I’m doing science and I’m still alive.

I’ve been cleaning out the eMusic account: Martin Rev first album and Clouds Of Glory and Killing Joke 25th anniversary live album. Many years ago, I was in a failed band. I’d come home after hours of musical torture and want to hear an actual good record that was rock’n’roll but didn’t actually involve guitar, bass or drums. Clouds Of Glory is that record.

I have also been finding and playing every possible version of the Portal theme “Still Alive” after playing the Weebl and Bob version for Freda. (Spoileriffic ending fight.) Lyrics and chords, piano 1, piano 2 (mp3), cello, indie rock, EBM (mp3), NES, 8-bit, Japanese, Swedish, Engrish, YouTubeSports (hear his voicebox disintegrating), YouTube stereotype, by the songwriter (in concert), transcription (PDF).

Liz is playing the baby awful ’80s charity videos. Hear’n’Aid, oh dear God.

Citizendium, the other free encyclopedia.

I was wrong. Congratulations to the Citizendium Foundation on choosing a free content licence (CC by-sa 3.0 unported) for Citizendium!

Free content, like free software, is about freedom — the freedom for anyone to use, study and apply, change and redistribute the work, for any purpose. “Non-commercial” isn’t free enough to be called free. “No derivatives” isn’t free enough to be called free. As Brianna Laugher notes, “The right to fork that is created by free content licensing keeps the parent organisations honest.”

The big news here is that the choice of a free licence furthers the public expectation that educational content (Wikipedia, Citizendium, Encyclopedia of Earth, Open Site) will be under a proper free content license. Scholarpedia and about.com need not apply. Google needs to think carefully.

(I also get a thank you at the end of the Citizendium license essay. Any help I provided in making this choice happen, I’m extremely pleased to have provided.)

Citizendium and Wikipedia, or at least the more foolish members thereof, have their periodic pissy bitchfights. But we’re on the same side in deep and important ways.

(Is Citizendium good for anything? Well, their history of the BSD Daemon is the best article I’ve seen on the subject. There’s excellent stuff there worth linking people to.)

Quote of the day.

When I see terms like “technically correct” or “politically correct”, I think these words were written by someone who has been wrong for so long, and finds it so painful to make corrections, that the last resort is to ridicule correctness, like that kid in the back of the class who doesn’t know the answer and so mocks the teacher.

FreeChief on Groklaw

Rorschach Knols.

If Google floated a trial balloon to see what ideas they could get everyone else to come up with for them, they’ve succeeded fabulously. It’s a Rorschach blot the tech press sphere has spent the weekend projecting all its hopes and fears onto. Like Citizendium was this time last year.

One thing about the mockup graphic: the Creative Commons CC-by 3.0 logo. Remember that the point of Wikipedia is not in fact to run a hideously popular and expensive website, but to create a body of freely-reusable educational content. IF, I say IF, Google require Knols to be under a proper free content licence, that’ll be a big win for everyone, same as Citizendium is basically on the same side as Wikipedia. Making free content normal and expected. And I think we will go so far as to lend our good name to publicly saying very nice things about this exciting new source of free content. IF they do this.

And if they don’t, they’ll just be another about.com or Yahoo Answers. Or Google Answers. Remember Google Answers? I bet Google does.

If they allow multiple competing articles on a given subject, I’m not so sure that’s a win for the reader. Fred Bauder‘s Wikinfo also does this and has almost no traction. I consider the Neutral Point Of View policy our most important innovation, far more so than letting anyone edit the site. The view from 20,000 feet, even if it’s as worked out by editors at ground level. People don’t come to an encyclopedia for ten articles, they come for one that provides an overview of the ten. That’s what an encyclopedia is for: the ten-second or sixty-second or five-minute quick backgrounder.

Update: I am apparently the first person in the blagosphere with the initiative to find the Google Code page on Knol. Does anyone recognise this wikitext syntax? Update 2: Apparently it’s the syntax used by their own internal wiki engine. Update 3: They’ve locked it down. Cache here while it lasts.

WikiWednesday with Sue Gardner and Jimbo Wales.

Gordon Joly posted this to wikimediauk-l, and it just so happens that WMF executive director Sue Gardner is in town that day too. I tried to arrange a meet before I realised the other event was on, and two events is silly, so let’s just have one, eh?

Jimmy Wales has been invited to speak at this month’s event.
London wikiwed 5 December 2007

The event will be hosted by NYK Shipping (thanks to Alek Lotoczko) and SocialText will be footing the bill for – pizzas, beer and wine (thanks to Ross Mayfield and Ross Hargreaves). The address is NYK Line, 17th Floor, CityPoint, 1 Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9NY. Nearest Tube is Moorgate.

We aim for people to arrive around 18:15 for a 19:00 formal start.

Please make sure you book your name below so a name badge can be prepared, and if you have any difficulties on the night you can call David Terrar on 07715 159423.

And I am suggesting the same pub afterwards as last time we met at NYK Line: The Globe, 83 Moorgate, London, EC2M 6SA.

Don’t forget to call ahead!

London Wikimeet with Sue Gardner, Wed 5th Dec, Shakespeare’s Head, Holborn.

Wikimedia’s shiny new executive director Sue Gardner is in town next week. So we’ll be going to the Shakespeare’s Head, WC2B 6BG, on Kingsway just south of Holborn tube. 7pm sound good? Signup page. Whoops – Jimbo is speaking the same day. Let’s have one event, eh?

Wednesday 5th afternoon is my works’ Christmas party, so expect me to be mostly trashed and sipping Coke and Red Bull.