The ever fascinating internet: sifting through massive amounts of information

I have been thinking about the boys that were stuck in that cave in Thailand. According to the news the other morning, they are now all out. It reminded me of that Chilean mine rescue years ago, 2010, remember? They brought in a specially made capsule to rescue the trapped men one by one…I was up all night following along. Left a huge impression on me.

Same with these boys.

It’s heart wrenching to think about these things in concrete, tangible terms. A kid, any kid, and now all these adults, some of whom have kids, families, putting their own life on the line for a rescue mission. Working for a common cause, a desired result, coming together, sharing expertise. One rescuer died in the process of saving young lives…I think about him, and his family, too.

It’s enlightening to think about the combined efforts of so many people, often across international borders, that come together for the single purpose to save lives.

How easy has the internet made it for us to get real time, instant information? With a few clicks, you can be right there following along.

This is both good and bad. The internet has a lot of incorrect, embellished, and yes, fake news alongside the honest, professionally reported news stories.

How does one know the difference? What is true, what isn’t?

It’s something that comes up when you watch school aged kids google randomly for information, be it for homework or self-interest.

It’s tough, at times, even for well read adults, parents, to sift through the massive amount of garbage on the web.

I have no answers on how to do this. I have my methods, and I periodically change my methods. I do know this: a lot of people rely on Wikipedia, me included, for the first glimpse of something peaking an interest. I used Wiki above to link to the Chilean mine rescue. I also know that many college aged students, about half who are international visiting Canada on student visas, see no qualms in quoting Wiki in their papers and deem it official or correct.

I’m not knocking Wiki, it has a place in today’s technologically driven society, I just don’t think it belongs in a thesis, or even a school project of a specific niche. Especially not in a post-secondary institution. For example, if you were to research a type of airplane, say a Boeing, why would you go to Wiki when you can get official information directly from the Boeing website, which will also link to other, official, say manufacturing websites?

This is the struggle with college students from the professor’s perspective, and I see this as a direct link of how the high schools allow these practices to continue. And the elementary schools preparing the kids to continue this way in high school and beyond.


In elementary school, providing sources of age-appropriate web content to the still very young students would eliminate the random googling in my view. I see some teachers do this now, but not all. I also see my 10 year old reduced to tears with overwhelm when she googles for her homework.

“There is too much information here”, she cries and I look at her history and feel equally overwhelmed. But I’m better equipped to sort through her stuff and after a lengthy argument discussion I finally get access to the teacher’s instructions and, lo, there are five or six links she made available for the students to use.

“How come you’re not reading these?” I ask her.

“It’s in French!” she responds unhappily.

We go through the first few sentences together where I can direct her to recognize some of the words, and with Word Reference open in another tab, she manages to get the gist figured out.

“This link is age appropriate for you and your teacher selected it because the words are recognizable at your level”, I explain.


In the meantime, if you want some entertainment while reading (or watching) potentially depressing news on the internet, click away. There was this one story of one of the Chilean miners who had a wife and a long-term mistress, neither of the women knew about each other. The news leaked in cyberspace while the elaborate rescue was underway, and the drama evolved for the world to follow along.

Astonishing. Also maddening for those who wished for a bit of privacy…

Wonder what happened to him when he got out of the capsule. I never did check back when they all emerged from their entrapment.

Perhaps I will click around a bit after I pour myself another coffee. 😉

Here it is, the drama of the wife and the mistress.

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