“I got nasty habits”

The first part of Four Moves and a Habit is the habit: Check yourself. That’s something worth remembering.

I saw a version of this in my Twitter feed yesterday:

I was impressed. The error is subtle until you see it, then it’s glaring. But there are problems with the key and the coloring coding too. The more I thought about the image, the more I wanted it to be a hoax. Because how is a mistake like that even possible?

So I did some detective work. You can find chapters of Glencoe Science: Biology online in PDF format. I didn’t find the image, and they don’t look like the image would come from there, but it’s possible that it’s from a different edition. I did find it on Reddit, which is a good place to get a hoax to spread. I did an image search in Chrome (which I could have done initially, but I wanted to see what else I could find first), and found the image on a lot of Pinterest pages and Reddit threads. You can filter Google search results by time, so I thought I’d play with that function. If I limit the search to the first week of July, there are no matching results. Same with the second week. On July 15, the image shows up in some Reddit threads and the Terrible Maps Facebook page. Signs point to “hoax.”

I can see why it spreads though. It’s so easy to be appalled and amused by it. It’s so easy to want to share the feeling. That’s why we need to check our emotions, as Caulfield’s book advises. Bad habits let falsehoods spread.

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