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We Surf So You Don't Have To


Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: I figured that it wasn’t part of Alfred Nobel’s original scheme, but I didn’t know that its money came from the Swedish Central Bank. Also, that Fredrich Hayek protested his award: “The Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess…. This does not matter in the natural sciences. Here the influence exercised by an individual is chiefly an influence on his fellow experts; and they will soon cut him down to size if he exceeds his competence. But the influence of the economist that mainly matters is an influence over laymen: politicians, journalists, civil servants and the public generally.” {via}


Sentinelese people: residents of North Sentinel Island of whom very little is known. The number of contacts over the last two hundred years can be counted on two hands, maybe.


List of common misconceptions: this is a pretty good list.


Rudolf Virchow – The Sausage Duel: riskier than, say, pistols?


Zeppelin bend: looks like a good knot.


Zorbing: now I know the name.


xkcd wikipedia steps to philosophy: furthest I got (aside from the loops) was 22 steps.


Hitler Hops: calculate the articles between anything and Hitler.


Pedestrian scramble: I’ve never seen the “Barnes Dance” but it sounds neat.

The dozens: I knew of the call-and-response style from rap, but I didn’t know its name or origin. Fascinating.


Garden path sentence: I’m a fan of these constructions. With thoughtful people, they practically force a re-read and more careful parsing. With the thoughtless, the likely result is “huh?” and moving on.


Ravoux’s slavemaker ant: yet another example of the insect world’s badassery.


Emerald Cockroach Wasp: it uses the cockroach’s antenna as a leash. I christen this wasp as Nature’s Second-most Badass Animal. First? Oh that’s easy.


Krampus: I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a Christmas special featuring Saint Nicholas’s assistant.


List of cats with fraudulent diplomas: the comments in the discussion page seem to regard this article as unencyclopedic. I can’t think of anything more encyclopedic: Britannica wouldn’t touch this article with a ten-foot pole.


Scrapple: mmm, hog offal.


Execution by Elephant: what a way to go.


List of Common Misconceptions: I don’t believe it is complete, but it’s a good smattering of things everyone thinks they know.


Why Schools Make You Tuck in Your Shirt: you could never get away with that if you had to wear breeches. {via}

List of Problems Solved By MacGyver: “MacGyver uses a pulley system fashioned from torn fabric, bailing wire, and toy car wheels to assist a small dog in crossing a busy road.”


Wikipedia – “Bill Brown”: crud, that’s pretty crowded already. The only way I’m going to make it on there at this rate is as a serial killer and I’ve got that whole moral restriction against the initiation of force problem to overcome for that.


WikiVS: a wiki for comparisons. “VS” as in “versus.” Not much there and what’s there follows well-worn duels.


AAAAAAAAA!: surprisingly informative. Yet another article that you’ll never see in Encyclopedia Britannica! {via


“Guys and Dolls”: documentary about the people who buy Real Dolls. {via}


List of eponymous laws: I just can’t get enough heuristics.


Lamest Edit Wars: I’ve seen some of this pettiness firsthand, certainly not as bad as these though. {via}


Three countries use non-metric measurement systems: from the metric system article on Wikipedia. I think this is supposed to make Americans feel backward or something, but I just can’t muster up any concern.


Wikigroaning: that is a fun game. {via}


List of films with similar themes and release dates: looks useful.


Bath School Disaster: what an incredible (in the sense of unbelievable) story. {via}


Software Versioning: illuminating article on the different ways to distinguish between software versions.


The May Day Mystery: figures it’d happen in Tucson at U of A.


Karoshi: death from overwork. That’s a pretty tough condition from which to recover.

McMansion: an excellent Wikipedia article on the architectural equivalent of the Hummer. I love the term “Garage Mahal.” {via}


Infamous Moments in Saturday Night Live History: it’s amazing how many of these I’ve watched.


1337 Day: it’s today. Behold the power of arbitrarily-arranged numbers!


Singles Awareness Day: bandwidth exceeded—I expected that. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the subject.


Reductio ad Hitlerum: a logical fallacy along the lines of Godwin’s Law.


The Problem with Wikipedia: too true. Too true.


Unusual software bugs: I was familiar with the Heisenbug, but the rest are useful too.


Geographical names that are interesting or unusual: amazing that this is buried in a salvage subpage off someone’s user page. {via}

Unusual Articles on Wikipedia: a compilation of strange entries. Perhaps proof that Wikipedia is the real-life equivalent to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. {via}


Dark Tower: online version of the 1981 Milton Bradley electronic board game.


Wikicars: a wiki for car enthusiasts. Weaker than Wikipedia, but that may change.


Back to the Future timelines: holy moly! This article even has inferences about when unseen events might have happened on the timelines. {via}


List of longest novels: dang, just missed NaNoReMo.

Jargon of the Rush Limbaugh Show: he’s a jackass, but he’s certainly colorful.


Scholarpedia: this looks like an important modification of MediaWiki but I can’t find source anywhere. I like the process of selecting scholars. {via


Incredible Machine: this is enchanting and incredible. These shorts are used for a children’s TV show in Japan.


White and Nerdy: “Weird Al”‘s new video that’s a parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin'” song. Amazingly, there’s a Wikipedia entry for the song already and it’s been edited 83 times. The album it’s from, Straight Outta Lynwood, isn’t due for another week. {via}


Joshua Norton: also known as “Norton I, Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico.” He was a bum in the 1860s that lived in San Francisco and whose eccentricity (to put it mildly) was revered in that young town.


List of television shows canceled after one episode: there are a lot of them. And not all of them were Fox properties—they typically let a great show last for one season before they kill it. {via}


List of cognitive biases: there sure are a lot of way your thinking can go wrong. Not mine, yours.


List of adages named after people: useful little article.

English Mnemonics: every good boy likes fudge, especially Roy G. Biv.


Jeet Kune Do: martial art developed by Bruce Lee. Personally, I prefer “Kick Some Ass” by Chuck Norris.


Rap Dictionary: no automatic translator, though. {via}


Unusual Articles: wow, this is a treasure trove of oddity. This is yet another reason why I love Wikipedia.

4/18/2006 of neologisms on The Simpsons: better list than my last one.


William James Sidis: learned to read at 18 months, Latin at 2, Greek at 3, essay on anatomy by 4, and 8 languages and 4 books written by age 8. Flamed out by age 23, he worked at menial labor and collected streetcar transfers until he died at 46. {via}


Abe Vigoda’s Status: “happy birthday” according to the Abe Vigoda Status extension and confirmed by Wikipedia.

Telemark skiing: I had never heard of this form of skiing, but it looks pretty nice. Not likely to be an Olympic spot any time soon, unfortunately.


Google Pages: Google enters the create-and-host-your-own little web site. I guess it’s better than buying such a thing for $3.7 billion.

NBA 2006 Dunk Contest: see the recent members of Phi Slamma Jamma.


The Muppet Wiki: this is unbelievably cool. Muppets Tonight needs to be out on DVD.


International Ginger Kids Foundation: this site made no sense until I read this Wikipedia entry. I was hoping it would be about gingerbread figures. Oh well.


Heavy Metal Umlaut: you’d never see this in your father’s encyclopedia.


Bill Brasky: “I went camping with Brasky, his wife, and his daughter Debbie! Debbie Brasky. She’s 7-years-old, goes about 3’5”, 55 pounds. So, I’m in the back of a pickup with Bill Brasky and a live deer! Well, Brasky, he grabs the deer by the antlers, looks at it and says, “I’m Bill Brasky! Say it!” Then he squeezes the deer in such a way that a sound comes out of its mouth – “Billbrasky!” It wasn’t exactly it, but it was pretty good for a deer!” {via}

[UPDATE (1/31/2006): D’oh, duped. I shouldasearched.]


List of films ordered by uses of the word “fuck”: two thoughts occur to me: 1) I haven’t seen a lot of these movies and 2) where’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin?


Saturday Night Live Commercials: there’s a lot of funny memories here. Wish there were more links to video. {via}


Television Commercials: excellent source of links to Wikipedia articles about classic commercials. I don’t know how some of them got there, though. {via}


Oxford Comma: this is hands-down the best coverage about the serial comma dilemma that I have ever seen. (And the discussion about the article is one of the reasons why I love Wikipedia.) {via}


List of people who died in the bathroom: that’s a lot of people and definitely not the way to go (pun possibly intended). {via}


List of Strange Units of Measurement: I like the lawyer and the helen


Cacophony Society: as long as it’s not malicious, I think the world could use some cacophany.


The Wilhelm Scream: a sound effect used hundreds of times since it was recorded in 1951.


The Chewbacca Defense: a fictional legal defense becomes a useful way of describing legal mumbo-jumbo.


Errors in the Encyclopedia Britannica That Have Been Corrected in Wikipedia: this is one type of article that you would never find an analog of in a real encyclopedia. And it’s a reason why I love Wikipedia. {via}


Made-up words in The Simpsons: I should do a feature of interesting articles to be found in the Wikipedia.


Edelweiss Pirates: like the swing kids, only without the dancing and the grooving. It’s amazing that they lasted as long as they did, given that they killed several Hitler Youth leaders and the head of the Cologne Gestapo. {via}


Krumping: dressing up like a clown and dancing frenetically. I don’t get it.


Unusual Articles on Wikipedia: Wikipedia is such a treasure.