Not long ago we all used an ordinary encyclopedia when we needed to find information about something. Today the Internet can give us the answer to (almost) anything.
When it comes to getting the facts on basically anything between heaven and earth, one particular site really stands out. Yes, Wikipedia, we are talking about you.
There is actually more information on that site than you ever thought you needed.
Here are some examples of what you can find on Wikipedia that you will never find in the likes of Encyclopedia Britannica.
A joke about using homing pigeons to carry Internet traffic. It was initially described in RFC 1149 on April 1, 1990. It has been tested in Norway with a packet loss of 55%.
A flower fly named after Bill Gates, found only in Costa Rican highland forests. Latin name, Eristalis gatesi. There is also a Paul Allen’s flower fly found in the same area.
ISO 3103 is a specified standard method for brewing tea that was added in 1980.
Read about America Online’s infamous marketing strategy to spread excessive amounts of CD-ROMs with the software for accessing the America Online service. It’s been estimated that they produced over a billion disks with over a thousand disk designs.
An event that took place in 1983. When the North American video game industry had crashed, Atari ended up dumping thousands of video game cartridges (many with the ill-fated E.T. video game) into a New Mexican landfill.
Apparently a geeky Russian Internet joke. The question tends to pop up frequently in unexpected circumstances. It was for example given to the Russian president Vladimir Putin when people were able to propose questions for an online conference.
Clarus the Dogcow is a bitmapped image originally part of Apple’s Cairo font that was created in 1983. Since then it has reached cult status, and has appeared in several different applications and other places.
Someone calling himself John Titor posted on several Internet bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001, claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. He made lots of predictions that never came true, but there are still believers.
Lenna or Lena is the most widely used test image for image processing algorithms. The image was originally cropped from a centerfold picture of Lena Söderberg, a Swedish model posing in the November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine.
The Lenna image is so established in the image processing community that Söderberg was a guest at the 50th annual Conference of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology in 1997.
The 80s TV series MacGyver made all kids want a Swiss Army knife. The extremely resourceful character created inventions from basically anything to get out of trouble (he didn’t carry a gun).
If you want to ensure your survival against all odds, armed only with a Swiss Army knife and sometimes not even that, you need to read this. 😉