What is it? It’s the sound of knowledge!
More specifically, it’s the sound of Wikipedia being edited. Tones play in real time, signifying the addition (bells) and subtraction (strings) of information to Wikipedia articles. The lower the tone, the larger the edit. There’s even a beautiful tone for new Wiki users registering.
What’s even cooler is the fact that the map displays which Wiki pages are being edited and allows you to click through to them if you find one particularly intriguing.
Seriously, this is really beautiful if you think about the fact that its arising out of a bunch of different people with a bunch of different information putting that information out there to share with others.
Very, very cool.
Today as my mom and I were driving around, Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire came on over Shuffle. I commented, “I wonder what this song’s Wikipedia page looks like?”
Therefore, this week’s WeeklyWiki = We Didn’t Start the Fire!
I think this is a really interesting song, both because of all the events it contains but also because Billy Joel was able to rhyme everything. Haha, I think that’s awesome. Says Wiki” “Unlike most of Joel’s songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song.”
And: “I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 [...]. It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.”
It’d be interesting to see such a song written today.
HA, I remember the article that I was going to feature here a couple weeks ago!
If you’ve ever watched a movie or TV, you’ve probably been privy to the Wilhelm scream, a stock sound effect first used in 1951 and has since been audible in over 225 movies and TV shows (often as an in-joke).
The scream was first heard in the 1950s movie Distant Drums and gained popularity after George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino began to slide it into almost every movie they made (yes, including Star Wars). The fact that the scream is publically available has caused it to propagate throughout online media created by amateur film/media makers.
It’s Weekly Wiki time! See guys? It’s been like three weeks and I haven’t missed one yet. I give myself a banana sticker.
This week I’m featuring Wikipedia’s information about the different generations!
Here is the list:
Lost Generation (born 1883 – 1900)
The Lost Generation refers to those mainly brought up in the era of WWI; specifically, the young men and women who were pulled out of their normal lives to go and fight. It is said that the label originated with Gertrude Stein who remarked that young men of that generation were too old to train to be skilled workman and therefore were “lost.”
Greatest Generation (born 1914 – 1924)
What a title, huh? The term was coined by Tom Brokaw to describe those individuals who muscled through the Great Depression, fought in WWII, and aided in the material contribution to the war effort. Says Wiki: “He [Brokaw] argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. When they came back they rebuilt America into a superpower.”
Silent Generation (born 1925 – 1945)
Describing those individuals born during the Great Depression and WWII, this generation was substantially smaller than either the Greatest or the Baby Boom generations. This allowed people born in this timeframe more job opportunities (less competition) and thus resulted in great scientific and technological innovations used in the late 20th century.
Baby Boom Generation (born 1946 – 1964)
Everyone knows the Boomers! Post WWII, the US population jumped up as soldiers returned home and decided that it was the time to have a family. The article also features what is perhaps the greatest analogy ever: The baby boom has been described variously as…”the pig in the python.” By the sheer force of its numbers, the boomers were a demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it.
Generation X (born early 1960s – early 1980s)
Perhaps the most recognizable generation in terms of name, Generation Xers were named such in order to signify their relative lack of identity and uncertainty regarding the future when compared to their parents and grandparents. According to Wiki: “The US Census Bureau cites Generation X as highly educated, statistically holding the highest education levels when looking at current age groups.”
Generation Y (born early 1970s – 1990 or so)
This generation (which includes me and probably most of my readers/stalkers/random passers-by) is unique in the sense that they didn’t grow up with technology surrounding them like Gen Z did, but also were young enough once technology began to permeate everyday life that they were able to acclimate to using it rather quickly/swiftly. Though my mom did this, too, and she’s a Boomer.
Generation Z (born early 1990s – present)
These dudes are typically children of Gen X-ers and are obviously a very wired generation—internet, cellphones, obnoxious social media Facebook and the like. According to Wiki: “a marked difference between Generation Y and Generation Z is that members of the former remember life before the takeoff of mass technology, while the latter have been born completely within it.”
More info on Wiki. Go check it out!
Way back at the dawn of time I linked to Wiki’s Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo article, but I figured I’d go all out and link to a bunch of Wiki’s “English is so screwy” pages.
List of Linguistic Example Sentences, sentences that “illustrate various linguistic phenomena.”
I had a really, really good article the other day that I was going to use for this post, but now I can’t remember what it was.
Caffeine from the moon? Starbucks from the stars?
Nope! It’s the color of the universe, according to astronomers from Johns Hopkins University.
Described by Wiki as “a slightly beigeish white,” cosmic latte is the average color of the universe across the spectral range of light sampled from a large section of the universe. The average color was actually originally purported to be a light teal, but that was due to an error with the software the scientists were using. Hahaha.
The article also has a list of a bunch of different names that were proposed for the color…I personally like Big Bang Beige and Skyvory.
Y’all ever heard of Waffle House? It’s a chain of restaurants located in many of the US’s southernmost states. There’s one about half a mile from our house here, actually. The waffle-centric restaurants sell (apart from waffles) soup, chili, coffee, and pretty much every breakfast item you can think of.
What’s surprising about Waffle House, though, is the fact that it is one of the top four corporations in the US for disaster response.* Says almighty Wiki: “Waffle House has an extensive disaster management plan with on-site and portable generators and pre-positioned food…This helps mitigate the effects of a storm on the power grid and the supply chains.”
In fact, this provider of syrup-pocket goodness is so disaster-ready that an unofficial gauge of disaster severity is based on the status of any Waffle House restaurants located within the disaster area. This gauge is known as the Waffle House Index and is used by FEMA. They employ a rough three-level guide based on Waffle House’s restaurant status to assess storm/disaster impact:
- Green: Waffle House is open and serving its full menu. Nothing too serious. Carry on. Buy some pancakes.
- Yellow: Waffle House is open but is serving a limited menu. Moderate damage; there may be no power and/or food supply may be low.
- Red: Waffle House is closed! Severe damage. No waffles. Apocalypse now.
Also, a quote from FEMA admin Craig Fugate: “If you get [to the disaster site] and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”
Guess there were no Waffle Houses in New Orleans for them to gauge the severity of Hurricane Katrina’s impact…?
*The other four companies are WalMart, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s.
As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been a major slacker with respect to my This Week’s Science Blog posts. Sad day, huh?
This is mostly due to either:
a) just completely forgetting to do one, or
b) having difficulty finding a *recent* article that’s interesting enough to blog about.
So I decided I’m going to change things up a bit. Rather than have a weekly post dedicated to science, I’m broadening my horizons and starting a Weekly Wiki blog in which I find an interesting (or unusual or hilarious or all of the above) Wikipedia article and elaborate on it here for you. And see how many pages it takes me to get from that article to the “Pornography” article.
This week’s Weekly Wiki: Vexillology. I’ll give you three guesses what a vexillologist studies.
Vexillology is the study of flags! HOW COOL?! According to Wiki, it is encompasses “the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge.”
I’ve always held a bit of an interest in flags and flag designs. Back in high school in our mandatory speech class I did my informative speech on the major flag color families. Color families, as you may have guessed, are groups of flags that are similar both in colors and (generally) geographic location. Color amilies include the Pan-African colors, the Pan-Arab colors, and the flags including the Nordic Cross.
Does flag design sound interesting to you? Check out this link. It’s like if Emily Post were vexillologist.
So WoW has an offer going right now where you can sign up and play for free up until level 20. As you know, I was playing WoW back in 2009, but I let my subscription expire due to grad school insanity + not having enough money to re-subscribe.
I’ve been itching to play again recently, so I signed up again and started playing. Yay!
Anyway, last night I must have had the perfect combination of WoW time plus Wikipedia surfing time, ‘cause I had a dream that combined the two in a game called World of Wikipedia.
The best part of this dream is the fact that when I woke up, I remembered all the little details. There were two factions (like WoW): the Wikis, the fun-loving but troublemaking group who work together to cause mayhem, and the Pedias, the serious folk who are all about order and keeping things in check.
- Then there were different races based on the five “pillars” of Wikipedia.
- I think the equivalent of WoW’s classes were based upon Wiki’s three main core content principles.
- The equivalent of WoW zones were the main areas listed on the front page of Wiki (Arts, Biography, History, Science, etc.).
I don’t know. It was a really interesting dream, haha. I may have to create characters to correspond to the pillar races.
Part I. Jupiter
Apparently this is a fairly frequent thing, but I don’t ever remember hearing anything about it before.
Part II. The internet
What is this, the Information Age Paradigm Shift into Tab Land? Or are all the big websites having a mid-digital-age crisis and wanting facelifts?
What is the big deal with tabs, anyway? Seriously. I don’t see their appeal. Now Wikipedia has jumped on the “let’s change shit up for no reason” bandwagon and added that overplayed “we’re modern now!” tab-and-pointless-fading-color-crap to their site. They also decided to move their search box across the page.
Somebody needs to explain to me why this is all happening at once.
Haha, maybe there’s some sort of cosmic connection between Jupiter losing a stripe and the big players of the Tubes deciding to change things up.
Like Google’s head scientist (because you know they’ve got some sort of “Google Jupiter” machines flying around in the ammonia clouds taking pictures) goes into a board meeting and says to their head designer: “Um, sir…it appears we’ve got some shocking news from Jupiter.”
Head Designer: “What is it, Doctor?”
Head Scientist: “Well, it appears that the SEB has gone missing from our view.”
Head Designer: “So?”
Head Scientist: “That means that the largest planet in our solar system has just changed its layout!”
Head Designer: “OH CRAP! We’d better get on that NOW! INFORM WIKIPEDIA, THIS SHIT’S GOING TO GO DOWN FAST!!”
Hahaha, I know it’s not a big deal. I just like to bitch about it. I just don’t see a valid reason for it, especially for it all happening at once.
Also, for whatever the hell reason, today we switched to Leibniz’ notation in calculus. Not that I’m complaining.
Today’s song: Parlez Vous Francais? by Art vs. Science