Friday, December 25, 2009

Wikipedia Forever

I have just made a small contribution to Wikipedia.

Long time ago, when hand held calculators first came out I was a high school student. We had a physics teacher whose name was Şükrü Kapucu (*). He was a forward thinking charismatic man, a sharp intellectual, an unpretentious revolutionary, an unconventional thinker, an outspoken atheist, a gentleman and above all 'a man of enlightenment'. He played a grand role in shaping my identity, may he rest in peace.

Everyday Şükrü Kapucu used to engrave his trademark motto upon us, over and over again: "knowledge is universal". These words never came out of my mind. Today at this moment I still vividly recall with his own voice the very words of his "knowledge is universal".

'Knowledge is universal' means knowledge should be accessible to all. Yet we take it for granted. Providing universal knowledge is not entirely free. It takes a handful of men's determination and volunteer work to make it happen.

Today there is only one non-profit organisation that did the most to spread the knowledge universally, fulfilling my teacher's dream, and that is Wikipedia. There is not a day in my life passes that I don't use Wikipedia at least once a day.

Demand for free universal knowledge steadily grows. Spread of universal knowledge is essential for fighting against poverty, diseases, injustice and poverty. More African villages will connect to Internet than last year. As a non-profit organisation Wikipedia needs our contribution to run its services reliably and effectively.

So please consider donating by clicking the below picture.

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

(*) I came across this sweet poem (in Turkish) written by Aydın Kahraman for Şükrü Kapucu:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Talent Shows

This is from Susan Boyle web site

Simon Cowell has apologised to Susan Boyle for judging her on her appearance before she started singing on Britain’s Got Talent.

He told The Ellen DeGeneres Show that he was made to look stupid because of his preconceptions about the singer.

Cowell said: “I’m totally guilty, I’d be the first to admit that I judged her on the way that she looked and the way that she walked on stage.

“I was made to look very, very stupid in front of 200 million people. So if you’re watching, I apologise! I learnt a lesson from that.”

Mmm. And we should buy this Mr. Nasty, is that it?

I am sick and tired of morality bastardised in the hands of talent show hosts. Again the whole thing smells nothing but a publicity stunt.

Wikipedia says:

"In 2006, Cowell signed to two more record-breaking deals. In the USA, he agreed to remain as a judge on American Idol, earning £20 million ($33 million) per season for another five years. He also has a deal with FOX which allows his production company to broadcast Got Talent and American Inventor on other networks, but he may not appear on them. In the UK, he signed a "golden handcuffs" deal with ITV, worth approximately £6.5 million a year for three years, which gave ITV rights to his hit talent show The X Factor, a British singing talent show, and Grease Is The Word, a musical talent show to find the stars of a Grease production in London's West End."

This is how it works. You host a talent show, and you would know you reached a gold mine when you found a woman who weighs five tons with a bit of facial hair but with amazingly beautiful voice and remarkable singing talent. Then 'being the nasty judge' you somehow mention how repulsive the woman looks. Your comments of course spirals controversy and ratings sky rocket instantly: "Simon Cowell judged Susan Boyle's appearance..".

Then comes the apology stage. Mr. Nasty 'admits' he has made an 'error' in his judgement of elephant woman, and the rating-meter sky-rockets again.

Finale comes when people get bored shortly after the time the TV station and record companies decide to make a big makeover because public wonders if she'll look any better. After that the victim undergoes a serious overhaul (teeth are straightened, perhaps a few tonnes are lost with a handy Jenny Craig deal) the big girl starts to look slightly more pleasant (at least we can watch and listen her singing simultaneously now.) Yes by the time this happens Mr. Nasty's and pretty much everybody else's attention all of a sudden nose dive, except of course Mr. Nasty's bank account jumps up in the opposite direction.

Fairy tales always sell. Public loves the underdog and losers, they like the story of their rise but they hate to see them remain winners.

Don't get me wrong. Nothing is wrong with not being pretty. It is the exploitation of morality and eventual victimisation of reluctant hero that make my stomach upside down.

Not that I care to watch TV rubbish, but at least I am happy to record in my history that 'I am not stupid' and 'I am not buying it'.