Sep 19, 2008

Random Wikiness


When I am especially bored with Net-surfing and cable-scanning, I occasionally visit Wikipedia and use the Random Article function. This is located on the left sidebar of Wikipedia, and clicking this link sends the visitor into unknown and often fascinating journeys into accumulated knowledge.

While I am a borderline Wikipediholic, I recognize that the articles are only as accurate as the last revisions, and I get sidetracked with repairing poorly-written pages. Still, I find the site to be an excellent basic reference for initial inquiries into a topic with which one is unfamiliar.

My first random page tonight found information about the gudok, an ancient Eastern Slavic three-stringed musical instrument that was played with a bow. I next ventured over to the page dedicated to the Toho Bank, a Japanese commercial bank based in Fukushima with approximately 2.6 trillion yen in assets and 116 branches.

Another click took me to the page on Pseudaneitea campbellensis, a species of air-breathing land slug with a pair of almost-invisible tentacles. Said gastropod is delicious, I am sure, when grilled with a litle olive oil and some scallions.

I next learned about the Catalan Agreement of Progress, a union of left-leaning political parties in Catalonia. I spent over a week in Barcelona this summer, and noticed quite a bit of anarchist, socialist, and pro-independence grafitti in the city. On the opposite end of the political excitement spectrum must lie Clemons, Iowa, whose page was my next Wiki-stop. With a population of only 148 people, it seemed unnecessary to provide demographic data, but I learned that the racial makeup of the city was 97.30% White, 1.35% African American, and 1.35% from two or more races.

That works out to exactly four people out of the 148 who do not self-identify as "White," and I suppose in a town this small you could have just asked somebody at the grocery store for the count, saving Census workers a couple of hours in effort and perhaps preventing the need to purchase new UGG Australia footwear.

Thus ended my 15-minute randomized journey through Wikipedia, time I think was well spent, although my lawn still needs to be cut and I have papers to grade.

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