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Welcome! This is the User Page for Ballista. Greetings to fellow Wikipedians. I am fast becoming wiki-addicted and this page is here to provide a little insight into my editing activity.

Regarding subjects, I'm pretty omnivorous, as can be seen from my editing history. I enjoy knowledge and understanding and the Wikipedia is a great medium for providing just that, in an authoritative yet accessible, non-technical and non-esoteric way.

If you wish, you can go direct to my Talk/Discussion page: right here.


My WikiBirthday is on 28th March (b. 2006).

Time Zone[edit]

I am currently operating on GMT + 1 hour (i.e. UK Daylight saving time or DST).

Greenwich Mean Time (or UTC) is therefore currently, for the summer months only, one hour behind our time (as is Wikipedia-Time). Wikipedia has an article on time zones and there is an external web site that gives up-to-the-minute times around the world: World Clock

Barnstars and such like[edit]

I proudly display my Barnstars - hey, this is exciting - these things suddenly 'land' and brighten the day!:

The Minor Barnstar - For your minor edits to many dinosaur articles, which have resulted in a major difference. Thanks for volunteering. --Firsfron 07:07, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
The Photographer's Barnstar for your remarkable photographic additions to WP:Dinos Firsfron of Ronchester 20:03, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Fun to receive this, to mark my 5,000 edits! Thanks Firsfron:

Some cookies for Ballista; enjoy! --Firsfron of Ronchester 06:05, 5 August 2006

5,000 edits ain't really no big deal (as they say in US of A, I believe) but nice that someone marks it. Thanks - Ballista 06:27, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

For your thousands of excellent contributions to the encyclopedia.--Firsfron of Ronchester 06:41, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


English language
enThis user is a native speaker of the English language.
en-5This user can contribute with a professional level of English.
UKThis user uses British English.
OEDThis user uses Oxford spelling.
de-2Dieser Benutzer hat fortgeschrittene Deutschkenntnisse.
fr-1Cet utilisateur peut contribuer avec un niveau élémentaire de français.
sv-1Denna användare har grundläggande kunskaper i svenska.
it-1Questo utente può contribuire con un livello semplice di italiano.

la-1Hic usor simplici latinitate contribuere potest.
grc-1Ὅδε ὁ χρήστης δύναται συμβάλλεσθαι ὀλίγῃ γνώσει τῆς ἀρχαίας ἑλληνικῆς.

I love the richness offered to the world by its variety of human languages and cultures and I regret any attempt to erode these fine traditions.

Declaration of Interests:[edit]

I am a professional, working in animal welfare.

I am fiercely independent of any financial involvement with manufacturers or products. I believe that professional opinions should be entirely independent of vested interest and separate from sales.

I am vegetarian.

Mr Ballista

Ballista is my Username.

The Ballista, (derived from Greek - βαλλω - throw), possibly first emerged in rudimentary form in Syracuse, circa 400 B.C. and was developed and refined by Alexander the Great of Macedonia (and by his father Philip of Macedonia before him), for firing 'bolts' or stones. It was a very effective tool for breaking down barriers. It achieved this by being an effective device for steady storing and rapid releasing of energy.

The military connotation is not to be taken as an indication that I promote conflict or believe in confrontation as a means of resolving differences. Au contraire, I believe in respect, rectitude, lack of prejudice, and the 'right' of all humans and animals to respect.

I believe in real science and that most things are possible until proven impossible.

I promote proper and scientific enquiry and debate.

I regret the increase in pseudoscience and commercially-motivated science, especially in the world of medicine and health. I doubt the wisdom of placing health care development in the hands of those who profit from disease.

I believe animal experimentation to be an unscientific practice that represents an obstacle to medical advance and a great danger to its supposed human beneficiaries. This is a scientific view and leaves my ethical and moral sensitivities aside.

In any argument, I believe we should view our 'opponents' as having a different view of the facts (i.e. rather than dissembling, they are likely to be expressing their own view of the truth).

I believe that no 'belief system' should confer on its holder the right to bad behaviour, disrespect, violence or pride.

I do not promote any religious belief.

I do not condemn religious belief.

My contributions to Wikipedia will be in this spirit.

I am pedantic about commas, diphthongs (etymologically enlightening and enriching), apostrophes and fewer/less. I deplore anything that 'dumbs down' our delightfully diverse and rich English language.


My main interests are conservation/environment/ecology, alternative medicine, animal welfare, diet/nutrition, biology, botany, evolution, holism and 'complex systems', photography, history, ancient history, the classics, poetry, archaeology, geography, geology, palaeontology, research, historical cars/boats/planes, historical architecture, travel (mainly European, by land), archery, reading, writing and language. On occasions, I dip in and out of Formula 1/Saloon Car racing/international rugby/rallying/historic rallying.


The way to hell is paved with good ones, I am told. However, I would like to contribute to Wikipedia on a regular basis and, if there isn't too much negative stuff coming back about the quality, suitability etc. of my way of working, I'd even like do some translating, once I'm "in the swing".


Since when have conjecture, prejudice, preconceived notion, non sequitur and wild generalisation been the stuff of science?


  1. POV in articles Although there are several to which I could make constructive contributions, I am resisting contributing to articles in which there are POV battles, since nothing can be achieved thereby and they cannot move forward. Ping-Pong is too polite a term to apply to some of these battlegrounds. Why articles start to become 'controversial', unless POV has been indulged, is beyond me. Since POV is strictly against the principles of WP, how do we get in this mess? HOW CAN SUCH ARTICLES BE RESCUED, FOR THE SAKE OF WIKIPEDIA?
  2. Pseudoscience I also believe the tag 'Pseudoscience', on an article, to be inherently POV and therefore without constructive value and against the etiquette of WP.

Contributions to Wikipedia[edit]

Addictive, isn't it? Since 28th March 2006, up to the morning of 20th September, I have made the following contributions to Wikipedia:

  • Articles started/created: lost count in Aug '06
  • Image uploads: lost count in Aug '06 (see: Gallery)
  • Translations: 12
    • Swedish-to-English - 2
      • German-to-English - 2
        • Italian-to-English - 1
          • Norwegian-to-English - 1
            • French-to-English - 6
  • Articles given significant contributions (at least once): lost count in Aug '06
  • Discussion contributions & communications: lost count in Aug '06

(figures are 'at least' levels)

  • Items Watching: 2,203 articles/items (I must, must, must prune this list a bit more!)
  • Wikimedia Commons: I have also contributed images and editing to Wikimedia Commons
  • International: I also 'puddle about' occasionally in the Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish Wikipedias
  • I have mistakenly made a few edits (29) under the IP Address:, having omitted to 'log in' on occasions.

Wikipedia Projects on which I'm listed[edit]

  • Aircraft (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Alternative medicine (too much POV ping-pong about, at the moment, for me to be too involved)
  • Archaeology (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Automobiles (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Dinosaurs (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Indiana (contributed to a few articles)
  • Military history (contributed to and started several articles)
  • Rocks & Minerals (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Ships (contributed to and started several articles and uploaded images)
  • Trains (contributed to several articles)

Does this qualify me for the 'epithet': Jack of all trades, master of none!?

View Article contributions (Wikipedia Data)[edit]

This link leads directly to my "my contributions" page:

View Image uploads[edit]



Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna) - Google Art Project - edited.jpgThis user participates in Pages needing translation into English.
Commons-logo.svgThis user has a userpage on Wikimedia Commons.
its & it’sThis user understands the difference between its and it’s. So should you.
less & fewerThis user understands the difference between less & fewer.
This user thinks that there are too many people who don’t know that they're worse than their own children at spelling!
This user thinks that if your grammar is incorrect, then you’re in need of help.
6,000+This user has made more than 6,000 contributions to Wikipedia.
Waricon.svgThis user is a member of
WikiProject Military history.
Indiana flag icon.svgThis user is a member of
WikiProject Indiana.
Icon train.svgThis user is a member of the Trains WikiProject.

ind This user is politically independent.

Other Wikipedias[edit]

I don't so much 'contribute' to these as dip in and out of them.

Wikipedia friends
Ich schreibe Beiträge für die deutschsprachige Wikipedia.

I support German language Wikipedia with my contributions.
Wikipedia friends

Places I've visited[edit]

National flags:

I live here
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