Thursday, January 03, 2013

How to be a super special internet research wizard™; Tips from the experts

The internet is mostly filled with rubbish. Utter, utter rubbish. The biggest problem about the internet is that unlike the old days when it was only available to super villains in volcano bases, students in expensive research facilities and the two rich people who could afford one of the two fancy computers available to the public (which were called "Computer 1" and "Computer 2", fact fans) now they let anybody use it.

 It's possible to spread utter nonsense very quickly, which is ironic because it's being spread by the one method which could debunk all the rubbish in one fell swoop. By the very nature of the internet, you're sitting on top of one of the greatest research tools known to Mankind (except for 7-Zark-7 from Battle of the Planets) - albeit one set up to monitor the worlds largest and least exclusive club. In the old days it took the Village Idiot days to propagate nonsense around huge groups of people because he had to do it on horseback - and due to his idiocy, it could take him hours to even put the saddle on properly or sit facing the correct direction. Now this has all changed.

The contents of the Internet - values accurate as of the 3rd of January 2013

Wonderful though the internet is, idiocy and bullshit can propagate like the dreaded lurgey can within the confines of a Petri Dish. It takes just one person to start the ball rolling, and it's mostly done with poor spelling.

For legal purposes and for the gullible, I can confirm that Ham is NOT made from Maggots Noses.

And because the secrets to verifying things like this are only known to super special internet research wizards, the poor denizens of the internet have no option but to simply believe it. And in doing so, feel the need to educate their friends on facebook as well. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions*.

For continued legal purposes, I can confirm that between you viewing the last picture and this one, the situation relating to the involvement of maggots noses in the production of Ham has NOT changed.

And idiocy spreads so quickly on social media (usually with a flurry of "I can't beleev the govument has aloud ham to be made from maggits noses. Ime never eting Ham again" or "I blaem forriners") that when somebody who knows damn well that there is no connection between Ham and Maggots noses (perhaps he works for Richmond or Shiphams - or maybe he just isn't a cretin) points out the flaw in the original statement (usually with expert grammar and spelling, as an aside) it gets hidden in the flurry of people angrily foaming about how can they ever eat ham again.

Of course Ham is made from Ham.  This man is clearly no fool - he's a Super Special Internet Research Wizard
But there is a secret - an arcane and eldritch secret whispered amongst the boffins of the smug computer-literate community that could STOP you being one of these people - you too could join the ranks of those know-it-all spoilsports that ruin the fun somebody has had from casual scaremongering - and I'm about to tell you how.

Nobody watching us? Good. Lean in closer. If you blab this to anyone, be careful - I know your IP address.

You can use the internet to find out, and it's simple. Before you post something, why not find out whether its true or not? This just doesn't apply to the connection between ham and maggots but can be applied universally - whether it to be a news story that doesn't ring true (see "anything in the Daily Mail"), a celebrity death or whether illegal immigrants claim more benefits than the countries natives (clue: They don't. The trick is in the word 'illegal').

There are a number of ways of doing this, but I tend to put in the title of the hoax and then follow it with the word "hoax", and see how many results I get. In time you might learn and refine your own methods - It's definitely an art, and not a science.

This is a mocked up page from the internet. Ironically, the real search didn't retrieve many results at all. Because the very nature of this post is that I made up the Ham/Maggot nose controversy
If you get more than a few hundred results, you can be pretty sure that what you're posting is utter bollocks. Snopes is a brilliant debunker of internet nonsense - it's a huge resource of spoilsports who insist on ruining things with facts.

..and there we have it. Now you're a super special internet research wizard as well. Remember - with great power comes great responsibility, and you must use that responsibility to cleanse facebook of all the lies, half-truths and nonsense that makes up 90% of your newsfeed. The miseries who insist on clogging it up with vague enigmatic statements that they're desperately willing you to ask them about ("I'm so sad. I wish she'd never said that"), I can't help you with.

Or alternatively, feel free to steal one of the pictures from this blog and make a new exciting facebook entry about how you've discovered that ham is made from maggots noses. It's your call.

 * - In actuality, the road to Hell is paved by Hellson Paving Contractors Limited - "Meeting your infernal paving requirements since 43AD".

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