I Know Link-Fu

I have more things to write about than time to write them in. Hooray!

So, whilst I vainly strive to catch up with a few of my goals, what are other people on the Network doing these days?

First, Happy Jihad’s House of Pancakes hosts the 82nd Skeptic’s Circle.

Then, Martin Rundkvist discovers what a Wikipedian edit war is like, the poor fellow. Which reminds me: one of my ideas for a semi-regular feature I want to try on this blag is a “Friday Wikipedia Woo” series. The “Human Design System” article I wrote about before has been deleted, but sadly, there’s always plenty more where that came from. (If you want to hunt for it yourself, I suggest starting with what links to the “quantum” page.) Give people a free encyclopedia they can edit themselves, and you’ll wake up to find it’s been turned into an advertising service. Sigh.

Elsewhere, Russell Blackford has spelled out his own version of Dawkins’s “Ultimate 747” gambit. Go forth and discuss! Talking of “gambits” naturally makes me think about chess. “White opened with the Blackford Variation on the Dawkins 747. . . .” Maybe chess fiend Jason Rosenhouse can extend the analogy further — recently, he’s put up a couple interesting posts, too.

Meanwhile, a review of Michael Shermer’s new book, The Mind of the Market (2008), prompted Tyler DiPietro to say a few words of his own. Expect more from that quarter in the future (and hang around for a bonus rant of mine in the comments).

Brian Switek has been keeping up an astonishing output, on tapirs and monkeys and hermit crabs, among other things. And then Abbie describes how some viruses which infect bacteria carry genes which the viruses themselves don’t need, but which are helpful to the bacteria they infect.

Life is pretty ^%$)(&@ weird, isn’t it? Fortunately, Masala Skeptic has a few appropriate swear words to use when it all gets too much.

4 thoughts on “I Know Link-Fu”

  1. I’ve read Martin’s blog entry on the subject, and all the discussion on the talk page of Falun Gong, and I think he’s totally in the wrong. He’s inserting poorly sources weasel words into an article’s lede and protesting when people revert his edits. They explain their position based on Wikipedia policy, he says they’re ganging up on him because they’re pro-Falun-Gong. He seems to think that because the article as written now is biased and crappy, inserting more crap with the opposite bias will counteract it.

    Sorry to dump all this on you, but I’ve not really interacted with Martin before, save a brief bit when he commented on my thoughts about the Sandy Szwarc affair.

  2. It looks like the discussion on the aforelinked Talk page is still going on — yikes. It looks like at least one editor refuses to accept James Randi as a “reliable source” (back when I was an active Wikipedian, even the JREF website would have been a “reliable source” for what James Randi thinks, and being that the man himself is unquestionably “notable,” a statement to that effect would have been legitimate).

    And I love this bit:

    This is exactly the problem with many so-called “sceptics”: by adhering to a secular materialist worldview, they assume their word to be the fundamental Truth of the Matter, imagine that their competence extends to each and every subject and ontological area, and believe that only they can tell what these things are genuinely all about.

    Crank the woo up to 11 and let the special pleading raise the roof!

    There’s a phenomenon known as “wikilaywering” — basically blasting hot air about WP policies until you get your way. If you don’t like a source, assert that it is not “reliable,” and so forth. (It goes without saying that you always complain about the mote in the other fellow’s eye rather than the redwood in your own.) I’m getting a lot of that from the Talk page arguments. . . it reminds me of why I got out of there. I don’t think Martin is entirely in the wrong — “Informative, referenced additions is what I have in mind,” he says, so at least his heart’s in the right place — although it sounds like he’s received a baptism-of-fire with regard to WP’s referencing policies.

    Towards the end, other voices were joining the discussion, so it may be getting more reasonable.

  3. Thanks for the links. I didn’t intend to write so much this week; the questions about tapirs bothered me enough to do something about it, and the other two papers just caught my eye and I decided to go with it. Now I just have to keep things up over spring break…

  4. I’m glad to send whatever traffic I can in your direction. The amount of Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research you’ve managed to produce is pretty darn impressive!

    (I’ve got a post at the top of the stack, almost ready for release, which might help me hold my head a little higher, but I need to trundle over to the library and re-find the books I had originally taken notes from, so I can cut the chances I’ll be making stupid mistakes.)

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