Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is a data-focused, computational search engine  that pretends to make the world’s knowledge computable. Wolfram Alpha is a hybrid between Wikipedia and Google, for simple search queries. You can enter any date (e.g. a birth date),  any town (e.g. a home town), any two stocks, any calculation, any math formula, any two first names, any food, any measurement, any chemical formula, any musical notes.

So I tried 42, which is, as we all know, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Here are Alpha’s results. Not bad. Now I tried Enoch Root.  Hm, here Google helped me better in the past.

Gina Trapani wrote a comprehensive article about Wolfram Alpha at LifeHacker. She sums up a decent list of trivia calculated by Wolfram Alpha’s computational knowledge engine, but I would be disappointed if this is all Wolfram Alpha has to offer.
If you find yourself using Wolfram Alpha more than Google or Wikipedia, there is a WolframAlpha Search Plugin for Firefox users. There is also a Wolfram Toolbar.

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  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.