A Lookout Changed My Outlook

I had the opportunity to tour through some of the Maritime provinces and parts of Newfoundland a year before the pandemic made such adventures a fantasy. While in St. John’s, my wife and I went to Signal Hill. I looked out over the Atlantic Ocean and panned past the narrow protective passage to the city’s safe harbour with the city’s buildings as a backdrop.

Now that’s a Lookout.

The French surrendered St. John’s to a British force in 1762. The location, then known as The Lookout, was renamed Signal Hill because of the signalling from the summit’s flag mast. Flag communication between land and sea would take place there from the 17th century until 1960.

The iconic Cabot Tower was declared officially open in 1900. The practical uses of the building were flag mast signalling and a Marconi wireless station.

On 12 December 1901, the first transatlantic wireless transmission was sent from Cornwall, UK, to Guglielmo Marconi in St John’s. This, much to the amazement of many who declared it was scientifically impossible.

Fake News might have been the catchphrase of that day. Impossible. Lies. Trickery.

It would have been hard to know with limited information sources until months later, whether the transmission had actually occurred.

But today, we have so many sources of information. I realized we all have a responsibility to increase our critical thinking skills. We are the older adults and seniors who need to take the time to pass on authentic information as best as we can.

Recently I’ve seen several innocuous photos on the internet. They didn’t pass the sniff test. On the scale of world peace, it didn’t really matter. They were still stunning photos.

But what if they were pictures that placed people in a place or doing things that could cause them harm? I wanted to be more skilled, more skeptical of what I saw or read.

So I went about educating myself to be better at being skeptical. I found a website that could easily and quickly give me a sniff test check of an image. So that colossal whale, swimming with its baby, passing under the San Francisco Bridge, was indeed a fake. The original poster openly posted it as his work with photoshop.

I’m getting much better at critically think about what I see or read. Soon, it will get almost impossible to tell the fakes without some checking.

So, at the very least, before sharing pictures and videos online, stop yourself. Take a good pause and ask yourself, does this seem reasonable. Because I agree with the content, am I too quick to believe it is true?

Please gives this a bit of a think. How good is my critical thinking? You owe it to those you might harm.

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment. I read every one.

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Thanks to the folks at Wikipedia and History.com

My continued thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley
Volunteer Blogger: The Blog: for those with a curious spirit