Tag Archives: Wikipedia

The Russian Government Just Edited the Wikipedia Page for the Plane Shot Down In Ukraine

On Thursday, Malaysian flight MH17,  headed to Amsterdam from Kuala Lampur, was shot down by a surface to air missile over Ukraine. All 298 of the passengers were killed.

As information started to come out, it became apparent that the missile that took the plane down came from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine.

People walk through the debris of MH17 near the village of Grabovo (Photo: AP)

These pro-Russian groups refused to recognize the new government in Kiev after the Ukrainian revolution and have established strongholds in a number of cities on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

Although the separatists have denied responsibility, much of the evidence points to them. Also, the fact that they are denying investigators access to the crash site while looters steal cash, credit cards and jewelry from the victims doesn’t seem to support their cries of innocence.

It is no secret that the separatist groups have the support of Russia, and many people think Russia holds some of the responsibility for the disaster. The main reason for this is that the missile used, an SA-11, requires a very complex weapons system operated by highly-trained personnel.

Some info about the missile system most likely responsible for taking down MH17. Click to enlarge

Yesterday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby weighed in:

“It strains credulity to think that they could do this without some measure of Russian support and assistance. It is a sophisticated system.”

Then, yesterday evening, a Twitter bot added another piece to the story.

The bot, @RuGovEdits is basically a Russian version of @CongressEdits– it informs people any time a Wikipedia page has been edited by a Russian government IP address.

The Russian Twitter bot announced yesterday that the Wikipedia page for flight MH17 had been edited by the Russian government. What was changed?

Well, the original submission stated the plane was shot down by,

“…by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation.”

The new edited version says that,

“…the plane [flight MH17] was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers.

Russia has maintained that they were not involved in the tragedy and that the flight was brought down by Ukrainian forces, but this new revelation definitely raises questions about the truth of that statement.

(h/t Gizmodo)

Jailbreak: 3 Men Escape From A Canadian Prison In A Helicopter

This week three men escaped from a detention center in Quebec City using a helicopter. The helicopter flew in and briefly landed in the courtyard as three prisoners quickly boarded before taking back off. An investigation into how this happened so smoothly is ongoing.

You’re probably as shocked as I am to find out that helicopter prison escapes are still possible. A page on Wikipedia.com has listed all on-record prison break attempts around the world since 1971.

The United States saw a number of successful helicopter jailbreaks back in the 80s, but they’ve been rare since then, and we haven’t seen one since five prisoners escaped from a facility in Puerto Rico in 2002.

Unfortunately for Canada though, this is actually the second successful helicopter prison escape in just the last 15 months.

The detention center in Quebec City that the inmates escaped from

The most recent escape has prompted a massive manhunt that is still ongoing. According to CNN.com the authorities number one priority is locating the helicopter.

The three men are Yves Denis Yvon Lamontagne, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49. The first two men were arrested at the same time for drug related charges, but little has been reported about the third suspect.

This story is just so bizarre that I couldn’t help but think about all of the famous on-screen prison breaks, like this helicopter escape by “Ice Cube” in the movie XXX State of the Union…

What Would You Do If You Woke Up As A Different Person Every Day? (Opinion Piece)

Most people are taught some version of the golden rule from an early age; here are a few that I like. Big ups to my computer teacher in high school for giving me the tools to put them in a cool photoshop image for ya’ll.

Here’s a list of the golden rule in 24 different religions. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s there, explicitly or implicitly, in almost every religious belief system.

But obviously, not every person is a good person, so there are always limitations to the application of this virtue. If you’re in a situation where there’s no risk to yourself and those close to you, obviously it’s easy to practice the golden rule. But then the question is how do you define “close”?

The earliest basic social group was the tribe. The term “tribal society” is commonly used by anthropologists to, “refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship”, according to my favorite source, Wikipedia (ya that’s right, former college professors).

Before the advent of modern technology, your circle of trust was basically your tribe. They were most likely related to you (however distantly) and they were the only people you could really know well. They were your “close”.

Side-note: Obviously the argument could be made that there could still be bad people within the tribe who would call for an exception to the golden rule. That’s totally valid, but most tribes, because of the fact that their members were so interdependent on one another, had very strict codes of conduct to maintain order. 

But what is close now? Technology has long since made it possible for an individual to not only survive but thrive without really having to “depend” on anyone. And since the emergence of the Internet, an increasing number of people actual do this without even physically interacting with another human for days at a time.

So what’s my point? Well, I think the golden rule is simply a result of evolutionary logic. Early on, it was easy to see why following the golden rule made sense in a tribe setting. It was the single most efficient rule for maintaining the survival of the group.

But now that we have moved into this new modern world, the concept is no longer necessary as a survival adaptation, making it harder and harder to maintain it simply as a moral construct.

To complicate things further, the idea of “close” is less clear than it has ever been. Communication technology and social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to get to know people who we never actually see extremely intimately (the link is to a story about a World of Warcraft relationship gone wrong) while we often struggle to understand the people who are physically closest to us, like our spouses and families.

I read a great short story this morning called the egg. You should read it. It took me exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds to read it, and I paused for emphasis on a lot of the periods when I timed it the second time around (yes really). It’s undoubtedly one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

It got me thinking, how could you hypothetically restore the necessity of the golden rule? And to take it a step further, how could you make it extend not just to your tribe, but to everyone? We live in a globalized world, so why not?

I didn’t find answers to these questions, but I did think of another thought-provoking question that I now pose to you: Suppose that you woke up every morning as a new person. You have all of their life’s memories. You are aware that you were someone else yesterday and will be someone else tomorrow, but you have none of the memories from any of the other lives you have lived in past days.

Would you make any changes to the way you live your life now? And if not, why? If so, what would be the one thing that would change the most?

I’ll start it off: money would lose all value to me. No matter how much money I had in one life, I could be a pauper by the next day. And conversely, if I was extremely poor, I could reasonably expect that I’d wake up in a better situation the next morning, so I’d never really stress about not having money. Leave your responses in the comments!