Looked Over

June 9, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Imagine this. The year is 2001, and you are having an argument about how lightsabers work, what is the GDP of Latvia, or whatever else you and your friend can’t agree on. How would you have solved this problem? You could find a book somewhere and get some outdated information I guess. You could always open up Netscape Navigator, connect to the internet (assuming no one is using the phone), load up Ask Jeeves, and sift through a bunch of websites until you find something that might help you. Flash forward to today, and within a minute I can tell you that lightsabers send energy from a Diatium power cell through a series of lenses and crystals to create a meter-long field of pure plasma that is able to cut through most material and deflect blasters. In fact, there is even a detailed schematic of Darth Vader’s lightsaber here. Also, Latvia’s GDP is $32.234 million.

All this is brought to you by the miracle of Wikipedia. It’s hard to believe that in only 9 years, it has been able to completely change the way that people approach research. I recently talked with a woman who wrote a 15 page research paper using ONLY Wikipedia as a source. While I understand how inaccurate it can be since anyone on Earth can edit articles, there is something beautiful about it. The incredible interconnectedness of the internet is creating a kind of global village in which people from every corner of the globe are able to add their own personal knowledge to the global consciousness. I don’t really care how accurate it is, I just love the idea of an international hub for the collected knowledge of all humanity.

On a side note, if you are looking for something awesome to do, check out this Wikipedia article of unusual wikipedia articles. This is my favorite website on the internet.


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