Fact checkers and fad smashers

John
John Gushue
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A site that takes politics out of the spin cycle, a pop-culture trove that takes itself surprisingly seriously and a daily dose for improving your vocabulary: all are stops on this week's hop around the Internet. Let's not dawdle.

Truth-o-Meter

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, the tenor of the debate gets, well, nastier. Attack ads, go-for-broke speeches, flat-out campaigning until November ... at least we're into the home stretch. The St. Petersburg Times, which is affiliated with the peerless Pew Institute and its renowned programs, has launched the Truth-O-Meter to help separate the wheat from the chaff, or the spin from the real deal. The idea is to fact-check claims made in commercials, speeches and public appearances, as well as to see whether the camps have erred as much as their opponents have claimed. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have already been found wanting; it'll be interesting to check regularly as the weeks roll along.

Surf's up - A site that takes politics out of the spin cycle, a pop-culture trove that takes itself surprisingly seriously and a daily dose for improving your vocabulary: all are stops on this week's hop around the Internet. Let's not dawdle.

Truth-o-Meter

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, the tenor of the debate gets, well, nastier. Attack ads, go-for-broke speeches, flat-out campaigning until November ... at least we're into the home stretch. The St. Petersburg Times, which is affiliated with the peerless Pew Institute and its renowned programs, has launched the Truth-O-Meter to help separate the wheat from the chaff, or the spin from the real deal. The idea is to fact-check claims made in commercials, speeches and public appearances, as well as to see whether the camps have erred as much as their opponents have claimed. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns have already been found wanting; it'll be interesting to check regularly as the weeks roll along.

AV Club

www.avclub.com/

A project of the Onion, the satirical powerhouse that has stretched its mocking, hilarious paws into any media line it can, AV Club kind of checks the outright tomfoolery at the door. Indeed, it takes its mission - covering the bases of pop culture - pretty seriously. As much as AV Club can smirk and roll its eyes, its writers often wear their passion on their sleeves.

Vocab Vitamins

www.vocabvitamins.com/

Maybe you take a multivitamin to keep your body in check; Vocab Vitamins would like you to think of it as a supplement for the brain ... particularly for your word capacity. Don't get scared away thinking this is a double-dose of good-for-you brain food; while it will enrich how you write and speak, it's fun to use. (Fun? I can do better than that. It's exuberant and entertaining, yet not frivolous.)

Flickrvision

flickrvision.com/

Every moment of every day, someone is posting a pic to Flickr, the photo-sharing service. Flickrvision lets you see what's going on, or up, as it were. A series of new images appear, tagged to the place on the planet where the user is based. If you like the shot, click (quickly - it's only there for a few seconds) on the user's name to see his or her individual page. It's a random kind of activity, but an enjoyable and often fascinating way to pass a few minutes.

Slickville

www.slickville.com/

Go, greased lightning! A site that pays tribute to those gents who put Brylcreem and comparable products in their hair, and then go to town. Check out Combover Corner (I'm not making that up) for a good chuckle.

BlogPulse

www.blogpulse.com/

Four or five years ago, it seemed theoretically possible to keep up with blog postings and traffic; now, it's impossible. If you track issues, brands, politics and other threads, consider BlogPulse as a tool to complement Technorati and other services. It's owned by Nielsen, so it comes with some credentials. That said, it seems to be subject to the same lopsided games that less-than-reputable websters can play; to wit, the top link one recent day was titled "It's better to prevent herpes than to treat it!", with a connection to an online pharmacy.

Bumper sticker ideas

funny2.com/bumper.htm

If you have access to a machine that can make bumper stickers - but lack an idea for something to say - visit this page, which has a wide variety of sayings (e.g., "When life hands you gators, make Gatorade"), some of which were sent in by readers.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: AV Club, St. Petersburg Times, Pew Institute Gatorade

Geographic location: U.S., St. John's

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