Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life After Death

A few weeks ago some friends and I got into a discussion of Facebook accounts, and one person wondered whether some smart alec created a profile for the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It seemed like a distinct possibility, and so I decided to find out. Alas the answer is no. Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson is not on facebook.

But it did occur to me to see if other famous people did have accounts on Facebook. I first started with other great rabbis. I figured that if any rabbi would have a profile on facebook, it would have to be either Hillel or Rambam, as every school, camp, charity fund, or organization named after a rabbi, will invariably be named Hillel or Maimonides. No one is ever original enough to name something after the Ramah, for example. And so, the search began.

In addition to all the organizations and quotes from Guide to the Perlexed, Rambam has two profiles. The first is the only Jew in the Egypt network, and the second one is in Quebec, Canada, which I can only assume was his summer home. A search for Hillel only turned up the college organization, a Mr. Rutgers Hillel, and זכר למקדש כהללֹ— Korech Lovers Anonymous.

Moving on to secular figures, we find that Theodor Seuss Geisel, one of the greatest writers of all time has a rhyming facebook profile with less than two hundred different words, and William Shakepeare still lives on, but only in China. And though Dumas is no longer with us, his Comte de Montichristo has been busy. But Franz Kafka takes the literary cake, with 214 separate profiles. Bet you regret wanting to destroy your books now, eh Franz?

After literature, there was one thing I HAD to check. Joseph Stalin has a profile. Joe Stalin stole my blog avatar, and teaches at Villanova (You don't want to see his profile at ratemyprofessors. It's not pleasant). Iosef Stalin has two, and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin also stole my picture, but at least he colorized it. Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili has 11 profiles. And it would seriously disturb you to learn how many girls call themselves Joan Stalin.

Chemists are behind in the fake profile game. Fritz Haber has only one profile, and it appears to be a LIVING Fritz Haber, not THE Haber. Kekule has none. The only famous chemist who does have a profile is Linus Pauling with 5. But mathematicians are rather better. 176 years after his fatal duel, Évariste Galois has finally graduated Princeton, Kansas City, and the University of Edinburgh. Hilbert, Godel, Lagrange and Laplace all have profile. And Fourier went to Rutgers.

Ignaz Semmelweis has a profile, as does Louis Pasteur. Lister does not, but I'm sure he'll have one shortly *cough*. Alexandre Yersin does not, but the disease named after him does. John Snow has a profile, and I had no idea that his work was an all too common last name.

I'm sure that many, many other famous people all have profiles, but I think this should be enough incentive for the Lubavitch to get a move on it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yea Linux!

This reminds me of the time I overheard two girls gossiping about actors, and for a split second, I wondered why the heck they were discussing quantum mechanics.