Tuesday, July 24, 2012

30 Seconds Of "Work" From You Could Help Save Lives

One of the big themes from this years TAM was a call to action.  Get out there and DO something.  Forget getting into a Freethought Blogs flame war:  Channel your furious skeptical energy to making an actual difference.  But who has that kind of time?  Well, frankly, YOU do.  There are a lot of things you can do in your spare time to make the world a better place and most of it is on the internet.  Tim Farley gave a good breakdown of various options that you have.  Croud-source projects, edit Wikipedia like Susan Gerbic, write a legislator, etc.  Something more than the guilty pleasure of Pharengulateing a poll (Hi PZ!  Big fan...don't hurt me.).

One of the simplest "slacktivist" tools mentioned at TAM 2012 was the "Web Of Trust" browser add-on.  You install the plug-in to whatever brand of browser you use and you will see a red-orange-yellow-green rating of the reliability of any rated site before you click on a link.  People rate any site on its Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy, and Child Safety and then leave an additional comment to explain the rating.  Once you are used to how it works, it only takes 30 seconds.  This can be a quick way to help warn the un-skeptical of dangerous content.

Speaking of dangerous content...

The Skeptic Wire is not a huge podcast by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd like to see what we can do as a group to change just ONE little thing that's "wrong on the internet".  Since we launched our show in early 2011 we've mentioned the "Natural News" website often.  Mostly to debunk their latest crazy post with great derision.  "Natural News" is un-apologetically pro-woo, anti-vaccine, and spout conspiracy theories left and right.  Here's one of their latest bizarre posts: "Colorado Batman shooting shows obvious signs of being staged". Yikes.

This is the "Natural News" WOT rating as of July 24th, 2012:
  • Trustworthiness = 74
  • Vendor Reliability = 72
  • Privacy = 77
  • Child Safety = 74
ALL four scores have a "High" or "Very High" confidence rating.  That sucks.

I don't mind if you've never "Liked" us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter, or gave us a rating on iTunes.  Heck, some of you may have never even listened to our show!  That's fine, we're just a podcast.  Our "Primate Sexy Time" jokes won't change the world.  But we can make an actual difference if you PLEASE help us do something to warn people about bad science and dangerous medical advice.  Here's what you do:
  • Download and install Web Of Trust plug-in (restart your browser)
  • Follow this link to the WOT scorecard page of "Natural News"
  • Rate them, in whatever combination you're comfortable with (I gave them a "yellow" on vendor reliability because I just don't know.  Child safety?  RED, RED, RED!!!)
  • Leave a comment (Optional)
  • SAVE
My one vote didn't change a lot, but if we all vote and then share with our skeptical friends we can do something good.  Eventually when someone's looking for vaccine information they'll go to the CDC instead of a mis-information site like "Natural News".


1 comment:

  1. You know I'm on board Gerg!

    Get them rating on WOT then come edit for me.

    I have some very easy projects coming up for beginners.