Last month, I began training on my new job. I won’t say who it is or paint too negative a picture, but let’s just say the turnover rate is probably one of the highest of any workplace I know of. As such, I expected the training to be pretty standardized and routine, since they obviously have to do it several times a year.

Well, needless to say, I was a little disappointed. The trainer seemed to have a number of things to take care of besides actually training us (even though he is a designated trainer year-round), so we ended up spending a lot of time sitting and waiting for him to get back to us.

But aha! There are computers in front of us! Computers which, I came to learn, were the most limited, firewalled, gutted out, worthless sacks of crap I have ever had the displeasure of using. Very nearly every website on the Internet is blocked (for reference: I did a web search for “compound interest calculator” and had to go through 14 results before I found one that hadn’t been blocked), and some, like Amazon, don’t load their CSS, so they’re mostly unusable.

Thankfully, there was one site that I could spend countless hours on that wasn’t blocked: Wikipedia.

Since “countless hours” was basically what I had at my disposal, I think I browsed about a quarter of the English Wikipedia by the time I was done (and a few articles in French for good measure). A game I developed to help pass the time was to keep track of what article I started on, what article I ended the day on, and then try to find the most interesting article in between. I really have no idea how some of these jumps happened. I suppose the thing to keep in mind is the part about “countless hours” being only barely an exaggeration.

Below are a few of my favorites.

7/4/12

Starting article: Leopard

Ending article: Black-footed Cat

Most interesting: Permian-Triassic Extinction Event

7/6/12

Starting article: Cross of Gold Speech

Ending article: Darwin (OS)

Most interesting: Bitcoin

7/12/12

Starting article: List of Lost Episodes

Ending article: Charles Fort

Most interesting: Sprite Lightning (warning: potentially creepy)

7/13/12

Starting article: Quadratic Equation

Ending article: Quasar

Most interesting: Ultra-luminous X-ray Source

7/16/12

Starting article: Inception

Ending article: Googolplex

Most interesting: List of Large Numbers

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