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How Cold is it?
December 13, 2010

As I drove into work this morning, the time and temperature sign at the First National Bank said it was minus 96 degrees.

Obviously, it is an error. We had a snowstorm. The temperature has plunged, but not to that degree.

The time function was not malfunctioning. The current time was flashing as it should.

Correct time. False temperature.

Now I would never report that the temperature in Iola was 96 degrees below zero even if I can correctly claim that that was what the time and temperature sign said. It was flashing those numbers, after all.

In some ways, the Internet is like that time and temperature sign. You can find just about anything online, fact or fantasy. After I have read things that I do not believe because they seem improbable, or I know them to be false, I wonder how many others might read the same things and believe them.

I’d like to think experience and alternative sources of information keep my feet on the ground.

How do you keep your feet on the ground and sort out fact from fantasy when you see things online?

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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