Just this goy...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

How wonderful! Nigel Tufnel is a member of the Mandolinists category! Why is this bad? Nigel Tufnel is a fictional character in the comedic mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap" and should neither have his own article nor should he ever be in a category of real people.
The article on Belle Starr is a fine example of excrable writing, and pointless/bad trivia.

The latter is particularly awful. The "historical fiction" section, which doesn't even begin to list the dozens-to-hundreds of references to Belle Starr, spends 280 words and 3 paragraphs talking about a Manga which has never been completely translated to any other language, is barely related to the subject of the article, and is doubtless otherwise completely un-notable. Yet it accounts for fully 25% of this article.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I love shit like this...

This is an entry in the Son Volt discography. It links to an article about a film of the name, but the name of the album is included in the disambig... Needless to say this is pure crap since the album hasn't been released and won't be for a couple months.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gotta love this IP tagging the article they edited...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

3 February:
In the Northern hemisphere, there are 88 days in winter (in a non-leap year, 89 in a leap year). We are considered halfway through winter on February 3.
Not! There are 89 days in northern winters. Or at least there will be for the next 5 years, since I *just* finished calculating this from the solar ephemera. Winter doesn't follow calendars; it's rather the other way around. The cross-quarter days fall on 4 February (in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011) or 5 February (2009 and 2012).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lovely. Opposite Day is in Wikipedia's list of holidays for 25 January.
Substubs bug me. The Corsair doesn't even mention it's a poem!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pachena Point Lighthouse is where k-kay kickflip resides.
Isn't that nice to know? Really enccyclopedic.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh, and the whole mis-placed paragraph about the invention of water-skiing... which is currently lodged in the 1800s section, but should be in the 1900s section as it happened in 1922.
The first steamboat to travel the full length of the Mississippi from the Ohio River to New Orleans, Louisiana, was the New Orleans in December 1811.*

That's not the full length of the Mississippi!! That's the length of the Lower Mississippi!
Of what possible relevance is this to the article on Felipe, Prince of Asturias?
He is also the 10th cousin, 6 times removed of Manfred von Richthofen, or the Red Baron.
What, a republican attack on the Clinton administration in Wikipedia? Say it isn't so!
In the United States this story generated predominantly negative publicity, with some notable exceptions, e.g. Robert Reich's comment "where were teachers like she [Mary Letourneau] when I went to school?"[citation needed]. Reich was at that time the Secretary of Labor in President Clinton's administration.*
Gotta love those unsourced, clearly irrelevant statements being saved in the article but challenged...
Of all the POVioring factions on en.Wikipedia, the ones which make me the most angry are holocaust POViors.

1943 - Holocaust in Letychiv, Ukraine: German Gestapo organises mass shootings of Jews from Letychiv Ghetto. 200 surviving Jews from Letychiv slave labor camp were ordered to undress and were shot with machine-gun into a ravine. Some 7.000 Jews were murdered in Letychiv.

Nearly every other day of the Wikipedia calendar of daily historical events has one or two "holocaust events". Very few of them follow the Days of the year guidelines or style. Almost all of them go on to make unsupported comments. All of them make me think the Holocaust was far less than it is being made out to be. None of them mention the millions of non-jews who were murdered.

The promotion of the Holocaust on Wikipedia appears to be fascist and racist in nature. Clearly the people involved have learned from the Holocaust.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Well... Stamford Raffles may need to answer for many things, but I don't believe this is one of them:

He also changed the Dutch colonies to the British system of driving on the left.

Why do people not simply delete what is apparently bogus, un-sourced information?

Friday, January 19, 2007

"The attempt Hood made in January 1782 to save them from capture, with 22 ships to 29, was not successful, but the series of bold movements by which he first turned the French out of their anchorage at the Basse Terre of St Kitts, and then beat off the attacks of the enemy, were the most brilliant things done by any British admiral during the war."*

I really rather dislike apologetists generally. At least, if they are unsourced and appear, on the surface, to be simple bias and poor writing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How cute, that A.B. redirects to Bachelor of Arts instead of Able Seaman, even though no one has ever heard of its use as an acronym for the latin Artium Baccalaureus yet most everyone has heard its use as an acronym for the British Navy Able-bodied.
Egads! While I tend to agree with the sentiments expressed, the biography of Joseph Hewes is clearly biased and written from a very non-neutral point of view.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ugh. The 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, often known as the Bayonet Constitution, copy-paste moved on July 6, losing the history of nearly 100 contributions.
Oh, and back on the 19th of January...
1847 - Charles Bent, New Mexico pioneer (assassinated)

Has anyone thought to mention that Charles Bent was the appointed governor of the newly-formed New Mexico Territory, or that he was assassinated during the Taos Revolution? (Incidentally, the succession box at the bottom of the Charles Bent article is wrong: Stephen W. Kearny succeeded Juan Bautista Vigil y Alarid, as a military governor, before appointing Charles Bent as a civilian governor.)
Okay, this is offensive. The term "revolutionary war", according to the English Wikipedia, always and only refers to the revolution of the United States against the United Kingdom. Do I need to explain why this is offensive?
Yes, it will happen. But no, it has not happened yet. So it should not be listed in a record of historic events.
2038 - The UNIX timestamp (a format used for decades to store dates on computers) becomes technically obsolete.*

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gah... there are people who, with purely the best intents at heart, manage to completely and utterly miss the point. And leave really really lame summaries.

(cur) (last) 16:07, 20 November 2006 J Di (Talk | contribs) (Protected pages considered harmful moved to Pages that are protected are considered harmful: do they bite?)*

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Well, it's been a weird blogging morning... first the server was gone, then it wouldn't let me sign in to my google account... Now I've forgotten all the annoying mistakes and errors I found on Wikipedia from the date tasks. Ah well, I'll just have to find more.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Okay, can someone explain this for me?

The naval Battle of Cape St Vincent, or Battle of Cape Santa Maria, took place on 16 January 1780, during the American Revolutionary War and was a victory of a British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney over a Spanish squadron under Don Juan de Lángara.Wikipedia

The thing I'm wondering is about the green text... in what way is it relevant to this specific battle that the north american colonies were revolting? Wouldn't it be far more important to mention that Britain was currently at war with France as well as Spain?
I'm quite intrigued by Erling Kagge's article. It's not that I've never heard of him (which I haven't); he's active in a field I'm not too aware of. It's that his article reads like an advertisement for his many books, which are apparently the only references there are concerning him.
Unbelievably bad. Ilse Koch was almost certainly an evil person, but the text of the article would have done Goebbels proud: it contains extensive damning statements which are not directly sourced and which are otherwise completely unbelievable.

She may or may not have possessed lampshades made from human skin, however her family dinner table is reputed to have been decorated with shrunken human heads

This statement alone is worthy of condemning the entire article. This is crap writing, as evil as any alleged action taken by Ilse Koch. I'm hardly a holocaust denier, but if holocaust educators must stoop to lies and innuendo to make the Nazis appear evil, then they must not have been very evil. At least that's the message I get. If the facts do not speak for themselves, lies will not serve; they will only harm the message being transmited.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It is interesting to note that the royalty of Hawai'i articles are not titled according to Wikipedia naming standards:
1. Pre-emptively disambiguate the names of monarchs, of modern countries in the format "{Monarch's first name and ordinal} of {Country}". Examples: Edward I of England; Alfonso XII of Spain; Henry I of France.*

And yet:

I wonder if this is due to the need to recognize the USA's gunpoint diplomacy in capturing Hawai'i if Wikipedia recognized Hawai'i as a kingdom no greater or lesser than any European throne.
Cute, a broken image in the Dreyfus Affair article.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Clemenceau (R 98), a French aircraft carrier article on Wikipedia, shows a classic example of the problem of a lack of editorial vision: 688 words of the 1053 word document are a diatribe about the French government's attempt to have the ship broken up in India in 2006 (where about 80% of all ships are in fact broken up.) The remaining 375 words cover the ship's 40 year career, service in at least 5 wars, and more than one million nautical miles.

Is this final chapter really appropriately balanced against the coverage of the entire history of the vessel? Why is the date the vessel was delayed in passage through the Suez Canal listed in the Wikipedia page for 12 January, but not the day the vessel was christened, commissioned or decommissioned? Bias, perhaps?
And another date conflict... the 12 January entry lists Gustav I of Sweden as being crowned on that date in 1528, but the article reports him being elected king on 6 June 1521 and being crowned 21 January 1528.
A lovely example of complete bias and bullshit:

On 11 January 1863 Hatteras encountered the Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama under Captain Raphael Semmes flying the British flag (an acceptable practice under the law of the sea at the time) and indicating that she was HMS Spitfire.

As a boarding party approached Alabama she broke out the Confederate ensign and commenced firing.

It has never been either acceptable or legal for a Naval vessel to impersonate either a civilian vessel of another sovereign state or a naval vessel of a foreign sovereign state. Ever. The closest thing to it is to refuse to fly any colors when in international waters.
This one is kinda cute... in 11 January:
* 1938 - Frances Moulton is the first woman to become president of a U.S. national bank.[citation needed]

Now, imagine this... you run accross a statement which has no supporting facts, and is completely unrelated to the project on a page which is excessively cluttered yet barely scratches the possible content which could be listed there... do you A) remove it, B) link the page to the ongoing citation project which is focused on something else entirely?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Living la vida buena...

Two years ago I bought a small old-fashioned coffee grinder. You know, the silly wooden box with a drawer in the side and a little cup at the top with a crank. Pure nostalgia, theoretically justified by an upcoming cruise around Vancouver Island. (I also bought a mongo-huge coffee press for the trip, far larger than my kettle could possibly service but the only carbonate plastic one I could find at the time.)

This year's most-prized Winter Solstice gift is a tiny stovetop espresso, designed for yuppie backpackers who can't leave their starbucks addiction behind. (I, he said primly, am not addicted to starbucks; I much prefer Pané e Fromaggio's coffee. And I visit fair trade coffeeshops as a cheesy sop to my conscience.)

120 cranks on grinder (which has become steadily finer in grind over the two years, until it's really much too fine for the coffee presses, but that doesn't stop me using it for them as well) and I have just enough of my blended fair trade beans (two dark roasts and a medium roast, about equal) to make one espresso. I very lightly tamp it, with a spoon. Then turn on the burner and fire it up.

(One thing I'm missing is one of those cute little espresso pitchers the barristas at the coffee houses have; maybe for Summer Solstice, if I hint strongly enough to the family... a cute double-walled stainless insulated one, like they have at MEC...)

The cool thing about this set up, of course, is that it works entirely without electricity. It does need a stove. I mean, theoretically I could do this over a campfire, but realistically it aint happening without a focused small spot of really high heat.

So, my personal la vida buena? firing off the espresso, toasting two slices of raisin bread (yah, I can make that too), heating almost a pint of whole milk, pouring the espresso into the milk (and a teaspoon or so brown sugar or maple syrup), slathering a bit of butter on the toast and shaking cinnamon sugar over it... and calling it breakfast. I'm usually good for about 4 hours of work on that.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007









































Okay, I don't believe you. In fact, I think you're a loony when it comes to this particular subject. And yah, it's seriously harmed your credibility with me.

I'm talking about someone's flat out insistence to me that the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia storage accounts for some 365 GB.

That number seemed way off. I mean, there are well over 1,000,000 media files on Commons alone. Even if Commons did account for every single media file in the Wikimedia Foundation, each media file would be an average of 358KB in length. Not including the fact that Mediawiki stores a resized copy of every image which has ever been resized. And last I'd heard Wikipedia's media file collection was a touch larger than that on Commons.

On commons alone there are more than 133,194 KB of just the .djvu media type. While this file type may seem a bit fat as a reasonable comparison (the above number accounts for only 41 files, an average size of 3,248 KB) it's actually quite lean compared with .ogg song files. It would be difficult to make reasonable estimates, however, as there are several thousands of word pronunciation files on commons, still it's not unreasonable to expect the average is 3 MB. And Google finds nearly 90,000 hits of .ogg [1]

So, do I think that the average file size, including all image resizes, video and music files, averages less than 179KB? It's possible, but I don't think so, no. But exclusive of storage volume, what about when we talk about bandwidth?

A number tossed at me said 50% of bandwidth use is html text. Oddly, I actually believe that. Relatively speaking the wikis are extremely low on gaphics. They don't have a billion and one tiny images, rollover images, flash interfaces, etc. Even with gzip transmission this undoubtedly means that text is going to be the largest percentage of the bandwidth.

But the other number tossed at me was that en.wikipedia images account for 44% of the remaining bandwidth. Again, this is unbelievable bullshit. They may be images in en.wikipeda pages, but that doesn't mean they are held exclusively on that website. That 44% includes all the images which are uploaded to commons.wikimedia, which is a senseless waste of a wiki.

Think about it this way: with further coding, all media files from any WMF project could be available to every other project, without requiring a separate bureaucracy to "manage" images for them. It should not be excessively difficult to externalize the binary namespace from the wikis, and make all media pages available on all the projects simultaneously.

Instead the only system which is available to all wikis is commons, which externalizes image deletion control, as well as the policy-making regarding every element of binary management. And, instead of improving the software and creating greater opportunity and sharing, commons divisively engages in turf wars, and writes software which increases project dependency on them rather than attempting to reduce that dependency.

And it hasn't worked in the past. Historically commons has enforced its own rules arbitrarily; abusing it contributors on some occasions, abusing its missions on others. Its administrators, unaccountable to the projects and equally to their own community, have repeatedly engaged in hostile arguments with representatives of other projects and people attempting to join its efforts. Whether it is the culture which has developed there or its unique position of de facto authority over the content of the WMF projects, it is harmful to the development of the projects it is supposed to support.

Since there is not a need for commons, effort should be put forth not to improve it further but to make it redundant, simultaneously reducing the actuality of redundant binary files. And, WMF-wide, a policy requiring binaries be actually used in projects in order to justify their storage should be implemented.

Of course, that only applies if there is a desire to reduce the number redundant binary files, reduce the complexity and hostility related to contributing media files, eliminate a layer of bureaucracy, and/or to simplify rather than complicate. In short, this entire essay was a waste of time.

Update: Having spoken with the person in charge of the network system for the Wikimedia Foundation, Media file transfers account for more than half of bandwidth usage, roughly 60% vs 40% text. He also says the estimated storage is about 1 TB, but doesn't want to risk slowing down the server to actually get a precise figure. (Actually, he thinks more like 1.5 TB, since it was 1.3 TB a couple months ago)

Which pretty much makes my case, in some respects.
1 BC (O.S.) - Jesus of Nazareth, central figure of Christianity, (date celebrated by Eastern Orthodox churches as Christmas)[1]

And with such listings Wikipedia supports unequivocally a matter of faith.


Philips van Almonde, or is it Philipp van Almonde? born 29 December, or 30 December? 1644, or 1646?* Died 6 January, or 8 January?**

Consistency, obviously not the hobgoblin of Wikipedia's maritime-related articles.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Good gods! Not only is this pure political propaganda, the article Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People is linked as a holiday for 4 January!

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