Fascinating Science Wiki-Spirals

I spent the whole weekend travelling. It was pretty great, but boy are my arms tired. Wait, I don’t think I set that joke up correctly. Never mind that, I have a point to get to! And the point is this: when I am traveling, I like to read something light and interesting, and with huge long layovers in airports with nice WiFi services, wiki-spirals were the natural choice. Here are three I particularly enjoyed.

List of Phobias ““ I started on this one because I have a fear of flying. Feel free to get all Jungian on my ass, so to speak. There are real phobias, fake phobias, and non-psychological phobias. None of the articles on a particular phobia go into too much depth, but the original article about phobias in general is fairly comprehensive. I’ve always been fascinated by what we fear and why we fear it. Phobias are particularly interesting because often they are fears that even the people experiencing them recognize as irrational. And yet, the knowledge of irrationality is not enough to override that fear response. It’s interesting to think about.

Poisonous Mushrooms ““ Okay, this one comes from just my fascination with how delicious non-poisonous mushrooms are, but I really got sucked in when various folk traditions related to poisonous mushrooms are listed and evaluated for accuracy. I mean, the scientific names and the descriptions of the toxins and their effects are cool, too, but I really like exploring traditional knowledge. Side bar: I wish that there was a record of where the folk knowledge came from and which mushroom species were there and then evaluated for accuracy. After all, some folk knowledge may be relevant only for a specific area and it would be inaccurate to dismiss it just because it did not apply to every area or every species ever.

Tragedy of the Commons ““ This issue, which arises when people working for their own best interests use up all of a resource and ultimately hurt everyone, is a popular topic of discussion in environmental policy or natural resource-use debates. The article leads to some great examples of tragedies of the commons. There are some great stories there. If being theoretical is more your bag, there are plenty of links to similar dilemmas. It’s a good distraction.

What are some of you favorite wiki spirals?

7 replies on “Fascinating Science Wiki-Spirals”

I call these “Google Adventures” and they tend to start out with a question like “What exactly does ragweed look like?” Each time I have a random question that I have always wondered about, and I experience a sense of wonder that I can just look it up on the Internet instead of going to a library.

I get lost in history – usually as a result of a posting made here. :)

I start with the main article and then trail down any links that sound interesting. It’s just chaos.

I find myself looking up from the screen wondering what time it is, how long I’ve been “gone” and how the hell I ended up where I did. “Where did I come from?!”

I think Wikipedia is one of the greatest things to come out of the Internet – besides Maru. :)

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