Universal Energy is a writing based on facts as they are, not as how one ideology would prefer they be told. Establishing these facts as such requires an extensive degree of research and citations of the work of other researchers, scholars, think tanks, news reports and government services. As this writing is a virtual composition, facts are cited inline in the form of direct hyperlinks that can viewed in real time, rather than having to go to a library, finding the book, finding the page, and then verifying if the citation matches up with the data.
Inline citations are not only provided for ease of rapid verification, they're also provided for readability, as highlighted text indicating an external link (all of which open up in new browser windows) is much easier to read than AP/Chicago citation styles, which put author information (lastname, firstname, title of book, page number) directly within sentences or within footnotes / endnotes.
As this writing covers a large scope of material, maximizing readability is of paramount importance, thus I've opted to adopt a citation style reflecting of that. The reason laypeople don't read academic journals is they're nigh impossible to read unless one is a professional academic; my audience is the collective and thus the citation policy of Universal Energy is geared for the convenience of the collective above all else.
In practice, the following citation conventions are applied:
- Short-form articles are directly hyperlinked and open in new browser windows.
- Whitepapers, data PDFs, etc., are cited with page numbers directly embedded in the URL. For example: http://sitename.org/document_title/data.pdf#p53, where p53 equals "page 53." As the "#" modifier in a URL points to a named link, the PDF file will load fine with that URL. But by seeing that #p53, you know to scroll to page 53 to access the data in question quickly and easily (same as #p20 points to page 20, and so on).
- For whitepapers and data PDFs of a short or self-explanatory nature, or documents designed to provide 'general conceptual information' as opposed to a specific factual citation, no page numbers are included in the URL structure as they are not necessary.
- For internal citations (previous chapters of Universal Energy), named anchor links are strategically embedded in the source code to allow for easy retrieval of information. Clicking these links will automatically take you to the information in question.
If you find a citation that you believe to be 1) broken (dead link), 2) unclear, 3) misinterpreted, please get in touch and let me know so it can be fixed.
Universal Energy cites facts from a wide spectrum of sources under a transparent methodology, described as follows:
- Government Sources: these sources include both domestic and international government agencies (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Environmental Protection Agency, United Nations, World Health Organization, etc.). This writing considers these sources reliable and factual unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Scientific / Technical Media: these sources include media outlets dedicated to scientific / technical research (Scientific American, National Geographic, etc.). This writing considers these sources reliable and factual unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Academic Sources and Journals: these sources include university publications (harvard.edu, etc) and academic journals (Nature, etc.) and press releases by university staff. This writing considers these sources reliable and factual unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Flagship Journalism: these sources include media outlets with an established pedigree (Associated Press/Reuters, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, TIME, CNN). Even if various editorial boards have a known ideological slant (New York Times tends to shift left, whereas Wall Street Journal tends to shift right), they maintain a high degree of integrity in terms of factual reporting and commitment to issuing public retractions in the event they misstate facts. As such, this writing considers these sources reliable and factual, unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Smaller-Circulation High-Brow Journalism: these sources include media outlets with a high degree of ethical integrity in journalism, but are smaller circulation. They include Forbes, Fortune, Slate, Wired, ARS technica, CNet, local newspapers, etc. Although they may have an ideological slant (Forbes and Fortune slant right, whereas Slate slants left), their pedigree in ethical and factual reporting remains high. This writing considers these sources reliable and factual, unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Ideological Mouthpieces: these sources include broadcast platforms for a known political ideology (Fox News, National Review, MotherJones, The Nation, The Blaze, Alternet, Huffington Post, MSNBC, Reason Magazine, etc.) Although these sources often have solid reporting and analysis, their ideological slant is severe enough to warrant their exclusion as sources in this writing, barring a few exceptions:
- In cases where the mouthpiece publishes material of uncanny excellence, such as Lee Fang's breakdown of why special interests conspire to keep marijuana illegal, an exception may be made and the material may be included in a citation.
- In cases where the mouthpiece publishes material contrary to its ideological slant (Fox News supporting a traditionally liberal position or Huffington Post supporting a traditionally conservative position), the material may be included if it is itself reasoned and/or well-cited.
- In cases where the mouthpiece is reporting in areas to which it has demonstrated significant expertise (such as Reason Magazine tracking police militarization), the material may be included in a citation.
Barring these exceptions, ideological mouthpieces are generally excluded.
- Wikipedia: is cited only for "general background" information on concepts, locations, overviews of systems or historical events. Although its editorial team has proven quite adept at ensuring adherence to facts, it's open-edit policy makes it unsuitable for direct citations of specific information. However, for general topics (like how a jet engine works, or the technical details of a nuclear reactor, scientific concepts, etc.), it is extremely useful to provide background information for people unfamiliar with the subject material in question. For this reason, relevant Wikipedia articles may be included in inline citations.
- Think Tanks: are generally cited as reliable even if they have an ideological slant (Heritage, CATO, Violence Policy Center, RailstoTrails, ACLU, EFF, Jane's), as they have demonstrated a high degree of ethics when adhering to facts as well as a strong degree of expertise in the areas they report on. This writing generally considers these sources reliable and factual, unless cause is presented to believe otherwise.
- Industry Publications and Whitepapers: are material presented by organizations with a vested commercial interest of the material they're reporting on. This information is generally considered reliable and factual if it is itself cited and provides calculations that can be independently verified. Corporate publications (such as WattWay by Colas' data sheets) are generally considered reliable and factual, all the more so if the company is established - as false advertising and misrepresentation of performance in advertising is often a crime.
- Third-party blogs and statistics services: these sources include blogs like Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight, the military blog War is Boring, and statistics services like globalfirepower.org, Officer Down Memorial Page and brilliantmaps.org (for global population in urban environments). In the limited area they are used, they are considered reliable and factual, barring any reason to believe otherwise.
If you, as the reader, come across information that you believe to be factually false, please get in touch with information as to why you believe this to be the case.
As Universal Energy is the work of one individual, I have limited resources to make sure every aspect of the writing, at nearly 200,000 words, maintains 100% uniformity in formatting. Especially as this writing was 'webified' from a word processor, there may be an occurrence where a typo, broken link or mis-formatted paragraph arises. Additionally, although all research was thorough and extensive, facts may change in the future, and it's possible certain elements of a fact were misinterpreted. In the event these are brought to light, changes will be made, but it is not feasible to issue public retractions for every change. For larger and more consequential issues, a change log page will be created and released for public review.