Wednesday, March 25, 2009


What do we Want to Find?

Around the clock people are sitting at their computers using search engines. What on Earth are they looking for? Some search engines (Google for example) won't say exactly what people are asking them, lest competitors fine tune their own search engines with the information. However is a rare exception, and reveals on a weekly basis what their customers are asking for. Here's the general results for today, and my comments on the depressingly predictable results.

Top Searches

Facebook - What are you doing? What am I doing? Who cares but let's read all about it.

MySpace - Pushed aside by Facebook, this formerly most popular place to talk about yourself lost out because it isn't as interactive. Still, so many people invested creative energy into their MySpace pages before Facebook came along that they dare not abandon them. Its ranking is sure to keep dropping, but MySpace will always be a good place for unsigned musicians to generate their own free publicity.

How much should I weigh - Forget about the latest economic numbers, this is the figure we really want to know.

YouTube - The good news is that everyone can now make videos and distribute them to all mankind. The bad news is that everybody wants to film their cat.

What does my name mean - If only we knew what our names meant, maybe we could figure out who we are.

How to get pregnant - I'm no expert on this subject, but I have a lot of straight friends who are anxious to offer hands-on guidance.

Craigslist - No one source hurt the newspaper business quite like Craigslist, which wiped out the classified advertising business by offering ads for the price of free.

Dictionary - Once we finally figure out what our names mean, there are a lot of other words we want to know about.

Wikipedia - This knife in the heart of the Encyclopedia Britannica salesman is every lazy student's dream come true.

eBay - Capitalism for the masses.

In a more specific list, here's the subjects that users asked about current events, as well as my response to their queries.

Top News Searches

AIG - Well, we may as well keep track of where all our money is going.

Natasha Richardson - More famous dead than alive, she now enters the Sonny Bono hall of fame.

President Obama - For as long as they are in office, the name of a U.S. President never falls out of the top three.

Meghan McCain - If only her father was as popular, it would be John McCain who never falls out of the top three. What political issue is Megan McCain writing about that so captivates the public? None, her most recent post is about her weight problems.

NCAA tournament bracket - Whatever sport is reaching a climax is always in the top ten.

Chris Brown - Domestic violence arrest sends his career into the stratosphere.

Rihanna - The woman he slapped around is also cashing in nicely.

Ann Coulter - Conservatism's Queen of Mean is everyone's guilty pleasure.

Ron Silver - Intellectual actor was never considered a top draw, but premature death has made him a superstar.

Bernard Madoff - People keep searching his name hoping for reports that he's been raped in prison.

Surviving a Sex Scandal

I'm so open about my sex life that it's hard to imagine what could be dug up about me that would be considered scandalous. But maybe you have skeletons in your closet and live in fear of the day that a reporter or the paparazzi get you in their cross hairs. Happily Gawker recently had some tips on how to best survive a public sex scandal. Here's a brief summary:

Size up your enemies: Ask yourself: who would enjoy tearing me apart? This will be useful information.

Don't feed the machine: Every new statement can mean another day of life for a scandal. So don't talk too much.

Bide your time patiently: Do not raise your head from the bunker too soon, lest you catch a sniper's bullet; nay, you must wait quietly, calmly, silently, until bigger and more sensational events have pushed your small problems to the bottom of the list of interesting occurrences. Make yourself small and boring.

Exact your revenge: You should have had time to figure out who sold you out. If you are a wise person, you may choose to simply cut them out of your life, accepting the whole mess as a valuable life lesson. But if you are, at heart, a petty and vindictive person—you will search for some elaborate revenge designed to inflict twice as much pain upon the snitch as they inflicted upon you.

Always happy to alert you to news you can use.

Hard at Work

This week the students returned from spring break. Here they are hard at work today in the library.

Spring Break inadvertently reveals class differences. The students with money return with golden tans acquired in tropic climes. The unrich students have to work the break and come back to school pale-faced.

In the library I ran into the dreadlocked duo Zak (left) and Alan.

Zak sometimes helps at the Amherst Survival Center.

Today's Video

This child prodigy is just too good.

Hi, I'm Sungha Jung from South Korea. My dream is to become a professional acoustic fingerstyle guitarist.

I had been watching my dad play the guitar for awhile before I finally jumped on it myself three years ago. I turned twelve in September, 2008.

Currently, I am taking drum lessons and teaching myself fingerstyle guitar.

I'm very grateful to those prominent guitarists who have had a great influence on my guitar playing. I'll continue to study them and learn more about interpretation of music and various playing techniques.

My daily practice routine lasts for one to two hours when school is open, but I play up to three hours a day during the school breaks.