Steven Pruitt Has Contributed To A Third Of Wikipedia
There are countless unsung heroes responsible for preserving the knowledge of humanity. The scholars of Alexandria. The dedicated employees at the Library of Congress. And Steve.
Steve Pruitt has spent an altogether unhealthy portion of his life behind a keyboard, plinking away at Wikipedia articles. Despite the shortcomings that they themselves admit to, Wikipedia is undoubtedly the most influential collection of information in the world today. And "prolific nerd" Steve Pruitt has volunteered his time to help provide about a third of that influence. He is responsible for around 3 million Wikipedia edits and 35,000 original articles. Time declared him one of 2017's most influential internet users, which sounds like hyperbole until you realize that, with an average of 540 edits a day, his fingers have been on a volume of information that would make scholars of previous generations apoplectic with jealousy.
And Pruitt's not just an obsessive cut-and-paster. His three-plus-hour-a-day hobby includes efforts to streamline Wikipedia's format to improve its ease of use, and to correct the dearth of articles about women (by writing tons of them himself). Beats our daily three hours of whisky-soaked League Of Legends rage.
Steven Pruitt/Wikipedia"What have you done with your life? ... No, seriously. Let me know and I'll meticulously record it for worldwide distribution."
Working for no paycheck doesn't bother Pruitt. It's actually part of his inspiration. In his words: "The idea of making it all free fascinates me. My mother grew up in the Soviet Union ... So I'm very conscious of what it can mean to make knowledge free." His reward for all of this selfless hard work is, of course, his very own Wikipedia page. It's 2,500 words shorter than Batboy's, but still.
John Harrison Controls Your Ice Cream
"Ice cream taster" sounds like the dream job of an eight-year-old who eventually grows up to be an accountant. But someone does have to test new flavors and perform quality control on existing ones. Otherwise there's a risk that a batch of French vanilla goes out tasting like American vanilla. And for ice cream giant Nestle, whose brands include Edy's and Haagen-Dazs, that someone is John Harrison.
Harrison's job is to take a gallon of ice cream, sit down, and taste it with his golden spoon. No, literally. Silver tarnishes, while wood, steel, and plastic all have a mild aftertaste. Besides, if you were a professional taster, you'd take any excuse to pimp out your spoon too. Harrison tastes around 60 batches a day over the course of four to five hours, following his rule of "swirl, smack, and spit." And to keep the decadent Roman Emperor theme going, he gives whole batches a thumbs up or thumbs down. Around 100,000 gallons of ice cream are rejected annually and given to food banks, like a gift from a chubby Caesar, for being too icy, not fluffy enough, or sorbet in disguise. You don't count, sorbet. You will never count.