Month: August 2019

The use of superlatives in Wikipedia articles

August 2, 2019 Uncategorized No comments

You are most likely familiar with wikipedia ( “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” In many ways it is an amazing service,
and I often find it useful.

Some aspects of it are amusing, and here I am writing about one of them.

And that is the inclusion of superlatives and world-best about the subject of the article. Each individual point sounds interesting, relevant and informative, but after reading a few of them, they seem, to me, arbitrary and fluff.

Most-disliked-youtube-video? Most-hat-tricks-in-the-Champions-League?

Of course, these are all outstanding and talented people, and I don’t mean to doubt their accomplishments here.

I am writing here about how they are presented on wikipedia. I take it as a symptom of attention deficit (“ADD”), a lack of expression on the one hand, similar to showing off and exaggerating, or, on the other hand, reading superficially, only being able to grasp
simple, shallow points, or the quickly perceived.

Here I have put a few examples for you together. It is mostly musicians, although it also includes sports and one writer. I have strung the quotes together into one paragraph, to emphasize the point! The sequence may be different in the articles themselves.

The list is followed by a few links to articles that do not have this kind of treatment.

All the links to the wikipedia pages are by version, so you will be looking at the page as I found it when I copied the quotes. The “current link” will take you to the present version of the article (at your time).

“Without further ado.”

Justin Bieber

currrent / quoted

He has sold an estimated 150 million records, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists, and became the second person to reach 100 million followers on Twitter in August 2017 after Katy Perry. In 2016, Bieber became the first artist to surpass 10 billion total video views on Vevo. In July 2010, it was reported that Bieber was the most searched-for celebrity on the Internet. His music video for “Baby” surpassed Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (2009) as the most viewed, and also the most disliked, YouTube video ever. The music video held the record for the most video views in 24 hours when it was released, with 10.6 million views.


currrent / quoted

Among numerous awards and accolades, Beyoncé has won 23 Grammy Awards and is the most nominated woman in the award’s history. She is the most awarded artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, In 2014, she became the highest-paid black musician in history and was listed among Time’s 100 most influential people in the world for a second year in a row. With the release of Lemonade, Beyoncé became the first and only musical act in Billboard chart history to debut at number one with their first six solo studio albums. Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The performance stands as the second most tweeted about moment in history at 268,000 tweets per minute Lemonade was streamed 115 million times through Tidal, setting a record for the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist in history.

Lionel Messi

currrent / quoted

He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 34 trophies. A prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (419), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (169) and the Copa América (12). According to France Football, Messi was the world’s highest-paid footballer for five years out of six between 2009 and 2014, and was ranked the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2019. He was among Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011 and 2012. Although FIFA did not acknowledge the achievement, citing verifiability issues, he received the Guinness World Records title for most goals scored in a calendar year. He surpassed Luís Figo as the player with the most assists in La Liga;[note 4] he made his record 106th assist in a fixture against Levante on 15 February. His second goal, which came only three minutes after his first, saw him chip the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after his dribble past Jérôme Boateng had made the defender drop to the ground; it went viral, becoming the year’s most tweeted about sporting moment.  This was also Messi’s sixth hat-trick in the Champions League, the most by any player.

J. K. Rowling

currrent / quoted

In October 2010, Rowling was named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors. In February 2013 she was assessed as the 13th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. She was named the most highly paid author in the world with earnings of £72 million ($95 million) a year by Forbes in 2017. The book was purchased for £1.95 million by online bookseller on 13 December 2007, becoming the most expensive modern book ever sold at auction.  She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history.

Taylor Swift

currrent / quoted

Her 2006 self-titled debut album was the longest-charting album of the 2000s in the US. The album’s third single, “Our Song”, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. The album won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest Album of the Year winner. For her fifth album, the pop-focused 1989 (2014), she received three Grammys and became the first woman and fifth act overall to win Album of the Year twice. Having sold more than 50 million albums—including 32 million in the US—and 150 million singles, Swift is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She also ranked first in the Forbes Celebrity 100 (2016 and 2019), and was the youngest to be featured in the magazine’s listing of the 100 most powerful women (2015). Swift has received many awards and honors, including 10 Grammy Awards,[406] 23 American Music Awards (most wins by a female artist),[407] 23 Billboard Music Awards (most wins by a female artist)


currrent / quoted

At the time, it [A Night at the Opera/SW] was the most expensive album ever produced. In December 2018, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became the most-streamed song from the 20th century, and the most-streamed classic rock song of all time. As of 2005, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Queen albums have spent a total of 1,322 weeks (twenty-six years) on the UK Album Charts, more time than any other act. Also in 2005, with the release of their live album with Paul Rodgers, Queen moved into third place on the list of acts with the most aggregate time spent on the British record charts.[298] In 2006, the Greatest Hits album was the all-time best-selling album in UK Chart history. … the band is the only group in which every member has composed more than one chart-topping single, A 2001 survey discovered the existence of 12,225 websites dedicated to Queen bootlegs, the highest number for any band.

Serena Williams

currrent / quoted

Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players. She is the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. Her total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles marks the record for the most Grand Slam tournament wins in the Open Era. She also holds the all-time record for the most women’s singles matches won at majors with 343 matches.  Earning almost $29 million in prize money and endorsements, Williams was the highest paid female athlete in 2016. She also broke the record previously set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one year, with Williams earning $6,545,586. Williams won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, her fourteenth Grand Slam title;[140][141] setting a serving record of 24 aces by a female in a match as well as having the most aces, male or female, during the tournament (102). She is the only player in history to win all four Grand Slams at least once after having turned 30.

Discover  for yourself


Here are articles where without a doubt, superlatives may have been included. But they aren’t.

Quick note about the times tables

August 1, 2019 generic, math No comments

I was asked yesterday, why do they teach the multiplication tables in school. Wasn’t sure whether this was common knowledge, but here’s how it goes. Once you know how to multiply the numbers from 1 to 9 with each other, you can multiply basically any two numbers by hand; doesn’t matter how many digits they have.

Let’s say you want to multiply 132 × 18. When you learn your times-tables, these numbers are not covered. But there is a method for you to follow that will just involve multiplying numbers less than 10. It does assume that you know how to add, but learning how to add numbers with several digits is not that hard either.

There’s more than one way to do multi-digit multiplication, but you can find the descriptions here:

Of course, youtube has a few demonstrations too, for example:


So, 132 × 18 = 2,376. You would be multiplying these numbers on the way: 2 × 1, 3 × 1, 1 × 1, 2 × 8, 3 × 8 and 1 × 8 (which are all really simple!)

Now if you ask why to learn how to multiply numbers in the first place? I find mulitplication comes up quite a lot just in ordinary tasks, doubling baking recipes, find distance from velocity and time, and vice versa, buying quantities of  various items. Sometimes I use a calculator, or spread sheet, but often it’s good to do without. There’s lots of different applications!