We’ve been making fun of Wikipedia’s urgent pleas from founder Jimmy Wales for awhile now, but one thing is undeniable: their campaign is working. Last year Wikipedia received $8 million in donations. This year they’ve raised about $13 million of their $16 million goal. Wikipedia is now the fifth most visited website in the world — the only website of its popularity that is a non-profit — and currently has around 30 staff members (none of whom can win a staring contest with Jimmy Wales, we’d bet). In order to keep up with server load, their operating expenses are expected to rise to $20.4 million next year, so expect Wales to be gazing at you for awhile longer.
A rocket launch of India’s largest communications satellite ended in an explosion on Saturday when the spacecraft’s steering system had an electrical failure and veered off course. The Indian Space Research Organization had to command the craft to self-destruct before hitting the ground. It exploded at an altitude of around 30,000 feet above the Bay of Bengal. Hopefully no surfing tigers were hurt.
The 2010 census results are in: the current U.S. population is 308.7 million. Southern and Western states will gain ten seats in the House of Representatives while Northeast and Midwest will lose those seats. This will likely lead to more Republican gains in the House in 2012. Texas will gain four seats and Florida will gain two while Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington will each gain one. Ohio and New York will lose two seats each while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will each lose one. In related news, sales of fava beans, Chianti, and Amarone are expected to drop till the next census.
- The Financial Times has declared Steve Jobs the Person of the Year. Your move, Zuckerberg. (TheNextWeb)
- A driver in South Africa was caught at 32 times over the legal BAL. Oh, and he also had fifteen stolen sheep and six people (presumably not stolen) in his Mercedes-Benz Vito van. Sheep in a Benz? You must be drunk. (Arbroath)
- Remember the high school student (Jeremy Marks) who’s been sitting in jail for eight months awaiting a “speedy” trial after taping a police officer fighting with a 15-year-old? Google engineer Neil Fraser heard about the student’s plight on Reddit and bailed him out in time for Christmas. (SAI, with video)
- A thief has stolen a sculpture which spells out the word “Honesty” in dollar bills. Would this be considered performance art? (StarTribune)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Facebook has surpassed Yahoo and is now the third largest website (in terms of unique visitors) in the world. (TechCrunch)
- Speaking of newer things surpassing older things, this is the first year online ad spending is projected to outpace newspaper ad spending, an estimated $25.8 billion compared to $25.7 billion for 2010. (AllThingsD)
- A quantitative study of Facebook status updates finds that young people are more self-centered and old people take longer to get to the point. You can read about other fascinating correlations found by the Professors of Obviousness at FlowingData.
- Pictures via fyeahdementia, Gizmodo, and Matthew Erik.