Wikipedia: Useless or Useful?

February 14, 2008

Wikipedia is useful. Just remember that this is a site that can be edited by anyone, yes anyone. That means that it is not an accurate site. If that is the case, then what good is it to a writer or researcher?

The answer is that it is an extremely useful tool provided you remember the nature of the site.

For me and other writers it is a fantastic starting point for ideas and as a pointer to other sources of information. It always gives me a good overview of a topic. Then I go from there to other sources to confirm facts or to find more reliable sources. I take the key info from Wikipedia about the subject and list them in point form. From there I either disprove, confirm, or add more facts from other sources. As a starting point though I find Wikipedia invaluable.

Wikipedia is NOT an reliable, accurate source. Remember this and then use it as just another tool. Good journalists always confirm facts with multiple sources wherever possible. The same holds true here. For me it is a powerful tool to uncover ideas. I just have to remember to use the complete toolbox to write the articles that are sometimes inspired by my Wikipedia searches.

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Who Will Be President of the United States?

February 14, 2008

The Democratic race is still very much in doubt, but momentum seems to be with Barack Obama. The next big test is March 4th with delegates in  two key states Ohio and Texas at stake. These states both have large blocks of delegates. Should either Clinton or Obama win both of these it might decide the race. Here are the delegate standings to date from CNN Election central,

Hillary Clinton: Pledged 977, Superdelegates 234 for Total 1211

Barack Obama: Pledged 1096, Superdelegates 15 for Total 1253

Needed to Win Nomination: 2,025 (Superdelegates votes mean more than regular delegates. They could actually overrule the regular delegates. They are usually senators, congressmen, or other elected officials.) This is an extremely close race. There is a very strong possibility that the nominee will not be selected until the party convention.

For the Republicans it is very different. Senator John McCain is virtually assured of the nomination. It is only a matter of time. Here are the standings from CNN Election central,

John McCain: 801, unpledged 26 for total of 827

Mitt Romney: 286, unpledged 0 for total of 286 (Romney is now out, but has not endorsed any candidate.)

Mike Huckabee: 214, unpledged 3 for total of 217

Ron Paul: 16, unpledged 0 for total of 16

Needed to Win Nomination 1191. The Republicans do not have Superdelegates. Senator McCain’s lead is insurmountable now. He will be the nominee. He only has to select a vice presidential running mate. This will likely not be done until the convention, or until Huckabee and the others officially drop out of the race.

History will be made in Election 2008. One of the following will be historic,

1) John McCain will become the oldest person to ever become president.  McCain would be 73 years of age when inaugurated January 20, 2009 if elected.

2) Barack Obama will become the first African-American president if elected.

3) Hillary Clinton will become the first female president if elected. She would also become the first spouse of a former president to become president.

Someone recently said to me the race was boring. Far from it in my opinion.


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