Spin round like a basketball baby…

Up this week we’re showing off Squirrel Man‘s winning Q&A video for the 9³ Video Answer contest:

How do you spin a basketball on your finger?

I loved this one because it is so straightforwardly how-to. Those are the best kinds of video answers, in my opinion.

But enough about my opinion – get started with the learning:

APepper on the Scoville Scale? Hotelligent!

pepperDid you know that there are more than a thousand varieties of peppers in the world? Seriously. There are bell peppers, Jalapeno peppers, yellow peppers, Serrano and even sport peppers. From sweet to blazin’ hot, you name it and there is most likely a pepper for it or named after it. But one kind of pepper you won’t find anywhere outside of WikiAnswers is APepper – that’s right. APepper. While the Scoville scale says that pure capsaicin is the hottest thing around we know better… APepper is hotelligent! That’s simply off the charts…

Want to know more? Read on my friends!

What is your WikiAnswers user name and the history behind it?

It’s my name! (Andrew Pepper)

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor (which categories)?

I’m a Floating Supervisor – I think!

Do you have any pets?

No, although for a few months we had a Siamese cat living with us (a long story!)

Where do you live, how long have you lived there and why do you like the area?

We live in two countries; England and Cyprus. I was actually born in the area of England (East Anglia) where we live now and we’ve long been hellenophiles. So when the opportunity arose a few years ago, we picked Cyprus – which is warm in the winter.

Where did you grow up and do you have any special memories of your childhood?

I grew up in Essex, outside of my family, my earliest memories are of seeing the Beatles on TV – on programs that are now lost, as they weren’t recorded; I’m a big Beatles fan.

What educational information would you like to share?

I studied electronics at London University and worked there for several years as a technician and, latterly, as a computer programmer. I also started a PhD in Cybernetics on Natural Language.

What are some of your past and/or present occupations?

I co-founded a company which designed and manufactured datacomms equipment. As well as helping to run the company, I also wrote software and documentation for products. I’m now self-employed; I do some freelance photography, designing Web sites and I’ve written a program which allows camera clubs to run competitions using a laptop and digital projector – the digital revolution has been a big thing for camera clubs as they used to use slides a lot.

What is/are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

Partly I have “professional” knowledge of datacomms, computers in general, photography and electronics but I also have interests; the Beatles, evolution by natural selection (I studied that for my PhD). I’m not a believer in god, but I have an interest in the bible – there is a quiz show in the UK called QI which describes surprising facts in the bible (e.g. Delilah didn’t cut off Samson’s hair; there were seven of most animals on Noah’s ark; the oldest man mentioned in the bible is Enoch), this kind of trivia is right up my street! Although I studied quite a lot of physics and quantum physics in particular as part of my electronics course, I’m very nervous about answering questions about physics as my knowledge is 30 years old.

Living in Cyprus for some of the year means I speak a little Greek.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

Photography and computer programming are my hobbies. I’m lucky enough to get paid to do them, but I’d do them for free just for fun.

What do you like to do for recreation?

Apart from photography and computer programming, I play some table tennis and cricket. I also play some computer games.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I speak a little Greek, I’m tall, I’m surprisingly good at estimating how long it takes to do things, I play the guitar quite badly, I can touch type, I hold a teaching qualification, I’m vegetarian, I’m left handed. I don’t like people saying “decimate” when they really mean “devastate”.

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

My main talent is computer programming; although I’ve taught Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, I’ve rarely taught programming – it seems that people can either program or they can’t – you need a mixture of persistence, patience and profanity(!) to program and not everyone can do it.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I’ve written some successful programs over the years and a couple of books (both about programming), but, of course, being in the world of technology, these are fleeting successes. I’m pleased with my teaching of adults – many students arrived with very little knowledge of computing and they left to become office professionals.

What are your special goals or dreams?

Alas I’m too late for rock star (I had plans to join the Beatles or Queen which fell through!). I’m also unlikely to play cricket for England; these are my daydreams. One of my dreams actually came true – as a boy I met Eric Morecambe; probably Britain’s funniest comedian since the war and he was great. He appeared to be pleased to meet me, although I disturbed him having a cup of coffee.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

An optimist would call me a pessimist; I call myself a realist. I have some English characteristics; I like word play, I’m skeptical, I’m quiet, I like seeing things done well. I like using well-designed products. I like odd coincidences. I once worked with a lady called Jane Babbage who was a descendant of Charles Babbage who invented the computer – brilliant!

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

ISTR it was mentioned on a TV program in the UK (Click).

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers

It’s interesting looking at the recent questions. Often there will be a question that I half know the answer to – a recent one was “How many North and South Poles are there?” I remember on QI that there were a surprising number – and after a minute or so with Google I found the detail; the answer is seven (four north and three south) – that’s interesting to me.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity?

When I’m feeling particularly industrious, I’ll try and “clear” an area of questions. For example, I’ll search for questions containing the word “atheism” and try and provide answers for all of them. Obviously, this only works when there aren’t that many questions, and I actually know (or can find out) the answers.

Ralph of the Flies: ‘Til Daddy Comes

Ralph of the Flies is a silver contributor on Answers.com. Earlier this month his team snagged 5th place in the 9³ AnswerHunt and several of his questions were answered in our Town Hall.

Beyond that, you’ll find him among the Top Organizers in the Wales and Scotland categories as well as the Top Answerers in the Lord of the Flies, Wales, Scotland, Roman Numerals and Stonehenge categories! He was kind enough to share this poem of his for this week’s installment of the Poetry Cafe…

[If you would like your original poetry profiled on this blog, please e-mail it to poetry @ wikianswers.com (no spaces) and include your WikiAnswers username!]

‘Til Daddy Comes, by Ralph of the Flies

And from the lushness you emerge
Dazzling bright, phantasms stretch and melt
Where the sea meets the noonday sky
A coral teardrop, a good place to be
‘Til daddy comes for you
School grey stockings, like cares, cast aside
No words can speak their joy for you
Head in sand, legs splayed
Skin lightly dusted by a myriad of tiny stars
The sea’s prize to sound
And called, like scurrying insects
Flies drawn to fruit and cool green shadows
Then climbing to the sky
Surrounded by air and highest of all
United to tumble free, a good place to be
‘Til fire brings daddy for you
Fear not the darkness or ordure’s foetid stench
Sh*t in the sea, like a good boy should
Betrayed by the flutter of wings within
And wearing beaded crimson anklets
A garland of labours needless spent
Midst soft grey remains of yesterdays hopes, abandoned
Feed the ponies at the wall
And from the hayloft, sweet and snug
Flakes of purest white, drift
Caressing gold flecked skin like softest down
Read your books in bed
‘Til daddy says good night
The curtain flickers, again
The bus is coming closer, run and hide
Climb a tree or break the line?
And through the air, falling slowly
A pink block in a silver sea stained red
Requiem of sooty motes written large across the sky
No ponies now, for evermore, the bus is here
Daddy came too late
Will your tears wash the darkness from your heart?

New Answers.com launches at DEMO 2009.

Here is the exciting news from Answers.com, which is launching its new product today at DEMO 2009 in San Diego:

New Answers.com Launches First Site to Combine Community with Hundreds of Editorial Resources under One Roof

International Languages Now Supported: Spanish, French, Italian & German

New Answers.com combines the power of the company’s WikiAnswers® community-driven content with hundreds of expert resources from licensed content on ReferenceAnswers™. Users can ask anything and automatically receive the best available answer, which could be user-generated or from an editorial resource. Through the contributions of a large and growing community, answers can be edited and improved over time.

To sum it up, Answers.com has officially combined its user-generated WikiAnswers Q&A database and the licensed content of ReferenceAnswers to create one powerful answer engine, designed to offer you the best answer to your question.

In addition, four new language Q&A communities have opened up. These new international versions are:

Watch Answers Corp’s onstage presentation at the DEMO conference! Visit www.demo.com TOMORROW (Wednesday), shortly before 11:48 a.m. EDT (8:48 a.m. PDT).

UPDATE: Below is the footage of the talk given by Bob and Shaya at DEMO…

See them on the other side.

Not only did longtime WikiAnswers contributors Keats and Rudiful2 cross over to Ruby-level contributor last week – but they did it together, actually coordinated so that they would cross over to the highest contributor level at 10:05 EST on Friday, September 18th.

So is it more like congrats to Rubyful2 and Keatstributor?

In the words of Rudy:

“It was shear joy working with such a wonderful “LADY”, no competitive natures were involved, just working together for the betterment of the site, WOW, what fun.”

And we can’t agree more – it is always a joy to see contributors working together to reach milestones – the wiki way!

A Twiyp Down ‘Right Now’ Lane.

contributor-silver_smallJust to set the record straight… Twiyp is NOT an abbreviation for Twilight. Nor does it stand for anything related to the Twilight series – as I recently found out. And no, we are not going on a Twiyp down memory lane or to the Bahamas. Twiyp is right here, right now – one of WikiAnswers’ funniest Supervisors EVER.

Here’s more on the funomenal Twiyp:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

You know when you go to Wikipedia to look up an article about Brigido Lara, you go to an article about Mexico, redirect yourself to a page about helicopters and then find a sudden interest in balloons?

Yeah… Finding WikiAnswers was nothing like that. I looked up a word, and it suggested I look at a question. Having the urge for a dangerous adventure, I peeked at the answer to find a nonsensical comment! I fixed up the answer a little bit, and then became a member of WikiAnswers after realizing that the entire Web site was incredibly addicting.

Explain your user name.

I had great difficulty deciding on my WikiAnswers user name. A user name should give other people a hint about what you are, who you look like or what you like to do. It expresses your deep love for someone or something, or what you truly believe in…

…Which brings me to my user name Twiyp or The World Is Your Potty.

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

I like to play a helpful part in any meaningful project, especially when the only reward is a pat on the back… and a “Ruby Contributor” badge.

What are your areas of expertise?

When I’m online in shorter time frames, I like to fix up new answers and re-word new questions. With more time, I enjoy answering questions that require long explanations, especially if they deal with technology – my favorite category is the PHP category.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

The ability to have bold text! The possibilities are virtually endless. Using bold formatting is less rude than having an all-letters-uppercase word, but has more of an emphasis than italics. I imagine bold words being yelled a tad bit louder than a polite volume.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

What sound is made when the dirt is gone? I laugh at the expression, every time. “Bam! And the dirt is gone!”

Share a random fact about yourself.

I aspire to collect an Airzooka of every possible color. My significant other ties my shoelaces better than me — after all, I can’t tie shoes. But I do have nice shoe and I like them a lot…Just got them a few days ago.

I have a constant craving for vanilla-flavored tea… Except for right now. I’m actually not very thirsty… or am I? I don’t know. I could actually go for a Double-stuffed Oreo cookie right now… mmm…

Probably the thing I like to advertise the most: I’ve performed music in the Sydney Opera House.

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.