Tag Archives: wikipedia

The Nazi rabbit hole

It’s a dangerous rabbit hole, Wikipedia. You can disappear down it for minutes, hours, days, even weeks. Probably more, though I’ve been lucky to avoid that so far.

Normally it’s fine. You can live with getting a bit of an obsession with something and reading up on a ton of information that’s only about 70% reliable. That’s nothing bad, it’s not embarrassing and it’s sometimes even useful.

But wherever you start on it, there’s a 43.5% chance you’ll end up on something related to the Second World War. And once you’re there, you’re going to end up on the Nazis. And that’s where it gets dangerous.

Not for any dodgy reasons of course. Reading about the Nazis isn’t a bad thing, nor is doing it something likely to convince you ‘they were a bit misunderstood’.

But it’s still dangerous in that someone might walk in and see you have fourteen tabs open about Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, the Afrikacorps, Erwin Rommel, the Eastern Front, Nazism and occultism and numerous others.

They might see this and think “why is he reading about Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, the Afrikacorps, Erwin Rommel, the Eastern Front, Nazism and occultism and numerous others?”

It’s a fair thing to wonder.

The problem is, it’s all so bloody interesting. Just reading about Hitler’s cabinet has kept me going for the last three days. Then you click on a name, and a link, and another name, and another link, and you learn about 4,900 men, women and children ordered murdered in revenge for one man being assassinated, then you feel a bit sick and play some videogames (involving killing), then you go back to it, then you laugh at the wedding photo with Hitler doing a photobomb, then you realise you’re watching a WWII documentary on TV right now and…

Shit. This rabbit hole’s deeper than I thought.

An absolutely fascinating period in history, of that thar be no doubt.

Also: today I watched Tangled. It’s really good. 7/10

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New project A GO GO

The Wikipedia blackout the other day has made me appreciate the site even more.

No it hasn’t – that’s a lie. I’ve always massively appreciated it.

Still, the blackout did scare me into a mindset of ‘the internet could end at any minute, better take in as much of it as I can’. As such I’ve been trying to memorise most of Wikipedia for the last… ohhh… thirty minutes or so. Have to say with a hangover and very little awareness of how to read right now I am struggling.

Apparently the Boshin War was something to do with… porn?

Ah, no – just getting my opened tabs mixed up there. Sorry.

I reckon this project, which I am now dubbing Project Wicked Peado, won’t take too long to complete. In fact, if I keep at this whole reading thing my calculations have me as having memorised approximately 37% of the site by 12pm tomorrow.

Not bad going for a street kid from Manila. Even better going from someone like me.

I’ve just decided to change the project’s name after having re-read what I just christened it. It is now known as Project Wicked Cool Paedo. That’s better – less likely to be misunderstandings there.

More Wiki-knowledge I’ve just learned: NAMBLA – the North American Man/Boy Love Association – isn’t a construct of South Park. It’s real.

Something else I’ve just learned from Wikipedia: America is fucking insane. In the best and worst way.

Fuck SOPA, PIPA, the DMCA or whatever it is (I haven’t got to that yet in Project Wicked Cool Paedo, so I don’t know what it is) and anything else that aims to protect the financial interests of the few over the free-sharing of knowledge and creative endeavours of the many.

Well, the creative types, at least.

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A personal appeal, though I have less terrifying eyes

Today, rather than spunking out some stupid thoughts and expecting you to read through them, I’m setting you an assignment. It goes like this:

Read this, chuckle a little that this exists somewhere in the space-tubes of the inter-world and then give some money to that terribly frightening man at the top of every Wikipedia page. It’s one of the best things that’s ever been invented and it costs about $18 million per year to run.

A free collection of all the information we have on pretty much anything. No adverts. All there. Free to access. For anyone who can get on it. Free to edit. Open to change. Evolving. It’s imperfect, there are some questionable elements and his face is terrifying. But it’s amazing, and if nothing else has, Wikipedia alone justifies the invention of the internet.

By Al Gore.

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Common knowledge and the ‘death’ of PC gaming

I dislike common knowledge. The perception that something is correct merely because so many other people say it. It’s like the Wikipedia curse, whereby something isn’t true until it has a citation on the site – then it just so happens a news story pops up mentioning the (as-yet uncited) ‘fact’, which can then be used as a citation on the Wiki page. A self-fulfilling prophecy – as well as being something we were taught about at journalism school. Yeah for learning.

Anyway, I think common knowledge tends to travel similar paths – if something is repeated often enough, people don’t think they have to check it for it to be true. If so many different people are corroborating the story, how could it not be true?

What prompted me to think of all this may surprise you (or may make you not want to read on, as it’s about video games) – the ‘death’ of PC gaming. Apparently PC retail sales have been on a downward spiral for years, games just don’t sell anymore and the system as a platform for games is on its last legs.

This is something most often repeated by those who pay no attention to the PC market, or those who feel like being excessively lazy with their coverage – they might not usually talk about games, for whatever unbelievable reason that might be. But the result is the same: the casual observer comes to think the market is small, pointless and dying.

This might actually be true when it comes to retail – I’m sure PC sales have fallen through in that last few years. But rather than chanting of the doom of the market, a simple bit of paying attention or looking around reaps knowledge rewards. Steam – my mortal enemy – has millions of registered users across the world. You download it to your PC or Mac and immediately have a world of hundreds of games open to you – buy them, download them, play them. Simple.

Let’s look at right now – there are 1.6 million people online with Steam at the time of writing. This changes throughout the day and this number is actually quite low. Let’s pluck a figure out of the air and say 0.5 per cent of people online right now will buy a game. So that’s what – 80,000? Not bad for a day of sales, really. Except that won’t be the day – that’s my imaginary, conservative figure for the number of people online right now. Add into this the Americans waking up and logging on later today and you have a lot more potential.

The problem is digital distribution sales like these aren’t released in a handy batch of figures to show the world, so it remains ‘common knowledge’ that PC gaming is dying. It just seems strange to me that it’s considered to be dying when I’ve bought more games for PC in the last couple of years than I ever, ever did before.

But yeah, anyway, I lost my point somewhere. Common knowledge: always question it.

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