Judging by Wikipedia popularity, who are the most important historical figures of all time? According to one algorithm, it’s 18th century scientist Carl Linnaeus, followed by Jesus. According to a modified version of the algorithm, it’s Hitler, then Michael Jackson.
In fact, the full lists of top influential figures compared among 24 different language editions of Wikipedia differ substantially, according to a recent study. The one thing they all had in common? The top 30 to 60 figures, across all lists, were mostly post-17th century Western white guys. On average, only 10% of the lists were female.
Listen to Wikipedia, inspired by Listen to Bitcoin and created by Mahmoud Hashemi and Stephen LaPorte, transforms the worldwide editing process into a relaxed global orchestra. A celesta plays whenever an addition is made. A clavichord sounds whenever something is deleted. The higher the pitch, the smaller the edit.
“I think one of the things that most 21-year-old people should do is to recognize now that you can make life choices which control your expenses, and that controlling your expenses is one of the most crucial steps toward the kind of financial independence that you need in order to follow your dreams in the future. Whether it is a change of job, or an entrepreneurial dream, the less you NEED to spend each month, the easier it is to follow those dreams.”
Every Wikipedia entry has an optional feature we take for granted—geotagging. An entry on the Lincoln Memorial will be linked to its specific latitude and longitude in Washington D.C. On any individual post, this may or may not be a useful thing. But what about looking at these locations en masse?
That was a question asked by data viz specialist and programmer Olivier Beauchesne. To find out, he downloaded all of Wikipedia (it’s open-source, after all) then used an algorithm that would assemble 300 topical clusters from popular, related keywords. Then he placed the location of each article in these topical clusters on a map. What he found was astounding.
“Eventually, Beauchesne’s maps evolve to something more than the locations of everything in the world. They become the locations of, quite simply, everything we know.”