Checking Your Facts

During some light conversation with my daughter, she mentioned a bit of trivia that the Great Wall of China was the only man made object that is visible from the moon. I don’t know why, but that didn’t quite sound right. So, where does one go now days to check their facts? Well, one Googles it of course.

Using the following fact checking websites, you can verify factual assertions. Any search engine is a good place to start when doing a little fact finding. Search engines are very usefull for helping with your homework as well. Google Scholar and Google Books are great starting places.

Snopes is probably the best site to make sure you don’t fall for an urban legend, myth, or other form of misinformation. Snopes is very good at listing their sources at the end of each article. All the sources can be searched.

Factcheck is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Factcheck describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception in U.S. politics.” That is quite a mouthful, but a good source for anything in the political arena.

WhoWhatWhen is a database that contains information about famous people and famous events. The data can be assembled in various ways to create graphic timelines of periods in history or of the lives of individuals. Being a history buff I discovered that the composer Johann Sebastian Bach was alive when the first elevator was installed. Now isn’t that a cool bit of trivia?

Finally, an old standby to quickly check basic facts, such as the meaning of words, medical information, or overview articles, is an encyclopedia. One of the best free sources is that of Merriam-Webster.

By the way, the Great Wall of China is not the only man made object visible from the moon. Any guesses before you find the facts for yourself?