Dikgang: Questions of Realities

Dikgang Kekana is a 19-year old university student in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He also happens to be one of our contributors here at WikiAnswers.  His username is Dikgang.

This week he has shared a most thought-provoking poem with the “Poetry Cafe.”  He wrote the following poem in 2008 while attending a math tutorial.  Dikgang explains “The lecturer was covering the chapter on absolute values and there was an instant wherein he alluded to the discipline’s supremacy – that some aspects were unquestionable, but within them there was cause for question.”  He further adds “I was just struck by how one could twist reality for [oneself], twist definitions and accepted standards.”  He now strives to follow in the footsteps of some of the great intellectuals in the discipline of mathematics.

[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!]

“Questions of Realities,” by Dikgang

I feel a million words rush through my fingers, a million ideals, ideals that can shape our collective realities. I have visions and thoughts that every time upon their summoning they dare to challenge the accepted and mundane. I have prophecies and epiphanies that refuse to surrender hostage of my mind, ever seeking the source of that decision that ultimately separates me from all the rest.

I keep finding myself in a variable reality that I sometimes control, I can sometimes tell what yet isn’t. I have impulses that scream to be named, scream to be made, scream to be known and acknowledged. As soon as I put them on a canvas an image is to behold. What we thought was, now isn’t. This very same thing I cannot express in exact testimony has got my heart enraptured and senses unknowing of their tastes. How can I create these… illusions? How can I imagine to challenge the impossible? This formless inspiration that dwells in the depths of my twisted inner core that wishes that my real reality was real as it was to me changes shape by the minute and stalks my conscience until it strikes yet again and leaves me disillusioned and questioning everything and anything.

With this one entrapment of still, motionless beliefs and possibility I can translate to infinite pages of uncharted knowledge, I do dare to challenge the known and the accepted. How can I not? That feeling wants to hear of nothing else but its own manifestation. It catches and taunts me in the middle of my daily bread as the apparently diligent lecturers go about telling their subjects of what is known and is possible.

How can I bear this torture and still be sane and still exist between these realms that cannot coexist? Do I choose one and abandon the other, ever wondering what the other would have brought me, what fruits would it have bore? I cannot but only suffer under this tyranny of ideas, thoughts, visions and epiphanies. Should I express these through my expressions? That only raises eyebrows. Should I keep it in? That is only normal… and… sedate! Don’t I deserve a little insanity? Insanity that is at least different, strange, outstanding. Can I legitimately assume a little instability? Instability is after all possibility. Instability is the state of not knowing what is to happen next, what is to define the subsequent time frame that the observer exists in.

How do I tame this beast? I don’t want to. I want it to ravage my mind further so I can continuously shape my ideals and definition of reality. I want it to feed my drive, my essence that can with ease inspire and baffle professors of the highest degree. It is this that lays on forth me the blueprint… of my success. Yes, finally there’s something that balances the forces that are against me. Balance is what we all ultimately fall back on by default and hope to eventually attain. There’s something that wishes for me to continue onward and inquire on the workings of my predecessors and of nature itself. I am yet to ask my questions and I am yet to be answered. Until I am, I’m free to explore, free to assume my own reality in this reality. Until then, I can choose to believe.

Congrats, October AnswerThon winners!

This past weekend was an exciting and intense AnswerThon, mainly due to the fact that the first prize is a $1,000 Amazon gift card… Not to mention, 34 other prizes available to other winners and runners up!

Keep in mind, the folks mentioned below managed to answer hundreds – and some over one thousand – questions in a 48-hour period over the weekend.

So, on to the winners. Drum roll, please….

FIRST Place goes to Blue, who clocked in with over 1600 answers!

SECOND Place is taken by Aggie80, a past champion who answered over 1200 times!

THIRD Place prizes are awarded to Fuzzy Logic (1100+), Porkchop1802 (900+) and Steven Keyman (900+).

The thirty RUNNERS UP include: HisPowr4U, Darksyde, Anandvijayakumar, EndTrans, Xuxa, Ftaylor13, Chemistry4thewin, Ananddave, Jadeacres, Ibbag, Manikkpudur, George McCasland, ThePigWhisperer, Blackwolfspirit, Jute, Squirrel Man, Ilovebulldogs, Webby08, Mathdoc, Funbelow, EducationsAdvocate, Idisjunction, Hilmarz, Kharrima, Bluedolphin30, Armoryhistorian, Ginezumi, MattApril, C.Hainsaw, and Wiki Gator.

Thanks to everyone who participated this weekend! And congrats to the winners. Until next time… you are the AnswerThon champions!

Stay tuned for some news regarding future contests coming soon… All I can say is, more contests, more often. I said, stay tuned!

Paint the town orange!

The Orange Guy.

You’ve seen him grace the pages of Answers.com in his various costumes, roles and forms. You’ve seen his friends parade around the Community: Decoded page, displaying the kinds of programs and positions you can join on the site.

And today, the Orange Guy (the brainchild of renowned illustrator, Leo Blanchette) has officially joined the Answers.com family. Did you know he began his career here as an icon for a quick promo ad? That was his lucky break, since he has since evolved into one of the most memorable images on the Answers.com sites.

A little bit of background:

Name: Orange Guy
Location: Everywhere the community goes
Current profession: The Answers.com Community Mascot
Past professions: Pirate, Mailman, Secret Agent, Racecar driver, Chef, Scientist, Writer…
Hobbies: Helping community members around ReferenceAnswers and WikiAnswers.
Website: www.jesterartsillustrations.com

Read up on the rest of the Orange Guy’s biography and get to know him and his creator, Leo Blanchette, who said “he came up with the idea over two years ago while driving 30 miles to work. After running out of gas and walking 2 miles to the nearest gas station he got serious about the concept.”

Well, whatever works. As Leo says, “Paint the town orange!”

WikiAnswers All Natural Val

It seems everywhere we turn nowadays people are talking about organic foods, healthy lifestyles and green products. It’s about feeling good and getting back to basics. Well over on WikiAnswers we learned a long time ago that the best things in life are all-natural. In fact, one of our all-time greatest Contributors is the one and only Natural Val. When asked about his user name, Val had this to say “I have been fascinated by all things natural ever since I can remember. I enjoy being outside and feel the greatest calm and contentment when I am in nature.” Val has been a dedicated WikiAnswers Contributor and Supervisor since early 2007 focusing mainly on science and health-related topics.

Here’s more on this preservative and additive free star wiki-er:

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

I supervise: Biology, Human Anatomy and Massage Therapy. I also like to answer questions in the sciences and health related areas.

What other badges do you hold on WikiAnswers?

I am a Silver Contributor, getting close to Gold, with almost 15,000 contributions. I was awarded a medal for 1,000 Trust Points and I was in the Top Twenty AnswerThon Charity Edition.

What is your first name?

My full first name is Valentin, a variation of Valentinius, one of three Roman Emperors. The names Valentine and Valentino are also variations of the name depending on which part of Europe you originated from.

Would you care to tell us about your family?

I have two older sisters. I am single, never married.

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

I live in North Carolina and just moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve been here for about 4 years. Before that I lived in San Diego, California for about 16 years.

Where did you grow up and what are some special memories of your childhood?

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of my memories are about how different I was from the other kids because I was born in what used to be Yugoslavia, now Serbia. After we moved to the US when I was six, I encountered a lot of embarrassing moments when other kids would make fun of me because of my unusual name and that my parents both spoke English with a heavy European accent. My earliest memory of this was my first Halloween. All the kids had costumes and I had no idea what was going on. I was at my friend Greg’s house. And since he had Muscular Dystrophy, he didn’t go out Trick-or-Treating. So we stayed inside and gave out candy instead.

What educational information would you like to share?

I have a Bachelors Degree in Photography and Cinema, a Masters Degree in Art, emphasis in Photography and Video Production and a Holistic Health Practitioner Certificate for Massage Therapy.

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

I am mostly an educator and teach Massage Therapy Courses. I also teach Continuing Education Courses for professional Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers.

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

My area of knowledge in Human Anatomy is a result of teaching the topic for many years. The reason I enjoy being a part of WikiAnswers is because it gives me a chance to expand my knowledge on the subject and also practice my teaching skills by answering questions.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

All my hobbies and collections are directly related to teaching massage therapy. I have a small collection, mainly decorative items from Thailand. I have made three trips there to study Thai massage, and I have brought back with me tapestries, singing bowls, gongs and other items to decorate the space when I teach to make it feel a bit more like Thailand.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I enjoy yoga, chi gong and martial arts.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I have had a mustache since I was 16. I am a bit OCD when it comes to locking doors. Sometimes I check, and double check them before I leave my apartment or car. I have 6 pair of the same shoes. I have been called ‘Mr. Practical’ by family members ever since I gave my mother a can opener for Christmas when I was 8-years-old.

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

I have a unique ability to ‘read’ people. With my skills that I have acquired in my years of teaching and giving professional massage, I have heightened my senses to be able to find ‘spots’ of tension in people. At a demonstration I did at a Massage Therapy Convention where I was teaching a course on Bodymind Therapy, I located the source of a woman’s pain in about a minute. It brought her to tears when I gently touched it to bring her awareness to the trauma that was locked inside.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

Working at the Deaf Community Center in San Diego and teaching ASL, and reading and writing English to pre-literate deaf people from around the world.

What are your special goals or dreams?

To continue teaching massage therapy until I retire and move to Thailand.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

Most people find my outer personality to be a bit ‘anal-retentive’, but I am mostly a quiet person, even shy at times. I truly let myself out when I teach. I get very animated and enthusiastic. My shyness disappears and I am in the moment, the zone, and my whole focus is on helping others become more of who they want to be.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

I found it on the web and answered a few questions. Then I got a message from WikiAnswers Community Coordinator, Crystal, that she really liked my answers and invited me to be a Supervisor.

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

The love of answering questions. It’s the teacher in me. I’ve always wanted to help other people ever since my sister, Ofelia, taught me to tie my shoes when I was three. Her act of kindness sparked something in me that I’m sure was already there, it just gave me so many feelings of gratitude that it grew into a strong feeling and I felt that I had to do the same for others.

National Bosses Day – Honoring the Leader of the Pack.

fistThere is probably no holiday more controversial than National Bosses Day; A day created  to celebrate and appreciate the work of one’s boss. Huh!? You heard me right. No, not Employees Day…  Bosses Day.

The term ‘boss’ alone elicits fear, hate, disdain and so many other negative emotions and gastric reflexes, it is surprising that such a day even exists.  Many workers refer to it as ‘Pain-in-the-a$$ Day,’ ‘Suck-up –to-Satan Day’, or many other endearing terms that would best be defined using urbandictionary .com and some parental advisory.

So, Why do people hate their bosses so much? asks a WikiAnswers user.

A: It’s pretty simple-  The boss is in a position of extreme power. You are the subordinate;  weak  and helpless- the vulnerable underdog.
Let’s face it; No one likes getting ordered around, being told what to do and when to do it. Bossman, or Bosswoman,  can analyze your weak  performance and point out your imperfections . They can break you down slowly and silently so by the end of your your 9-5, you hand in your time card along with your dignity. Bosses can reduce your hours and your self-esteem. They can  rearrange your vacation days, create tension in your workspace, and hold  an invisible pink slip over your head.  The Boss says jump and you must  say ‘how high’.

Yipes! Why does this day even exist!???

I will tell you, my friends. It exists because every now and then you will come across a rare gem. Believe it or not, there are indeed bosses out there that do the best for their employees, that care for them, that even worry for their well being. I jest with you not.  When those above us choose to use their power  to create a person instead of destroy him, to train employees on how to use their skills for the benefit of the company  instead of belittling their errors, when the boss  promotes an environment of cheer, where thoughts and opinions are welcomed instead of suppressed – it humbles us. So much so, that the few that exist deserve a national holiday.

Leaders can reign through fear or love. Those who reign through love rally up the troops to help protect  and Richard simmonsimprove the whole. Those who rule with fear have much more success in the beginning but almost never succeed in the long run. Feared leaders must always worry about being overthrown. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and Simon Cowell rule through fear. Gandhi, Princess Di, Churchill, Lincoln and  Richard Simmons rule by  love. In such a confusing world, what would nature have us choose?  There are many  animals that live in packs, pods, and other social groups, just like us . They also have one defined leader – so how do they succeed?

Well this is the part where I should say through love, that we should learn to hug and cuddle one another the way a group of fuzzy baby gorillas in diapers do- but it’s not the case. Most animal groups that have a leader- the alpha male (the rare alpha female and alpha pairs also exist)-are established via violence, force and terror .

  • Take your typical pride  of lions. If Mr. Lion King wants to take over the pride, he fights the current alpha. If he wins, he kills all the offspring of the previous male (infanticide) and drives away any teenage competition.
  • wolfThe Alpha wolf stands at the head of the pack. He leads the hunt, and gets first dibs on the kill. Although the members of the group share the rest of the freshly caught meat -along with the perks of protection and territory, they are reproductively suppressed. In fact,  if a male wolf so much looks at the Leader’s mate, he’s in trouble… Wolves use eye contact to establish rank and a wandering eye can mean a slash across the jaw.
  • Next we have the hierarchical society of the common chicken. Throw in a few more hens – and chaoscockfight ensues until a new pecking order is established. Even worse, throw in a rooster and you have an all out cockfight on your hands. And they fight to the death by the way (care to place any bets, Pedro Martinez?).
  • Alas, what about those baby gorillas mentioned? You guessed it; when they grow up they lead through fear – grunting, pushing and intimidating the heck out of the competition. Sometimes the males do cooperate with one another; If it involves mutiny.

In all these cases, groups stay successful for short periods  of time until the current leader is ousted, killed, or dethroned to a lower rank.

So wake up and smell the office coffee! Next time you are lucky enough to have a boss who doesn’t stare you down or cockfight you to mental  death, smile and appreciate it.  When your boss doesn’t eat your firstborn or intimidate you, realize how lucky you are! This goes against nature! Give back to your giving boss! Buy a cupcake and balloon and say ‘Thank You’ on National Bosses Day.

On behalf of myself and all the lucky employees of Answers.com, thank you Bob.

And they’re off…

Well, in a few more hours, that is.

The AnswerThon begins tonight at midnight, EDT, and continues for the next 48 hours through Sunday night.

Hope you’ve been practicing… Word has it that past winners are flexing their champion typing muscles for this one. Big prizes at stake.

In case you haven’t already, read the rules so you know in advance and don’t have to backtrack.

See you on the other side!

Love is a bar code…

My love for answers is like a bar code. Each time I click on a new question to explore, I hear the little ‘ding’ of something going through the checkout, like a supermarket of information.

“There’s a spill in asle 4!”

Oh no, my friend. That’s not a spill; it’s the spreading of knowledge.

Photo credit and Foto Friday support from the spectacular SarahI.

Greekgoddessgirl Explores the Meaning of Life

Greekgoddessgirl is one of the dedicated WikiGuides in the Community Outreach program on WikiAnswers. When she’s not contributing to WA you might find her expressing herself through painting, writing a book, or of course writing poetry.

The following poem explains her idea of the meaning of life. She notes that it is hard to describe life in one short poem but that this sums it up pretty well. She enjoys writing poetry based on what she feels at the moment: overjoyed, inspired, angry, sad. It helps her express herself when she can’t any other way. Greekgoddessgirl stops by the Poetry Cafe this week with her poem below.

[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!]

The Meaning of Life, by GreekGoddessGirl

Rules are meant to broken
Promises meant to be kept.
Doors are meant to be opened
Tears meant to be shed.
Mean coments are meant to be ignored
Feelings meant to be felt.
Music is meant to be played
Hearts meant to melt.
Roads are meant to be taken
Dances meant to be danced.
Criminals meant to be shaken
Loved ones meant to pass.
Hardships are meant to be defeated
People meant to be loved.
Messages are meant to be deleted
Work meant to be done.
Lost children are meant to be led
Prayers meant to be prayed.
Compliments are meant to be said
Helping hands meant to be laid.
Sadly this world’s full of strife.
Determination is the best we can give.
This is the meaning of life.
And life is meant to be lived.

A lesson in gossip, girl.

Admittedly, I don’t watch Gossip Girl, but just as admittedly, I do enjoy the occasional celebrity gossip. One place I go to check out the latest is the Celebrities Q&A category of WikiAnswers.

But in case you’re not just interested in hearing the gossip – but, gasp, speaking it – today’s Video Answer, submitted by Pbramwell and yrotmaharg, will help you out:

How do you gossip?

A first prize worth $1,000.

You read that right.

The first prize for this weekend’s AnswerThon is worth $1,000 (that’s an Amazon gift certificate to spend on whatever you like). And second prize ain’t too shabby either, at a worth of $500. And did I mention three third place winners will get gift cards worth $250? How many iPod shuffles is that?

So… I hope you’re gearing up for answering the most questions in 48 hours… How, you ask?

  1. Review the contest rules before Saturday so you are clear on how to answer before the time comes; why waste precious contest time to familiarize yourself on how to play?
  2. You can prepare a list of unanswered questions from any category on WikiAnswers in advance that you’d like to answer for the contest. Remember, answers must be at least three sentences long, all of which include relevant content for the answer.
  3. Clear your schedule! Make sure you have the timing right depending on which time zone you’re in. And make sure you leave yourself enough time; there have been quite a few AnswerThons in the past and the veterans know what they are doing. Don’t underestimate the amount of questions you will need answer… We’re talking number of answers ranging in the three to four digits zone!
Just to remind you of the time zone information:
This edition of the WikiAnswers AnswerThon begins at 12:00 am (EST) on Saturday (late Friday night), October 24, 2009. The event ends 48 hours later, at 11:59 pm (EST) on Sunday, October 25, 2009.
Adjust for your time zone! Leave any questions in the comments… And start flexing those intellectual muscles!

Elosery: More Than Meets the Eye

One of the things I love best about Answers.com is its unique, diverse community. Over the years, I have been privileged to meet people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Doctors, engineers, park rangers, teachers…Mothers’ of the Year, beauty queens, valedictorians… the professions and titles are endless. But what I find especially fascinating is getting to know a contributor and then finding out there is more to them than meets the eye (or mouse click). Take, for example, this week’s featured contributor – holder of a Nobel Peace Prize. That’s right. In 2005, a distinct and very prestigious award was given to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, for their efforts “to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.” Among those to be honored was our very own Elosery. Here’s more:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

This happened coincidentally, as I was searching for some information on the Internet and found an answer on the site.

Please explain your user name.

It belongs to my family name (El-Osery).

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the Answers.com community?

I feel happiness when I find myself giving information to others or correcting some misinformation given to someone – helping others. It’s the same kind of happiness one feels when he or she gives to a charity. I also feel happy when I share information voluntarily that is specifically derived from my expertise, experience and knowledge. This is the same pleasure I feel when I teach in the university for undergraduate and postgraduate students in engineering .

What are your areas of expertise?

Mainly: nuclear engineering, energy systems, hydrogen economy, engineering economy, international and regional nuclear safeguards and computer modeling and programming (in addition to my amateur readings in comparative religions).

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

It is a good forum to exchange different views and share culture, especially in human and religious sciences.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

I cannot recall any specific funny questions, but I have found some amazing questions. Two questions that I answered: “Did the arch angel Gabriel have sex with Mary?” and “How is prayer significant in the lives of Muslims?

Please share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I am married and have one son, one daughter and five grandchildren. I am also a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005, sharing it as safeguards with the staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA Director General.

Plethora loves dreaming up poetry

Plethora is one of our talented bilingual WikiAnswers supervisors. She is active on both the English and Tagalog versions of the website and she LOVES WikiAnswers!

Plethora also loves writing poetry. She tried to write songs in high school but since she hadn’t learned to read notes her songs ended up becoming poems. Writing is now her obsession and she often sleeps with a pen and paper under her pillow so she can write down the words from her dreams. Now that is dedication!

We’re featuring Plethora’s latest poem (“Confused”) in the Poetry Cafe this week.

[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!]

Confused, by Plethora

Love, am I not so sure?
Do you really make one tremble?
Make one weak down into the knees

Surrender when I cannot swallow my pride
Clear my doubts when I keep changing my mind
You could melt my stubborn heart

Love, am I not too sure?
When I know I can do anything for you
I like everything about you
What more you can do?

Could you be compared to that of Romeo and Juliet?
Maybe Adam and Eve?

Love, what more can you do to me?
Do I have to be crazy, breathless or dead?

If this is not what I’m feeling,
Love, how deep is your meaning?

Movin’ on up… to #13.

Ready for a major announcement? Answers.com announced today a September comScore ranking of #13, up five positions from August. From today’s release:

…comScore data for September 2009. Answers.com’s combined U.S. unduplicated unique visitors reached 56.4 million in September, up 25% from 45.1 million in August. WikiAnswers had 46.3 million U.S. unique visitors and ReferenceAnswers had 21.4 million U.S. unique visitors in September.

According to comScore, Answers.com sites now have a higher audience than major brands such as CNN.com, craigslist and New York Times Digital.

Roi Carthy over at TechCrunch had this to say about the development:

What site has jumped five spots between August and September to become the 13th most visited site in the US, leapfrogging properties like New York Times and Viacom Digital?

Here are some hints: It’s listed on the NASDAQ. It was founded in Israel and its R&D center is located in Jerusalem. It has raised funding from high-profile angel investors Dr. Yossi Vardi and Ron Conway. Can you name the company?

The answer is— Answers.com.

Exemplifying that startups are long hauls, Answers.com, née GuruNet, has been plugging away since its founding in 1999. Ten years later, comScore’s September 2009 data places the reference and Q&A site as the 13th most popular site in the United States, pulling in 56.4M unique users. This is a whopping 25% increase on Answers.com’s August numbers.

Care for a fun fact? Based on unique visitors, WikiAnswers has crossed over and is the #1 community-driven Q&A site.

Congrats to the hard-working team behind Answers.com. Looking forward to more great news, products and site features!

Faking it or keeping it real?

We all do it. We fake it.

contactsWe faked  our age when we wanted to get into that bar in high school, we fake being sick when we don’t want to take an exam. We fake a bad cell phone connection when we don’t want to talk to the person on the other end of the line. We fake tans, fake eye color and fake hair. We fake our height with heels. We fake steak  with tofu and we fake diamonds with cubic zirconium.

Heck, we even have fake pets – cyberpug anyone?  We fake drugs for placebo effect. We fake manners to be polite. We fake work when we are tired. We fake boobs and we fake our gut (inhale deeply, guys).

Ever had to stand up and make a speech? Unless you were born with Obama’s oratory skills, you probably had to fake some confidence.  We fake sports, like the WWE. And yes – as Elaine said – we fake that, too.

Louis VuittonMost notable of all are fake labels. Yesterday my friend told me she got a monogram Vernis, Lois Vuitton bag –special edition Brentwood collection. It was $20, and it was fake.

She bought it  in Chinatown next to the fake perfume and fake Rolexes.
I can’t believe it! She said, “It even has the same inner lining as  the real one.”  She stroked her Louis with fragile admiration as though she had given birth to it herself.

“Jessica, it’s a fake,” I reminded her.

“So what!?  Nobody can tell, it looks real and that’s all that matters!”

Is that really  all that matters?

In a world where fakeness is everywhere, does it pay to be real?

In the Wild, many species’ survivability depends on being fake. How do animals  defend themselves in the wild by appearing to be something they’re not?, asks a WikiAnswers user.

  • A: Lizards such as the gecko and skink  are able to fake injury and loss of limbs. As the tail wiggles on its own,  it distracts the predator from the main entrée; The lizard can then run off and grow back its limbs in safety. Many Octopi have a similar talent- they can fake an arm amputation. The tentacles squirm while the octopus swims off in the opposite direction.
  • skinkPuffer Fish are small spiky marine organisms that can blow up to 300% their size when scared-going from ‘tennis ball’ to ‘spiked basketball’ within seconds. Although it looks scary, it’s fake. The fish is just full of hot air.
  • At the Sriracha Zoo in Chonburi, Thailand, A female tiger, who had lost her cubs, nursed fake offspring: piglets adorned in tiger-print costumes.
  • Opossums fake death. ‘Playing possum’ is a well known animal defense mechanism .  When fear  sets in the opossum produces  biochemicals that induce a near coma, and release a foul ‘deathly’ smell from the anus. What self-respecting predator would want to eat yesterday’s leftover lunch meat?

diamondIn the animal world, faking it means making it. Animals fake it in order to protect themselves from danger. Whereas when people fake it, we are often putting ourselves in harm’s way. Fake tans can mean skin cancer. Fake IDs can mean DUI’s and jail time. Fake diamonds can lead to a sad fiancé. Fake Louis Vuittons can mean an end to free enterprise. And what about fake relationships – do we fake love?

Should you go out on a fake a date with a guy in order to get the guy you really like jealous?, asks a WikiAnswers user.

A: Bad idea!
What if this “fake date” makes him angry instead of jealous and he decides to go out with someone else instead? And what about the fake date. If he really likes you he will be hurt when he finds out you just used him. A good relationship takes honesty. Faking a date to make someone jealous will just end up hurting all 3 of you.

heartSo there you have it: physically speaking, a little fakeness can go a long way, but mentally, you gotta keep it real.

Are you ready to AnswerThon?

It’s been a while, and the folks at Answers.com are not only hosting a shiny new AnswerThon from October 24-25, but are upping the ante with a first prize worth – wait for it – ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

The AnswerThon is a competition held for contributors from all levels, categories and areas of the Q&A community.

During the AnswerThon, you must answer as many questions as you can in any categories over 48 hours. It’s all for the sake of winning fabulous prizes – oh, and spreading your knowledge! But mostly for winning fabulous prizes:

  • The FIRST PLACE winner will receive a $1,000 Amazon gift card.
  • The SECOND PLACE winner will receive a $500 Amazon gift card.
  • Three THIRD PLACE winners will receive a $250 Amazon gift card.
  • Thirty RUNNERS UP will receive WikiAnswers merchandise.

A little more on the details:

This edition of the WikiAnswers AnswerThon begins at 12:00 am (EST) on Saturday (late Friday night), October 24, 2009. The event ends 48 hours later, at 11:59 pm (EST) on Sunday, October 25, 2009.

Only answers that are posted within this timeframe and in accordance with the contest rules will be counted as part of the contest.

It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s WikiAnswers Dfoofnik!

printalienFor the longest time, I wondered about the persona behind the user name Dfoofnik. What did it all mean? Was it some secret code for a secretive underground association? Pirate talk? Just who was this masked WikiAnswers contributor? Well I recently got some insight… When asked about the history behind his user name, here is what Don (and it is NOT Donald) had to say: “Dfoofnik” is a variant of my longtime alias “Duffle Foofnik” or just “Foofnik” in comic book and SF fandom. “Foofnik” is Yiddish for “faux” or “fake”, so it seemed the ideal pseudonym. It derived from a reprinted article (illustrated by the legendary Basil Wolverton) for MAD magazine in the 1950’s.”

In that case, we’ve all gone MAD for the real Dfoofnik! Read on!

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor?

I am a Category Supervisor for English Spelling and Pronunciation, and for Origami.

What other badges do you have on WikiAnswers?

I am a graduate of the Mentoring Program under the highly competent Amlove32. My other badges are Platinum Contributor and 500 (now 600) Trust Points.

Please tell us about your family.

My mother is a lifelong resident of Louisiana, where I also reside. My twin brother lives and works in the Los Angeles area. He is the father of my two nieces and two nephews. His daughter and her son (his grandson) are residents of the Seattle area.

Do you have any pets?

Not currently. Over the years I have had a string of cats, mostly black, and may soon be adopting a local stray kitten.

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

Born and lived my entire life in the New Orleans area. The weather is warm, the people are mostly friendly and the culture is incredible (but something I often take for granted).

Where did you grow up and do you have any special memories of your childhood that you would like to share?

When my brother and I were 10, my father began building houses in Metairie, a suburb of the city. The area was just developing and had a distinctly rural character (woods, weeds and the Lake Pontchartrain shore) despite its burgeoning suburban location. So it was a controlled and limited wilderness, with some wild animals but a supermarket just twelve blocks away. We also had a succession of small boats.

What educational information would you like to share?

Attended University of New Orleans, 1970-1977, with no degree but credits in 16 different degree subjects from Math to Journalism.

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

Air Traffic Controller (petty officer 2nd class) in the US Navy Reserve, convenience store manager and USPS letter carrier (now retired).

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

My interest in language, literature and spelling derives from my extensive reading in fiction and non-fiction. Space science, SF and general TV knowledge comes from research and personal experiences. I have a “steel trap” mind and forget very little of what I see or read.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

I have a comics collection of some 40,000 issues, a VHS and DVD library of several hundred films and TV series, and the world’s largest collection of losing Louisiana lottery tickets

What do you like to do for recreation?

This is limited at present, because I am adapting to retirement. Most of my free time is spent on WikiAnswers and watching old movies on TV.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

As a high school senior, I captained my high school team on the local Prep Quiz Bowl television show, a local variation of the College Quiz Bowl show. In 1970, my twin was on the same team. The previous year, I was one of the two junior members.

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

Owing to excellent muscular control, I can write readable letters smaller than the average person can read.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

My service with the USPS, which was a dedication to providing “my” customers with the best possible service, even under extraordinary conditions (the aftermath of four major hurricanes, including Katrina).

What are your special goals or dreams?

To get a spot on Jeopardy (getting past the doomed legions of applicants for an audition is the tough part).

How would you describe yourself or personality?

I am smart and usually considerate, but I also have strong opinions and sometimes express them abrasively.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

An odd question about space in January, 2008. Later that year, I corrected a number of inadequate answers and became interested in correcting errors, as I have for some time on Wikipedia, where my major contributions have been in readability.

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

It is addictive, because there are always little bits of knowledge to discover and post.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity

I have been editing and amending answers for the Poptropica category ever since I retrieved 100 Big Nate Island questions from the “useless” catch-all in February 2009. I have extended this activity to relocating and merging alternates for all 9 islands. As the “big kid” of that game site, I have tried to ensure that most of our answers in the category are both correct and understandable.

Spreading poetry Worldwide(520)

WORLDWIDE520 (a.k.a. Chris) is one of the most prolific WikiGuides you’ll find! Chris reached Noble WikiGuide status on August 4, 2009, little more than a month after joining Community Outreach.

In his spare time, he also likes to write short stories and poems (one day he’d like to publish a book of them) or play video games. Chris is also an avid volunteer and enjoys helping out at his local food bank. He views WikiAnswers as one way to make a positive change in the world.

Without further ado, Chris is stepping up at the Poetry Cafe with his poem “The Mountain Scene.”

[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!]

The Mountain Scene

There is a calming effect about a placid lake-
The crystal blue glass, barely making a wave,
The only sounds are movements we make.
The wind softly whispers through the trees,
Nature’s beauty is all we see.
The sun makes crests sparkle like gems;
The mountains around glow a soft red.
And next to me a pine stands dead, those of its kin planted around,
Tall they stand, tall and proud- oh, so beautifully holding their ground,
Through driving wind and biting cold,
I see before me Nature’s beauty unfold.

- Chris Kaplan ’09

Answers.com sponsors Online Community Summit.

Answers.com’s WikiAnswers is proud to be a sponsor of Forum One’s Online Community Summit, taking place today and tomorrow in Sonoma, California.

Answers Corp’s Chief Strategic Officer Bruce Smith will be speaking about the WikiAnswers Q&A community at the conference.

Here’s a little more background info about the conference:

The Online Community Summit is an industry-leading, invitation-only event bringing together leaders in online collaboration. The goal of the Summit is to allow practitioners from many disciplines — who would not ordinarily meet — the opportunity to share current and best experiences regarding online collaboration.