Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Thanks to all the past, present and future members of the United States Armed Forces.

I have two links today, both from Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution:

1) Who knew you could tell so much about a person by the way they phrased a Google search?  This is a fascinating look (Cowen didn't do the research, he just linked to a few different projects) at how beginning your search with a phrase like "how 2" will result in an entirely different class of suggestions than if you begin your search with "how one might."  Cowen's blurb links to this piece and this piece and this piece - both are well worth a click.

"If you believed all the talk from Chrysler about how our tax dollars would help finance its fast-track electric-vehicle future, you're in for a big disappointment.

Chrysler has disbanded the engineering team that was trying to bring three electric models to market as a rush job, Automotive News reports today. Chrysler cited its devotion to electric vehicles as one of the key reasons why the Obama administration and Congress needed to give it $12.5 billion in bailout money, the News points out."


1 comment:

Dan Duncan said...

On Google searches:

This thread says much more about Murdoch and his plan to charge for original content than it does about linguistics and Google.

You have people going to Kid Dynamite. We get a blurb and a link. [I'm not knocking this, as you simply say, "Check this out, it's cool"]. And the subject matter does seem interesting.

OK, so we click through the link and we get Tyler Cowan who gives us...a blurb and a link.

Clicking through, we get to a site from some guy named Ben.

And what does Ben give us?

A blurb and a link.

Several blurbs put together in succession isn't so bad as we can still get something substantive...except each blurb says essentially the same damn thing.

"OK, what the hell," I think. "I've come this far, I might as well see what Slate has to say."

And what does Slate give us? Another freaking blurb. And, again, it's the damn blurb. The whole thread and all 50 references to it are all one big blurb echo.

OK, so let's look at this blurb.

Ben writes: "The most fascinating contrast is between 'is it wrong to...' vs. 'is it ethical to.' One change in word generates very different suggestions."

Which was "expounded" on by Tyler who extrapolates: "Another contrast is between people who type in 'is it wrong to' vs. people who type in 'is it unethical to.' If you type in 'is it wrong to' the first suggestion is 'is it wrong to sleep with your cousin.' Number two is (yes, I [Tyler] tested it in Google): 'Is it wrong to sleep with your step dad after your mom dies.' If you type in 'is it unethical to,' the first suggestion is 'is it ethical to sell customer information.' "

Are you kidding me???

Tyler actually thinks it's revelatory that searchers attach the word "ethical" to the act of selling customer information as opposed to "sleeping with step-daddy after Mom died"???

"It sure is sad that Mom passed. But at her funeral, I couldn't help but to notice how Step Papa was checking me out. If I took her place in bed tonight...would this be ______________"


"I wonder if there's some sort of Ethical Code Book for gettin' with Step Papa. I think I'll check on Google!"

I'm not saying Murdoch is correct, but I do appreciate his frustrations. And yeah, I get that this post is ridiculously long, and I should be more blurbish myself...but damn...