From Cyberwar to Swimwear

28
Apr
2009

Today I got caught up in another mini wikiadventure. It started innocently enough, with a fascinating article in the New York Times on cyber security. In the article, they mention the setting up of a “National Cyber Range” for testing attacks against the internet and computer targets. They compare this with the post WWII nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. This of course led me to some Wikipedia articles on those tests, which in turn led me to a history of bikini swimwear. I had no idea how the swimwear got its name until today. There was  apparently an “arms race” among swimwear manufacturers to make the smallest swimsuit possible. Just prior to the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, a swimwear maker had released the world’s smallest one piece called the “Atome”. In response, french engineer Louis Réard, releasing his even smaller two piece design soon thereafter, named it the “Bikini” because it had “split the Atome”.

I am really not certain what I will do with this information in the future, but I assume it will involve cocktails and the filling up of uncomfortable silences.

Today’s Wikiadventure

12
May
2008

It started innocently enough from a book review on Salon about the real history of the United States (as opposed to the propaganda they teach us in school). This led me (as it always does) to Wikipedia, and an article on Samoset, then Squanto, Smallpox Vaccine, Equus scotti, History of Native Americans, Cherokee (and the Cherokee Freedmen), John White, Teosinte, Amaranth, Pellagra, overnutrition (a quaint euphemism for obesity), the history of maize, and genetic diversity. Then (picking up other names from the original article) to Snorri Sturluson (by mistake!), The history of Iceland, Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, Amerigo Vespucci, Terra Incognita, Terra Australis, The Renaissance, polymath, Indian mathematics, the number zero, Lorenzo de Medici, Italy, History of Jews in Italy, Luigi Luzzati, Roman ghetto, Richard Amerike, and finally Manifest Destiny. Whew!