Monday, March 4, 2013

Facebook Follies

I'm sure you have seen them....and maybe even been one to repost them.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those "repost this if you want to save your friends" pictures.  Lets just take a step back and really think about these, what they are and more importantly the potential impact they can have when you share them.  Now, not all of these stories are complete lies.  Some of them are lies that are based on half truths.

Every one of these "stories" have a common story line.  They all urge you to share it with everyone that you know because: A. you could potentially save a life, B. you have a moral obligation to, C. you care, D. the world should never forget, E. you can prevent it from happening anymore, or F. if you took the time to read it, then you should share it.  Then they proceed to tell a horrific or tragic story that somehow connects to your life by over exaggerating an issue that seems like it could possibly happen to you.  (Kind of like the myth of the thumb in the coke can that we all heard in the 1980s.)  Then it tells you about how it could be a threat to your religion, your safety, your country, your morals, or your family and friends.  Which is what compels people to mindlessly share without doing 5 seconds worth of fact checking.  My favorite "fact checker" is Snopes.  Usually you can just type in "thumb in coke can" (or describe the picture you see or key words in the story) in a Google search and it will pull up the Snopes article along with other fact checkers.

So, here are some examples that I am talking about.

The most important one that I want to point out is the one about a fake cop and how you can dial 112 to get assistance from your cell phone.  This one is just dangerous.  In the US, it is best to call 911 to get to a dispatcher.  Dialing 112 is a European code for emergency calls.  Even in the few cases where that number works in the US, it only reroutes the call to 911 anyway.  SO, play it safe and only use 911 to call when you need to talk to a police/sheriff dispatcher.  911 isn't just for dire emergencies, it is for anytime that you need to talk to a police officer or a dispatcher.

The rest of these are laughable, so I am including the actual print screens of the circulations.  I hope you get a chuckle.

So, this one prays on your love and pride in your religion and your support for your country.  To start....these coins have been in circulation since 2007.  They do not omit "In God We Trust", that is actually written on the edges of the coin.  (I thought that was pretty neat.)

So, the harm in this one is just that it asks you to look very foolish if someone were to try to give you one as change (which doesn't really happen because these are not used as currency very often, they are more of a collectible coin.)  And it also makes you look foolish for sharing it, because how is the design on a coin really going to make the world a better place?

This one to me is just silly.  Don't you think that we would have heard about this on the news if there was a new spider that was really that deadly?  And the "CAB" hasn't been in commission since 1985.  After doing a Snopes search of this one, I found out that it has been circling since 1999 with the spider having many different names (like arachnus gluteus or "butt spider").  This one also doesn't really cause harm to pass on, unless it keeps you from leaving the house in fear of using public restrooms.

Seriously?  Do we really live in a country where the word barbeque needs to be explained?  Also, the huge grammatical errors should be a sign that this is false.  So....again.  A little common sense can figure this one out.  There is a lot or fear of the risks of wearing contact lenses, and there are risks.  They have to be handled carefully and you have to worry about infections.  Plus, they can dry out and cause injury, but not blindness.  (I have a story about that for another not wear contacts to bed!  Trust me.)  But do you really think that by staring at something hot it can burn you?  If something is hot enough to melt your contact lenses, then you would have severe burns to your face too.  The harm in this one is just propagating the fear that some people already have when it comes to contacts.  I guess the only people that it really could harm is eye doctors and contact lens manufacturers, but I think that would be a minute loss.

Here is one that was too long to print screen, but it is one that I am seeing more and more often.:

‎"Pass The Butter ... Please.

This is interesting . .. . 
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavourings....

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end...gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine..

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

Triples risk of coronary heart disease ...

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..

Lowers quality of breast milk

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC... and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Share This With Your Friends.....(If you want to butter them up')!

Chinese Proverb:
When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.


Now, I really don't understand why people think that mixing some truth with outrageous lies makes their argument stronger.  Margarine was not made to fatten turkeys.  Margarine was actually first made for Napoleon so that he could have a 'transportable' butter-like product for his army.  Depending on the type of fats that are in margarine, they are finding that some can contribute to heart problems.  BUT, like I said, that depends on the type of fats used.  Not all margarine products are created equal. So, check out Wiki for an interesting history of margarine.  And check out Snopes for the mix of lies debunked and truths uncovered.

This one is like the Butter one.  The picture is eye catching, but obviously doctored.  And it starts like all of the others by telling to you share it with everyone you know so that you may possibly save a life.  This should be the big red flag that this may not be a 100% true story.  The next big red flag should be the misuse of "hostel" instead of "hotel".  There are no "hostels" in the US and since this references 911 (which is a US specific number), it is safe to assume that they are making this story US based.  Now...the thing about this story is that it is undetermined.  There was a recall a few years back of laptops that had faulty batteries that could potentially start a fire.  But the story itself is an exaggeration of a possibility.  I don't think that someone could sleep so soundly that they wouldn't wake to a laptop that is starting on fire next to them, plus the rouse of being taken over by carbon monoxide is impossible. The story would be more believable if the laptop was on in a different room which started the whole house on fire.  Sharing this story is somewhat harmless.  It will make you wary of where you use your laptop or what you set it on, but it's not like it will cause any harm sharing it...just a little needless worry.  It would be best to just remind people that if their laptop batteries feel hot, to take it to a service center to get the battery checked.

Check out a few more at Snopes:

The one about when eggs are thrown at your car and you try to use your wipers and water to wash them off, it will cause them to turn white and will block 97% of your vision.  Yeah....has anyone ever seen eggs turn white when you add water to them?  Maybe after they are cooked.

The one about how rapists target you.  (Just don't go cutting off all your hair.) Or the other one with how they "lure" you with $5.

Now, not all of the picture and long list of information that people tell you to share are all untruthful.  Some of them are true, like the Capri Sun mold problem or the Drano Bottle Bomb.  But, are they really all that necessary to spread around?  For the Drano Bottle Bomb, I think spreading it around Facebook will just teach people how to do it, not prevent people from harm.  The people who are reading it on Facebook would probably be more likely to make one of those than to find one.

All I'm saying is before you get the urge to click on the "share" button.  Take 5 seconds to think about what it is, who wrote it, where it was first posted at, and if you really think it's true.  After that, if you still want to share, take another 5 seconds to Google or Snope it before you share it with hundreds of people.


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