Archive:Monthly Write-a-Thon/January 9, 2008

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What's a Write-a-Thon?

It's a bunch of people getting together on a wiki at a particular time to do a bunch of writing. It's like an online party! Heck no, it is an online party! It's also an excuse for infrequent wikiers to show up and party hardy; to exchange ideas with people we might not "meet" otherwise.

But hey, why not show up in between the write-ins, too!


Write-a-Thons happen the first Wednesday of every month. The next Write-a-Thon is Wednesday, January 9th, 2008. This month's Write-a-Thon was delayed to better accomodate vacationers and partiers! Crystal ksmiletris.png. Save The Date! Put it on your calendar! Set yourself a reminder!

On another note, this is the first Write-A-Thon of 2008! Let's make it a good one!

Any new article you create, and any edit you make to somebody else's Write-a-Thon article during that time period will count, though to be a bona fide partier, you have to write your new articles when it's that day in your part of the world.

Our first Write-a-Thon took place Wednesday, August 1, 2007 and was considered a roaring good time--we had about 30 partiers creating something like 50 articles, and editing lots.

What are the rules?

Rules? This is a party! There are no rules!

Well, OK, maybe there are a couple rules:

  • We'll have a Write-a-Thon the first Wednesday of every month.
  • To participate, you only have to do two things: (1) start a new article (even just a stub will qualify, if not too short - and please remember to include the subpages template!), and (2) make a substantive edit (not just a copyedit) to somebody else's new article. Then you can list your name here as a partier. Until then, sign in as a porch-sitter, party-crasher, or total party poop.
  • Larry Sanger recommends (but does not require!) attention to:


Create an article, already!

Check it out: Start an article!

Now (this time anyway) easier than ever! Stubs are not only permitted they are encouraged!

The Partiers

Later in the game, Aleta returned as she had threatened promised. Spent so much time greeting and inviting people to the party (hope I didn't bug folks too much), that she allowed the washing machine to overflow--three times. Had to remind some of the guys that some FABULOUS WOMEN can play tennis, too! Don't think I'm done with causing trouble yet! Aleta Curry 19:21, 9 January 2008 (CST) I forgot to mention that I had always fancied myself a member of the aristocracy. And Pierre-Alain has just let me know that we have a good three hours left--tee--hee-hee--how much more trouble can I cause? Aleta Curry 21:01, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Nereo "bad boy" Preto did nothing so far, but is keeping his place in this list warm for the next few hours... Against the rules? Well, come and find me if you can!
Hey, look at that! Oceanography now has a Bibliography subpage! This guy is not that "bad" after all...
...and, oho! Here comes the Burgess shale! THIS is a jump in the past!! (By the way, why don't we have "bibliography" and "past"?)
just for completeness, I did some work on Fossilization. I also introduced a minor correction in the Wikipedia article "Solnhofen", hope you don't mind...
  • Louise is now a partier because she has added her bit about glasses, although at this stage she can think better in pictures than in words.Louise Valmoria 02:40, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Louise is in the middle of writing a long article about Prague, except something happened to the template for her intro and she doesn't know what ... guess that's a cue to get back to some core articles. Much more shortly. Louise Valmoria 17:55, 9 January 2008 (CST)
My father went to medical school in Prague. Never been there myself, but he swears it's wonderful. Aleta Curry 19:21, 9 January 2008 (CST)
It's absolutely gorgeous in Prague, and for the rest of the Czech Republic and the region, actually; very full of historical significance. Far too many interesting places I can think of to list them all here, but I'll be writing articles about them all soon enough :)
On writing articles, a little bit of motivation came through to write about the European Convention on Human Rights. People are demanding we eat now so I ought dash--happy writing!Louise Valmoria 20:14, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Derek Harkness heard that them down under had some Brandy but it turned out to be an empty bottle. So yet again it fell to him to bring the drinks. Since Derek's Scottish, and it's new year, he felt a tott of Whisky was in order. The day before, Derek had visited (real life) Shenyang Imperial Palace, a UNESCO heritage site, and noticed that wikipedia's article on the same was rather poor, so started work on something better. He also read up on some early history of Beijing.
  • Russ sitting in the corner, felt the need to contemplate the meaning of it all and sketched designs for his own Mausoleum on the back of an envelope. --Russ McGinn 11:36, 9 January 2008 (CST) Although, a quick article about the subject of the greatest true love story of all time, Mumtaz Mahal, soon saw him reintroduced to the party.
True love...awwww.... Aleta Curry 19:21, 9 January 2008 (CST)
LOL--really enjoyed that--both the drink and the story about it! Odd choice of insult--I wonder if the good reverend sir didn't mean "Phillistine"? Aleta Curry 20:23, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Thanks for that, Warren. That'll teach me not to have cheesy tele-ads in the background while writing CZ articles! Louise Valmoria 16:50, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Bringing the bacon home, or about to with his next article, Hayford Peirce first established his credentials with some edits to existing articles about Whisky and presidential elections, then rolled up his metaphorical sleeves and began an article about the incomparable P.G. Wodehouse. Later today, ere the midnight deadline, he will also write some stubs about two Plum's greatest creations, the befuddled backwoods peer Lord Emsworth and his prize piggy (don't let Lord Emsworth hear you call her that, he'll fire you on the spot!), the immense, and prize-winning Empress of Blandings. Wodehouse, incidentally was so prolific, and wrote so quickly, that long before the age of the personal computer he contrived a special typewriter that used a long cylindrical roll of paper in it, so that he didn't have to waste time by putting separate sheets of paper in and out.
    • I imagine a dialog between Plum and his doting wife in the 1930s: "How much did you do today, dear?" Instead of "Oh, eight pages," he'd reply, "Oh, about seven and a half feet...." We should all be so endowed....Hayford Peirce 17:31, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Pierre-Alain, after starting the most superficial of all core articles in health sciences (skin), had to ask some insecticides to Aleta Curry, to protect it. He's afraid that this won't protect it against the sting of acupuncture needles.
  • Larry Sanger, yeah, so, so far I've been doing stuff in e-mail, not the wiki. I'll be here later, doing core articles...just you wait!
Promises, promises! Aleta Curry 15:15, 9 January 2008 (CST)
I'm here! Whee! I updated the Core Articles lists, which I deem makes me a party crasher, if not a bona fide partier... --Larry Sanger 20:38, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Okay, we'll buy that. Aleta Curry 20:55, 9 January 2008 (CST)
And now I have visited Ancient Greece, so it's official! Toga toga toga! (What, no toga article?) --Larry Sanger 21:13, 9 January 2008 (CST)
We might be seeing more new people than usual in the next day or two. I just send out reminders to people who joined us, but who haven't contributed at all, since the last big reminder. (Total = 125.) Should be interesting to see how effective nearer-term invitations are. --Larry Sanger 22:17, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Keen-as-mustard and jumped the gun

Porch sitters--article creators who didn't edit a new article

  • Louise is party pooper no more, as she has written a brief start on one of her favourite games, SimCity. Soon to come will be an article on her favourite spinoff, SimTower. This month she hopes to chip away at some core articles (SimCity was one of them) but will need to remain a porch sitter until some other new article creators come and join the party.
Also, because Derek said last time that Australians never seem to shout the group, Louise has gone to find some really nice brandy. She does have some 'Waldbeeren'--forest fruit liqueur--and she got it from Austria. Write-a-Thon participants are welcome to share :) Louise Valmoria 15:39, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Thanks to Chris for updating the Write-A-Thon page; Louise is making a mental note to ask him how to do that. She has written a brief stub on elevators, but now has to toddle off to the doctor, and will possibly bring home some hydraulic engineering reference texts when she gets back. Happy writing, everyone.Louise Valmoria 16:41, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Still a porch-sitter. Hi James, hi User:Aleta Curry. Has written a short intro to the Constitution but is not too happy with her writing style, so is going to review the CZ:Article Mechanics again as well as work on some other core articles. Back soon. Also--major painkillers, so expect weird questions ;) Louise Valmoria 21:49, 8 January 2008 (CST)
[raises hand} Weirder than usual? Sounds like somebody had a trip to the dentist! Aleta Curry 23:45, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Not dentist, fortunately. If I couldn't speak physically I would be writing effusively (with several chat programs running in the background) :D
Also, intended to be bold and kick off a core article we need on art, and ... wrote a tiny stub instead because this one is hard. I can come back and edit this with more details about art, but am finding the initial introduction quite difficult. But at least it's started. Please feel free to pitch in here, partiers! Louise Valmoria 02:13, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • James F. Perry created article Encyclical and then followed up with an article on Humanae Vitae, only slightly fearing 1) that it is pretty roughly hewn for such a controversial topic, and 2) it may be a bit too serious for the general party atmosphere hereabouts.
Don't worry, we can handle it.
  • Jitse missed the previous parties, but is trying to electrify this one.
Thanks! It's better than using candlelight At least you moved us out of the Dark Ages! I'll go link washing machine. Aleta Curry 21:05, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Denis forgot to post here until reminded by Aleta. He did have a go at making a stub for Lizzy herself though...
You also visited Edinburgh and drank some whiskey. I see all.... Aleta Curry 20:50, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Party crashers--contributors who didn't create a new article

  • Ian -- Crashing parties is a favourite pastime of mine. So I took the lift up here.
  • Anton didn't make it to the party on time, but still managed to sneak a whisky. Anton Sweeney 14:32, 9 January 2008 (CST)

Shy Boys, absent-minded profs, and other modest creatures

Thanks, all, and sorry if I missed crediting anyone. Aleta Curry 20:54, 10 January 2008 (CST)

The total party poops

Go ahead, admit it!
  • Louise doesn't know how to update the monthly write-a-thon page, but is here and is going to be a party poop until she actually writes something (hopefully, soon). She is, however, contending with an inconvenient illness (migraine just to start, but it's a bit more than that and may either contribute stubs or wait until later this evening. She is here, though. Also, she wants to put up a great art history photo she took in Germany about a pretzel but has no idea if we have an appropriate usage for it :) Louise Valmoria 15:11, 8 January 2008 (CST)
  • Robert - Possibly not this time, we'll see. I have a lot on my plate.
Poor kid. Is that why you jumped the gun? Aleta Curry 00:35, 9 January 2008 (CST)
I started garbage. Enjoy! --Robert W King 13:41, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  •'re asking us to enjoy the garbage??!! Aleta Curry 15:15, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Matt had high hopes that this would be the month that he could party with the big dogs, but is running out of steam!!! it that late already? See ya next month! Aleta Curry 17:10, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Todd has been lost in his own little world, editing stuff he left hanging a few months ago. But since Aleta asked so nicely, he stopped in to say hi! That should count for something, right?
You betcha! Much appreciated! Aleta Curry 17:10, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Joe Quick had an afternoon class and an evening class. And an unannounced, mandatory after-class meeting. AND has an unexpected, mandatory fieldtrip in the morning, for which he is required to do a bunch of reading. Hopefully he'll make it back and add something to the party just before midnight, but things don't look promising.
Maybe his stub from last Wednesday, when the write-a-thin was originally scheduled, about a popular Mexican tourist destination counts?
Yeah--you, Louise, Chuck and who knows who else? All jump-the-gunners! Aleta Curry 14:31, 11 January 2008 (CST)
  • Richard thought he got to the party on time, but it turns out he was delusional as his edits were almost two hours late.
You and Zach and Steve--missed-the-boaters count this month, too! Aleta Curry 14:31, 11 January 2008 (CST)


You ask--we answer. Ask anything. Keep it clean, now.

Things that make you go "hmmm..."
Well, as far as I know, time do not passes at the poles. That's why people wanted to reach the poles despite the difficulties of expeditions: to life forever. They then discovered that poles migrate, so that it is technically impossible to stay at the pole - someone tried to follow it, but without a roof upon his head, he died frozen. The project was then abandoned. Besides, a maximum of two guys globally could possibly live forever. And they are too far apart to fight and decide who'll be the "highlander". This shows how misleading movies can be. --Nereo Preto 01:59, 9 January 2008 (CST)
The same time as everywhere else. Derek Harkness 09:52, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Live forever in a frozen waste? Well, okay then...! Aleta Curry 15:12, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Some people will do anything for immortality ... Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Nereo raises a whole lot of interesting questions.
  • How did they know which pole to follow if magnetic north is not the same as true north?
  • If time doesn't pass at the poles--that would be, there is no day and there is no night, and minutes and hours have no meaning--the earth still revolves around the sun. So wouldn't aging still occur, just in years?
  • Even if two guys could possibly live for ever, wouldn't the minute they step away from the pole they'd immediately age?
  • By the way--dude, now I totally understand what highlander was all about. That film completely baffled me. Thanks!! Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Highlander', film? I remember Highlander (Television series) which I enjoyed far more than I would now admit.... Aleta Curry 17:40, 9 January 2008 (CST)
You've not seen the film, starring Christopher Lambert?! Admittedly it hasn't aged well, but it was excellent. (Important thing is to remember that there are no sequels - even if you see films claiming to be sequels down at your local Blockbuster...) Anton Sweeney 18:05, 9 January 2008 (CST)
... there was a television series? Is the Highlander (Film) based on that, or the other way around? Also I feel a bit ripped off, because I'm pretty sure I've also watched a 'sequel'. Heh.Louise Valmoria 18:09, 9 January 2008 (CST)
No, Anton, I completely missed the film--what cave was I hiding in? (wikigroan-- Christopher Lambert/Connor MacLeod--oh dear oh dear.) Lou--It looks like the TV series was based on the film. Aleta Curry 21:27, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Why do commuters in peak time still like reading over other people's shoulders when they have their own reading material at hand? Louise Valmoria 21:57, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Because you might have something better, of course, whereas they can read their own stuff any old time. Besides, curiosity never killed nothin' 'cep maybe a few hours.... Aleta Curry 23:43, 8 January 2008 (CST)
  • How is it that kids can come up with the most stunningly discerning questions? Is it just that they haven't been overloaded with information yet, so they can see things from their unique perspective? Louise Valmoria 21:57, 8 January 2008 (CST)
No, they just ask directly whatever seems logical at the time. As opposed to the rest of us, shackled by propriety into ignorance. Aleta Curry 23:43, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Hmmm, excellent point. Maybe we should all find a child and ask them what they want to know about the world, and start writing (simplified) encyclopedia articles about those too.Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Whoa! What a great idea! Louise, you are smarter than the average bear! Aleta Curry 17:13, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • I want to know why it is that so many people who don't volunteer to do any of the needed work themselves, nevertheless have such an easy time of it telling the people who are working exactly what they *should* be doing? Aleta Curry 23:47, 8 January 2008 (CST)
Hm, sounds like micromanagement to me; on the flipside, if someone is a perfectionist and they are trying to delegate their work to someone else, it's an oblique sign of trust.Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST) <-- a perfectionist who has worked under perfectionists before, and learned a lot from the experience.
  • Where is the middle of nowhere? Louise Valmoria 02:21, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Rovigo, northern Italy. --Nereo Preto 06:43, 9 January 2008 (CST)
LOL--I shall report you to its fair citizens! Aleta Curry 19:44, 9 January 2008 (CST)
...if you can find them. I use to know one, but he moved to Ferrara and now he's happy. --Nereo Preto 03:04, 10 January 2008 (CST)
  • If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and there is nobody there to hear it, and assuming that there are air particles to create the resultant impact waves so there is a sound ... what does it sound like? Louise Valmoria 02:21, 9 January 2008 (CST)
    • "WHOOPH!" -or- there is no diaphragm around able to interpret the result of the air vibrations. --Robert W King 09:16, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Hey, great answer Robert! Also, you've just made me think that if we write articles about diaphragms, we'd actually need disambig pages for them. At first I was thinking of the one in the abdomen before I remembered my old electronics classes.Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • How many times can you reuse the same word in once sentence back to back while still being grammatically correct. e.g. "The 'the' in the students sentence was incorrect." Here I have use the word 'the' twice back to back. Can anyone do more than twice? Derek Harkness 09:52, 9 January 2008 (CST)
The bored bare bear bared his teeth. ;) ...said Brown Bear (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
Oh! That's cheating! Aleta Curry 17:08, 9 January 2008 (CST) (But then again, all's fair in love and write-a-thons!)
The The The album, "Soul Mining", is well worth a listen! Anton Sweeney 18:05, 9 January 2008 (CST)
You say "my, my!" Then I say the same thing. Then I say: Your "my my" was mild and unprovocative, but as to my "my, my!"--my, my! --Larry Sanger 22:22, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Prize goes to Larry for five "my" in a row. I can beet him with. Look at that, "That." That, "That" that that, "That", that that man wrote, followed, is not written neatly. This get's me nine 'That's in a row. We could also have Jenny Had and Tom Had. The had a boy called Had Had. The boy that Jenny Had and Tom Had had had (Had Had) had had had no dinner yet. Which gets me eight 'had's. Derek Harkness 06:14, 10 January 2008 (CST)
?????????? (But, does this count?) --Nereo Preto 07:29, 10 January 2008 (CST)
It's well past party end time, However I thought of another. Look at the time, it's 1:38pm. If I write 1338hr then it's twenty two to two too. Derek Harkness 08:53, 10 January 2008 (CST)
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. This is a grammatically correct sentence; in fact, Wikipedia has an a entry for it. That's eight in a row with no other words. See the article for an extension to eleven in a row. —Eric Winesett 23:08, 10 January 2008 (CST)
  • What exactly is a Shy Boy? --Ian Johnson 13:42, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Fellows who work away on Work-a-thon Wednesday without signing up. We haven't had any *shy girls*, for some reason--wonder why that is? (Yeah, I know--leaving myself wide open with that one) Aleta Curry 15:10, 9 January 2008 (CST)
A sense of propriety is asking me to hold my tongue on so many levels for this one ...Louise Valmoria 17:03, 9 January 2008 (CST)
hahahahahahah-ouch [the sound of me getting a stitch from too much laughing!] Aleta Curry 17:08, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Where's Hayford??? Aleta Curry 17:08, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • Does the wind really come sweepin' down the plain in Oklahoma? Aleta Curry 19:44, 9 January 2008 (CST)
  • I have a number of articles for which I was a major, or even the primary contributor for Wikipedia. I've sensed that there is a reluctance to use articles from Wikipedia, so I've done but a few. On the other hand, I think they are good articles and I could only make minor improvements in them at this time. With one of them, I made a start to write a brand new article, but when I got about halfway through, I looked at the already prepared one and there wasn't much difference for all the work. Should I go ahead and move these? David L Green 22:24, 9 January 2008 (CST)
My own feeling of reluctance stems from the use of other people's WP articles, on moral and professional grounds. There's certainly no rule against it, and not everyone shares my view.
I feel no such qualms about one's own writing. You will almost certainly improve it when you move it, and we usually want to maintain (in the CZ sense) our own stuff. I feel that, even if others have added to your work, they might not have done so without the sound framework--or the idea--the original author provided. I can't tell you whether or not to move your own work here if you feel it's meritorious, I can only say that I would.
If you use someone else's work, including work that is mainly yours but to which (an)other(s) have contributed, you must tick the "from Wikipedia" box. If you use only your own original writing (i.e. WP copy is your work alone, or you edit out anyone else's work) you do not tick that box.
Aleta Curry 17:54, 10 January 2008 (CST)

Question of the month

  • My dog always turns around in a clockwise direction when she lies down. If we were in the Southern Hemisphere, would she turn in the opposite direction? David L Green 22:26, 9 January 2008 (CST)
Oh, please, someone answer to this!!! --Nereo Preto 07:31, 10 January 2008 (CST)
That is hilarious!! Aleta Curry 17:54, 10 January 2008 (CST)
Ok Aleta, of course it is. But what your dog actually does? Could you provide a statistics of all your animals? Is the clockwise rotation of your dog significant? --Nereo Preto 02:44, 11 January 2008 (CST)
I really just wanted to post to giggle, but I'll try for a serious response. I'm not an animal behaviourist, but I think the answer could be this: behavioural laterality is where individuals establish a preference for using certain behaviours based on receptors in the brain, or particular appendages, that are associated with a particular cerebral hemisphere. (i.e.: we might recognise this as 'handedness'--are you left handed, or right handed?) It suggests that once your dog has established a preference for turning in a clockwise direction, they will continue to behave with that preference (unless given reinforcement to do otherwise) no matter what hemisphere they are in.
A longer answer I had in the beginning, regarding hemispheres and the ability of animals sensing magnetic fields, I think would stretch the existing evidence. I don't think dogs require the ability to sense the earth's magnetic field to be able to navigate or to affect their left/right preference--the area they cover is too small. Aleta knows more about dogs specifically, though ...
But if dogs do really turn in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere, I would then want to know what they do at the equator!Louise Valmoria 03:28, 11 January 2008 (CST)
I don't think that they can "sense" magnetic fields, but they probably definately have a concept of "orientation" much as we do. Whether or not our sense of orientation is dependant on our position relative to the equator is perhaps, the heart of the issue! For the record, however, one of my cats who sleeps next to me has a preference for turning clockwise as well! --Robert W King 08:49, 11 January 2008 (CST)
Yeah, the magnetic fields thing was a bit of a stretch--I was thinking of birds, but I also though laterality would be consistent within a specied regardless. However, I don't have a pet, and I'm going to have to directly observe this to confirm it, but I just checked out some pictures of my sister's dog (who is in the Southern Hemisphere), and ... guess what. In both pictures where she's sleeping, she turns anti-clockwise!Louise Valmoria 11:20, 11 January 2008 (CST)

We can answer to this. I suggest we do a statistic on our pets, and put together an article to publish here. Believe me, we are going for the IgNobel prize. Seriously! --Nereo Preto 05:32, 11 January 2008 (CST)

The answer to this question is obvious. While the toilet flushes in the opposite direction in Australia, [1] it is evident that the theorised (yet rarely spoken of) Dog/Plumbing correlation holds true. Denis Cavanagh 05:47, 11 January 2008 (CST)
  1. See the Simpsons Episode where Bart and his family have to apologise to the Australian government
Nereo, my dear: I am the epitome of what Conan Doyle meant when he said, "You see but you do not observe." Believe me, I shall take a keener interest from now on, but for the present the only things I know for sure about a dog's orientation is that they will turn butt-to-face (their butt, your face) to pass wind; although dogs presumably curl up into a ball to den in the wild, in domestic situations they lie laterally, taking up disproportional amounts of room on the bed and thumping you someplace tender in the process. Also, the likelihood of their lying directly in the path of one's oncoming feet is directly proportional to the danger level: like, are you standing at the top of the stairs?
Denny, that's one of my all-time fave episodes!
Lou, took me a moment to get that--duh! Cute!
Aleta Curry 14:16, 11 January 2008 (CST)

It's a wrap!

Unqualified success. How we've grown--I couldn't read all the articles in the one day! Wow! Also, so many people were working away that I'll find it hard to remember to remind everyone next month--help!! Aleta Curry 21:02, 10 January 2008 (CST)

empty form

Official libations

  • Inaugural - beer!
  • September - champagne
  • October - we were refurbishing the bar and only had coffee!
  • November - made up for last month with more vodka than was good for us and plenty of rum.
  • December - eggnog and wine
  • January - Whisky and the Cocktail of the Month, a pharisee

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