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9 ridiculous Wikipedia lists to waste away the work day

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For the last six years of my life, I have had teachers, lecturers and tutors drill into my brain: Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.

And for six whole years I have steered clear of the tomes of knowledge Wikipedia offers me.

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No longer.

Wikipedia has a knack for distracting me from the anxieties of daily life, and there is no better distraction than its carefully curated lists.

So, for your consideration, here are the nine best lists on Wikipedia right now.

List of music considered the worst

Image: Adam Sundana via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

This list mostly looks at albums and songs that critics have declared the worst ever written. On it you’ll find classics like Justin Bieber’s Baby and Black Eyed Peas’ My Humps. And while critics are definitely wrong about 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up, the rest of the list is pretty spot on, and the critiques are hilarious.

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The lyrics, most notably “F**king magnets, how do they work? And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist / Y’all motherf**kers lying, and getting me pissed” have been noted as the worst lyrics of all time

List of sexually active popes

Image: brewbooks via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

Wikipedia is spilling hot tea with this list, outing all popes who have taken their rogers out for an unholy swim. And if you think it’s just wives and women the dear popes of yore were into, think again. A few popes have been embroiled in scandals of the homosexual nature, and it’s all on Wikipedia for you to see.

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thought to have died of indigestion from eating a melon, though detractors insisted he died while engaging in sodomy with a page

List of nicknames used by George W. Bush

Image: US Embassy New Delhi via Flicker (CC 2.0, resized)

Former US President George W. Bush was notorious for his difficulty with the English language, but one thing he seemed to be very good at was doling out nicknames. Whether it was nicknaming Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Promotion “Altoid Boy” or the Prime Minister of Italy “Shoes,” Bush really had a knack for not taking the most important job in the world seriously.

Favourite Quote:

Pootie-Poot, Ostrich Legs – Vladimir Putin, President and Prime Minister of Russia

List of silent musical compositions

Yip, that’s right. There are people who sat down and recorded absolutely nothing and got noted for it. Follow your dreams, kids!

Pieces listed here include works from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The All-American Rejects and Korn. Who’d have thought those three acts would be listed in one sentence together?

Favourite quote:

The band was going through all the motions: the swart, longish-haired leader led away; the brasses, the saxophones, the clarinets made a great show of fingering and blowing, but the only sound from the stage was a rhythmic swish-swish from the trap-drummer, a froggy slap-slap from the bull-fiddler, a soft plunk-plunk from the pianist.

List of common misconceptions

Image: Ergsap via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

You may think you know stuff — I know I did — but this list will have you feeling like Jon Snow in no time. How sure are you that Adam and Eve’s forbidden fruit was an apple? Or that evolution explains the origin of life? Or that humans only have five senses? If you answered anything stronger than “relatively sure,” you world is about to change forever.

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The term “Immaculate Conception” was not coined to refer to the virgin birth of Jesus, nor does it reference a supposed belief in the virgin birth of Mary, his mother. Instead, it denotes a Roman Catholic belief that Mary was not in a state of original sin from the moment of her own conception.

List of animals with fraudulent diplomas

Talk about being a good boy! Some of these animals have done tremendous things with their lives, despite being born into a society that told them they couldn’t. And, sure, maybe the degrees are legally fraudulent, but these badass animals prefer not to let semantics get them down.

Favourite quote:

Ben Goldacre, a UK-based physician and science journalist, wrote in 2004 that his cat, Henrietta, had obtained a diploma in nutrition from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants; Goldacre had been investigating allegations about the qualifications claimed by Gillian McKeith. Goldacre said, “it’s a particular honour since dear, sweet, little Hettie died about a year ago.”

If a dead cat can reach its dreams, so too can the rest of us.

List of premature obituaries

Image: Hollywood Branded via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

While erroneous reporting of famous deaths are more common in the internet age (how often have Betty White and Rowan Atkinson died?), there are some great stories on this list predating the world wide web of lies.

Favourite quote:

On 2 October 1571, a pallbearer dropped his coffin on the way to the funeral, waking him up. His ‘resurrection’ is still celebrated each year in Braughing, Hertfordshire.

List of examples of Stigler’s Law

Stigler’s Law refers to scientific discoveries named after people who didn’t discover them. Alison Bechdel didn’t invent the Bechdel test, Indians discovered the Fibonacci sequence before him and not even Sir Isaac Newton discovered his first two laws. Who can we even trust anymore?

Favourite quote:

Stigler’s Law, attributed by Stephen Stigler himself to Robert K. Merton

List of lists of lists

Exactly what it says on the tin. All links here take you to another list. Endless procrastination abounds. You’re welcome.

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lists about skepticism

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