Recent and current projects
My Wikipedia Manifesto
- The ideals of wiki and open, anonymous editing have served Wikipedia well, but may not always do so. There is nothing sacred about immediate edit gratification if it begins to obstruct the main goal, to produce a high-quality free encyclopedia.
- "Undue weight" is an admirable policy, but should not be interpreted too literally. Achieving a neutral point of view means giving the reader a feeling for the relative significance of differing viewpoints, not strictly limiting the amount of space devoted to a minority viewpoint. In this sense, sometimes more is less.
- The notability guideline (or a renamed equivalent) ought to be based purely on existing policies, primarily verifiability. Ceteris paribus, articles on obscure but verifiable topics make Wikipedia better.
- Redlinks are the lifeblood of Wikipedia. Don't remove them unless it's clear that there should never be an article on the redlinked topic. Learn to see the beauty in the redlink.
Some things I've worked on in Wikipedia:
WikiProject History of Science - Started January 15, 2006. Current number of participants: 111
Haeckel Gallery - scanned plates from Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904), completed March 25, 2006.
Portal:History of science - Promoted to featured portal status May 23, 2006.
Wikipedia assignment in HIST 236 - a Wikipedia term paper assignment, Fall 2006.
| - Wikipedia Signpost articles
- "Professors criticize, praise Wikipedia in listserv discussions", July 31, 2006
- "Wikipedia classroom assignments on the rise", December 18, 2006
- "Students in Western Civilization course find editing Wikipedia frustrating, rewarding", April 30, 2007
- "Report on Citizendium", July 30, 2007
- "WikiScanner tool creates 'minor public relations disasters' for scores of organizations", August 20, 2007
- "Vatican claims out-of-context Wikipedia quote was used to attack Pope" (with David Wilson), February 11, 2008
- "Wikimedia Board to expand, restructure, May 2, 2008
- "Explicit sexual content draws fire", May 12, 2008
- "Update on Citizendium", May 14, 2008
- "Pro-Israeli group's lobbying gets press, arbitration case", May 19, 2008
- "Statistical model identifies potential RfA candidates", June 30, 2008
- "Defamation case against Wikimedia dismissed" (with Ral315), July 7, 2008
- "Study: Wikipedia's growth may indicate unlimited potential", August 11, 2008
- "Wikipedia in the news", August 25, 2008
- "Editing frequency statistics show decline in participation", January 3, 2009
- "Wikipedia drug coverage compared to Medscape, found wanting", January 3, 2009
- "Large portion of articles are orphans", January 31, 2009
- "Philosophers analyze Wikipedia as a knowledge source", February 23, 2009
- "Wikipedia's coverage and conflicts quantified", April 20, 2009
- "Review of The Wikipedia Revolution", April 20, 2009
- "Review of Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia", April 27, 2009
- "Review of Cyberchiefs: Autonomy and Authority in Online Tribes", June 15, 2009
- "Review of The World and Wikipedia", May 3, 2010
- "Making money with free photos", May 31, 2010
- *List excludes regular features like "In the news" and "News and notes" while I served as Signpost editor-in-chief from January 2009 through May 2010.
| - Did you know...
- ...that according to the controversial Hockney-Falco thesis, the rise of realism in Renaissance art, such as Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, was largely due to the use of curved mirrors and other optical aids?
- ...that the phage group was an informal network of biologists centered around Max Delbrück that contributed heavily to the origins of molecular biology?
- ...that the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution explains why the rates of molecular clocks are generally independent of population size?
- ...that American evolutionary biologist Jack Lester King co-authored a provocative 1969 paper, "Non-Darwinian Evolution", on the neutral theory of molecular evolution?
- ...that nutritionist-turned-molecular biologist Thomas H. Jukes was one of the few scientists ever to have a regular column in the journal Nature?
- ...that biologists Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling would intentionally avoid peer review when publishing their most provocative works on molecular evolution?
- ...that Linus Pauling and Emile Zuckerkandl proposed using protein sequences to estimate the time since genetic divergence, early in the history of molecular evolution research?
- ...that humans have lived near Nevada's Swan Lake Nature Study Area since 400 AD?
- ...that John Y. Naka's bonsai masterpiece Goshin (pictured) consists of eleven trees representing Naka's eleven grandchildren?
- ...that molecular evolutionist Morris Goodman used protein sequence data to reconstruct the evolutionary history of hemoglobin and called this the first "hard evidence of Darwinian evolution"?
- ...that according to the 2R hypothesis, the genomes of modern vertebrates are the result of two rounds of genome duplication hundreds of millions of years ago?
- ...that the Journal of Molecular Evolution, founded in 1971, was the first scientific journal dedicated to this field?
- ...that in order to fight in the Spanish Civil War, American biologist Clement Markert stowed away aboard a freighter?
- ...that Rachel Carson was so disappointed in the Oscar-winning film adaptation of her 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us that she never again sold film rights to her work?
- ...that English biochemist Ernest Baldwin (1909 – 1969) was a pioneer in the field of comparative biochemistry?
- ...that science historians have done so much work related to Charles Darwin that this area of research is often called the Darwin Industry?
- ...that Canadian biochemist Archibald Macallum used measurements of ionic concentrations in blood sera to argue for the ancient marine origin of all vertebrates?
- ...that the Great Phenol Plot of 1915 was to divert phenol from U.S. explosives production to prop up German Bayer's aspirin business?
- ...that the history of aspirin has been marked by fierce competition, patent and trademark battles, and even an international conspiracy known as the Great Phenol Plot?
- ...that anthropologist John Buettner-Janusch sent a batch of poisoned candy to Judge Charles L. Brieant Jr. after he was convicted of running an illegal drug lab?
- ...that Richard Lenski's long-term evolution experiment with E. coli has been tracking genetic changes in bacteria for over 20 years?
- ...that the origins of chromatography can be traced to the work of Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet (pictured), but his work saw little use until the 1930s?
- ... that biochemist Harvey Itano, who worked with Linus Pauling to determine the molecular basis of sickle cell disease, was the first Japanese American admitted to the National Academy of Sciences?
- ... that biochemist Rollin Hotchkiss, a pioneer in bacterial transformation and molecular genetics, helped to popularize the term "genetic engineering"?
- ... that the 1944 Avery-MacLeod-McCarty experiment, later celebrated for showing that DNA is the genetic material, challenged the prevailing wisdom that genes were made of protein?
- ... that the Barack Obama "HOPE" poster designed by artist Shepard Fairey was based on a photograph from before Obama officially launched his presidential campaign?
- ... that the one gene-one enzyme hypothesis is often considered the first significant result in what came to be called molecular biology?
- ... that during the Darwin Centennial Celebration of 1959, religious humanist Julian Huxley delivered a controversial "secular sermon" arguing that traditional religion was no longer needed?
- ... that the numerous photographs of Charles Darwin—at least 53 (example pictured)—may have helped secure the singular connection between Darwin and the theory of evolution in popular thought?
- ... that in his 1970 book Vitamin C and the Common Cold, Linus Pauling explains primates' inability to synthesize vitamin C as a result of evolution?
- ... that the idea that molecular evolution is dominated by genetic drift originally took its name from the 1969 paper "Non-Darwinian Evolution"?
- ... that the T4 rII experimental system enabled biologist Seymour Benzer to map a gene down to the level of one or two base pairs before the invention of DNA sequencing?
- ... that the concept of "molecular disease" from the 1949 paper "Sickle Cell Anemia, a Molecular Disease" became the basis for Linus Pauling's later views on molecular evolution and eugenics?
- ... that the sculpture Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science (pictured) depicts what historians have described as "the modern fantasy of (female) nature willingly revealing herself to the (male) scientist"?
- ... that the historical novel Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist, about the rise of modern physics, inspired a lecture by Steven Weinberg called "Night Thoughts of a Quantum Physicist"? (with User:Sadads)
- ... that scholars estimate that it takes two or three generations for a tradition to emerge? (with User:Piotrus and others)
- ... that sociologist Ben Aggers has described the trend of selfies as "the male gaze gone viral"?
- ... that biochemist Sofia Simmonds, despite her scientific accomplishments, was not promoted to full professor at Yale until nearly 30 years after she started there?
- To Ral315, who kindly chose my fake biography of him (Rachelle Anne "Chesty" LaRue) to adorn his user page.
- To Gmaxwell, who took this picture, which I would like placed atop my user page if I die in the service of Wikipedia.
- To Awadewit, whose skillful copy-editing has graced my prose on more than one occasion.
- To Phaedriel, who designed this page.
- To Duncharris, who welcomed me to Wikipedia.
- To Rock drum, who made me a cool bonsai 'Ragesoss' logo.