A wikihead is someone who learns things from the web (not necc. Wikipedia) but either learns things that are not correct or misinterprets them. I've also heard the term webhead but thats ambigous since it also refers to fans of Spiderman.
I like to end the first lecture of Discrete Math by talking about SAT and asking the students if they think it can be solved much faster than the obvious 2^n algorithm. This semester in honors DM I got the usual heuristics (look for a contradiction!) that may well help but certainly won't get down to much better than 2^n in all cases. This leads to nice discussions of worst-case vs avg-case and formal vs what-works-in-practice.
I also got the following answers:
SAT cannot be done better than 2^n since P ≠ NP.
SAT can be done in O(n) time with a Quantum Computer.
They both made there assertions boldly! I gently corrected them. They had both read it on the web.
I suspect that the P ≠ NP person read something that was correct (perhaps a survey that said 80% of all theorists THINK P ≠ NP) and misconstrued it, while the second person read something that was just wrong (perhaps one of those by the many worlds quantum theory a quantum computer can look at all possibilities at the same time people).
SO- they went and looked up stuff on their own (YEAH) but didn't quite understand it (BOO)
or read incorrect things (BOO). But I will correct them (YEAH). But there are other people who will never get corrected (BOO). But there are others who will get interested in these things because of the false things they read (YEAH?) The quantum person might either NOT go into quantum computing since he thinks its all bogus now, or GO INTO it since he is now curious about what is really going on.
SO the real question is: if people get excited about math or science for the wrong reasons, is that good?bad? Do you know of examples where incorrect but exciting science writing lead to someone doing real science?