Just this goy...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As part of the oldest religious order in the Western world, the St. John’s Benedictines have been among the most progressive forces in American Catholicism.

This potentially interesting but unsourced statement could conceivably be a useful POV statement in a Wikipedia article. But probably not in the article [[Eugene McCarthy]] where its use is merely to bias the article.

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's very reassuring to know that God has a birthdate, 27 March 1991, and of course is a United Stater.

[[27 March]]
1991 - God, American citizen
Hmmph, haven't time to point it out to someone, but [[Rumford fireplace]] and [[Benjamin Thompson]] both have text c/p from [[What is a Rumford Fireplace Anyway?]] Can anyone say copyvio?
[[26 March]]
March 26 is the 85th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (86th in leap years). There are 280 days remaining. Also known as "Make Stuff Up" day.

Cute. And so appropriate for Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

MMmmph, very busy the past couple weeks, and everything is suffering.

But perhaps not so much as [[25 March]], which has weird redlinks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

[[Admiralty court]]
In recent years, some tax protesters in the United States have claimed that any American court displaying an American Flag with a gold fringe is in fact an Admiralty Court and thus has no jurisdiction. Courts have dismissed this as frivolous.[[:Template:(United States v. Mackovich, 209 F.3d 1227, 1233-1235, fn. 2 (9th Cir. 2000).)]]

Mmmm... one is almost tempted by that mutilated template call to find out what it's all about...

Friday, March 09, 2007

It seems odd to me...

[[Brewster's Millions]]
This book has been made into a play, and then into a movie... no, movies. A total of 9 different movies. Which is wonderful and so on. But the article tablifies the 7 U.S.A. movies and the 2 Bollywood movies are treated separately.
It would be sad is the Wikipedia articles related to Tibet continued to be dominated by persons who wish to suppress or remove information which does not support the PRC's claims to sovereignty over the nation. Especially since what is being added to the article instead is unsourced political propaganda.

[[History of Tibet]]
The PRC continues to portray its rule over Tibet as an unalloyed improvement from the pre-1950 era of Tibetan feudalism, and some foreign governments continue to make occasional protests about aspects of PRC rule in Tibet. All national governments (as members of the United Nations), however, recognize PRC sovereignty over Tibet, and no country in the world has recognized the Dalai Lama's government in exile in India. The Dalai Lama is widely respected as a religious leader, and is received by foreign governments as such, but observers and analysts of Tibetan affairs believe that it is unlikely that he will ever rule again in Lhasa.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

[[David Pogue]] begins with
This article is about the New York Times columnist. For the Irish band, see The Pogues. Pogue is also US Army slang for a person with a comfortable job.

His birthdate entry in [[9 March]] however states
1963 - David Pogue, Technology columnist and musician

The article does not state he's a musician, so that shouldn't be there. But what the heck is the definition of slang doing at the top of the bio article? I thought Wikipedia was not a dictionary?
One of the more interesting little snippets of trivia I know is that the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 was an influenza strain of the H1N1 subtype Influenza A.

And so I am confused that [[Spanish flu#Spanish flu research]] references only H5N1, which is a relatively modern variant more commonly known as Avian Influenza.
It is my opinion that Wikipedia is being relentlessly targeted to "spin" and market products, persons, and points of view. Not at all unexpected, given its massive popularity on the internet; it's the most important free medium of communication now, and possibly ever.

[[Martha Beck]] is a great example of a vanity article, and the awe-inspiring efforts of the Church of Latter-Day Saints to subvert Wikipedia's NPOV. No, really, you must read the article's history.

I forgot to mention the reason I was at the the Martha Beck article in the first place; Martha Beck is also the name of one half of [[The Honeymoon Killers]] duo, who were executed on 8 March, a much more historically significant personae than the one whose flawed bio article currently has the title.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

[[Ja'far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi]] is a copyright violation. It incorporates largely unchanged the contents of Robert Zoller's article "Abu Ma'shar: Prince of Astrologers"

Update: the article has been edited, removing the copyvio material. I've edited the link to point to the original version, but the issue has now been dealt with.
And speaking of [[Kepler's laws of planetary motion]], [[Wikipedia is not]] a mathematics reference, just as it is not a dictionary. It is an encyclopedia, that is,
Works of encyclopedic scope aim to convey the important accumulated knowledge for their subject domain. Works vary in the breadth of material and the depth of discussion, depending on the target audience. [[encyclopedia]]

The "target audience" of Wikipedia is generally agreed to be everyone. Given this, the article on Kepler's laws is absolutely inappropriate as only a tiny fraction of everyone could even begin to understand the mathematics used.

It is, in fact, an example of a crap article.
17:46, 7 March 2007 (UTC)RicefountianJohannes Kepler's primary contributions to astronomy/astrophysics were his three laws of planetary motion. Kepler, a brilliant German mathematician, derived these laws, in part, by studying the observations of the legendarily precise Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. The article on Johannes Kepler gives a less mathematical description of the laws, as well as a treatment of their historical and intellectual context. [[Kepler's laws of planetary motion]]

Isn't it nice to know we have such exact time stamps?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The biographical article on [[Edward Gibbon Wakefield]] is delightful! It's exciting, rollicking, gossipy... it uses innuendo and implication, third-person omniscient voice, and is everything a good popular press biography is which an academic biography is not.

Which is why it must not exist in this form for Wikipedia.

Monday, March 05, 2007


[[The Catcher in the Rye]]
Mark David Chapman, murderer of musician John Lennon, was carrying the book when he was arrested immediately after the murder and referred to it in his statement to police shortly thereafter.[5] John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was also reported to have been obsessed with the book.[6] Charles Manson is said to own several copies of the book as well.

This is totally irrelevant, even in a section regarding controversy, because it is at best a correlational relationship: that is, random coincidence that these particular individuals should have this particular book. Did they have the book because they were nuts, or did they become insane because of the book? There are quite literally hundreds of thousands of violent events occurring daily, and unless there were study examining and finding a causal relationship between the book and such events there is no justification for including this random (and unproven) trivia in this section.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

I thought... "cool! a new word!"

[[Claude de Forbin]]
During the War of the Spanish Succession, he led a three-ship of the line division in the Adriatic, where he blockaded Venice, bombed Trieste and ramsonned Fiume. In 1703 and 1704, he hunted down the privateers from Vlissingen.

Alas, it appears this term is only found in Wikipedia, the Wikipedia-clones, and a rather largish collection of spam websites. Gods alone know why these two classes...
And, a couple lines later...
1998 - Government, naval and university computers running Windows NT across the United States crash as a result of a hacker. The crash affects computers running at MIT, Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

No references to the specific event, the specific virus or worm. Pointless.
[[4 March]]
1994 - Oliver Robotham was crowned french king and was until he died in 1999.


Friday, March 02, 2007

I was checking for the date celebrated as Muhammad's birthday, and was struck by dramatic difference between the treatment the article receives compared with the article on Jesus:

Muhammad (Arabic: محمد‎ muḥammad; also Mohammed, Mohamet, and other variants[1][2]) (570-632 AD)[3][4] was an Arab religious, political and military leader who founded Islam and the Muslim community (Arabic: أمة Ummah). He united the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into a federation of allied tribes with its capital at Medina.

According to Islamic traditions, Muhammad began receiving revelations from God (Arabic: ألله Allah) from the age of 40, delivered through the angel Gabriel over the last 23 years of his life. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an,[5] was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled into a single book shortly after his death. The Qur'an, along with the details of Muhammad’s life as recounted by his biographers and his contemporaries, forms the basis of Islamic theology. Within Islam, he is considered the last and most important prophet of God.[6] Muslims do not regard him as the founder of a new religion but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and other prophets, [7][8][9][10][11] whose messages, according to some, had become misinterpreted or corrupted over time. [12]

Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. He is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a title derived from the Greek christós, meaning the "Anointed One", which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah". The name "Jesus" is an Anglicization of the Greek Iesous, itself believed to be a transliteration of the Hebrew Yehoshua or Aramaic Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".

The main widely-accepted sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Most scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee, who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate under the accusation of sedition against the Roman Empire.[2][3] A small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely mythological Jesus.[4]

The comparison is startling, imo. Read the words carefully, and examine them for emotional focus as opposed to academic focus. Note the complete lack of references/citations for the names of Jesus section of the opening paragraph of that article.

And note the differences in original sources: for Muhammed we know precisely who wrote the book, and we have contemporary commentators. For Jesus the references are the "canonical" gospels; in short the religious books prove the religion.

Very sad.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yet again the "World Day of Prayer" activists/spammers have added their links/material to Wikipedia, [[March 1]] (Unexpectedly, their pet article is currently under copyvio.)
Conspiracy theories are spun on extremely limited evidence, or the unprovable negative event. A single notation, unsupported by citation or actual fact, can develop into a widely-believed myth. The notation may have been created for the best of intentions, such as "balanced reporting" (another myth, btw) to present a possible justification for an action, and yet create or support a conspiracy theory.

Lenin's suspicion of an international conspiracy linked up with the Kronstadt events has been supported by the discovery of a handwritten memorandum preserved in the Columbia University Russian Archive, dated 1921 and marked 'Top Secret.' The document includes remarkably detailed information about the resources, personnel, arms and plans of the Kronstadt rebellion. It also details plans regarding White army and French government support for the Kronstadt sailors' March rebellion. Its title is 'Memorandum on the Question of Organising an Uprising in Kronstadt.'

The memorandum was part of a collection of documents written by an organisation called the National Centre, which originated at the beginning in 1918 as a self identified 'underground organisation formed in Russia for the struggle against the Bolsheviks.' After suffering military defeat and the arrest of many of its central members, the group reconstituted itself in exile by late 1920. General Wrangel, with a trained army of tens of thousands ready and waiting, was their principal military base of support. This memorandum was written between January and early February of 1921 by an agent of the National Centre in Finland.

This segment from the [[Kronstadt rebellion]] has no citation or evidentiary support, and its only purpose is to lend a possible justification for the government's actions. Exclusive of it's solitary nature and questions regarding its veracity, the question is its relevance to this article.

For example, if one were to accept the primae facie argument that the memo did exist at the time and was known to the government, then the entire action including:
Official Soviet figures claim approxmiately 1000 rebels were killed, 2000 wounded, 2500 captured, and 8000 defected to Finland, while the Red Army lost 527 killed and 3285 wounded.[9]
All this was done on the basis of a single uncorroborated memo. A government which would do so much on such limited information would be far more despicable than one which, instead, over-reacted purposefully to quell yet another potential rebellion in a long list of recent strikes and uprisings which were themselves the not-unexpected result of a war-shattered economy and two years of famine.

In short, this is a conspiracy theory with no attempt to present support for the apologetist claims.

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