Monday, April 10, 2017

Wikipedia Roulette

The assignment was to look at ten random Wikipedia threads and link them together somehow. 

To begin with, what I learned....

I learned about a church called "Xc 'konk" (That's pronounced something like The Konk maybe but don't swear by it, it's Wikipedia) in Armenia which was 4/5ths of the way blown up in the 1920's.

Next, I discovered an artist named Gerand Van Deynum who painted still life in the style of Jan Davidsz. de Heem.  It would have been nice if they posted a picture he painted, rather than that of his inspiration's.  

A few more clicks on the randomizer and I met a philosopher Henryk Breit, murdered under mysterious circumstances. Wikipedia also claimed he belonged to the "Society of the Enthusiasts of the History of Lwów." It felt like the beginnings of a Dr. Who episode, except that was all she wrote. There wasn't any trace of his philosophy or what about the history of Lwow that made people so enthusiastic or likely to disappear for expressing such zeal for the hometown. 

  Wikipedia's random button introduced me to the village of Taqiabad, Kalat, population 585 in Iran. I wondered if they likewise had a "Society for the Enthusiasts of the History?" and if they don't, why not?
Next I found out about the wingspan of a Deroxena Conioleuca Moth; it's between 14 and 16 millimeters, or for those who don't do metric, just over half an inch. No mention of who did the measuring but you can bet, it wasn't an American educated before 1980.  

In my wanderings on the internet, I found myself becoming acquainted with a radio show before there was Angela Lansbury, Lois Lane or Nancy Drew, there was Kitty Keene Inc.  Only four episodes of her show survive. But why? Now there's a mystery. 

I skipped over a few countries whose names were even more impossible to pronounce than the ones I'd already discovered in this internet voyage, and the bio of a Matthew Collins, biologist, which felt too much like reading a write up for a Star Trek the New Generation Character. Here I was, skimming Wikipedia, and wanting to be dazzled, and irritated when I wasn't. It felt overindulgent, like my brain was insisting on too many toppings for a Sundae.

So I resolved to discipline myself. I would take the next offering; "The Lord of Opium," a sequel sci-fi novel by Nancy Farmer. However, I didn't find myself anymore compelled by the ongoing adventures of Matt Alacran than I did by the research of Collins, except this time, I spent more time on Collin's page and discovered his research focused on the persistence of proteins in ancient samples, modelling to explore the racemization of amino acids and thermal history to predict the survival of DNA and other molecules.[3] Using a combination of approaches (including immunology and protein mass spectrometry) his research detects and interprets protein remnants in archaeological and fossil remains. Hello Jurassic Park Reality? I had to rescind my indifference to the good professor if the possibility of owning a Good Dinosaur might be in the making.

Next I found Melissa Brown, Ophthalmologist and three time Republican Candidate for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania. That's all she wrote.

Having looked at all the words I had to write and rewrite to simply explain what I read over the course of ten minutes, I learned one more thing from the exercise.

That Wikipedia is full of names of people and places and things I can neither pronounce nor spell and that since I want to be in the collective data dump of history, I'd better get to work creating a book about the Opium Lord of the Radio Program about a Politician hiding in a church in Armenia, heading the Society for the Preservation of 1/2 inch moths, membership 585, whose secret plans for reintroducing dinosaurs onto the earth, are conveyed in still lifes hanging in the Hague. 

Also, I should just stay away from the Random Wikipedia button.

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