Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project – A discussion

I am a PhD researcher looking into how information is curated online. In particular I study how curation has moved from being the pursuit of a singular expert within an institution such a museum, gallery or archive, to a collective endeavour in which many “citizen curators” (a term that I am developing) work together to curate content both off and online. I’m looking at this curation in a very similar way to the Web 2.0 phenomena of the citizen journalist, where technology has opened by avenues of participatory, public driven projects in an unprecedented manner. With this in mind my research focuses quite heavily the larger Wikimedia project, so my interest was immediately piqued by the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project.

We need to talk about TED

TED Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 23.14.54v564

TED is huge, and hugely important. But over the space of a few recent weeks, the most coveted positions on the TED website have featured a US general, a US army captain, and a photojournalist who had been embedded with the US military. What happens if people get this new message from TED, that there is a single story being promoted that aligns with the Western military?

CONvergence 2013 (#cvg2013)

Hi All,

This is a bit of a cross post from my blog (www.ickletayto.com) re: my upcoming panels at  CONvergence in Minneapolis:


I’m heading to the twin cities for my most favourite of all the conventions (sorry OctoconCONvergence.

It’s all out geekery with books, films, radio plays, science, skepticism and party rooms.

I’m going to be on a number of panels, some of which are part of the SkepchickCon… So I’m super excited.

Here’s my “absolutely will be at as I am on the top table” schedule:

Thursday 4th July:

Poking the bear

It’s funny how one little quote can inspire such vitriol and anger.

When I was emailed by Ed Power about his impending article for the Irish Independent I immediately thought of one of our skeptics, Jamie. He is much more interested in the “conspiracy theory” end of skepticism and also runs a really interesting group called the Longnow Foundation for Dublin.

So this one little quote, mentioning this website brought down a small (okay, tiny) hail of brimstone down on myself today. I suppose this what happens when you put an email address out there – eventually someone will email you who doesn’t exactly agree with you world view.

Anonymous vs the Westboro Baptist Church vs the Media

Note: this is a disorganised rant written in the wee small hours of the morning. I take no responsibility for grammar, swearing, or whether or not there’s a point to any of this.

Oh media, when will you learn…

The Vatican Gets WikiLeaked

The ongoing WikiLeaks cable saga has split the opinionated media masses, both mainstream and “amateur”, to a degree not seen since a man lacking the pallid hues of his predecessors threatened to become President of the United States of America. Opinion seems to be split between WikiLeaks being a force for good, WikiLeaks being a force for evil, WikiLeaks being mostly a device for Julian Assange to pick up chicks, and some combination there-of. And while many have lamented that we’re not learning anything we didn’t know already (though I would argue this is blatantly not true), if nothing else seeing official confirmation of what everyone always suspected makes for fascinating reading.

Thus it was with girlish glee I fell upon the recently released batch of cables relating specifically to the Vatican, all of which rather wonderfully confirmed my preconceived notions of the Holy See’s Nation as a hierarchical, out of touch rabble of self-serving politicians. Thus it is we learn the Pope was uncomfortable with moves to allow the predominately Muslim Turkey join the EU as it would undermine his desire to build on the Christian foundations of Europe, while hoping the close ties between Poland and the Vatican would allow Poland to “serve as a counter-weight to Western European secularism as the nation makes itself more at home in an integrated Europe”.