Boing Boing and The Atlantic blogged about what they call "the largest image on Wikipedia", File:Georgetown_PowerPlant_interior_pano.jpg, a 27,184 × 16,995 pixels panorama with a file size of 25.79 MB, that was uploaded in 2008. Like other large images, it carries a warning that it might not display properly at full resolution in all browsers, recommending that the Toolserver-based zoom viewer be used instead. The high-resolution version (which has been criticized for being blurry at full resolution and containing "a creepy disembodied head on the left and a child's floating torso on the right", having been stitched together from around 56 photographs) is currently not used in any Wikipedia version; the English Wikipedia's article about the Georgetown Steam Plant museum uses a smaller version of the image. There are images on Commons with larger file sizes, such as the featured picture File:Pano Baalbek 1.jpg, which weighs 44.68 MB at 24,726 × 5,000 pixels. The limit for files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons is currently 100 MB.
Bio-wikis: An article in Nature ("No rest for the bio-wikis"), published in anticipation of a conference titled "Biological Wikis" later this month, examined the various uses of wikis by biologists to maintain databases, such as Gene Wiki, a collection of more than 10,000 Wikipedia articles on single genes. As an advantage of such bio-wikis that are "hosted by Wikipedia", the article cited that they "benefit from the contributions of its existing altruistic community of 'Wikipedians'", and that they attract more readers as well. As a disadvantage, it mentioned being subject to Wikipedia rules, in particular the notability guidelines. Bio-wikis in general were said to be still limited by the text-based wiki syntax (with Semantic MediaWiki as a possible solution), and the fact that a scientist's contributions to wikis are not yet being recognized by funding agencies and tenure committees.
How do students use Wikipedia?: Following up on last week's article by Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times Magazine (see Signpost coverage), where she had praised "the lucid exposition that Wikipedia brings to technical subjects", the NYT's "Learning Network" blog asked their student readers (13 years and older) How do you use Wikipedia?, eliciting 72 comments at the time of writing.
Fundraising easier for Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales was interviewed on the blog of Creative Commons, as part of a series called "Meet our board members". Among other things, he commented on the difference between CC and the Wikimedia Foundation with regard to fundraising opportunities: "At Wikipedia, we are able to fund-raise directly from small donors because we are huge, public, and visible, and our community builds something that everyone uses every day. With Wikipedia, we can always know that there will be lots and lots of $30 donors from the heart and soul of the Wikipedia donor community. It’s harder for Creative Commons."
Termites explaining termites: The Hindu last week reviewed "Smart Swarm", a recently released book by Peter Miller that seeks to elucidate collaboration in companies and online communities by examples from the animal kingdom ("What creature crowds can teach us"). Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia is mentioned as an example of online collaboration - according to the review, Miller reveals that "indirect collaboration that makes it easy for almost anyone to get involved is one of the secrets of Wikipedia's success" and illustrates this by citing "a quote that compares wiki to a termite nest, thus: 'One initial user leaves a seed of an idea (a mudball), which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.'" Curiously, the sentence appears to have originated on Wikipedia itself, where an anonymous user added it in 2004 to the article Stigmergy, preceding it by "This wiki is a perfect example!". The insect analogies shouldn't be taken too far, however - The Hindu notes that according to the book "as members of such groups, we don't have to surrender our individuality, because good decision-making comes from competition as much as from compromise, from disagreement as much as from consensus."
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