I chose the "Shards of Glass Freeze Pops" website: http://www.shardsoglass.com/shard.cfm?lp=1. If I encountered this in a websearch, I feel I would be fairly sure that this was a hoax website. Most people have stepped on a shard of glass before and know that it is painful. The idea that people would make freeze pops that are filled with pieces of glass is just ridiculous, because it would be so obviously dangerous and harmful. Additionally, the cutesy cartoon logo and the idea that these are popsicles -- a traditional dessert for kids makes it especially ridiculous. This website is a criticism of the tobacco industry, which is really interesting and is mentioned in one of the videos. As far as helping students realize that this website is a hoax I might ask them whether they have ever accidentally stepped on glass, was it painful (YES!!!) and whether they think that anyone would be able to sell these popsicles -- and whether they would be able to sell them to adults.
Minnesota Coconut Growers http://sunny.crk.umn.edu/courses/MISC/MCG/
Right away, I would question the idea of coconut growers in Minnesota. Coconuts are a tropical fruit; Minnesota's climate is not a tropical one that could sustain a crop of coconut trees. While skimming the site, I noticed that the information of how they grow the "special" coconuts tries to confuse the reader by using some scientific jargon. To me, this signified a questionable site or source of information.
I would tell my students that they need to be critical readers and users of the internet. They should also use common sense and past learning experiences to evaluate the validity of a site. I would also recommend researching a topic further, in this case the coconut tree, to see if the claims made on this site would hold up.
This should not take anyone to long to determine that it is a hoax! At least I hope not! Since dehydrated water is nothing, I hope people would realize they cannot eat or drink it! But I think this is a great site to take students to in the event that we are about to study about the eco system. I think it would be great fun to see students figure out that this site is a hoax and why they come to that decision. Then I could go into explaining condensation and such so they can understand. The education is two-fold in this case, since they can learn not to trust everything on the internet as well.
hoax = The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus.html)
I picked this site because the name of the site sounded puzzling to me. It got my curiosity as to what a tree octopus was. I figured it was a page about some species of octopi that I never heard of. After I visited the site, I figured out this was a hoax right away when I saw the images. On the first page of the site, there is a picture of an octopus in a pine tree. Just from my background knowledge of octopi, I knew that this was an image that was digitally fixed. Someone photoshoped an octopus into a tree. Further evidence of the site being a hoax were the "Cephalopod News" headlines and the support by GreenPeas.org (not GreenPeace).
I would talk to my students about what they know about octopi and ask them if it was possible for an octopus to live in a tree. I would also have them read the articles, like "Squidman set to bring up baby" and have them discuss with each other if it was possible. I would encourage them to use their background knowledge of octopi and maybe even create a research project out of this. I can have them research about octopi and prove why this site is a hoax.
http://www.genochoice.com/ the RYT Hospital at Dwayne Medical Center. My first question regarding the site would be where is Dwayne Medical Center located? Where are Elizabeth Preatner's medical degrees from? Why aren't there other links to different medical sites on this site's homepage? Where is there a Contact Us feature which allows a user to ask questions or comments to a site supervisor? There are no statistical facts on this site. There is no link or symbol that would show that this center is provided by the FDA. There is no written text with facts about genochoice. It is on a video. Not only is this not accessible for the deaf, but it offers no evidence as to the success of genochoice; it is very subjective.
Students should look for the validity of a site before using its information. Other links on a site can be very informative as to a site's validity. For example, if reputable med schools and the fda had links on this site I might be more inclined to believe it. Also, if it is a medical site proclaiming a cure, look for and analyze its research to see if it seems valid. Finally, not have any contact information for the institution where questions and comments can be directed is another warning sign that a site should not be taken as the absolute truth.
Hoax webpage: MoonBeam Enterprises and Lunar Travel Agency http://www.dreamweaverstudios.com/moonbeam/moon.htm
I would have been very skeptical about this webpage because first of all, I know man cannot breath on the Moon without any oxygen. Huge amounts of oxygen would be required. All the descriptions given about each place sounds like people can just go around as they please, like we do on Earth, but of course, that is physically impossible to do so. Also, space travel by everyday, ordinary people are not yet possible, although a guy did go up (he had $20 million and NASA couldn't say no to that kind of money). There are no information about whether there are homes or vacation resorts up there. If there were, it would have become very public knowledge and everyone would be going to the Moon as if it was another destination. Also, what kind of home can you get for only $19.99? Evidently it is a commerical website, trying to get some money off the future of space travel and building a space station on the Moon. Finally, at the very bottom of the main page, there is a sentence saying that there are currently no structures being built on the Moon. So... there you go. Definitely a hoax.
The hoax site is "Blondes 'to die out in 200 years'" in a page that looks like the BBC . It would be difficult to determine that this is a hoax because the site does look very official and contains links that do go to official BBC pages--like to the weather page. I looked at these websites critically by looking at ambiguous terms like "scientist" or "experts in Germany." Also, there is no byline on the article. Also, I did a Google search on the main scientist cited in the article and found that there were no links to him at the University of Edinburgh where he claimed to be on staff. I would tell my students that they need to find the author of the page, and the names of scientists/researchers who are supporting the claims. Also, I would require students to research the author and the people quoted in the article to find out if they are real people connected with real institutions. For example, I would have them use Yahoo or Google.
I chose shardsoglass.com. Aside from the obvious "tongue-in-cheek" parody of tobacco ads, there are several clues that this site is a hoax.
1. The invitation to find out more from consideryoursource.com.
2. Photograph of the CEO changes from a sneer to a smile.
3. Commercial that notes 1/3 of all people who eat shardsoglass freeze pops will die (again, like tobacco).
4. Terms of service goes on forever, again a parody of the legal disclaimers attached to cigarette use.
The site that I visited is whitehouse.org, which is a spoof of the real White House website. There are many ways to determine that the site is a hoax. First, the website ends in ".org." As we learned in class, government websites usally end in ".gov." The site contains anti-Bush paraphernalia. On the kids page, the site teaches children to be cigarette-safe kids. This includes smoking during bedtime and the importance of smoking during adolescence. On the Homeland Security page, there is information for Arabs and Muslims to register with the Department and plead their innocence if they have not yet been reported for interrogation. Obviously, the information on the website is fictitous as it would be inappropriate on the actual site.
When working with kids, I would explain the differences between "com," "gov," and "org." I might also review the website with the class and lead a discussion on the information provided on the site. Hopefully, they would learn to distinguish inappropriate or fictitous information from the real or factual information.
BBC News: Blondes 'To Die Out in 200 Years'
The news article about blondes is very short. Since they claim it is a scientific study, you would expect some numbers and stated evidence such as the major study led by a group of scientists. The passage is too broad. Plus, the date for when this site was last updated was way back in 2002, and we know that any news website like BBC is up-to-date.
I would tell my students that they should first use their intuition, if something sounds like it doesn't make any sense or is a bit fishy, that they could try to re-type their search in another search engine, or try making their search more specific with the use of "+" and "-".
Buy Dehydrated Water!! http://www.buydehydratedwater.com/
The hoax site that I chose is trying to convince people to buy 'dehydrated water' because natural water from reservoirs or the ocean have so much toxins and hazardous waste. They claim that their water is the only pure water because they dehydrated the water. By reading the URL itself, I was immediately able to find out that this was a hoax site because I knew there could be no such thing as dehydrated water.
I would advise my students to know how to use their common sense and knowledge to determine for themselves if something that they read on the the internet sounded fishy. I would tell them to not believe everything that they hear or read and that they themselves have to be the judges themselves. In order to confirm their suspicions, I would tell them to go back one page to return to google to see if the words 'contains fictitious information' come up next to the link.
Dehydrated Water http://www.buydehydratedwater.com/
This is a hoax because there is nothing left if water is dehydrated. That is like taking the water out of water. They discuss on the website the process of dehydration and it makes no sense. It talks about water being good for all diets, which is true but also a ridiculously obvious statement. Under the job listings sections, some of the benefits include: Unlimited Stress, Harassment of all sorts, Free transportation to work by mule, Complimentary Twinkies, Ketchup packets from McDonalds, Usage of our customers' credit cards, Unlimited toilet paper, and Air conditioned office (Winter months only). Obviously these are simply jokes. There are also joke testimonials and joke FAQs. So I would encourage my students to be critical of what they read on the internet (and what they hear everywhere). I will try to teach they to think about what they are reading and ask themselves if it makes sense. Then they should check the information from other independent sources.
Federal Vampire and Zombie Association - http://www.fvza.org/. This website is obviously a hoax and hopefully any students who were to come across this website would know that. However, if they did not they could see the disclaimer at the bottom that says it is for entertainment purposes only and is not a real website.
I would determine that http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus.html was a hoax because I know that octopi do not live in trees. They are unable to live out of water because they use gills to obtain oxygen from beneath the water. If any of my students were to come across this website, I would show them, through true educational materials, that the octopus does not and can not live in a tree and that they have to remain in the water to survive.
http://www.bk.com is unmistakably fake. For starters, who is Dr. Angus? His interventions are ridiculous. It gives the viewer tips how to stop beating oneself up, stop being a clean freak, or stop being a couch potato. Burger King is a large corporation and would never allow that kind of wordings or statements on its main website. Upon opening the website, the music is ridiculously loud and not appropriate for a fast food corporation. It was also advertising Yu-Gi-Oh the movie. It had a link for purchasing Burger Bucks. They require the purchaser to be over 18. That is skeptical.
The website was designed by Kazuki Takahashi Licensed by 4Kids Entertainment. I would think the actual burger king website would not advertize the artist.
Upon investigating, I have discovered that this website in fact is real. Please disregard the above. I chose www.malepregnancy.com. First of all, it is physically impossible for men to get pregnant. The Time Magazine cover has never been released or we would have seen it by now. The time stamp remains the same each time we enter the website. The website seems so fancy and too well advanced for the rest of the society to follow. Many new discoveries occured at this hospital. It is too much of a coincidence
I would first explain to my students that there are fictionous websites trying to convince us to believe things that are not really there. I would also explain how easy it can be to design our own website and put any information in it. Then introduce this website to the students. I will do a Yahoo search afterwards using some of the key words from the pregnancy website to see if it turns up in other engines. The lack of results would then show the students how fake it is. No matter how excellent the website may look, looks are deceiving.
I went to Vend a temp.com( http://www.vend-a-temp.com) and it was extremely easy to realize at first hand that this was a hoax as it is an absolutely impossible idea that makes no sense at all. Another thing that immediately gave it away was under the site partners, where it had such things as buy a new identity, com, and buy dehydrated water (H20). These two site also make no sense at all. Moreover, the purpose of this site makes no sense, with its claim of immediate cash flow. If such is the case, why would the founder of this site want anyone to know about it.
Two immediate ideas come to mind for students and recognizing hoaxes. First off, I think it's important to tell the students to think about what they are reading and buying into before they proceed. Just like comprehending a book, I will explain to them how websites CAN work like a fiction novel, and make little to no sense. I would also help the students by teaching them to explore the WHOLE site to mke sure it's legitimate, including all of the added links and bonuses, etc. I would also have the students be critical thinkers at all times and explain the importance of thinking wice before buying into giving any information about themselves as that can be dangerous.
The White House http://www.whitehouse.org
It is apparent that this site is fictitious and not the official white house site due largely to the satirical prose in which it was written. All of the headlines are biased or dripping with sarcasm. Even the images chosen of the politicians are poking fun by the silly expressions captured. The highly politically incorrect captions and headlines are a dead giveaway as to the site's credibility. I would warn my students to look over the entire site to see if they notice anything out of the ordinary or contrary to what they know as fact. If it tends to contradict that which they hold true and seems to be highly biased, it is most likely a hoax site containing fictitious information.