Your Source Matters (Or why I won’t take your link seriously)

Cartoon from Dave Granlund

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve noticed a trend on my facebook lately. A lot of people, who I respect, are posting articles that may have a point but are from a non-credible source.

We all gloss over dozens of these sorts of articles, advertisements, or videos each day. Most of the time we either ignore them or think, “HA! I knew it!” Anytime I find myself doing the second I look into where the information is coming from.

Cartoon from Dave Granlund
Cartoon by Dave Granlund

Both Sides of the Argument dot ca

Let’s take a province-wide advertisement, going on right now in Ontario. It’s called Both Sides of the Argument. On the radio, it has people who say they’re police, nurses, etc. coming out against the proposed plain packaging laws for cigarettes (brown paper packaging for all cigarettes). At first hearing how plain packaging will help gangs and illegal cigarette sales, it’s kind of scary. At the end of the ads it’s said quickly that they were paid for by JTI-Macdonald Corp. A quick google will tell you they’re one of the worlds largest tobacco companies.

Instantly anything said by those ads and anything said by their website is suspect. Multinational, billion dollar companies rarely create ad campaigns to stop laws, unless it will affect their business.

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right, but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Extremist Sources

We’ve all come across that article that says that contrails are really mind controlling vapour, or that fluoride is put in the water to make us more passive.

You’ll find variations of these on both hyper conservative and hyper liberal news sources. Thrown in with articles about the vices of the poor from the first and the dangers of modern medicine for the second.

If you post an article from one of these sites, my first reaction is to check their sources and then to check their other articles. The quality of their articles and sources affect their credibility.

These sites are notorious for sourcing statistics but not the studies, or experts they mention in their articles. Usually because they either outright lie or manipulate their quotes into a lie.

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Writing

This may be petty of me but if the writing is too informal, has too many mistakes, or isn’t organized in a logical order; I will not take it seriously.

(This is my blog. I’m a fiction author. I don’t write news and any articles I do write, you should think of critically. I am not a news source. I also don’t have a team of editors to make sure each post is properly written.)

I’ve come across so many articles that attack politicians and celebrities. If your article is mean or harsh, I’ll assume it’s biased. Some might call this “tone policing”, it’s not. It’s called Journalistic Objectivity, and without it the news source is unprofessional and unreliable. (Opinion articles are an exception, but they should be properly labelled.)

Does this mean that what they are saying is wrong? No. They could be completely right but since the source is biased, any information shouldn’t be taken seriously.

What should you do?

Before you post something, or share something, double check to make sure the source is trustworthy or in the very least add that you’re not sure about it’s validity. It’s really that simple.

You can even google the title of the article and see what pops up. Often someone will have a dissenting opinion and you can learn something about the original source.

As I’ve learnt, multiple times lately, calling out the integrity of an article will normally just piss off the person who posted it. Angry people will defend their point of view, even if the source is bad, to an excessive level. They’ll also assume you’re attacking them or the news itself as opposed to it’s source.

It’s up to you whether you’re willing to challenge a friend on something. They may thank you, or they may yell at you.

 

My philosophy is that if a source isn’t valid, the content isn’t valid.

Éric

Harry Potter Orchestra

Image from a completely different article on cbc.ca

If you live near Montreal or Toronto, love Harry Potter, and love live music, then you’ll probably want to know about these fantastic opportunities.

Montreal is playing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the big screen, with live accompaniment on April 8 and 9, 2017. You can read about it and get tickets here.

Toronto is doing the same thing, with Philosopher’s Stone on June 27, 2017, and Chamber of Secrets on October 12, 2017. You can read about it and get tickets here.

Image from a completely different article on cbc.ca
Image from a completely different article on cbc.ca

If you don’t live close enough to these cities to make the trip in one day, I know some great hotels in both cities that I can book for you. I can book transportation, whether train, car rental, or flight, as well!


If you are interested in booking a trip to Montreal or Toronto, you can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Geek Market Coffee

SnowWhite

Hello Coffee Lovers,

We will be debuting our newest coffee flavour at the end of the month at Geek Market.

Introducing our newest coffee flavour:

Snow White’s Wake Up Potion

A Green Apple medium roast that’s recommended by Six out of Seven Dwarfs.

SnowWhite

Now available for order at http://coffee.jeneric-designs.ca/

What coffee would you like at Geek Market

Select all the coffee you want to buy at Geek Market in the following poll and we’ll make sure the most popular ones will be available at the end of March.

What coffee should be available at Geek Market

View Results

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Thank you and good coffee drinking,

Éric

Winter Soldier

IMG_20160515_121821small

This Winter Soldier was running from Cap – see the shield? – but stopped to pose with the TARDIS. Unbeknownst to us, Cap snuck into the picture! Blurred face because of no permission asked of the parents.

I love the leather jacket. Gorgeous.

IMG_20160515_121821small

Let’s get Cynical

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/_12drawings_/

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

By reading this blog, I’m sure you noticed I’m a rather optimistic kind of person. I tend to assume the best of people and believe hope is important.

That being said I have my cynical moments. Last night as we were getting the little Dragon to sleep, I came to the realization that there are two kinds of cynical. When things don’t go your way or go badly, you can fall on two extremes of cynicism; Conspiracy or Stupidity.

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/_12drawings_/
Borrowed from Kenzie AKA _12drawings_ on Instagram

Conspiracy

Let’s say, for examples sake only, that your baby doesn’t seem to be going to sleep (just an example, I swear…). If your cynicism leans towards conspiracy, you’ll assume that the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping. Possibly for some sort of nefarious plan where she steals all your energy.

This is the extreme that you see a lot of with big businesses or with government. They’re all out to get us/me/you! It makes us feel special, because someone wants to get us, and makes us feel like there is purpose in the world.

Stupidity

This is absolute opposite side of cynicism. Instead of assuming the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping, you assume the baby has no idea what it’s doing and has no sinister motives. It’s just a baby that hasn’t developed enough to realize that it’s time to sleep and that you haven’t abandoned her in a crib for ever.

This is the harder form of cynicism. It assumes chaos and it assumes you have nothing to do with what happened. Humans tend to assume everything that happens around us is about us; we are a self-absorbed race. It is freeing to realize that everyone is just blundering about trying to get to their goals.

 

I’m trying my best to be hopeful and grotesquely optimistic, but the times I am cynical I lean towards the second option. I’ve worked in government, retail, big business, tourism, etc (seriously, I’ve done a lot) and one thing I’ve noticed is how, as a society, we are extremely hard to organize. It’s always more likely to be incompetence or stupidity rather then maliciousness. (That’s Hanlon’s Razor)

Where do you fall on the cynicism spectrum?

Éric

Blush: Toddler Touching

While Blush is primarily aimed at people over the age of 8, the other day someone contacted me and asked me if I had any recommendation about their toddler touching themselves.

They didn’t want to discourage their toddler from exploring, but they wanted to know how to tell them that they should be doing that in private.

So I did a little digging. Most of the first pages that pop up in a search are forums, parents helping other parents, with no valid sources. However, www.psychcentral.com provided me with a great article (follow the link to read it) written by a valid source, and peer reviewed by another.

To boil it down: treat the child as a whole person with valid wants, and teach them that what they want to do is normal, healthy, and should be done in private. You can explain to them where “private” is, and remember, be prepared to do so many times over, because children forget.

I hope that helps! If you have further questions on this topic, you can ask me anonymously here.


I am going to be writing a new game – a sort of sequel to Blush! I have do NOT have a publisher for it, I don’t have completed questions for it, and I don’t have a full concept for it, but I could use your help.

So if you have any questions about pregnancy, anything that surprised you while you or someone you know was pregnant, anything about newborns (first 3 months) – PLEASE submit them through our anonymous question box, found here.

Thank you!

You can find Blush: A Card Game for purchase at Renaissance Press.

Top 5 Things you Shouldn’t Do/Say to a Baby

annoyed_yet_amusing_baby_kids_640_19

annoyed_yet_amusing_baby_kids_640_19

5. Judge their behaviour

Seriously. I see you over there tsking at the parents whose kids are crying or being loud.

Not every child deals the same with different stimulus. It’s not that they’re badly behaved, it’s that they have no methods for coping with stuff. Infants and babies literally have never experienced anything as terrible as what they’re going through. Cut them some slack.

4. Complain about their clothing

Not all parents can afford designer clothing, some parents are geeky, and not all parents follow your gendering ways. If a parent wants to put their girl in a batman outfit it’s none of your business. Same with if they want to put their boy in a pink wonder woman shirt. It’s none of your business.

3. Touch them without permission

The parents don’t know where your hands have been, the child can’t give consent, and it’s down right creepy. Check with the parents, and then if they’re ok with it, go nuts.

How would you feel if someone came up to you and started poking you, messing your hair, or grabbing your hand?

2. Insist they smile at you

Baby smiles are awesome. I understand that everyone loves it when a baby smiles at them. That doesn’t give you the right to stop the baby and parents and insist that the baby smile at you. If the baby smiles in passing, yay. If not, move along.

Having someone stop you in public to explain to your baby why they should smile is creepy.

1. Smoke in their vicinity or living area

At this point you either understand the dangers of smoking or you don’t want to understand. That’s perfectly fine but you forfeit the right to complain when someone tells you to move away from a baby.

Second hand smoke and third hand smoke (the smoke that stays on your clothing) can cause severe respiratory issues in babies for their entire life.

If you smoked in that clothing, you should not be holding a baby.

 

Anything I missed?

Éric