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Author Topic: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)  (Read 5287 times)

RedLion

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It's my 19th birthday today. Earlier in the day, I went out with friends, had fun, then came home and had cake, etc. But since then, and until now, I've spent the last 7 hours on Wikipedia. I kind of want to laugh at this, but I also feel like it's not healthy and am baffled that I could have wasted this much time reading internet articles about pointless shit that I could learn more about from reputable sources.

I didn't mean to be on it that long--I just went on to read the articles on Allen Dulles, just to brush up on his personal involvement in the CIA, as I'd taken a week long break from the history of the CIA that I had been reading, and needed a little refresher on some of the main players in its early history before diving back into it.

That lead to me clicking on links to operations carried out by the CIA overseas (which was stupid, as I would obviously read about some of these things more in depth in the book that I'm reading, and will be reading about the rest as I finish it up, so why read a cursory Wikipedia article about them?) After perusing numerous articles on those topics for awhile, I clicked on a link and delved into articles on Communism, even though my knowledge of that area, while not encyclopedic, is substantial enough that it shouldn't need to be reinforced by Wikipedia. After reading up on the intricacies and minutiae of the Marxism, I apparently felt it necessary to open up the link to "communist movements in France" in a new tab. I browsed that for awhile, then started going back in time in that tab, to the aftermath of WWI, then to the Second Empire and Second Republic, then back to the First Empire, where I spent 2 1/2 hours reading articles dealing with the Napoleonic wars, all topics on which, again, I really had no need to learn the details of, since I already grasped the basic occurrences in those periods. From here, I opened up a third tab on wars between the Russian and Ottoman empires from the section detailing how Russia's partnership with Napoleon led to border clash with the Ottomans. In that third tab, I read about 4 different Russo-Turkish wars, primarily focusing on the Crimean War.

In tandem with this, I was jumping back to the first and second tabs, in which I had started reading about Leninism and the Iberian campaigns of the Napoleonic wars, respectively. I spent a few hours going from Leninism to the article on Lenin himself, then to the Russian Revolution and the October Revolution, then to the Russian Civil War, and eventually to Stalinism, from where I started reading about the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. In the second tab, I eventually read most of the articles on every different Napoleonic war, then jumped to the Franco-Prussian war at the end of the 19th century, then jumped back in time again to read about German unification. At about the same time in each of these threads I reached the articles about the Uprisings of 1989--detailing the breakdown of the Eastern Bloc-- and the Uprisings of 1848--detailing the various anti-monarchical abortive revolutions in almost every European nation. 

At this point, the ridiculousness of what I was doing struck me. Why the hell have I spent the night of my birthday reading Wikipedia articles for 7 hours? I already knew at least the basics of all of these things, save for the Russo-Turkish wars, and if I wanted to learn more, shouldn't I read actual books on them? Then again, why would reading a book for 7 hours be more valid than reading similar information on the internet? All the information I've read in the last 7 hours isn't going to be retained, obviously. The brain can't lock all of that into itself in just one reading, particularly when it's on such wide-ranging and changing topics.

Has anyone else ever spent hours aimlessly surfing Wikipedia--or any other internet site? I mean, is this normal? I'm actually somewhat angry at myself that I spent so long on a single website.
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Social Bacon

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #1 on: 28 Jul 2008, 01:03 »

Quote
It's my 19th birthday today.
Shouldn't you have been out drinking?

But I think it's pretty normal. I do it from time to time when I'm out of books, usually I'll surf wikipedia until I find something interesting that I don't know anything about. Then I go buy a book on it. Repeat.
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minorbird

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jul 2008, 01:05 »

Are you kidding? This is how I spend a lot of my Saturday afternoons! At least what you were looking at was remotely interesting.
I guess its sort of exciting (for lack of a better word) at being able to jump between and around so many in interesting facts or accounts, on an infinite number of topics, just at the click of a mouse. Whereas with a book, you'd have to go borrow the books on the CIA, Marxism and Napoleon, and have to filter through all the crap to get to the interesting stuff.
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Tom

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jul 2008, 01:12 »

Quote
It's my 19th birthday today.
Shouldn't you have been out drinking?

He's American.
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RedLion

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #4 on: 28 Jul 2008, 01:28 »

I did have a bit earlier in the day with my friends, but yeah. I could hardly go out bar-hopping.
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #5 on: 28 Jul 2008, 08:00 »

Have you ever started reading articles about the D.C Comics Universe (no link, cos you don't want none of that) on Wikipedia? There, THERE is a fucking time-hole.
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #6 on: 28 Jul 2008, 08:41 »



The dangers are well known and very real. I find it very difficult to force myself not to click on any more links and close the tabs I've already opened, at the end of such a "wasted" day. Let's face it, learning is addictive :P
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Oli

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #7 on: 28 Jul 2008, 08:57 »

A cow with antlers atop a pole.
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jhocking

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #8 on: 28 Jul 2008, 09:19 »

List of Unusual Articles.

fuck you tommy, I was planning to clean my apartment today

StaedlerMars

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #9 on: 28 Jul 2008, 09:22 »

A cow with antlers atop a pole.

"udderly amoosing"
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #10 on: 28 Jul 2008, 09:28 »

xkcd comic

Haha, that was my first thought exactly when I read this thread. Wikipedia is dangerous for this very reason.
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #11 on: 28 Jul 2008, 09:38 »

man, Wikipedia has helped me pass many a class.  Although, I've yet to stumble upon the Lesbianism in Erotica article.
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Scandanavian War Machine

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #12 on: 28 Jul 2008, 09:39 »

Forrest Swastika

awesome!

...well, except for the Nazi thing.
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #13 on: 28 Jul 2008, 11:05 »

A cow with antlers atop a pole.

OK, no antlers, but here's a cow up a tree (click it for more details):



I have a hand-coloured print of a cow's head (not up a tree) by this artist.
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snalin

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #14 on: 28 Jul 2008, 11:41 »

I think I spend as many hours reading through link after link on tvtropes.org. Man, that site is cool.

EDIT: I did it again! :-o
« Last Edit: 28 Jul 2008, 13:35 by snalin »
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #15 on: 28 Jul 2008, 12:41 »

man, Wikipedia has helped me pass many a class.  Although, I've yet to stumble upon the Lesbianism in Erotica article.

*Stumble*
It's like a rickroll, only sexier!
Alternatively you could go from slash fiction to femslash to lesbianism in erotica!

But those list articles are outrageously interesting.
Tallest Buildings
Democracy Index
Worst Movies
Hot Dog variations
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RedLion

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #16 on: 28 Jul 2008, 13:06 »

Quote from: people
links

Goddammit. There goes another day...my sincere thanks to you all.
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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #20 on: 28 Jul 2008, 15:15 »

Have you ever started reading articles about the D.C Comics Universe (no link, cos you don't want none of that) on Wikipedia? There, THERE is a fucking time-hole.

I've done this and the hole it creates is larger than that of the Marvel articles
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RedLion

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #23 on: 28 Jul 2008, 15:54 »

Quote from: Colin Powell
The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits.

Hahah! That just made my day.
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jhocking

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Re: I have wasted my life (or, the Wikipedia thread)
« Reply #24 on: 28 Jul 2008, 15:58 »

*blink blink* Wait, so it was real? All these years I just assumed the man was crazy.
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