Wikipedia: Ship of Theseus

October 20, 2009

Nick mentioned the Ship of Theseus the other day, and since I didn’t really know what that was, I decided to look that up. It’s one of those things that immediately makes sense, and then you start thinking about it and your brain breaks. It has loads of applications to sports, which I’ll write about soon. Be careful when reading that article as at one point it discusses when something is ‘the same’ as another thing.
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Wikipedia: Baseball

October 9, 2009

Since it’s playoff time, I thought I’d write a baseball wikipedia entry. By the way, my recommendation for reading this article is that you read the story, and if you see something you’d like to learn more about, open it in a new tab and get back to it later. Then you can take your own wikipedia journey.

Baseball is a human game played by two teams of 9 (although you can have additional players on your bench for substitutions). Wikipedia considers baseball a ‘bat-and-ball game, like Cricket. KDawg and I watched cricket one time, with the intention of learning the game.

The origins of baseball are somewhat murky. There is a reference to the game in the book A Little Pretty Pocket Book, from 1744 (referenced as base-ball). Some believe it derives from rounders an English game from the time, while recent research suggests that it may actually be derived from the unfortunately name stoolball. Baseball is not the only thing we have trouble determing the origin of.

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Wikipedia: Friday

October 2, 2009

Today is Friday. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about Friday. This is also a great way to kill some time on Friday, to get you to Saturday.

Some people know Friday as the last day of the working week. Friday is celebrated because we don’t have to work the next day. But this is not the case for everyone. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, Friday is the last day of the weekend, and Saturday is the first working day. No wonder the US and Iran don’t get along. In the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait, the setup was the same, although in 2006, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Bahrain changed their work week such that Friday was the first day of the weekend. Kuwait followed in 2007. Just consider what must have gone into that.

In some languages, Friday is in some way named after Venus (not the razor). This is true of the Germanic, Romance, and Indian languages. The Slavic languages, always known for subtlety, name Friday the ‘sixth day’.

Most of us are familiar with TGIF, and some of us may even say that today while we’re making small talk with someone we don’t really know on the elevator. A DJ in Akron, OH, popularized the expression in the 1970s. The Wikipedia entry also states that in the 70s, TGIF became popular at colleges, known simply as TG, for a Friday afternoon ‘beer party’. I guess during the 70s you had to properly name your parties so you knew what form of drugs or debauchery would be present.
T.G.I. Friday’s is a chain restaurant with locations in 50 countries. While TGIF is commonly known to be Thank God It’s Friday, T.G.I. Friday’s is short for Thank Goodness It’s Friday. It’s usually know as ‘Friday’s’, but in Ireland it is known as ‘T.G.I.’s’. The chain’s first location opened in New York City in 1965, but is no longer open. The highest grossing store is in Leicester Square, London. Yes, the London that is in England. There is a Friday’s in Egypt, but not Iran. That may be because Friday is the last day of the weekend in Iran, and it would probably also be know as TAIF.
Man Friday is the name of Robinson Crusoe’s companion in the story, Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe saves Friday from being eaten by cannibals. His rescue takes place on a Friday. Like any good white person, he completely changes everything about Friday to save him from a life in hell. Phew. What would we do without white people?
Joe Friday was a detective on the show Dragnet. A ‘dragnet’ is a coordinated police operation, which is a real thing. Dragnet the TV show was not real. Joe Friday’s badge number was really retired by the LAPD when the actor who played him, Jack Webb, died in 1982.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday, celebrating the day Jesus was crucified. I could not figure out why it is called, ‘Good’ Friday. In fact, I think if Jesus were consulted, he’d say that was a pretty shitty Friday. I guess ‘Pretty Shitty Friday’ sounds like a big downer, so Good Friday was settled upon. I think the Good Friday story is pretty cool, but I don’t think I’d plan my life around it.
The Cure is in love on Friday.

Enjoy your Friday.

Wikipedia: Foosball

September 29, 2009

Sometimes I look something up on Wikipedia, and after a series of clicks, 2 hours have passed and I’ve learned about 25 different trivial things. I decided that I’d post particularly bizarre wikipedia information chains here.

I looked up Foosball, because I was wondering if Foosball had anything to do with Fußball, the German word for soccer. The article didn’t mention what the game was called upon its initial invention, or why it was called that. Sometimes wikipedia strikes out.

I never watched Friends, but apparently two of the human characters played Foosball pretty frequently. Their Foosball table was destroyed on the last episode, titled The Last One.

‘The Last One’ has a disambiguation page, because there are several references to that phrase.

The Last One is the title of the last episode of the 2nd season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a show that is probably most famous for causing a bomb scare in Boston when an advertising campaign was mistaken for a series of improvised explosive devices. It should also be noted that the article covering “The Last One” has been marked for deletion because it is excessively crappy. I’m not making that up, and if you read the article, you’ll agree.

The Last One is also the title of the last episode of the show, St. Elsewhere. It is one of the more famous finales in the history of television, as it is revealed in the last episode that the characters and story of the entire series were the imaginary creations of an autistic boy, Tommy Westphall. Some believe that because certain characters in St. Elsewhere crossed over to other shows, and since Tommy imagined those characters, that he was also responsible for imaging a multitude of other television shows. This hypothesis is known as The Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis, and has been thoroughly debated in the magical realm of the internet.

Near and dear to my heart, The Last One is a piece of computer software that tried to make computer programming accessible to non-programmers. Since I have never heard of this program, I’m guessing it was not very successful.

Back to foosball for one last comment. Researchers at the University of Freiburg, which is in the south of Germany but not too far from where I am, have invented a set of foosball playing robots that they claim can beat 85% of casual players. However, it was dominated by an expert player, 10 to 1. Foosbot, another robofoosballer, has apparently never lost to a human, although it has never played a skilled player.

I still think we’re pretty far away from Terminator