It’s the paradox of the internet age: never before has so much information been available so effortlessly, so quickly — and never before has so much of it been completely erroneous. How do we decide what is true? Who do we trust to verify the information that we consume?
Here I would like to offer a small case study from my own experience.
I first came across the above video clip on Tuesday on Kottke.org. Soon after, I stumbled across it again on NASA’s excellent Astronomy Picture of the Day site. Clearly, it had gone viral in a big way. The clip is described as an animation based on thousands of photos taken by the Cassini space probe stitched together to form a movie of the spacecraft’s visit to Saturn. What’s really remarkable about it is that it is pointedly not a computer animation. As the credits at the beginning clearly state, “no CGI, no 3D models.” Or, as Kottke put it, “There is no 3-D CGI involved in this amazing Saturn fly-by video.”
I watched the clip and immediately became suspicious. Continue reading The Ecology of Misinformation