If you're the Republican party, how do you win the youth vote? A good idea would be to take a stance in support of something that the youth appear to have an interest in. Perhaps this was in the mind of House Republicans when the Republican Study Committee released a policy brief titled "Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it" on Friday. Unfortunately, it appears that not everyone agrees. Whether it's because of lobbyists or dissenting viewpoints, the group retracted their brief on the grounds that it had been disseminated "without adequate review within the RSC" less than 24 hours after it first went out.
One of the most popular articles on The Huffington Post right now is about a Republican Congressional proposal called "HR 205, The Geometric Simplification Act," which aims to make the value of pi "exactly 3." Reading the article carefully, it's pretty clear it's satire: "'It’s no panacea, but this legislation will point us in the right direction. Looking at hard data, we know our children are struggling with a heck of a lot of the math, including the geometry incorporating pi,' Roby said. 'I guarantee you American scores will go up once pi is 3. It will be so much easier.'" And Ron Workman has traced its origin to an ancient Internet rumor that was debunked by Snopes in 1998. (The real HR 205 under consideration by Congress now is actually about Native American tribal land-leasing.) But here's the thing: Thanks to the A.D.D.-enabling power of social media, all it takes is a truncated Facebook headline and excerpt for people to form an opinion about a story, and many of them don't actually read it.