Daily Archives: May 9, 2009

“The” Google has competition coming

Have you heard about Wolfram Alpha?

The company goes public on May 18th and offers a very different way of surfing the web.  It could have as great an impact as any company ever has. It is a free Web site that is the result of years of secret work by a British mathematician—Stephen Wolfram—and his team of 250 colleagues. The project set the tech world on fire last week after a sneak preview at Harvard Law School, and may present the most powerful challenge yet to the Google behemoth.

According to Nicholas Ciarelli who wrote “The Google Killer” after he participated in the testing:

Instead of giving you a long list of Web pages, it simply computes the answer to whatever question you throw at it.

  • What was the average temperature in Chicago last year?
  • What is the life expectancy of a male, age 40, in New Zealand?
  • If you flip a coin 10 times, what is the probability that four of the flips will come up heads?
  • What nutrients are in two Snickers bars?
  • How many people are alive today with the name “Nicholas”?
  • How do oil exports in Iraq compare to those of Kuwait?

Wolfram Alpha is a frighteningly powerful calculator that is chock full of facts about the world. Type in a question in plain English: “What was the weather in Rancho Mirage when Gerald Ford died?” Wolfram Alpha instantly spits back the temperature, weather conditions, relative humidity, and wind speed, followed by a set of neatly formatted tables and charts.

fnord

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26 Comments

Filed under New Technology, Web Search Engines

Poetry . . . That wonderful world where anything goes!

raven-1

Budding poets rejoice. You now have a thread devoted to you and you alone. Written any poems or sonnets? Let us read them. Poetry can be about anything, anytime or anybody. Don’t be shy. Make us laugh, cry or smell something wonderful.

I wrote this after Katrina smacked down New Orleans:

New Orleans

This world around me’s changed;

My youth’s been lost in pain.

What I thought sweet and righteous;

Was washed away by rain.


The reign of evil sordid men;

Looking only for their kind.

While innocence begged them stop;

It lay twisted and maligned.


“Stand up,” I shrieked aloud;

My legs collapsed in vain.

Still they gathered all around me;

and laughed with sheer disdain.


I sat there lonely, empty;

feeling myself turn to rust.

The colors that ran through me;

had slowly turned to dust.


I feel anger growing;

Within this body mine.

But can I overcome my fear;

and let my colors shine.

Jammer5

4 Comments

Filed under Original writings, Poetry

Saturday, 05/09/09 Public Square

speakupThis is your thread, for whatever you want to discuss, share, ask.

fnord

21 Comments

Filed under The Public Square