Talk show host fails to heed own warnings not to rely on Wikipedia
An article in The New York Times, "Limbaugh taken in: the judge was not loaded for bear", reports that conservative US talk show host Rush Limbaugh relied on erroneous information from the Wikipedia article about federal judge Roger Vinson when he told listeners that Vinson is an avid hunter and hobby taxidermist who, in 2003, hung the stuffed heads of three bears killed by himself over a courtroom door, to "instill the fear of God" into the accused. Limbaugh insinuated that this might improve the chances of the court case against President Obama's health-care act which Vinson is currently hearing.
The hoax information had been added by a new user on September 13 (UTC), who removed it the next day. Denying that the statement was based on Wikipedia, a spokesman said it came from an article on the website of the Pensacola News Journal – coincidentally the offline reference cited in the Wikipedia article (but with a non-existent date: "June 31, 2003"). However, its managing editor denied it had ever published such an article – a point also made in its own coverage of the affair (Rush Limbaugh falls for wacky hoax about Judge Roger Vinson).
At Georgetown University, The Hoya interviewed Professor Rochelle Davis (Wikipedia: a class tool), whose "Introduction to the study of the Arab world" course participates in the Wikipedia initiative. Correcting earlier media reports that she had assigned students to read Wikipedia, she said "some of the interviews seemed to have missed that. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. I wouldn't assign my students to read it, just like I wouldn't assign them Britannica."
Also last week, Indiana Universityannounced that a seminar at its School of Public and Environmental Affairs program would be producing public policy articles for Wikipedia, proudly describing the School as "one of five leading public-policy programs where the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia, is debuting its Public Policy Initiative".
Wikipedia instantized: The US launch of Google's Instant search on September 8 (a modification of Google's Web search, displaying results as the user types) prompted a flurry of similar search services for specific sites (on September 12, the new article YouTube Instant survived a speedy deletion request), including, of course, Wikipedia. Wikipedia Lightning and Wikipedia Instant ("Just another instant search tool") display an instant list of search results with excerpts from each article, while The Instant Wiki ("Search Wikipedia as you type!") and WikInstant.com ("Search Wikipedia Instantly") just load an entire article from en.wikipedia.org as a suggestion below the search box.
Nature cites Wikipedia: A two-page article by theoretical physicist Jan Zaanen that appeared last month in the "News & views" section of the most highly ranked academic journal in the world, Nature ("High-temperature superconductivity: the benefit of fractal dirt", doi:10.1038/466825a) gave "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory" as the reference for the statement that "dynamical-systems theory [is] a subject offering insights into fractal phenomena as diverse as the shapes of fern leaves, the 'fat tails' of option pricing in the financial markets and the Gutenberg-Richter earthquake law". According to WP:Wikipedia as an academic source, Nature has cited Wikipedia at least once before, in a 2005 paper that made reference to the article 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.