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April 10, 2006

Wikipedia Meme

OK, as a piece of trivia for a Monday morning:

Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year.

Events:

1) 1871 - First international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.

2)1923 - FART construction completed. (?? Ed.)

3)1961 - In Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the INTERNATIONAL THEATRE INSTITUTE in June 1961 that President Arvi Kivimaa proposed on behalf of the Finnish Centre of the International Theatre Institute that a WORLD THEATRE DAY be instituted. The proposal, backed by the Scandinavian centres, was carried with acclamation.

Births:

1)1950 - Tony Banks, English musician (Genesis)

2) 1970 - Mariah Carey, American singer

Death:

1)2000 - Ian Dury, English musician (b. 1942)

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» Happy Birthday to me - soon from An Englishman's Castle
Tim Worstall: Wikipedia Meme Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year. Facts: 1803 - Napoleonic Wars: The United Kingdom revokes... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 10, 2006 6:40:29 PM

» Wikipedia Meme from Twenty-Sided
Random surfing led me to Tim Worstall, who had this idea: Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year. I wont limit myself to the numbers abov... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 14, 2006 5:06:58 PM

» Wikipedia Meme from Kaedrin Weblog
A new Wikipedia meme: Go to Wikipedia, look up your birth day (excluding the year) and list out interesting facts, births, and deaths. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 16, 2006 11:14:46 PM

» Wikipedia Meme from Kaedrin Weblog
A new Wikipedia meme: Go to Wikipedia, look up your birth day (excluding the year) and list out interesting facts, births, and deaths. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 16, 2006 11:16:51 PM

» Wikipedia Meme from Kaedrin Weblog
A new Wikipedia meme: Go to Wikipedia, look up your birth day (excluding the year) and list out interesting facts, births, and deaths. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 16, 2006 11:17:56 PM

Comments

The rugby must have been Scotland v. England, surely?

Posted by: The Pedant's Apprentice | Apr 10, 2006 12:55:54 PM

Maria Carey's the same age as me?
Poor lass. She hasn't aged well at all.

Posted by: auntymarianne | Apr 10, 2006 5:06:47 PM

I'm hoping that the new Edinburgh tram system will be called FART.

Forth Area Rapid Transit.

Posted by: David Farrer | Apr 10, 2006 5:41:14 PM

Trams: why this obsession with steel-on-steel propulsion? Why not just build buses with enough legroom and shoulderroom for nonmidgets and agree on capital punishment for those bus drivers who like to deposit their passengers in heaps on the floor?

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 10, 2006 6:31:24 PM

Tim

A meme is at best a metaphor, at worst pseudo-scientific drivel.

The theory that ideas have a disposition to reproduce themselves by appropriating energy from the minds that harbour them recalls Molière’s medical expert who explained the ability of opium to cause sleep by referring to its virtus dormitiva (the ability to cause sleep).

Memes only begin to look like an explanation when we read back into the alleged cause the distinguishing features of the effect, by imagining ideas as entities whose existence depends, as genes and species do, on reproduction.

Posted by: paul | Apr 10, 2006 9:07:02 PM

Oooh hark at him! I'm not sure where he got the idea that memes "have a disposition to reproduce themselves by appropriating energy from the minds that harbour them " but it certainly wasn't from any serious proponent of the meme theory. And if he doesn't find it interesting or useful to imagine ideas as entities whose existence depends on reproduction (and the possibility of mutation and selection based on fitness) then fine! Don't come playing in the big boy's sandpit, stick to your Art's Grad discussions, which normally revolve around the question of whether one wants fries with it, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: The Englishman | Apr 10, 2006 11:29:18 PM

TE
So you don't like your cherished notions to be challenged, but do you have anything rational to say?

What is the 'theory' of memes? How do its "serious" proponents characterise it? Is it a scientific theory or just a metaphor?

Posted by: paul | Apr 11, 2006 9:31:35 AM

The notion of a "meme" has proved to be a pretty successful meme, hasn't it?

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 11, 2006 10:55:39 AM

I don't understnd this meme thing, but here's a couple of notables from my birthday:

1867 US takes ownership of Alaska for $7.2 million (an inspiration to all potential real estate investors).

1939 Lee Harvey Oswald born

1871 Charles babbage died

Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 11, 2006 3:16:13 PM

A meme isn't a physical object in your brain or a metaphor but rather is another term for an idea, concept or attitude. The concept of a meme is part of the theory explaining how ideas and knowledge filter around society.

An idea's existence clearly does depend on reproduction. If only I think my meme and no one else heres of it the meme will end when I die or forget about it.

The theoretical value of thinking in terms of memes is that once you get that ideas need to reproduce in order to survive it allows you to think about how popular conceptions arise in terms of evolution.

Posted by: Matthew Sinclair | Apr 11, 2006 4:35:05 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme seems to be a decent article which gives a broad view of Memes and the limits and use of the theory.

Posted by: The Englishman | Apr 11, 2006 4:37:12 PM

Matthew/TE,

I'm familiar with the Wikipedia entry on memes, and it's clear from it that The Dawk (who invented the concept of a meme) intended it to be a metaphorical comparison and an analogy with the concept of a gene. As such, it is not a scientific concept - it is no more than a way of looking at cultural transmission, which may (or may not) be useful on a case-by-case basis. Fair enough...

But, subsequently, loons such as Susan Blackmore tried to make the concept bear more weight than it was designed to and the pseudo-science of mimetics emerged.

(Btw, The Daily Ablution had a good piece on Susan Blackmore here: http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2006/03/uk_response_to_.html#comments )

Posted by: paul | Apr 11, 2006 5:12:37 PM

Paul, the term 'meme' in a blogging concept is only slightly related to Dawkins idea, and is more about simple "silly things to post and pass on on our blog".

Me, I have a livejournal for this sort of thing.

Tim, you have a much mor einteresting death than any I got. My births were better though.

Posted by: MatGB | Apr 11, 2006 11:17:23 PM