Don’t Be Fooled: Use the SMELL Test To Separate Fact from Fiction Online

S stands for Source. Who is providing the information?
M is for Motivation. Why are they telling me this?
E represents Evidence. What evidence is provided for generalizations?
L is for Logic. Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?
L is for Left out. What’s missing that might change our interpretation of the information?

via MediaShift . Don’t Be Fooled: Use the SMELL Test To Separate Fact from Fiction Online | PBS.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2013)  Runners, joggers and walkers will take to the streets of Anaheim on Sunday morning, Jan. 20, as part of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.  The Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, taking place Friday – Sunday, Jan. 18-20, is part of runDisney’s series of events in Anaheim.  Please note the following temporary road closure schedule for Sunday morning only.*  Commuters are encouraged to plan accordingly.

  • Disneyland Dr. (12:00–10:00 a.m.) between Katella and Magic Way
  • Disneyland Dr. (4:30-7:30 a.m.) between Magic Way and Ball Rd. (Access to Mickey and Friends Parking only)
  • Ball Rd. (4:30-7:30 a.m.) between Disneyland Dr. and Harbor Blvd.
  • Harbor Blvd. (4:30-9:00 a.m.) between Ball Rd. and Disney Way (runners will continue the course through the Disneyland Resort property; I-5 fwy northbound off-ramp to south Harbor Blvd. closed between 5:00-8:00 a.m., and I-5 fwy southbound off-ramp closed between 5:00-8:00 a.m.)
  • Walnut St. (4:30-7:30 a.m.) between Magic Way and Manchester Ave.
  • Broadway (4:30-8:00 a.m.) between Manchester Ave. and Anaheim Blvd.
  • Harbor Blvd. (4:30-8:00 a.m.) between Broadway and Center Street
  • Center Street (4:30-8:00 a.m.) between Harbor Blvd. and Anaheim Blvd.
  • Harbor Blvd. (4:30-8:00 a.m.) between Broadway and Ball Rd.
  • Ball Rd. (4:30-8:30 a.m.)  between Harbor Blvd. and Anaheim Blvd.
  • Anaheim Blvd. (4:30-9:00 a.m.) between Ball Rd and Disney Way.
  • Race concludes on the Disneyland Resort property.

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course will take participants on Anaheim city streets, past landmarks and entertainment stations, and through the Disneyland Resort on a course different from the Disneyland Half Marathon event, traditionally held over the Labor Day weekend.  The Tinker Bell Weekend also includes the Neverland 5K, Kids Races, and Pasta in the Park party on Saturday.  In addition, a health and fitness expo featuring merchandise products, apparel and guest speakers will take place at the Disneyland Hotel Friday and Saturday.

For more information please visit

*Times are Pacific Standard Times and approximations.  Information is subject to change without notice.

Airships and Helium shortages

I saw a post about airships on Boing Boing and immediately thought about the Helium shortage.

Anne Blythe, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) writes via The Sacramento Bee:


The University of Nebraska says that until the gas is more readily available, it will abandon its time-honored Huskers football tradition of releasing thousands of helium-filled balloons after the first touchdown.


balloon fiesta The International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., will not have helium balloons

going up in the October event this year. Instead, the gas balloons will switch to hydrogen.


Once heavily regulated by the federal government, helium production has been increasingly privatized in recent years. That has made it almost as complicated as the gasoline industry.


“The buzzword is there’s a ‘shortage,’ ” said Sharon Collins, a co-owner of Balloons and Tunes in Carrboro. “We think there’s an issue with the delivery of helium rather than a shortage.”

I wonder: are suppliers creating an artificial shortage in order to jack up the prices charged to the government for airships?

Blythe continues:

The United States alone produces 75 percent of the world’s helium. And roughly 30 percent of that world supply comes from the U.S. Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas, at a huge natural underground reservoir called the Bush Dome.


In 1996, Congress moved to privatize the federal helium program, requiring that all the government’s helium supplies be sold off by 2015, according to a June report in Popular Mechanics magazine.

Why deplete the government’s helium reserve if it has such high demand?

Though new private helium production plants are expected to start up in the coming years – a plant is projected to open this fall in Wyoming – private industry hasn’t jumped as quickly to produce helium as Congress hoped.

Why should they?  What incentive do they have?  It’s inelastic demand, like gasoline.  Keep supply tight and prices stay high.

The federal government, which sets helium prices, announced in April that enormous price spikes were coming.

I thought it was privatized.  Why and how are they setting prices?

According to Devin OToole:

the helium shortage has been caused by a variety of coinciding factors, particularly plant outages and shutdowns across the globe.

Here are some “coinciding factors” of interest:

The Helium Stewardship Act of 2012 is getting attention, though gives it a 5% chance of enactment.

Whatever the cause is, I think we’ll be seeing fewer helium party favors as the government, medical, and construction industries gobble it up.

Scripting News: There’s so much to hate in Romney

Dave Winer writes:

On Twitter last night I said some things that, if I were a Republican, would sound horrible

My distaste for those remarks had nothing to do with party affiliation; I’d be disgusted with those same remarks about Obama.

and probably would cause me to unfollow.

I won’t unfollow you.  I followed you because you are free-thinking, controversial, and innovative.  I want to understand you because the solution to our country’s problems lies somewhere between the Left and Right.

To Republicans who follow me, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t use my communication channel to say what I think about an election in my country.

I agree.  I just think “slapping” and woefully “humiliating” are a bit much.  Those are domineering words.  In today’s post, you’ve communicated the same message without using those words.

Hate is a strong word.  It fuels wars.  But, it is your opinion.

Block me if you wish, but I think you are open-minded enough to see that I was just trying to have an open dialogue.  I don’t understand why politics must be so divisive.

via Scripting News: There’s so much to hate in Romney.