Category Archives: Wikipedia

The ugliest Wikipedian navbox yet!

Wikipedia uses, on its pages, templates with links to kindred articels so you can see the relation between them and find similar subject matter. Here is a good example.

Now, for what I found: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:DSLR_cameras_with_movie_mode&oldid=772927666

Hideous! It is hard to display so many different categories at once, and this is a good example of that.

Wikipedian Easter eggs – I don’t actually know how to use Excel

Easter eggs are hilarious little hidden gems in software or hardware that don’t have to be there, but are and make you smile.

Wikipedia, the well known online encyclopedia, has a few. I just found a new one. Here’s how to find it, as of now (Election Day in Canada).

  1. Go to their page on the new Microsoft Office .
  2. Clique the immage right underneath the big Office logo.
  3. Clique the immage again.
  4. If you are zoomed out, click it again to zoom in.
  5. Scroll so you can see the title bar of the instance of Excel shown.

Hilarious!

Colorful Congress

Although the title is something of a misnomer since this “map” is only of the House of Representatives. It is still so very colorful I couldn’t pass it up without bringing it to your attention, if you read this blog.

USHouseSeatsByStateColor.svg

Original is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USHouseSeatsByStateColor.svg and it is public domain!

I find this map somewhat beautiful, though it might be touched up a little. Anyway, it is quite fascinating unless you have color blindness. If so, this might have been a wasted post. Sorry.

Graphiqual entertainment and education

A Wikipedian post for today, I discovered, within a short amount of time, two very highly worthwhile pieces of media from the English Wikipedia. They are both on the subject of graphical display of information.

First, the serious one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misleading_graph

I remember in 7th grade algebra we very (Very) lightly touched on this, but didn’t go into it at all. This is a valuable description of crap graphs that can easily make things look both different from what they are, and authoritatively so. I remember reading a book by Tufte that had some of this in it, but here it is for free. I was unsurprized, and put out, to find out that graphs in finantial statements are not required to be, essentially, true. In other words, they won’t be, because they don’t have to be. Offencive.

Second, the silly one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chernoff_faces_for_evaluations_of_US_judges.svg

The fact that these represent various attributes of individual people just makes it even harder to not imagine these are actual people’s faces. Now, I understand the idea behind Chernov faces: You can pack alot of data into a face. However, faces bring up biases. None of these look like a mother-in-law, but look @ S. S. Cohen. S/He sticks out completely because their face is round and the rest of them aren’t really. They also look bummed @ something. Maybe that their neighbor, R. J. Callahan, has an absolutely massive jowl? And why does J. J. Bracken have eyebrows that are actually growing out of their eyeballs?

A beautiful island of Science

There is a term in physics and somewhat chemistry, the “island of stability”. Essentially as atoms get bigger, they tend to be less stable. That is, they are radioactive and tend to decay into smaller atoms.

Except there is a suspicion that when they are large enough, they might get to be stable again. Here’s a map of this island, with mistakes, from a Wikipedian user:

1000px-Island_of_Stability.svgWITH MISTAKES!

The mistakes in question are of the proton and neutron numbers, so don’t use this on an exam.

Having said that, it is a beautiful illustration of the concept and the naming conceit. Anyone can see why it is an “island” in speech. The current image is more scholarly, but less attractive.

Putty balls and juvenile halls (WikipediA)

In a long-removed section of the page “New York City Department of Education” on WikipediA was a section of various school buildings. The top of the list was this:

PS 11 Purvis J. Behan Public School – This school is located at 419 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the newspaper Brooklyn Daily Eagle of April 30, 1902, Purvis J. Behan was at the time the principal of PS 45 on nearby Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the paper, Behan had two teenage boys from the neighborhood arrested for blowing “putty balls” and peas into an open window of his own school. The two boys were convicted by the local magistrate.

Having too much time on my hands, here is the transcription of the column in that paper:

PUTTY BALLS AND DRY PEAS DISTURBED SCHOOL NO. 45.

Three Boys Arrested for Blowing Missiles Through Windows at Their Enemies.

NOW CONVICTED CRIMINALS.

Their Object, They Claim, Was to Get Other Boys to Come Out and Fight.

To-day’s record in the Myrtle avenue police court shows the names of three boys, none or them more than fifteen years old, found guilty by Magistrate Kramer of “breach of the peace.” The boys are Frederick Robinson, 14 years old, of 345 Lafayette avenue; Raymond Tenro, 15 years old, of 235 Grand Avenue, and Roy Stoddard, 14 years old, or 342 Lafayette avenue.

The boys are all sons of good parents. The specific charge against them was blowing putty balls and peas into the open windows of Public School No. 45 on Lafayette avenue, and daring the boys inside school building to come out and fight. The charge was made against the boys by Purvis J. Behan, principal or the school.

The boys appeared in court clean and well dressed, healthy looking outdoor American boys. They didn’t deny that they had used their putty blowers. In fact there. was too strong an array of evidence against them. They merely pleaded provocation and said that they were shooting at certain boys inside in the hope of arousing enough spunk to get the boys to come out and settle grievances on the sidewalk. It was a superlatively clear case of boy.

Principal Behan is a very serious man. He made his accusation with great severity. Magistrate Kramer heard the complaint with a heavy frown. At the same time the magistrate is man not devoid the sense of humor and as he heard the recital or the wrongs of Public School No. 45 he had frequently to turn away his face to control a smile of amusement. The boys were evidently deeply impressed. The upshot of the proceeding was that the boys to-day, according to Magistrate Kramer’s verdict, stand convicted criminals with a suspended sentence hanging over them.

Principal Behan explained to the Magistrate how serious the question appeared to him. He deliberated long whether to lie in wait for the boys behind a tree to effect their capture and to give them the thrashing they deserved. Then be thought of the dignity of his position, of the great public school system of the city, of the frequent exhortations of Superintendent Lyon for regularity and his natural inclination toward the direct method failed. His recital of wrong was about as follows:

The boys have done this thing more than once. It was a habit with them. While school was in session they would appear on the sidewalk, selecting the warm spring days when they knew the windows would be open, with bamboo putty blowers in their hands and an inexhaustible supply of dried peas and other things. They would begin by rattling the peas against all the windows. That was their warning. Then they would reload and it for some boy whom they knew—two of them were until recently members of the school and there were feuds of other days to be settled—and fusillade the defenseless chap inside with peas.

“And I can tell you it is no joke to be hit in the face with dried peas.” said the principal impressively.

guerrilla attack to his teacher, one the women teachers of the school, and the teacher would step boldly to the open window to warn them. The boys with the putty blowers had no grudge against the teachers, that is, most of them. The influence of home training was over them and they would listen attentively to what the teacher had to and then one of the trio would reply:

“Well, Miss ——, he stole my ball. Send him out here and I’ll punch his head. Just send him out here and we won’t shoot at him no more.”

It became a serious question among the teachers what to do about it. The climax came only a few days ago when one of the boys missed his aim and struck one or the young women teachers In the right ear. The boy begged the teacher’s pardon, as a well behaved boy should, but that was not enough. After thinking it over carefully, Principal Behan decided to invoke the majesty of the law.

There was only one thing for Magistrate Kramer to do. He frightened the boys as much as he could and let them go. The only difficulty with the proceedings is that instead of the temporary tingle of a thrashing which the mellow sunlight of spring would soon wash away these three boys are now convicted criminals under the shadow of the law.

A relative of one of the boys when seen by an Eagle reporter to-day said: “I suppose it’s all right. The boys did wrong and they have been punished. But I’m from the country and somehow this gives almost too serious a turn to the affair. If I had been told I would have seen to it that at least one of the boys got the thrashing he deserved. I may be old fashioned but after all there is a flavor of directness and health about old time methods that appeals to me.

You remember Whittier’s lines:

Brisk wielder birch and rule / the master the district school.

“Well, that’s what I mean.”


Some notes:

  • In 1902, juvenile privacy was evidently nonexistent. Despite being underaged, their names and home addresses are all published in the first paragraph.
  • “Community Service” was also evidently not dreamed up yet, which is what they would get these days, most likely.
  • Additionally, if these boys had “good parents”, what were they doing on the street while school was in session?
  • Public buildings had windows that opened. I long for the day when this is again the case.
  • The trend of shooting bullets had not yet afflicted school boys. Note however, that in a different story on the same page, a man buys a gun for no reason and then accidentally kills his friend with it.
  • A criminal conviction, even for a minor offense, was still a serious matter.
  • The “relative” interviewed has a valid point: Why didn’t the principal demand their parents punish them? He must have known who they were since we are told that they used to attend his school.

Note that the apparently cut off paragraph (beginning with “guerrilla”) is transcribed exactly as found in the paper. Also, the boys didn’t go to juvenile hall – such things not yet existing – I wanted a rhyme in the title.

Striking Original Research

Although reverted as vandalistic, the following edit, to “Myers Park High School” was, I strongly believe made honestly by the self-signed author, “TC ’07”. I salute his/her/their dedication to documentation of this important piece of information and likely archeological resource for the future. I’m serious when I say that.

”’SC – (New Wing)”’ – Because this is in one of the newer buildings its bathroom is better furnished and has more overall appeal. Nice tile on the floors and walls make it easy to clean, which it often is. The “push” faucets in for the sinks are certainly a nuisance but can be quickly mastered after years of experience.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
4th Overall (great size, location, and cleanliness make it one of MP’s top 5)”

”'(Old Wing)”’ – These bathrooms show a significant amount of aging and what seems like less attention to cleanliness. Most doors shut and lock making them still somewhat manageable which is understandable considering they are the closest bathrooms to the Cafeteria
”2 Men’s, 2 Women’s
7th Overall (location is very common, but for some reason it gets less attention than it deserves)”

”’S Building”’ – The only knock common to these bathrooms is availability. Although there are two for each gender (one on each floor), each bathroom only has 4 stalls (or combination of stalls and urinals), making for frequent lines. New to 2006 are the replacement of the old “push” faucets making them much more user friendly. Because of the proximity to classes, it is an absolute necessity that these are kept absolutely clean – and the custodial staff does so amazingly.
”2 Men’s, 2 Women’s
5th Overall (although frequently clean and new, lower its appeal)”

”’LA Building”’ – An obvious artifact from the older campus. The entire LA building has 1 bathroom for each gender. Being the link from the lower campus to the upper campus, the LA building has the most traffic per minute between classes of all the buildings. If a student hopes to drop trow in the classic language building, he or she should arrive quickly! Lines are known to be commonly over 4-5 people long for the Men and easily reaching 10 for the women. All time records include 11 for the Men during the PSAT of ’02 and 16 for the Women between Final Exams ’04. Again, because so many people constantly use these restrooms, they are given much attention but are also trashed fairly quickly.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
8th Overall (most commonly used and it shows)”

”’CB Building”’ – Part of the lower campus, this building has two stories but only one squatspot for each Men and Women. Buried in the upper level like a cave, the lack of lighting can often resonate the same aura. These bathrooms commonly have technical malfunctions including broken flushers and broken faucets. Because they never have paper towels, it is obvious that the staff doesnt pay this one an adequate amount of attention.
”1 Mens’, 1 Women’s
9th Overall (grossly under sized but relatively clean considering the traffic)”

”’Math Building”’ – The butt of all bathroom jokes. This place is a mess. Doors that dont close or lock, papertowel dispensers older than Mr. Eisenmann, and the memory of the $.25 a blow incident of ’04, all taint this hole. Given that the Math building isn’t one of the nicer buildings, it’s bathrooms completely shame the Subject of Numbers. The location relative to the entrance to the building also create mass hysteria when lines begin to accumulate out each door. The Math’s Can is notorious for being a place to not spend more than 90 seconds.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
13th Overall (horrid smelling, rust encompassed, and completely inadequate)”

”’Vocational, Technical, Physics”’- The remainder of the lower campus each bring up the rest of the bottom 4 ranking just better than Math because each gets considerably less use than #13. The technical building’s restrooms are quaint 2-seaters, which can cause major log-jams if closer bathrooms aren’t used. The Vocational Building could easily be worse than Math building if it was more commonly used. Overall it lacks the facilities (2 person per bathroom), cleanliness, and useful appliances (ie mirrors). Physics, which falls between CB and Vocational, is the last of the old campus and although it’s clearly dated an well overdue for a facelift, it is kept well stocked and lacks most traffic. All of the lower campus could deal with a few adjusted screws and fixed doors but overall if you are in the lower campus, you can definitely find a personal throne.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s (each)
10th, 11th, 12th (old, but not as commonly used as others)”

”’Auditorium”’ – Not to be confused with the performing arts building, this entrance to MP’s auditorium has some of the cleanest bathrooms. Placed on either side of the entrance, it is essential that these get thorough cleaning before and after each event held on the stage. Because not many classes are held in the auditorium itself, the doors are often locked to the entrance making these bathrooms highly inaccessible during school hours. If one were to input much energy into his task, he would definitely be rewarded with privacy comparable to home.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
3rd Overall (Privacy and well kept)”

”’Auditorium – Performing Arts Classes”’ – Where the chorus, theatre, band, and orchestra classes are held, this buildings bathrooms have seen much worse. Lines can accumulate in the 4 stalled, old-style restrooms, but because it is more or less reserved for 3 classrooms, too long of a wait is uncommon. The sinks work well and the bathrooms are constantly stocked with necessities.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
5th Overall (The highest any old campus building could get, it is a great example of attention causing comfort)”

”’Gym”’ – These bathrooms are much more like rooms. Huge, spacious areas inside are very accomodating for large crowds. Because people from outside the school’s staff and student body see these restrooms, they are clean and stocked. Full mirros, “turn on” faucets, and the ability to hold 10 people make these divine. Much like the Auditorium, the entrance to the upstairs facilities is often kept locked during school hours making it hard to get to but well worth the effort.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s (Each huge)
2nd Overall (New building style, constant attention to cleanliness, and high privacy)”

”’AG Building”’- The administration and guidance building truly brings meaning to the word “throne.” Although it is right off of the hall from the front office to the attendance office, these spots are scarcely used. This can be attributed to the consideration that the main citizens of the AG building are staff members who have access to staff bathrooms. The public facilities show sanitation equal to that of home. Clean seats, warm water, and mopped floors all reflect the lack of use the building’s restrooms receive. Well worth the 4 minute hike from almost anywhere on campus.
”1 Men’s, 1 Women’s
1st Overall”
-TC ’07

The apostrophies are leftover Wikipedian markup. I wish students at other schools kept this much information stored forever. Besides providing means of reminiscing, consider the utility this will have in all manner of future researches. Wikipedia has more use than anyone knows.

EDIT: I have retituled the post and made some other changes to make it clear that this edit, although not accepted by Wikipedia, was certainly not “vandalism”.

An entertaining Wikipedian vandalism

Although most noted as a vandal reverter, I can appreciate the humorous vandalism when it occurs. For example, while reading about a small and generally ignored place in New York (the state not the city), I discovered that it:

[…] is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can legally marry one’s cow.

Additionally, we have a list of “entertainment and recreation”:

There are a number of popular attractions […], including […], Van Nostrand *Full Service Gas Station*, […].

Having been through there once in my life I can confirm it is a little noplace.