Image of Portland by Ben Amstutz via Flickr
Wikipedia is helpful, interesting, and a gigantic time-waster. The online encyclopedia snaps back answers to questions and fills its users with facts and figures. But even the most focused searcher finds himself distracted by random unrelated articles. Searches for the major exports of Burma lead to hours spent reading articles on Henry Miller. A simple desire to learn where the mechanical pencil sharpener was invented ends with the user becoming a pseudo-expert on honey bee dancing. And no one remembers how they got from point A to point B. It seems all topics are related. The only question now is: How long will it take you to get from one topic to the next?
It seems Alex Clemesha is willing to keep track. The coder (and amateur surfer) has laid a simple game over the face of Wikipedia. The user is given an article to start with and then a destination article. The person has 150 seconds to get from the original article to the destination article zipping through Wikipedia’s pages, searching for some concept to unite the articles, and cursing page loading speeds. It can get addictive. The site even allows users to register so they can keep track of their searchings.