Showing all posts tagged: current affairs

When the famous die, people flock to their Wikipedia pages

14 September 2022

When someone famous dies, visits to their Wikipedia page usually surge, as this visualisation by The Pudding shows. Sometimes the count goes off the scale. A case in point is late musician Prince. When he died in 2016, his Wikipedia page was viewed over eleven millon times in the two days afterwards.

More than 1,300 notable people died in the past three years, according to Wikipedia. Here are 84 who got over half a million pageviews in the first 48 hours after their deaths. Although no one grabbed our attention quite like Prince, the spike in pageviews after a celebrity’s death can often overshadow that of other major events, even a presidential inauguration.

One can only imagine what the pageview numbers will be for British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week. Incredibly, or perhaps not, her death was noted on her Wikipedia page within seconds. Editors of the online encyclopaedia were also swift to change the page of then Prince Charles, to King Charles III, this before his regnal name had been officially confirmed.


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Kylie Moore-Gilbert: the difficult return to a normal life

15 August 2022

Kylie Moore-Gilbert is an Australian academic who spent over two years in Iranian jails after being accused of spying, despite no evidence backing up the claims ever being published. Last week Moore-Gilbert wrote about being incarcerated, and the challenges of rebuilding her life, on returning to Melbourne in November 2020.

I am a 35-year-old childless divorcee with a criminal record. It was never meant to be this way, of course. A few years ago I was on track to achieving that comfortable middle-class existence of husband, dream job and a mortgage on a house in the suburbs. I was driven, I was hard-working, I was ambitious. After years of juggling full-time study with multiple part-time jobs I had finally gained an unsteady foothold on the precarious academic ladder. I was working on my first book, an adaptation of my PhD. I taught undergraduate and masters courses, and supervised research students. I used to think I had life more or less figured out, and myself too for that matter.

Incidentally, Moore-Gilbert’s memoir My 804 Days in an Iranian Prison, is among shortlisted titles for the 2022 The Age book of the year award. Winners will be announced when the Melbourne Writers Festival opens on Thursday 8 September 2022.


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Rachel Kleinfeld: there won’t be a second American civil war

20 July 2022

Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, doesn’t see an oft spoken of civil war erupting in the United States, but the prospect makes for sombre reading.

Civil wars happen largely in countries with large, poor populations facing a bulge of young men, the demographic most likely to use violence. They generally require governments with low capacity levels, and high rates of corruption and brutality. When the U.S. Civil War erupted in 1861, the Union army had just ten infantry regiments controlled by a miniscule federal government riddled with corruption. Civil wars don’t happen in wealthy countries with strong institutions and strong militaries, like the modern United States, because it would be quixotic to try to overthrow such states.

On the other hand, Tom Klingenstein of conservative think tank the Claremont Institute, believes America is already in a state of cold civil war, with the battle lines drawn between those who want to preserve the American way of life, and those who he thinks seek to destroy it.