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Where To Get Information When Wikipedia Is Down – Riggs’ Top Five

John Riggs, Townsquare Media

On January 18th, several websites went dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA, anti-piracy legislation under consideration by the US Congress. This got me thinking about our friends in the Generation Y and those who are even younger. Computers haven't been around for ever so how did we ever get our information and find stuff about things before these websites that we rely on each and every day? Here are five ways you can still get the information you need when we don't have the convenience of whipping out Wikipedia at a moment's notice.

Flickr, paul_lowry
Flickr, paul_lowry


Go To The Library



Once upon a time they had these buildings called 'libraries.' They housed something called 'books' that didn't require charging a battery or downloading any upgrades every time you opened them. Basically, a book is sheets of paper with words on them full of information and, if you're lucky, pictures. The pictures, by the way, don't need to buffer. Unfortunately you can't “Ctrl-F” to just find what you're looking for, there was no back-lighting available and videos are never provided but books do provide a great resource in what you're looking for in most subjects. I recommend the library as you can check them out for free so long as you return them on time.


Flickr, palomabaytelman
Flickr, palomabaytelman


Ask Someone Who May Know



It's nice to keep a network of friends who are knowledgeable in different subjects. Have a friend who knows about cars, have a friend who studied marine biology, have another who knows how to cook, ect. If you need to have a question answered, it doesn't hurt, and there's no shame, in asking another human being a question that they may know the answer off the top of their head without having to look anything up. It'll save you time and is sometimes quicker and you'll get a better answer than anything you'll find on many websites. If needed, they can even go the extra step by putting it into words you understand, unlike some websites.


Flickr, eneas
Flickr, eneas


Have A Train Of Thought



Something that today's generation is lacking thanks to the convenience of everyone owning a smartphone or having a computer handy. In my day, when someone would ask, “What was the name of the guy who played Boris in GoldenEye?” we would actually pause for a moment and talk it through. The conversation may sound something like this.

Guy 1: It was… um… that guy who played Nightcrawler.
Guy 2: Yeah, I just can't remember his name. 'Andy' something?
Guy 1: Something like Andy… Andy Coleman?
Guy 2: Maybe it was Alan Coleman”
Guy 1 and Guy 2: Alan Cumming!

Then maybe you'll talk about other movies he was in or talk about how awesome X-men is. A 'train of thought' are these deep thinking moments when you actually have to use your brain. If someone asks who Boris is, you both just flip out your smartphone and it becomes a competition of who can find the answer first. Take a moment and use your brain, your body will love you for it.


Flickr, 666_is_money
Flickr, 666_is_money


Visit Your Parents House



Like the library, your parent's house probably has a lot of information in there as well. Your parents, most likely, didn't have a computer all of their life so they probably still have TONS of books. With any luck they have an almanac or encyclopedia which has a little info on just about everything you need from bugs to planets to celebrities to sports. The more 'technologically declined' your parents are, the better. If your parents still use a VCR that's flashing 12:00 – you've hit pay dirt!


John Riggs, Townsquare Media
John Riggs, Townsquare Media


Make An Educated Guess



You may have heard “your first instinct is usually right” and I believe that to be true. If need information on something, use your brain and take an educated guess. If someone asks where 'okonomiyaki' comes from, you can automatically assuming that it's Japanese by the phonetics of how it's spelled. If someone asks you who else is in the new Adam Sandler movie, you can safely say 'Rob Schneider' as he is in almost all of Adam Sandler's movies. Even if you're wrong, Hey! At least you had answer – that'll teach them from bugging you with mundane queries for the rest of your life, with any luck.


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