Ricin makes news on Wednesday, and now anhydrous ammonia on Thursday. Here are tips on how to search quicker, better and smarter to get quick facts about those chemicals.
1. Don’t just plug terms into a search engine
That generally doesn’t give you the best sources. Often Wikipedia comes up high in the search results. It’s good for some things, but not reputable on all topics. Other links that float to the top are likely for other news organizations. You want an original source.
2. Search a keyword or phrase at a site you know is reputable
You might think that the Centers for Disease Control deal with health hazards and the EPA deals with environmental concerns. So go search tkeywords at those sites only. You can filter for just certain sites, rather than search the whole ‘net. Here’s the formula: keyword site:domain.
Example: ricin site:cdc.gov or “anhydrous ammonia” site:cdc.gov
The first search nets this helpful page all about ricin.
3. Search the keywords at a government site
If you’re not sure whether EPA or which agency would provide information on anhydrous amonia, but you want a government site, try this search: “anhydrous ammonia” site:gov
With that you’d get these top hits from Google:
- North Dakota state department of health
- CDC page written for those in entertainment industry who might be writing about the chemical
- CDC’s the international safety card about the chemical
With the same search in Bing! you find:
- same North Dakota site
- a 2005 report from CDC about thefts and releases of anhydrous ammonia
- summary of the chemical from the Utah department of health
Bing! also gives you ideas of other common searches on the topic which provide you with another set of quality sites: