Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For Want of a Fact Checker -- Necessary Corrections

Ruffian Binturong
Thanks to our local library's Magazine Exchange program I am able to spend some time reading through many different publications than I ever would if I had to actually make a purchase to do so.  For instance, being an IT guy in my 9-to-5 weekday existence, I will typically pick up any copies of Wired that I see on the Magazine Exchange stands.  Plunking down many dollars for individual issues or an annual subscription, however, doesn't even cross my mind.

The Magazine Exchange is also a good place to find the more niche audience periodicals.  Several weeks ago I came across a pair of issues of Atlantis Rising, a magazine for those interested in the paranormal, investigations into psychic energies, U.F.O.s, the powers of ancient civilizations and alternative, internal energy sources.  One of the issues I picked up (#84 Nov/Dec 2010) has cover stories that read, "Is There Chess After Death?" and "Psychic Warfare in Romania".

Amongst the ads for books and DVDs exposing alien visitation cover-up conspiracies, time machines, magnets and wonder drugs, there was a full two-column correction by the subject of a recent cover story profilee, Andrew Basiago.  Therein lay my favorite bit of text from the entire issue:

20. The following is an inaccurate description of the probe to 2013 undertaken at ITT Defense in Nutley, NJ on November 5, 1971: "Basiago was tied to a post in his underwear under a bright light for an hour, wearing the helmet, when he disappeared.  He ended up above the water in Washington and immediately splashed into it.  This might more accurately have read: "The children were dressed in crystal helmets and time-space suits coated with titanium.  They were fastened to posts on the stage of the chronovisor so that they would not be injured during the probe.  When the bright light of the chornovisor was turned on, the children were seen to disappear from the stage.  Andy found himself hurtling through the quantum plenum for about a half-hour.  When the forward movement stopped, he found himself under water, above the US Supreme Court Building, like a scuba diver and could see algae on teh columns of the building" 
21. In regard to the "jump room" to Mars at the CIA facility in El Sugundo, CA, Mr. Kasten's description makes an inscrutable technology seem virtual or even fanciful when he writes: "it seemed to go up a few floors.  When the elevator doors opened, he was in a concrete bunker on Mars!"  Let me provide the full description.  What I have stated is that we signed in on the fifth floor; I reentered the elevator; the elevator went up to the eighth floor; I was advised via intercom that the teleportation to Mars would begin; lights at the top and bottom of the elevator began flashing; the 20-minutes journey to Mars began; the elevator morphed from a rectilinear to a cylindrical form at about the 10-minute mark, when the pressure was the greatest; the elevator returned to its original box-like shape; and when the elevator doors opened, I was in an underground base on Mars.

When in doubt, authors, double-check your facts.

-- Tom