Was climate change a factor in Hurricane Sandy?: Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record and has caused millions of dollars in damage. Naturally, Wikipedia covered it. But was Wikipedia's coverage unbiased?
Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record and has caused millions of dollars in damage. Naturally, Wikipedia covered it.
The page was created on 23 October as a brief stub detailing the newest tropical storm of the season. Over the following days, the page evolved and was retitled to reflect its upgraded status as a hurricane. Kennvido (Ken Mampel) quickly became the top contributor to the article. This in itself would not be worthy of reporting, but Mampel's interview in Popular Science with reporter Dan Nosowitz has caused controversy.
In the interview, he claims to have single-handedly kept any mention of the possible influence of climate change on Sandy's strength out of the article:
"Someone did put [climate change] in," [Mampel] told me [Dan Nosowitz] via email on the night of November 1st. "I took it out stating not proven. They put it in again. This time someone else took it out before I even saw it...warned the person...and it never was put in again." When I mentioned that many reputable scientists and publications have pointed out the connection, he said, "It's still in debate in the world community Dan ... even if EnviroGore thinks there is no need for debate."
The article unfairly focuses on Mampel's personal life, and certainly tries to paint him in a negative light, with an unflattering picture, posting many of the asides in his emails to Nosowitz, and focusing on his current employment status. As commenter Thyork noted, the article seemed like an "attack ad" and it seemed "as though you are begging your more extreme readers to [harass] the man."
With regards to the Wikipedia article, Nosowitz believed that the "problem" of excluding climate change would eventually be addressed, and this much has proved true. Mampel was blocked for 24 hours for edit warring related to the topic of climate change, and the article now includes a "Possible relation to global warming" section. The basic premise, though—that one editor was able to keep out any mention of an important part of a major article—is valid and has raised many questions about the true nature of collaborative editing on Wikipedia. As Nosowitz said in closing his article: "for days, the [I]nternet's most authoritative article on a major tropical storm system in 2012 was written by a man with no meteorological training who thinks climate change is unproven and fought to remove any mention of it."
Film distributor complains about spoilers: After plot details of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, leaked online after its European release (but before its release in the United States), the film's distributor, Sony, stated that "on a crowd sourced site like Wikipedia, it is difficult to police spoilers after a film has opened." The Signpost notes that this may be an insurmountable problem while films continue to be released on separate dates.
Small problem with license plate: A 26-year-old US man in Florida was arrested for driving recklessly and having false registration—his motorcycle's license plate was a cardboard printout of an image found on Wikipedia.
Opera, Sex, and Wikipedia: The Independentreports that a new opera, written by Toni Castells, is set to begin in London. Titled Light from Life, it takes its words from the Wikipedia articles sexual intercourse and family planning. The concept is far from new: the New York Times featured an op-doc in July ("Allergy to Originality") remarking on the rarity of true originality in literature and film.