Sunday, June 24, 2007

Darth Vadar, Roller Derby and Divorce

Sunday morning. Blog time. But no real inspiration. That's what happens sometimes after watching movies like Blood Diamond (my wedding band has no diamonds, whew) and the Last King of Scotland where the subject matter is more important than my safe, Canadian blog. But I still feel like writing. Instead of diving in to a dissertation on African history and economic policies, I mindlessly wander into the internet (yes, I recognize just how awful that sounds).

Today I googled "learn something new" and came across a website called How Stuff Works. Intrigued, I moved in.

I searched for "Africa" and initially was presented with safaris, photos and maps. Not very useful at all, far below the ratings I would give to the movies I watched last night. And way, way below The Covenant, a favourite book by James A. Michener on the history of South Africa .

Then I got malaria (not me, the website results), AIDS, poverty relief, Bono, Unicef, African elephant crisis, foreign aid, and Kwanzaa, which is a holiday celebrating African traditions, so we are told.

That sounds a bit more like the Africa reported in the media.

I then searched "Susan," thinking perhaps this site can help me understand how I work. My results came up as flowers, cookie recipes, teenage bedroom decorating tips, and roller-derby.

Obviously, this website knows nothing.

Search for "Life" and you get Darth Vader.

Search for "Family" and you get a blood disorder.
Search for "Friends" and you get an exercise health guide and a guide on how to raise capital by borrowing from friends.
Search for "War" and you get The Learning Channel's Junkyard Wars.

Search for "Peace" and you get car magnets, posters, the United Nations, and a Few Good Men.

Search for "The Universe" and you get language translators.

Search for "Meaning" and you get divorce.

Oh boy. I am trying to find something witty and smart to say about this. But obviously, our world is full of stuff that is just plain stupid.

Search "Stupid" and you get "Will a turkey really drown if it looks up during a rainstorm?"

Here is a real kicker, search "Diamonds" and you get precisely that, down to the right cut. A clear, concise description of everything you need to know about diamonds. But keep reading down to the bottom of the "Cutting Diamonds" section and there it is, an overview of how diamond marketing really work, Africa, cartels and all.

Now, that is some good stuff.

1 comment:

Maggy and Me said...

You mean all that is served up "intuitively" in search results isn't relevant, contextual, meaningful? Say it ain't so! How about the helpful (or should I say creepy) sponsored links when they survey the content of your email?

All that said, sometimes, when things really are relevant, contextual and meaningful, it's pretty darn difficult to articulate beyond that experience. Those are both films I want to see and you've just reminded me. Thanks!