Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

The Post – The Rare Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, Part II

February 6, 2011

The site that started it all is:

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

and includes these “photos.”

https://i1.wp.com/zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/treeocto.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/sighting-galen_leeds-hawktopus.jpg

The Wikipedia entry for Pacific Northwest tree octopus,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Northwest_tree_octopus, adds that the site was set up in 1998 by Lyle Zapato. Even though he included a number of falsehoods on the site, such as “its affiliation with People for the Ethical Treatment of Pumpkins (P.E.T.PU.)” most students who read the site believed it.

Two sources were listed at the Wikipedia entry that give the actual research study information should you want to read those studies:

  1. ^ Beth Krane (November 13, 2006). “Researchers find kids need better online academic skills”. UComm Advance (University of Connecticut) 25 (12). http://advance.uconn.edu/2006/061113/06111308.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-11. “Don Leu, Chair in Literacy and Technology at UConn, “… anyone can publish anything on the Internet, and today’s students are not prepared to critically evaluate the information they find there.””.
  2. ^ Matthew Bettelheim (March 14, 2007). “Tentacled Tree Hugger Disarms Seventh Graders”. Inkling. http://www.inklingmagazine.com/articles/tentacled-tree-hugger-gets-legs-up-on-twelve-year-olds/. “Of the 25 seventh-graders identified as their schools’ best online readers, 24 recommended this bogus website to another class that Leu had told them was also researching endangered species.”.

Given this, even though the site was not intended for use as such, it is often used in Internet Literacy classes. Internet Literacy, as defined by the American Library Association and quoted on on Wikipedia’s entry for this, is: “To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”

The article at Wikipedia goes to note that Terry Pratchett even referred to the tree octopus in his novel, Nation:

“The concept of “nation” can be extended to embrace all of humanity, anchoring Nation in the philosophy of humanism as an answer to the question of “what is the role of the individual in society?” As with the Tiffany Aching series, Nation contains an undercurrent of passive faith transforming into active scientific enquiry, without losing moral dimensions in the process. Pratchett reinforces this theme with an offhand reference to outspoken atheist and humanist Richard Dawkins as “that nice Professor Dawkins” who was bitten by a tree-climbing octopus).”

Anyways, just a really entertaining and interesting example……

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The Post – Animal Deaths and Mental Shutdown

January 6, 2011

I’ve been following somewhat off and on, the massive fish and bird die-offs being mentioned in the news. I kept up with it when it was the red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas, then the additional birds in Louisiana, and even kept up with dead fish in Sweden and dead crabs on the coast of England. I was trying to create a mental picture of it all to see if there was any “connection” or “pattern” or even how they all related to each other geographically.

But if you’re like me, you can take in just so much “data” and then the mental picture evaporates, the brain seizes up, gives out one last exasperated gasp folds in on itself in a quivering mass of jelly. Needless to say, one too many animal death groups appeared in the news and suddenly, it was all one chaotic blubbering mass of info that my brain could no longer process.

At the science museum I volunteer at, we are working on displays for a new lab area. This area is called ‘visualization.’  Essentially it is the use of technology to display visually, large amounts of data points that are beyond the ability of the brain to contain, much less put in any kind of meaningful order. It is used in science and a variety of other situations where you need to review a lot of data, try to find some meaning or understandings so as to draw possible conclusions or form theories. Without these tools it would be impossible to deal with the huge about of information. To read more on this subject see the entry at Wikipedia.

Anyway, I was lost in the morass that was a growing number of reports of mass animal deaths around the world. Enter the amazing tool that is Google Maps and lo, there is salvation. They have a map that shows all the various animal death events around the world along with a sidebar giving details.  So I share with anyone out there who wants to see the big picture but can no longer do it in your head, the Google Maps “big picture” link. Just  click here.

The Gift

March 3, 2008

“Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.”

Helen Hayes

From Wikipedia: Helen Hayes (October 10, 1900 – March 17, 1993) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress whose successful and award-winning career spanned almost 70 years. She eventually garnered the nickname “First Lady of the American Theater”, and was one of the nine people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. (For the total entry, click on her name above)