In the News: What Curious People!

One of the great joys of the internet is that it allows largely unfettered access to new and thought-provoking information about new and thought-provoking people, places, things, and ideas. Wikipedia is perhaps the simplest, and possibly best, example of the horizon-widening nature of the ‘net: You start out looking up arcane trivia about Star Trek, and pretty soon you’re reading about swinging and sex parties and… you get the idea.

What’s really awkward is that it’s fairly inevitable that at some point you’ll actually find a use for whatever you learn that way, which will inevitably lead to awkward questions – and even more awkward answers – from friends and coworkers. “How come you’re such an expert on The Shocker, then?” “Um, I was browsing Wikipedia looking for information on 19th-century British ships of the line, and, um, yeah…”

The thing about Wikipedia, though, is that it provides at least a little context for its little pearls of wisdom. The same is not necessarily true of other educational resources… even well-respected news outlets.

Consider, for example, this BBC article on a nudist hotel in Germany. As I write this, it ends with these paragraphs:

Read that carefully, please.

There are 50,000 members of a large nudist association. Got that? Good.

I find it much more interesting that, indeed, “Many more Germans are believed to enjoy bathing…naked.”

I know Germans can be weird, but… don’t most people bathe without clothes on? I mean, swimming is one thing (possibly borderline NSFW!), but…

Funnily enough, this apparent teutonic propensity for bathing with clothes on appears nowhere in Wikipedia… yet. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I need to go fix that…

On a mostly unrelated note, here’s a screen capture of the top four most-viewed news stories on the website of The Independent:

There’s a joke there, somewhere. 🙂

Published in: General | on April 2nd, 2009| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 4/7/2009 at 7:43 pm Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake Said:

    I suspect a linguistic confusion. While it’s not exactly a strict definitional difference, this British use of “bathing” (British. the act of bathing, esp. in the sea, a lake, or a river; a swimming bath.) is what we would normally call “swimming”. I was about to make a remark along the lines of “silly Brits” when I realized, thinking about it, that what most people do at a beach actually is a lot closer to bathing than swimming.