Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Barf (soap)

Turritopsis nutricula is a jellyfish with a life cycle in which it reverts back to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known animal capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature stage after having reached sexual maturity. It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. This cycle then repeats, rendering it effectively immortal.

It's worth paying another visit to Unwiki, which displays recently deleted articles pretty much as they are deleted. It's striking that the articles are no longer pure crap, as they once were, just majority-crap.

Two new search tools:

Woogle bills itself as "Wikipedia search that doesn't suck", which is a fair description. It's pretty much just a Google frontend (and its incredible superiority to w'pedia's intrinsic search underscores how the wikimedia's foundation's commitment to total independence occasionally bites it in the ass).

Mayflower search is a similarly kick-ass search tool for Commons images.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Astrosociobiology is the speculative scientific study of extraterrestrial civilizations and their possible social characteristics and developmental tendencies.

The article rescue squadron made the Signpost. Cool.

This is not exactly Wikipedia-related, but a zillion people are talking about a plainclothes political protest (formal attire only) and I've started a wiki to organize it. I could use some help making sure there's no vandalism or anything while it finds its legs.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Software developers talk about the "patterns" a particular programming language makes possible. What about Wiki patterns? (Focused mostly on business wikis.)


Earlier this year, a small group of people gathered at Internet Archive's San Francisco office to discuss whether this was possible. Could we build something so grand? We concluded that we could. We located a copy of the Library of Congress card catalog, phoned publishers and asked them for their data, created a brand new database infrastructure for handling millions of dynamic records, wrote a new type of wiki that lets users enter structured data, set up a search engine to look through it all, and made the resulting site look good.

We hooked it up to the Internet Archive's book scanning project, so that you can read the full text of all the out-of-copyright books they've made available. And we hope to add a print-on-demand feature, so that you can get nice paper copies of these scanned books, as well as a scan-on-demand feature, so you can fund the scanning of that out-of-copyright book you've always loved.

This is all Aaron Swartz, by the way. I told you you should have voted for him. (Also, check out the UI overview for an endless fount of coolness.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

An individual's Erdős–Bacon number is the sum of one's Erdős number — which measures the "collaborative distance" in authoring mathematical papers between that individual and Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős — and one's Bacon number — which represents the number of links, through roles in films, by which the individual is separated from actor Kevin Bacon.