Amazingly Intense WikiHow Articles

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            I'd never actually been to the Wikihow homepage before today. I've had Wikihow articles pop up in my Google search results, but I'd never specifically sought out Wikihow. I don't know, maybe that's just a me thing. Anyway, I decided to visit Wikihow today because last week I stumbled across a particularly intense how-to guide: How to Climb a Tree 

 

            You see, I was actually trying to find "climbable trees near me," but turns out that isn't something Google can find for you. Instead, I found a 14-16 step (depending on if you use equipment) process for climbing a tree. Sixteen steps! Having climbed trees since I could barely read sixteen steps, I was astounded. So naturally, I read a good deal of the article. Steps like "follow the three-point rule" at least made sense from a basic safety standpoint, but "allow for poor weather conditions" seemed a bit extreme.

            And that got me thinking: what other kinds of simple things can I learn how to do on Wikihow? Having greatly enjoyed reading the tree article and sharing it with anyone who would listen, I eagerly set about to the task of re-learning basic skills. Here are my findings.

 

1. How to Break an Egg

            Turns out I've actually been doing this wrong for forever. Did anyone else know you're supposed to tap the egg on a flat surface and not the edge of the bowl? The article specifically says to "never break an egg on the edge of a bowl or dish." Whoops.

 

2. How to Walk a Dog

            It's much more complicated than just walking. Of course, once you've done it a couple times you won't have to worry about the training steps, but still. There are in fact 12 steps for properly taking your dog for his daily exercise, including "choose the side on which you want your dog to walk" and "talk to your vet before buying walking equipment." Dogs will be pleased to learn that there are two separate steps about bringing treats.

 

3. How to Wash/Shampoo Your Hair

            After reading these articles, I'm actually afraid to wash my hair. There are so many things you can do wrong, and each one sounds like it causes an irreparable catastrophe. And there are nine steps/options for selecting a shampoo based on your hair type! I guess that might not come as a shock to people who have a lot of familiarity with hair products, but I was surprised. Looks like I have a lot of research to do this weekend.

 

 

4. How to Sharpen a Pencil 

            The three basic methods are electric sharpener, portable manual sharpener, and knife. More interestingly, there are four different kinds of points your pencil can have, and each has a distinct purpose. Most alarming, however, is the fact that the inclusion of this warning was necessary: "Do not stick your finger in the sharpener."

 

5. How to Freeze Water

            Considering this happens naturally when it's cold enough outside, this article is surprisingly involved. But the more I read it, the more I understood the intensity. The first method is the really cool one where the water is still liquid, but when you jolt it, it slowly turns into ice. I guess it makes sense to have instructions for that, since you have to get it just right or you'll freeze the water like normal. The "freezing water more efficiently" section of the article has some worthwhile insight too: did you know water freezes faster if you boil it first? It's called the Mpemba effect.

 

6. How to Turn On a Cellphone

            So, this one actually seems to consist of several processes that aren't actually turning on the phone (charging the phone, rebooting the phone, using recovery mode, etc), which makes it look a lot longer than it really should be. There are 4 steps for an iPhone and 5 for and Android, which still strikes me initially as 3 or 4 too many. But I guess, if we're trying to be as explicit as possible, it is important to specify both "locate the Power button" and "press and hold the Power button." And when to release the power button. That makes some kind of sense. I guess.

 

7. How to Find Hidden Cameras

            This isn't really a basic skill like the other ones, but I couldn't resist including it. Especially when I clicked on the link and the first words I saw were "use your eyes." Even though it's just a heading to distinguish between using your eyes and using actual counter-surveillance technology, the sarcasm is still palpable. Turns out beyond just looking for suspicious objects and little holes, you can also use some phones. Just make a call and wave your phone around whatever you want to check; if it makes "clicking and buzzing noises," you've got something. Sure, you might look a little weird to an observer, but it's worth it to stop the rival spy agencies from learning your movements.

Overall findings

 WikiHow is so much more amazing than I ever gave it credit for. It's definitely the first place I'll check if I ever need to care for a bearded dragon