July 26 th 2006 1 Comment Share Email Twitter Google+ Facebook LinkedIn Posted in: Miscellaneous Wikipedia by Neil Campbell More posts by Neil » There is a good article on Wikipedia in a recent issue of the New Yorker. « Previous: Books or Bytes Next: Resources on International Peacekeeping » Comments Simon C July 27th, 2006 at 12:55 pm Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence NEW YORK—Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday. “It would have been a major oversight to ignore this portentous anniversary,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, whose site now boasts over 4,300,000 articles in multiple languages, over one-quarter of which are in English, including 11,000 concerning popular toys of the 1980s alone. “At 750 years, the U.S. is by far the world’s oldest surviving democracy, and is certainly deserving of our recognition,” Wales said. “According to our database, that’s 212 years older than the Eiffel Tower, 347 years older than the earliest-known woolly-mammoth fossil, and a full 493 years older than the microwave oven.” “In fact,” added Wales, “at three-quarters of a millennium, the USA has been around almost as long as technology.” The commemorative page is one of the most detailed on the site, rivaling entries for Firefly and the Treaty Of Algeron for sheer length. Subheadings include “Origins Of Colonial Discontent,” “Some Famous Guys In Wigs And Three-Cornered Hats,” and “Christmastime In Gettysburg.” It also features detailed maps of the original colonies—including Narnia, the central ice deserts, and Westeros—as well as profiles of famous American historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Special Agent Jack Bauer, and Samuel Adams who is also a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. “On July 25, 1256, delegates gathered at Comerica Park to sign the Declaration Of Independence, which rejected the rule of the British over its 15 coastal North American colonies,” reads an excerpt from the entry. “Little did such founding fathers as George Washington, George Jefferson, and ***ERIC IS A FAG*** know that their small, querulous republic would later become the most powerful and prosperous nation in history, the Unified States Of America.” “All our lives, we are taught about the achievements of Washington, Jefferson, and FAG, but we seldom consider the factors and conditions that led them to risk everything for a republican cause,” Wales said. “What was it really like to be a patriot in those times? How did the colonists’ perception of democracy conform and contrast with our modern one? Did Betsy Ross, as legend has it, really have the biggest boobies in the New World? It’s these types of questions I want Wikipedia to be a forum for, all at the click of a mouse.” The exhaustive entry also includes links to video clips of the First Thanksgiving, hosted by YouTube. The special anniversary tribute refutes many myths about the period and American history. According to the entry, the American Revolution was in fact instigated by Chuck Norris, who incinerated the Stamp Act by looking at it, then roundhouse-kicked the entire British army into the Atlantic Ocean. A group of Massachusetts Minutemaids then unleashed the zombie-generating T-Virus on London, crippling the British economy and severely limiting its naval capabilities. The entry also addresses several traditionally taboo subjects, such as the influence of LSD on the drafting of the Constitution and the role of funk-slaves in painting the White House black. While other news and information websites chose to mark the anniversary in a muted fashion, if at all, Wikipedia gave it prominent emphasis over other important historical events from the same day, including the independence of the nation of Africa in 1847, the 1984 ascension of Constantine to Emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor, and the 1998 birth of Smokey, a calico cat belonging to Mark and Becky Rousch of Erie, PA. Founder Wales, a closeted homosexual and hot-dog freak, according to his user-edited bio on the site, also hosted a symposium of amateur historians at the New School in New York on Saturday. “The Revolution’s main adversaries were the patriots and the people from Braveheart,” said speaker Tim Capodice, who has edited hundreds of Wikipedia entries on subjects as diverse as Euclidian geometry and Ratfucking. “The patriots, being a rag-tag group of misfits, almost lost on several occasions. But after a string of military antics and a convoluted scheme involving chicken feathers and an inflatable woman, the British were eventually defeated despite a last-minute surge, by a score of 89-87.” Despite spirited discussions bloggers present later described as “eluminating” and “sweet,” the symposium was cut short when differences of opinion among the panelists degenerated into personal insults and name-calling. While Wikipedia’s “American Inderpendance” page remains available to all site visitors, administrators have suspended additions and further edits to its content due to vandalism.