Following on from our appearance at the Science Museum last year, I am pleased to announce that Carl Sagan’s Guide to Fake News will rise again at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham between March 13-16.
The activity will follow a similar format to that which ran at the Science Museum but will be bigger and better. We will have more stories, more time and more space. For those of you that didn´t make it to the Science Museum here is the rationale behind the activity.
If you´ve read any of these blogs before you will know that I promote Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Toolkit from his book: “The Demon Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark”. This toolkit helps us to distinguish between truth and spoof, and is more applicable than ever in the era of Social Media. I´ve written before on how it can help us debate reasonably, and assist with fact-checking.
Carl Sagan’s Guide to Fake News consists of a simulated TV newsroom, where visitors can act as a news team investigating a set of stories that could be science or baloney, or a bit of both, using techniques from Sagan´s toolkit.
Some of the stories we use in the activity are:
- The origin of the revolving door
- The revolving door was an attack on chivalry
- Diet of fish can prevent teen violence
- Farmer shoots 23lb grasshopper
- Paypal was invented by accident
- Fairies photographed
The linked articles above also contain a link to an online survey where you can plot your assessment of each story on the “scale of baloney”. Once you have voted you can click onto a further page where you can see the “facts” behind each story, and understand how the baloney detection toolkit can help you navigate your way to the truth.
I would like to thank all of the visitors who came to Carl Sagan’s Guide to Fake News at the Science Museum, and a very special thank you to Harry, Sakthy and Mark who helped me run it. If you enjoyed it please feel free to come back and see us at the NEC, and tell all your friends and family!
Carl Sagan’s Guide to Fake News will also live on online, here, and I will continue to update this page, which you can access directly faxenews.jmitch.co.uk. I will also continue to add to the stories and provide updates on the feedback received.