School teachers: Wikipedia is often better than your textbooks

The horror wikipedui felt by many of our K-12 teachers, which is reported to me frequently by incoming freshmen at my college as well as my own children, continues to dismay me.

Here is a case where Wikipedia could easily be used to correct a textbook from a major education publisher. Other instances include the number of senses humans possess (far more than five), or the number of basic tastes we have (five, not four). My children were still being taught the long-abandoned numbers around 2005!

So teachers are using textbooks filled with fallacious material, and warning kids off one place where they might easily get it corrected.


  1. Anonymous1:29 AM

    I can definitely attest to the fifth basic taste, umami is my absolute favorite, yet none of the others quite captures it. I can't say that I notice anything when it comes to MSG, but my taste palette is definitely more attuned to flesh, veggies, funguses, and fermented foods. I really cannot stand sweet, sour, or salty foods, I much prefer foods that are bitter, hot, fleshy, or funky. Kimchee, super hot peppers, mushrooms, ginger, cheese, asparagus, brussels sprouts, steak, liver, heart, kidney, shrimp, sardines, cabbage, lobster, crab, crawdad, eggs, 85% or greater cacao chocolate, spinach, nightshades, liverwurst, broccoli, salad greens, cauliflower, tea, coffee, etc.

    If that isn't weird enough, I also like all of my food and drink to be served at room temperature (if it is hot or cold, I won't touch it).

    And on the senses, well, you already know that I'm a synesthete. So yeah, I'm pretty much an all around weirdo.

  2. Oh, absolutely. I've learned a great deal by reading Wikipedia articles, which hold much more information than the average high school textbook. Still, there are problems of original research and bias, like the articles here and here, which I can tell were written by some Austro-libertarians who were projecting their beliefs onto the world.


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