Why do we kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve?

Is everybody ready to ring in 2009? New Year’s Eve is upon us… In fact, some parts of the world are getting a head start and already discovering how ridiculously awesome this next year is/will be.

You can go ahead and learn more about the traditions surrounding New Year’s Eve, or you can just read below for the WikiAnswers Wednesday entry and find out how this one got started:

How did the superstition of kissing at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve start?

It was a New Year’s Eve, a long, long time ago. It was snowing and beautiful, and my friend Barry was at a wonderfully chipper New Year’s party. As everyone counted down to bring the new year in, he looked to his right and then he looked to his left. All his friends were standing around him. Martha and Jake, Jude and Christine, Penny and Michael. Even Timmy was there with a new girlfriend named Janice.

Suddenly it struck Barry: he was the only one who didn’t have his arms around anyone else. As the counting closed in on him – “9, 8, 7, 6″ – he knew he had to do something quick. He grabbed the closest head of hair he could reach and pulled her in to his arms. When the room shouted, “3, 2, 1!” he gave her a big kiss, right on the mouth.

It was then that Barry realized he must have kissed one of his good pals’ ladies! He hadn’t even noticed which one yet. He nervously looked around. There was Martha and Jake, Jude and Christine, Penny and Michael. There was Timmy and Janice. They all, oddly enough, had the same look on their faces.

Barry looked down and realized: the lady he had kissed was Lady, Jake’s giant, hairy chocolate Labrador.

And from then on, Barry’s friends never let him forget that New Year’s kiss. And to remind themselves of it every year, they all gave each other kisses as the clock struck midnight.

The end. Have a happy new year everybody!

Your own NYTimes cheat sheet, courtesy of Answers.com.

Are you one of those folks who boasts about your online membership to the New York Times in order to look smart? Yet you have no idea what half the words mean? Do you skip the crossword puzzles altogether?

Well, now’s your chance to shine: If you double-click any word in an New York Times article, you’ll see a small question mark pop up next to the word:

Click that icon and voila – you get instant information from Answers.com about the word you clicked:

Give it a try… Here’s an article to start with: Ringing In 2009 with People Power

Fun, farms and friendships: Part II.

Picking up where we left off last week: After getting to know a bit more about Jadeacres, it’s time to learn more about his partner-in-WikiCrime and that would be… ThatwouldBme (or Shell).

On her bio page, Shell says:

I can tell you that I’m an artist. The pencil/pen/paintbrush/canvas kind of artist. I don’t remember a time I didn’t draw or paint. When I talk to clients & friends, wait in airports & doctors’ offices, make plans & even keep a diary, I do it in images.

…And artist she is. Shell sometimes uses t-shirts as a billboard, or her neighbor’s eggs as a canvas, or WikiAnswers question as an open space to paint the perfect answer. With whatever she does, she displays her dedication to helping people as vividly as she does her artwork.

But more about Shell’s artwork (and James’ eggs!) next week… For now, a word (or more) with ThatwouldBme:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

My next-door neighbour came over for coffee one morning and said he’d encountered a Paganism question on the new site he was visiting. He admitted it was something a bit more than he felt qualified to answer and asked my input. After a lengthy conversation he suggested I log on and check out the site…

I did, with the intention of answering one or two questions and then just fading away. But the question was complex, and while working on it I found another question that although it had a simple enough Pagan answer, had been “bashed” by someone whose opinions differed widely from my own. I got involved with that one, then another, and another, and finally did my first dispute resolution before I even got my Super Powers.

After that, as they say, “the rest was history…”

Explain your username.

My parents are snowbirds, have been for 20+ years.  I don’t get down to Florida to visit them as often as my sisters. They have the added incentive of Canadian winters to make the trip down.  I lived 10 years in Arizona so my winters were wonderful, which translates out to… I visited them in Canada during Arizona‘s crazy hot summers.

My folks have long-standing neighbours and friends in their winter home, and they have all heard about me, but very few have ever met me.  This past winter Daddy bought himself a little sports car, claims he only wanted it because of the gas mileage, but I have my suspicions otherwise.  Bringing a car through the American/Canadian customs is not exactly a stroll in the park, and as I’d done it before, (when I returned to Canada five years ago) they asked me to come along and make sure everything went smoothly.

That put me in Florida for two weeks, and in a position to meet an awful lot of people who knew me, or at least knew of me.  Seemed every time I met someone they would say, “So you’re the artist daughter.” or “So you’re the daughter from Arizona” or “Oh, so you’re the oldest girl…” My standard answer became, “That would be me.”

It sort of stuck.

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

The dissemination of information is a grand ambition and a personal passion for me. I hate to admit it, but what initially drew me to this was finding a “loop hole” in a gees placed on me by my shaman when I was in my teens.

As with most teens, convinced they know it all, I was so sure of my path I spent a lot of time arguing theology with very nearly anyone I encountered.  To bring me back to practicing as opposed to preaching, he told me I was not allowed to give anyone answers unless and until they asked.

Now, I give one afternoon a week and an hour every night I can to answering what questions I can.

I grew up looking for my answers in libraries and obscure books and at the knees of wise men and women wherever I could find them.  The whole e-universe is still a wonder and a challenge for me. But now I can put my years of gathering facts and notes and bit of information to a use that transcends my little 500 book library in my small corner of the world.

What are your areas of expertise?

Being a Leo, I can honestly say I don’t do anything I don’t do well.  Now before you go considering me the most arrogant person you have ever met, you need to understand, that also means there are things I don’t do at all.  The best motto for a Leo is: “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence you ever tried.”

That said, I’m a self taught artist who learned everything the hard way (trial & error).  I have worked in construction, in one form or another, since before it had a place for women. I learned my pagan path from a Native American Shaman, and my Scottish-Celtic grandmother at a very tender age. Then put it to use first in my solitary practice and eventually with my eclectic circle in Arizona, and now I total over 50 years of accumulated learning and teaching of a spiritual way.

I love to cook, garden, read, write, tell tall tales, and if I have one thing I do better than anything else, I make a fantastic friend, because I accept everyone exactly as they are, and never try to turn them into someone else.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

The bio pages. I get a glimpse into what others want me to know about themselves.
Sometimes I get a picture to go with a name, sometimes I get an insight into the mind behind the answers.  Even a blank page tells me something. I always come away from a bio page knowing something I didn’t when I got there.

What has been your funniest question/experience on WikiAnswers?

Since I have become a Supervisor, I have been spending WikiWednesdays with my neighbour, mentor and really good friend, James of Jade Acres. He works with his head in a closet (that’s a whole other story) and I work at the dining room table on my lap top. On any given Wednesday we will usually bump into one another on the WikiAnswers page repeatedly, it has come to the point where we advise one another where we are going to be so that we don’t keep stepping on one another’s toes.

However, the funniest experience I can think of was a couple of weeks ago, James and I were so busy working on a collaborative effort at WikiAnswers that we lost track of the time.  In the door walked WikiWidow (James’ wife, Deb). She walked over to him, placed a large coffee next to him, said “Hi, Hon,” and kissed him on the top of the head, then turned around, put a large tea next to me, kissed me on the top of the head and said, “Hi, Other Hon,” and went on into the kitchen.

I swear it took James and I a full minute to realise what she’d done, and the odd thing… I was half way through typing a message on his board about it before it dawned on me I could simply speak to him, he was sitting six feet away.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I debated this one a long time, couldn’t make up my mind if I should tell you that I have been struck by two cars (once walking across the street in Ottawa and once when I was on the back of a friend’s motorcycle). Both were major accidents, both times the car actually struck me (not a vehicle I was in or on) and I survived both, more or less intact.

…Or if I should tell you I have moved diagonally across the continent of North America twice.  Once moving from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Apache Junction Arizona, USA and then, ten years later, back from Apache Junction, Arizona USA to Camden East, Ontario, Canada.  Both trips were done in a car, with my husband, Galad (Quicksilver11), my most prized material possessions and our cat (Foley, he was five years old on the way down and 15 on the way back). And I arrived at both destinations more or less sane. (You try five days in a moving vehicle with an unrepentant old hippie and 15 pounds of grumpy cat, and see how your sanity does!)

…But I settled on telling you that Galad and I bought the house and property we now call Snugglefoot Hollow (after Miss Snugglefoot, a pet name Galad used to call me) while we were still living in Arizona.

We did it, sight unseen, (we did get a dozen photos via e-mail) on the advice of my parents and with an electronic handshake.

Papers weren’t drawn up until the old owners had built a new house and we had moved into this one. Which goes to show you there are still some trusting and honourable people in this world.

Stay tuned for next week, when we explore the third part of the series, a tale of two neighbors.

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

The long and the short of it

I like abbreviations. I think life’s too short, every second counts, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I find lots of pleasure in sesquipedalian words – you know, piecing together the Greek and Latin roots, with prefixes and suffixes and whatnot – but there’s also plenty of fun to be had in acronyms and other shorthand. BRB. OK, I’m back.

So, words like za and rents save precious time. And if you don’t know what a particular word means – well, then the timesaving element is gone but it’s kind of fun to figure out, so either way you win.

I came across this one recently in a Slate blog post about Google bonuses. (Seriously, who doesn’t love eating his heart out over how well those folks get treated?)

Finally, Gizmodo, which helped break the story, notes that this is part of a longtime tech, um, tradition, in which companies hand out their toys to their own employees to beta test them for bugs and get feedback on how to improve the next generation. The toys have been dubbed “dog food” by techies, and Gizmodo has thought up a fun  illo for Google’s latest foray into handing out the Alpo. Click here to see it.

I had no idea what an illo was, though the convenient link helped. To make sure, I Googled it, trying to ignore Google’s insistence that “perhaps I meant Ilo?” (No, like Horton the elephant, I meant what I said.) There wasn’t much out there, but I did find this blog, the Illo Watch, “dissecting the daily New York Times Op-ed illustration,” which made the point pretty clear, and also showed that illo goes back to at least 2005.

And the last thing I did was to make sure that Answers.com had an entry on illo. Because now I know.

Have a merry, cozy, wonderful Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I am all bundled up in a new fleece I received, drinking a steaming cup of hot cocoa and reading through all kinds of questions and answers under the Christmas category. Better catch up before the day rushes by and before you know it, we’ll all be focused on the next big thing… (our new Wii Fits and New Year’s resolutions?)

Here are some samples to get you started:

Wishing everyone happy holidays!

What are some good gift ideas for Christmas for fathers?

Uh oh! We’re coming dangerously close to running out of time for buying those last-minute gifts. Haven’t bought your dear old dad something yet? Perhaps I can help. Here are some gift ideas he might like, without you worrying about delivery time. Brought to you by WikiAnswers Wednesday.

What are some good gift ideas for Christmas for fathers?

Here goes… Let’s hope my dad’s not reading this, or it might ruin the surprise.

  • The gift of retro. Go into his closet when he’s not around. Pull out one of those 80′s print button down shirts. Wrap it up in a nice box. Tell him retro is back and you thought he’d appreciate a kick-start.
  • The gift of what you know he likes. Take a look at what he’s snacking on when he comes over tonight to celebrate. Slyly take back the rest of the bowl/tray/pan and dump it in a nice box. Wrap it up, hand it over. Make sure it’s not liquid, first.
  • The gift of what you know he lacks. Go out back to dad’s shed. Pick out an old tool he hasn’t used in a while. Dust it off, polish it up, put a ribbon around it, and tell him you were looking for it in his toolbox the other day and couldn’t find it, so you figured he needed a new one.

That’s all I got for now. You can also try this stuff with the dog, especially if it’s still a puppy. “Dad, Coco went missing this morning, but here’s a brand new chocolate lab – just like her!”

Good luck… and Merry Christmas!

A year of answers highlighted in the 2008 Year in Review.

Celebrity babies, a snowy Baghdad, Sarah Palin, Sex and the City: it’s been a weird, wonderful and at times, worrying, year. But as it comes to an end we can sit back and review what happened throughout 2008.

With the combined efforts of Answers.com and WikiAnswers content, the 2008 Year in Review has been officially released. If you remember last year’s edition, it covered the questions asked and answered throughout 2007.

This year, there’s a nice new twist: the 2008 Year in Review includes related reference topics and featured spotlights from each month, along with the list of Q&A.

So go on and check it out! Before you know it, 2009 will be showing up and bringing us a whole new host of questions and answers.

Year in Review 2008

Fun, farms and friendships: Part I.

Jadeacres

This is the story of two neighbors brought together by their adjacent farms, their love of wiki and their generous spirit. Jadeacres (James) and ThatwouldBme (Shell) live on neighboring farms in Ontario, Canada and have found that their shared values have brought together their families, their farms and even themselves – by working together on WikiAnswers. This week we’re presenting Part I of their story; stay tuned for the next installment in a week.

To begin the story, we must first begin with Jadeacres: The rainbow (literally!) of badges on his bio page is only part of what can attest to his dedicated activity on WikiAnswers  for over a year now.  He supervises eleven categories and works on the Community Outreach program, Vandal Patrol and Mentoring program. He’s also a recent winner of the How-To AnswerThon (second place).

But enough introduction; Jadeacres has plenty to say and says it well:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I came across WikiAnswers long ago… We were living in an area where dial-up internet was super slow. I was searching for information under the Crohns Disease category. I was soon to undergo a Methotrexate treatment and was looking for answers. I remember thinking, what a great concept, ask everybody, get multiple answers and narrow down the facts from the fiction. However, the internet connection was so infuriatingly slow that I gave up. I actually returned in November 2007 once we got high-speed and signed in looking for an answer to a chicken question.

Explain your username.

When my wife Deborah and I bought the farm we had not thought of naming it. Our neighbours – Galad and Shell – are aging hippies and artists and we were searching through some pinewood slabs to use as woodworking projects when Galad suggested we both make signs for our two properties. They came up with Snugglefoot Hollow for theirs. Deborah and I took a few hours and put our two first names together – James and Deb, blending the concept of the old TV show Green Acres into JADE and it fit. She is the “city girl” living in the country and I am the country guy making a dream of farming come true.

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

I truly believe that the only way to make life better is through education. The sharing of knowledge and experience is, after all, what education is all about. Even a question well-answered often leads to more questions. Answers from a single source can lead you down a narrow path. We should explore the many paths to reach understanding. As I get older, I want to share my experiences in life – and what a perfect forum WikiAnswers is for that!

What are your areas of expertise?

I grew up as the oldest child of a military officer. He instilled a strong work ethic into all his children. My dad taught us that any job worth doing was a job worth doing well. We traveled throughout the world moving every three years. You learn to adapt to different societies, make and lose friends very quickly.

Change became part of my life and I craved change even after I started making my own way in the world. I tried my hand at many jobs. Cooking was my first real passion, it allowed the artists soul in me a way of expression. I was also very good at interacting with people so I tried food sales. I have built cottages, installed fireplaces. Worked security, done first aid at a steel mill, been a hunting guide, taught outdoor survival skills, search and rescue. I eventually decided I wanted to be a police officer like my dad but medical issues prevented that so I did what I thought was the next best thing, At twenty four years old I learned to scuba dive, within a year I was teaching it to others and focusing my own training on specialized diving skills. Through my various community services, I became known to various law enforcement agencies and was offered a position as a contract instructor. I taught basic diving, underwater search and victim recovery, evidence preservation and several other specialized diving courses.

I did much of this diving in my “spare” time and worked several jobs to provide for my family. I ended my career as a supervisor for a distillery sales team. I retired earlier than expected, as my struggle with Crohns Disease finally became a priority. Jadeacres was purchased soon afterward and I set my skills to renovating, expanding the farm and raising chickens.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

I love the whole concept. The idea that, any individual can ask “the world” a question and get many perspectives on an answer is exciting. Having knowledgeable Supervisors sorting the trash and managing a collective sober second opinion is wonderful.

What has been your funniest question/experience on WikiAnswers?

I guess the questions that really can have no answers – at least not factual ones. I love letting go and making up a story because you just know it is some child, probably given a “homework” assignment by a teacher wanting them to use their brain at digging up an answer and expand their literary skills. The idea that my humorous answer may end up being marked in a class is just hilarious. For example: Who decided to eat chicken eggs first?

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

Random fact #1:

My wife Deborah puts it best: on the outside I can appear unshaken and uncaring. Years of bringing closure to families who lost loved ones to drowning accidents, my personal fight with disease and death and my views on life and mortality all give me a somewhat different perspective on how we live and treat others. I have a low tolerance for those who are cruel to children and animals. Not too far under that hard shell is a human being who wants to make the world a better place.

Random fact #2:

The following was one of my first entries as a Supervisor and it gave me a chance to use one of my own poems. It was funny as both An8thg and Zanbabe messaged me when I posted the poem that I needed the permission of the author to use it. LOL! I have been writing poetry since I was in grade school in the 60′s. This one was written after the passing of my Deborah’s Siamese cat Max… Originally titled, ‘For Max’: Is there a dog heaven? Our vet asked permission to use it years ago and now has it printed on a card sent out to clients who lose a pet.

Stay tuned for next week, when we explore the second half of the Jadeacres-ThatwouldBme duo.

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

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah menora

To the WikiAnswerers (and non-WikiAnswerers) celebrating Hanukkah for the next eight days starting tonight, here’s to a happy, well-lit and well-oiled holiday!

Here’s an activity after you’re done playing dreidel and eating latkes: Why not ask and answer Hanukkah Q&A by candlelight? How romantic… Here are a few Q&As to get you started:

Learn more about the holiday topic-by-topic from Answers.com:

Choppers, incoming

I was reading an article this morning about cookies – why not? I didn’t have any nearby to eat – when I came across the following term: Helicopter parents.

But food scientists, chefs and dairy professionals stress butter’s unique and sensitive nature the way helicopter parents dote on a gifted child. (It’s from here.)

Now, “soccer moms” I knew, and “hockey moms,” and “NASCAR dads.” But apparently it was time to update my catalog of stereotypes. So I naturally looked it up right away on Answers.com, and here’s what I learned:

Helicopter parent is a colloquial, early 21st-century term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. These parents rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them and will not let them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children’s wishes. They are so named because, like helicopters, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not.

There’s more there, including definitions of “Black Hawk parent” and “lawnmower parent.” Now I know.

What are the factors affecting recession?

Today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question comes hot off the presses; with the new homepage snippets feature I can tell the question was asked just 1 minute ago. That’s quickly become one of my favorite new features. Fresh unanswered goodness. All that potential. The chance to answer first.

Anyway, I’m going to give it a shot at answering:

What are the factors affecting recession?

Well, I don’t know economics much, so I won’t go there, but here are the factors affecting my own personal recession:

  • the fact that my bed is warmer than outside
  • chapped lips
  • wind chill factor
  • wearing pants underneath pants
  • waiting for the bus at 7 am while considering the wind chill factor
  • wearing boots indoors
  • brrrrr

Ouch. I guess I see a pattern there. Well, if I don’t come out of my house for the next few months, you know why. See you in spring!

WikiAnswers: a timeline of awesome on WikiTree.

Ever feel like sitting around and remembering the good ole days? How about the good new days? WikiAnswers now has it’s own space on WikiTree, which is:

  1. a tool for families to organize and share their family tree, memories, photos, etc.
  2. an historical resource — an international “wiki” for life stories and family histories.

And… it’s also a website created by Chris Whitten, founder of the original WikiAnswers, known then as FAQ Farm. This new venture is a wiki meant for collaboration in coming up with information to add to the family trees and personal profile pages.

You can check out the WikiAnswers WikiTree space and read through a growing timeline of the Q&A site’s history, started by a few of the original WikiAnswerers, including Chris himself. Feel free to sign up and create your own family tree or check out the WikiAnswers page and watch it grow!

Takamo: jack of a whole lotta trades… and more.

Happy Takamo...

I am definitely seeing a trend developing with the diverse crowd of contributors being interviewed here… Yes, they are diverse, but they all seem to classify as “jacks of all trades” and helpful souls. This week’s star, Takamo, is no exception – and perhaps one of the most impressive at time-juggling I’ve seen yet.

Takamo spends his wiki-time on serving as a Community Outreach Talent Scout, Vandal Patrol Site Guardian and Category Supervisor. He has also graduated the Mentoring program and reached Silver Contributor status. So when has he had time to be a pastry chef, Army specialist, father and grandfather? Not to mention his hobbies of hunting, fishing, camping, and inventing?

Well, somehow he figures it out. And boy, can we be glad for that!

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I was doing some research for a client regarding a hardware issue. During my, ahem, Google search, WikiAnswers kept popping up as the first one or two answers during several searches. I made a mental note to go back and check them out. Upon completing my research, I went back to WikiAnswers and saw that there were others that needed the same answers I discovered, and I started answering the questions. I spent 9 hours my first time on WikiAnswers… and it took!

Explain your username.

I served in the US Army off and on, for 16 years. I was in the first Gulf War and Afghanistan, and served for a short time preparing for the second incursion into Iraq. It was during the first Gulf war that I served as a Forward Observer.

I was on a short-range patrol with my REO (radio equipment operator) approximately 8 miles in front of a US armor company when we discovered a platoon of Iraqi tanks converging on a probable ambush site. They were close to a small group of hills and a gully, so they didn’t show up on normal radar. A Navy TACAMO aircraft was on station maintaining surveillance of the area, and didn’t detect the Iraqis on radar. I called in for CAS and two A-10 Warthogs made short work of the armor, and a few well placed artillery barrages cleared the ingress.

Later, upon my return to out forward base, members of the column that I protected, hugged me, thanked me, and changed my call-sign to “Takamo”. (a play on the TACAMO aircraft) My CO thought it was appropriate and from then forward, until I was injured and returned home, they called me Takamo.

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

I own a PCB re-manufacturing company, currently based in Texas. We are re-locating to New Hampshire by January 2009. We completed all contracts we had in September, and suspended operations until after the move. While waiting for the building construction to be completed, I developed a pinched nerve in my neck that required surgery to correct, and I have been “home-ridden” for the next 6-8 weeks. With nothing better to do, I spend a lot of time on WikiAnswers… And all my employees are contributors (names withheld!).

What are your areas of expertise?

Too may to list! I am a card holding certified chef, I am an ASE certified mechanic, and currently I am a Hardware Failure Analyst/small business owner… to name a few. My parents were hard on the idea of education… education… education! (check out my bio!)

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

I don’t have any favorites. All the tools available are excellent. There are a few things I would change, too.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

There are quite a few of these! The one that comes to mind is one I answered, “How many miles tall is 4 foot 11?”

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

1. I, along with two of my employees, had a hand in the development/repair of the modem drivers package in Windows 2000  after it was released, and the patch to repair them in the original release of 2000, were added to SP1.

2. I had lunch with then-Vice President Bush after winning Soldier of the Year 1981 (Regan/Bush).

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

Get into the holiday spirit at WikiAnswers.

WikiAnswers categories abound! Like department stores in New York City, WikiAnswers is crowded and buzzing with thousands of categories – and these days, I’d like to point out the exceptionally seasonal categories which are showing up like mall workers in elf costumes.

Check out the updated tag cloud for categories, including holiday favorites such as:

And don’t forget the other seasonal categories you may want to check out:

So get started asking, answering and editing! There’s work to be done this season.


Words of the Year, 2008

Word buffs and green folk alike should be pleased at the selection of hypermiling as top word of 2008. It refers to the activity – actually, for some, like top hypermiler Wayne Gerdes, it’s a competitive sport – of squeezing every last drop out of a gallon of gas. If that requires driving only downhill, so be it.

Other top words that didn’t make it to No. 1 were moofer – as in, one who moofs, a mobile out-of-office worker who gets his job done via Blackberry and the like; staycation – for those who want to enjoy their precious days off close to home or can’t afford to travel; and tweet, as in what you do when you use Twitter (shouldn’t it be called twit? Anyone?).

I detect a theme of mobility: These words all have to do with where you’re going (or not going) and how you get there.

Gotta love the way language grows and reshapes itself to fit our lives. 2008, we salute you.

TGINM: We don’t seem to be on the same page.

What’s worse than losing your job? I think it’s something like this:

I just traded in my car for a new Porsche but then I lost my job on the same day. Can I return the new car and get my trade-in if it has not been 24 hours yet?

Buying a Porsche and then losing your job? Must be one helluva miscommunication between employer and employee…

Thank God It’s Not Me.

Calling all friendly contributors!

You’re browsing WikiAnswers. You come across a question. It’s answered by a brand new contributor… and they haven’t been formally welcomed to the community yet. Who are you gonna call? The Community Outreach team!

An initiative set up and run by Robin, the Community Outreach program is a dedicated task force of both Supervisors and contributors. It’s got a few main objectives, covered by four roles:

  • WikiGuides welcome new contributors, invite them to participate in special events, offer guidance, and help where they are needed.
  • Talent Scouts are WikiGuides who specialize in finding and recommending outstanding contributors in various areas of participation on the site, including Premier Answerers and Editors.
  • Wiki Greeters are well-wishers who are always on the lookout for contributors’ birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, graduations, or any notable event in our contributors’ lives.
  • Forum Fanatics are WikiGuides who enjoy meeting and visiting with members of the community through frequenting the discussion forums.

Interested in joining the team? Get in touch by writing to CommunityOutreach @ WikiAnswers.com (no spaces). Don’t forget to include your WikiAnswers username in your message.

A WikiAnswers release means new features.

I love the ‘R’ word. That’s right: release. There’s just nothing like waking up in the morning, stretching, opening a browser to WikiAnswers and noticing that the WikiAnswers team has put out a release of new features and site updates while I was sleeping.

  • The WikiAnswers homepage got a minor face lift with this new release, including a listing of recent questions with their category and time of asking.
  • Check out the holiday-themed tag cloud on the homepage and Browse Categories.
  • More reasons to log in! The blue Tools Menu has been completely revamped in a more organized style.
  • Think you’ve reached the limit of contributor-level badges? They no longer top out at Platinum: start working towards becoming a Ruby contributor.
  • There is now a spell checker in the answer form; before you post your answer, click the ABC button at the end of the menu and make your answer even more perfect.
  • Feel the love, share the love: Join the Community Outreach program and reach a whole new level of participation.
  • Cleaning up clearly: A new warning feature for Supervisors allows for organized and effective vandal patrol.