Peak Oil: Navigating Fact and Fallacy

20 Feb

The internet is packed with useful information. It is common for a Google search on a simple subject to return millions of results. As educated members of the web community, it is important that surfers of the digital waves know how to differentiate between a good source and a and an outdated Star Trek Fan Fiction Angelfire page.

John Henderson’s guide to critical analysis of websites is an online tutorial from the Library at Ithaca College. His tutorial offers simple instructions on how to weave through the information black hole called the internet.

As a child of the web, I grew up primarily using online research throughout my academic career. To a seasoned internet navigator, most of Henderson’s advice is second-nature. Below is an analysis exercise decoding several websites about Peak Oil.

1. Stephen Lendman for


The first thing I notice when I visit this site is the aesthetic. 2012 is an age of tight web design and easy navigation. Most legitimate news sources and sites keep a well-maintained and easily accesible user interface.

This website looks outdated. The layout is busy and the graphics are cheesy. The information is laid out with a handful of un-cited statistics and facts. The only background on the author reads “Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached” There are no listed sources or a works cited page.

2. Euan Mearns for


I was not sure about this article upon first glance. The website is navigate-able and updated, but seems outdated in design. I found the lack of author information slightly discrediting. I saw that the homepage was regularly updated, so I looked into the article with more depth.

The author, Euan Mearns, does a good job linking to his sources throughout the article. His graphs are emblemed with the insignia of known government agencies and his links guide readers to mostly respectable sources. The article is decently organized and highly commented on.

3. Number 6 for


This article loses immediate credit because Henderson’s page provided a dead link. When I searched though the main site’s archives I found the article. The website looks a little unprofessional but it is updated regularly and has a heavily visited comments section.

This article teeters on the line between suspicious and legitimate. The nameless author is an immediate red-flag. Many of the links lead to questionable and outdated blogs and web pages. Some of the links lead to respectable sites and reports. I would suggest using this article to find links to a useful articles.

4. Raymond J. Learsy for the Huffington Post


The Huffington Post has name recognition and Learsy’s bio is offered at the top of the article. It is noted that he is an established writer who has produced respectable and authoritative content in the past.

This article, however, is more editorial than factual. It contains one link to another Huffington Post article, written by him. He makes an argument against peak oil but does not accurately back it up with cited facts or reports.

5. Michael T. Klare for


This article is misleading at first. It is posted on a lone web page. It looks outdated and illegitimate. The layout is sloppy. However, in the first line, it cites the article’s original publication to The article is full of factual evidence cited with legitimate government agency links and other credible sources.

The author is a published professor at Hampshire College, an ELITE New England University, one that I currently attend as an undergraduate. The article is reposted on the questionable web page, but it is well cited and organized.


One Response to “Peak Oil: Navigating Fact and Fallacy”

  1. stevejfox February 28, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Good post. The Huffington Post piece, while opinionated, offers some good background information on the topic since this guy knows what he’s talking about.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: