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Happy ninth birthday, Wikipedia!

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You probably didn’t notice at the time, but a most momentous day for the human race occurred exactly nine years ago. I’m talking, of course, about the launch of Wikipedia on Jan. 15, 2001. (Thanks to The Awl for reminding us of this anniversary.)

I’m serious! The free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit is, was, and always will be an awesome source of instant information — though it’s better used as a starting point than a last word if you’re doing serious research. Better yet, Wikipedia has become an endless source of (very nerdy) entertainment in and of itself. I’ll confess to spending many an idle hour browsing through Wikipedia’s insanely detailed pages on Lord of the Rings characters, rappers from the ’90s, and musical categorizations. Sometimes, if I’m really bored, I just start at a random page and click around until I’m reading obscure details on, like, crustacean taxonomy. Please tell me I’m not the only person who does this.

How often do you consult Wikipedia? What’s your favorite page? Or are you one of those people who never reads Wikipedia at all? You’re missing out!

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