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A round-up... Wikipedia... CrackBerry... Google... vlogs... and Franklin letters

A bunch o' items that seemed interesting today

My favorite story of the day is about Wikipedia and comes from Nature magazine, of all things. Here is MarketWatch's Frank Barnako's take:

The Internet's free online encyclopedia stacks up well against the gold standard, Britannica when the subject is science. That's the conclusion reached after an investigation by Nature magazine that compared the reference resources.

The magazine asked "relevant experts" to review 50 science entries from the Web sites of Wikipedia and Britannica. They were not told the source of the content they were given. "Only eight serious errors were detected in the pairs of articles," Nature reported, "four from each encyclopedia." Reviewers also found factual errors and omissions or misleading statements, 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively, the magazine reported.

The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, was pleased by the study. "Our goal is to get to Britannica quality, or better," he told Nature. Editors at Britannica would not comment, but said their own studies show numerous flaws in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia accepts postings from registered users. Currently there are 3.7 million entries in 200 languages. The English version has 45,000 registrants and is growing by 1,500 articles a day. The first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica was published in 1768. It is now a 32-volume publication.

Perhaps my second favorite story of the day, from the SJMN, is about how one can get over a CrackBerry adiction:

Could you live without your BlackBerry? [SJMN, 12.16.2005]
Coping with the specter of going cold turkey

As a reader service, we'd like to offer professional help to those of you contemplating the catastrophic loss of a longtime companion: the BlackBerry.

The SJMN has a story that says Silicon Valley groups believe their pushes for more R&D are working:

A year-long drumbeat from Silicon Valley executives, university presidents and scientists that the nation is in danger of losing its technological edge has begun paying off in Congress with new proposals to spur U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

The most comprehensive was introduced Thursday by two of the high-tech industry's leading supporters, Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. Their ``National Innovation Act'' would double federal basic research funding by 2011, boost math and science education and promote innovation by U.S. companies.


Grokking Google: Don't be evil, but do be open [GMSV, 12.16.2006]

On Thursday, the focus in our roundtable was on issues of ethics and trust, key factors to Google's continued success. And while there was praise for Google's internal sensitivity to these matters, some panelists suggested the company needs to be more open about its decision-making process. Here are some highlights:

Matt Mullenweg: I'm sure almost everyone here could speak to the growing tone of distrust in the Bay Area as people see Google barreling in to every market they can imagine. Honestly I think some of this discontent is based on jealousy --- there is some percentage of people that will resent success no matter what. But putting that aside, even though I think Google can do evil things at times, I have great respect and trust for everyone I know personally that works there. The best thing Google could do is take a page from Microsoft's book --- blog like there's no tomorrow. Not generic warm fuzzy press releases tied to a persona like the Google Blog, but real people like the fantastic blog from Googler Matt Cutts on search engines or the riveting narrative of Xooglers. If people really are Google's greatest asset, and they're all as brilliant as the company claims, then put them in the forefront and Google can stop seeming like an opaque and uncaring giant.

More Google...
As Google Pushes Into China, It Faces Clashes With Censors [WSJ, 12.16.2005]
Google's ambitions overseas are bringing it up against a government that embraces a very different philosophy about information from its own: China.

Video bloggers...
Vlogger (noun): Blogger With Video Camera [WSJ, 12.16.2005]
So-called vlogs, or video Web logs, are allowing thousands of new, aspiring producers to distribute their creations online, thanks to improvements in Internet and digital-film technology.

And Ben Franklin...
Ben Franklin's Letters Go on Display [AP via Yahoo News, 12.13.2005]
WASHINGTON - Benjamin Franklin was a passionate writer, especially in the cause of the democracy he helped found, but even such a prolific man of letters may have had second thoughts about posting too-hasty words, according to an exhibit for the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Dec 16, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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