Worse is better.

Germany’s Brockhaus Encyclopedia Goes Online.

Wikipedia gained its present hideous popularity through convenience — an encyclopedia with a ridiculously wide topic range, with content good enough to be useful no matter how often we stress it’s not “reliable” (certified checked) as such.

Britannica and Brockhaus may be theoretically higher quality, but are not right there on everyone’s desktop — they fail on practical availability. Worse is better. Most of Wikipedia’s readers (the people who make it #9 site in the world) wouldn’t have opened a paper encyclopedia since high school. Wikipedia fills a niche that was previously ignored when not botched.

So the paper encyclopedias put their content online. Can they provide a better website than Wikipedia? Ignoring the process, just looking at the resulting body of text? Can they produce content on the range of topics people look for on Wikipedia fast enough at their advertised quality level and keep it up to date? To what extent can they compete with Wikipedia without becoming Wikipedia? What would that entail?

“Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.”

Uncyclopedia Sophia entry is criticised.

WIKIALITY, Florida, Friday (UNN) — An article about the Prophet Sophia (potatoes be unto her) in the English-language Uncyclopedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of her, taken from mediaeval manuscripts.

In addition to numerous e-mail messages sent to the Uncyclomedia Foundation, an online petition cites a prohibition in Sophistry on images of people. The petition has more than 80,000 “signatures,” though many who submitted them to ThePetitionSpammers.com remained anonymous.

“It’s totally unacceptable to print the Prophet’s picture,” Sodomy Bukkake from Uncyclostan wrote in a message. “It shows insensitivity towards Sophist feelings and should be removed immediately. We are a peaceable people, and will fucking kill you if you don’t.”

A Frequently Asked Questions page explains the site’s polite but firm refusal to remove the images: “Since Uncyclopedia has the goal of dealing with all topics from a satirical point of view, it is not censored for the benefit of any particular group. We’re quite happy to be complete dicks if it generates sufficient humorous energy. So watch it or we’ll put you in the Cancer porn article.”

Dave Bird, R.I.P.

(Obituary text by Arkady Rose.)

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing away of a long-time staunch critic of $cientology, Dave Bird.

Dave was often referred to by other members of a.r.s.c.c.uk (alt.religion.scientology.central commitee, UK division – see Brief history of ARSCC) as “Our Glorious Leader”, a title well-earned. He made me feel very welcome on my first demo against the cult in front of the TCR org in London, and I often looked forward to his emails, phone calls and letters. He was a cheerful, active, scarily-intelligent and amusingly-inventive campaigner against the cult of $cientology and had been an active member of the National Council for Civic Liberties/Liberty before taking on the cult.

Dave had suffered from some time from health issues arising from his diabetes and so it had been a couple of years since he was last able to join us on a demo, but he kept up a keen interest from afar via the phone and internet, including actively posting to a.r.s. He had an amusing array of sigs; one included the quote “Woof woof (glug glug) .. who drowned the judge’s dog ?” Another good sig was this one:
8====3 (O 0) GROETEN --- PRINTZ XEMU EXTRAWL no real OT has
A society without a religion is like a maniac without a chainsaw.

The following is the obituary posted today on alt.religion.scientology by Jens Tingleff, a fellow a.r.s.c.c.uk member:

“Dave Bird died the morning of Sunday Feb 10th from complications arising from diabetes. He had been in hospital for six days.


Dave had been active in the NCCL and in the fight against miscarriages of justice before he came to activism against the criminal organisation known as the “church” <spit> of $cientology.

While Dave was a great debater – and a lot of fun – on a.r.s. he also had many effective moments in Real Life, notably initiating getting proper legal representation for Bonnie and Richard Woods (and the rest is history – I don’t think the clams have sued anyone in the UK since then).


Dave brought a welcome street theatre side to our pickets, including many props, some of which worked, some of which didn’t and the largest one of which was Carrie the Giant Clamshell.


Dave worked hard at his activism, organising, doing practical things, designing props (the balloons were always a favourite of mine) and writing songs. He was a firm believer in the will of good people to show up at a demo that someone else had to do the hard work organising and he was happy to put in the work. He did ask a lot, but he gave more.

The criminal organisation known as the “church” <spit>>of $cientology didn’t like him one little bit, as evinced by the multi-page entry on their hate site RFW


Dave would have gotten a kick out of the day he passed away being the day of the largest worldwide protest against the criminal organisation known as the “church” <spit> of $cientology.

I’ll miss him

Best Regards


Over 500 people turned out for the demo against the Co$ on Sunday 10th, and I’m sure Dave was there in spirit. He would have been delighted and highly amused at the whole Anonymous situation.

Rest in peace, Dave. You will be sadly missed.

Stay the hell out of Dubai.

No matter how much cash they offer. It’s trying to remake itself as a tourist trap, but hasn’t quite got the concept clear. Online petition here, for what that’s worth. The British Consulate is on the case, but it’s difficult since he hasn’t been charged with anything yet. Further reading: 1, 2, 3, 4. Feel free to spread this around.