Monday, January 04, 2010

In Praise of Wikipedia

Occasionally, I run into a blogger who decides to take a long hiatus, citing the reason that blogging -- for that matter, any extended time reading the internet -- is an addiction, or otherwise a distraction from the things that really matter. The assumption here is that doing something a lot is a necessarily a bad thing. Certainly this could be said about doing something too much, but the writer usually implies that a lot of anything is too much, while not defining how much is too much. They also imply that what applies to them must apply in general. This would be wrong -- generally.

Most days (but not all), I spend about two hours or more on the internet. People ask me: “Hey, Mister Black Hat Guy, how come you know so much about all manner of subjects?” And I tell them: “You foolish minions, I READ!!! As a child I was a bookworm, and I still am today. My son is also a voracious reader, which is why he comes off sounding almost (ahem!) as smart as Dear Old Dad. Our debates often last forever because we're so evenly matched.

Also as a child, there was a syndicated op-ed column by some guy whose name escapes me, but who occasionally did a piece consisting of bulleted items entitled "Things I Learned While Doing Research." Were he still around today, he could make that a daily column by itself, and his default browser home page would probably be that of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” They are currently engaged in a fundraising effort, one that is worthy of attention, because it is not only a great resource, but the type for which the world wide web originally evolved.

It was there that I recently found this gem, about a club founded by Peter the Great (1672-1725), Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias (1682–1725), entitled “The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters.”

Every boy needs a hobby, right?

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