TODAY I want to delve into the more difficult SearchResearch task of trying to validate difficult-to-believe stories.
This happens all the time, at least to me. I'm listening to a lecture, or reading a newspaper, or listening to a story on the radio and--WHAM!--there's a story I find a bit... questionable.
So this week, for your consideration, are two pieces of stories I heard this week that immediately made my Question Antenna go up.
Our challenge for this week is to try and determine if the story is plausible, or just kinda whacky.
This kind of search is often complex because of the competing forces at work (some people want you to believe their story, while others seek to deny it). The research you have to do will always balance the sources you find against each other.
Here they are: Can you determine if they make sense or not?
|From: The Pirates Own Book, Or Authentic Narratives of the Lives, Exploits, |
and Executions of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers (1837)
1. Pirate eyepatches: In a lecture this week I heard the speaker say that "...the reason pirates are often depicted wearing an eyepatch over one eye is that they'd keep that eye dark-adapted in case they were going to jump aboard a ship they'd captured and needed to instantly be able to see in the depths of a dark ship interior. Remember, in those days there was no on-ship interior lighting, so you needed to be able to flip up the eyepatch and have one dark adapted eye ready-to-see." Really?
2. Rocker sunglasses: Recently, the rock star Bono announced that he's been wearing sunglasses constantly for the past twenty years to help with his glaucoma. I immediately wondered--does that make sense, is it plausible story? How can sunglasses help with glaucoma? Is it really a treatment? (Or is it a ruse to give him plausible reason to be cool.)
Plausible or not?
Of course, we'd prefer to see reputable sources in your analysis. So, as you try to figure out if these stories make sense, tell us WHY you considered one source to be reputable... or not.
Start digging. This might lead you to some interesting places.