Friday Links Special: Information Online

Posted on December 14, 2012 by

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We live in the Information Age, where it often seems like all the world’s knowledge, and several worlds’ worth of pictures of cats, are at our fingertips. But what is the real quality of information on the internet? Can we trust online encyclopedias? Online classes? Online journalism? Does the internet improve the quality of information that we get, or just the quantity? How does the online world affect what we know? This week’s links address that question in one way or another.

Lies! Murder! Lexicography! – A secret cabal of deadly assassins in no way control what words make it into the English language.

Nitpicking experts make Wikipedia a harder read – I remember in the old days of the internet people used to attack Wikipedia for not being accurate enough. Now, according to this article, Wikipedia has become too accurate – so accurate, in fact, that only an expert can understand its long sentences and unpopular words.

Napster, Udacity, and the Academy – with the growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses, Clay Shirky argues that the entire education industry is on the edge of a revolution that no one in academia is prepared for….

…and the rebuttal, Questioning Clay Shirky, argues that online courses can never match the quality of in-person courses, and that public universities are the best way forward for higher education.

Learn English online: How the internet is changing language – English is a global language on the internet, but what kind of English? The English you find online differs from the English you use offline in a number of interesting ways.

Bumps and Bruises from Bruce to Batman, and Beyond – This is something I would never have learned about without the internet.

What To Do When The Bus Doesn’t Come And You Want To Scream. An Experiment – no one ever doubted that the internet provided people with countless ways to waste hours doing nothing. Enter virtual bubble wrap: it turns out that wasting hours doing nothing is a great strategy for coping with waiting for a bus.

The magic button – Make Everythin OK – Everything will be okay.

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This one’s not really on topic, but it’s worth a look anyway: Upsoni – a blog about starting a business in Georgia.