“Knowing Keeps us Free:” Washington Post Super Bowl spot

There have been many complaints about the boring commercials during last night’s Super Bowl, but for many of us, one commercial stood out among the rest. This was the spot from the Washington Post (narrated by Tom Hanks) that highlights the importance of journalism in a free democracy. It included images of reporters who have been killed over the last few years including Jamal Khashoggi, who is alleged to have been killed at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last year.

Here’s an article about the images and people highlighted in the spot, “The Washington Post airs its first Super Bown spot.”

Washington Post Super Bowl message: Democracy Dies in Darkness
Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free. For more than 140 years The Washington Post has been a key part of democracy, holding government accountable and safeguarding the interests of readers.

Pop Culture & Social Change: Faculty panel (video)

Movies, TV, comic books, novels, and music have helped to drive social change. Discussions about civil rights, LGBTQ rights, protesting war, supporting veterans, and many other topics have been explored through popular culture. The “entertainment” industry has been a form of self-reflection for society. What kinds of changes have been driven by popular culture? When we use popular culture in the classroom, what can we learn? This event is part of our One Book, One College program on the book Ms. Marvel.

Pop Culture & Social Change: Faculty panel

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Alchemist Chemist: The Unnecessary Divide in the Life of Jabbir Ibn Hayyan

In this lecture, Dr. Amani Wazwaz presents the life and achievements of the eighth century Muslim scholar Jabir Ibn Hayyan. The lecture introduces the role that the alchemist has played in cultural imagination and the place that Jabir ibn Hayyan has in the history of chemistry. This lecture is part of the MOSAICS Building Bridges Program.

The Alchemist Chemist: The Unnecessary Divide in the Life of Jabbir Ibn Hayyan

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Books that Created Dracula

Some excellent detective work on the origins of Dracula!

“The London Library today unveiled a fascinating discovery that sheds new light on how Dracula was researched and written. We’ve found 26 books that are almost certainly the original copies that Bram Stoker used to help research his enduring classic.

Philip Spedding, the Library’s Development Director who made the discovery, commented: “Bram Stoker was a member of The London Library but until now we have had no indication whether or how he used our collection. Today’s discovery changes that and we can establish beyond reasonable doubt that numerous books still on our shelves are the very copies that he was using to help write and research his masterpiece.” (See London Library’s “The Books that Created Dracula“)

Philip Spedding looks at the books discovered in The London Library that were used by Bram Stoker to research Dracula

The Books that Created Dracula

The Books That Created Dracula from The London Library on Vimeo.

The Bottomless Pinocchio, Misinformation, and the Fight for Truth

Since yesterday’s post about the War on Truth, a few more items have come our way.

First, the Washington Post’s fact-checkers have introduced a new category called “the Bottomless Pinocchio” for constantly repeated false claims. Take a look a the video below or visit this article,
“Meet the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again”.

Second, the first episode of the (Mis)Informed Podcast has been released. This focuses on fact-checking political sources. You can listen at the player below or read more here, “(Mis)informed podcast: Who is fact-checking actually for?”

The Botomless Pinocchio:

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(Mis)Informed Podcast:

The War on Truth! Defending Free & Open Journalism

Librarians and journalists share many values. Namely, the belief that free and open information is vital to democracy and an open society. This week a few, year-end announcements from our colleagues in the world of journalism were made that should be highlighted.

First, Time magazine announced that their person (people) of the year is “the Guardians and the War on Truth.”
The video pasted below outlines those involved.

Second, PolitiFact announced their “Lie of the Year” which is the online smear machine trying to take down Parkland students.
Finally, PolitiFact also released “Trump’s 10 top falsehood of 2018” which offers an interesting perspective into our current political landscape.

Here’s the video from Time:

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night…and They are Selling It

You are being watched!!

The New York Times has a great interactive piece online today that details ways that your apps are tracking you and then selling your location data to advertisers. The level of detail is frightening. You can find the story here:  Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret

You can learn more about the background to this story on the podcast “The Daily” here:

The Business of Selling Your Location
Smartphone apps track a staggering amount of data about our whereabouts every day. That data has become a hot commodity.
“A New York Times investigation has found that the information being collected about us through apps on our smartphones is far more extensive than most of us imagine — or are aware we have consented to.”

If you want to better control what your apps know about you check out: How to Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location.