Tag Archives: wikipedia

NEERNEERNEER

This is still one of the most entertaining comparison charts for some reason. Like, I have no idea why the different temperature scales are so damn entertaining to me, but they are.

sdxgf

It’s like a little family of scales, dude. Rankine and Kelvin are the parents; Fahrenheit wants to be just like daddy (mommy?) Rankine; Celcius wants to be just like mommy (daddy?) Kelvin. Réaumur, Rømer, and Newton just want to stay out of things.

And what the hell is Delisle doing?

9177425

Actually, the reason the Delisle scale is in “reverse” is because its inventor, French astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle, built a thermometer containing mercury, chose boiling water as his initial “zero” point, and measured the change in the amount the contracted or expanded. Contracting mercury (that is, colder temperatures) “added” to the zero (meaning higher values on the Delisle scale); expanding mercury (warmer temperatures) “subtracted” from zero (meaning lower values on the Delisle scale). Apparently Celsius was also originally “reversed” like this, but was changed upon the death of its inventor, Anders Celsius, who had based the scale partially on Delisle’s work.

Cool stuff.

Also, I love the idea that the average human body temperature is 558.27 degrees using the Rankine scale.

“Bambi…I didn’t know you could fly!”

Pretend for a second that you have no idea what a bird is. You know what beaks, feathers, wings, etc. are, but you don’t know what a bird is.
Now read the following:

Birds (class Aves or clade Avialae) are feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates.

Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. Extant birds have more or less developed wings; the most recent species without wings was the moa, which is generally considered to have become extinct in the 16th century. Wings are evolved forelimbs, and most bird species can fly.

Birds are social, communicating with visual signals, calls, and songs, and participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting, flocking, and mobbing of predators.

These are all from Wiki’s page on birds. You can’t tell me that from these descriptors that birds don’t sound fucking terrifying.

TOOTHLESS-BEAKED PREDATOR-MOBBING DEATH-BOMBS FROM ABOVE!

Okay, I’m done. Back to studying.

The Six Degrees of Leibniz

I submit that on Wikipedia, you can get from the page of any mathematician to Leibniz’ page in 6 clicks or less (even without clicking through the “Mathematician” or “Mathematics” links that show up in like the first sentence of every mathematician’s Wiki page).

Fun Examples for Fun

Starting mathematician: George Polya
Click 1: Probability Theory
Click 2: Probability
Click 3: Christiaan Huygens
Click 4: Gottfried Leibniz

Starting mathematician: George Boole
Click 1: Differential Equation
Click 2: Derivative
Click 3: Gottfried Leibniz

Starting mathematician: John Venn
Click 1: Set Theory
Click 2: Principia Mathematica
Click 3: Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Click 4: Gottfried Leibniz

Starting mathematician: Sewall Wright
Click 1: Philosophy
Click 2: Gottfried Leibniz

Starting mathematician: Henri Poincaré
Click 1: Bernhard Riemann
Click 2: Riemann Integral
Click 3: Integral
Click 4: Gottfried Leibniz

This Week’s Science–ah, scew it, it’s about Wikipedia.

CLICK THIS NOW.

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.

In This Blog: Wikipedia Gets Sassy about the Kilogram

I’ve talked about the kilogram quite a bit on here, but I want to revisit it a bit. Mainly because of Wikipedia’s sassy little remark about the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK).

The other six base SI units (second, meter, ampere, Kelvin, mole, and candela), which used to be based on physical artifacts, are now defined in terms of physical constants for precision’s sake. For example, the meter was originally defined as 1/10,000,000 of the meridian through Paris between the North Pole and the Equator. It is currently defined as the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Only the kilogram remains to be redefined in this new, more precise way.

The IPK itself is a small little cylinder of platinum/iridium and is stored in Sèvres, France. It is the internationally recognized artifact that is defined as having a mass of exactly one kilogram. So it is, in essence, the kilogram.

800px-CGKilogram

But of course, there are copies of it. Sèvres holds three; other nations have national prototypes. And that’s where things get interesting.

Wiki: “By definition, the error in the measured value of the IPK’s mass is exactly zero; the IPK is the kilogram. However, any changes in the IPK’s mass over time can be deduced by comparing its mass to that of its official copies stored throughout the world, a process called ‘periodic verification.'”

“Beyond the simple wear that check standards can experience, the mass of even the carefully stored national prototypes can drift relative to the IPK for a variety of reasons, some known and some unknown.”

And what does this drift look like? the IPK itself is the line at zero denoted with the K. The other lines represent the mass changes in various national prototype kilograms.

Prototype_mass_drifts

Well, hell. And the IPK itself, Wiki notes, may be changing as well (and likely is), though it is still the “base” against which every other national prototype is compared.

Yup, humans have been to the moon but can’t figure out how to keep the kilogram constant. I find that hilarious.

But here’s where I lost it when reading this article:

“The magnitude of many of the units comprising the SI system of measurement, including most of those used in the measurement of electricity and light, are highly dependent upon the stability of a 134-year-old, golf ball-size cylinder of metal stored in a vault in France.”

Ooooh, Wiki…a bit of attitude, eh?

My mom can attest to the fact that I laughed about this for like 10 minutes straight.

(all pics from Wiki’s Kilogram page)

!

DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE’S A SUPER FACTORIAL?! I DIDN’T!

Recall the regular factorial: 6 factorial (6!), for example, is 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1.

The super factorial of six, on the other hand, is sf(6) = 6! x 5! x 4! x 3! x 2! x 1!

On a related note, Wikipedia’s “Large numbers” article is quite fascinating. I love how when we start dealing with the absurdly large or absurdly small (and things related to them) our terminology gets really strange.

Okay, so I had a bunch of examples but then Word crashed and then Tumblr happened so you get this instead:

tumblr_mhn739RLSE1ql2603o1_250

Weekly Wiki: We Didn’t Start the Fire

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.”

Cool, huh?

It’d be interesting to see such a song written today.

Weekly Wiki: Wilhelm Scream

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.

Compilation!

Weekly Wiki: Generations

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!

Weekly Wiki: Linguistic Examples

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:

List of Linguistic Example Sentences, sentences that “illustrate various linguistic phenomena.”

Garden Path Sentences

Paraprosdokian

Transderivational Search

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.

Schwing!

Weekly Wiki: Cosmic Latte

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.

Weekly Wiki: Waffle House Index

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.

Claudia Presents: “Let’s get ready to Stuuuuuumble!”

Ready for another romp around the internet?

Of course you are!

ONWARDZ!

  • Love your 90’s music? Click here.
  • Want to see if your favorite nickname/tag/username is available on a given site? Click here.
  • Want to test your vocab? Click here.
  • Interested in Google’s (playful) deceptions? Click here.
  • Fan of obscure words? Click here.
  • Are you getting high from all the clicking and wish you could do more of it? Click here.

 

AND:

The best OK Cupid match question ever.

The end.

The Logic of Lightening

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.

Cool? Cool.

Let’s go!

This week’s Weekly Wiki: Vexillology. I’ll give you three guesses what a vexillologist studies.

Any guesses?
Anyone?
Bueller? Bueller?

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.

DONE!

What a fantastic dream

Fan. Tastic.

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.

Zoomazoomazoomablogtime

I had a dream last night that consisted solely of me writing lengthy Wikipedia article on “water vandalism,” which turns out to not be a real thing in real life but was, in my dream, acts that involved defacing public water (like putting bath bubbles in a public fountain).
I’m actually surprised “water vandalism” hasn’t been coined for that yet.

Also, there exists no Wiki article for one of the main structural equation modeling fit indices I’m examining for my thesis, so I’m half-tempted to actually create one. I’ve never edited a Wiki page before.

Anyway.

Yes, I know I’m about 3,000 words short for NaNoWriMo right now. Shut up, I know it, I’ll get there. Last year I was like 7,000 words short at this point, so there!

Bah. I’m jittery.

 

 

Today’s song: Mykonos by Fleet Foxes

Jupiter is changing, as are the Internet Giants

Part I. Jupiter
OH CRAP!


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!!”

Etc., etc.

 

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

Huh…wouldn’t have guess this

StumbleUpon brought me to Wikipedia’s page on the “Latin honors” for college degrees. Not only did I find out Australia has two different levels of failure (off the “grade” page…and here I must interject: “WTF, mate?”), but the “see also” section also provided me with this.
I found this rather interesting, considering that for the majority of colleges, the U of I’s cutoff points for summa/magna/cum laude are higher than all of these listed. Maybe ‘cause UI is such a small school (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE = RANGE RESTRICTION) they felt the need to have such high cutoff points…who knows.

Haha, sorry, I like this kind of stuff. Had they provided more colleges, I would have made some sort of map to see how the different regions of the US compared in honors cutoffs. Bah.

 

Also this, ‘cause I found it freakishly funny (and interesting), especially since they were all cracking up the entire time:

 

Today’s song: Echo by Girls Can’t Catch

 

Gordon Freeman: A Case Study

So I spent the better part of this afternoon searching the MIT class listings, and nowhere could I find a class in which one is taught how to wield a crowbar. I guess Gordon took that as a correspondence class at Harvard or something.

CWBR 101: Research Facility Disaster Training
CWBR 101 Lab: Headcrab Defense Theory
Prerequisites: a PhD in Theoretical Physics

Also, how the hell do you get a PhD in Theoretical Physics by age 27? EXPLAIN THAT, GORDON!

I always used to hate how all the other scientists treated him like crap until the resonance cascade. I guess they’re pissed that they’re all geezers and he’s 27. I bet he had some rivalries going down, too.

Old Scientist Ted: Oh man, I’m totally going for that Anomalous Materials Lab assistant position.
Old Scientist Gary: Go for it, dude!
Old Scientist Ted: I can push that non-standard specimen SO PRECISELY…I’ve been practicing!
Old Scientist Gary: You’re totally going to get that position!
Gordon: Hey Ted, Gary. There’s this thing going down at the Anomalous Materials Lab and I guess they want me to assist with some non-standard specimen or something. Pretty cool, huh?
Old Scientist Ted: …I will destroy you, Gordon Freeman.

Also, this description of him from his Wiki page is freaking fantastic:

“Gordon is a native of Seattle who exhibited an early interest in theoretical physics, especially quantum mechanics and the theory of general relativity. His childhood heroes were Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Richard Feynman. After observing a series of teleportation experiments conducted by the Institute for Experimental Physics in Innsbruck, Austria, the transmission of matter became Gordon’s obsession. Gordon has no known dependents. He graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. degree in Theoretical Physics. His doctoral thesis on the teleportation of matter through extremely dense elements was titled Observation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array.”

I’m half-tempted to edit with this addition: “At an early age, Gordon exhibited several violent tendencies, with one instance involving a crowbar and his father’s pet crab standing out above all others.  Had his father not overlooked this incident, passing it off as mere childhood buffoonery, Freeman may not have retained the crowbar-wielding, crab-like-creature-killing skills that helped save the universe from Xen following the resonance cascade at Black Mesa.”

Also: holy crap, Half-Life is twelve years old now.

 

Today’s song: Creepy (Mightyfools Remix) by Boltan (this song gets insanely eargasmic at approximately 2 minutes in, it’s great)