October 26, 2012 2:22 pm
Wikipedia, the encyclopedia for and by the internet, might just be done: Many of the main articles that the encyclopedia might possibly contain, from history to math and science, are almost complete. The Atlantic writes:
It may seem impossible for an encyclopedia of everything to ever near completion, but at least for the major articles on topics like big wars, important historical figures, central scientific concepts, the English-language Wikipedia’s pretty well filled out. (There is, of course, room for improvement in articles that have received less attention, but that is a different, yet still very important, set of challenges.) There’s always going to be some tidying — better citations, small updates, new links, cleaner formatting — but the bulk of the work, the actual writing and structuring of the articles, has already been done.
Of course, Wikipedia’s not entirely done. New pages are added every day, for both new events and other odd nooks and crannies of humanity. And there are some pages that will be disputed forever, like the entry on the book Lolita (should Humbert Humbert be referred to as the book’s “hero”?) and the one on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Some entries are being updated as news comes in, like the current entry on the Syrian civil war. When big events happen like the Japan tsunami, and the 2011 Tucson shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, entries pop up immediately.
But for many, the best part of Wikipedia is its extensiveness. Its blanketing of our human experience. There is little that isn’t included, even really weird things. In honor of the weirdness of Wikipedia, here are some of the strangest Wikipedia entries out there.
1. A list of places with fewer than ten residents. This list includes several towns in Canada and towns with names like Mule Barn and Zug Island.
2. The world’s littlest skyscraper — which is in Wichita Falls, Texas, and is really just a regular sized building.
3. The Pope Lick Monster is a part-man, part-goat, part-sheep (they’re not specific about which parts) that haunts a bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.
4. Lists of lists of lists. Yes, this is a thing, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
5. Mike the Headless Chicken lived for 18 months without a head. It might have been a hoax. But he’s got his own Wikipedia page, regardless.
6. Three Wolf Moon shirts swept the internet, and real life, around 2008. They have their own entry, explaining the irony and the phenomenon.
7. Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den is a poem consisting of the sound “shi” repeated over and over again. But since there are many different tones used while pronouncing “shi,” to Chinese speakers, the poem makes total sense.
8. Ghost riding—commonly used in the phrase “ghost-riding the whip”—as explained by Wikipedia.
9. YOLO, the current awful catch phrase of young people, means “you only live once” and is generally said before doing something dangerous or stupid.
10. Robert Shields died in 2007, leaving behind a diary of 37.5 million words that chronicled every five minutes of his life.
So, go forth and Wikipedia.
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