David Madore's WebLog: Spirit of the times

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Spirit of the times

Google is always full of surprises. One that I only just learned about is their intriguing Zeitgeist page. It is true that the Google team is in a unique position to make sociological observations about our society. We have a saying on the ENS local newsgroups that, whenever someone posts a message containing some terms, or some quote, that everyone is sure to look up for in Google, the Google trainees are laughing—implying, that is, the underlings and labor slaves that Google might employ to eye-grep among the Google search requests, might spot the pattern thus created, and laugh at us.

One of the search terms indicated by the Zeitgeist page as I write is for ratp (obviously people looking for the RATP's page), a sign that the massive strikes of these last few weeks in France have had some worldwide consequences. 😉

I learned about this page by browsing through the documentation of the Mozilla Googlebar, a Lizard-based reimplementation of Google's own Google Toolbar, which has some interesting features of its own.

Google's logo for today informs me that it is the birthday of the great Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (born 1898-06-17 in Leeuwarden NL, died 1972-03-27 in Laren NL). Escher is one of the three great names celebrated in Douglas R. Hofstadter's wonderful book, Gödel, Escher, Bach. Coincidentally, today is also my father's birthday: he is precisely fourty years younger than Escher. So happy birthday to both of them.

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