Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, August 28, 2021

wiki trendIt’s not often that I pimp for the magazine I work for on this blog. Fact is, I don’t think it needs my help.

But as quality as the content is most months, I really think the current issue of Florida Trend (September 2005) is especially outstanding. If this issue doesn’t haul in a bunch of awards, I’ll be shocked. It’s not often that I’m completely blown away by every feature story, as well as the cover piece.

Speaking of which: The profile on Jimmy Wales and his fast-growing Wikipedia empire offers up an enlightening look at the origins and future direction of the ambitious collaborative knowledge well.

I’ve known about the Wikipedia-Florida (specifically, St. Petersburg) connection for some time now. But it’s still neat to get the background on Wales, the proclaimed “God-King” of Wiki enthusiasts everywhere. His plans for expanding the enterprise, mainly through the for-profit Wikia Inc. and its Wikicities community sites, suggests an intriguing monetization prospect for the entire come-one-come-all content-creation concept.

I’ve been critical of Wikipedia in the past. Specifically, using it as a reliable and sole source of information strikes me as the equivalent of citing a piece of graffiti. I still feel that way, and certainly wouldn’t accept it if it were submitted in a story or argument. Certainly, it can be used as an initial pointer toward deeper research — a role that most people negelct — but that’s it.

Still, I can separate the merits of the product from the merits of the business model. And just taking into consideration Wales’ former life as an options trader, he certainly knows how to make money. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been annointed, financially and professionally, by none other than Internet cognoscente Joi Ito:

In addition, Wikipedia has become a powerful, attractive brand, says Joichi Ito, an internet leader in Japan and the CEO of the venture capital firm Neoteny. Ito, who has helped Wales raise an initial $1 million for Wikicities, believes Wales has created enough consumer loyalty to make a for-profit Wiki model work. “Jimmy and Wikipedia are THE Wiki brand.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/28/2005 11:38pm
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Internet, Publishing
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U.S. federal agents have raided the Maryland home of Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

Does this mean they’ve finally found the culprit behind all those Nigerian spam scams?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/28/2005 07:00pm
Category: Comedy, Internet, Politics
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Do men with blue eyes live better lives? This hard-hitting report — citing Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Adam Grenier, and even the late Frank Sinatra — argues that blue-eyed gents use their peepers to score more with the ladies and glide to professional success.

Amy O’Connor, deputy editor at Prevention magazine, recalled her first date with her husband, [New York] Observer food writer Bryan Miller: a picnic along the Hudson River.

“He reached over to pour me a glass of wine and took off his glasses, and the sun was shining in his eyes, and they were so intensely blue-aqua, actually,” said Ms. O’Connor, 39. “I remember thinking, This is a beautiful man. I don’t think that that would have happened if he had brown eyes. They look like jewels. Women like baubles… I think the same thing that makes us like diamonds makes us like blue eyes.”

Ms. O’Connor suggested that Mr. Miller’s eye color had given him more breaks in life. “He never had to work very hard,” she said…

At least one man bragged that a sultry blink of his blue eyes greases the wheels at restaurants and nightclubs, sending him flying miraculously to the front of the line-like a genetically built-in, folded-up $20 bill.

Perhaps a 33-year-old (hazel-eyed) hedge-fund analyst named Ken put it best: “Blue eyes are like boobs for guys.”

Hmm. I wonder how Sinatra would have reacted to being called, “Old Boob-Eyes”?

From personal experience, I have a friend, Tom, who has very striking blue eyes, and he was certainly never hurting for women during his bachelorhood. Wasn’t too bad in business, either. So maybe there’s something to it.

If word of this gets out, get ready for some major copycatting:

Fuck the new black. If you want to be just like Jude Law and Brad Pitt — that is, score yourself some prime ass outside the confines of a committed relationship — go grab your color contacts and your sky blue Lacoste polo.

This brown-eyed guy is sold. I’ve already got the Lacoste shirt, so I’ll get me my colored contacts tomorrow! (Actually, I’d be curious to see just how they look…)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/28/2005 05:27pm
Category: Fashion, Society
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Congrats go to Sticks of Fire for making the St. Petersburg Times’ Blog Spotlight. Well-deserved recognition.

I wonder if being in that Spotlight gets you a spike in traffic. I haven’t seen any increases since the blog directory went live, which is something of a surprise (but not a huge one, since they haven’t run any stories to promote it). I seem to be getting a few visitors because of it, and I’m glad to, but it hasn’t been the big rush I was expecting.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/28/2005 05:01pm
Category: Bloggin', Florida Livin', Media
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Don’t look now, but the intelligent design debate will likely crop up in Florida next year, when the state’s educational science standards come up for regular review.

Education officials doubt it’ll make the state’s curriculum. But parties on both sides of the ID debate are sure to make a lot of noise before it’s all done. And it appears the campaign has already begun, on a grass-roots level:

[Bob] Orlopp, the Pinellas science supervisor, said over the past year he has received calls every two or three weeks from parents who object to Darwin’s theory. For years, he received none.

The assumption seems to be that Florida, with a Bush in the governor’s mansion and its red-state pedigree, would be ideal for the intelligent design agenda to make inroads. And the general dissatisfaction with the public school system, which is perennially underfunded and institutionally set to remain that way, would lead to calls to challenged to the established system.

However, there’s one fly in the ointment that might prevent Tallahassee from welcoming the debate. Jeb Bush has staked a lot of his legacy on the incentivized arrival of the Scripps Research Institute to the state. The major selling point for offering Scripps millions of dollars is that its presence would spark the growth of a huge biosciences industry in Florida, establishing the state as a leader in that sector for the rest of this century. That, along with NASA’s established space program, is supposed to make Florida an attractive destination for scientific professionals and their higher-than-average stand of living.

Given that, how appealing would a state that teaches intelligent design be to scientists with families? Basically, the Governor would be working at cross purposes by advocating intelligent design in the classroom, while trying to persuade the best and brightest to plant roots here.

There are always stealth ways to achieve both objectives: Jeb can publicly remain neutral on the issue, while making sure his allies in the Legislature and in other channels do the grunt work. But it doesn’t seem like there’s much to gain, and there’d be a whole lot to lose on the Scripps halo effect, whether the state government was peceived to have pushed for intelligent design or not.

So for a number of reasons, it seems unlikely that Florida will be the next hot spot for ID nonsense. But you never know.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/28/2005 02:12pm
Category: Florida Livin', Politics, Society
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