Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kitchen Myths

When I saw this blog on using Kitchen Myths as the objects of information literacy challenges, I thought this could be useful for getting students to practice search skills.

The more I think about it, however, I'm not so sure what skills would be needed or how hard these challenges might be. Take for instance, "Lobsters scream with pain when boiled." Is that true or false? Kitchen mythology would indicate it is true.

But to search for verification, what would a search do? The statement suggests you search for
lobsters scream boil
Try that and you'll get something like this in the results (top five from Google):

Do Lobsters Really Scream When You Put Them in Boiling Water ...

WikiAnswers - Do lobsters really scream when you put them in ...

Is it true that chefs can hear a lobster screaming when dumped in ...

Lobster Tales - Do Lobsters Scream?? (a sequel)

being Boiled Hurts - Lobster

The positions of these five resources agree that lobsters cannot scream (they lack vocal chords) but as for experiencing pain, the answers (in order) are No, Yes but No,  No, Yes (kind of), Yes. Taken as a whole, that's 3 no's, 1 yes and 1 YouTube video that's a dramatization of a guy screaming while three lobsters are being boiled.

Finding results is easy using the keywords in the myth. Deciding whether lobsters scream is pretty conclusive too. But whether they feel pain or not is conjecture based on the neurology of invertebrates. No one knows for sure what a lobsters feels.

This particular challenge requires reading the results, interpreting them and doing some evaluation. The proponent "for" lobsters feeling pain is David Wallace. He could be the object of further investigation. What are his credentials?

I'll leave it at that. Maybe you'd like to explore some of the other kitchen myths and see what kind of search challenges they make.

Any conclusions that can be reached about lobsters and pain?

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