Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Answer: Your everyday fact-checking? What do you do?


We all need some basic fact-checking skills... 

This week's Challenge was about what you do in your personal fact-checking.  How often do you check?  How do you check?  What do you check? 

A wave of assertions comes at you every day.
Which are correct? Which ones do you check? How do you check?  




I gave the example of reading that over 1 million acres of California had burned in the past couple of weeks due to the wildfires.  (See my earlier post on searching for maps and charts showing the wildfires: A few wildfire monitoring sites.)  

There's a lot of questioning about what people are saying (or writing)--is it true and believable?  This is going around these days, and leads to our  Challenge for the week.  

A slight update/revision to my post:  After thinking about this all week, I've decided to change my language a little bit.  This post is about "Fact-Checking," but I've changed my mind about this.  The word "fact" has built into it an assumption that it's true.  (The classic definition of fact is "a thing that is known or proved to be true.")  Instead, I'm going to change my language to be about verification of assertions.  That is, this is a post about verfication of assertions that people make, and not "fact-checking" per se.  Generally speaking, people rarely check "facts," but they do verify the things people assert to be true.  Note that I've changed the Challenges below to reflect this.   

Here are my answers, along with some Regular Reader contributions:  

1.  About how often do you spend the time to verify something you learned about?  

As Regular Readers Ramón and Arthur say, "It depends."  For me, I tend to check assertions that people make that seem especially consequential.  That is, is the assertion something that will make a difference to my life or to the progress of something I care about?  I also look up assertions that don't match with what I already know.  

That was the point of my "1 million acres burned" check.  I couldn't imagine what 1M acres would be like.  Is that a lot, or not much?  I care because it's my home state: I love to spend time out in the wildlands and was wondering if this was going to affect my future visits, or affect the experience of future generations.  I have a couple of kids, and want their state to be a place of natural beauty, and not leveled by fire.  

So, I care about this and want to understand this number: Is 1M acres a lot, or a little?  In essence, I want to understand the context of the assertion.  

First, how BIG is 1M acres?  That's why I sketched that map last week to show what 1M acres would look like if it was next to my home in the San Francisco Bay.  

What 1 million acres looks like near my home

When I drew this, I realized that this is a big chunk of California.  As Regular Reader Peter Kidd pointed out, if the article had pointed out that 1M acres is  "...less than 1% of California's 105 million acres, it would have provided context, and readers would have been able to visualise it better."

Another kind of context is to look at California wildfires historically.  Doing the search for:

    [site:.gov california wildfire acres history] 

quickly gets me to the official state firefighting historical data at CALFIRE.  At that site you can quickly find the total acres burned over the past several years: 

2019       259,823
2018     1,671,203
2017     1,248,606
2016        669,534
2015        880,899

And so forth.  You get the idea that 1M acres isn't uncommon for the amount burned per year.  This is especially true when you look at the largest California wildfires, all of the top 10 (by size) are within the past 20 years.

That kind of searching for contextualizing information is important when you do fact-checking.  You want to know how what you're learning fits into the broader picture of the story.  

Bottom line:  These days I tend to spend more time checking up on things I read, primarily assertions that are relevant to me, my work, or issues that I care about.  (And in 2020, that's probably about 1 hour / day, although I realize that's more than most people probably do.)   I included searching for contextualizing information in that number.  


2.  When you DO decide to verify something, what motivates you to do so?  

As I said above, I check when it's personally important to me (or to my work, or to issues that I care deeply about).  

In these pandemic / pre-US election days, I find myself checking on assertions about COVID-19 cures, infection rates, and the various assertions made by politicians that are relevant to me.  No, I don't  check every crazy thing that people write about.  For instance, Pizzagate was a conspiracy theory that seemed outrageous on the face of it.  Some people took it seriously, but I didn't bother to check on the assertion that a pedophile ring was being run by Democrats from a pizza place in DC.  If I checked on all such assertions, I wouldn't do anything else. 

RR's Ramón and ikijibiki both point out that they check things that are big surprises for them.  And I guess I do that too, but mostly for music, science, and technology. I don't verify every surprising thing.  

Bottom line:  I check assertions that make some contact to my world.  These days, that's a lot of stuff, but I carefully limit my checking behavior to things that I can influence or have direct relevance to my life.  (Admittedly, I also do some checking of news stories of global importance, but that's not my usual gig.)  


3.  What do you do to verify (Do you have a preferred set of sites that you appeal to for the inside story?  How much backtracking of data do you do?)  

As we've already said, verification is a big, big, big topic.  I teach entire classes on this topic (and would love to teach for an entire semester on this--anyone interested?).  And, in some sense, that's what SearchResearch is all about.  

BUT... let me add a couple of note about what I find myself doing.  

A.  Go to the source.  As RR Jeff points out, "go to the source" of the assertion / story.  A great rule-of-thumb: If you can't backtrack from the story to the source, be very skeptical of the story.  (Don't believe anyone if they say "a friend told me...")  Good writers, credible writers, will list their sources and give a way to validate why they wrote what they wrote.  

B. Use well-known fact-checking sites.  As you know, many high quality fact-checking sites already exist.  Here are a few that I use in my research:  Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck.org.  (There are others, see this list by the UC Berkeley library, but these are my go-tos.)  

You can do specific site searches, such as this one to find out about the story that Obama banned immigration from Iraq for six months in 2011.  Note that I've included both fact-checking sites 

[obama iraqi visa ban 2011 site:snopes.com OR site:politifact.com] 

C.  Do a fact check search.  If you're not sure that a story is covered by a Snopes-type site, try adding in the context term "fact check" to your query.  For example: to check the rumor that lasers were used to start wildfires in California, search for: 

 [ lasers used in wildfires in
     california fact check] 

D.  Do one more search.  I say this all the time... but BEFORE you repost anything, please do one more search.  For the internet's sake.  The obvious Google search will at least give you some diversity and perspective.  That alone will be useful.  

Note that, as you might have predicted, there are fake fact-checking sites out there.  Be sure you know the quality of the fact-checking site before you trust it!  


4.  Finally, do you have a story about a fact that you checked recently?  Can you tell us what you did and how you went about checking?  

I told you my wildfires and acreage story.  That was pretty typical--it was an issue I care about, so I spent a few minutes running it down and searching for some additional context information.  

As
 PBS notes: “Not every topic warrants a “both sides” approach. Some viewpoints are simply not backed by empirical evidence or are based on false information. And researchers have to be careful not to think of them as euqally legitimate sides of a debate. If they do, they are creating a “false equivalence.”


Search ReSearch Lessons 


Well.. the entire post is one big lesson! But take special note of these points: 

1. You can't verify everything.. be selective in how your spend your verification energy. The more efficient you are at skilled research, the better you'll be at verification.  It's an important skill to have, and to be practiced at doing it.   

2. Be sure you understand the context of what you're checking. Often that means doing some additional research to understand what else is going on.  You need to know a bit about the place and time and circumstances to be able to evaluate some things.  Do those context searches as well. 

3.  Go to the source.  All verifiers (aka "fact checkers") learn the basic skill of tracking backwards from the assertion to the source.  Be good at that skill.    

4. Use well-known fact-checking sites.  Consider using the pro fact-checking sites to help out: SnopesPolitifactFactCheck.org.  (Also see this list by the UC Berkeley library.)   

5.  Do a fact check search.  Consider adding in "fact check" into your search as a context term to help you find those useful results.  

6.  Do one more search. As always--look for surrounding information from OTHER sources to help you see what else is going on with this story.  

Thanks for all the comments.  

For those  who want to sharpen their verification / fact-checking skills, here are some useful online courses: 



(If you take these course, let me know how you like them!) 

Search on!  




Saturday, September 12, 2020

A few wildfire monitoring and satellite image sites (Sept 12, 2020)

 

People keep asking me: 


Dan, what's the best site to monitor the fires in California?  Or a variation on that: What's the best site to get satellite images of fires in the West?  

Without going into all the detail, here's my list of favorite sites, and a brief explanation about what each has that's special.  

1. Zoom.earth – excellent near-real-time imagery – they also have a Fire Spots layer that you can turn on/off.  They also update their images very frequently.  I like to click through hour-by-hour to see a time-lapse of the conditions.  


Zoom.earth


 

2.  NASA Worldview daily summary images, with many overlays of data.  If you're an advanced satellite image user, this is the place to go to get different spectral views.  These can be immensely useful. 


NASA Worldview



 

3.  ARCGIS fire mappers With live wind and fire perimeter updates.  Coverage: US and Canada.  


 

ARCGIS Firemapper


4. San Diego Supercomputer Center / NSF firemap.  Another great map with many (and different!) layers that you can turn on/off.  Use the layer selector widget in the upper right corner of the map.  (Here I've turned on the fire perimeter map, but if you turn on the "housing density" layer, you can see part of the wildland/urban interface problem.)   

SDSC & NSF firemap


 

5.  National Wildfire Coordinating Group  Good maps showing final extent of fires using Public NIFS perimeters (which seem to be from ARCGIS).  Clicking on a fire shows a LOT of data about the fire: name, acreage, %-contained, fire management group assigned, total personnel on the fire, land ownership, etc.


National Wildfire Coordinating Group fire map


There are more, dozens more, but these are the ones I find my self turning to when I need a quick update.  Hope you find them useful.  


If you know of any others that should be here, let me know in the comments.  


Search on! 


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

SearchResearch Challenge (9/9/20): Your everyday fact-checking? What do you do?


In the swirl of current news and political tempests, we all need some basic fact-checking skills... 

... and I'm curious about what you do to exercise the ability to do some basic checks on the things you read. 

A wave of assertions comes at you every day.
Which are correct? Which ones do you check? How do you check?  



For instance, I recently read an article that claimed that over 1 million acres of California had burned this year.  True or not?  

As you lead your life, hearing or reading the news, you'll get many such assertions:  Politician X said outrageous statement Y.  Or that some terrible / horrifying policy is have such-and-such an effect on the environment / group of people /  city / state.  

There's a lot of this going around these days.  I know what I do, but I'm curious about what you do in your day-to-day practice.  And this leads to our  Challenge for the week: 

1.  About how often do you spend the time to fact-check something you learn about?  

2.  When you DO decide to look up something, what motivates you to do so?  

3.  What do you do to fact-check?  (Do you have a preferred set of sites that you appeal to for the inside story?  How much backtracking of data do you do?)  

4.  Finally, do you have a story about a fact that you checked recently?  Can you tell us what you did and how you went about checking?  

In my case, when I read about the "1 million acres of California had burned this year" I was suspicious.  That seemed like a really large number. 

A quick back of the envelope calculation (aka Fermi Estimation, as we discussed a while back) told me that 1M acres is roughly 1600 square miles (about 4600 square km).  A space that size would be 40 miles on a side.  The distance from San Francisco to Mountain View (the Googleplex) is about 40 miles, and going east from there takes you to the edge of the Central Valley.  

I did a quick sketch in Google Maps to get a sense of the size of 1M acres (that is, 1600 square miles).  Here's what I drew.  (The calculation is done automatically by Google Maps.)  


 Now that I see it this way, the 1M acres number is fairly plausible.

So I went back to the SF Chronicle fire tracker and added up the first few fires by acreage burned: 

     LNU Lightning Complex:  375,209

     SCU Lightning Complex: 396,624

     Creek Fire:                    152,833

     CZU Lightning Complex:   86,509

     W-5 Cold Springs:            74,819

 

375,209 + 396,624 + 152,833 + 86,509 + 74,819 = 1,085,994


And that's just the top 5 fires in the state, and none of them are contained.  There are 58 fires listed on that page--so this implausible / outrageous number is in fact a low estimate.  The reality is much higher and we're still a couple of months away from the end of fire season.  


But you see my point: the number sounded too large to be true, but a quick estimate of what 1M acres looks like suggests that it's not an implausible number.  Doing a quick search to get some data from a reliable source tells me that it's way low.  The reality is, by the end of the year, going to be more like 2M acres of California consumed by wildfire.  


In this case my fact-check strategy was to find a reliable source of data (the SF Chronicle Fire Map, which collects data directly from satellite data).  In their methodology section (which they actually included in the article--hurrah!), the fire perimeters are based on infrared and thermal imaging from NASA's MODIS and VIIRS-I data products.  


This isn't a complex fact-check, but it shows my key point.  


But now I'm curious about your behavior.  What do YOU do to fact-check things you see and hear?   


Let us know by posting in the comments.  


Search on! 





Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Answer: Find a time-lapse MAP of wildfire growth in California?

 Since our last post, the situation has gotten worse...  



When I originally posted this SRS Challenge, the fire map for the Bay area looked like this: 

Aug 26, 2020

 

Now, it looks like this: 

Sep 7, 2020

While it's easy to get the news about the fires, and easy to find information about the CURRENT extent of the fires, it's a little harder to find a kind of time-lapse of fire growth over the past several days. 

How did fire map 1 turn into fire map 2?  That's what I want to see--the change over time of the fire outlines.  

(Reminder: current fire map from ARCGIS)

But it's not trivial to find such an animated map.  Can you help me with this week's SRS Challenge and locate one for us?  


1.  Can you find a time-lapse map of the growth of the current fires in the San Francisco Bay Area?  (Roughly, the area shown in the map above.)  Ideally, the animated map should go back to around August 16, 2020, the date the CZU Lightning Fire Complex was started by a sudden flurry of lightning strikes.

This turns out to be harder than I thought.  I naively assumed that such a time-lapse photo would be fairly straightforward.  

As usual, our Regular Readers came up with some impressive finds. 

Mike searched for [CZU fire animation ] (recall that "CZU" is the name of the fire complex near me (and near Mike).  That led to this animation of Central California from Aug 15 - 25.  

Single frame from GIF showing fire spread.

While you can see that this GIF is derived from some data source, but no attribution is given.  By squinting hard enough, you can make out the watermark in the upper left and identify the source as NASA's FIRMS (Fire Information Resource Management System).  By searching for that [ NASA FIRMS fire ] you'll find their remarkable website:  NASA Worldview.  At that site, you can create these GIFs for a given time span and location on Earth.  Here's a GIF I made for the SF Bay Area from Aug 23 - Sep 7, 2020.  You can see the fires when they're active (marked in orange dots), and the smoke plumes. 

Animated GIF from NASA Worldview. 
Not quite a map, but showing where the fires are.


That's good, but can we do better?  

Ramón used variations on queries like [California fires 2020 map timelapse] to find a few more maps that are nice, but show the current state of the fire.  Example: The SF Chronicle's fire map of the state. (Interestingly, it's the same as the LATimes fire map. Hmm...)   Even Google's fire map is fairly disappointing as it shows only current fires, no time lapse (and, frankly, is missing a few fires).  

But here's the Times/Chronicle map, which shows how bad the situation is at the moment (Sep 8, 2020): 

P/C LA Times

And a closeup, which shows the Creek fire (the large blob in the center-right): 


By using a query like [ California animated fire map ], Ramón found the remarkable YouTube video,  California wildfires: 1910-2019 by the geo-mapping company ESRI.  This is well worth watching for the historic context of wildfire in our state.  


These are nice pieces of work, but not quite what I was looking for.  I want to see how the local fires started, grew, and built-up over time.  How can we do that? 


Jon managed to find a useful Tweet from CALFIRE and learned that the kind of maps we're looking for are called progression maps, which led him to find this animated map on Twitter.  This is pretty good, and almost exactly what I'm looking for!  


(I can read that this map is from "Incident Management Team 3" but I can't find the source.  Does anyone know what the source is?)  



The big winner of the week was Terry, who started with [California fire map multi-day] and other variations on the last term (including "tracker" which seems to equate to "real-time" in practice). Terry looked at the local news coverage on the SF Chronicle site where she found this page, which was really what I had in mind when I posed the Challenge--it shows the fires, their perimeters, and lets you drag the time slider back and forth to see exactly what you need to see.  This is an interactive progression map, although they don't call it that on the page.  Interestingly, Terry ran across this page by accident (and doesn't now remember exactly how).  Interestingly, 

A view of the fires over time from the SF Chronicle.

From this interactive visualization I extracted a few key dates in the fires burning nearest to my home: 



While I was writing this post, I spent (too much!) time with the FIRMS data set and found that it's pretty simple to create a time-lapse video of a region of the world and then download it to your computer.  (Use Worldview Snapshots.)  

I made a video segment showing the relevant part of California over several days (Sep 6-9, 2020).  Here's the YouTube version of it.  Note that you can pause the video, then advance it manually by clicking judiciously on the scrubber bar to go from hour-to-hour, day-to-day.  


Or, if you'd like, you can download the original Quicktime MOV format here.  If you watch it using Quicktime from your desktop, it's much easier to browse back-and-forth, hour-by-hour, to get a sense of the drama of California wildfires.  



Search Lessons 


This wasn't a straightforward task.  Here are a few lessons I take away from this Challenge.  

1. Finding the right terminology wasn't easy.  We learned about progression maps and perimeter maps.  Both are better ways to describe what I was looking for than just "time lapse" or "animated."   Those terms don't hurt, but if you can find the precise language, so much the better.  

2. Looking for the original source is almost always a great idea.  In a couple of cases, we found examples of maps we wanted (often as animated GIFs), but looking for the original source almost always revealed more information (in different formats, with more precise time and location) that we wanted.  Track backwards!  (It should an instinct in all Regular SRSers!) 

3. Keep track of what you find.  As Terry pointed out in her comment, she stumbled across the interactive wildfire progressive map viewer, and then had to go back through her search history to re-find it.  I have to admit that I never saw this page when doing MY searching.  But her experience points out the value of remembering that you can search through your own search history by visiting google.com/history -- browse through THAT if you want to re-find something that, in retrospect, seems about right.  I try to keep pretty good notes when I'm searching, and I usually leave the tab of a good page open until I'm all done with my research! 


Hope you found this an entertaining search!  We're still living with orange skies and flakes of ash falling down all over outside.  Hope it's calmer where you are.  


Search on! 


Thursday, August 27, 2020

SearchResearch Challenge (8/27/20): Find a time-lapse MAP of wildfire growth in California?

 

As you probably know, 



... California is having what is probably the worst fire season in the past few centuries.  It's bad enough that I check the local Air Quality Index before I go outside to do anything active.  When the AQI get above 125, it definitely smells smoky, and above 150, you'll see small white ashes drifting down out of the heavy, scary, deep gray sky.  

While it's easy to get the news about the fires, and easy to find information about the CURRENT extent of the fires, it's a little harder to find a kind of time-lapse of fire growth over the past several days. 

Here's an image of the current fire map from ARCGIS

The current state of the wildfires in the Bay Area.  I'm in Palo Alto, at the X
marked near the bottom of the Bay on the west side. 

But there's no easy way to see what the fire was like 7 days ago.  Of course, I can take a screenshot every day and construct a time-lapse image of the fires. (I should have started on Day 1!)   That way I can see their rate of growth, their direction of growth, and spread.  


But it's not trivial to find such an animated map.  Can you help me with this week's SRS Challenge and locate one for us?  


1.  Can you find a time-lapse map of the growth of the current fires in the San Francisco Bay Area?  (Roughly, the area shown in the map above.)  Ideally, the animated map should go back to around August 16, 2020, the date the CZU Lightning Fire Complex was started by a sudden flurry of lightning strikes.

As always, let us know HOW you found the animated map?  What strategies did you use to find it?  

For the record, I have not yet found such a map.  We might have to make it on our own.  

  

Search on!  (And stay healthy. I now have two reasons to wear a good mask.)  


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Answer: Why are some state boundaries so ... odd?


 Why is the US/Canada border so complicated and strange?  


If you look at a map of the United States, most of it kind of makes sense.  There are lots of straight lines that are clearly the result of surveyors and politicians drawing lines: 


Or curved lines that follow rivers next to the straight lines: 



Then, there's the northernmost point of the lower 48 states: Angle Inlet, Minnesota.  


The border is mostly a straight line from Vancouver to the middle of Minnesota, but it gets weird in the middle.  It turns due north in the middle of Minnesota, and heads up in to Canada, lopping off a chunk of Ontario for the Minnesotans.  

The odd border between Canada and US at Minnesota


The question is WHY?  


1.  Why does the US/Canada border take a sudden left turn after passing eastward of Buffalo Point?  What's the story there? 


I started my search with: 

     [ US Canada border Minnesota Ontario ] 

and learned that this part of Minnesota is called the "Northwest Angle."  

Reading the Wikipedia article for the Northwest Angle I learned that "...It is one of only six non-island locations in the 48 contiguous states that are practical exclaves of the U.S."  That is, the region of the Northwest Angle is an exclave, like Alaska, where all roads leading to it must pass through another country - in this case, Canada.  

The Northwest Angle was designated as territory of the United States because negotiators of the initial Canada–U.S. border misunderstood the geography of the area. 

The 1783 Treaty of Paris said that the boundary between U.S. territory and the British possessions to the north would run "...through the Lake of the Woods to the northwestern-most point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi..."

But the maps weren't great at the time, the lake is complicated, and the source of the Mississippi River (Lake Itasca), lies almost due south of Lake of the Woods, rather than north and west of it. The irregular actual shape of the lake made locating the northwest corner difficult. 

After a number of errors, the Anglo-American Convention of 1818, corrected the error by having the boundary continue due south from the northwest point of the lake, but only to the 49th parallel and then westward along it. 

Ooops.  Sorry Ontario.  

The Webster–Ashburton Treaty of 1842 then confirmed this border. However, the placement of the northwestern corner and shape of the lake meant that this north–south line cut off a section of Ontario territory to its east, now known as the Northwest Angle, and part of the US.

Bottom line: The Northwest Angle is in the US because of a surveyor's error that then got fossilized in place.  


2.  Similarly, the place where the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri meet is also complicated.  There's an enclave of Kentucky that's completely surrounded by Missouri and/or Tennessee.  How did this little island of Kentucky come to be?  (Extra credit: Earthquakes here??)  

A small island (enclave) of Kentucky is surrounded by Tennessee and Missouri.  Why?


From the previous Challenge I learned the term exclave, so I used it to search for this blob of territory: 

     [ exclave of Kentucky ] 

I quickly learned that this little area is called the Kentucky Bend.  

The Kentucky Bend, or New Madrid Bend, is encircled on the north, east, and west by a snaking portion of the Mississippi River, while the southern portion is joined to the state of Tennessee. It’s 30 square miles of land completely cut off from the rest of the state, formed by a combination of surveyor mishaps and raging earthquakes. 

In 1811-1812, a series of massive earthquakes on the New Madrid fault running right through Kentucky Bend dammed the Mississippi River in two places, causing river waterfalls and rapids with a 30-foot drop. Eyewitness accounts reported the river to flow backwards, saying they had to "hold onto their hats" while their riverboats shot upstream, capsizing while trees and shoreline cliffs buckled into the river all around them. Islands were formed and demolished, log jams shot downstream, and a giant hole opened, soon to be filled with water and now called Reelfoot Lake. 

Geologists expect the river eventually to cut across the neck of the peninsula making a more direct channel, leaving the Kentucky Bend as an island.

At the time of surveying, the survey team hadn't yet pushed out far enough west to see where their parallel would intersect the Mississippi... they only estimated where their line would meet the Mississippi, and drew the maps accordingly.  

Bottom line: The Kentucky Bend is a part of a peninsula outlined by an oxbow loop meander of the Mississippi River. It's part of Kentucky because of uncertainties about the course of the Mississippi River when the boundary between Tennessee and Kentucky was established. 

Those riverine boundaries aren't especially reliable over time... (especially for large, active rivers like the Mississippi).  


3.  The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is another oddity.  Any rational drawing of the map would have this part  of Michigan be part of Wisconsin.  How is it that this peninsula came to be part of Michigan?  (Big hint: Toledo turns out to play a part in this story!)  


The Upper Peninsula (aka UP) of Michigan isn't exactly connected to the main body of Michigan--so what happened?

     [ Michigan upper peninsula history ] 

leads to a wealth of resources.  The Wikipedia article (of course), but also several sites that have versions of the UP's history.  One (the UP Supply Company's site) begins with this intriguing line: 

1836The Toledo War ends on December 14 at the Frostbite Convention in Ann Arbor

 When I read that, my only response was really??  

I had to dig deeper.  

By looking at several sites this history began to emerge.  

When Michigan became a territory in 1805, it was just the lower peninsula and a small piece of the UP.  

BUT, Michigan was then locked in the Toledo War over whether Ohio or Michigan would control the "Toledo Strip" (a rectangle of land on the border between Michigan and Ohio that ran from Lake Erie on the east to Indiana on the west).  That strip of land happened to include the city of Toledo and access to the Maumee River.

The Toledo Strip.  (P/C Wikimedia)  

But when Michigan petitioned for statehood in 1835, it wanted to include the Toledo Strip. Both Michigan and Ohio passed legislation to force the other side's capitulation. Both states deployed militias on opposite sides of the Maumee River near Toledo, but besides mutual taunting, there was little actual fighting between the two forces. The single military confrontation of the "war" ended with a report of shots being fired into the air, with no casualties.

During the summer of 1836, the US Congress proposed a compromise whereby Michigan gave up its claim to the strip in exchange for its statehood and about three-quarters of the Upper Peninsula. There was a convention to approve the vote held in December in Ann Arbor, MI.  Because of the notable cold spell during the conference (December 14-15) the event later became known as the Frostbitten Convention.

At the time the compromise was considered a poor outcome for Michigan, and voters in a statehood convention in September soundly rejected the proposal. 

Years later, the UP would turn out to have some of the best iron mines in North America, leading it to become an economic powerhouse.  Sorry about Toledo.  

Bottom Line:  Michigan made a political deal with Ohio (pushed along by the Congress) to take all of the UP in exchange for the Toledo Strip.  

     


SearchResearch Lessons 


This was a pretty easy (and hopefully fun!) Challenge.  But there are still a couple of useful lessons to take away. 

1. Learn from your research as you go--especially technical terms.  In this case, I learned the word exclave in searching for the Northern Angle, and was able to use it in my search for the Kentucky Bend.  

2. Check your sources, even for obvious things.  In the case of the "Frostbite Convention," there are several places that use that term--but the original documents refer to it as the "Frostbitten Convention."  I was slightly surprised, but found that someone along the way converted the term just slightly... Be careful out there! 


Search on!