July 9, 2008

Google Health spoof

FutureFeedForward is on a roll:

MOUNTAIN VIEW–Information search giant Google, Inc. announced Thursday the release of Google Body, a search service aiming to index the internal and external anatomy of every living creature on the planet. …

Early testers have remarked upon a fuzzy-logic “match my organ” feature, which helps users get in touch with the nearest, most suitable donor for multiple organ systems. …

Responding to criticism from privacy groups, Google’s Hind pointed to the program’s opt-out policy. “We are very concerned about user privacy, and that’s why we will not make publicly available any information about anybody who let’s us know they do not want to participate by wearing an Opt-Out headband when in public. Google archives information about those individuals, but does not make it searchable.” The yellow and black vinyl headbands can be requested free of charge by writing to the company at its Mountain View headquarters.

July 9, 2008

Fun with the Google External Keyword Tool

Google announced a major upgrade to the Google (External) Keyword Tool — it now gives actual numbers of searches, instead of vague logarithmic green bars. This now makes it very cool for figuring out what people actually search for. Estimated average monthly search volumes include: Read more

February 17, 2008

A computational linguistics filksong

The Grammar and the Sentence

Truth be told, it’s not nearly as good as God’s Programming Language, but it might be worth a few chuckles even so.

February 15, 2008

Six blind men and the Twitter elephant

I got a long email today from a Very Smart Person who asked, in effect “What is Twitter for? I don’t get it.” Coincidentally, Rex Hammock posted a good answer yesterday, albeit with a bad title that I won’t repeat. The essence was:

… the most amazing thing about Twitter is this: everyone uses it differently.

It’s a little like trying to explain the telephone by describing what people talk about on the phone. “Telephones are devices that teenagers use to spread gossip.” “Telephones are the devices people use to contact police when bad things happen.” “Telephones are the devices you use to call the 7-11 to ask if they have Prince Albert in a can.”

Like the Internet itself, Twitter is hard to explain because it doesn’t really have a point. And it has too many points. Here’s what I mean: All it does is provide a common-place to relay short messages to a group of people who agree to receive your messages. Here’s the second part of what i mean: When you stop thinking those short messages aren’t limited to “I’m about to get on the elevator” but can be eye-witness accounts of breaking news stories or bursts of business-critical intelligence, or warnings that a gun-man is loose on campus, or shared conversations about political debates you and your friends are watching on TV, the possibilities of what can be done using Twitter becomes amazingly confusing — I think in a good way.

I’ve recently put up two posts on Twitter use cases. For yet another — well, as Shakespeare didn’t quite say, a 140 character limit is the soul of wit. Here’s my (ever-changing) list of Twitter “favorites”. The humor ranges from the sophomoric to the erudite; there are some serious aphorisms as well.

January 17, 2008

Tag cloud for the Iliad

Here are the top 200 tags (words? subjects? themes?) in the Iliad, per IBM Research.

Neither Paris nor Helen makes the list. Either Homer couldn’t stay on topic, or else the ostensible reasons for the war had little to do with the real issues. I say it’s the latter. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Evidently one can upload one’s own data there to make one’s own visualizations.

January 10, 2008

How Google’s technology took flight

For those who missed the original publication in April, 2002.

January 6, 2008

Babelfish phrase game — Round 1

Babelfish is a machine-translation service offered at a few websites, like these at Yahoo and Yahoo property Altavista. These translations can be somewhat amusing. Indeed, they can be source of a guessing game. A well-known English phrase — say a quote, or idiom, or song lyric — is translated into a foreign language and back a few times. The result is presented, and the challenge is to guess the original.

I’ll start with five; please feel free to post your answers in the comment thread. You can check them before posting, at the second link above. 🙂

  1. Attach me and me become to the bottom more effective than you can to indeed present you (English –> German –> French –> English)
  2. A law was returned to the moon loine makes here (English –> Italian –> French –> English)
  3. It is not for the sake of, ask those which your country can ask those which can make because of your country and do (English –> Japanese –> English)
  4. Whose of wood these will be me think 4 he knows (English –> Russian –> English)
  5. Sincerely I do not give my expensive, with swore (English –> German –> French –> English)
April 1, 2007

Orlowski is back to his old tricks

Andrew Orlowski thinks he’s figured out the Apple/Google/Oracle partnership. But he has it all wrong.

March 26, 2007


If you haven’t seen it yet, Uncyclopedia is an occasionally hilarious parody of Wikipedia. Definitely worth checking out.

January 30, 2007

Worst URL pun ever


That’s baaaad. Although I think Linda would insist it’s “wordplay” rather than a “pun.”

I wonder whether they have any posts about M*A*S*Hups.

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