We pity the fool…

Don’t be a fool on April Fools’ Day! Check out our stash of jokes and riddles on WikiAnswers and be prepared:

Got some great jokes? Looking for some new material? Share your punch lines or get some new ones from the WikiAnswers community.

 

April Fool's Day

And watch your back tomorrow… we’ve got our eyes on you!

What bloggers want to know lately…

As always, I find it fun to see what bloggers have been wanting to know in the past week. Here we go:

Itamar Medical and WikiAnswers: improving your health… Q&A.

Itamar Medical: cardiovascular healthWikiAnswers has teamed up with Itamar Medical — a world-leading developer of cardiac diagnostic equipment — to spread cardiovascular awareness by pumping the Cardiovascular Health category with new questions, answers and edits. The experts at Itamar Medical are officially Supervising the category, contributing their professional knowledge to growing cardiovascular Q&A.

Here are some of Itamar Medical’s contributions so far:

This is an excellent way to get experts on a topic to contribute to WikiAnswers Q&A: You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. When you use your Bio Page to promote yourself, and then answer questions in your field, you gain credibility and a fresh audience. Not to mention that all the curious people waiting for information are getting quality, thought-out answers directly from the experts.

Are you a professional who might be interested in covering a WikiAnswers topic in your field? If you’d like this kind of opportunity, leave a comment.

“We are the Wikipedia of online Q&A.”

This week, Bob Rosenschein, CEO of Answers Corp, took a minute to explain WikiAnswers in depth to Fred Fishkin of Bloomberg Radio. You can listen here in MP3 format (try this if using Windows Media Player). Or read his own words:

“WikiAnswers is in the spirit of Wikipedia. Wikipedia, as everybody knows, is the world’s largest online encyclopedia. Anybody can edit it. You can edit it. If you see a mistake or want to enrich a page, you can make the Wikipedia page better. Of course, there’s back and forth, you can also vandalize a page. But typically, on the average, the quality of a Wikipedia page goes up over time. And that’s why it’s such a trusted, useful source of information.

Well, we are not the Wikipedia of encyclopedias, we are the Wikipedia of online Q&A. That means that if you have a question, you ask it of our community, you can go to WikiAnswers.com, and type in a question. Anything. It could be health related. It could be relationships. It could be automobiles. It doesn’t matter. You ask a question and other people will answer it.”

As WikiAnswers grows, a lot of people seem to be getting it confused with Wikipedia. The two sites are both wikis, growing based on contributors lending knowledge. Like Bob said, though, WikiAnswers is in a Q&A format, differing from the encyclopedic route of Wikipedia.

Knowledge Management at its best.

Who doesn’t love a little fan mail? Especially when it’s from a student named Grace who got help for her scientific paper defense:

“I know this is kind of shallow. But I just want to say ‘thanks.’ This is ingenious. I’m a student and Answers.com provided me the kind of explanations I needed to fully understand concepts that are really challenging. This is Knowledge Management at its best. Congratulations. I just thought some positive feedback might do you good once in a while.”

I love that term, “knowledge management.” Answers.com: your site for knowledge management.

Thanks, Grace!

How much does a nose piercing cost in Philadelphia?

One of my various alter egos is that I’m a Supervisor on WikiAnswers for the Tattoos & Body Art category. When the questions aren’t “What does a [fill in random shape, animal or symbol] tattoo symbolize?” they can be amusing. And when they aren’t amusing, they can be… well… WikiAnswers Wednesday fodder.

How much does a nose piercing cost in Philadelphia?

While nearly 83.76% of resident Philadelphians have body piercings (locations on the body vary), there is a process more complicated than just paying money to get pierced.

It’s an involved program that requires first and foremost a 500 word essay describing the applicant’s childhood. If the applicant does not have a childhood, which happens often in Philadelphia, the applicant can describe what they would have liked in a childhood.

The next step to the process is to submit a photo of the applicant standing next to the Liberty Bell, which is deemed humorous for Philadelphians since only tourists would do something like that.

Finally, the payment: An envelope stuffed with cash (amount not specified) must be mailed directly to the grave of Benjamin Franklin. He is the tax collector and also the first Philadelphian to ever get pierced (he had three – can you guess where?).

Most Philadelphians end up bypassing this process and get pierced illegally. They will usually just toast Benny Franklin when drinking towards numbness before the piercing.

Today’s highlights, wiki technology and the greater good.

Let’s talk about Today’s Highlights.

It’s a daily updated feature from Answers.com that offers a spotlight, featured question, today’s birthdays, today in history and more, right from the homepage. You could say it’s like taking your daily dose of Vitamin T: ‘t’ for trivia and ‘vitamin’ because it’s good for you.

You could also take the trivia you learn and finally have something to contribute to the water cooler conversations going on right outside your cubicle. Don’t be shy; just lean over there and sing ‘happy birthday’ to Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker and Aretha Franklin or mention that today, in 1328, Robert the Bruce became king of the not-yet-independent Scotland.

Now let’s talk specifically about today’s highlight.

First of all, I wrote the Spotlight, so I can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t fall madly in love with it right when you start reading.

Today's Highlights: Ward Cunningham and wiki

Secondly, it covers the topic of wikis, which we discuss here a lot (being WikiAnswers gurus and all). I’ll be honest, when I first toyed around with the whole wiki thing, I was confused and a little skeptical; after all, why should I write something if it can be edited by anyone later on?

But once I got into it, it made a lot of sense. I know a little bit about a topic, Timmy knows a little something more, Samantha adds some personal experience… Collaboration is for the greater good, and like the Spider-man movies have taught me, the greater good is worth fighting for.

Thank you Answers.com Editorial Team, for serving fresh Today’s Highlights every single day; thank you Ward Cunningham, for developing wiki technology; thank you WikiAnswers, for having the courage to fight the good fight.

 

WikiAnswers on search engines… and AltSearchEngines.

WikiAnswers got a big fat biographical interview yesterday on AltSearchEngines, a blog covering the growing search engine scene.

While I might characterize WikiAnswers as less a search engine and more a directory of Q&A, there is a strong aspect of search that has been improved in recent weeks.

WikiAnswers search bar

One of the unique things about WikiAnswers is that it utilizes the wiki format, creating a new page for every new question – unless the question is asked again, in which case you’ll get directed to the existing page. From there you can get the answer and add on to it if you know any more information.

Using smart language technology, the site searches its listing of Q&A to find questions that closely match what you’ve asked. If there is no exact match (which might even be the same question in different words) then you get a list of close matches. You can choose one of them as your question or ask your question separately.

So perhaps WikiAnswers may be viewed as a search engine of sorts – a self-growing search engine, that can only get better and better as you ask and answer more and more questions.

What’s the life expectancy after Saint Patty’s day?

What a week for WikiAnswers in the blogosphere! I’m loving the asking and answering happening on all kinds of blogs. Diversity rules and as I’ve said, WikiAnswers has got plenty of that.

With Saint Patrick’s Day on Monday, everybody – including Beer on the Brain, Pieces, Too… and Heather and Jed – gave a happy exclamation of Erin go braugh (still don’t know what it means? Get the translation here).

Some, like World Passenger 2.0, needed first to know what the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day is… but that’s ok. On the Tenure Track needed to know what all the pinching is about. I actually learned something new from Letters from the Moon -the game of hockey actually has its roots in Ireland!

But then Monday ended and so did the holiday of green beer. But bloggers moved on to other meaningful topics:

WikiAnswers U.S. visits are up 125%.

When we say WikiAnswers rules, we’re not kidding. Sure, Yahoo Answers is still in the lead when it comes to most-visited Q&A sites, but with a name like ‘Yahoo’ backing it, that’s not shocking. What’s shocking – or maybe not, if you’ve ever used it – is that Yahoo Answers numbers have been falling as WikiAnswers numbers rise and rise.

Hitwise came out today with its report on the subject, picked up so far by notable blogs like Mashable, Search Engine WatchThe WOMMA Word, Stephen’s Lighthouse, BizReport, IT Business Edge, Search Newz, Marketing Vox, What Little I Know, Moraaz.org, and Web Analytics World.

The report includes that WikiAnswers’ site visits within the U.S. have increased by 125% compared to the week of June 9th 2007.

Let’s hear it for WikiAnswers, social knowledge and the wonderful Q&A community that makes it all happen!

Bracket shmacket

March Madness: The NCAA TournamentMarch has gone mad. It’s that season…the one that every college basketball fan waits for. The only reason we get up some mornings.

The NCAA tournament.

It’s March Madness.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a die hard Tar Heel fan. It began at a young age…being raised in North Carolina, one must choose early on. You’re either a Tar Heel or you’re a Blue Devil. And every now and then you meet someone who just doesn’t have a clue…and we call those folks “Wolfpack fans.”

Anyway, every year, practically from birth, North Carolinians get riled up in March and the fierce competition comes to head. Luckily for me…I am on the right team and I often find myself pointing and laughing at Dook fans. Bless them. They just don’t know any better.

Have you filled out your bracket yet? To be honest…the whole thing is a waste of time. Just write “UNC” in the center square and the rest is really irrelevant. You’ll see.

With all the time you’ll save from this abridged way of filling out your brackets, check out the March Madness topic on WikiAnswers. Ask and answer all your NCAA tourney questions there!

What kinds of things are people wondering about?

Obviously, that last one will have to be updated next month when the Heels bring it home again!

Why is Emma an emo?

It’s a weird day. There are pirates running around my office and my department has gone emo.

You’re probably thinking, huh? so I’ll just cut to the chase. Today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question:

Why is Emma an emo?

Emma is an emo because that’s how she feels and it’s how she chooses to express herself. Here’s a poem she wrote that might explain it better:

——-

the world is

dark

and while i bleed

i watch you

revolve around the sun

misunderstand me

i die

——-

Also, she’s emo because she hangs out with people who look like this:

 

 

 

Zebra Stripes and Union Strikes

Have you ever sat in your cubicle at work thinking, “Gee, I wish I had more vacation days, shorter work hours and a bigger paycheck… I wish I had better medical benefits, a 2008 Bentley Azure with built-in seat warmers and was a redhead?”

Well, the first four can be easily solved by joining a union.

The National Labor Union was the first national union in the United States. It was created in 1866 and included many types of workers who bonded together for a common goal. The concept is simple – it’s hard to fight for things alone, there’s power in numbers.

So when a WikiAnswers contributor posed this question:

Do unionized workers earn more money or benefits than similarly situated workers in non-unionized firms in the same industry?

I immediately thought of zebras and this other WikiAnswers question:

Why do Zebras have stripes?

The answers to both of these questions are one and the same. Zebras, like unionized workers, have taken advantage of group tactics. In business psychology, this phenomenon is known as the ‘Union Wage Effect.’ Those workers who are part of a union have consistently enjoyed more benefits than their non-unionized counterparts- wages and pensions that are 16% higher, increased job security In hard economic times (i.e.- current recession), protection of rights, better health care, overtime pay, organized strikes, more vacation, and more compensated time off.

Sure you have to pay some annual dues and shout repetitive phrases while holding home-made signs, but you will have a lot more people looking out for you. Think about it – if you were in the wild, dealing with group demands is a small price to pay to avoid becoming a lion’s dinner (or lion’s appetizer if your BMI falls in the ‘petite’ category).

Zebras use the same technique, but in zoology this phenomenon is known as the ‘Dilution Effect’. It states that assuming the predator attacks different-sized groups – ‘n’ – with the same probability, an individual has a 1/n chance of getting picked out and killed – therefore, the chances of being killed decline as group size increases.

In other words, if a hyena attacks a group of 20 zebras, a zebra has a 1/20 chance of being eaten. If your boss tries to cut your overtime wages, and you are in a union of 100 people, your boss will have to work 99% harder to convince everyone to do so and his success of having that wage cut is 1/100.

And just as the symbol UFT has become synonymous with united teachers and EU has become synonymous with a united European currency, stripes are synonymous with zebra unity. When a lion looks at a group of zebras – all with the same patterns and the same stripes – moving against the long blades of African grass, it appears as though one massive striped pattern is moving together – and it becomes that much more difficult for the lion to pick out an individual from the crowd.

So next time you are at your cubicle asking yourself how you can make the day more enjoyable, remember the power is in joining your colleagues and standing up together as one voice – that’s how the zebras do it!

Many zebras, but one (hoarse?) voice.

Did you hear about…

I admit it. I’m obsessed with celebrity gossip. I read The Superficial every morning before I start my day and am constantly checking the headlines throughout the day to see what kind of coffee Britney Spears has ordered today or who Paris Hilton is dating. I want to know what countries Brad and Angelina are adopting from next and I have to be the first to know when Beyonce finally ties the knot with Jay-Z. Yes…I do.

I thought I’d take a quick look at the WikiAnswers Celebrity topic…just to see what everyone else is buzzing about. A little bit of Hannah Montana, er, Miley Cyrus…some Hillary Duff…a dash of Zac Efron. It’s amazing to see the rumors that fly around. Good thing there’s a public forum to discuss and dispel!

Check out some of these classic Celebrity gossip questions:

Got some inside scoop on YOUR favorite celebs? Ask and answer questions about Celebrities on WikiAnswers now!

Lots of curious people on the internet these days.

Last week brought on plenty of questions. Isn’t it amazing how there are always people asking questions, all the time, no matter how weird the questions seem?

Like, for instance, Neatorama asking if it’s possible to lick your own elbow. Well, one might need to know that, right? I wouldn’t want to go my whole life trying only to find out at the very end that I can’t.

On the other hand, there are questions that are indisputable in their importance for the sake of a solid education, like the dates of World War I, as Barbara’s Blog shares.

Then you have the timely questions that find their place throughout the year and crop up when they become relevant, as The 500 Inc welcomes St. Patrick’s Day with wondering what ‘erin go braugh’ means (turns out, we’re not even spelling it right!).

I’ll leave off with one more question- first asked here – which is very much related to today’s post and the goal of WikiAnswers in general: What does ‘questio verum’ mean? Forgetting your Latin? Better click to remember.

I once wrote a white paper on the effects of pinching on the school playground

I used to hate St. Patrick’s Day as a child. I was always so scared of the boys on the school playground who didn’t really care whether or not the girls were wearing green… we all got pinched. All day long. We could have dressed as asparagus stalks and they’d still have tormented us with pinches.

I’m not bitter.

It did get better though. Once I got to university, the holiday turned into an excuse to drink and dance and try to speak with an Irish accent. No one really pinched anymore. And now I’m a few years out of university and we still drink and dance and try to speak with Irish accents…responsibly, of course.

Doesn’t it seem funny that people outside Ireland celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with such vigor? Where did the holiday originate and why/how has it become such an international affair!? Thanks to WikiAnswers, I wonder no more!

Check out WikiAnswers now to ask and answer questions about leprechauns, green beer and St. Pat himself – the man, the myth and the legend.

How has malaria affected Mexico’s economy?

Feeling scientific and economic and biologic today. Which is why I summoned Jim to answer this question today:

How has malaria affected Mexico’s economy?

This question can be answered on the micro level and the macro level. Since I didn’t take Micro or Macro in college I can’t answer it with either of these approaches. Fortunately, I know a lot about growing rooftop gardens, so that will allow me to answer this question without losing a step.

Rainwater collection technologies allow for plants to be grown, and for plants to be grown in new places. For example, the sides of buildings are now open to plant growth, creating a natural insulation and simultaneously cutting down on energy costs.

Recent studies have shown that lower energy costs gives the general populous more money to invest in malaria prevention. Mexico, being one of the world’s leaders in green rooftop growing has seen a huge surplus of funds being invested into malaria research.

To summarize, increased green roof production has led to lower energy costs, a low rate of malaria due to high malaria prevention investments, which in turn has led to more and more healthy people to work on their rooftop gardens.

Therefore the main effect of malaria on the Mexican economy has been the increased number of locally grown organic tomatoes.

This has in turn led to large scale tomato growers to lose their businesses, reducing the taxes they pay to the government. With less tax revenue, Mexico has grown much poorer, resulting in less money to invest in rooftop garden technologies.

This in turn means the general populous has less money to invest in malaria prevention technologies, increasing the malaria infection rate ten fold.

With such a sick population and nobody working, the country has suffered enormously. You see, it’s really a double edged sword.

I also suggest taking micro and macro in college.

-Jim

What’s *not* covered on WikiAnswers?!

Did you know? WikiAnswers currently has 2,471 community-grown Q&A collections; in short, there are a whole buncha topics covered on the site, and the number is constantly getting bigger.

Since March began, we’ve been finding WikiAnswers listed as a source for lots of blog posts spanning several topics. Let’s take a look:

 

You are what you eat…

Nutrition Q&AIf you are what you eat…does that mean I’m not actually a woman, but rather a chocolate milkshake and fries? Can you imagine what life would be like as a chocolate milkshake and fries!? I guess it might be similar to life as a woman…sweet but salty, hot and cold, crispy and smooth. That’s how life is, really.

No?

Let’s take a moment to recall the important foods that you should be eating everyday to keep your body healthy and in good working order. Proteins. Green vegetables. Fruits. Lots of water. All the major vitamins and minerals.

Besides that though…haven’t you always wondered if an apple a day really keeps the doctor away?

Or maybe you’ve wondered about things like this:

Or not.

Go ahead…ask and answer all kinds of nutrition questions on WikiAnswers now!

Rid yourself of the blogger’s dilemma.

As Yoni Greenbaum, blogger of editor on the verge, writes: Don’t let your lack of time hurt your readers! He’s added the AnswerTips feature to his site – like the NYTimes and CBS News before him – in order for readers to be able to double-click any word and get a quick definition. Comes in handy for the classic blogger dilemma: don’t feel like linking definitions but don’t want to lose readers, either.

Never heard of that dilemma before? Well, I kinda just made it up. But not really, because clearly Yoni has experienced it. Eradicate the possibility of losing site visitors because of linking laziness: AnswerTips-enable your website!