Monday, January 21, 2008

The 20 Coolest Pages on Wikipedia

The reasons that Wikipedia is better than Encyclopædia Britannica is readily understood if you know why The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is better than Encyclopedia Galactica:
First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
In Wikipedia's case:
Information is so much more valuable if it is also entertaining. Every once in a while I run across a Wikipedia entry that just begs to be shared. Here are some of the best, in no particular order:

1. All known Hobbies and Occupations.

For what to do with your free time and your life, respectively, start here.

2. Foods named after people

Anyone for some "Mamie Eisenhower fudge"?

3. Unusual Deaths

Which can be reached from the more general Famous Deaths By Cause, and leads to the more specific Inventors Killed By Their Own Invention.

4. Profanity in American Sign Language

Most of us know just one.

5. Philosophical "isms"

Guaranteed to make you sound smarter than anyone else at your next party, unless you run into someone who actually knows something.

6. Television Characters

When you absolutely need to know the name of Chandler's father's Las Vegas drag queen show.

7. Common words that have two opposite meanings

And without which, we would have no Amelia Bedelia books. Another good one: Words with disputed meanings.

8. People known as ..., The Great

Sadly, my name is still not listed. Guess I wasted those five bucks.

9. People who have declined a British honor

Ooh! Ooh! I just did! Oh wait, wait ... Ooh! I did it again!

10. Countries without armed forces

If every other country was right, these should have been invaded and taken over years ago. Now go look up Contraposition.

11. Countries with McDonald's

Where we also learn the "Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention": No two countries that both had McDonald's had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald's. (Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree)

12. Statistically Superlative Countries

Yes, I know what you're thinking: what the heck does this mean? It means: countries that "have the most X" or "are the most Y".

13. The 23rd Century

I bet you didn't know that this was already in the encyclopedia. Want to know a little about the future? Wikipedia has future years by century, decade, and year.

14. Ongoing wars

A guide to your next vacation.

15. Phenakistoscope

Animation! Shiny!

16. Things Named Daedalus

Inexplicably missing from Britannica.

17. Featured Sounds

This week's featured sounds include "Was frag ich nach der Welt" and "An alligator bellowing".

18. Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

History, philosophy, and answers.

19. Dan Quayle quotes

On one of Wikipedia's many sister sites, Wikiquote.

20. Unusual Articles

Don't like my list? Here are several hundred cool and strange articles as chosen by the Wikipedia gurus themselves.



Anonymous said...

That's one excellent list there!

Great post :)

Yehuda Berlinger said...

Thanks, grey.


Mark said...

I still have the Pac Man board game! The pellets always rolled around the board when you played, but as a kid I didn't care, it was awesome.