Wikipedia becoming a must in today’s life

Updated 18 January 2016
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Wikipedia becoming a must in today’s life

Can you imagine the world without Wikipedia? Ponder upon this question for a minute, if your answer is something else than “no, of course not!” then you must be living on a different planet, not on Earth!
It is hard to say that something has “changed the world as we know it,” but in the case of Wikipedia, it comes so easy and effortlessly, it is not an exaggeration, it transcends to the status of a fact.
The mega encyclopedia platform that is observing its 15th anniversary these days provides free access to more than 38 million articles, edited by around 80,000 volunteers, and written in 250 languages. It is a huge storage of human knowledge.
It is one of those rare platforms that started with a specific mission and ended up achieving its goal.
When Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started it in 2001, they wanted to create something to sum all human knowledge and make it available to every single person on this planet under one condition, it should be free!
A crazy vision, some might say, but they made it. In a sense, Wikipedia could be named the only project in history in which thousands of people participated in creating it and pushing it to success. The word “wiki” has all new meaning today in the language we use, and in our understanding.
How this project financially survived throughout the years is a success story in its own. Wikipedia’s business model is strikingly unique and successful.
The website kept running based on volunteer driven donations only. The website features no ads and no sponsored articles although such an approach could have provided it with some decent money given the huge number of visitors the site is receiving on a daily basis.
“The organization has always been dead set against the idea of advertising or sponsored pages or links on the site, even though this could easily keep it afloat based on the number of visitors to the site.
But going forward, Wikipedia will keep the donor model, despite being a hard slog,” wrote Madhumita Murgia in the Telegraph.
However, Wikipedia is planning to introduce a new initiative to keep its non-for-profit model afloat; the additional money will come from a new endowment created for Wikipedia and overseen by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, as reported by Mashable.
“The Wikimedia Endowment will start with less than $1 million donated by the estate of Jim Pacha, a software engineer who died in 2014, and then build toward a goal of accumulating $100 million by 2026. Wikipedia won’t begin drawing money from the endowment after it’s fully funded,” the report said.
It is one of those websites that defines what the whole Internet is all about; connecting, sharing, and enriching human lives. It is important for Wikipedia to stay and get bigger and better.
“We stay very mission-driven,” its co-founder, Walles says.
“One of the things that we are focused on is the idea of having an encyclopedia available to every person in the world in their own language. As you go in that direction, these (requests for money) are some of things you need to do to build that long-term dream.”


Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

General view of a landscape of partially thawed Arctic permafrost near Mould Bay, Canada, in this handout photo released June 18, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2019
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Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

  • “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonize our economies, and immediately”

LONDON: Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.
“What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters by telephone. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.”
With governments meeting in Bonn this week to try to ratchet up ambitions in United Nations climate negotiations, the team’s findings, published on June 10 in Geophysical Research Letters, offered a further sign of a growing climate emergency.
The paper was based on data Romanovsky and his colleagues had been analizing since their last expedition to the area in 2016. The team used a modified propeller plane to visit exceptionally remote sites, including an abandoned Cold War-era radar base more than 300 km from the nearest human settlement.
Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognizable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.
The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks — waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.
Torn between professional excitement and foreboding, Romanovsky said the scene had reminded him of the aftermath of a bombardment.
“It’s a canary in the coalmine,” said Louise Farquharson, a post-doctoral researcher and co-author of the study. “It’s very likely that this phenomenon is affecting a much more extensive region and that’s what we’re going to look at next.”
Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.
Even if current commitments to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement are implemented, the world is still far from averting the risk that these kinds of feedback loops will trigger runaway warming, according to models used by the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
With scientists warning that sharply higher temperatures would devastate the global south and threaten the viability of industrial civilization in the northern hemisphere, campaigners said the new paper reinforced the imperative to cut emissions.
“Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes,” said Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International. “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonize our economies, and immediately.”