Tag Archives: search

Too Much Time On Their Hands

Autocomplete can be a boon or a burden.

A boon when you can’t remember the whole words, but do remember the first couple of letters. A burden when you don’t pay attention and just click away and find you’ve clicked on something appalling by not checking, or sent someone a message about smelling delicious farts instead of smelling delicious tarts.

You know the sort of thing.

Well, anyway, the good folks at io9, motto: We Come From The Future, reposted an interesting little piece from The Land of Maps, a tumblr site devoted to — wait for it — maps.

What the map-loving pervs folks over at The Land of Maps did was type in “Why is [state] so. . . ” to a Google search box and then let the autocomplete gremlins take over from there.

What Google does, in its infinite wisdom (all hail our future overlords), is to complete the sentence with what its algorithms deem to be the most likely next word.

Renee Montoya let's you know that's a good Question as a DC Comics character.

So, for instance, when I type in “Why is  [North Carolina} so. . . ” to  the Google search bar, I get back the sentence “Why is North Carolina so cheap?”

Which makes pretty good sense, actually. Good question.

According to io9, there are only 19 states with unique autocomplete descriptions courtesy of Google. North Carolina is one of them.

These are the others.

Nevada: Empty

Wyoming: Windy

Utah: Mormon

Colorado: Fit

Kansas: Flat

Texas: Big

Iowa: Democratic

Missouri: Conservative

Illinois: Corrupt

Georgia: Backwards

Ohio: Important

Maine: White

Massachusetts: Smart

Rhode Island: Small

New Jersey: Bad

Maryland: Rich

Virginia: Strict

That's the USA I'm talking about, dudes, the United States of Autocomplete. Google does some funny things.Not all of them make perfect sense, but they certainly do feed into the sense of each state.

Didn’t know autocomplete did stuff like that? Well, welcome to the future, dude. We’re glad to have you here.

Or, according to Google autocomplete: “We’re glad to. . . be of assistance. Although, I’m not sure we really are.

It looks like we might have to consider making a new book because Google only gave us “A Dude’s Guide to. . . ” babies as the second choice. The first autocomplete choice? “A Dude’s Guide to. . .” manhood.

Aw, yeah. I can feel the manly manliness of my manhood already.

And you?

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It’s On The Tip Of My Tongue

According to some strenuous research (I sat down and googled the whole topic and then browsed around for a bit), your vocabulary is directly correlated with the amount of time you spend reading.

That is, the more time you spend reading on a daily basis, the larger your vocabulary. And that’s a good thing. Other studies have shown that if you have a larger vocabulary, you’re more likely to succeed. For various meanings of succeed.

By the time they reach adulthood, people who make a habit of reading have a vocabulary that is about four times the size of those who rarely or never read.  This disparity starts early and grows throughout life.

According to Beck and McKeown (1991), 5 to 6 year olds have a working vocabulary of 2,500 to 5,000 words.  Whether a child is near the bottom or the top of that range depends upon their literacy skills coming into the first grade (Graves,1986; White, Graves & Slater, 1990).  In other words, by the first grade, the vocabulary of the disadvantaged student is half that of the advantaged student, and over time, that gap widens.

All of which has very little to do with what I’m about to talk about, other than as a generalized plea for all you parents out there to read to your little dudes and little dudettes as often as you can. Get them started loving reading and their lives will be enriched immeasurably.

No, I’m here to talk about words that aren’t. . . can’t be in your English vocabulary. These are words that don’t have an equivalent in the English language. And they’re wonderful.

You know that feeling when you’ve sat down to a tremendous meal and you keep eating, even though you can feel your belt about to split into shrieking pieces? Yeah, if you spoke Georgian, you’d have a word for that. It’s shemomedjamo, and it means “I accidentally ate the whole thing.” Beautiful!

And then there’s one of my favorites. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that horrible sinking feeling just after greeting someone when I realize I have absolutely no idea what his name is, but he sure knows me and, even worse, I’m expected to introduce him to someone else. If only I were Scots, then I’d know that feeling is tartle. Yeah, really.

Ever see Zombieland? In it, Columbus, the protagonist, dreams about finding a girl — a real girl — and lovingly running his fingers through her hair and brushing it back over her ear. If only he spoke Portuguese in Brazil, he’d know that he was longing for cafune. Horrible, isn’t it, the way I can drag zombies into just about anything.

Anyway, why not head over to The Week’s fascinating article on the subject. You might learn a new word, maybe for a woman yelling and cursing at her kids from the doorway or in line at the supermarket or at a restaurant. That act right there? The Danes call it kaelling.

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Is It Boxing Day In Tau Ceti Also?

If you’re some sort of Anglophile or something, you’re probably aware that this is Boxing Day, traditionally celebrated as the day after Christmas.

As far as I know, back in the olden times, they celebrated this by having the masters and mistresses of the house wait on the staff, instead of the other way around.

Of course, if the staff were smart, they didn’t push it too far.

But we’re not Anglophiles around here. Which explains the Tau Ceti bit in the headline.

Now that the post-Christmas glow has worn off a bit, I thought I’d start looking to the future and to space.

In the last week or so, astronomers have made a pretty significant discovery, as reported on the website called The Verge.

Tau Ceti, one of the closest Sun-like stars to our own solar system, may support five planets, says a team of astronomers. The team also believes that one of those planets may be within the star’s habitable zone, meaning it’s at the right distance to allow liquid water and therefore more likely to be able to support life. While these findings are still preliminary, the researchers say they could be extremely valuable to astronomy.

“Tau Ceti is one of our nearest cosmic neighbors and so bright that we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not-too-distant future,” says James Jenkins of the Universidad de Chile.

Even though scientists have been looking at the Tau Ceti system before and didn’t find any planets, the current report apparently used some significantly more sensitive protocols, making the detection of smaller bodies possible. In fact, the planet in the habitable zone is reckoned to be only five times the size of Earth, making it the smallest planet ever found in a star’s habitable zone outside of our solar system.

It’s not, however, likely to be rocky like Earth, lead author Mikko Tuomi tells Space.com. “It might be a ‘water world,’ but at the moment it’s anybody’s guess.”

What this means for us, relatively speaking, dudes, is that planets in tighter orbits around stars (say, in a habitable zone) are much more common than we thought. Which means the possibility of life as we know it, somewhere out there, is that much more likely.

Which still doesn’t explain why we haven’t heard anything from then if they’re out there, but that’s the Fermi Paradox for you.

Still, Fermi Paradox or not, I think it’s pretty cool news. Now we need to set these dudes to work and get them to analyze the area for atmosphere and see if we can’t find something even cooler.

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