Following rave reviews at the Science Museum and the Big Bang Fair, Carl Sagan´s Guide to Fake News is returning once again for World Space Week with some special space-themed stories.
The University of Surrey and the Institute of Physics have partnered with an array of local organisations to celebrate World Space Week 2019, and on Saturday 5 October 2019 will be organising a ‘high street takeover’ in Guildford to mark the occasion. I will be at Guildford Library (77 North Street, GU1 4AL) between 2-4pm with Carl Sagan´s Guide to Fake News.
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:
- Voyager 2 spacecraft reprogrammed by aliens
- Jupiter has liquid metallic hydrogen ocean
- 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.
As well as on Guildford High street 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 at faxenews.jmitch.co.uk. I will also continue to add to the stories and provide updates on the feedback received.