“Calling B*!!$#@t” Class

Welcome to Butte Public Library’s new “Calling Bullshit” class!1 What, exactly, is bullshit? American philosopher Henry Frankfurt first coined the term in 1985, and academics have debated the question ever since. For the purposes of this class, Bullshit is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence. Learning Objectives Our learning objectives are straightforward. After taking the course, you should be able to: Remain vigilant for bullshit contaminating your information diet. Recognize said bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it. Figure out for yourself precisely why a particular bit of bullshit is bullshit. Provide other people with an accessible and persuasive explanation of why a claim is bullshit. We will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be useful and broadly applicable. Discussion Guidelines Being critical and using critical thinking are not the same thing. You can disagree with opinions, but no personal attacks (a common logical fallacy). You can and should criticize issues we are discussing, based on the tools learned in the class. View news through an information literacy lens. This is not a public policy class, so we don’t need to debate the pros and cons of a specific policy or proposal. We want to understand how stories, policies, and proposals are communicated. Through the information literacy tools covered, we want to learn what and why something works or doesn’t work. Name the medium and specify the source. Is it the news media? Or social media? TV? Is it a news...

Hot Topics – Potential Consequences of the American Health Care Act

What’s in the Health-care Bill the House Just Passed? The Atlantic, May 4, 2017 American Health Care Act, Congressional Budget Office, March 13, 2-17 On the AHCA Vote and the Future of American Health Care (podcast), Brookings Institute, May 4, 2017 American Medical Association Condemns House Healthcare Passage, The Hill, May 4, 2017 Allowing States to Define “Essential Health Benefits” Could Weaken ACA Protections Against Catastrophic Costs for People with Employer Coverage Nationwide, Brookings Institute, May 2, 2017 Five Big Consequences of Trumpcare Win, BBC, May 4, 2017 The Facts on the GOP Healthcare Bill, Factcheck, May 4,...

“Calling B*!!$#@t” Evening Class

Join the Butte Public Library beginning in April for an 8-week class on “Calling B*!!$#@t”. Every Tuesday evening from 6:30-7:30 from April 4th-May 23rd, anyone interested in exploring the nature of arguments, facts, and thoughtful analysis is welcome as we explore the following in a course-like environment: Topics Week 1: Introduction to B*!!$#@t Week 2: Spotting B*!!$#@t Week 3: Logical Fallacies Week 4: Statistical traps Week 5: Visualization Week 6: The ethics of calling B*!!$#@t. Week 7: Fake news Week 8: Refuting B*!!$#@t According to Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, the creators of a University of Washington course that this library class is based on: Bullshit involves language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence. Calling bullshit is a speech act in which one publicly repudiates something objectionable. The scope of targets is broader than bullshit alone. You can call bullshit on bullshit, but you can also call bullshit on lies, treachery, trickery, or injustice. In this course we will teach you how to spot the former and effectively perform the latter. The aim of this course is to help the public identify bullshit, see through it, and combat it with analysis and argument. This class does not focus on any one political ideology; both sides of the aisle have a track record of spreading bullshit. Each week will include discussion, assigned readings, and optional resources for delving more deeply into the topic. Washington Post reporter Linton Weeks believes that “In the nonstop tsunami of global information,...

Big Library Read, 2017

Butte Public Library will take part in the Big Library Read program, the world’s largest global eBook reading club through libraries that connects millions of readers around the world with the same eBook at the same time. Montana library users will be able to borrow the eBook, Art of the Pie: one of 2016’s best cookbooks from pie-guru Kate McDermott, starting Thursday, March 16 and concluding on Thursday, March 30 by visiting http://montana.overdrive.com. Big Library Read is facilitated by OverDrive, the leading platform for eBooks and audiobooks from the library. Kate McDermott has taught the time-honored craft of pie-making to thousands of people. Her pies have been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Real Simple, Oprah.com, NPR and more. In the Art of the Pie she shares her secrets to great crusts, fabulous fillings, and to living a good life. Kate provides dozens of recipes for all the pie combinations you can dream up with hints and tricks helpful to even the most experienced pie baker. “If you are a first time pie maker, the words in the book are the very same ones I share in the pie making workshops and I hope they will give you the confidence to dip your hands into the baking bowl,” said author, Kate McDermott. “A recipe is a starting place, so feel free to experiment with different seasonings and flavor combinations that please you. I hope you will enjoy the stories in Art of the Pie as well as the recipes. It was a labor of love to write it for you.” Big Library Read is an international reading program that connects millions of...

2nd Annual Edible Book Festival

In conjunction with National Library Week, Butte Public Library is holding its 2nd Annual Edible Book Festival on Saturday, April 8 at 3:00 pm! The Edible Book Festival is an annual event usually held on or around April 1, which is also known as Edible Book Day. The global event has been celebrated since 2000 in various parts of the world, where edible books are created, displayed, and small events are held. The creations are photographed, judged by a panel of judges, and then consumed. There are two rules: entries must be edible and they must somehow relate to a book. Edible books can look like a book in form and shape, be inspired by a book or author, can be a pun of a book title, can refer to a book character, reproduce a book cover, or just have something to do with books in general. Entries may be made from anything that is edible (cake, bread, crackers, Jell-o, fruit, vegetables, candy, etc.) as long as it can sit out for an hour or two without melting, turning bad, or getting scary. Last year, the courageous participants in the 1st Annual Edible Book Festival explored a multiplicity of genres and foods. Whether you’re a professional chef or just like to play with your food, the festival is open to anyone in the community. If you need ideas, an online search of “Edible Book Festival” provides plenty of inspiration! Schedule for the 2017 Edible Book Festival on Saturday, April 8, 2017. 1:30-2:30pm – Participants drop off edible entries on the 3rd floor of the library in the Big Butte...