Picking real from fake

If you think the media is all "lies" or "fake", you're probably not as good at reading the news as others. NiemanLab.com says a University of Texas study found "those who have negative opinions of the news media are less likely to spot a fake headline or differentiate between news and opinion — but more confident in their ability to find the information they need online".

Researchers asked, "What is the first word that comes to mind when you see the word 'news'?" About 62 per cent said "fake", "lies", "untrustworthy", and "BS". The rest were positive or neutral. Shown three headlines (one fake), 13 per cent more of neutral folk identified the fake.

It was: "New study: Nearly half the nation's scientists now reject evolution." Does education make you more able to detect a fake headline? Yes — university grads were 11 per cent more likely to do so. Age and income? Yes, those over 65 were less likely to spot the fake than younger folk. And those on $150,000-plus were better at it than those on under $30,000.

A time when heads need examining

Does exam time with your teen sound something like this? A Christchurch mother writes:
1. As he shot off to his maths exam, he confessed, "I didn't actually study for this, Mum. I just said I did." No remorse, he just thought I should know.
2. My teen developed a last-minute, non-negotiable psychological need to write the English exam in black ink. We had about 100 pens. The whole family madly scribbles to find black ones that work. None did. So we madly ransacked the house, searching. This is what I will remember.
3. I love my son's girlfriend. She sent him pictures of all her study notes. We're taking her out to dinner.
4. Me: Do you know what the time is? You need to get up for your exam! Me: See the time? Get dressed! Me: You need to eat something! Teen: "Geez, Mum. I need to go. Can't you see what time it is?"
5. How was the exam? "Good and bad. I remembered at the start to check all the questions and checked again at the end, which was good, because I missed one."

Advertisement

Cutting-edge advice

A reader reports that an Emergency Medical Centre nurse gave an excellent piece of advice: "In avocado season, we frequently deal with hand injuries caused by a knife slipping when trying to get the stone out of a half-avocado. A knife is dangerous, the foolproof way is to use a corkscrew bottle-opener. Push just the tip into the stone, then keep turning hard until half the screw-spiral is buried into the stone — then pull ... stone comes out, and no hand injury."