Popular Articles

Hint: You are looking at the most popular articles. If you are interested in popular topics instead, click here.

Wikipedia Has Cancer

Alternative Title: Just because you have some money, that doesn't mean that you have to spend it.

In biology, the hallmarks of an aggressive cancer include limitless multiplication of ordinarily beneficial cells, even when the body signals that further multiplication is no longer needed. The Wikipedia page on the wheat and chessboard problem explains that nothing can keep growing forever. In biology, the unwanted growth usually terminates with the death of the host. Ever-increasing spending can often lead to the same undesirable result in organizations.

Discussed on

Illegal prime

Computing Mathematics Crime Cryptography Cryptography/Computer science

An illegal prime is a prime number that represents information whose possession or distribution is forbidden in some legal jurisdictions. One of the first illegal primes was found in 2001. When interpreted in a particular way, it describes a computer program that bypasses the digital rights management scheme used on DVDs. Distribution of such a program in the United States is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. An illegal prime is a kind of illegal number.

Discussed on

Day of the Programmer

Computing Time

The Day of the Programmer is an international professional day that is celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th, or the 28th) day of each year (September 13 during common years and on September 12 in leap years). It is officially recognized in Russia.

The number 256 (28) was chosen because it is the number of distinct values that can be represented with a byte, a value well known to programmers. 256 is also the highest power of two that is less than 365, the number of days in a common year.

Discussed on

Timeline of the far future

Physics Lists Statistics Astronomy Time Futures studies Geology Extinction Solar System

While the future can never be predicted with absolute certainty, present understanding in various scientific fields allows for the prediction of some far-future events, if only in the broadest outline. These fields include astrophysics, which has revealed how planets and stars form, interact, and die; particle physics, which has revealed how matter behaves at the smallest scales; evolutionary biology, which predicts how life will evolve over time; and plate tectonics, which shows how continents shift over millennia.

All projections of the future of Earth, the Solar System, and the universe must account for the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or a loss of the energy available to do work, must rise over time. Stars will eventually exhaust their supply of hydrogen fuel and burn out. Close encounters between astronomical objects gravitationally fling planets from their star systems, and star systems from galaxies.

Physicists expect that matter itself will eventually come under the influence of radioactive decay, as even the most stable materials break apart into subatomic particles. Current data suggest that the universe has a flat geometry (or very close to flat), and thus will not collapse in on itself after a finite time, and the infinite future allows for the occurrence of a number of massively improbable events, such as the formation of Boltzmann brains.

The timelines displayed here cover events from the beginning of the 11th millennium to the furthest reaches of future time. A number of alternative future events are listed to account for questions still unresolved, such as whether humans will become extinct, whether protons decay, and whether the Earth survives when the Sun expands to become a red giant.

Discussed on

Inventors killed by their own inventions

Death Lists Invention

This is a list of inventors whose deaths were in some manner caused by or related to a product, process, procedure, or other innovation that they invented or designed.

Discussed on

List of Cognitive Biases

Lists Philosophy Philosophy/Logic Business Psychology Cognitive science

Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics.

Although the reality of most of these biases is confirmed by reproducible research, there are often controversies about how to classify these biases or how to explain them. Some are effects of information-processing rules (i.e., mental shortcuts), called heuristics, that the brain uses to produce decisions or judgments. Biases have a variety of forms and appear as cognitive ("cold") bias, such as mental noise, or motivational ("hot") bias, such as when beliefs are distorted by wishful thinking. Both effects can be present at the same time.

There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. However, this kind of confirmation bias has also been argued to be an example of social skill: a way to establish a connection with the other person.

Although this research overwhelmingly involves human subjects, some findings that demonstrate bias have been found in non-human animals as well. For example, loss aversion has been shown in monkeys and hyperbolic discounting has been observed in rats, pigeons, and monkeys.

Discussed on

List of Lists of Lists

Lists Libraries

This is a list of other articles that are lists of list articles on the English Wikipedia. In other words, each of the articles linked here is an index to multiple lists on a topic. Some of the linked articles are themselves lists of lists of lists. This article is also a list of lists, and also a list itself.

Discussed on

Year 2038 Problem

Computing Computing/Software Computing/Computer science Time

The Year 2038 problem (also called Y2038 or Y2k38 or Unix Y2K) relates to representing time in many digital systems as the number of seconds passed since 00:00:00 UTC on 1 January 1970 and storing it as a signed 32-bit integer. Such implementations cannot encode times after 03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038. Similar to the Y2K problem, the Year 2038 problem is caused by insufficient capacity used to represent time.

Discussed on

The Thing

Espionage Military history Military history/Military science, technology, and theory Military history/Intelligence

The Thing, also known as the Great Seal bug, was one of the first covert listening devices (or "bugs") to use passive techniques to transmit an audio signal. It was concealed inside a gift given by the Soviet Union to W. Averell Harriman, the United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union, on August 4, 1945. Because it was passive, needing electromagnetic energy from an outside source to become energized and activate, it is considered a predecessor of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

Discussed on

Atlantropa

Architecture

Atlantropa, also referred to as Panropa, was a gigantic engineering and colonisation idea devised by the German architect Herman Sörgel in the 1920s and promoted by him until his death in 1952. Its central feature was a hydroelectric dam to be built across the Strait of Gibraltar, which would have provided enormous amounts of hydroelectricity and would have led to the lowering of the surface of the Mediterranean Sea by up to 200 metres (660 ft), opening up large new lands for settlement, for example in the Adriatic Sea. The project proposed four additional major dams as well:

  • Across the Dardanelles to hold back the Black Sea
  • Between Sicily and Tunisia to provide a roadway and further lower the inner Mediterranean
  • On the Congo River below its Kwah River tributary to refill the Mega-Chad basin around Lake Chad providing fresh water to irrigate the Sahara and creating a shipping lane to the interior of Africa
  • Suez Canal extension and locks to maintain Red Sea connection

Sörgel saw his scheme, projected to take over a century, as a peaceful European-wide alternative to the Lebensraum concepts that later became one of the stated reasons for Nazi Germany's conquest of new territories. Atlantropa would provide land and food, employment, electric power, and most of all, a new vision for Europe and neighbouring Africa.

The Atlantropa movement, through its several decades, was characterised by four constants:

  • Pacifism, in its promises of using technology in a peaceful way;
  • Pan-European sentiment, seeing the project as a way to unite a war-torn Europe;
  • Eurocentric attitudes to Africa (which was to become united with Europe into "Atlantropa" or Eurafrica), and
  • Neo-colonial geopolitics, which saw the world divided into three blocs—America, Asia, and Atlantropa.

Active support was limited to architects and planners from Germany and a number of other primarily northern European countries. Critics derided it for various faults, ranging from lack of any cooperation of Mediterranean countries in the planning to the impacts it would have had on the historic coastal communities left stranded inland when the sea receded. The project reached great popularity in the late 1920s to the early 1930s, and for a short period again, in the late 1940s to the early 1950s, but soon disappeared from general discourse again after Sörgel's death.

Discussed on