Nine Fine Wikipedia Entries, on the Occasion of Its Ninth Birthday

by Ned Frey


Wikipedia commingles inane and profound topics willy-nilly, most always with equal weight and seriousness of tone. Cataloging everything under the sun with such seriousness of purpose and attention to detail is an amazing endeavor. The excerpts that follow are both very silly and very informative. The complete entries on “Deep-fried Mars Bar” and “Exploding Whale,” for example, are each almost as long and serious in tone as the entry on “Immanuel Kant.” They highlight the oddity and incongruity and wonder of the whole enterprise. What’s more, these excerpts are proof that Wikipedia is most likely the most positive development in the history of our extremely troublesome Internet.

A deep-fried Mars Bar is an ordinary Mars Bar normally fried in a type of batter commonly used for deep frying fish, sausages, and other battered products … It is said to have been invented in the Haven Chip Bar in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen on Scotland’s North-East coast, in 1995. The first recorded mention of the food was in the Daily Record, August 24, 1995, in an article titled ‘Mars supper, please’.”

A tesseract, also called an 8-cell or regular octachoron, is the four-dimensional analog of the cube. The tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. Just as the surface of the cube consists of 6 square faces, the hypersurface of the tesseract consists of 8 cubical cells.”

Gleek is a blue ‘space monkey’ and the pet of Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins. … A joke involving Gleek often ends episodes of the Super Friends in which he appears. Gleek has a stretchable, prehensile tail which can be quite useful. Gleek is also highly intelligent, as he clearly understands spoken English, even somewhat complicated concepts such as the various stages of simple strategic planning.”

Cyberspace … is the global domain of electromagnetics as accessed and exploited through electronic technology and the modulation of electromagnetic energy to achieve a wide range of communication and control system capabilities.”

Exploding whale most often refers to an event at Florence, Oregon, in 1970, when a dead sperm whale (originally reported to be a gray whale) was blown up by the Oregon Highway Division in an attempt to dispose of its rotting carcass. … There have also been spontaneous explosions. The most widely reported example was in Taiwan in 2004, when the buildup of gas inside a decomposing sperm whale caused it to explode in a crowded urban area, while being transported for a post-mortem examination. Other exploding whales have been written about and documented by several well-known authors.”

The three wise monkeys (Japanese: san’en or sanzaru, or sanbiki no saru, literally ‘three monkeys’) embody the proverbial principle to ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’. The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of ‘do no evil’. He may be shown covering his abdomen or genital area …”

The Hampster Dance or Hampsterdance is one of the earliest examples of an Internet meme. Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte … designed The Hampster Dance in August 1998 as an homage to her pet hamster, named ‘Hampton Hamster.’”

Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century German philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg. … Kant believed himself to be creating a compromise between the empiricists and the rationalists. The empiricists believed that knowledge is acquired through experience alone, but the rationalists maintained that such knowledge is open to Cartesian doubt and that reason alone provides us with knowledge. Kant argues, however, that using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to illusions, while experience will be purely subjective without first being subsumed under pure reason.”

The Scrubbing Bubbles are anthropomorphic bubbles with brush bristles on their undersides.”

Ned Frey is a corporate writer who pens occasional reality show linkbait posts for Gawker as “MisterHippity.”