Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Wikipedia versus the Chinese Government

Question: Has Wikipedia run into any problems with the Chinese government?

Jimmy Wales: Well, we have-- for a long time we were completely blocked in China for more than two years.  All languages completely blocked.  Just recently they unblocked the BBC and then soon after that unblocked the English Wikipedia.  I’ve heard conflicting reports just in the last couple of days-- I got an email from somebody who said that we’re blocked again in China, but I haven’t confirmed that yet.  So I think it’s a little touch-and-go at the moment.  But that’s only the English.  The Chinese language version is still blocked.  So yeah, it’s a problem.  And it’s a problem that-- it’s an interesting one, because when I’ve been in China, it turns out the firewall [ph?] is very, very porous.  Young people all know how to get around it.  I mean, it’s just like-- it may be illegal to download illegal music or movies in the US, but the kids do it, right?  So it’s the same thing there, right?  People know how to get around the firewall.  Young people, technical people, journalists.  And they do.  They get around it.  But still, that’s not to say that it’s no problem, right?  Because lots and lots of people don’t bother.  They’re afraid to try, or whatever.  But the other aspect of this that I think people don’t really recognize nearly enough is that a big part of what I think is going on with the internet censorship in China is not really about control of political information; that’s’ a part of it; but if you wanted too control political information, well with respect to Wikipedia, you would probably just block certain pages.  You wouldn’t block the whole thing.  But there’s also a certain element of protectionism going on, and so we just recently had the head of Baidu made a statement that Chinese people shouldn’t use Wikipedia, they should use Baidu’s Baiduwiki [ph?], Baidupedia [ph?]-- it’s their version-- which they copied all of Wikipedia and didn’t give us credit, and all those kind of classic things that people criticize Chinese companies for, but his remarks about it struck me as being very nationalist in nature.  In other words, “Don’t use this foreign thing.  Use the homegrown Chinese version.”  Whereas, we don’t really view it in that light.  I mean, he tried to paint Wikipedia as an American project.  But we’re very global.  I mean, the only thing I can think about is it’s a movement of the people of the world., and we would prefer It if China would participate in that.  And certainly Chinese Wikipedia is very, very healthy, and we think it’s successful.  And you know, and I also don’t mind him making that argument, right?  He can make that argument, but it’s a little disingenuous, I think, to make that argument when you realize that, “Gee, it’s a little silly to be making that argument when we also have Wikipedia completely blocked in China.”  It’s like, “Are we really that much of a threat that you still have to talk down about us, even though we’re blocked?”  Because I think if were available, then people would use ours and not Baidu, so, but anyway, it’s the kind of thing that I think it’s a policy mistake for china.  I try to be pretty low-key about it, because I actually want this to change in the long-run.  And so it’s-- for us it’s just a matter of really staying consistent and saying, “Look, you know, Wikipedia is not a hotbed of radicals who’re trying to overthrow the Chinese government.  It’s mostly about the moon and tigers and Pokémon and whatnot.  So, <laughs> it’s not really the kind of thing that we think they should be blocking.  We’ll see.

Recorded on: 4/30/08

For a while, Wales says, Wikipedia was banned in China.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Keep reading Show less

What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
Keep reading Show less

How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The #Unity2020 plan was recently outlined by Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, on the Joe Rogan Experience.
  • Weinstein suggested an independent ticket for the 2020 presidential election: Andrew Yang and former U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven.
  • Although details of the proposal are sparse, surveys suggest that many Americans are cynical and frustrated with the two-party system.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast