New Sounds Sciencey post is about How to Think About Weird News
Every day, I scour the Internet for news. Not just any news. Weird news. What bizarre thing was seen, heard, or found today?
This interest in the unexplained, mysterious, and Fortean is a perpetual thing for me. The first books I ever recall picking out as favorites were about ghosts, monsters, and UFOs. But the qualification for my interest was that I cared about them only because I thought they might be real.
I began a website to highlight these paranormal and anomalous news stories. While there are a lot of strange news feeds and news aggregators that do this, mine is different. I didn’t just want to share these stories so you can pass them along your virtual circles. I wanted to discuss these stories. What about them was true? What was missing? Why did people latch onto certain ones and enthusiastically share them with everyone they knew, even if they were almost certainly hoaxes or exaggerations? One of my goals was for my website to show up in online searches for these topics so perhaps interested readers would stumble upon a more thoughtful analysis than what was found in comment sections after the news stories or on Internet forums.
I talk about my experience in talking to kids about how to think about weird news. I’ll also be talking about it at CSICon in October.
AND, in a new project called Virtual Skeptics, you can see a crack team of experts, including me, discuss the weird news of the week! It’s fun! Here is the hour-long episode 6. For more, go to the main website and view the show notes and previous episodes.