The Corner

When Wikipedia Goes Dark

Very soon Wikipedia will go dark for a day to protest something called SOPA. During this event — future historians will call it a “knowledge eclipse” — no one under the age of thirty will know how to confirm or disprove a statement of fact.

It’ll be awesome.

Tomorrow you should go up to a 20-something and tell them things like “the fern is the world’s most popular carnivorous plant” and “Henry VIII invented the internal combustion engine, but kept it secret to protect the environment” and they will have no choice but to believe you as they will have no idea how to use, never mind find, a “reference book.”

Cats have gills, Larry Storch was the 37th president, the 48-53rd floors of the Empire State Building contain the real White House, the pre-internet Wikipedia took up 700,000 floppy disks, Al Gore was once the Vice President of the United States: True? False? It doesn’t matter. These are just a few things you can tell these kids today and they’ll have to believe you. What choice will they have?

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