Last night at dinner I learned from my kids that eating cauliflower brings bad luck. They also believe that the more you say it the truer it gets. From what I could gather they did not develop this theory on their own – some other children believe it as well. It seems that they already get truthiness
Later that night Stephen Colbert, in a very funny segment, again pointed out that on wikipedia if enough people agree with something then it becomes the truth (“wikiality”). This was in the context of reports of Microsoft paying bloggers to edit wikipedia. I incorrectly read a lot into this news. They made it sound like it was something that happened a lot and was an open invitation to anyone who would write positive things about Microsoft. Also I somehow got confused and thought it was about Vista. Perhaps my mind was being reactive because the programming on Comedy Central last night seemed like one big Microsoft Vista commercial. I was surprised to find that it was a specific person, Rick Jelliffe, who I know of because I’m a big fan of Schematron. After reading Rick’s post I don’t think its that big a deal. Although I wouldn’t want to see it become a common practice.
Stephen offered to pay $5 to anyone who replaced the wikipedia entry on Reality with “Reality has become a commodity”. If one were to believe that wikipedia is always true then reality was a commodity for about one minute. I’m OK with wikipedia being out of sync with reality for one minute now and then.
Actually the truth is subjective and reality is a commodity that corporate marketing and government propaganda are paying to influence every day. The advice about reality went from “don’t believe everything you read” to “don’t believe everything you see on TV” to “don’t believe everything you see on the Internet”. On the Internet there are so many facts and they spread so quickly that it is hard to keep up with your fact checking. I only bother for things that are important to me. On the plus side I have such a bad memory for facts that I will likely forget most of the misinformation I read.
Now I’m off to check my facts on cauliflower…