Wikipedia's rapid compilation of information on topics of interest to an Internet audience brought another citation from the press last week. A widely reprinted story from the Anchorage Daily News related how U.S. Senator Ted Stevens' comments about the structure of the Internet (in a debate about legislation addressing network neutrality) earned him considerable ridicule. Discussing the reaction, the article noted that Wikipedia's article on Stevens "already includes a lengthy recap of the tube speech and its aftermath."
After last week noting vandalism to the article on U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, The Salt Lake Tribune followed up by pointing out another Wikipedia oddity of local interest. This time it was the article on Ralph Becker, highlighted by columnist Paul Rolly. Writing about Utah's current House Minority Leader of that name, Rolly noted that Wikipedia described him as a former ambassador and World War II veteran who was nearly a century old ... except that he had died in 1994.
It appears that Rolly had followed a link from the Utah State House of Representatives article. However, the link to Ralph Becker had since been turned into a biography of Ralph Elihu Becker, who happens to be the father of the Utah legislator, as Rolly afterward pointed out. Ta bu shi da yu cleaned up the situation by converting Ralph Becker into a disambiguation page and starting a stub on the younger Becker.
The Guardian ran the latest profile of Larry Sanger and the Digital Universe project, first announced last December. The article discussed both the portal aspects of the project, which are beginning to be fleshed out on the site, as well as the not-yet-visible encyclopedia planned to accompany them. Also covered was a side project of Sanger's called Textop (short for Text Outline Project), a collaboration planned to synthesize texts into "a single outline of human knowledge." Although Textop is "under the broad umbrella of the Digital Universe Foundation", it apparently is being hosted by Sanger at his own expense.