Citizendium: A Better Encyclopedia or Just an Anti-Wikipedia?
The digital world's answer to Encyclopedia Britannica has its detractors. These critics of open sourcing say Wikipedia is a spottily vetted and often utterly spurious source of online information. On of the more vocal Wikipedia naysayers is none other than its co-founder, Larry Sanger, who says the "radical egalitarianism" Wikipedia touts is nothing of the sort.
The charges against Wikipedia would perhaps not be so damaging if it wasn't one-stop shopping for millions of students trolling for citations for their term papers, i.e., there is a generation of learners being weaned on a scrappy new definition of "expertise."
Sanger attributes it to the mass participation model that creates Wikipedia's content. Suddenly, anyone can be an expert, a precedent that though seemingly democratic, laid fertile ground for half-baked knowledge to be passed off as sound empiricism, which of course is ultimately a disservice to any democracy.
Sanger has gone on to found a rival encyclopedic venue, Citizendium in hopes of alleviating the bad case of existential panic that Wikipedia has induced among scholars and academics. Citizendium set the bar much higher than its rival by requiring all authors to use their real identities, forming peer reviews to vet articles and eliminating real-time editing.
Sanger has further signaled the future of online venues for open-source information will trend toward a more rigorous approach as Wikipedia's content becomes worse over time. Poor quality expertise produces only more poor quality expertise in Sanger's dystopian vision of digital knowledge.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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