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I am Perry Peterson, a retired auditor and tax accountant. My wife Valeta and I live along the front range of the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains.
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The Vespa scooter was created in April 1946 by Enrico Piaggio, an aircraft manufacturer and Corradino D’Ascanio, an aeronautical engineer and helicopter designer.
The Vespa met easy acceptance by people in war-torn Italy who needed cheap transportation.
These little scooters were popular with the ladies because they were so easy to ride. It was as easy as sitting in a chair - no need to straddle the frame of a motorbike when most women wore dresses.
It was named for a stinging insect (Vespa is Italian for wasp) probably because the distinctive whiney sound of the engine.
However, some say the scooter got the name from its body shape with the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow “waist”, and the steering rod as the antennae.
By the 1950s, Vespas were being manufactured under licence in 180 countries, including Britain, where they became an essential element of Mod culture.
Its elevation to the status of national icon came in 1953, with William Wyler’s film Roman Holiday, in which Gregory Peck takes Audrey Hepburn for a ride around Rome on a Vespa
Since 1946, some 17 million have been sold, and 40 per cent are still made at the Piaggio plant at Pontedera in northern Italy. Although the Vespa has been through 140 models, its design remains much the same.
Most older Vespas had manual transmissions with three or four gears
They were powered by a small two-stroke engine which required mixing oil with the gasoline for engine lubrication. Later, four-stroke as well as two-stroke engines were used. Link.
Wikipedia is the popular free online encyclopedia built collaboratively using wiki software. It gets its name because it is a wiki encyclopedia.
What is wiki software anyway?
It was pioneered by Ward Cunningham and named after the Hawaiian word for ‘quick’, a wiki is a website that makes it easy for anyone to contribute pages, and link them together.
Wikis as a type of social software that make it easy to communicate online. As simple to edit as it is to read, the wiki makes for the perfect online collaboration tool.
Since Wikipedia exists as a wiki, visitors are allowed to post and edit content.
What some people don’t realize is that almost all Wikipedia articles can be altered by anyone with a computer, a web browser and an Internet connection.
There was one widely publicized case of an unauthorized edit of the Wikipedia John Seigenthaler, Sr. biography as related here.
Next came the story of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales shot by a friend of Mr. Seigenthaler. This story was also a hoax.
The news of the "shooting" even made the venerable London Times. The Times noted that after the first Seigenthaler scandal broke, the now "deceased" Jimmy Wales had, as he has so often, promised to tighten up a few nuts and bolts in the "encyclopedia's" editorial processes.
He certainly had his work cut out.
A cursory search today suggested that these procedures - which require contributors to register basic details before posting articles - were being defeated by a relentless wave of vandals, apparently co-ordinating their assaults from a series of chatrooms dedicated to its demise.
"The loss of credibility has caused commentators to question whether Wikipedia is destined to follow the LA Times's doomed experiment in unrestricted internet comment, Wikitorial, which had to be closed down after just two days under a bombardment of pornographic postings."
Is nothing sacred?
So is Wikipedia a source of reference, or just a great big game?
Former Britannica editor Bob McHenry characterized Wikipedia as a game, one of many multiplayer shoot-em-up games that have been made popular by the spread of networked computers
Now that we know that most any story in Wikipedia must be treated with suspicion, what are the consequences of changing Wikipedia articles by purposely posting inaccurate data? There is little legal recourse.
Federal law also protects online corporations — BellSouth, AOL, MCI Wikipedia, etc. — from libel lawsuits. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, specifically states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker."
That legalese means that, unlike print and broadcast companies, online service providers cannot be sued for disseminating defamatory attacks on citizens posted by others.
By the way, the Register article uses the incorrect spelling for the name Seigenthaler. Where do the inaccuracies and errors stop?
I often get emails containing quotes from Wikipedia as if the material was completely accurate. From now on, I will refer them to this post and let them decide.