Sorting Fact From Obfuscation

In these unprecedented times in U.S. politics it can be difficult to discern the truth from the spin. The site http://www.factcheck.org/ has taken up the mission of helping anyone who desires to do so. Their mission page states:

“We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels.”

A quick perusal of articles prominent on the site the day I visited (4/28/17 for the curious) covered such topics as the insecticide chlorpyrifos, Trump’s spin on his first 100 days, Trump’s mischaracterization of President Obama’s purported role in forming the gang MS-13, White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s Hitler gaffe and the 2017 Webby award this site has won.

The site is easy to navigate and there are a few helpful ways to find specific information: you can peruse an archive by topic, search for a desired article or simply browse through the pages. There are additional links to similar and sister sites, ways to ask your own questions and links to other resources offered by the organization, such as ways to browse and view media appearances by their writers.

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E-Tools You Can Use

A recent article in the Library Journal, cited below, has informed and inspired this post highlighting several useful e-tools.

C-SPAN Video Library

Do you want to see what the president said yesterday?  What about what the speaker of the house had to say about your pet issue?  The C-SPAN Video Library is the best place to begin searching for such content.  From the site: “…a way to archive and index the thousands of hours of congressional coverage produced by the network every year. The project quickly became one of the most comprehensive video archives of governmental and political content…”

Docteur Tweety

This site does charge a small fee, but it is useful to keep up with how your tweets are performing.

European Language Social Science Thesaurus

This site bills itself as “a broad-based, multilingual thesaurus for the social sciences” and is useful for those who do business within the European Union.

Google Translate Offline Capabilities

You can use Translate even when you’re offline, by taking a picture of the text in question.

The Internet Broadway Database

From the site:  “…the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today.”  So, it’s like imdb.com, but for theater.

Irish Films Archive

“The IFI Irish Film Archive acquires, preserves and makes available Ireland’s moving image heritage, working to ensure that Ireland’s rich and varied film history, both amateur and professional, is protected and accessible for the benefit of current and future generations. Film reels, digital materials and document collections are held in custom-built, climate-controlled vaults designed for the long- term storage of archival materials.”

Knoema

Knoema is full of helpful data on every country in the world.  “We discover, extract, and normalize data to make it usable through our open data platform. Knoema’s smart search engine moves beyond simple keyword search results to dataset discovery and auto-generated visualization collections to represent your data query.”

NewsNow

This is a UK based site, but you can personalize a free homepage with news from sources you prefer from sources all over the world.

Original article:

Price, Gary, and Henrietta Verma. “E-toolkit redux.” Library Journal, 1 Nov. 2016, p. S18+. Business Collectionhttps://goo.gl/bf4xWQ

 

Slooh

http://live.slooh.com/

Want to see the Harvest moon eclipse up close, but can’t fly to South Africa or Singapore? Slooh is a website that has streaming pictures of the moon, along with eclipses, meteor showers, asteroids, and other space objects from a global network of telescopes. From the site, Slooh has”partner observatories in Arizona, Japan, Hawaii, Cypress, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and many more.” They are also partnered with NASA.

Slooh also provides daily telescope feeds with experts who host them. You can also provide your own space pictures to be posted on the site.

Yearbook of the United Nations

http://unyearbook.un.org/

“The Yearbook of the United Nations” is the reference work on the United Nations System. Starting in 1946 and going forward through today, the Yearbook answers political and security questions from around the world, human rights questions, economic and social questions, legal questions, has statistics, and provides the structure and roster of the United Nations.

Index to Proceedings – United Nations

http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/deplib/docs/ITP/list.htm

The Index to Proceedings for the United Nations ceased being a print publication in 2011. This publication was reinvented online after 2011. The United Nations Depository Library now provides information online on the annual meetings of the main United Nation organizations. The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council are all listed by year on this website and a full publication of each can be seen on the webpage. A way to read PDF’s must be loaded onto the computer to read the entries.

World Public Opinion: Global Public Opinion on International Affairs

http://worldpublicopinion.org/index.php?

World Public Opinion is an excellent source on finding up to date polls and news from many countries on international issues. This site provides information by current topics and by country. The environment, justice/human rights, the United Nations, and other topics are provided. The countries are listed by region, for example, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and others.

Marine Traffic

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/home

Marine traffic is a site that provides a live location for maritime shipping. At the home page, a map of the world will come up with grid number blocks. Click on the block of the area of the world that you are looking for. Within the grid, a map of passenger vessels, tankers, yachts, fishing boats, and navigational aids will come up. The left side of the page has a filter that will show the symbols for each vessel. Place the mouse over the vessel and it will give the name of the boat and its destination. Click on the vessel and it will give a picture of it, along with its specifications and itinerary history.

A listing of ports is also on the website. The port listing shows the number of vessels in port now, the departures, arrivals, and other information. Click on the vessels button and it provides where the ship is at that moment, the size of the ship, the area it is in, along with the flag it flies under. A maritime business directory is also provided by some of the companies.

The marine traffic is tracked by AIS. From the site, “The system is based on AIS (Automatic Identification System). As from December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details.” The AIS acts as a GPS for vessels, to help control boat movements and to avoid collisions.