Sad Little Numbers: Wikipedia is a Black Hole From Which I Cannot Escape

In Media, Random Ramblings by Daniel M. Clark3 Comments

wikipedia.pngMany are the days and nights when I have looked at a clock after using Wikipedia and realized that multiple hours have passed. Wikipedia is the greatest time suck ever devised by man.

Earlier today I remembered a conversation about music that I had with my chiropractic provider. We had talked about music, and he said that he likes +44 better than Angels and Airwaves when considering the post-Blink-182 bands. I told him that I hadn't heard +44, but I'd been meaning to.

Rhapsody offers a free 14-day trial. You should definitely check that out if you buy a lot of music at iTunes or Amazon, you could be saving a lot of money.

Today, I finally checked them out. I have a subscription to Rhapsody which allows me to listen to whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to pay per track like at iTunes or Amazon. I listened to +44's debut album, When Your Heart Stops Beating, and I liked it quite a lot. As I often do when investigating new music, I pulled up the band's Wikipedia page—or tried to.

As a Firefox user, I simply type wikipedia whatever-I'm-looking-for into my browser's address bar, and I usually end up on the right page. I typed in wikipedia +44, and was taken to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44 – a page all about the year 44. I clicked the For other uses link, and was taken to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44_(number). Getting closer. As I skimmed down looking for a reference to the band, I noticed the very first line after the Contents box. It reads thusly:

Forty-four is a tribonacci number, a happy number and an octahedral number.

A happy number? Numbers can be… happy? I opened that link in a new tab to come back to it later, found the link to the +44 page, and read up on the band. After that, I went back to the happy number page, and read this:

A happy number is defined by the following process. Starting with any positive integer, replace the number by the sum of the squares of its digits, and repeat the process until the number equals 1 (where it will stay), or it loops endlessly in a cycle which does not include 1. Those numbers for which this process ends in 1 are happy numbers, while those that do not end in 1 are unhappy numbers.

I remember learning about imaginary numbers in high school, so I wasn't thrown too much when I first saw “a happy number”, though it did give me pause. What really got me, oddly enough, was the notion of a number being unhappy. For some reason, that made me laugh. I keep picturing little 2's and 3's running around with big frowns and sad eyes.

This is the time suck that Wikipedia is for me. I start out looking for something simple—a page that talks about the history of a band—and I end up reading about unhappy numbers. I do this for hours upon hours sometimes.

There can be only one conclusion. Wikipedia is evil.

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