14 February 2007

Irrefutable proof that Wikipedia is better than Encyclopædia Britannica

The award for most authoritative and encyclopedic Wikipedia article you'll never see in Encyclopædia Britannica goes to: Heavy metal umlaut. Here's an excerpt.

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The first gratuitous use [of the umlaut] appears to have been either by Blue Öyster Cult or by Black Sabbath, both in 1970. Blue Öyster Cult's website states it was added by guitarist and keyboardist Allen Lanier,[3] but rock critic Richard Meltzer claims to have suggested it to their producer and manager Sandy Pearlman just after Pearlman came up with the name: "I said, 'How about an umlaut over the O?' Metal had a Wagnerian aspect anyway."[4] Conversely, Black Sabbath, on a rare 7" single version of Paranoid (with the b-side Rat Salad), for no forthcoming reason, renamed the single "Paranoïd" with a diaeresis above the "i".[5] (In French, the words paranoïa, paranoïaque, paranoïde properly have the trema.)

On their second album In Search of Space (1971), Hawkwind wrote on the backside of the cover: "TECHNICIÄNS ÖF SPÅCE SHIP EÅRTH THIS IS YÖÜR CÄPTÅIN SPEÄKING YÖÜR ØÅPTÅIN IS DEA˝D". To add to the variation, Danish and Norwegian letters Ø and Å are added. While the Å being a separate letter sounding like the word "Oh", the Danish Ø is actually pronounced exactly like the German and Turkish Ö. And also the diacritical mark on the last " A˝ " is the "Hungarian umlaut" or double acute accent ( ˝ )—two short lines slanting up and to the right rather like a right double-quote mark—instead of dots (Hungarian uses neither the ( ˝ ) nor the traditional German umlaut ("Ä") over the letter "A", though, and ( ˝ ) is used only on the letters "Ő" and "Ű"). This was before Lemmy, later of Motörhead, had become a member of the group.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Encyclopaedia Britannica never thought that an open source product like Wikipedia would seriously challenge the credibility of Britannica. They were wrong and Encyclopaedia Britannica's staff seriously misread the global market. They are now very worried about the success of a free Wikipedia vs their subscription model.

It is interesting that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is developing a new search engine. It is the combination of a) improved search engines and b) the success of Wikipedia that has put financial pressure on Encyclopedia Britannica. Many institutions and individuals are questioning the need to subscribe to Encyclopaedia Britannica when the content is free on the internet. Google even has free direct links to Encyclopaedia Britannica's main database !!