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War’s Futility

Inadvertent confirmation of war’s futility, from a Wikipedia article about American Samoa:

In March 1889, a German naval force invaded a village on Samoa, and by doing so destroyed some American property. Three American warships then entered the Apia harbor and prepared to engage three German warships found there. Before guns were fired, a typhoon wrecked both the American and German ships. A compulsory armistice was called because of the lack of warships.

Down Time

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus is an important article, mostly because of this clear, sad fact:

So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project—every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in—that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads.

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Stanford Tree

The Wikipedia entry on Stanford’s tree mascot is an excellent piece of work. Some excerpts:

The Stanford Tree is the unofficial mascot of Stanford University. Stanford’s team name is “The Cardinal,” referring to the vivid red color (not the common song bird as at several other schools), and the University has never been able to come up with an official mascot which adequately conveys the fierceness and sporting prowess it had hoped to symbolize with that particular shade of sanguine. This fact creates a void not typically found at schools with less-abstract symbols for their sports teams, and into this unfulfilled void the Stanford Band has insistently thrust what is one of the United States’ most bizarre and controversial college mascots.


Opus and Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s article about Opus the Penguin is further evidence for why this type of encyclopedia genre interests me so much:

…on several occasions, his “fanny” has fallen off (often with a clanking sound on the floor), and he has also had instances where his nose droops or is taken completely off as a result of sneezing while using dental floss and so on. Sometimes these are combined; he has had either his nose and rear end fall off, or his nose droop while his rear end has fallen off, and so on. He eventually learned that his navel was in fact the screw that attached his rear end to his body.


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Wikipedia Statistics

Whilst doing a bit of research for a project, I took the time to look through Wikipedia Statistics — the results were staggering. Consider this: Wikipedia averages 40 thousand (40 000) requests per second. Thus, in 3 seconds, Wikipedia receives more requests than tumbledry has in the past 5 years.


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Sometimes you need a Wikipedia whiteboard

Sometimes you need a Wikipedia whiteboard - “I’ve got some Sharpies in a drawer in case I need to lock it from editing.”

DNA Ligase

When your head is buried in scientific literature, from the “Alarming Increase in Ciprofloxacin- and Penicillin-Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates in New Delhi, India” all the way to “Serum IgE response to orally ingested antigen: A novel IgE response model with allergen-specific T-cell receptor transgenic mice”, you begin to look forward to studying DNA metabolism and its associated reactions for a biochemistry test. So sure enough, this past Sunday night found me studying away from my biochem test on Monday. While perusing Wikipedia (which I generally use as a sort of scientific dictionary for studying—it saves time for basics, compared to looking them up in the book), I found an amazing illustration.


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Why Wikipedia is Amazing

On the local classic rock station, I heard a song by Carlos Santana today; luckily, I thought I had it in my iTunes library. Headed home, checked, and there it was: “Oye Como Va” from the Best of Santana album. Naturally, I wanted to learn a little more about the guy … I knew he had been around a while and experienced a resurgence in the 90’s. I didn’t realize that his album Supernatural was essentially all collaborations, and pretty good ones, too.


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Unbelievably well done article on Wikipedia

Unbelievably well done article on Wikipedia - It’s about enzyme kinetics. It rivals my biochemistry textbook (allowing for its limited scope and the foibles of online “publishing.”)

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I just wrote most of the Wikipedia article about the DAT

I just wrote most of the Wikipedia article about the DAT - Feel free to check it out.

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