My fellow Wikipedians,
You have, conceivably, come here in search of more information on the nature of the man behind JustinWick.
- I have a Bachelors degree in Applied Physics and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell University.
- I worked on the operations staff for the Mars Exploration Rover mission during 2004 at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Among other things, I am one of the developers of Maestro.
- I have worked on MHD simulations at Cornell University, in Fortran.
- I have credits for special effects on the Nova Documentary "Welcome to Mars" and the IMAX Film "Roving Mars", for which I developed and applied algorithms for processing terrain data and rendering inhomogenous, high-albedo volumes, among other things.
Why am I on Wikipedia
I enjoy wikipedia because it's a productive way for me to work on writing skills, no matter how much or little time I have available. It is a bit addictive, however.
What are my goals on Wikipedia
What is Wikipedia
One of the great things about Wikipedia is that I am allowed to criticize it. I think that it is very possible that the Wikipedia of tomorrow will be a very different entity, with differing rules of operation, however the Wikipedia of today is hopelessly egalitarian. In the real world, truth is not decided democratically. The fact that a nobel laurate has the same editing capacity on Wikipedia as a five year old deeply disturbs me, and underlies much of groupthink seen on Wikipedia.
Also, while I believe NPOV is a nice ideal, we are certainly nowhere near this in many articles (especially those dealing with History). I don't think that Wikipedia can be NPOV on certain subjects if it is to reflect only information sourced from accepted, published works. There are so many types of biases, including source selection, omission, phrasing, and of course the ultimate fact that history is always, always written by the victor. The countless societies that have been purged from existence have no voice of their own - they cannot explain their crimes and triumphs.
I've come to the conclusion that Wikipedia is a mass hobby project that is producing a very useful "first source" for information on certain areas, mostly on things that people find "interesting."
Why is Wikipedia useful?
The two most useful things in any wikipedia article are the introductory text (usually contains reasonably good definitions), and the references/external links. On a good article, there's plenty of places to go to learn more if you really want to know about a subject.
I think Wikipedia's Featured Articles tend to make it a great source of intellectual entertainment. FAs are usually far beyond encyclopedic articles in a real encyclopedia, more an amazing work of nonfiction. Because they have been polished to a gleaming near-perfection, Featured Articles represent very well what Wikipedia wants so desperately to be (and may yet some day become, at least on some topics).
Also the Talk pages serve to illuminate contraversies on an issue and gauge different opinions. I find these instructive to read on occasion as well.
More info on me