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The 15 Weirdest Wikipedia Pages Edited From Congress

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Since the beginning of July, Twitter account @congressedits has been cataloging and publicizing edits made to Wikipedia articles from IP addresses linked to the United States House of Representatives and related offices. If a congressperson, staffer, intern, or anyone using a computer affiliated with Congress makes a change to Wikipedia, @congressedits tweets it out.

While many edits made are simple grammatical or factual ones (birth dates, district numbers, etc.), other changes have been downright bizarre. In response to @congressedits, Wikipedia has issued a 10-day ban on anonymous edits made from House IP addresses. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said, "There is a belief...that it only provoked someone—some prankster there in the office—to have an audience now for the pranks, and actually encouraged them rather than discouraged them."

The ban means @congressedits has been quiet since last week, but these examples are a taste of what was going on from the esteemed halls of our government.

1. Horse Head Mask

The Edit: Added "President Barack Obama shook hands with a man wearing a horse head mask in Denver."

[Revision Info]

This is true, and a more fleshed-out version of this fact appears on the current Wikipedia page. Good edit, anonymous staffer (or congressperson).

2. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

The Edit: "Bon Jovi" and "Ludwig Van Beethoven" added to the list of musical artists featured in the series.

[Revision Info]

Both names still appear on the page, marking some of the most important and lasting work to have ever come out of the U.S. House of Representatives.

3 and 4. Choco Taco


The Edits: "In addition, Choco Tacos have been a staple of vending machines in the Rayburn House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives honoring former Speaker Samuel Rayburn's devotion to his favorite snack" added, as well as the category "American brands."

[Revision Info]

While the "American brands" category remains, the tidbit about Choco Tacos being former Speaker Samuel Rayburn's favorite snack was removed. While unsubstantiated, it's certainly not a stretch—they are a delicious ice cream snack.

5. Journalism

The Edit: "In 2014, the Wikipedia page on Journalism was used as click-bait to remind reporters that a more important story is the refusal of House Republicans to raise the minimum wage, pass immigration reform, extend unemployment insurance, and improve our roads and bridges" was added.

[Revision Info]

That this change appeared under the section describing how the Internet has affected journalism and that it is being used as an example in various news stories and lists about the Congressional Wikipedia edits means we've formed a Russian nesting doll of self-referentiality with nothing more than questionable source material. And you still had to read about the various refusals of House Republicans, meaning the whole thing worked. The scaffolding holds.

6. Ben Smith

The Edit: "Smirnoff Ice enthusiast" added to the Buzzfeed editor-in-chief's page.

[Revision Info]

Sounds about right.

7. Gender Identity Disorder

The Edit: "This whole article is transphobic. Trans people's identity isn't a disease. Just because I have a penis doesn't make me less of a woman" added at the end of the post.

[Revision Info]

This looks to have been in response to another argument that has since been stricken from the page, which, at varying stages of edits, looks like an Internet comments section.

8. The Atlantic

The Edit: "The Atlantic's Megan Garber broke the story of Wikipedia's Choco-Taco entry being edited anonymously from a U.S. House of Representatives IP address" added.

[Revision Info]

An edit coming from an anonymous congressional IP address about an edit that was made from an anonymous congressional IP address. We have officially crawled up our own posteriors.

9. Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories

The Edit: Added that Moon landing conspiracy theories are "promoted by the Cuban government."

[Revision Info]

This bit of info actually remains, although it is more thoroughly sourced: "James Oberg of ABC News said that the conspiracy theory is taught in Cuban schools and wherever Cuban teachers are sent."

10. Reptilians

The Edit: Added "These allegations are completely unsubstantiated and have no basis in reality" to the page about reptilian shape-shifters ruling the world.

[Revision Info]

Must've been tough typing that with those clawed, scaly hands.

11. Assassination of John F. Kennedy

The Edit: Added that Lee Harvey Oswald acted "on behalf of the regime of Fidel Castro, and that Jack Ruby also acted behalf of the regime of Fidel Castro."

[Revision Info]

Still waiting to confirm Castro's involvement with the Choco Taco.

12. Wendy's

The Edit: Added "french fries" to products.

[Revision Notes]

Good catch.

13. Internship

The Edit: Added the adjective "great" to describe internships.

[Revision Notes]

Anonymously editorializing Wikipedia pages is the future of brown-nosing.

14. Mediaite

The Edit: Mentions that the website is a "sexist transphobic" blog "that automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence."

This is a reference to a story about a previous anonymous congressional edit that was written with gendered pronouns.

[Revision Info]

And the thrilling game of cat-and-mouse being played in cyberspace continues.

15. Phish

The Edit: Added "modes" as something Phish blends besides genres.

[Revision Info]

Good thing these are anonymous, because that is very embarrassing.

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Plagued with Rodents, Members of the UK Parliament Demand a Cat
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Members of the United Kingdom’s Parliament want a cat, but not just for office cuddles: As The Telegraph reports, the Palace of Westminster—the meeting place of Parliament’s two houses, the House of Commons and the House of Lords—is overrun with vermin, and officials have had enough. They think an in-house feline would keep the rodents at bay and defray skyrocketing pest control costs.

Taxpayers in the UK recently had to bear the brunt of a $167,000 pest control bill after palace maintenance projects and office renovations disturbed mice and moths from their slumber. The bill—which was nearly one-third higher than the previous year’s—covered the cost of a full-time pest control technician and 1700 bait stations. That said, some Members of Parliament (MPs) think their problem could be solved the old-fashioned way: by deploying a talented mouser.

MP Penny Mordaunt tried taking matters into her own hands by bringing four cats—including her own pet kitty, Titania—to work. (“A great believer in credible deterrence, I’m applying the principle to the lower ministerial corridor mouse problem,” she tweeted.) This solution didn’t last long, however, as health and safety officials banned the cats from Parliament.

While cats aren’t allowed in Parliament, other government offices reportedly have in-house felines. And now, MPs—who are sick of mice getting into their food, running across desks, and scurrying around in the tearoom—are petitioning for the same luxury.

"This is so UNFAIR,” MP Stella Creasy said recently, according to The Telegraph. “When does Parliament get its own cats? We’ve got loads of mice (and some rats!) after all!" Plus, Creasy points out, a cat in Parliament is “YouTube gold in waiting!"

Animal charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home wants to help, and says it’s been trying to convince Parliament to adopt a cat since 2014. "Battersea has over 130 years [experience] in re-homing rescue cats, and was the first choice for Downing Street, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Cabinet Office when they sought our mousers to help with their own rogue rodents,” charity head Lindsey Quinlan said in a statement quoted by The Telegraph. “We'd be more than happy to help the Houses of Parliament recruit their own chief mousers to eliminate their pest problem and restore order in the historic corridors of power."

As of now, only assistance and security dogs are allowed on palace premises—but considering that MPs spotted 217 mice alone in the first six months of 2017, top brass may have to reconsider their rules and give elected officials purr-mission to get their own feline office companions.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds, U.S. Air Force, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
How the U-2 Aircraft Made Area 51 Synonymous With UFOs
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Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds, U.S. Air Force, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Area 51 may be the world’s most famous secret military base. Established on an abandoned airfield in the Nevada desert, the facility has fueled the imaginations of conspiracy theorists scanning the skies for UFOs for decades. But the truth about Area 51’s origins, while secretive, isn’t as thrilling as alien autopsies and flying saucers.

According to Business Insider, the U.S. government intended to build a base where they could test a top-secret military aircraft without drawing attention from civilians or spies. That aircraft, the U-2 plane, needed to fly higher than any other manmade object in the skies. That way it could perform recon missions over the USSR without getting shot down.

Even over the desert, the U-2 didn’t go completely undetected during test flights. Pilots who noticed the craft high above them reported it as an “unidentified flying object.” Not wanting to reveal the true nature of the project, Air Force officials gave flimsy explanations for the sightings pointing to either natural phenomena or weather research. UFO believers were right to think the government was covering something up, they were just wrong about the alien part.

You can get the full story in the video below.

[h/t Business Insider]


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