Wikipedia Announces The Most Edited Articles Of 2016

Wikipedia has revealed the most edited articles of 2016. Many are, predictably, about the US election and major news events of the past year. Others, like the entry about RuPaul’s Drag Race, are less expected. Katja Ogrin /Getty Images hide caption

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Katja Ogrin /Getty Images

Tis the season for year-end lists, and Wikipedia is no exception. The free online encyclopedia has revealed its most edited articles of the year. Some are completely unsurprising – like the articles for Brexit, the Panama Papers, The Orlando nightclub shooting, and other recent and controversial news topics. The popularity of editing others is somewhat more mysterious: like the article for RuPaul’s Drag Race, and one for a fictional character named Beverley Gray — the subject of a series of 26 mystery stories written between 1934 and 1955.

The article on Vincent Van Gogh was also edited thousands of times in 2016, as editors reportedly sought to clarify misunderstandings about the artist in hopes of achieving “featured” status for the page.

The most edited article by far was for Deaths in 2016, which was edited 18,230 times. David Bowie, Janet Reno, Gwen Ifill, Leonard Cohen, Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, and Prince are among the notable people who passed away this year.

Donald Trump‘s entry was second, with 8,933 edits as of December 21st. If history is any indication, there’s a good chance the President-elect’s Wikipedia page will come under even more scrutiny: the Wikimedia Foundation revealed earlier this year that George W Bush’s article has the most edits of any article in English in the history of the site, with 45,862 revisions at last count.

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In an era when fake news has become dangerously prevalent, the job of a Wikipedia editor might be more important than ever. To this point, the Wikipedia entry for “Fake news website” has become increasingly popular in the last month – with nearly a thousand edits to the site in the first two weeks of December alone.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 2016 Favorites And Unfinished Business

Pop Culture Happy Hour’s picks for 2016 include The New Yorker profile of Leslie Jones, Fleabag on Amazon, musician Mitski and HBO’s Veep. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images, Courtesy of Amazon, Ben Gabbe/Getty Images, Lacey Terrell/HBO hide caption

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Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images, Courtesy of Amazon, Ben Gabbe/Getty Images, Lacey Terrell/HBO

[If you’re looking for the audio of this week’s show, it’s in a slightly different place than usual for boring technical reasons — it’s over on the right or right above you, depending on how you’re viewing this page.]

You know Sam Sanders as the host of the NPR Politics Podcast — a project from which he’s about to move on to new and exciting stuff. But you also know him as one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s new fourth chairs of 2016, so who better to join us to talk about some of our favorite things from this year?

My notes from our 2016 Favorites show. NPR/Linda Holmes hide caption

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NPR/Linda Holmes

There is so much good stuff in this show — music from old and new artists, television and film scoring, indie films, documentaries, my favorite food writer, oodles of wonderfully idiosyncratic television — that the best way to show it all to you is to just show you my notes.

After we get through our favorites, we’ll catch you up on how some past shows played out, including our summer movie preview and our fall TV pool. And as always, we close with what’s making us happy this week — which is also at the bottom of those same notes.

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Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Sam, producer Jessica, producer Iman, and executive producer and music director Mike. And thanks to those of you who are supporting your local station — and thus supporting us. Tell ’em we sent you.

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Uber And Snapchat Team Up To Zero In On Your Friends

Uber says Snapchat will get information about the ETA, vehicle type and destination, but no private data, to create special filters for riders. Uber hide caption

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Uber

Uber has fixed a problem you didn’t know you had. Instead of setting places as the target location, Uber’s newest feature will let you set people as the destination.

Instead of typing a location in the “Where to?” box, Uber wants riders to type the name of the friend they are meeting with, and the app would route the ride to them.

The upside: You don’t have to have that “where are you? where should we meet?” conversation. The downside: Once your friend confirms their location to Uber, the location becomes locked in as “static” and the friend better not move.

But that’s not all! To entertain you on your ride and your friend during the “static” wait, Uber will now prompt the rider to send a Snapchat to the waiting party — if they already have the social app — complete with custom filters that can relay estimated time of arrival and, for some reason, what type of Uber you’re in.

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For Uber, it’s the latest effort to keep users engaged with its app during the ride. But the partnership between the two tech companies, continues to raise questions about what these kinds of moves mean for collection and sharing of data they learn about us.

Earlier this month, we reported that Uber has changed how it collects user data to begin tracking rider location data even when the application is just running in the background, no longer offering the option of having location tracked only when the app is being used.

With the new change to people as destinations, riders must grant Uber access to their phone contacts to travel directly to their buddies. Names of contacts will auto-populate in the destination bar, much like recent locations do.

According to Uber, syncing contacts to the app is not new. Previously, riders could sync contacts for example to send invites to the app or share trip information.

Uber also says it will not continue to track the location of the destination-friend after the ride ends, and the originally recorded static location would expire after 30 minutes.

The ride-hailing company says it will not be sharing any personal information of the rider or the friend with Snapchat. Instead, Snapchat will receive the details it needs to offer up its special filters: the ETA, the Uber vehicle type and destination information.

It’s unclear what exactly is included in “destination information,” but Uber says the shared data is “contextual” to the trip and helps Snapchat offer the appropriate filters.

When asked about the reasons behind the tie-up, both companies say the point of this partnership is fun.

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Episode 743: 50 Ways to Leave Your Union

British Prime Minister Theresa May, looks out from her car window as she arrives for an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Virginia Mayo/AP hide caption

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Virginia Mayo/AP

In the 1950s, when the European Union was just coming together, not every country was so eager to join. The people pushing for it, like Kimmo Kiljunen, a member of parliament from Finland, had to do some convincing. There were years of negotiations, each one filtered through tedious layers of translation into over 20 languages.

So by the end of it, to close the deal, Kimmo and others added a law to the E.U. constitutional documents: Article 50, an exit clause. Kimmo never thought anyone would use it. It was meant to be a way to make skeptics worry a little less.

Now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, this little clause the authors didn’t expect would ever get used, will be helping shape the future of Europe.

The United States chose not to include an exit clause and that led to the civil war.

Today on the show, we tell the story of why Article 50 was added and ask if it has made Europe more or less stable. Does an exit clause strengthen a union, or make it fragile?

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Music: “Slide by Slide” and “Wild Side.” Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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Vehicle Attacks Like Berlin's Are Nothing New, And Are Likely To Continue

The Christmas market in Berlin was targeted in Monday’s attack by a man driving a heavy truck into the area, then crowded with shoppers. Sean Gallup/Getty Images hide caption

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Monday’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed at least 12 and injured scores more is the latest in a series of atrocities claimed in the name of the Islamic State. In this operation, an assailant — the suspect now sought by German police has been identified as Tunisian-born Anis Amri — rammed a truck into pedestrians and street stalls.

The attack was eerily reminiscent of this year’s Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, which killed more than 80 people, and even the late-November attack by a student at Ohio State University who plowed his car into a Columbus crowd, injuring more than a dozen people.

The use of this particular method is eminently unsurprising. In fact, what’s rather odd is that ramming vehicles into massed civilians hasn’t been used more often to sow terror across the globe.

Why? Because the Islamic State has been calling for this type of operation for a long time, using it to deadly effect in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. It and similar terrorist organizations have been calling for vehicle operations for years, because they’re easy to mount and very difficult to stop once the wheels start turning. It’s a low-cost method to kill scores of people, given innumerable soft, mostly unprotected targets.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise is that we tend to forget how many attacks like this have taken place in the past.

Using cars to kill as a terror tactic is nothing new, and certainly not an Islamic State innovation by any stretch of the imagination. For example, in mid-2008, at least three separate Palestinian attackers used cars and bulldozers to kill and injure multiple people in and around Jerusalem.

That same year, a Uighur militant group rammed a dump truck into a group of 70 Chinese police officers, and then attacked them with machetes, killing 16. British soldier Lee Rigby was rammed and decapitated by radicals influenced by al-Qaida on a London street in 2013. And in 2014, a deliberate hit-and-run attack in Quebec killed a uniformed Canadian soldier and injured another.

Weaponizing vehicles is a tried and true tactic of al-Qaida and the Islamic State. As far back as 2010, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) publicly called on its adherents to attack by using cars in its English-language online magazine Inspire, advising attackers to “pick your location and timing carefully. Go for the most crowded locations … The ideal location is a place where there are a maximum number of pedestrians and the least number of vehicles.”

And as recently as last month, the Islamic State’s Rumiyah magazine called for utilizing vehicles to strike the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Of course, U.S. authorities have known about this tactic for a while. In late 2010, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued an unclassified paper entitled “Terrorist Use of Vehicle Ramming Tactics.” This was in part due to AQAP’s public call that year, but was also a reminder these kinds of attacks have happened here in the U.S. as well.

Few remember that a decade ago, in 2006, Mohammed Taheri-azar plowed his Jeep into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill — or that in January 2001, Mike Bowers, a recent parolee, smashed his 18-wheel semi into the Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., incinerating himself in a giant fireball.

Christmas markets appear to be a favored target of some radicalized individuals inspired to murder. In late December 2014, a man drove a car into a crowded market in Dijon, France, injuring 13, while a similar attack by a man driving a van a day later on the other side of the country, in Nantes, killed one and injured nine.

As it happens, this week’s Berlin attack occurred just a week after a 12-year old German-Iraqi boy was accused of planning a nail bomb attack in a Christmas market in the southern city of Ludwigshafen.

Setting aside possible theological or cultural rationales for striking these venues, maybe the attackers’ rationale was much simpler: These were small places where they could inflict mass casualties.

As we’ve seen in Nice and Berlin, once a tactic is deemed “effective,” it’ll be utilized over and over again. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently reported there were 48 ramming attacks from mid-September 2015 to November 2016. Next time, it could be a parade or a secular street fair or an outdoor concert venue. The potential targets are too numerous to defend them all. And unlike the Paris attacks in November 2015, a vehicle attack only takes one determined attacker.

Sadly, if there are others out there looking to kill and die in the name of the Islamic State or other murderous organizations, it is likely this tactic will be employed again, to devastating effect.

Aki Peritz is a former CIA analyst and coauthor of Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda. Follow him on Twitter @AkiPeritz.

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