User:Tomwsulcer

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Picture of a man holding a cat.
Tom Sulcer (moi) holding a kitty cat in Auckland, New Zealand. This kitty moved with its owner to Christchurch and was probably in the earthquake. I hope kitty is okay along with all the other Christchurchians!

Who wrote this[edit]

On the job selfie, 12 feet up in a garage on a project to enclose PVC pipe.

I wrote this. My name is tom sulcer. I'm a handyman in New Jersey. I fix stuff. Study my photo and you'll see a person with round shoulders and a flat head: why? Ask me a question and I shrug my shoulders to indicate I don't know. Tell me the answer and I go oh and whack myself on my head which has flattened over the years—small aircraft try to land on it—luckily doctors are conducting clinical trials to fix the round-shoulders flat-head syndrome. So, how can I contribute here? Simple: I try to follow Wikipedia's excellent rules; I use references; I count on smart Wikipedians to catch my goofs. And I cross my fingers. Plus I contribute photos.

What am I[edit]

A baby boomer. Like most members born after WW2, I think I am great, cool, amazing, a subject worthy of intense study such that I would plaster my own photo all over my userpage. But I realize my self-indulgent personality can be off-putting, so let's talk about you: tell me, what do you think about me?

How cameras can prevent violence[edit]

Early morning after a snowfall.
Nearby park.

Years back I wrote an essay about preventing terrorism called Common Sense II, a grand strategy to prevent almost all types of violence,[1] including school shootings and bombings like the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April 2013 and the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, but it is highly controversial and requires major rethinking of issues such as privacy and publicity, rights, and citizenship. The latest 2013 version is How to prevent violence which can be read in its entirety for those interested; for example, a big mistake that I think most people make is to insist on what I call privacy in public, so that somehow people think they have a right to move about anonymously outside their homes. We don't. Problem is, one person's supposed right to move about anonymously violates the rights of others to see them, so it is not a real right; further, anonymity allows criminality and prevents police from doing their job of protecting people. I elaborate this briefly to let others know here that I will try to keep my personal views out of my contributions; I have long since given up writing about terrorism in Wikipedia and prefer more fun subjects. If people want copies of these or my other writings, write to me at thomaswrightsulcer (at) yahoo (dot) com, and remember that it might help expedite your request if you say something nice about how amazing Wikipedians are or promise to support Wikipedia financially through a donation or even say you might do so even if you have no such intent. Although I'm keen on working on new wikipedia articles such as Event management and Big History plus maybe some more biography articles? If you know a good subject needing a wiki-article, write on my talk page, plus I'm writing a new science fiction novel which will hopefully be ready by June?

Fixing the US Constitution[edit]

I'm nonpartisan politically. I don't vote for Republicans or Democrats. But at the same time I am one of many voices increasingly calling for substantive political reform. I see American politics as dysfunctional. I think most Americans agree, along with prominent journalists:

That Washington has been unable to act ... is a damning indictment of the way in which our government functions these days ... (and shows) the stupidity of American government and the failures of the political system to put the country’s long-term interests first.

Fareed Zakaria, journalist, criticizing spending cuts in March 2013[2]

I agree with scholars such as Lawrence Lessig and Sanford Levinson and Richard Labunski who call for substantive constitutional reform. For me, this means fixing the US Constitution. I think it's broken. I know most Americans tend to worship this document but, let's face it -- needless foreign wars (Vietnam, Iraq, etc), congresspersons in office for life, rampant partisanship, apolitical citizens, debt spiraling out of control, inability to tackle impending tough issues like global warming or social security spending -- the list goes on and on, unfortunately, and in my view, the problems stem from constitutional flaws. My personal take on fixing things is here but I continue to think and learn and follow developments. Regardless, the task of continuing to improve this great encyclopedia continues to be a priority for me.

How to prevent crocodile attacks[edit]

Crocodile singing "Come swim with me". Don't.
  • Don't assume it's safe to swim if there are no beware-the-crocodiles signs. Crocodiles eat these signs.
  • Never stand on a log overhanging the water.
  • Don't return to exactly the same place at water's edge every day.
  • Don't clean fish near the water.
  • Do bring your lawnmower since crocodiles will eat your lawnmower first.
  • If you get a Wikimedia invitation for a conference in the Everglades, beware. Crocodiles can type.
  • Don't go paddling in the canal for your missing puppy calling out "here Spot, here Spot".
  • Do not become intoxicated and swim across the Mary River east of Darwin, Australia, since you might get munched and crunched.
  • If you're camping near a creek and hear your tent being slowly unzipped, stay in your sleeping bag. Your friends are playing a prank. Real crocodiles will eat your sleeping bag, tent, and you in one bite.
  • Crocodiles are most aggressive during the breeding season: January through December.
  • If you are a dentist and ask your patient to say "aahh" and you see too many teeth, phone 911.

The Palin-Revere brouhaha[edit]

Here's a collage I made years back, in the mid-1980s, of New York City. Why did I make this? It was better than looking at bare walls and less expensive than buying a real painting. Later, I moved to New Jersey and there were better paintings (source: garage sales!) on the walls; it gathered dust in the basement and was thrown out, but first I snapped this picture and posted it here. Why? It's better than looking at only text, isn't it? :)

In American politics, back in June 2011, a rather absurd media event occupied the public sphere. A former Republican-party vice presidential candidate named Sarah Palin visited historic sites in Boston and made a comment to a news reporter about Paul Revere that was rebroadcast in the media and on YouTube. Palin said that Revere was warning the British, that Revere rang bells during his ride. The comment sounded misinformed; but tens of thousands of people wanted to check the accuracy here on Wikipedia. An edit war broke out on Wikipedia, which happens. But what was truly absurd was that the Wikipedia edit war, itself, became the story. It was reported on many news channels. And yours truly was one of the Wikipedians involved.

But, let me clarify that I am not a Palin-supporter, contrary to various reports in The Atlantic,[3] CBS News, NPR, The New York Times,[4][5] and elsewhere. I am non-partisan. I don't vote for either Republicans or Democrats out of principle. For me, the Wikipedia edit war news story demonstrates the absurdity of the American public sphere.

Here was my contribution to the Revere article:

Accounts differ regarding the method of alerting the colonists; the generally accepted position is that the warnings were verbal in nature, although one disputed account suggested that Revere rang bells during his ride.

Isn't this right? Wasn't the mainstream position that Revere's warnings were verbal in nature? And that a disputed version was that bells were used by Revere? That accounts differed? Of course it's right; I used good sources. But it got reverted in a jiffy since Palin was not considered a "reliable source".

What's weird is that Palin is a flashpoint in the ideological divide between liberals and conservatives. It's unreal. Politics shouldn't be this absurd. Politics should be reasoned discussion about what's best for a society rather than inane jousting over images or gotcha-journalism or gaffes.

Back to our gripping non-story: the Revere page gets several hundred edits over a two day period; the Sarah Palin and Public image of Sarah Palin pages get much attention too. Article pages got padlocked. I got called a liar (what did I lie about?), got a warning for vandalism (I followed Wikipedia's rules). I got dubbed a Palin-supporter by the news media who was trying to rewrite Revere's ride history to make Palin's account right. Lighten up. Puh-leeze.

A church official who spent time with Palin that day offers his explanation of what happened: Palin got the details right but in the wrong order. That is, Revere did warn the British (after being caught); Revere had been a bell ringer (but as a teenager, not during the ride); but somehow, Palin didn't replay the facts back coherently according to Stephen T. Ayres. Click here to read his full report of why he thought the incident happened. What's instructive is his afterthought of what he terms the Boston History Massacre:

I am somewhat saddened by what passes for news and for fact these days. We can laugh at Governor Palin, who may not have gotten all her facts wrong, but certainly didn't get them all straight. But what does this story, with its incredible legs, say about the rest of us? Why was such a large media contingent following the governor in the first place, particularly when many of them were publicly complaining that the trip was not newsworthy? What do we say to the pundits who accuse Palin of mangling history while treating Longfellow's poetic interpretation of the ride as fact? Why have so many prominent historians weighed in on this story to criticize or defend Palin's off the cuff remarks? For that matter, why am I weighing in? Is spectacle more newsworthy than substance? Do firmly held opinions take precedence over fact?

—Reverend Stephen T. Ayres, Episcopalian Christ Church in Boston, 2011[6]

And, to avoid confusion -- the governor's name is Palin, the church was Episco-PALIAN. Note the extra letter. No conflict of interest. FYI.

Attention dog breeders[edit]

A street in winter.

There are too many boring breeds so please create:

  • Welcoming wolfhounds trained to hump guests legs. Interbreed with sheepdogs so dogs will corral guests on one couch first and then hump all legs in one master session. Train dogs using elderly couch-bound folks who can not get up anyway, can't see stains, and will think its grandkids toddlering around. (shout: Grampa, it's grandkids toddlering around. Shout again, louder.)
  • Seeing-eye driving eye dogs who sit in the passenger seat to assist a blind human driver. One bark: turn left. Two barks: turn right. Three barks: stop the car I gotta hump somebody's leg. Four barks: brake -- there's a bus coming head-on. Seventeen barks: your car has stalled on the train tracks and there's a locomotive bearing down so let's exit the vehicle. Thirty-three barks: there's no way I'm going to one more Barkers Anonymous meeting.

My free POV writings[edit]

These are my POV-oriented writings which contain stuff that generally doesn't belong in Wikipedia. Sorry, people, but Knol is shutting down in May so I'll have to find new venues for them. They can help humans do stuff. They are free documents, generally, with a few exceptions. Photos will perhaps be added soon. I ported some documents to Wordpress or Participedia but haven't figured out how to add photos. Again, if interested, email me and I'll send a text copy to you.

  • Mentally healthy mind (ie positive psychology) This was my hottest knol getting about 150 readers each week, about 9000 until Knol shut down. It's advice about life. I really wish I had known this stuff when I was 21.
DNA spinning.
  • The Second Constitution of the United States This rewrite of the US Constitution has (1) superior foreign policy architecture (2) citizenship defined (3) federalism restored (4) many other goodies such as privacy, removal of gerrymandering, term limits for congresspersons (& Supreme Court justices too!). It needs intelligent criticism from sharp thinkers, of course, but I think it's loads better than our current United States Constitution. It is a public domain document -- just as well, since I lifted huge chunks from the existing US Constitution.
  • How to prevent violence A strategy to prevent crime and violence and terrorism like the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown Connecticut shootings, Virginia Tech shootings, Washington DC snipers, Unabomber attacks and pretty much all violence, and rethinks privacy, rights, citizenship in a general way.
  • Why women are beautiful (problem is, haven't figured this out yet). So, I didn't write it. But I am bumping into biological and psychological aspects of physical attractiveness; for example, I have a theory about why symmetrical features are often correlated with beauty. Since it is my guess, or as Wikipedians say, "original research", I can not publish it here but I still think that I'm right. Here is my hypothesis about this subject, if interested.
  • Fifteenth Reunion an original screenplay with mild sexual and language content; younger readers please avoid. A romantic comedy. It would be cool if a high school or college drama group did my screenplay. I give permission for groups to use it for small-scale not-for-profit productions, if interested.
  • Ideas on improving Wikipedia. I may write this sooner or later.
A surprise early winter snowstorm in late October, 2011 in New Jersey dumped six inches of wet snow on trees which had not shed their leaves. Many trees were uprooted or lost major branches which often fell on power lines, leaving many homes without electricity or heat. But nature was beautiful nevertheless.
  • Screenplay saga "Americaiad". I'm working on this one too. Themes => America + Spinoza + Aeneid. Heroine is "Kate", an Irish woman who travels Odysseus-like to get back to her family in America and help write the Constitution. That sort of thing. She'll have a guitar bow for singing as well as letting arrows fly at the bad guys! On hold right now.
  • Screenplay "Polar Planet". Outline written. Sexual science fiction. I mapped out the idea, but when I started writing it, it sounded boring and formulaic; so right now it's on hold unless I can make it feel fresh somehow. Ditched it.
  • Jakk's Journey. Science fiction novel about a high schooler who flies to Betelgeuse and meets sexy aliens! Should be fun. Hopefully finished by June.
  • Stair Repair -- A handyman project fixing a stair. It's a public domain document, including pictures; feel free to use them for handyman-related articles.
  • Wheeled Wonders A handyman project to de-clutter a packed basement by using movable shelf-carts and psychology.

My contributions at Wikipedia[edit]

Flag of the United States.svg This user is a member of
WikiProject United States
Love this twilight blue.
Path and stream.
Two snakes (possibly "Black Racers") cuddling on a rock; of course I yelled out get a room; hey I'm a Jersey guy.
Winter sunset.
Historic bridge site in Concord, Massachusetts, where fighting between Minutemen and Redcoats happened centuries ago.
Oooh I got a free intimate concert at The Coffee House in Edison, New Jersey, by this excellent trio -- this guy plays guitar better than me, but I have snazzier sneakers.
Chiseling a space for an orange door hinge. So it's silver. Orange rhymes with door hinge.
Fireplace after I repaired it.
Stuffed mushrooms.
Autumn scene.
Runway model Renée Gunter before she became even more amazing by creating beautiful drought-resistant gardens in Los Angeles that -- correct me if I am wrong -- actually give off water. So they nibble on droplets of water, but it would be cool to invent a type of plant that eats garbage, turns it into water. Even more amazing: I can get the accent right above the second e in Renée.

Major revamps. I revamped highly trafficked articles: United States Congress -- about 5000 readers per day; 2800/day April 2012

History of the United States Congress about 100/day; 80/day April 2012
Powers of the United States Congress -- maybe 50/day
U.S. Congress and citizens -- 15/day

Wall Street -- 2500/day.

Dating -- 1500/day. But this one still needs rewriting, revamping, more references. Too much advice in it; trimmed it. In December 2011, readership around 2500/day. 1800/day April 2012.

Hope Diamond -- 1500/day; occasionally spikes into the tens of thousands.

Friend zone -- expansion 2500/day

Handyman -- about 160/day; 200/day April 2012

History of the United States Congress -- 100 day; revamped this section; floated as article

Statistics New Zealand -- 50/day, revamp a while back

USS Iowa (BB-4) -- a US battleship which saw action in the Spanish American War -- 100/day

Citizenship in the United States -- 600 readers per day; floated this article and it's become a mainstay but it probably needs work sometime soon but I don't know what. 400+ April 2012.

Rodney Bingenheimer -- Interesting personality. 300 readers per day (but spikes at times). 90/day April 2012.

Two-party system -- 750 readers per day. 500+ April 2012.

Lake Erie -- first time I've done a lake. 1000 readers per day. But highly important for me to do a lake. Why? I'm no longer a lake virgin. 850+ April.

Man cave -- 300 readers per day. 200+ April 2012.

Kitchen cabinet -- 600/day; this was mostly a copyedit; didn't find much research on it; not exactly a university level subject. 350/day April 2012.

Allegheny College -- 135 readers per day -- revamp a year or so ago; 150/day April 2012.

Union County College -- 35 readers per day, holding steady.

Filter bubble -- 40/day. Floated this article recently. 150/day in April.

Equality of outcome -- 100/day. Expansion.

Equality of autonomy -- floated, hybrid concept developed by Amartya Sen. Lucky if there's 20/day.

Equal opportunity -- one of the major equalities -- 800/day during weekdays. Have you noticed how the equal opportunity gets huge readership while equality of outcome gets much less? Seems grossly unfair that readership is not equal. Hey let's lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Rachid Taha -- 300/day? Revamp. I still have no clue what genre this guy is; number of genres is about 10 I think.

Overlook Hospital -- hospital in New Jersey. 20/day

Summit Free Public Library -- town library. 5/day

Help:Referencing for beginners with citation templates -- quick primer for contributors; about 30/day

Fuddruckers, a hamburger restaurant that I think I've eaten at once or twice. 300/day

Richard Schwartz, mathematician, I have no clue what a pentagram map is. 20/day

Dog camp -- revamp, rescued article, 10/day, going nowhere; readership sucks

Broadband mapping in the United States -- floated, 25+day

PEX -- section revamp, 450+day

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction -- partial expansion

Ice bath -- brrrrr, floated this article. growing to 125/day -- what's so cool (sorry) about Wikipedia is people read this stuff. Growing to 200+ day, now 350+ a day in May 2012. One of my faster growing ones in terms of readership. 450+/day in June 2012.

Pseudoexfoliation syndrome -- major expansion; eye ailment. 40/day. 60+day. 100+day in May 2012.

Evertune -- newly invented gizmo to keep guitar strings in tune using springs and levers. I want one someday on my guitar.

Ebert test -- can a computer-synthesized voice have enough inflection to make people laugh? Floated; maybe 125/day? 70+day in May 2012.

Community Exchange System -- an alternative bill-less coin-less monetary system working over the Internet which originated in South Africa. About 40/day? 15/day May.

Lake Keowee, a man-made lake in South Carolina -- 50/day

Second Constitutional Convention of the United States -- proposal by small cadre of top academics (usually in law) for substantive political reform 40/day

Sunset in my town.

College admissions in the United States -- 80/day April but hopefully will grow; revamp done May 3 2012. Regularly 250+, sometimes over 300 as of June 2012.

Yield (college admissions) -- 10/day
Wait list -- 10/day
Transfer admissions in the United States -- no idea how this one will go over -- 80/day in early winter 2013
FAFSA position -- probably 10/day, colleges data-mine it to screen applicants without their knowledge

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids -- you know, a nonprofit advertising agency to unsell drugs. Remember the egg in the frying pan commercial? This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Revamp. Hopefully this one will get 40 to 50 per day. 140/day in late April; probably some kind of promotion by PDFA. This outfit keeps changing its name for reasons hard to discern.

Planned shrinkage, a controversial urban policy of neglecting city services to try to maximize utility; 40+/day

Shrink to survive, bulldozing swaths of Rust Belt cities to keep them functioning

Corporatocracy, cool if I could only learn how to pronounce it. 400/day hopefully? 225/day April.

Unclick, 10/day -- you know, when you unclick a computer menu choice

Lawrence Lessig -- sharp Harvard law professor calling for serious reform

Lobbying in the United States -- 400/day maybe, not about tennis; that's "Lobbing in the United States"

History of lobbying in the United States -- spinoff article -- not many

History of citizenship -- no idea how well this one will do; just floated in February 2012; so far 60/day; 40/day in April; pushing 400/day in November 2012

Jon Wiener -- cool bio of a guy who can sing "I fought the law and I won", unlike most everybody else -- hopefully 30/day after the dust settles

Science 2.0 -- wondering what kind of viewership this one will get; I'm guessing 35/day.

Loantaka Brook Reservation -- nature park in New Jersey; perhaps 10 to 20 a day.

Authority control -- term in library science, rewrite, 400/day. Would be a cool name for a music group.

Medical tricorder -- possible device being built based on the science fiction TV show Star Trek. Probably 40/day

Lydia Johnson Dance -- a dance "troupe" from South Orange, New Jersey. Perhaps 15/day.

Big History -- cool course and academic discipline. Not the history of obesity but rather the Big Bang to the present. Hopefully 100-200/day. Also I revamped David Christian (historian), founder of the Big History movement, about 60/day.

Therapy cat -- felines to help humans, maybe 20/day

Judicial interpretation -- about 40/day

Corporate anniversary -- wrote this one; probably 40/day if lucky

Urban coyote -- hopefully 70/day -- coyotes are taking over the cities and suburbs and eating all our kitties!

John Palfrey -- important educator, advocate for Internet freedom, Harvard law school professor and colleague of Lawrence Lessig, but most important a good sport when I fingerwagged him for sending out extralong emails. Let's hope for 50/day?

Utah Data Center -- varies; much interest in April 2013; I rewrote sections and added references plus did the diagram. Surprisingly, this kind of solution to terrorism is something I wrote about in my book Common Sense II, but it is only one part.

Abbot Academy -- spruced version by IPBiographer with references, history section, photos.

Wheeler Winston Dixon -- filmmaker, scholar, cool Rutgersian. Maybe 20/day? Revamp.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster -- film scholar who knows the secret of film star Mae West, cool Rutgersian but why are so many Rutgersians moving to Nebraska? Why do they have three-word names. Stay tuned: film at eleven. Maybe 10/day? Revamp.

Foodscaping -- not veal parmigiana slithering off the plate to escape, but turning your front lawn into your farm. I'm guessing 10/day, if that.

St. Mary's Episcopal School -- private school in Memphis; I've never seen it or attended it, but I heartily expect to be getting an honorary degree from them, any day now in the mail, since I added references and a few sentences to it.

Thumb tribe -- description for younger generation more adept at using thumbs for smartphones, rather than phoning or conversing in person.

Motion capture acting -- when actors wear skintight bodysuits with sensors and get turned into fictional characters.

Smarketing -- when marketing and sales people swap information

World Costume Festival -- cool festival with parades in the Philippines city of Vigan. Could yield great photos.

2014 University of North Carolina academics-athletics scandal -- first scandal I wrote up, but really nobody is to blame, it's just life, and maybe they should start thinking about paying college NCAA-level football and basketball players what they deserve? No idea about pageviews

Promotional mix -- no, not how advertisers bake cakes, but rather how they mix promotional elements to achieve the (hopefully) optimal way to reach people

Cover your ass -- activity done in public without toilet paper

Character actor -- unsung heroes of television and film

Gender polarization -- when societies make girls extra girly, and boys extra boy-y, with sharp delineations

Undermatching -- no, not when two persons underwear matches, but a concept in higher education in which high-achieving students are undermatched in less competitive colleges.

Mira Gonzalez -- young up-and-coming American poet who I will probably never read

These were major expansions or new articles. What's cool is that perhaps tens of millions of people have read stuff I've written, although they may not know it was me. :)

Advice for revampers: query people on the talk page first about what they'd like; do a thorough newspaper & magazine search with lots of references; write offline, port it to a sandbox; invite reviews on the article's talk page to comment on the sandbox version; last, swap it in.

Plus I've started numerous articles, including Karyn Marshall and Citizenship in the United States.

Biographies. I like to write about folks with unusual occupations. If you have ideas of people to create Wikipedia articles for, please click here and write them at the bottom of my user talk page. Biographies I've worked on: Evi Gkotzaridis, Bill Cunliffe, Julian Hatton, Zoya Phan, Heather Mac Donald, Karl Kirchwey, Priscilla Martel, Peter Kapetan, Nate Lee, Sara Nelson, Karyn Marshall, Gar Waterman, Dana Delany, Peter Currie, Sloane Citron, Gary Lee; Charles T. Howard; Arnold Hiatt; Randy Wayne (biologist); many more. Ones I am considering writing include: Earl Killian, Sara Wedeman, Peter Rysavy, Bill Lewis, Joe Malone. Plus British model Harriadnie Beau, American landscape architect (schoolyards=>nature gardens) Sharon Gamson Danks, Filipina Pixar animator Gini Cruz Santos, American expat writer Madeleine Marie Slavick, Dutch heavy-metal singer Dianne van Giersbergen, also legal educator Paula Franzese, cosmologist and string theorist Laura Mersini-Houghton.

Wikiproject United States. I'm working with folks on this project.

My interests. Lots of stuff. Sorry, don't know much.

Music. I've worked on articles such as David Wilcox, Jonatha Brooke, Mountain Man, Offbeats (music group), Elaine Christy, and others. I play guitar.

Handyman stuff. I've been fingerwagged by folks wondering why I write about what I know nothing about and not what I do know about like handyman stuff. Why am I writing about Lake Erie -- they say: you've never been to Lake Erie (true; never been). Why not write about mortar? Sheesh. Okay, okay. I'm trying to contribute more pictures, tips and tool information. Maybe it will keep some homeowner from chopping off a finger.


Pageview stats for some articles[edit]

Editing for donations[edit]

Editing for donations. I choose what subjects I write about: stuff I'm interested in, people I know tangentially, ideas I'm curious about. However, I am willing to write on a subject which somebody else chooses IF they send me a check payable to Wikimedia Foundation. They choose the amount. I'll begin work when I have the physical check in hand: researching, investigating, analyzing, writing. As always, I try my best to follow WP's guidelines regarding neutrality, reliable sources, balance and no original research. I try to write within the references, meaning that every line of text that I add should have an inline checkable reference supporting it (an exception: when there's something obvious that needs to be said to make the article flow better, I'll add it). I will note on the article's talk page about the editing for donations arrangement. Then, I'll mail the check to the Wikimedia Foundation in Los Angeles. The editing-for-donations idea is a variant of the Bounty Board policy and is accepted in principle here at Wikipedia. Have an article for me to write? Or improve? Make a note on my talk page or send me an email at thomaswrightsulcer (AT) yahoo (DOT) com. How much bang will you get for your buck? I'll do my best.

Partisan Records and Knitting Factory Records took me up on this offer. They donated generously to Wikimedia Foundation. And they have asked me to write about these subjects. So I did.

This photo was taken in a mall in New Jersey. A translucent sales display reflected light. This is a photo of my reflected image as it appeared in the reflection. You can see two hands and a camera between them.
I timed this shot so the plane took off just as the sun rose, at Newark Airport. Note to self: remember to turn off the flash next time (that's the oblong light -- the sun is middle, bottom)

About Wikipedia[edit]

Surprise visitor! This descendant of dinosaurs got inside the house, perhaps from a nest in the eaves, and could not get out. On the rug, it stared with defiance. I opened a top window sash and it flew outside.

On agendas. I think everybody here at Wikipedia has an agenda -- yes everybody including you, dear reader -- but it's not all bad, so let me explain.

Tree after an overnight snowfall, in early morning light.

Let's examine my agendas. See, me writing this paragraph that you're reading here reflects an agenda. It's me wanting to explain my views about agenda. Me, writing about handymen reflects my belief that handymen are important (hey, I'm a handyman, and hey, aren't handymen important??? OF COURSE!!! well, maybe others think differently). Me, writing about Rodney Bingenheimer says, in effect, that I think this radio DJ is important. Ditto all my other contributions. Right now I have an agenda of being irked at Union County College because I was detained by campus police for taking pictures of buildings, but this may change. Trying to be neutral is, itself, an agenda; reverting a comment which seems to be fringe reflects a mainstream agenda. Trying to have no agenda is an agenda.

What's true for me is true for you. Everything you do reflects an agenda. This is true for everybody here. Every action -- writing an article, deleting a comment, ignoring an article, adding to an article, nominating an article for deletion, keeping an article -- everything -- reflects some kind of agenda. Trying to be mainstream is an agenda. Some agendas are hidden (ie sell something, push an ideology etc) while others are parked in a storefront window. I don't think the hidden vs. open agenda dimension is that important. See, what happens in Wikipedia is that agendas battle. As a result, hidden agendas naturally get exposed. More useful information stays and junk gets cast out. Truth slinks out of the dust-storm of battling. The encyclopedia improves. Battling happens a lot here, sometimes becoming seriously unpleasant for the battlers. Nevertheless, the overall result is an impressive educational enlightening mostly-neutral information resource which is amazing. Wikipedia is the BEST (my original research) encyclopedia in the world!

On Wikipedia. I've had problems here like everybody does. It can get contentious. Sometimes I was abrasive. I've tried to learn to be nicer to everybody. Generally I don't battle much about stuff, usually. Wikipedia is the best online encyclopedia because of its HUGE readership and it's an excellent platform to share knowledge. It has terrific web presence and it has made smart decisions regarding linking, avoiding spam, user pages, articlespace, and such. Generally I think Wikipedia's three pillars are sensible and smart, and following them is best not only for contributors but works for everybody all around. I think Wikipedia needs better dispute resolution processes (but I have no good answers here); ideally I'd like a quick-stop court where matters could be settled fairly, quickly, impartially; but I know this would be difficult to implement in practice. I advocate getting increased feedback from readers (click if you like this article etc). I think it's a good idea to identify contributors, or at least, to give those contributors who use their real names greater powers and privileges. I wonder if Wikipedia should consider bylines -- crediting contributors on the face of an article, perhaps at the bottom -- and maybe even bypictures (pictures of chief contributors); it might motivate people to contribute; newspapers and magazines have bylines indicating the author; why not Wikipedia? I continue to worry that Wikipedia has not solved the problem of policing the police -- of reining in errant administrators. But I don't have a good solution to this problem either. At the time of this writing, it seems like a benevolent place but I realize this can change in a jiffy.

My politics. I'm non-partisan. I don't vote for Republicans. I don't vote for Democrats. I call for serious structural reform of the United States Constitution via a Constitutional Convention, but I realize this is extremely unlikely to happen. On Wikipedia, I'll write about all types -- conservatives, liberals, radicals, activists, Democrats, Republicans, and I try to be fair to all of them. For example, I wrote about conservative hard-liner Heather Mac Donald as well as liberal activists such as David Sirota and Ted Nace. Earlier in my life, I was highly socialist; later, highly capitalist. Why did my thinking shift? I don't know. I know how both worldviews think. I could have wonderful arguments with myself. There are strong points to each side. Today, I'm non-partisan. Studying politics, reading, working through philosophy --> these things helped me become non-partisan. Good stuff to read: A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell; Politics by Aristotle; The Republic by Machiavelli (better than The Prince); The Spirit of the Laws by Montesquieu; Second Treatise of Government by John Locke. IF you find yourself being highly charged ideologically, having long political battles with people that seem to go nowhere, arguments that don't persuade, arguments providing much heat but little light, arguments that afterwards leave you feeling heated-up and angry and wondering why is everybody else so stupid? And, if you don't like feeling this way, THEN: read Sowell. Just his first chapter. You'll see what I mean.

Want to learn Wikipedia? Check out this primer -- good overview. Or learn even more? Here is a good essay by an experienced Wikipedian.

Sandboxes[edit]

Circe tempting Odysseus, raising a cup.
Why are women beautiful? If I ever figure this out, I'll write a knol about it, but right now I'm clueless.

Wikilink to my sandbox
Wikilink to sandbox2
Wikilink to my second sandbox
Wikilink to sandbox tools
Wikilink to Stuff to consider working on
Wikilink to Unreferenced US BLPs#Regions
Link to --> Wikipedians with JStor

  • Tools

{{cc-by-3.0}} license tag for Commons photos {{OTRSpending|year=2014|month=August|day=24}} tag for OTRS pending

National newspapers basic search sweep (site:nytimes.com OR site:usatoday.com OR site:philadelphiainquirer.com OR site:time.com OR site:miamiherald.com OR site:pittsburghpostgazette.com OR site:chicagotribune.com OR site:latimes.com OR site:sfgate.com OR site:wsj.com OR site:mercurynews.com OR site:washingtonpost.com OR site:suntimes.com OR site:nj.com OR site:boston.com OR site:nydailynews.com OR site:denverpost.com)

National magazines sweep (site:si.com OR site:nationalgeographic.com OR site:people.com OR site:cosmopolitan.com OR site:oprah.com OR site:smithsonian.com OR site:usmagazine.com OR site:instyle.com OR site:seventeen.com OR site:rollingstone.com OR site:webmd.com OR site:ebony.com OR site:playboy.com OR site:theatlantic.com OR site:slate.com)

International newspapers sweep (site:theguardian.com OR site:france24.com OR site:bbc.com OR site:cnn.com/world OR site:chinadaily.com OR site:canada.com OR site:msnbc.com OR site:timesofindia.com OR site:iht.com OR site:theage.com.au OR site:iol.co.za/the-star OR site:japantimes.co.jp OR site:jpost.com OR site:irishtimes.com)

Barnstars and bling[edit]

Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
In recognition of the great work you've been doing around the wiki. :) œ 04:17, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Hand.jpg The Friendship Barnstar
Thanks for your sense of fairness, collaboration and your good contributions to Wikipedia! KeithbobTalk 20:09, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
CPR Barnstar.png The Barnstar of Recovery
For incredible contributions in the Dog camp article during its AfD. Amazing! I Jethrobot (talk) 20:07, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Kindness Barnstar Hires.png The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar
For being so supportive in the past. A great team-mate Tesseract2(talk) 03:26, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Barnstar of Humour3.png The Barnstar of Good Humour
In recognition of your much appreciated efforts to keep Wikipedia a better place to hang around. --Murus (talk) 18:16, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Food Barnstar Hires.png The Food and Drink Barnstar   
Thanks for creating the new Foodscaping article, and expanding the encyclopedia's coverage of agriculture- and food-related topics. Northamerica1000(talk) 17:04, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Civility Barnstar Hires.png The Civility Barnstar
For posting and responding in an unfailingly civil and reasoned tone, despite our disagreements on the rugby issue. Ravenswing 20:51, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Rescue Barnstar Hires.png The Article Rescue Barnstar
For your outstanding work sourcing out and revamping Israela Margalit at AfD. Nice work! Carrite (talk) 03:57, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Tools. Deactivated; use edit version.


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References[edit]

  1. ^ Note: my method prevents almost all types of violence such as nuclear and biological terrorism, kidnappings, extortion, robberies, hijackings, but it can not prevent a random act such as a single individual, without communicating with others beforehand, picking up a generally peaceful implement such as a kitchen knife and going on a stabbing spree such as this incident in Murrysville Pennsylvania in 2014; I do not see any workable solution to prevent such a crime, unfortunately.--tws
  2. ^ CNN, Fareed Zakaria, March 3rd, 2013, Cuts a damning indictment of Washington, Accessed March 4, 2013
  3. ^ Adam Clark Estes (Jun 06, 2011). "The Wikipedia War of Paul Revere and Sarah Palin". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2011-06-09. "And her supporters similarly will not relent in revising the history of the event on Wikipedia in order to reflect Palin's version. Wikipedia editors are fed up with the flood of poorly sourced changes to the Paul Revere page--many point to Palin herself as a history expert--and have called for a lock on the page and an end to the discussion. ... I kindly remind people that it's not our job here at Wikipedia to decide what's true, but to report what reliable sources say, such as the LA Times, WDHD TV in Boston, numerous others. And they quoted an American politician saying that bells were used. --Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:09, 5 June 2011 (UTC) ..." 
  4. ^ NOAM COHEN (June 12, 2011). "Shedding Hazy Light on a Midnight Ride". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-27. "Jeff Schneider ... He learned on that initial Sunday that one user had cited Ms. Palin herself as the source for this sentence — “Accounts differ regarding the method of alerting the colonists; the generally accepted position is that the warnings were verbal in nature, although one disputed account suggested that Revere rang bell during his ride.” He removed the sentence as not being based on a “reliable source.”" 
  5. ^ NOAM COHEN (June 6, 2011). "Paul Revere, Sarah Palin and Wikipedia". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-26. "In some cases people appeared to be attributing the claims to Ms. Palin in order to mock her. One editor, Tomwsulcer, added ... : “Accounts differ regarding the method of alerting the colonists; the generally accepted position is that the warnings were verbal in nature, although one disputed account suggested that Revere rang bells during his ride.” ... Tomwsulcer replied that it should be included as a theory because a prominent American politician, that is, Sarah Palin, had said it. “If you follow Wikipedia’s rules,” he wrote, “we must maintain a neutral position, representing the mainstream position as well as disputed versions.” ..." 
  6. ^ Stephen T. Ayres (June 12, 2011). "Vicar tells all: Sarah Palin's history flub, and how it happened". Daily Episcopalian. Retrieved 2011-06-14. "Here is the inside scoop on the Boston history massacre." 

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