Sunday 23 October 2016

Rear view: When Wikipedia turned wacky

Published 17/01/2016 | 02:30

Wikipedia webpage. Photo: Reuters
Wikipedia webpage. Photo: Reuters

Wikipedia celebrated its 15th birthday yesterday. It must be true. I read it on Wikipedia.

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The site that has revolutionised homework and ensured that many researchers do not always have to look in boring old books, came into the world on January 15, 2001.

The web encyclopedia has become ever so sensible in recent times and the vast majority of its facts are now usually boringly accurate. But it wasn't always so.

At one time Wikipedia's entry for Pat Kenny made the utterly false claim that he became a "devout Scientologist in the early 1970s".

Wikipedia also claimed he presented the "acclaimed" RTE Radio 1 Show, "Granny-punching with Pat Kenny".

The former rugby international Neil Francis was once described on the site as a "warlord and part-time dwarf juggler''.

"In 1978, he secretly restored a 15,000 sq ft Aztec temple - using only an old Colgate toothbrush and a small thimble of white spirits.''

The web encyclopedia has lost something now that it no longer claims David Beckham "was a Chinese goalkeeper in the 18th century" and the singer Robbie Williams "ate pet hamsters for money in pubs around Stoke".

Making a mint with Conor

Alas, a petition to have the face of the UFC champion Conor McGregor minted on the €1 coin was dealt a knock-out blow in Leinster House. Our currency is so damn dull nowadays.

At a meeting on Wednesday, an Oireachtas committee said the public petition for the fighter on the coins was inadmissible, as they had not been able to contact the man behind it.

On Twitter, McGregor seemed excited: "Who would like 1 million of these great coins? Let's go Oireachtas! #VoteYES!"

But when it all fell through, he referred back to the infamous Dail exchange between Paul Gogarty and Emmet Stagg in 2009: "Well f**k you Deputy Stagg…"

What would William Butler Yeats, who chose the designs for our original coins, have made of it all? He would probably be glad that he stuck to salmon, pigs and chickens.

Headline of the Week

'Online shopper ordered Kindle and was sent hospital patient's tumour instead' - Daily Record


Reaction to RTE’s Rebellion:

@121Hatter: Irish sitting rooms as awkward tonight after that sex scene as when Miley bought yer wan the Tequila Sunrise on Glenroe #rebellion #awks

Good week, bad week

Good week: Rupert and Jerry

Veteran Sky owner Rupert Murdoch, 84, announced his engagement to the former supermodel Jerry Hall, 59, after a whirlwind four-month romance. Dustin the Turkey remarked on Twitter: "The Things people do to get a free Sky dish."

Good week: Black Pudding

The Irish breakfast staple surprised the nutritional world when it was declared a healthy superfood - high in protein, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Sorry, no time for the gym. I'll just have the fry.

Bad Week: Sarcastic folk

A very important study by top psychologists at the University of Aberdeen found that the older people are, the less likely they are to understand sarcasm. This is because they are more positive. That's just great, that is.

Bad Week: Fifty Shades of Grey

The movie is leading the charge in this year's Golden Raspberry Awards for the worst films of 2015 with a cringeworthy six nominations. As one critic put it: "Every line of dialogue is loaded. Loaded like a diaper."


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