Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:

   

        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook

 

EdTech Update

 Teach.com

 

 

 

« Home office meme | Main | I miss Calvin and Hobbes »
Friday
Jul272007

No more Bat Boy with the bananas

ht_cheney04_070724_ssv.jpgOne could always count on the Weekly World News to make the checkout line in the supermarket just a little bit more fun. The wait to pay for the milk and bananas almost wasn't long enough - if one wished to catch up with the saga of Bigfoot, Bat Boy and Hillary's extraterrestrial lover.

I picked up a copy of the Weekly World News whenever I taught students about evaluating the credibility of sources. Even the densest of 7th graders usually smelled something suspicious about the pope being Elvis in disguise. Once one realizes that one print resource is not credible, one views every print resource with some suspicion.

It was recently announced that WWN will not longer be publishe in print format and only be available online. I am saddened. The WWN was never anything I would seek out, but it was always wonderful to encounter when doing something else. Now that it has moved to its "convenient" web space, I doubt I will see it again.

The likelihood of serendipitous discovery has always seem greater in the physical world. The impulse gift found by the checkout counter. The odd news story hidden below the fold in Section C. The just-right book just above the one you were looking for in the stacks of the library or bookstore. The casual encounter at the coffee shop. The majestic old barn glimpsed while lost on a back road.

Amazon doesn't lend itself to the happy accidental discovery. Once it gets to know I am a sci-fi reader, the chances of it putting a historical novel in front of one's eyeballs is poor. At the public library and the Barnes & Noble, I look at all sorts of books before I get to the sci-fi shelves. If I load my RSS feed aggregator with tech and education what are my chances of reading news about medicine or stock car racing or the plight of drought victims in Africa?

Might the Web be narrowing our world rather than expanding it?

If anyone sees the face of Satan in the smoke from an explosion, be sure and get a picture to send to me. I won't have the reports at the Weekly World News to keep me informed anymore.

And good luck Elvis and Amelia Earhart's love child and all the aliens in San Francisco! 

wwn.jpg 

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

It's kind of like the newspaper. I mention something I've read in the paper,and everybody looks at me like I'm crazy. Reading material while in line at the checkout stand is enjoyable. You mean Elvis and the Pope aren't one and the same? I am shocked. Now I usually just try to keep my grandsons out of all of the gum and enticing candy that they see while I am waiting to pay. Don't get me started about the check out yourself lines!

July 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

I have the same concerns about serendipity in my on-line life. I've started using Stumbled Upon and tracking down random links that my Twitter community spits out. I also click through tangential links that come up in my normal browsing. You never know...

July 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

the newspaper you have read is decade ago release its not interesting to look and read on it.
bat

November 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwoodworm cricket bat

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>