Today I saw that the Wikipedia article on Zdenko - my actual name - was edited, and the meaning of the name was changed from something I considered correct (slavic form of Sidonius) to something that I never heard of before (diminutive of Zdeslav), but the reference stayed intact, so I thought that'll be an easy revert. Just to do due process, I checked the given source - and funnily enough, it didn't say neither one nor the other, but gave an etymology from the slavic word zidati, to build, to create.
That lead me down a two hour rabbit hole through different sources crossing the 19th to 20th century, finding sources that claim the name is derived from the Slavic word zdenac, a well, or that Zdenko is cognate to Sidney, a Hessian source explaining that it is considered the root for the name Denje (so close to Denny!) (and saying it has nothing to do with Sidonius), and much more.
In short, if you think that etymology is messy, I tell you, anthroponymy is far worse!
This is a fascinating and fun listen about the mars mission. Because a day on Mars takes 40 minutes longer than on Earth, the people working on that mission had to live on Mars time, as the Mars rovers work with solar panels. So they have watches showing Mars time. They invent new words in their language, speaking about sol instead of day, of yestersol, and they start themselves calling Martians. 11 minutes.
Thank you for everything!
Did you know?
Ethel's mother and George Boole's wife was Mary Everest Boole - a self-thought mathematician who wrote educational books about mathematics. Her life is of interest to feminists as an example of how women made careers in an academic system that did not welcome them.
Thank you for everything!
On this day, twenty years ago, on January 15, 2001, I started my third Website, Nodix, and I kept it up since then (unlike my previous two Websites, which are lost to history as Internet Archive didn't capture them yet, it seems). A few years later I renamed it to Simia.
Here is the first entry: Willkommen auf der Webseite von Denny Vrandecic!
My Website never became particularly popular, although I was meticulously keeping track of how many hits I got and all of this. It was always a fun side project for which I had sometimes more and sometimes less time.
The funniest thing is that it was - and that was completely incidental - exactly the same day that another Website was started, which I, over the years, spent much more time on: Wikipedia.
Wikipedia changed my life, not only once, but many times.
It is how I met Kamara.
It is how I met a lot of other very smart people, too. It became part of my research work and my PhD thesis. It became the motivation for many of the projects I have started, be it Semantic MediaWiki, Wikidata, or Abstract Wikipedia. It is the reason for my career trajectory over the last fifteen years. It is hard to overstate how influential Wikipedia has been on my life.
It is hard to overstate how important Wikipedia has become for modern AI and for the Web of today. For smaller language communities. For many, many people looking for knowledge. And for the many people who realised that they can contribute to it too.
Thanks to the Wikipedia community, thanks to this marvellous project, and happy anniversary and many returns to Wikipedia!
2020 was a challenging year, particularly due to the pandemic. Some things were very different, some things were dangerous, and the pandemic exposed the fault lines in many societies in a most tragic way around the world.
Let's hope that 2021 will be better in that respect, that we will have learned from how the events unfolded.
But I'm also amazed by how fast the vaccine was developed and made available to tens of millions.
I think there's some chance that the summer of '21 will become one to sing about for a generation.
Happy New Year 2021!
I have the honor of being the invited keynote for the SMWCon Fall 2020. I am going to talk "From Semantic MediaWiki to Abstract Wikipedia", discussing fifteen years of Semantic MediaWiki, how it all started, where we are now - crossing Freebase, DBpedia, Wikidata - and now leading to Wikifunctions and Abstract Wikipedia. But, more importantly, how Semantic MediaWiki, over all these years, still holds up and what its unique value is.
Page about the talk on the official conference site: https://www.semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/SMWCon_Fall_2020/Keynote:_From_Semantic_Wikipedia_to_Abstract_Wikipedia
The site went down, again. First time was in July, when Apache had issues, this time it's due to MySQL acting up and frying the database. I found a snapshot from July 2019, and am trying to recreate the entries from in between (thanks, Wayback Machine!)
Until then, at least the site is back up, even though they might be some losses in the content.
P.S.: it should all be back up. If something is missing, please email me.
Wikidata crossed Q100000000 (and, in fact, skipped it and got Q100000001 instead).
Here's a small post by Lydia Pintscher and me: https://diff.wikimedia.org/2020/10/06/wikidata-reaches-q100000000/