Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, November 02, 2007

During World War II, Project Pigeon (or Project Orcon, for "organic control") was American behaviorist B. F. Skinner's attempt to develop a pigeon-guided missile.

The control system involved a lens at the front of the missile projecting an image of the target to a screen inside, while a pigeon trained (by operant conditioning) to recognize the target pecked at it. As long as the pecks remained in the center of the screen, the missile would fly straight, but pecks off-center would cause the screen to tilt, which would then, via a connection to the missile's flight controls, cause the missile to change course. Three pigeons were to control the bomb's direction by majority rule.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Expletive infixation is a process by which an expletive or profanity is inserted into a word, usually for intensification. A simple rule is that the insertion occurs at a syllable boundary, usually just before the primary stressed syllable. Thus, one hears abso-fuckin-lutely rather than *ab-fuckin-solutely.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Once upon a time, you could create a new wikipedia article without even registering. Then, at the beginning of 2006, the clamp went down.

Now Wikipedia's growth seems to be slowing, and Anons will be able to create new articles again, starting Nov. 9. Good news; some fresh air will be nice. But brace yourself for the friends of gays.

Andrew Lih: "I’ve often thought that Wikipedia contains a dynamic similar to evagelical congregations that build on authority by consensus. And I’m glad I’m not the only one that sees it that way." He links to a USA today article.

Oh wow. This is pretty fucking cool.

Live anonymous edits to wikipepdia on a google map in realtime. The map jumps over to the new location every time there's an edit.

Seriously, it's that *singing angels* moment, like having your finger on the beating heart of the world.

Somebody in the United Arab Emirates just added some local history on a town in India. What's going on:

1. A huge proportion of the english-speakers in the world are from Indiacite, so their edits will show up in a random sample.

2. Dubai draws most of its construction workforce from india and south asia. It's around 11 a.m. there now, but I have no idea how one of the workers got access to a computer. Maybe someone's helping him out? (Or maybe the edit really came from india and the geolocator was wrong.)

Worth noting:

[This is not] a statistically representative sample of wikipedia edits...There are many biases introduced. We only see anonymous edits. We only see edits from IP addresses that could be located. If the location found is very generic (such as European Union), then it is not visualized at all. Hopefully WikiPediaVision still captures a general sense of what people are thinking about all over the world.

Still, WikiPediaVision helped me rescue an article posted from somewhere in north india.