Twins Charlotte and Samantha Ronson turn 32 today. David Duchovny is turning 49. Charlize Theron is 34. Author and radio personality Garrison Keillor is 67. Conservative political commentator Alan Keyes turns 59. Wayne Knight, the actor best known for playing Newman on Seinfeld, is turning 54. And Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is 43 today—at least according to his Wikipedia page. A handful of weekend birthdays—including that of Michael Kors, Chris Cuomo and Dustin Hoffman—follow below.
Wikipedia, to cofounder Jimmy Wales's eternal dismay, is a nonprofit project rather than a lucrative private enterprise. The online encyclopedia, home to volunteer-written disquisitions on subjects like the umlaut in names of heavy metal bands, hopes to raise $6 million this year in a fundraising drive now featured in prominent ads on the top of most pages on the otherwise ad-free site. How's it going?An online thermometer, which has popped on and off the site, shows that the effort has raised $2,155,883 towards its $6 million goal. But that figure is meant to deceive potential donors about the level of Wikipedia's grassroots support. It started out $2.1 million ahead, by counting previously made donations from large organizations like the Sloan Foundation, which has already agreed to give Wikipedia $3 million over the course of three years. But that's not what has Wikipedia's volunteer editors up in arms. They're calling the donation banner "ugly." They're debating how to make it easier to hide. They're even questioning whether the foundation should be asking them for money at all, since they already contribute their labor. On a Wikipedia mailing list, Nathan Awrich sums up the reaction:
What's that on the top of every page on Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales's nonprofit encyclopedia? Why, it's an ad! Wales had long promised that Wikipedia would not carry advertising, but he makes an exception for the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia's nonprofit parent. What Wales doesn't mention: Wikipedia will soon have many new ways of making money available to it, thanks to a revision in its open-source license. Wikipedia is switching from an obscure, restrictive agreement with its roots in software documentation to a much looser Creative Commons copyright license — which means the Wikimedia Foundation will be able to profit from its volunteers' editorial work. While they're at it, why don't Wales and company just run banner ads, too? The donation drive seems like an excellent opportunity to show potential advertisers how effective Wikipedia's ads can be.