WikiWhat? D’oh!

WikiWhatBefore I get a huge, angry response from fans of “The Simpsons,” let me clarify that I have nothing against the show. Despite my Rhode Island roots that make me lean towards “Family Guy,” I still certainly respect the institution that is “The Simpsons.” However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that I was justifiably shocked to find that Homer’s catchphrase “D’oh!” had it’s own Wikipedia page.  Not a heading on the Simpson’s page.  It’s very own page. Oh, and it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001. (Funny what you learn on Wikipedia, huh?) Do we really hear “D’oh” get used that much 

Maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe you readers aren’t nearly as shocked as I am. Maybe I’m crazy.  But it got me thinking, and so I looked to see if other extremely famous catchphrases had their own pages as well. In short, they don’t. While some odd phrases do, prominent words or sentences in popular culture (“Bazinga”, “Whatchu talkin’ bout Willis?”) have simply been awarded small blurbs or sections on their respective show’s Wikipedia entry. Perhaps this article will get you guys so worked up that you’ll start a Wikirevolution, working to get all catchphrases their due attention. Or maybe you’ll just shrug this article off, have a laugh at how Homer Simpson has trumped everybody else and go on with the rest of your day.  Either way, that’s what made me say “what?!?!?!” on Wikipedia this week.

WikiWhat? Ultimate Tazer Ball? Really?

WikiWhatIt seems like common sense to avoid stun-guns, right? I mean, Georgetown’s own Bradley Cooper demonstrated pretty well why getting shocked isn’t a whole lot of fun in this memorable scene from The Hangover.  However, some geniuses from up north (I’m looking at you, Canada) have decided that soccer would be way more fun if played with a giant ball, smaller teams, full contact and tazers.  Yes, you read that right, tazers.  Let this week’s edition of WikiWhat? not-so-proudly introduce the world of Ultimate Tazer Ball.

I remembered reading about this sport about a year ago, and sure enough, while perusing the limitless expanses of Wikipedia, I stumbled across this entry.  Sadly there isn’t a ton of information in the article itself, but the description was enough to make me first question my faith in humanity, and then keep scrounging online for more information.  Sure enough, there is an official league website that provides slightly more information as to the “logic” behind the game.  I also found this YouTube video to be helpful in explaining the brief history and questionable purpose of this new extreme sport.  Before going further into my questioning of this bizarre game, let’s recap what we know so far:

It appears as though the game is set up to look like soccer, but beyond that, there aren’t many rules. Just get the ball in the net. At least that’s what it looks like in this fascinating and cringeworthy highlight reel.  These highlights bring just a few questions to my mind.

First, why is the ball so big? Is it because it’s funny? Could it be so it’s easier for players to score? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because the players can only focus so hard while being tazered, so a small ball was difficult to use. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Second, to take a question from Seth Meyer’s repertoire, really? Is there really an Ultimate Tazer Ball League? Are there really people willing to subject themselves to this? Doesn’t this go against literally every possible survival instinct that we have as humans? I mean, while the game might look a tad bit fun, I also always go back to the fact that they are getting TAZERED. Really guys?

Well, that’s what made me double-take and ask myself what this world is coming to this week. Maybe some of you adrenaline junkies out there would think otherwise, but here’s to hoping we won’t be seeing a Georgetown ultimate tazer ball team/club any time soon.

WikiWhat? The Earth is Flat? Australia is NOT Down Under?

WikiWhatHere at Georgetown, we love to create clubs. We’ve got clubs for creative writers, aspiring political leaders, aca-tastic a cappella-ers, dancers, and a crap load of other people. But there’s one thing we don’t have: a club for flat-earthers. That’s right 4E lovers, this week’s WikiWhat? article is on the Flat Earth Society.

We often associate the “flat earth” idea with pre-classical Greece but, today, the Flat Earth Society is dedicated to furthering the belief that the earth is flat instead of being an ‘oblate spheroid.’ The society, established in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, exists in its modern form thanks to Daniel Shenton (no relation) who resurrected the organization in 2004. At its peak, during previous administration, it had about 3,000 due-paying members, but today holds a modest (but dedicated) 420 people.

Here’s some questions that come to mind:

Q: Couldn’t you fall off of the Earth if it were were flat?

A: Most recently, the FES has advocated that humanity lives on a disc with the North Pole at its center and a 150 ft. (45 m.) wall of ice at its outer edge. Some members, however, believe that the Earth is an infinite plane.

Q: How do you explain how gravity works, then?

A: Some say that gravity doesn’t exist. Others say that the earth is a finite plane accelerating upwards at 9.8 m/s2. (Makes sense…)

Q: How did Ferdinand Magellan, and countless others after him, circumnavigate the world?

A: There’s no information on an explanation for this, but let’s just assume that they’ve found a way to debunk circumnavigators’ claims.

Q:Why has the society (aka Daniel Shenton) been tweeting for the past two years with only 2 subscribers (one of which is me)?

A: We’ll let you speculate on that one…

Q: And, finally, why am I a subscriber of their twitter?

A: I’m an intellectually risky person and proud of it. (Felt bad for the guy…)

You SFS-ers might want to rethink your Map of the Modern World classes.

WikiWhat? Manhattanhenge?

WikiWhatYou know when you’re desperately trying to find basic information for you research paper and you stumble upon a weird article on Wikipedia? Sometimes I have absolutely no idea how I got there, but it’s a good thing that I’m a procrastinator because these quirky little facts are a great way to get out of any awkward situation.

For instances, have you ever heard of the Manhattanhenge? This event, also known as the Manhattan Solstice, happens twice a year around the summer solstice when the setting sun perfectly aligns with Manhattan’s street grid. The term was coined in 2002 by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. New York City isn’t the only city to witness such an incredible phenomena since a similar event occurs in Chicago, Toronto, and Montreal. For any CSI: NY fans, you may recognize the Manhattanhenge since it was featured on an episode of the popular TV show that aired on November 25, 2009.

So, next time you’re at a party and you’re at a loss for what to say, just pull out this fun fact, and I promise that it will spark some instant conversation. And, if you’re in NYC for the next Manhattanhenge, please be that obnoxious person who tells everyone what it is actually called.