Charity-edition AnswerThon winners announced!

The winning charities and participants of the latest AnswerThon have been announced and congratulated; see who won by clicking below!

Or I could just tell you here.

First place: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society $5000

Second place: ArtWorks $1500

Third place:CaringBridge $500

The other two charities, Global AIDS Alliance and World of Good, will receive runners-up donations of $100 each.

The top 20 answerers (will get WikiAnswers t-shirts):

Stupid little genius
Natural Val

Stay tuned for more contests coming up soon…

Why don’t ants eat monkeys?

I’ve been thinking a lot about animals lately. I took a trip to the zoo last week and I can’t stop thinking about something weird I saw. I was standing outside the monkeys area, watching all these eerily people-like orangutans jumping, playing, fighting, etc.

My eyes wondered nearby and I noticed on the ground next to me was this incredible swarm/army of black ants. The beefy kind. There must have been thousands of them, all in this one little spot, scrambling in and out of a hole in the ground.

It got me thinking:

Why don’t ants eat monkeys?

I mean, there must be trillions – if not quadrillions – of them on planet Earth. They are everywhere, numbering in thousands at a time. They could totally rise together and eat monkeys. If they took down one monkey, the whole clan would be fed for a good decade, assuming they could keep the meat fresh.

I have pondered a few reasons why this would actually not benefit the ant population. Here’s a sample:

  1. Monkey meat is probably quite tough (all that swinging). I’m not sure if ants have teeth, but if they do; ouch.
  2. Ants are incredible smart creatures. They probably look down at the monkeys (as they watch them up there swinging in the trees) and think, Blech. Something so easy to catch would probably make us stupider.
  3. The hairballs. *shudder*

I’m pretty satisfied with my hypotheses, but you may not be. Any more ideas?

My, how WikiAnswers has grown.

Just recieved an email with this new press release from the Answers folks. It goes on and on about “revenues,” puts the letter Q in front of numbers, and uses words like “sequential,” so I’m taking from it the bit that I think the rest of us really care about.

WikiAnswers’ revenue is up 27% in the last three months: If revenue is up, it must mean that questions, answers, members and community participation are probably up, as well. And that makes for a wonderfully involved Q&A social knowledge site, which is what WikiAnswers is.

Nice to get some good news! Keep it up, community!

Warning! AnswerThon in effect!

Reported side effects of participating in the AnswerThon, as recorded by several Supervisors:

  • Numb-bum.
  • The need to change their focal distance.
  • Mush for brain with mild blindness kicking in.
  • Not being able to remember the last time you ate something that required a fork (and a bit of basic attention).
  • Having a rather large pup lick the keyboard a time or two trying to get your attention.
  • A lot of Coke-drinking.
  • The feeling your eyes are crossing.
  • Falling asleep with head on keyboard resulting in FGHJVBN being repeated for several minutes as an answer.
  • Not noticing the chickens being released from the yard and herded around and around the house by a well meaning but otherwise bored puppy. (no loss of livestock).
  • Failure to multitask and leave supper burning on the BBQ while submitting “just one more answer.”

Hey, we said it would be an intense challenge. You still have a few hours left to contribute: Get going!

The AnswerThon starts tonight!

Folks, this is last call for signing up to participate in the second WikiAnswers AnswerThon, which starts tonight at 12:00 am EDT.

It’s the charity-edition AnswerThon, where your answers are actually sponsoring the charity you choose from the available list. The charity with the most answers at the end of 48 hours will receive a $5,000 donation from WikiAnswers.

Of course, the top answerers will receive a small token of their own, so make sure you have your favorite category set up and dig in!

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society CaringBridge

Global AIDS Alliance

World of Good ArtWorks

Bee gone!

bumbling beeSummertime, and the livin’ is…. beesy.

Does PICNIC = BEES? Why are there always so many bees at picnics? Just today, I was lunching outdoors with a friend when a humongous furry bee-thing decided to Merengue in our marinara. After 10 terrifying minutes, we packed up the food and went inside.

So, what attracted that bee to our spaghetti?

Bees are simply attracted to picnics for the same reason humans are: food! Honey bees are attracted to sweets (hello, apple juice can!) and water (we had some of that, too). They also like tree sap (they use it to caulk up their nests to keep the ants out).

What’s bugging me is: I’d rather have my picnic and eat, too. Can you help me?

WikiAnswers: still more accurate than a fortune cookie.

Here’s a shout out to Read Write Web, which profiled the leading and not-so-leading Q&A sites in a blog post last year. Yes, that was a long time ago, and it is interesting to see how far WikiAnswers has come – and how awesome it has remained.

WikiAnswers is number two on the list, described as:

“A Q&A community based around a wiki. Anyone can answer a question, then anyone else can come along and edit the answer to refine it.”

And, as Read Write Web explains it, it’s a place “you can go to get answers that [is] hopefully more accurate than a fortune cookie.”

Don’t lie. Are you cool?

I was looking for a challenging question to answer on today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday. So when a dear colleague presented me with this, I was completely insulted:

Don’t lie. Are you cool?

Oh, c’mon. Am I cool? Challenge me, I said. Do I like look like the type of person who can’t handle that kind of question? Is that a challenge?

Nevermind. That’s all I got for today. I’m too spent on answering that question.

Rharris: All-around awesome and a recat-ing queen.

When I think of long-time WikiAnswers member Rharris, I think of lots of things: Mentor, AnswerThon Runner Up, Category Supervisor (of over 20 topics!)… Robin does it all and she does it with a friendly smile.

A little background on Robin:

  • She lives in the Bluegrass State, or what she calls ‘Bird Paradise.’
  • Some of her time working on WikiAnswers is spent with her grandson on her lap, grabbing for the keyboard.
  • Gertie and Tiny are her two dogs, a Doberman and mini Doberman.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

My dad had asked me to find out where a certain part was located on a car, and somehow I landed on Faq Farm and asked the question.  I thought it was cool that you could ask anything you wanted to know on the site, so I bookmarked it.

Several months later, I came back to ask another question, and to my surprise, it was no longer FaqFarm, but WikiAnswers!  I wanted to contribute to an answer on a question about suicide, and emailed Crystal, asking her to unprotect the question so that I could.  She was very nice and immediately unprotected the question.  When I think about it, I realize that Crystal’s friendly attitude is the reason I immediately felt welcome and kept coming back.

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

It’s called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!  (I prefer to say I have extensive organizational skills.) LOL!

When I realized I could edit questions and answers and categorize, I was ecstatic!  I jumped right in and started correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and categorizing questions.

Seriously, I fell in love with WikiAnswers.  I love the community environment and am dedicated to doing all I can do to help people feel welcome, feel as if they are a part of the community, to want to keep coming back, to want to stay.

I’m a Senior Supervisor of the Literature and Language categories, which is absolutely perfect for me, because I have a huge passion for books and English and writing.  As a non-degree English major, WikiAnswers allows me the opportunity to make use of my writing skills and creative talents.

In assisting Deb with the Mentoring Program, I enjoy helping new supervisors in learning the correct ways to use all the tools we have available to improve and enhance WikiAnswers.   What it all boils down to is that I can help to make a difference in the WikiAnswers community and on the site by doing the very things I am passionate about.

What are your areas of expertise?

I’d have to say my area(s) of expertise are my organizational, English, writing, and people skills.  I love using all these in meeting people, making new friends, and helping bring about harmony and unity within the community, not to mention whipping those questions and answers into shape within the categories I supervise.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Oh, my gosh!  This one is hard to answer!

It could be the ability to edit questions and edit answers. Or is it being able to work in the community and help to create some old-fashioned neighborly bonding? Perhaps it’s the fact that I meet so many wonderful people from all over the world. Or could it be the thrill I get from helping people learn new things? Then again, maybe it’s that I, myself, have learned so much  by being part of WikiAnswers and am learning new things each day.

As for the physical features of the site, I love to organize, so I’d have to say my favorite feature is recategorizing – and there are so many different ways to go about doing that!  I can split alternate wordings and recat, I can recat from the topics I supervise, I can recat recently asked questions, go to my watchlist and recat from there, or use the advanced search option and recat from there.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience as a Supervisor on WikiAnswers?

I’ve seen so many questions I thought were funny that it would be hard to choose just one.  But I really got a kick out of Where can you find wild camels? And the answer was, “There is an excellent video called “Camels gone wild!” that follows a herd of wild and woolly Camels to Fort Lauderdale for spring break. Stay away from Camels in a mosh pit as they can be very dangerous.”  And I loved the question,  What is lack toast and tolerant?

Share a random fact about yourself.

I have a snake phobia, and hate slugs because they remind me of short, fat snakes, and won’t eat mushrooms because they remind me of slimy slugs. I know… that’s crazy! LOL!

I’m a very friendly person who loves to laugh and I see humor in things other people don’t.  I love to meet people, help people, and work with people.

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

WikiAnswers folks on the radio today!

From Will 00, one of the WikiAnswers Supervisors:

Hello All! Today, Sunday, there will be a special show on WJPM Radio interviewing Matthew and Deb (Administrators at WikiAnswers). We will open the phone lines to allow others to talk about anything they like on WikiAnswers or related to it. (The phone number is (347) 826 9850.) You may also email us at show @ to have us report what you emailed us.

The show should be live at 1:30 PM CST/2:30 PM Eastern Time at

So come on by and listen to some super Supervisors chat it up! Including yours truly.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the radio show… Thanks to all the callers and to Will 00!

Are you Twittering me?

I know what it’s like. Don’t feel bad about it. You just can’t get enough WikiAnswers. You need more. You need now. You need always. You need… tweets.

WikiAnswers on Twitter

That’s right! WikiAnswers has become an entity on Twitter, so if daily blog posts haven’t given you enough vitamin W, you can find out what’s happening on WikiAnswers by the second.

We’ve got quite a WikiAnswers-Twitter community growing these days, so follow WikiAnswers and maybe you’ll find some other contributors to follow and be followed by.

Start getting tweets from WikiAnswers, like, now!

Hug, hug me do

hug it upWhy do women want to be hugged? Now there’s a real puzzler.

For such a simple gesture, hugging sure does need a lot of demystifyin’. And while men often wonder about one aspect in particular – why on EARTH hugs are so important to women – these same women, ever conscious of the unidirectional nature of their need, prefer to examine it in every. single. possible. way.

Luckily, our WikiAnswers community has authored a Guide to Hugging, and it goes like this:

Part 1: How to hug

The Wise Ones of WikiAnswers advise us on how to ask a boy for a hug (hold out your arms, and if he asks what you’re doing, reply: “I want a hug!”*), and how to do that without embarrassing yourself (hint: get a wing man).

Their knowledge extends to boyfriends (How do you get your boyfriend to hug you? Stand there with a really cute look on your face, like you’re expecting something from him… If he doesn’t hug you, cry. If he still doesn’t hug you, dump him) and husbands (How do I hug my husband? Start with a beer and just let him know you’re there); the shy (How do you give a real loving hug if you’re shy? Start slow) and the passionate (How do you hug passionately? Really mean it when you hug).

(* If he doesn’t ask, assume he thinks you’re impersonating Superman. Escape the ensuing awkward moment by telling him you’re practicing for the upcoming comic books convention. And then try to escape that awkward moment.)

Part 2: Hug protocol

Hugs are harmless, right? A gentle expression of support or comfort or affection. So are they always appropriate? The Wise Ones say… it depends.

For instance, what does it mean when a 30-year-old woman hugs a 14-year-old boy a lot, and should it be happening? (unless she’s family, probably not). Should you hug a guy after you’ve broken up with him and it’s time for him to move out? (sure. You’ve spent a part of your life together with good memories and it’s a tough decision to make; you will surely miss each other).

Even if the hug is appropriate, the logistics might not be (chuckle chuckle…). If you’re, say, 5 feet tall and the person you’re hugging is 5’8″, where do you put your arms?

The protocol is strangely silent about the ideal way to hug a guy around his friends and what to do if a girl sees her boyfriend hugging another girl and gets mad. Maybe you have some ideas of your own.

Part 3: Five things you always wanted to know about hugging

  1. How can you avoid makeup stains? Use a translucent powder to set foundation; it will help keep it from coming off on white shirts during a hug.
  2. Why do dogs jump at people when they hug? The dog’s jealous. Make it a group hug.
  3. Why do people rub or pat your back when they hug you? Since you asked… they rub because they care, and they pat because they’re uncomfortable.
  4. Can you become pregnant if you hug a guy? Yes, but it would be a coincidence. In other words, not because you hugged him. In other words… no way. But you knew that.
  5. When is Hug Day? January 21. But hugs are great 24/7/365.

A parting hug word

The bottom line is, a hug speaks a thousand words and can be effective when nothing else is. Don’t worry too much about the rules. Trust your instincts, invoke the spirit of reckless abandon, and hug it up!

Never underestimate the power of typing-finger exercises.

The second WikiAnswers AnswerThon is about a week away…

So which charity did you choose to sponsor?

Have you started your typing-finger exercises?

What kinds of snacks will you have next to your computer when you get the wiki-munchies?

Wait a second – you’re registered, right?Do the running man!

You get your mouse clicking over to the AnswerThon page right this second, young lady, and choose the charity you want to sponsor with your answers and register.

And I better not catch you slacking on those typing-finger exercises!!!

How do you change the oil and filter on a 1982 Nighthawk 750?

It’s summer, gas prices are up and you still want to take a trip. Fair enough. Today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday will address travel and the vehicles we do that in.

Or not. It’s Jim’s week, so who knows what we’ll find out.

How do you change the oil and filter on a 1982 Nighthawk750?

One thing I’ve noticed about WikiAnswers is the lack of really good info on cars and vehicles.

Last year I was driving cross state, from the western end of Delaware to the eastern end on what I call the cross-Delaware rally. For those of you who have been to Delaware, you know that this is not an easy undertaking. I recommend a JiffyLube and a 60,000 mile checkup, regardless of the actual mileage on the vehicle. Once your car is ready for the road it’s best to get a map of Delaware. Yes, I know that from the western end of Delaware you can see the ocean as well as the eastern side, but still, you shouldn’t take too few precautions. Think about the possible consequences of getting lost while doing the cross-Delaware rally.

Let’s say you get lost, and head northeast until before you know it you’re in New Jersey. Did you know that you’re now in the state with the most dense concentration of highways in the entire United States? This fact on its own is not of any particular significance until you realize that New Jersey also has more race horses than Kentucky!

With millions of horses, and nowhere for them to run in the wild since the wild has been replaced by highway systems, you have a recipe for disaster. The moment you get to New Jersey from Delaware you’ll be having to avoid hitting race horses left and right.

This issue is of particular importance because New Jersey also has the highest auto insurance rates in the United States. So, you get to New Jersey by accident, all of a sudden you’re having to dodge race horses and you drive into a Jack in the Box restaurant by accident. Nobody dies, but your car sure is a mess.

You’re in New Jersey, so all of a sudden your car insurance payments are driving you to bankruptcy. You don’t have a enough money even to get back to Delaware, so you have to get a job in the same town with that Jack in the Box. Well Jersey also has the highest cost of living in the US, so now even though you have a job you can’t afford to eat at the Jack in the Box that you ran into. Its still closed undergoing repairs from the accident, but if it was open, you couldn’t afford to eat there. One thing leads to another, and you’re on the streets and maybe in jail. Proper planning is essential!

While my answer to this question about the Nighthawk may appear to not fully answer the question – or answer it at all – I want to bring up the following point: This question has led to this answer, which with any luck, may show up on this amazing no.stupid.answers blog.

If it does, the amount of car repair and maintenance awareness that will be raised is immeasurable. In addition, so many people will understand the dangers of going to New Jersey without proper planning and realize that the cross-Delaware rally is not something to be taken lightly. The world is better because of your question. I congratulate you.

~ Jim

Doditov on… ticking time bombs.

Here’s more from Doditov, who we met on Monday in her Contributor corner interview. Enjoy a deeper look at what makes her tick…

What makes us tick?

Yes, we have a hands-on attitude, and yes we want to make a difference. But WHY? The elders among us are just as involved as the young people and we all share the same passion: WikiAnswers.

I got to thinking about it and for Americans, it has a lot to do with our history. For most in my age group, it was the Vietnam War. Besides the bitter consequences of that war, it was a defining moment for my generation. We discovered that if we made enough noise and were active enough, we could change the world!

For you younger folk who don’t remember Vietnam, my generation marched, sang, cried, and generally made enough noise to change public opinion about the war. We refused to fight that war (and made a bunch of new Canadians), we came home scarred, bitter, and resentful, and we were vocal!!! Because of our opposition, the course of history was changed. We discovered that we did indeed make a difference, and we were giddy with the knowledge.

There came a point when we reared families and attended to the business of continuing the economy. But somehow, by our attitude and eternal optimism, we passed a part of that spirit to our children and grandchildren.

Now we are back in a different way. We are “fixing” the mistakes that we made during those work years right here. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, lazy speech, and plain bad manners are a part of what we do here. While we no longer make a sustained effort to actively change large pieces of society, we still have a passion to correct the little things.

While it might not be an earth-shattering effect, remember that butterfly effect? Now, even though we are no longer the fire eaters of our youth, we are still actively engaged in tikkun olam on this website. Perhaps we will fix a tiny bit of the fractures that shatter our society in this small way. I know that we are all actively engaged learning and growing and passing this along to all who visit here.

That is why I think that we are so passionate about doing things correctly as we go here. We truly desire to make things a bit better because we were here.

<crawls off soap box> I through speechifying now.

An interview with the unstoppable Doditov.

My favorite part about the WikiAnswers contributors community is the sheer enthusiasm that runs across the different kinds of community members. This is the kind of enthusiasm and energy reserved for high school cheerleaders, except without all the bleach and squeaking.

This week we’re proud to present Doditov, one such wonderfully dedicated WikiAnswers Mentor and Supervisor, who has been around since November last year. A florist for her day job and nearing 60,000 contributions in under a year, Doditov is a Q&A force that just cannot be stopped – just the way we like it!

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I have had at my default search engine for ages, and one day this box popped up with my material… but there was this added section about questions.  I looked, answered and was hooked.  Since I’m a suspicious person, I didn’t log in for ages it seems, but when I did, I got a message from Crystal almost immediately.

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

I’m one of those trivia people and all this knowledge was going to waste.  I have a passion to “get things right” and WikiAnswers gives me the opportunity to share what I know.  Of course, grammar, spelling, and proper classification are just part of the job.

For me, it’s more about being Marian the Librarian.  I “get in the zone” and can usually reclassify a question in about 10 seconds.  That how I worked Unanswerable.  Hmm… I miss Unanswerable!  It was a challenge to figure out what was actually being asked!!!

What are your areas of expertise?

<looks around, decides the question really DOES mean me>

I’m the cataloging queen.  I super odds and ends and boy are they odd.  Who else do you know would do knitting, crocheting, beading, skating, short stories, and CIGARETTE LIGHTERS???  Since the categories are smallish, I get to indulge my passion of tidying up.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Our orange men!  Now if I could only teach him to knit!  Or play Diablo… he’d be sooo cool to have as a hireling.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience as a Supervisor on WikiAnswers?

My favorite question AND answer is this one:

Why does my wife’s new broomstick only fly in left hand circles she has tried changing her grip and seating but to no avail please help she is getting dizzy?

When I looked at the history, I nearly fell off the bed!  <did I mention that my best work is done propped up in the bed with my laptop?>  Mark and Golden had a wonderful time I’m sure, and the result is absolutely wonderful.  I’m considering a project in which we all start with a writing premise and share it into a novel.  Just think of it…the Great Wiki Novel!  With the inventive people we have, I’m sure it would be a work for the ages.

What does your username, Doditov, mean?

I was taking a Hebrew class and after class my instructor and I were discussing what names looked like in direct transliteration.  I mentioned that my actual name came through the French and wondered what it would be if we translated it into Hebrew.  He thought for a second and announced that it would be ‘Dodi Tov’.  It struck my fancy and when I needed a unique screen name, I chose that one.  It’s short, and is actually my real name yet no one would ever find me unless they chose to realllly hunt.

Share a random fact about yourself.

A random fact… I’m a sloppy romantic.  Even though I haven’t been married for 24 years, I still am shopping for Mr. Right.  Once upon a time when Crystal did an interview, I told her that I was picky but looking.  She replied that this is WikiANSWERS not WikiDate.  Hmm… Maybe a new website? <giggles>

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

Hypnic jerks (or: Proof I didn’t mean to fall asleep in class)

Has this ever happened to you? There you are, drifting softly into sleep, when all of a sudden -


- your arms flail, your legs shudder and you’re awake again. Oh, why DO we twitch as we fall asleep?

The myoclonic twitch (a brain-stem reflex also known as a hypnic jerk or hypnagogic startle) is experienced while sleeping or while falling asleep and is thought to be associated with the reticular activating system.

In plain English, as you fall asleep, your body goes through certain steps to relax and prepare for sleep. Your breathing slows, your muscles relax, and your brain shuts off certain sensory inputs – including those from your inner ear. It seems that if the brain is still too alert when it halts input from the inner ear, this triggers a reflex to startle and reach out – not unlike the sensation you have right after you realize you’re falling.

Chin up

We’ve all dozed off in class, waking up with a snap as our heads jerk back up. And it usually feels like the whole class (and the guy by the blackboard) has seen the dramatic movement.

Well, for those whose entire formal education was punctuated by frequent hypnic jerks, here’s something that might help you feel a little less embarrassed. It turns out that hypnic jerks happen most frequently to those who are resisting sleep – not those who are trying to succumb to it. So chin up, folks. You didn’t mean it.

What if you had robots fighting?

Sometimes you just gotta let the anonymous WikiAnswers users speak for themselves. They have good answers and we can’t deny it. So here’s to you, weirdo WikiAnswers users, who offer the finest in weirdom:

What if you had robots fighting?

“A small forest would develop from robot blood gently caressing the ground like a organic yogurt… probably on your face. [example]“

Could you top that answer?