[lit-ideas] Re: Calling all mathematicians....

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 11:40:18 +0900

Could be a very useful thing, since what it seems designed to do is assemble
the answers to questions based on data available on the Net instead of just
pointing to possible sources. Consider, for example, a recent AP story
complaining that stimulus money isn't reaching places like Elk County PA,
where the unemployment rate is higher than it is in places like Riley
Country, Kansas, or Wilmington, Delaware, which have received money. Put
aside the fact that AP downplayed the premise for the stimulus endorsed by
economists right and left that to be effective it needs to be used quickly,
so that, no duh! the money went as proposed to places with "shovel-ready
projects. Suppose that we wanted to check how many people were unemployed in
the three places mentioned above. You can do that, I did. But I had to go to
separate Websites to assemble the population figures for each of the places
and multiply the figure for over-18 population by the cited unemployment
rates. Sure would have been nice to have been able to ask Wolfram Alpha,
"How many members of the workforce are unemployed in [list place names]?"
and have it return the information I was looking for.
It might also have been interesting to ask who represents these places in
Congress and check their Party affiliations and voting records, to see if a
little political hardball is being played. I didn't have the time to sort
that out. Would have been nice to have a search engine that answered my
questions put that way.


On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 10:52 AM, Julie Krueger <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> Thoughts, comments etc?
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/technology/internet/11search.html?_r=1&ref=business
> Julie Krueger
>  1

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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