Adventures in wiki-chaining

BBC News: Lost in Wikipedia

The above article was written at the time of Wikipedia‘s 10th anniversary. The author started by selecting an article in the online encyclopedia (Aristotle). By clicking on a link found within that article to another article, and so on and so forth, the author managed to return to the Aristotle article one hour later.

I am guilty of the practice myself (which the BBC piece refers to as “wiki-chaining”). This time, I will document it, just like the BBC journalist did, and give myself 45 minutes. I will start with a random article (the link is on the left side of all Wikipedia entries).

The randomizer lands at Leo Valledor, a Filipino-American painter whose work has been exhibited widely throughout his lifetime and after his death in 1989. He was a leader of the minimalist movement of the 1970s. Oddly, the article about minimalism doesn’t mention Valledor. But visual artists engaged in minimalism have been influenced by the works of John Cage, William Carlos Williams, and Frederick Law Olmsted.

I’ve been reading a bit about Olmsted, so I clicked to his entry. As a landscape architect, and partnering with Calvert Vaux, Olmsted designed New York’s Central Park. His nephew/stepson John designed the Uplands neighbourhood in a suburb of Victoria, BC. The 2007 film In the Land of Women was mainly shot in the Uplands.

One of the actors who appeared in that film is Ginnifer Goodwin. She was born with the name Jennifer, but changed it to distinguish herself and to emphasize the dialectical pronunciation of her name. The dialect (Oklahoma) is redirected to the article Southern American English. Oklahoma dialect is a combination of Midland American English and South Midland Southern American English. And I thought English was just English!

A separate dialect that is unique to Louisiana, and to New Orleans in particular, is Yat, as in “Where y’at?”, which is equivalent to “How are you?” The article mentions the novel A Confederacy of Dunces, which is set in 1960s New Orleans. In the novel, the main character, Ignatius Reilly, tried to travel to Baton Rouge on a Scenicruiser bus. The PD-4501 Scenicruiser was built exclusively for Greyhound. 1001 were made, and the coaches became a ubiquitous sight on American highways.

There! That’s 45 minutes. That’s a very interesting trip. If I were to try it again (and I will do this again and blog about it), I will almost certainly come up with something much different.


One Comment on “Adventures in wiki-chaining”

  1. Chris Styles says:

    Love this!
    Keep up the good work and ill keep visiting your blog :-)

    -Chris Styles

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