danah boyd's SXSW Edu keynote, What Hath We Wrought? builds on her essay from 2017 about the relationship of media literacy education to the rise of conspiracy theories and the great epistemological rift in which significant numbers of people believe things that are clearly untrue, from climate denial to flat-earthing.
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Apparently, some segments of the media are just catching up to The Great Duck Penis Meme of 2007
and the video-enhanced version from 2009
. If you've somehow managed to erase this from your memory (and lucky you), it turns out that duck penises are pretty freaky looking and can teach us a lot about how evolution works. Like a lot of basic research — the stuff that isn't directly about creating new products — duck penis studies have been funded by federal science grants. And this has put science writer Carl Zimmer in the awkward position of sticking up for duck erections
. In a great piece at The Loom, he explains why silly-sounding research matters and why duck penises are not a waste of your tax dollars. Read the rest