Just this goy...

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Lovely. The History of the Falkland Islands (which is riddled with arguments for various countries involved in the disputes and does not neutrally present the facts of the history) leads one to the 1833 invasion article, which is a biased misnomer in the first place since Aregentina had invaded and did not have a recognised claim on the islands (in fact, their claim had just been disputed by the United States who had bombarded the city after removing its entire population of German citizens from Argentina.

The Argentinians then decided to make the islands a penal colony, and sent a miltary group there to set it up. But the soldiers and prisoners mutinied and killed their chief officer in November. Another officer was dispatched who settled the mutiny and restored order, but in January was confronted with a superior force of the British Navy who ordered him to depart. Which he did.

Beyond this I can find extensive speculation but no factual support, especially for various myths regarding Antonio Rivero.
Geldermalsen has three content sentences. One of which is "Through Geldermalsen flows the river named the Linge, which provides water fun for many."
And here's a lovely contradiction...

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, as likeable a Conquistadoré bastard if ever there were one, has parentage remarked as "Little is known about Cabrillo’s early years. Even his nationality is uncertain..." and "His date of birth and parentage are also unknown", but an expert is cited who thinks "he was born of poor parents 'around 1498 or 1500,' and then worked for his keep in the home of a prominent Seville merchant."

But just down the page the article states (with no reference) "Cabrillo, who had started life as a shipbuilder's boy, built and owned the flagship of his venture..."

And then there's the silliness. "Notably, Cabrillo appears to have missed the Golden Gate, San Francisco Bay, and Monterey Bay." In order to discover either of the latter, he would have needed to discover the first.
The first European explorer widely credited with sighting the islands is Sebald de Weert, a Dutch sailor, in 1600. Although several English and Spanish historians maintain their own explorers discovered the islands earlier, some older maps, particularly Dutch ones, used the name "Sebald Islands", after de Weert. However, the islands appear on numerous Spanish and other maps beginning in the 1520s[citation needed].

This paragraph is a grand example an unsupported claim in Wikipedia, one which has quite literally caused wars and deaths. There is no evidence to support the final sentence. What is even more interesting is the history article, which has more extensive discussion regarding Ferdinand Magellan and others including an archipelago at the location of the Falklands in their charts.

The reason I mention this is I happen to have read rather a lot regarding Mr Magellan and his passage through the region, which he made along shore, within sight of land. I've also examined several copies of charts from the 1500s of this region, and none show the islands[1][2]. It's not until Shouten's 1619 that I can first find the islands in their position.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The triumph of so fanatical a reformer as Christian brought about the fall of Catholicism, but the Catholics were still so strong in the council of state that Christian was forced to have recourse to a coup d'état, which he successfully accomplished by means of his German mercenaries (August 12, 1536), an absolutely inexcusable act of violence loudly blamed by Luther himself, and accompanied by the wholesale spoliation of the church. Christian's finances were certainly readjusted thereby, but the ultimate gainers by the confiscation were the nobles, and both education and morality suffered grievously in consequence.

Christian III of Denmark (and, by the way, of Norway...) Bias? what that?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ah... the classic example... there it is, on December 31, in the birth dates...

1926 - Tom Marvolo Riddle, English wizard

Tom Marvolo Riddle is a fictional character in the Harry Potter series of books. But you'd never know that from the date page.

Update: The birthday was added as an event, moved to a "fictional events" section, and finally deleted. How many bets that it will be back within a few weeks?
It appears Wikipedia continues to have problems with article naming conventions... At least, in the Japanese imperial biographies. A what links here check on Emperor Go-Y?zei is exemplary, as well as confusing. At least 5 redirect pages are themselves redirected, some of which were moved more than a year and a half ago.
I was talking with my partner the other evening about information, and the hurdles websites usually create to its distribution.

For example, a site she is involved with produces research reports, almost exclusively as .pdfs. This is not necessarily bad, per se, but only a very few search engines index the contents of .pdf files and so this research is not searchable, it cannot be discovered serendipitously by a student or policy wonk who happens to be searching using something other than, say, google.

But, even worse, this charitable research group wants to know who is downloading its files, so all links to the .pdfs actually go to a form which asks a few minor bits of information from the reader - where they are located, what professional field they are working in - before redirecting them to the file. BAM. no spiders. So none of these files are available even on the big search engines.

Maybe there are cases where you want to avoid your research getting the widest coverage, but for a charity that's pretty unlikely. Especially since part of the mission is to distribute the research results as widely as possible.

But what about libraries? this is the crux of my current complaint/whine.

I was just visiting the National Library of Australia (NLA). They have this fabulous chart from Jacob La Maire, the gent who discovered the route around Cape Horn and into the Pacific Ocean, and incidentally died for his trouble because the Dutch East India Company didn't want anyone to know about it. Yes, NLA has the chart. Clearly they have a lovely high-quality scan of the chart somewhere. But no, you can't find it online.

So why the hell do they have the damn thing, if they don't let anyone see it?

I mean, let's look at this logically: The taxpayers of Australia have paid to purchase this artifact, to preserve it, and to have it digitized. The Library exists to share knowledge and information, again paid for by the taxpayers. The chart itself is clearly not copyrightable, not even Australian, and is likely registered as a world treasure for its historic value to the entirety of human culture. What possible justification could there be for it to not be online?

I can think of one: the archival scan would undoubtedly be large, and the cost in bandwidth might be high. (There are clear and simple solutions to this problem related to IP addresses, but we won't go into it here.)

Stupidities like this, "we have to hide away our data because, well, just because", drive me absolutely bonkers. Take the BBC. If you're a UK citizen you can freely and easily download their content, because after all your fees helped create it. Everyone else in the world is SOL.

That's inane. Whatcha gonna do wid it now that you have it? Oh, sure, about 1-2% of the content can be boxed and sold in about 3 years. But the news broadcasts? the commercials? get real.

So you don't want to pay for the bandwidth? fine; make it available via YouTube or torrent or some other system. Shouldn't cost you more than a tiny fraction of your bandwidth to seed the files out into the internet.
It was interesting to note the brief article regarding Abû 'Uthmân Sa'îd ibn Hakam al Qurashi, but sad to find that following links to the Balearic Islands and Menorca completely disregards this moment of history, the only time in recorded history that Manùrqa (a name completely missing from Wikipedia) was ever an independent political entity.

Not that Wikipedia might have an anti-Islamic bias or anything.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Okay, so I'm running out the door to pick up my jacket and I wanted to tell this real quick story before I forgot it.

There was this old guy at the mall where I was shopping, and he had a denim jacket, which looked out of place to begin with 'cuz he's kinda old like I am. And he had about a dozen little buttons on the shoulder of the jacket like he'd thought about doing the *really* teeny-bopper thing of collecting a buncha buttons with cute snide comments or, worse, spiritually uplifting messages or fan buttons of some rock band or heartthrobofthesecond.

Anyway, I got all smug and stuff because I have cooler buttons on my purse.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Well. Rye Cove, VA does not exist, neither does Rye Cove High School, the latter of which I normally would not be averse to. However, I have this song and I thought I'd look up a wee bit more about the 2 May 1929 tornado which killed 12 students and an instructor, injured dozens, when it struck the school.

Cyclone Of Rye Cove

Oh listen today and a story I'll tell,

In sadness and tear rimmed eyes,

Of a dreadful cyclone that came this way,

And blew our schoolhouse away

Rye Cove (Rye Cove), Rye Cove (Rye Cove),

The land of my childhood and home,

Where life's early morn I once loved to roam,

But now it's so silent and lone

When the cyclone appeared it darkened the air,

And the lightning flashed over the sky,

And the children all cried, don't take us away,

But spare us to go back home

There were mothers so dear and fathers the same,

That came to this terrible scene,

Searching and crying each found their own child,

Dying on a pillow of stone

Oh give us a home far beyond the blue sky,

Where storms and cyclones are unknown,

And there by life's strand we'll clasp the glad hand,

Our children in their heavenly home

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I think I'm going to do a series of complaints about articles I find which are misinformation, errors, vandalized, spam... etc. on Wikipedia. Only because it's really bugging me.

Now We Are Six is a book by A.A. Milne, and an article which has been butchered a bit, with myspace spam and more.

About Me

Owned by Njørđson, a Cape Dory 25D.