such material requires a high degree of sensitivity, and must adhere strictly to all applicable laws in the United States, to this policy, and to Wikipedia's three core content policies:
Neutral point of view (NPOV)
No original research (NOR)
Be very firm about the use of high-quality sources. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by an inline citation to a reliable, published source. Contentious material about living (or, in some cases, recently deceased) persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.
Material about living persons added to any Wikipedia page must be written with care and attention to verifiability, neutrality, and avoidance of original research. This is not the place to seek publicity. Wikipedia's goal is to have accurate and neutral articles. An example Maggie Lynch provides of a good biographical entry: Octavia E. Butler "The key in any article written for Wikipedia is to stick to the facts--no statements of value unless it is documented. If you call an author a "bestseller," there'd better be a link and a footnote as to where that is documented and can be verified. This is especially critical in the "biography" section of the article--which for an author is really the entire article. Verification does NOT include linking to any site that the author has control over (i.e., an author website, social media site, or business site they own). All statements must be linked to outside publications and resources that neutrally profile people all the time."
• She’s made 1,750 Wikipedia bios for female scientists who haven’t gotten their due (Sydney Page, WaPo, 10-17-22) ‘Not only do we not have enough women in science, but we aren’t doing enough to celebrate the ones we have,’ said physicist Jess Wade.
• How the Internet Tried to Kill Me (Zick Rubin, NY Times, 3-12-11) Rubin's adventures trying to convince Wikia he was not dead. It would appear one might not have authority enough to prove one is alive. (Fandom, formerly known as Wikicities and later Wikia, is a wiki hosting service that hosts wikis mainly on entertainment topics, such as video games, TV series, movies, entertainers, etc. The privately held, for-profit Delaware company was founded in October 2004 by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley. Spinoffs in Wikipedia land!
• Wikipedia Essay Directory (how-to pieces)
• Wikipedia:Directories and indexes
• Wikimania (Wikipedia -- an annual international conference for users of the Wikimedia Foundation's wiki projects (such as Wikipedia and its sister projects)
• All the News That’s Fit to Print Out(Jonathan Dee, NY Times Magazine, 7-1-07) How Wikipedia editing is managed.
• Wikipedia: List of Guidelines for Editing
• Wikipedia Manual of Style
• Consensus (Wikipedia) Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision making, and is marked by addressing legitimate concerns held by editors.
• Wikipedia: Deletion Process
• Wikipedia:Guide to deletion
Referencing, citations, footnotes
• Template:Cite journal (Wikipedia)
• Help: Footnotes (Wikipedia )
• Help:Referencing for beginners (a Wikipedia how-to guide)
• Wikipedia: Citation templates An excellent how-to section. Note that several possible approaches are possible, but only one approach per article should be used.
• Help:Introduction to referencing with Wiki Markup/1
• Wikipedia:Inline citation (information page)
• Wikipedia:WikiGnome A wiki user who without clamoring for attention makes useful incremental edits--improving punctuation, fixing typos, correcting poor grammar, creating redirects, adding categories, repairing broken links, and many other repetitive tasks (Wikipedia)
Paid editing: rules and problems
• Are There Rules Against Paying Someone To Write A Wikipedia Article? (Michael Wood, Social Media Today, 11-24-14) While people who receive compensation to create Wikipedia articles can be neutral when writing on a topic, editors who know that an article is paid for cannot be neutral when reviewing the same topic. See also his Wikipedia Is Not Going Anywhere – Why You Should Hire A Wikipedia Writer (Wood, Legal Morning, 10-25-13)
• Conflict of interest/Paid contribution disclosure policy RfC 1
• Be aware of Orangemoody editing of Wikipedia scandal, as explained here: Wikipedia editors just banned 381 accounts over a huge fraud and extortion scandal (Ethan Chiel, Splinter News, 9-1-15) "Orangemoody," after the name of the first sockpuppet account that was discovered. (Sockpuppets, secondary accounts used by users who falsely claim not to be affiliated with the people or organizations whose Wikipedia entries they're editing, among other things, are banned by the site's terms of service.)...According to a post by "Risker," one of of the editors involved with the Orangemoody investigation, the perpetrators also carried out an extortion scheme." The underlying principle: Wikipedia is intended to inform, not to sell products. (H/T Dorothy S.)
• Wikipedia: Conflict of Interest In a nutshell: Do not edit Wikipedia in your own interests, nor in the interests of your external relationships. Conflict of interest (COI) editing involves contributing to Wikipedia about yourself, family, friends, clients, employers, or your financial and other relationships. Any external relationship can trigger a conflict of interest. That someone has a conflict of interest is a description of a situation, not a judgment about that person's opinions, integrity, or good faith. 'Editors with a COI, including paid editors, are expected to disclose it whenever they seek to change an affected article's content. ...Anyone editing for pay must disclose who is paying them, who the client is, and any other relevant affiliation. COI editors are strongly discouraged from editing affected articles directly, and can propose changes on article talk pages instead. However, our policy on matters relating to living people allows very obvious errors to be fixed quickly, including by the subject."
• Wikipedia:An article about yourself isn't necessarily a good thing Take time to thoroughly understand the principles and policies of Wikipedia, especially one of its most important policies, the neutral point of view (NPOV) policy. Any Wikipedia article should just contain factual information from independent, reliable sources.
• Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure Paid advocacy as a conflict of interest (Wikipedia entry).
• Click capitalism: PR firms cash in cleaning up clients’ Wikipedia pages (Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, 10-21-13). This is not the first time that PR professionals have been accused of abusing the voluntary, self-policing character of Wikipedia to try to make clients’ pages more favorable, nor the first time false user accounts have been exposed.
• Wikipedia Probes Suspicious Promotional Articles (Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ, 10-21-13) The editors behind Wikipedia are accusing a set of contributors of manipulating the content of the community-generated encyclopedia on an unprecedented scale. The public relations firm Wiki-PR says what is was doing is paid editing, which is acceptable, not paid advocacy, which is against Wikipedia rules.
• Wikipedia editors, locked in battle with PR firm, delete 250 accounts (Joe Mullin, Ars Technica, 10-21-13) Investigation follows reports that Wiki-PR scored Viacom, Priceline as clients.
Male dominance and other problems on Wikipedia
• Wikipedia is a world built by and for men. (Rachael Allen, The Lily, 4-11-2020) Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight is changing that. Only 18 percent of Wikipedia’s biographies are about women.
• Women in Red A WikiProject addressing the current gender bias in Wikipedia content. It focuses on creating content about women's biographies, women's works, and women's issues.
• Women scientists, Wikipedia under microscope in RI (WHEC, News 10, Providence, RI, 10-16-13) A Wikipedia "edit-a-thon" was organized to rectify the rarity of women scientists on Wikipedia (as in life). "Sara Hartse and Jacqueline Gu, both Brown freshmen and computer science students, said they first became aware of gender inequity on Wikipedia during an uproar in the spring when someone began systematically moving female novelists including Harper Lee and Ann Rice off the 'American Novelists' page and onto the 'American Women Novelists' subcategory."
• Students defend the future of facts on Wikipedia(Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 1-15-18) Wiki Education hopes to bring academia and Wikipedia closer together.
• Art of GLAM-wiki:The Basics of Sharing Cultural Knowledge on Wikipedia (by Sara Snyder, working at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 4-25-13)
• A Stand Against Wikipedia (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Education, 1-26-07) Wikipedia has value, leading students to citable sources, but is not itself a citable source. Too often students cite inaccurate information from Wikipedia articles.
• Wikipedians Leave Cyberspace, Meet in Egypt (James Gleick, WSJ, 8-8-08) In Alexandria, Egypt, 650 Devotees Bemoan Vandals, Debate Rules; Deletionists vs. Inclusionists.
• Can Automated Editorial Tools Help Wikipedia's Declining Volunteer Workforce? (MIT Technology Review, 10-31-13) An algorithm that assesses the quality of Wikipedia articles could re-assure visitors and help focus editors on entries that need improving, say the computer scientists who developed it.
Wikipedia: Various strengths, areas of contention, and built-in problems
• Control over Wikipedia content (Wikipedia policy)
• Wikipedia (The "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" -- being voluntary, it is not always correct. It is not peer-reviewed, but it often provides a useful overview on a subject, and sources through which to learn more.) See Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica (Daniel Terdiman, CNET News, 12-15-05--the error rate for each encyclopedia was not insignificant) and Know It All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? (Stacy Schiff, New Yorker, 7-31-06)
• Fact check: The New Yorker versus Wikipedia (David Robinson, Freedom to Tinker, 3-4-07) "This expectations gap tells me that The New Yorker, warts and all, still gives people something they cannot find at Wikipedia: a greater, though conspicuously not total, degree of confidence in what they read."
• How Wikipedia became the Internet’s 'good cop' (Noam Cohen, WaPo, 4-8-18) To combat fake news and conspiracy videos, tech companies want the wisdom of the Internet, says Cohen. YouTube’s reliance on Wikipedia to set the record straight builds on the thinking of another fact-challenged platform, the Facebook social network, which announced last year that Wikipedia would help its users root out “fake news.” Clearly, Wikipedia has achieved a new trusted status. In a critical way, it swapped places with Google, YouTube’s parent, and now serves as the “good cop” of the Internet.
• The Weird 'n Wacky World of Wikipedia (Garry Rodgers, dyingwords.net) "As a commercial content producer, I learned early in the business never to directly quote Wikipedia as reference material. It was fair game, however, to exploit The Wik and springboard (rabbithole) from there to find fact-checkable links used to support whatever article I was writing. Wikipedia is a good source to help meet deadlines by sourcing general information, but it can be a terrible time suck when you get lost in the weird ‘n wacky world of Wikipedia." Evidence: a chain of entries about weird things/events.
• Help: Wikipedia: The Missing Manual
• Covid-19 is one of Wikipedia’s biggest challenges ever. Here’s how the site is handling it. (Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, 8-7-2020) More than 67,000 editors have worked on covid-19, and the main English-language article has more than 70 million pageviews. “As someone who studies misinformation and disinformation, it’s kind of a ray of hope in a sea of pollution,” Jevin West added. “It’s almost like people’s passion to get things right and to be these curators of human knowledge makes them even more careful.” Wikipedia is praised for its transparency. "Certain discredited sources aren’t allowed, and the entire website’s edit history is readily available to the user. Finally, every fact is plainly sourced. “That level of transparency provides trust.”
• An Open Letter to Wikipedia (Philip Roth, New Yorker, 9-6-12) Roth's fascinating letter arises because Wikipedia wouldn't let him correct a serious point made in the entry about himself.
• The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (Timothy Messer-Kruse, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2-12-12). An "expert" on a historical trial gets his edits rejected because his is a minority view. Explained one Wikipedia editor: "Wikipedia is not 'truth,' Wikipedia is 'verifiability' of reliable sources. Hence, if most secondary sources which are taken as reliable happen to repeat a flawed account or description of something, Wikipedia will echo that." ..."familiarize yourself with some of Wikipedia's policies, such as verifiability and undue weight. If all historians save one say that the sky was green in 1888, our policies require that we write 'Most historians write that the sky was green, but one says the sky was blue.' ... As individual editors, we're not in the business of weighing claims, just reporting what reliable sources write."
• Content Volatility of Scientific Topics in Wikipedia: A Cautionary Tale (Adam M. Wilson and Gene E. Likens, PLoS, 8-14-15) The authors "present an analysis of the Wikipedia edit histories for seven scientific articles and show that topics we consider politically but not scientifically “controversial” (such as evolution and global warming) experience more frequent edits with more words changed per day than pages we consider “noncontroversial” (such as the standard model in physics or heliocentrism)....As our society turns to Wikipedia as a primary source of scientific information, it is vital we read it critically and with the understanding that the content is dynamic and vulnerable to vandalism and other shenanigans."
• WikiProject A WikiProject is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specific topic area (for example, WikiProject Mathematics or WikiProject India), a specific part of the encyclopedia (for example, WikiProject Disambiguation), or a specific kind of task (for example, checking newly created pages). "A WikiProject, among other things, includes a page of reliable sources for editors to pull from. It also — like every page on Wikipedia — contains a "talk" page where editors can discuss how to approach certain articles, which ones are needed and what information isn't up to their standards."
• Amortization Schedule Calculator
• Calculators and converters for algebra, statistics, geometry, calculus, day/date, units, physics, chemistry, weather, colors, etc. (Easy Calculation.com)
• CPI Inflation Calculator (Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• Convert.me, online conversion tables (convert units of mass and weight, distance and length, capacity and volume, area, temperature, weight to volume, cooking, fuel, power, torque, etc.)
• Currency converters:
---Oanda currency converter (FX currency converter for 164 currencies)
---XE Currency Converter (live rates--today's value)
• Current value of old money (run by Roy Davies of the University of Exeter, this site links to a number of sites that show or calculate changes in the links to inflation statistics, price indexes, and sources of data on changes in the value of money)
• Good calculators (online calculators with amazing range of specialties)
• Had to Know (had2know.com_A wonderfully organized gathering of online calculators in eight categories: math, business and finance, home and garden remodeling, science, technology, health, automotive, and games and sports. Among the math calculators look for algebra and analysis, basic student math, geometry, numbers and number theory, and statistics. Explore other categories to find such items as a convection oven calculator, power-to-weight calculator, how to convert an Excel spreadsheet to an HTML table, how to calculate the number of bricks for a circular border.
• How Much Is That? (Economic History Services). Interactive tool for scholars in economic history to compare prices, purchasing power, earnings, GDP, interest rates, exchange rates and other economic variables, from the 1600s on--to convert past values into current values (and vice versa).
• Inflation Calculator (CPI, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• Martindale's Online Center for Calculators (calculators, applets, spreadsheets, and more, including courses, lectures, manuals, handbooks, videos, simulations, and animations)
• Measuring Worth (this website, created by economists Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, offers a number of calculators using different methods for measuring worth (annualized growth, relative values, conversion, purchasing power, savings growth, inflation rates, stock growth rates --DJIA, SP500, & NASDAQ). Descriptive material gives the pros and cons of these methods using examples ranging from the cost of Big Ben to the cost of putting a man on the moon. Click on Comparators and get Our comparators, with various ways for calculating the relative value of a dollar, pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan, over time)
• MegaConverter (you can also click on MegaCalculator and on MegaResource, for a Conversion Factors Spreadsheet in MS Excel format for ancient, foreign, and obsolete measures)
• Metric Conversions (mobile-friendly charts and calculators for metric conversions)
• Mortgage calculators (Interest.com)
• Online-Convert (MP4 to MP3, JPG to PDF, PDF to Word, and other document converters--plus other types of conversion)
• Percentage Calculator
• Online conversion (Convert just about anything to anything else) For example, see Cooking Conversions
• Unit Converters (EasyUnitConverter, many types of online calculator and metric conversions--)
• Weird Converter (a tool for comparing sizes and weights that can help give readers perspective--for example, how many kegs of beer would it take to fill the Grand Canyon)
• WolframAlpha (a computational knowledge engine -- gives you access to the world's facts and data and calculates answers across a range of topics, including science, nutrition, history, geography, engineering, mathematics, linguistics, sports, finance, music. Or ask "How much is $1600 in 1860 worth today?")
• TimeandDate.com (perpetual calendar, world clock, time zones, stop watch, etc.)
• Printable blank calendar pages (very practical!)
• World Clock Meeting Planner ( to call someone far away or arrange a web or video conference across different time zones)
• TheTimeNow World Clock (WCAG 2.0 compatible)
• The World Clock (timeanddate.com)
• World Time Buddy (a cross between a time zone converter, a world clock converter, and an online meeting scheduler)
• Hebcal Jewish Calendar (useful if you need to schedule around Jewish holidays)
• Virtual Perpetual Calendar.net (calendar for any year from 19th C. on, with dates for holidays in U.S. and Canada for 1995-2010)
• Calendar Converter (Gregorian, Julian, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian, Mayan, Bahá'í, Indian Civil, French Republican, ISO-8601, Unix, Excel Serial Day Number)
• Calendars Through the Ages (history exhibit, about calendars over time and efforts to organize our life according to sun and stars).
• Day of the Week Calculator (Ancestor Search)
• Carlos Barrios's excellent explanation of Mayan calendar (the world will not end).
• Calendar Zone (art, celestial, cultural, daily, event, geographic, historic, holidays, interactive, reference, reform, religious, software, traditional, Web, women)
• Names for colors, alphabetical (Wikipedia) Having an argument? hold object X up to the screen for comparison. Note the difference between Air Force Blue (RAF) and Air Force Blue (USAF)
• Ihihara color blindness test
• HTML color picker (color codes)
• Color Chart (ColorPicker.com, with code names, Hex colors)
• Color Picker (generate a color scheme in two boxes on left, by playing around on right)
• How Things Work (ipl2, Special Collections, a librarian's excellent guide to sites that will answer some of those big questions)
• How Stuff Works (this home page doesn't convey how helpful stuff on this site can be, so here are a couple examples):
• How House Construction Works (Marshall Brain, HowStuffWorks). Excellent explanations and good illustrations.
• How Internet Infrastructure Works (Jeff Tyson, HowStuffWorks)
• How Stuff Works (YouTube)
• How Stuff Works (the book) by Marshall Brain (from the great website)
• Explain That Stuff!
• What Open Source is and how it was started and how it works (Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Clay Shirky, and others, on TED Radio Hour, 3-17-17)
• How Things Work (Scientific American)
• How Everything Works (explaining the physics of everyday life)
• Ask the Experts (Scientific American)
• The Astronomy Cafe
• Computers and How They Work (Alton C. Crews Middle School)
• How does the Internet work? (Dynamic Web Solutions. explaining things like transport protocol)
• Refrigerator FAQs (RefrigeratorPro.com)
• Toasters: The Inside Story (The Toaster Museum Foundation)
• Mad Scientists Network
• How Things Work Encyclopedia (a great gift book from DK)
• How Things Work: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Secrets of Technology by Neil Ardley (a guide to the world of machines and technology, packed with hundreds of hands-on experiments for the whole family, using everyday materials).
• How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Louis A. Bloomfield
• U.S. Military Ranks (Infoplease, by pay grade, Army and Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard, Air Force, total
• U.S. Army ranks, lowest to highest, with insignia (Military Factory)
• U.S. Navy ranks, lowest to highest, with insignia (Military Factory)
• Uniformed Services Rank Chart (with insignias, U.S. Dept of Defense, includes mental health professionals)
• Hierarchy of the Catholic Church (Wikipedia) (Roughly: Pope, cardinal, archbishop, bishop, priest, deacon)
• Command Hierarchy (Wikipedia). See chart, Military Organization, ascending order, with typical commander: fireteam, squad/section, platoon, company, battalion/cohort, regiment/brigade, division/legion, corps, field army, army group, region/theater, etc.
• How to Spot a Military Impostor (Rachel Monroe, New Yorker, 10-26-2020) The detectives who investigate fake stories of military service use many tools, including shame. In some cases an organization called Military Phonies does the legwork.
• USA.gov Official US links to practical consumer information in various categories: Complaints, Money and Taxes, Recalled Products, Scams and Frauds,State Consumer Protection Offices (find out about yours), Telemarketing and Unwanted Mail (find out how to stop). A portal to U.S. government services and information.
• ‘A Place for Everything’ Review: Ordering the Universe (Katherine A. Powers, Wall Street Journal, 10-16-2020) From the alphabetical index to the filing cabinet, the informational tools we take for granted once caused a stir. Fascinating.
• History of postage rates in the U.S. (Andrew K. Dart)
•Alaway Bausch & Lomb's antihistamine eye drops for itchy eyes.
• The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene "distills three thousand years of the history of power into forty-eight well-explicated laws."
• Ship names
• The Royal Mail: a history of the British postal service (The Telegraph)
• The Puritan Tithingman – The Most Powerful Man in New England (New England Historical Society). Christy Lyons sent me this link, reminding me that historical societies are wonderful resources.
• Crime Databases and Statistics (SPJ, Journalist's Toolbox)
• Baking pan conversion chart (Allrecipes.com) For given pan size, how many cups? or equivalent to what size in another shape pan?
• Kitchen measurement and conversion charts (Startcooking.com)
• Oven Temperature Conversion Chart (Inspired Taste)
MORE TO COME
• Baseball players' names
• Biblical words (Net Ministries)
• Encyclopedia Mythica (the names of the ancient gods and goddesses -- for English speakers)
• Forvo (pronunciation in many foreign languages)
• Louise Penny novels (pronunciation of French names, words in them)
• Luxury watch brands
• Modern and Contemporary Artist Names (Oxford Art Online)
• Music and Musicians (Pronouncing Dictionary, Iowa Public Radio)
• Old English
• Oxford pronunciation guide (gives both British and North American pronunciations) To find pronunciation of words in foreign languages, do a search for, say, "pronunciation in German" and the word.
• Plant names (Fine Gardening)
• Plant Names in Latin (Fine Gardening. It's CLE muh tis, not Cle MAH tis, for clematis)
• VOA's guide to pronouncing names and places (especially those tough foreign names you see in newspapers)
• Why is my sound not working?
Is it "“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” or is it "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." And who said it first?
Is using epigraphs to start chapters "fair use"?
Novelists love to start chapters with brief quotations from other writers' work. Is this fair use? Carolyn Haley answered this question succinctly on the Copyediting-L listserv: " Epigraphs from book-length material can fall under 'fair use' comfortably as long as they are a line or two. Song lyrics and poetry, however, because of their brevity, are problematic for even a single phrase. Best practice is to obtain permission or do without."
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
~ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
• Quote Investigator (Garson O’Toole diligently seeks the truth: Who really said what?--excellent for checking attributions). Tweets at https://twitter.com/QuoteResearch. A good example--who said, "Writing is easy; you just open a vein and bleed.". Be sure to read For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Said. (Ben Yagoda, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-29-17)
• Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (searchable quotations from the original Bartlett, on Bartleby, plus other Bartleby-scanned collections of quotations and aphorisms)
• Goodreads Quote of the Day (You can subscribe to this. What I love is the factoid offered after the quotation--often more interesting than the quote itself.)
• Bible Gateway
• Idea Bank (for quotations, anecdotes, humor, historical tidbits and other material to jazz up speeches)
• The Phrase Finder (1,800 English phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions, with their meanings and origins explained)
• Phrase Thesaurus. Enter a single word and the Thesaurus will display a list of phrases/sayings that are related to it in some way.
• Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages (classified subjectively, arranged alphabetically, by Robert Christy, on Bartleby)
• 2InspireDaily -- Inspirational and motivational quotations
• LibQuotes (click on icon for source)
• Quotations Home Page
• Quotations Page
• The Quote Garden
• Quote Investigator For example, who said "War is God’s way of teaching us geography"?
• Quotations about Science (The Quotation Page)
• 17 Things Albert Einstein Really Did Say (Mary Jo DiLonardo, Treehugger).
• Top Bible Verses
• Verse (Bartleby's searchable classic anthologies)
• Yahoo Quotations (by categories)
• Jennifer Boyer's collection of quotations. Some here you won't find elsewhere; could use proofreading, so double-check whatever quote you do use.
• William Cronon's Favorite Quotations
• Quotations About History (collected by Ferenc Szasz of the University of New Mexico, on William Cronon's website)
• Wikiquotes (quotes in many languages)
"I think of radiance as the way that the light comes from the inside out." ~Lisa Kagan
"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." ~ Leroy Satchel Paige
"The price of butter depends on the number of old maids in the area, because old maids keep cats, cats eat mice, mice eradicate bees, bees pollinate clover, cows eat clover, the more clover there is, the less it costs the farmer to produce milk, butter is made from milk, therefore..."
~ adapted from Charles Darwin ORIGIN of SPECIES: Chapter 3 - Struggle for Existence
USEFUL BOOKS OF or ABOUT QUOTATIONS
• Garner's Quotations: A Modern Miscellany ed. Dwight Garner. See Henry Hitchings review in the Wall Street Journal ("One has the impression of listening in on previously undocumented conversations: Sylvia Plath and David Foster Wallace on wordiness, Ezra Pound and Umberto Eco on being edited, John Ruskin and Margaret Atwood on the Queen of Sheba."
• The Yale Book of Quotations, ed. Fred Shapiro. Read Bryan A. Garner on why the New Yale Book of Quotations ed. Fred R. Shapiro, claims "an authoritativeness that is unsurpassed." "Hundreds of famous misattributions have been corrected — and probably thousands of misquotations as well. The Yale Book can legitimately claim to be the most accurate, thorough, and up-to-date quotation book ever compiled." See The New Yale Book of Quotations is on its way for a few words from Shapiro.
• Schott's Original Miscellany (ed. Ben Schott)
• Hemingway Didn't Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations by Garson O'Toole
• Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, ed. Elizabeth Knowles
• Bartlett's Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett, ed. Justin Kaplan (A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature), a new 18th edition to be released in 2022.
• The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, ed. Rosalie Maggio (many missing from Bartlett!)
• The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When by Ralph Keyes
• 21 Phrases You Use Without Realizing You’re Quoting Shakespeare (Dana Schwartz, Mental Floss, Pocket Worthy)
Hat Tip to Kristie Miller for some of these. Kristie is a big fan of commonplace books.
Services that help reporters and bloggers find experts and other sources and help the sources (including expert book authors) get publicity. The sources need to be helpful, quotable, and not too obviously seeking publicity! Reporters and writers: You'll get a lot of pitches from aggressive publicity seekers; you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. And of course sometimes the best sources are hard to find, are too busy to give interviews, don't particularly want publicity and may try to avoid it. Try not to invade their privacy/space too much.
• Crime databases, statistics (Journalist's Toolbox)
• Crime News (also JT)
• HARO (Help a Reporter Out) Peter Shankman's highly popular service, through which journalists on a deadline seek sources on specific topics.
• Hunting for Hermits. Jack El-Hai on searching for the intrinsically hard-to-find. LinkedIn proves more helpful than HARO and ProfNet, says Jack.
• Intelius Look up anyone.
• LinkedIn: How to Use It as a Research Tool (MakeUseOf)
• My Life Check reputation and profiles based on public & court records, personal reviews, etc.
• Melissa Lookups (1-800-MELISSA)
• Muck Rack Public relations software to easily search for journalists, monitor news, and build reports.
• NY Times Cybernavigator to telephone & email directories
• People Search 123
• ProfNet Connecting journalists to expert sources.
• Public Records Search Service (Instant Checkmate)
• SciLine, an editorially independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit service for journalists and scientists. See I need an expert (for journalists)
• SourceBottle Be a source. Find a source.
• Sources Searchable database of Canadian expert sources, media spokespersons, and news and information sources.
• Voter Registration Records
• White Pages
General sources of help un-finding:
• Big Ass Data Broker Opt-Out List Excellent source of names, numbers, info.
• How to Delete Your Information From People-Search Sites (Consumer Reports) Intelius, Pipl, Whitepages, and similar companies reveal everything from criminal records to relatives' names
• Data Brokers (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse)
• Opt OutPrescreen.com The official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to accept and process requests from consumers to Opt-In or Opt-Out of firm offers of credit or insurance. (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion)
• Do Not Call Registry
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.
EurekAlert, sponsored by AAAS, the science society, as a way to disseminate info through reporters to the public. There's a public section, a reporters section, and an embargoed news section (for research appearing in peer-reviewed journals). News is filtered by subject: Agriculture (crops, food, forestry...), Archaelogy (new world, old world), Atmospheric Science (climate, pollution...), Business & Economics (health care, grants...), Chemistry & Physics (energy, atoms, superconductors...), Earth Science (geology, oceanography...), Education (science literacy, K-12, graduate...), Mathematics (models, systems, chaos...), Medicine & Health (cancer, diet, drugs...), Policy & Ethics (patients, treaties, laws...), Social & Behavior (addiction, parenting, mental health...), Space & Planetary (astronomy, comets, space missions...), Technology & Engineering (electronics, Internet, nanotechnology...). And various portals: News for Kids, Marine Science, Nanotechnology, Disease in the Developing World, Bioinformatics, Multi-Language.... And there is a Calendar of events in science (by month).
Getty Digital Collections
Getty Photo Archive
Getty Vocabularies (structured vocabularies on specific topics related to art and architecture)
• The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® (terms, descriptions, and other information for generic concepts related to art and architecture)
• The Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA) ™ (a new vocabulary now accepting contributions, includes titles, attributions, and other information for art and architecture)
• The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)® (names, descriptions, and other information for places important to art and architecture)
• The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)® (names, biographies, and other information about artists and architects)
Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others . William Cronon surveys essential stages of the research process and different kinds of documents that can offer information and insights about the past
Place Finders. Software for locating old place names. Linda Coffin of HistoryCrafters (www.historycrafters.com) recommends two simple pieces of software, Animap and SiteFinder, put out by Goldbug software (www.goldbug.com), which work with a database of thousands of U.S. names for towns, counties, churches, schools, cemeteries, parks, railroads, townships, etc. Today they help you find not only current place names but also names from old records and databases that are no longer found in current maps and gazetteers.
SCOTUSblog (Supreme Court of the United States)-- the best interpretations of what is going on in the Supreme Court. See items under various categories (a sample only and in random order):
---Petititions We're Watching
---Cases for previous and current terms
---Cases in the pipeline
---Arguments by sitting and other categories
Social Bookmarking (a way to organize and store bookmarks to online resources)
• List of sSocial bookmarking (Wikipedia)
• Top 15 Most Popular Book Marketing Sites (e.g., August 2012: Twitter, digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, deLicio.us, tweetmeme, Fark, Slashdot, friendfeed, clipmarks, newsvine.com, Diigo, DZone, Chime.in--as tallied by eBiz/MBA)
• List of Niche Social Networking Groups and Websites (Research Analyst, Hub Pages)
• List of social networking websites (Wikipedia)
• Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites (eBiz/MBA)
CHECK OUT HOAXES, URBAN LEGENDS, AND SCAMS
Several websites are devoted to fact-checking and identifying hoaxes and urban legends. Before you forward that "true fact," e-mail petition, warning, amazing opportunity, or piece of gossip, run it by one of these sites. To check out accuracy in media reports, go to Regret the Error or Accuracy in Media, among other sites.
• Snopes.com (a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
• Charity Navigator (find out if a charity or charitable request is legitimate)
• Quatloos (check out financial scams and fraud)
• Sree's tips on hoaxes
• Current hoaxes and legends (About.com)
• Hoax Busters (verify virus hoaxes, chain e-mails and urban myths)
• How to Determine If A Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12)
• Purportal (freely searchable database of scammy spams)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• Urban legends, fact-checking (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
• Symantec Threat Explorer (a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)
The following material was migrated here from the website of the late, great Sarah Wernick, by permission of her husband, Willie Lockeretz. It's a little out of date now -- I just have trouble deleting it because it's Sarah's!
Emailed Virus Warnings and Petitions:
A Responsible Approach
A Responsible Approach
Someone emails you a warning about a scary computer virus. Or you receive a petition for a worthy cause that urges you to sign at the bottom and pass it along to all your friends. Before you hit the “Forward” key, check it out – even if the mailing came from a trusted friend or expert.
People who pass along emailed virus warnings mean well - but nearly all these warnings are hoaxes. At a minimum, they waste time and cause needless worry. But some of these hoaxes are as dangerous as viruses, because they direct people to delete files that are actually necessary parts of their computer's operating system.
Before you forward a warning to others, take a minute to verify it at one of the many reliable anti-virus sites online. If the warning is legitimate, include a documenting URL when you forward it. That way, people can rely upon your information. And if you learn that it's a hoax, discourage others from spreading it further: Copy the debunking URL and send it with a brief summary to the person who warned you and to everyone else who received the warning.
For reliable information about viruses warnings, see any of the following:
- The Urban Legends Reference Pages – http://www.snopes.com – offer an extensive searchable archive with excellent information.
- The urban legends page of About.com – http://urbanlegends.about.com– is
an excellent resource for hoaxes and urban legends, with articles and extensive searchable archives.
- The Department of Energy's Cyber Incident Response Capability (DOE CIRC) – http://www.doecirc.energy.gov/– provides good articles and searching capability.
- Another venerable Internet resource is Vmyths.com – http://www.vmyths.com– with reliable information on specific virus myths and urban legends, as well as useful general information.
Are You Infected?
The following two sites allow you to screen your computer viruses at no charge. If you're infected, they also provide free instructions or free programs for eliminating many viruses.
Has this urgent appeal to save NPR turned up in your inbox?
On NPR's Morning Edition last week, Nina Totenberg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), NEA & the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding....
The letter asks you to sign a petition and forward it to as many people as possible. Don't bother: This petition has been circulating since 1995, and it's hopelessly out of date, as NPR explains on their website.
This is just one example of a petition that’s either pointless or a hoax. Think about it: Everyone submits the same lists, so there are hundreds or even thousands of duplications. How can such petitions be credible? And signatures are lost if someone breaks the chain.
Can it hurt to pass along a petition, even if you’re not sure it’s for real? Yes – because it wastes people’s limited time and energy for activism. Better to focus our efforts where they can do some good.
Here are other options:
- Send people to an online organization that is collecting signatures – or that facilitates more direct action, such as writing to members of Congress.
- If you want to start your own petition or find one to sign – visit Petition Online (http://www.petitiononline.com). As they explain: “Unlike the various flaky email petitions that periodically wander around the Internet, with PetitionOnline there is exactly one authoritative master copy of your petition. Each signature and email address (always required, but optionally confidential) is logged for possible explicit or statistical validation. Duplicate signatures are automatically rejected, and each person who signs is automatically sent a confirming email message.”
by Sarah Wernick
Revised December 1, 2004.