Wiki Vandalism: A Play in Four Acts

February 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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I noticed something a bit odd when I looked at California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s Wikipedia page last week: a sneaky, subtle, nearly-unnoticeable jab at Whitman’s partisan identification: Instead of being listed as Republican, she is a “Republican.”

If you check out the page today (this screenshot was taken on February 9th) you’ll see that her political party is back to normal; like nearly all examples of vandalism on Wikipedia, it was caught and reverted. This is how it all went down:

Step 1: an anonymous user adds the quotations marks.

Step 2: the same user inserts “self-described,” and later decides “claims to be” is more appropriate, and apparently more important than correct grammar: “She is a claims to be a Republican”?

Step 3: a different anonymous user catches “claims to be,” because really, that was a novice move.

Step 4: a third anonymous user removes the quotation marks, and restores the balance in the Wikiverse.

EDIT: I looked a bit more into the kinds of edits this IP address has made in the past, and it seems to be someone hell-bent on changing any mention of the word “fetus” in a Wikipedia article to “unborn baby.” So, there you go.

[ screenshots from Wikipedia ]

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The 2009 List

January 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Last January I wrote a list of ten things that I had discovered or begun using in 2008 that had made my life all the more enjoyable and delicious. Many of those items—such as Jezebel, “Bones,” and peppermint bark—are still objects of my deep affections, but they are joined by these new additions from these past twelve months:

1. iPod Touch. My parents gave me a second-gen iPod Touch for graduation this past May, and it has served me incredibly well ever since. I was particularly thankful to have it when I was traveling in Europe for five weeks last summer, for my iPod functioned as not simply a music player, but also an email/internet device, translator, calendar, currency and temperature converter, and even a free phone (thanks to Skype!). It is such a lovely little piece of technology to have in my life.

2. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I brought three books to read on the aforementioned trip—The Devil in the White City, The Things They Carried, and The Joy Luck Club—but found myself short on reading material by the time we hit Athens, so I picked up a copy of Unaccustomed Earth from an English bookstore, remembering my mom’s affection for Lahiri’s books. I loved this book so much. It made me weep in public, and I practically read it in one sitting, I was that transfixed. Aside from The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman, which I read in October 2008, this was the best book I have read in years.

3. “Radio Lab.” This delightful podcast, which could be described as “This American Life” for science, joined “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “This American Life” in heavy rotation on my iPod this fall. On a friend’s recommendation, I both subscribed to the weekly episodes, and also downloaded some choice older shows, such as “Placebo,” “Memory and Forgetting,” “Mortality,” and “Morality.” And if you needed any more proof that it was awesome, Ira Glass said he loves listening to “Radio Lab.” Booyah.

4. Egg-lemon soup from The Joy of Cooking. I’m not exactly sure how this started, but this year I became obsessed with this soup, which is like a vegetarian version of avgolemono. I eat it about once a week, if not more frequently, and it is so fast and easy and delicious, especially when it is cold outside. It is this simple to make: Boil 3 c. broth, add 1 c. cooked rice, turn down to a simmer. Beat 2 eggs and the juice of 1 lemon in a bowl. While stirring the brother, pour in the egg/juice mix. Add a bunch of black pepper. Eat. Be happy.

5. “Dollhouse” and “Firefly.” I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the glory that is Joss Whedon, but this year I did so with gusto. It started in the spring when my friend introduced me to her and her roommate’s new favorite show, “Dollhouse.” I thought it was odd at first, but by the second or third episode I was hooked! Then another friend lent me her box set of “Firefly” DVDs, and then my boyfriend and I rented “Serenity” in June, and that basically sealed it. I am now officially a fangirl. Unfortunately “Dollhouse” was canceled halfway through its second season, but we all know Fox’s history of cutting great shows in their prime…

6. ModCloth.com. I give credit to Facebook’s impressive ad-targeting algorithm for introducing me to ModCloth, a clothing site they somehow knew I would love. Though I have yet to purchase anything from the site—mostly due to its expensive prices—the clothing they sell is totally my style, and I definitely plan on incorporating their wares into my closet soon.

7. Buffalo Chex Mix. Again, Facebook suggested I check out the winning recipes in a Chex contest to revamp classic Chex Mix, and on a whim I decided to cook up the first place recipe: Buffalo. Over the course of two weeks, I think I made four batches of the stuff, which is so incredibly addicting that my boyfriend and I consumed eights cups of the stuff in just three days. The ingredients are simple and the butter is plentiful. What more could you ask for in a snack food?

8. TOMS. I bought my first pair of Toms shoes (yellow with stripes and a braided raffia trim) last summer, and received my second pair (cranberry corduroy) for Christmas last week. Since I favor dresses but never wear heels—and, since moving to Northern California, have found that the flip flops I wore constantly in high school aren’t quite substantial enough for daily wear—I have been on the search for a good pair of flats are that are not simply cute, but also comfortable enough to wear for long walks to and from campus. Toms are the answer to this search, and the fact that they donate a pair of shoes for every pair purchased is the cherry on top.

9. “The West Wing.” I watched a few episodes of “The West Wing” when it originally aired ten years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that I sat down and began watching the series episode by episode. What an incredible television program! I am constantly moved to cheers or to tears, and am constantly reminded of why all my politically-inclined peers are obsessed with this show: because it makes you want to grow up to change the government and the world.

10. Hip Hop Music. I have no idea why, but for some reason this year I was drawn to hip hop like never before. Radio stations (such as Z90 in San Diego) that I previously avoided on the dial became my preferred stations, and all my favorite songs of the year seem to be hip hop songs, such as “Run This Town,” “Empire State of Mind,” and “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”

The White House Gingerbread House

December 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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I’m not sure why, but I’m not a big Christmas person. I love the spirit of the holidays—spending time with my parents and siblings, seeing my extended family, and giving and receiving gifts—but the whole, glitter-and-holly-explosion-the-day-after-Thanksgiving and radio-stations-that-only-play-Christmas-music thing, it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not even a distaste for the commercialization of the holiday or anything like that; I’m not really sure where this comes from, really. But mostly, aside from being excited to see my family, I generally feel “meh” about the whole Christmas thing. (Though I do love hot apple cider and peppermint bark from Trader Joe’s: YES.) Nevertheless, I am totally digging the White House gingerbread house this year. There’s a little Bo The Dog in front of the steps, and the best part is the organic garden on the side! Such an adorable touch! Tis the season, ya’ll.

P.S. Apologies for my prolonged absence from this blog; I have been working on graduate school applications, which I just finished two days ago!

[ image from Obama Foodorama ]

Just want to get this off my chest:

October 28, 2009 at 12:49 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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How can the same people who believe that government is inherently inefficient and ineffectual, and thus should be limited as much as possible, argue that, if the public option were to pass and the federal government entered into the health care market as a competitor to existing insurance companies, the government would be so good at its job that it would drive the private insurers out of business?

America’s Best Dressed Family

October 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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The Obamas

I mean, come on: have you ever seen a more attractive family? Beautiful, colorful, comfortable, happy, smiling—and this is heading home from church! And on a personal note, I adore the fact that all the girls are wearing flats! Huzzah!

[ image from Jezebel ]

Old Ladies + Satire = WIN

September 26, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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No question, the best part of this photo is the sign on the far right: “LET THEM EAT ADVIL!

[ image from Jezebel ]

Want

September 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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58298356This dress from Jason Wu’s Spring 2010 collection. I love what Jezebel says about it: “Michelle Obama has this on hold.” What higher compliment is there, really?

[ image from Jezebel ]

UPDATE: These is hope after all!

March 4, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What was I thinking?! I totally overlooked a MAJOR FASHIONISTA who rarely wears anything BUT flats: Michelle Obama! All hope is not lost!

[ image from the Huffington Post ]

SHE’S EVERYWHERE!

February 8, 2009 at 4:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Blago's WikiI was looking at Rod Blagojevich’s Wikipedia page the other day when he popped up under the “In the News” banner—and to think that some people bash on my use of Wikipedia as my home page!—when I saw something odd that really made me crack up. As the screenshot at left shows, among Blago’s “Political Positions” we find such staples as health care and gun control… and then a little something new: Oprah Winfrey.

Obviously I can see that this was merely a way of mentioning the situation regarding Blago’s appointment to senate and the imfamous talk show host, but the way it’s organized makes it seem as though a politician’s opinion on Oprah is as vital as his opinion on foreign policy, gay marriage, or the economy. Next thing you know, Anderson Cooper will be doing hard-hitting interviews regarding Gavin Newsom’s opinion about Jennifer Aniston. Or something like that…

[ screen shot from Wikipedia ]

January 20, 2009

February 1, 2009 at 10:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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(originally written January 20, 8:23 pm)

INAUGURATION DAY!

Was today awesome or what?? I know Sasha thought so, right girl?

The tone of the day was incredible. I am lucky enough to attend a university that has a history of, and passion for, political awareness and activism, and today was no exception. Sproul Plaza, the campus’s main quad for those unfamiliar, had not seen a gathering of this size since, I would imagine, the 1960s. TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE is the estimate the newsfolks have been giving. Ten thousand! That is INCREDIBLE!

Everyone I encountered seemed joyful, even giddy, at everything today is, and, more importantly, everything it represents for the future. There was bubble blowing, music making, people dancing, babies laughing. As my mom said, “Usually when there is such a large assembly of people it’s because they’re angry and they’re protesting. But today, everyone was just happy!”

I arrived on the scene at 7 am, so I was able to see as the whole thing unfolded and the masses arrived. A glimpse at the scene:

Sproul Plaza

The aerial shots are even better. This was truly a historic moment across our country and on our campus, and I feel SO lucky to have been there and to have been a part of it. (It’s actually making me tear up a little bit right now!)

As for the speech, I thought it was wonderful. Much has been said about Obama’s exceptional oratory skills, and I think today’s speech was truly exemplary.

I read through the transcript once I returned home this afternoon, and, language nerd that I am, I couldn’t let it pass without mentioning my favorite metaphor:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Such a cool juxtaposition of the phrase “lend/extend a hand” and the image of a clench fist to represent violence! I love it.

Happy brand-new beginning, America!

[ Obama image from the New York Times ]

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