The HistoryDork Address.

372px-Gettysburg.haydraftFifteen score and a few days more ago, our WikiAnswers brought forth on this community, a new contributor, conceived in 1992, and dedicated to the proposition that all questions and answers are created equal.

Let it be known, fair gentlemen and gentleladies, that the history of WikiAnswers will record one of its finest young contributors to be HistoryDork.

And here’s why:

What is your WikiAnswers user name and the history behind it?

My WikiAnswers user name is HistoryDork, because I’ve always liked history. It’s my favorite subject in school, and I always seem to be rattling off random historical facts to my family.

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor (which categories)?

I am a Category Supervisor of the US Civil War, Founding Fathers, American Revolution, Colonial America and the Battle of Gettysburg.

What is your first name?

My first name is Justin, and I am 17 years old.

Do you have any pets?

Yes. I have three cats, named Salem, Sabrina and Simba.

Where do you live, how long have you lived there and why do you like the area?

I live in Angola, New York, which is about an hour drive south of Buffalo. I moved to Angola from Buffalo when I was 9 years old. I like the area because the school district I’m in now offers more class opportunities such as Advanced Placement courses.

What educational information would you like to share?

I have received a variety of National Awards from the United States Achievement Academy which include the National Science Merit Award, All-American Scholar At-Large and the National Leadership and Service Award. I have been nominated to attend the National Student Leadership Conference, and I have been inducted into the National Honor Society. I also managed to get into a variety of courses at my high school early such as AP US History in my Sophomore year (which is typically reserved for Juniors and Seniors) and I took Government and Economics my Junior year which are both Senior courses. My Junior year I took AP Human Geography, and this year I’m going to be taking US History since 1945 and Sociology, which are courses offered through Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York.

What are your past and/or present occupations?

As of right now I am not working, preferring to devote most of my time and energy into my school work.

What is/are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

As you’ve probably guessed already my key area of knowledge and interests are in History, especially the Colonial and US Civil War time periods.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

Along with WikiAnswers, I also belong to The History Channel Club from which I have received a collection of American History Collectors Medallions. I also have a collection of pins I bought when I went to Disney World for Christmas and New Year in 2002 and 2003.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I like to play video games, board games, pinochle, reading and of course contributing anyway I can to WikiAnswers.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

All the awards I have won over the years, becoming a member of the National Honor Society and getting a 4 and 5 respectively on my AP US History and AP Human Geography exams with 5 being the highest score.

What are your special goals or dreams?

My ultimate goal at the moment is to graduate from college and get a job as a high school history teacher.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

In public I am a shy, quiet person and have been called pessimistic on more than one occasion, which I don’t entirely agree with.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

Originally I found WikiAnswers when I was researching a question I was having difficulty with on my homework.

What kept you coming back to WikiAnswers

When I realized that I knew some of the answers to the questions I came across and found out I could become a member.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity?

I don’t have a specific favorite activity on WikiAnswers. I just help out anyway I can – but I guess I do spend a lot of time categorizing and fixing spelling errors in questions and answers.

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

Join the Town Halls (minus President Obama).

Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of the town hall meeting; President Obama has certainly updated the idea by posting his online town halls on YouTube.

One third of the WikiAnswers 9³ Experience is a series of Town Halls to be shared online on 9/9/09. Answers.com staff will be answering questions from WikiAnswers contributors – and those who submitted questions chosen or the Town Halls will win unique 9³ prizes.

Submit a question (or two or three!) to the team one or more of the ways listed below. However you decide to submit your question, make sure to include your WikiAnswers username and specify that your question is being submitted for the Town Hall sessions.

  1. On Twitter, reply to @AnswersDotCom with your question.
  2. On Facebook, post your question to the wall of the Answers.com Fan page or the 9³ Event page.
  3. Leave a comment on this blog post.
  4. Post it to the WikiAnswers Community Forum.
  5. Email your question to WikiAnswers @ answers.com (no spaces).

C.Hainsaw doesn’t know why.

C.Hainsaw has perhaps the most intimidating username of any supervisor on WikiAnswers.  But did you know after a hard day of blocking vandals he can still write some serious poetry?  He wrote the following poem about fifteen years ago for a creative writing class in college. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after he finished reading it.

He explains, “I think this defined what poetry is for me, reaching people on that much deeper emotional level. It isn’t about the words, but what the words do to and for the audience.”

“I Don’t Know Why I Don’t Know Why,” by C.Hainsaw

My daughter asks why the sky
is not green says she.
“The grass is green.” to her I say
“God made it to match the trees.”

My daughter asked why cats don’t bark
and dogs don’t say, “Meow.”
I tell her, “Love, if dogs could speak
people would wonder how.”

My daughter asks why at night
the stars come out to play.
I tell my love, “The night for them
to you is like the day.”

My daughter asks why other kids
have mommies unlike she.
I look at her, tears fill my eyes,
I tell her, “You have me.”

My daughter loves this question game
her questions I love to try,
but sometimes even I don’t know
why I do not know why.

[If you would like your original poetry profiled on this blog, please e-mail it to poetry @ wikianswers.com (no spaces) and include your WikiAnswers username!]

Back Away from the Blonde: Animals with Warning Colors

ferrari‘Ooh I love it!’  My friend screamed in the middle of the car dealership. Although we all know they are a target for the cops, she was instantly taken by the  glitzy red Ferrari. ‘It’s so pretty and shiny and exciting, I want it!’

As we rolled down the block for a test drive,  pedestrians left and right turned their heads to the car. ‘This is ridiculous,’ I thought.  But, I couldn’t help stare at it myself. Humans are wired to be attracted to bright things.

Marilyn MonroeThe casinos in Vegas draw us in like a fly to a fluorescent light.  An ice cream cone doesn’t look quite the same without those colored sprinkles.  Take a walk down 5th Ave and watch the heads turn at the Tiffany’s window – diamonds and 14 karat gold sparkling everywhere (guys, don’t tell me that you don’t take a quick glance at the latest Rolex models). Rainbow Brite would not have been so popular if she were named ‘Rainbow shades of Black and Grey’.

And hey, let’s be honest- I’m not saying blondes have all the fun, but study after study shows they do get much more attention than the average brunette.

Yet, in the animal world, the exact opposite occurs. Bright colors are synonymous with danger. Animals are trained to stay away from pretty, shiny, glowing creatures. Phosphorescence is a clear warning sign ‘poison up ahead’. Spots and bold patterns mean ‘back off buddy.’

Blu ringed octopsTake the Blue ringed octopus of Australia for example: one bite can kill 26 humans. The Coral snake of North America has funky bands and stripes on its body to warn of it’s neurotoxic venom.

You know  that cute little  arrow dart frog that looks like porcelain and fits in your hand? It secretes a chemical, Homobatrachotoxin, 500 times more potent than morphine. Non-coincidentally,  scientists just discovered that a bright black and orange  bird from New Guinea, called the Hooded Pitohui, actually carries this same toxin in its feathers.

Need I even mention the infamous Monarch butterfly; How many innocent lizards have met an ill fate ingesting one of these flying candy canes? RIP, my little dinosaur friends.

monarch and mimic

Heck, it’s so effective to be obnoxiously beautiful, different species try to mimic the same aposematic color patterns of their toxic friends.  In the biological world this is known as Batesian Mimicry; blonde hair dye anyone?

So, If bright colors are dangerous, why are humans drawn to them while most species know to stay away? Maybe we should take a hint from our animal counterparts instead of learning it the hard way, as one WikiAnswers user asked:

Are blonde girls more likely to break your heart?

Yes they are.

Their yellow hair stands out in a crowd. Blondes pretty much know the power they have over men and women. Don’t be fooled.

So, there you have it, all you need in life to stay happy and safe is a brunette.brunette

How to put your hair in a messy bun.

[Here's a good example of the kind of video you can submit for the Video Contest portion of the WikiAnswers 9³ Experience.]

Maybe you’re just running off to the gym. Maybe you have a date tonight. Maybe you just feel like experimenting with a new hair style.

Whatever it is you are looking to accomplish with your hair today, Neila222 is here to introduce us all to the art of stylin’ hair in a messy bun.

How do you put your hair up in a messy bun?

Learn more hair care tips and tricks in the Hair Q&A category.

Big thanks to Neila222 for participating in this video edition of WikiAnswers Wednesday!

If you’d like to submit a video for next week, leave a comment below.

An intro to 9³.

The folks at Answers.com are ready for the Q&A event of the year and now you can be, too: All the contest details are available on the official WikiAnswers 9³ Experience page (including the prizes).

In short, it’s a series of three events running from September 1-9, culminating on 9/9/09 (or 9³). You can participate in one, two or all three of the events (and win!):

  1. AnswerHunt: The ultimate Q&A scavenger hunt, taking place across the WikiAnswers website on Saturday, September 5th. It’s also the first-ever WikiAnswers team event – each team must consist of two contributors and one Supervisor. Find your wiki-friends and sign up… and if you think you need practice around the site, better brush up now!
  2. Town Halls: This is your chance to ask the WikiAnswers team-behind-the-scenes any questions you like! The best questions will be chosen and answered by Answers Corp staff; these video Town Halls will be shared on Wednesday, September 9th.
  3. Video Contest: For the entire duration of 9³, you can submit up to nine Q&A videos – that is, videos you film yourself presenting a question on WikiAnswers and a visual answer. The best will be displayed here – and the creators will win prizes. Get inspired by one of the WikiAnswers Wednesday videos featured on this blog.

There isn’t much time to lose! Start gearing up for the 9³ events now. If you have any questions, leave ‘em in a comment below.

How to enter the 9³ Video Contest.

Have you been paying attention to what goes on around here on Wednesdays?

The WikiAnswers Wednesday video Q&As we’ve been sharing around here are a great example of the kinds of video Q&As you can do for the WikiAnswers 9³ Experience Video Contest. The more creative you are, the better.

You can submit up to nine videos displaying your Q&A creativity from September 1st through September 9th.

Here are some tips from Xtriece on how to use YouTube for submitting your videos:

Woodwose, WikiAnswers Wild Thing.

280px-ADurerWoodwoses1499Wild thing… You make our hearts sing. You make everything (around WikiAnswers) groovy. Wild thing!

Come on. You know who I’m talkin’ about. The wild one of WikiAnswers: Woodwose.

According to this fine WikiAnswers contributor Woodwose (the European version of Sasquatch or yeti) is essentially a wild man of the woods. He seems to dig his name but would have preferred Wordwose as he is wild about proper sentence structure and – when he chooses to spell check carefully – other English usage. But a joke’s no good if you have to explain it every time. So Woodwose it is:

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor (which categories)?

I’m a Category Supervisor of Pollution, although I’m in the top contributors for Buddhism, Mark Twain and Atheism.

What is your first name?

Thomas

What is your age?

More than small groups of younger contributors combined. It’s down as 108 on my bio page, and I have a photo from Peru in 1880 that is a good enough likeness of me to identify me in a crowd.

Do you have any pets?

A purebred Fox Terrier who goes by the name of Drafur, as in Hedningarna’s “Drafur och Guilder” from their Hipjokk album. His best trick is “Ignore.”

Where do you live and why do you like the area?

Calgary. A ready supply of bison burgers, open air and a vibrant cultural life makes the City my kind of place.

Where did you grow up?

Ontario, near Detroit. It accounts for my funny almost American accent.

What educational information would you like to share?

I’m a chemical technologist, engineer and consultant and have black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Karate.

What are some of your past and/or present occupations?

Engineer, consultant, martial arts instructor

What is/are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

I follow Miyamoto Musashi’s advice which is to know the skills of every trade. I earn cash through environmental consulting and art.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

I carve wood and stone, do stained glass, practice bagpipes, collect swords and study languages.

What do you like to do for recreation?

Help young professionals upgrade their resumes and interview skills.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I have no need for or belief in invisible friends or magic horseshoes. My life experience includes the regular stuff:

• Crawling up the sides of sinking ships
• Working with bomb squads
• Writing government regulations
• Taking evil doers to court
• Teaching
• Dealing with crowds of upset peasants
• Foreign assignments
• Professional speaking,
• Avoiding being shot
• Doing nasty jobs that others avoid

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

I can poke my fingers through Coke and beer cans. A skill good for winning bar bets and distracting folks who are being pompous and telling me their versions of the right way to live. A talent much loved by my nieces, nephews and voluntary grandchildren but despised by my wife.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

Art work from the east cost of Canada to Japan

What are your special goals or dreams?

Not a concern. Being in the now is much more important.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

A curmudgeon

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

Serendipity

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

It’s the largest game of Trivial Pursuit I’ve found!

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity?

Researching answers orthogonal to my knowledge.

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

HisPowr4U: Of contributions and poems.

So what does a six-time WAmmy award winning Supervisor with over one million contributions under her belt do for an encore?

In the case of HisPowr4U, write some great poetry!

B.J. – as she is also known – has actually been writing religious poems for decades, including the one highlighted below which was penned almost exactly 16 years ago (August 25, 1993).

On WikiAnswers, B.J. supervises the Rhyming Words category, among several others, to keep her literary skills sharp!

Untitled, by B.J. Sullivan

God uses many means,

To bring His children home;

A taste of His sweet presence,

A song, a book, a poem.

Like little Gospel windows,

To show the way that’s right,

And if we look more closely,

We’ll see God’s holy light;

Shining through to tell us,

His way is up above,

Not the way of hatred,

But the way of love.

He sheds His love upon us,

To draw us to His throne,

That He might be our Father,

And claim us for His own.

He also uses pain sometimes,

For when we are in need,

We are more apt to listen,

His Holy Word to heed.

He uses joy and pleasure,

Because He is their source,

And when we know He cares for us,

It brings us back on course.

I’ve never seen His face,

But this mystery I ponder;

A glimpse of His sweet grace,

A look at Heaven’s wonder;

Every single day,

His grace on me is poured,

Little Gospel windows,

To draw me to the Lord.

To Read This Or Not to Read This; That is the Decision

Ok, what to write about this week… Petfood? Nah. Maybe Marsupials; they are cool… Nah. How about global warming? Nope, not in a tree-hugger mood… Next. What about toenails and socks?  Yes, I can see it now- the evolution of clothing and its relationship to the human form.

Bleh, I’m going to get a ‘FAIL’ on this blog post.
thinking poseWell, technically speaking, blogs don’t get  graded – phew! But I can get an ‘F’ in likability – arrg! That’s even worse, to get a mental F in blog writing. Well it’s not actually ‘mental dislike’ if people can post comments, duh. Nirel!

Ok, work, brain, work!

Nothing.

It’s as though my head has been filled with wet concrete and I feel it drying. I just need to calm down. Relaxe por favor senorita; just think happy thoughts and the ideas will flow.

It’s simple. I sit in front of the computer with my hands on the keyboard and you tell me what to type, ok, brainypie? Hmm, maybe he doesn’t like the nickname I just gave him. Should I talk to you in first person orbrain third person? First person it is! OK you will be called Mr. Brain – or better yet, Sir Brain. A title, as though you have been knighted by a queen.

Ok, royal brain, go for it!

Nothing.

Take your time. I don’t mean to pressure you. Maybe I’m just crazy? I’m talking to myself, after all. But people who talk to themselves are smart – like a kid who has an imaginary friend. Psychologists say it’s perfectly fine, even healthy – but is that normal for adults? Sure it is!
Says who?
Says me!
So there!

Get it together, captain! Why can’t my brain function? I do my best for you! I eat tons of salmon, even though I don’t like it, so you can get your Omega 3 fatty acids… And this is how you repay me? All I want is a decision on a simple idea for this blog.

Ok, have it your way. I will ask WikiAnswers for help: How can you make good decisions during a stressful time?

A: I think it depends on whether you are stressed or not. Stressed= bad decisions, Relaxed=Good decisions. Even if you rely on your instincts, they are hard to filter out  during times of stress

According  to WikiAnswers, I am making a bad decision right now because I can’t rely on my instincts. What if I concentrate, remove all stress from the situation and  become attune with my deep inner animal self-will I be able to think and make a confident decision then?

Can animals make rational decisions?

A: Although the answer is debatable for highly intelligent creatures such as pet dogs and dolphins, The answer is No, it is due to experience. Over time, an animal’s instincts improve and branch off, which accounts for the fact that animals as well as pets are said to have the capability to rationalize in any given situation, but that is simply not true- the animal  makes a quick, gut, instinctual decision without thinking too much about it.

Awesome! Decision-making without thinking!

Quick, should I post this to the blog?

My gut says, Yes!

Top ten Twitterer: @AnswersDotCom

Not only did @AnswersDotCom make this list of 100 Twitter Feeds That Teach You History, but the answerlicious Twitter account even made the top ten!

By the way, if you have been following @WikiAnswers on Twitter, you’ve been getting all kinds of updates and Q&As. If you want even more – including daily trivia – best to follow @AnswersDotCom, which is soon to become the main Twitter account for the world’s best answer engine.

Just sayin’.

Surprise your mom, fold correctly!

What's guaranteed to make your mom smile?

Chocolates, sure… Flowers, yeah… A sentimental hand-made photo album… ok, ok. There are lots of things that will make your mom happy.

BUT. There is a lesser-known way that will shock Mom as well as please her: Fold your clean laundry properly and efficiently!

Crystal shows us exactly how in her WikiAnswers Wednesday video presentation: How do you fold clothes?

Big thanks to Crystal for participating in this video edition of WikiAnswers Wednesday!

If you’d like to submit a video for next week, leave a comment below.

Healthcare reform: What is the answer?

Lately it seems the biggest question on Americans’ minds is: What should America do to reform its health care?

Since Barack Obama made it a key issue and the healthcare reform bill is being outlined, everyone’s been discussing it: pros, cons, how-to’s. Most people on either side of the healthcare reform argument do agree that something needs to be done to improve the current health care system in the United States. The main question seems to be: But what?

WikiAnswerers have also been asking questions and offering answers. Check out what’s being said in the following healthcare reform Q&A’s:

As it seems to be in Congress, there are also a lot of unanswered questions about health care reform. Care to take a stab?

May the best plan go forward… Here’s to a healthy decision!

Like a Fine Glass of Wine: Sandiegowinelady!

TWallacephotoWhen I first happened upon this contributor, I was certain her user name meant Sandie Go Wine Lady! You know… like cheering her on. Go Sandie! It’s your birthday! You awesome wine lady!

But in a recent candid interview, she was quick to set the record straight – pointing out that her name is not Sandie; it’s actually Tracy. And that her user name is supposed to be interpreted as San Diego Wine Lady.

Duh!

This awesome Supervisor of a number of WikiAnswers categories also had this to say: “Helloooo people! The Bookmaking category has to do with gambling; placing bets, bookies, the vig. Not the craft of making books or writing a book (giggles). WikiAnswers contributors are very sophisticated; however, they must not be Sopranos watchers or hang at the race track!” Uh, double duh!

Here’s more from Tracy herself:

Are you married and do you have any children?

No, I’m not married. In fact I live in a convent with Catholic nuns! I love living with the order and have been here since 2000. My neighbors are true friends, and the great thing is when I want company there is always someone up to hang out with. When I want peace and quiet I have that, too. My blood sister also lives in the convent. We have several sets of blood sisters that live here, so it’s kind of like a sorority. I know, I know…everyone has tons of questions about this arrangement but it’s just like living in any other apartment except: no boys allowed! We are on 24/7 lock down (giggles). The only men let in are our wonderful assistant Alberto and service men (computer, plumbing, elevator, etc.). No, I’m not a nun so, I enjoy dating and dancing the night away just like any other single gal. I have never been married, and I don’t have any children.

Where do you live?

I live in Little Italy in downtown San Diego, California. I love the southern CA lifestyle. It is very easy going and living downtown keeps me close to the best of our fine city has to offer. I live by several theaters which makes going to the theater easier than going to the movies. There are restaurants abound in my area so I am well fed. I am also within walking distance to the famous San Diego Zoo and just a few blocks from the water. I have to say it is quite beautiful. If I want to spend a day at the beach, I just hop on a city bus and I’m there in 15 minutes.

I have been living in San Diego for the last eleven years and it is quite different from where I grew up on the east coast. I like both coasts a great deal but where I’m originally from is a lot faster paced and exciting whereas San Diego is calm and relaxed. The great thing is that I can go to the east coast almost anytime I want.

What is your occupation?

I work in the wine and food industry as a trainer and instructor, and wake up every day chomping at the bit to start work. Here is a typical day for me:

• Test new liquor, wine, beers and food items entering the market
• Read wine, liquor, beer and food articles
• Study the interactions of food, wine and culture
• Teach fun and curious wine students and culinary professionals
• Research wine, liquor, beer and food topics
• Write about wine, liquor, beer and food
• Consult for the wine and fine dining industries
• Work part time as the sommelier and Wine Director for a private collector

It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it. I have been in this industry for the past seven years and I have loved every minute of it. I am very proud that I help others become experts in the field of gastronomy (the art of fine wine, food and dining). I have a classic business and law education which is perfect for what I do. It is important to understand that even though food and wine sounds like it is all about drinking and feeding your face, these industries are businesses.

I have written a few training manuals: Become a Chocolate Connoisseur in 5 Minutes or Less and The Ultimate Guide to Careers in the Wine, Mixology and Gourmet Food Industries: A Step-by-Step Guide to Catapulting Your Career. These easy-to-read guides will be available to the public in the beginning of 2010. You can visit School for the Service Arts for more information or feel free to email me directly for more information.

Do you have any hobbies?

During my time off I HEART television. Reality TV makes my mouth salivate. If the show makes me feel uncomfortable the more I love it. The embarrassment is so delicious. Some of my favorite shows are: The Real Housewives, Prep School and Bad Girls Club (oh, I just cringe at this show and can’t get enough). I like anything on Bravo, the History Channel, Speed Channel and PBS. I am a documentary junkie. One of my favorite pastimes is reading the New York Times while watching Formula One or boxing or a wrestling show while knitting. It really doesn’t get any better. I am trying my hand at knitting a collection of fall and winter clothing for myself. It will either come out great or be a hilarious disaster.

On weekends there are polo matches to go to and picnics. I also enjoy watching dressage and seeing how young riders progress. Sunday evenings I go out with friends to gab and shoot the breeze at wine bars around town. As well as talking to Mother and my best friend and her baby by phone, I, of course, spend quite a bit of time with my sister who is a talented artist and the funniest person I know. I like to keep active in the community so I belong to several Beekeeping, Orchid and shell clubs. I also take a variety of low impact exercise classes to keep the lbs. off. You may see me around town taking hula, lawn bowling, speed walking, Pilates and yoga.

I also volunteer for the San Diego Symphony and our folk art museum a few times each week. I help out any way I can and have a great time doing so. That’s all I really have time for during the week. I wish there were more hours in the day.

Please share some random facts about yourself, special thoughts, etc.

Truthfully, I wear myself out and I’ve been told I’m a handful (giggles). I go at two speeds, full out and dead stop. Since I started working in wine my life changed dramatically. I love and care more about others and myself. Since tasting wine and food takes soooo much concentration and discipline (looking, smelling, tasting and understanding the history and production methods) I’ve become trained to be very careful before generalizing. This has enriched my life in many ways that are too sappy to mention here.

Do you have any special goals or dreams?

In addition to becoming a WikiAnswers Ruby level contributor, I am determined to earn the distinction of Master of Wine. The Master of Wine designation is a rigorous test that is composed of a rigorous multi-faceted written exam on the business of wine, production of wine and current issues within the industry. You are also required to write a 10,000 word dissertation for starters. There have only been 275 people to pass since 1953 which is equivalent to about five people per year. Can you imagine only five people getting their PhD per year worldwide? It took the famous Mary Ewing-Mulligan who wrote the bestselling Wine for Dummies book, and by the way was already brilliant nine years to pass. I may be as old as heck when I pass but, I’m going to.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

I’m quite sure I googled a question and lucked upon WikiAnswers. The answer to my question wasn’t posted so I researched the answer and posted my first answer on WikiAnswers. I have been hooked ever since.

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

WikiAnswers has so many interesting and dedicated participants I can’t wait to see what I’ve missed. The WikiAnswers community is so helpful. It’s a great team. I also like to post the questions and answers my students and clients ask most often on WikiAnswers. That way they can use WikiAnswers to get just what they are looking for and more.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity?

Researching answers using the materials from my personal library. I get such a charge each time I have just what I need right in my own home or office. Of course if I have to use an outside library or the Internet I certainly don’t mind. I wish I had access to Lexus/Nexus. I also like getting messages and reading participant bios.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

I describe myself as a friendly, outgoing, patient and generous. My neighbors call me ‘Head Angel’ because I like to celebrate birthdays and milestones and remind each person how much they mean to me. And I’m always willing to lend a hand. My friends would share that I’m very affectionate, nutty, romantic and have a witty sense of humor. My clients all say that I remind them of their favorite teacher. I tell them the truth, but I don’t make them feel stupid while assisting them through their challenges. I find that all of these things make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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

Violet1330: A non-traditional student and poet.

Violet Joan Berry (also known as Violet1330) is a published author and poet who also happens to contribute to WikiAnswers as a Supervisor in her spare time.  Between spending time with three generations of children, quilting and birdwatching, she is also working towards college degrees in Humanities and History!

She granted us permission to reprint the following poem of hers from her book Dogwoods & Pussywillows: Growing Up Country, Pub. 2009.

[If you would like your original poetry profiled on this blog, please e-mail it to poetry @ wikianswers.com (no spaces) and include your WikiAnswers username!]

“I’ll Fly Away or Not,” by Violet Joan Berry


Superman, my big hero

I wanted to fly like him

Faster than a speeding train

And faster than a bullet

But I would settle for flying

Just a few feet anywhere


I draped a towel around

My shoulders, safety-pinned

The top ends around my neck

And hurled my six-year-old body

Off the tool shed roof in the

Typical superman pose

Arms outstretched to meet the sky


The brief second I hung there

In mid air was wonderful

I saw my mother running

To catch me; it was too late

I heard a voice say, “Do not move.”

I couldn’t have anyway


Under my watchful eyes, Mom

Locked the linen closet door

Under her watchful eyes, I

Tried to walk on sprained ankles

And nursed both my skinned up knees

While wondering if I could

Have flown with a pillow case

Instead of that heavy towel.

Left Hands and Right Paws – Are Left-Handed Organisms Smarter?

[This week's edition of ChimpManzee is dedicated to the lefties out there, in celebration of Left-Handers' Day today.]

chicken salad

As I sat  with my coworker for lunch, I noticed him scoop up the chicken salad (we bought from the mall) with his left hand.

Oh cool, he’s a lefty, I thought. He must be smart; I wonder if he’s arranging the food on his fork in a geometric manner? Or maybe he’s contemplating a more artistic lettuce and chicken arrangement to make his lunch visually aesthetic. Hmm… Did he just creatively add that salad dressing to his bowl?  Woah, what a free thinker!  I should be taking notes. I mean, everyone knows lefties are more intelligent and more creative people!

left handAlthough lefties  make up only 10% of the population,  they have historically produced an above-average quota of  successful, brilliant and influential individuals.  Da Vinci, Einstein,  Michelangelo and Paul McCartney were all left-handed, not to mention a disproportionately large number of  US Presidents and Nobel Laureates.

So ‘How does the brain of a lefty work?’ asks a WA user.

The human brain is the 3lb  focal point of the conscious mind. It is made up of 3 main parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem. This big mass of neurons is divided into 2 hemispheres, the left and right hemispheres, that are linked by a large bunch of nerves called the corpus callosum.
Each hemisphere has its own functional specializations which correspond to neural mechanisms. The left hemisphere uses sequential, analytical and logical functions while the right hemisphere has more creative, holistic and visual functions.
Left and right handed people use both sides of their brains. But, Left-handed people are known to use the right side of their brain more.

Basically, righties tend to be more logical, linear, analytical thinkers while lefties are more abstract, holistic ‘out-of-the-box’ type thinkers. This might be a biological adaptation in response to lefty discrimination throughout history. Across cultures lefties were forced to live in a right handed world. In the Spanish language, to do something ‘por izquierda’ means to engage in illegal or corrupt conduct. In ancient China and in Feng Shui, the left side has always been considered the “bad” side.  The Scottish term for left-handedness is ‘corrie fistit,’ meaning  clumsiness.  Even the English word sinister comes from the Latin word  ‘sinestra,’ meaning left.

What would happen in a society where you can live freely with your left-handedness, such as the animal kingdom?  Do animals display any left handed  tendencies?

  • A 2005 study of our closest relatives, wild chimpanzees, in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, found that the majority of certain groups of chimps who are dexterous in termite fishing (using a stick as a tool to hook termites)  are left handed.
  • Parrots tend to favor their left  foot when grasping objects; For example, fruit when feeding or a toy when playing. In fact, University of Michigan biologist  John W. Pepper, found a  species of cockatoo (parrot family), in Australia, that de-shell nuts and seeds solely with their left foot.  They do this while singing tunes that show off their vocal chords. (Interestingly enough, speech  and fine motor ability both come from the right side of the brain).
  • Certain species of frogs show left paw preferences for actions such as  cleaning oils from their body. Kermit even  proposed to Miss Piggy with his left hand.
  • There is no scientific proof behind the rumor that all polar bears are left handed- although they do open up the Coca Cola bottles with their left paws.
  • Pet dogs and cats have been reported to be both  right or left paw dominant – seems to be a 50/50 divide.

Kermit the FrogSo are left-handed, right-brained  animals more intelligent than their counterparts? There is not enough evidence to form a conclusive answer, but consider this: dolphins are considered the most highly intelligent of all mammals and don’t have much use of their fins at all.

EinsteinAs I stared at my coworker’s chicken salad, I noticed the girl by his side had a homemade vegetable and corn lasagna. Whether she used analysis and logic to bake that right-handed dish I don’t know, but it was prettier, more colorful and  definitely more unique than the mall-bought salad. I don’t think Einstein came up with his theory of relativity by buying pretty books, he had to read them.

In the end the old cliché holds true: It’s not what you’ve got but what you do with it that counts!

A tale of two possible parakeets.

When I was a kid, my mom let me go to the store and pick out a parakeet to take home. There were dozens of parakeets of all colors and degrees of shrillness. I wasn’t really considering any other criteria other than how pretty it was.

I picked a pretty green one and assumed it was a male. Maybe it was the appearance of the pot-belly around its middle? I found out after I had taken ‘him’ home that this parakeet was indeed a she – and she was pregnant.

Lucky for all of you parents with kids who MUST have a pet parakeet pronto, the wonderful Ganderton (also known as Gregg) has outlined a WikiAnswers Wednesday video with that little detail it’s always nice to know: How do you tell a male parakeet from a female parakeet?

Big thanks to Ganderton for participating in the video edition of WikiAnswers Wednesday!

If you’d like to submit  a video for next week, leave a comment below.

If you’d like to know more about parakeets, well, you know where to go: Pet Bird Q&A on WikiAnswers

Ode to the Purrrsona Known as Bigcatone.

Roar is the call of thy great purrrsona,
Simply known as Bigcatone.
Where a zoo was once his sanctuary,
tis’ now finds refuge from the sun.
His den be hath on WikiAnswers.com,
between Mammals and The Bible.
Brilliantly editing questions,
that had once been quite tribal.
Unto the greatest Q&A site,
happy days since he found his way.
A wonderful, charismatic addition,
Bigcatone we hope you stay.
Forever?

Word up from the Cat himself:

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor? (Which categories?)

Category (Wild Cats)

What other positions do you hold on WikiAnswers.com?

Silver contributor, Mentor and member of Vandal Patrol

What is your age?

Older than dirt!

Do you have any four-legged, winged, furry or otherwise non-human children?

12 Cats, two Australian Shepherds, one Blue Pit Bull.

Where do you live?

I Live in Trinity, North Carolina, been here ten years. Lot of NASCAR history here!

Where did you grow up?

Grew up in High Point, NC. Played football and basketball in High School (All State football Senior year). Joined Marine Corps out of school.

What is your key area of knowledge or expertise?

I worked as a handler of big cats at the NC Zoo in Asheboro for four years, survived a leopard attack, work for DHL and was a part-time Sports Talk Radio Host. Currently employed by Fedex.

Do you have any special interests or hobbies?

Bass fishing, sports.

What do you like to do for recreation?

See above, camping, bird watching.

Care to share some random facts about yourself, special thoughts, etc?

I enjoy sports of all kinds, but fishing is number one! I compete in Bass tournaments and won seven tournaments two years ago.

Do you own any collections?

Antique bass lures

Do you have any special talents?

I’m a musician and a songwriter.

What are some accomplishments that you are proud of?

Made PFC out of Boot Camp, winning bass tournaments, surviving the leopard attack! Winning a Wammy in less than two months for Animal Life answers for 2008!

Do you have any special goals or dreams?

To mentor young Sups here so that they will carry on the excellent tradition of WikiAnswers! Oh, to live to 110!

What brought you to WikiAnswers.com?

Just ran across the site one day – thought it would be fun!

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers.com?

It is fun!

What is your favorite WikiAnswers.com activity?

Running down vandals!

How would you describe yourself or personality?

Extrovert, happy most of the time, very aggressive personality!

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

WikiReviewers: ready, set, edit.

You are the hidden wiki-warriors.

Yes, you. You, who can’t let the answer sit there with a ‘there’ instead of ‘their.’ You, who will never surrender to the ‘ur’ and ‘pls’ of txt speak. You, who needs to fix just one more spelling mistake before you call it a night.

You, masters of the keyboards behind the minor edits.

WikiReviewersThere is now a WikiAnswers Community program just for you: WikiReviewers. The WikiReviewers are dedicated to increasing the quality of the site’s content by clarifying questions, correcting spelling and grammar, balancing answers, and more.

There are separate divisions of the WikiReviewers which target specific tasks: Archive Researchers, Literary Editors, and Copy Editors. There are also Editors at Large; more about the breakdown:

Literary EditorLiterary Editors: The Literary Editors’ main job is to locate and confirm plagiarism. They will also add resources to Q&A’s and do rewrites.

Archive Researchers: Archive researchers tackle questions that have remained Archive Researcherunanswered for long periods of time. Some of these will be more difficult questions, and will need some looking up. They may recommend some of the more interesting selections for the featured questions list.

Copy EditorCopy Editors: The Copy Editors work on spelling and grammar across the site. They will clarify answers and balance out one-sided or skewed statements in answers.

Editors at largeEditors at Large: In addition to these divisions, there are Editors at Large. The Editors at Large work with all three other divisions to help them complete their tasks.

The Managing Editor for the WikiReviewers is Myrab51. To receive more information, send an e-mail to WikiReviewers @ WikiAnswers.com (no spaces). Be sure to include your name, username, division you are interested in joining and age. Each member of the WikiReviewers takes a quiz on spelling and grammar before joining, and has to be a minimum of 13 years of age.