Morning Toolbox – October 17, 2012 – Meet, Develop, Disavow

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

I’ve pointed out before that journalists seem to be building more tools than skeptics – there are many interesting skeptic-relevant projects coming out of journalism circles. So many, that Knight-Mozilla OpenNews has introduced Source, a hub for all that activity. Developers can share their work, collaborate and so on. I think skeptic developers would be wise to keep an eye on this.

Read on for more news of interest to skeptics working online…

Recent Google algorithm updates aimed at spam have raised the possibility that someone might be able to damage your site’s reputation by linking to you from “spammy” web sites. Given the recent battles over site reputation, this might frighten some skeptic webmasters. Google will send you a warning if they notice such activity, but if you didn’t create the links how do you respond? Now Google has introduced a link disavowal tool for this case. Lets hope we don’t need it.

Ever wonder how some web sites make their money? If you don’t know how, you might actually be the product. A new site helps you answer that question. Hope they cover more sites as time goes on.

Here’s a nice look behind the scenes at FactCheck.org and how the people there debunk incorrect information in the media. (No, I’m not related to the Robert Farley mentioned in the article).

Big news about Alpha Centauri yesterday. But earlier this week the first planet in a four-star solar system was discovered through the crowdsourcing project planethunters.org. What crowdsourcing projects do you work on?

If you want to do some data-driven skepticism, eventually you’ll need to present your results. Infogr.am is yet another site aimed at easy creation of infographics.

Here’s a review of a new transcription app called Transcribe Me.

Looks like Lanyrd has generally launched their meeting and introduction features, which they teased in a blog post last month. You can indicate on the site which speakers or attendees of events you’d like to meet, and the site provides some messaging capabilities around that. Looks handy, especially with CSICON coming up next week.

Follow me on Twitter at @krelnik.  You can submit stories there or via submit at whatstheharm.net.

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