Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Search Challenge (10/8/14): Three little language questions...

Our motivating example: A scribbled, partly unintelligible note to myself. Can you help me figure it out?

THIS has been a bit of a tough couple of weeks.  Yes, I went to Fiji and saw the fabulous world of fish  (Titan triggerfish) and fantastic corals, but on the return flight home, I picked up some evil variation cold/flu.  The past two weeks have been pretty unpleasant.  

The good news is that I'm slowly--very slowly--coming back to normal.  

This is somewhat unusual, as I generally bounce back from an illness very quickly. I'm not sure why this particular illness is taking so long.  But as you might imagine, even this causes me to wonder... and when I find myself wondering something, I generally turn to my favorite search engine to figure out what's going on.  

And this leads to today's linguistic Search Challenge.  

It's actually just three little questions I found myself researching this week.  Can you solve these questions too? 

1.  As I mentioned, I'm getting better from my illness rather slowly.  Little by little, I'm getting back to my normal self.  Now, as I write to you, I realize that there doesn't seem to be an English word to describe this... or is there?  Can you find a single English word that describe the process of a long, slow, restoration to normal health?  What's that word?  
2.  Can you help me figure out what the name of this fish really is?  While lying in bed, I was looking over my scribbled notes from the Fiji trip.  One of my notes captured something one of my dive buddies said.  (See image above.) My handwritten memo says, "Check out the NeoclXXXX YYYYYYY when you get home. Cool fish."  It doesn't actually say XXXX YYYYY, but those are the characters I can't read in my scrawl. It's clearly the Latin name of the fish, it's just that the second half of the first word and the entire second word is illegible.   My dive buddy said it has a truly memorable common name, if only I could figure it out.  What is it? 
3.  As I was thinking about these things, I started to worry about the future of the corals all around the planet.  As you know, they're under some environmental stresses that are causing worldwide declines.  I wanted to read something about them, and thought that what I should do is to search for an article that talks about coral in the "future perfect" tense.  (That is, a sentence that describes an action that will be completed in the future.)  Can you find a sentence that is in the "future perfect" tense that's all about the state of coral?  (HINT:  Don't just search for coral and then start scanning.  Remember what I've told you about problems like this--when it seems crazy hard, look for WHAT first?)  

Be sure to tell us how you approached these three little problems.  FWIW, these aren't that hard... IF you know how to tackle these problems.  (This was about 2 minutes of searching on my part.)  How long will it take you? 

Search on! 


  1. 1. Whenever I see a question about "can you find another word that means" or something like that I think back to the challenge about the daily journal and head over to OneLook Reverse Dictionary. I searched for [ long recuperation ] and am going with the word "convalescence" or a form of that word.

    2. Next did a Google Search for [ wildcard search fish classification ] to The Search Help page for The Catalog of Fishes. Using that I searched the The Catalog of Fishes for [ "neocl*" ]. I came up with Neoclinus.
    Searched Wikipedia for [ neoclinus ] and the list is short. You didn't provide the letter for the next word but it looked like a "p". None of them start with a "p" so maybe a "b". You also mention it has a memorable name. The first one on the list has a pretty memorable common name.
    Searched for both latin name and common name along with the word "fiji" and yes this fish can be found and photographed around Fiji.
    Answer - Neoclinus blanchardi (Sarcastic fringehead).

    3. Answer is coming or should I say will be coming or is going to be coming.

  2. These may not be correct ... but they were easy to find:

    1) "Lysis" -- the gradual decline of disease symptoms. I got it originally from your Facebook post yesterday. :-) Confirmed the definition via [lysis define] search.

    2) Neoclinus blanchardi doesn't quite match what looks like a "P" (not a "B") for the species name, but it certainly has a memorable common name: Sarcastic fringehead !! As I typed "Neoc..." into the Google search box, "Neoclinus fish" came up in the examples. I clicked and saw the "Sarcastic ..." name in the results.

    3) Future perfect verb forms typically include "will have (verb)" ... so I simply searched for ["will have" coral] and third on the results was an page ( that included this sentence about the state of coral: "Recent studies on the growth rates of tropical corals have found that if concentrations of carbon dioxide reach 560 ppm (twice pre-industrial levels) coral reefs all across the globe will have stopped growing and will begin to erode."

  3. I am working this challenge in parts. I will need much more than 2 minutes.

    Question 2.

    [latin coral fish names database]

    link text

    Ctr- F "Neo" gives 5 options:

    Neocirrhitus armatus (flame hawk)
    Neoglyphidodon crossi (fire damsel)
    Neoglyphidodon nigroris (black and gold chromis)
    Neoglyphidodon oxyodon (black velvet damsel)
    Neosynchiropus ocellatus (scooter blenny)

    [Neoglyphidodon fiji corals]

    Carlsons Damsel(Neoglyphidodon carlsoni) endemic to Fiji (c) Keith Ellenbogen. National Geographic.

    I am not sure about answer, because it is Neog no Neoc.

    2. Can you help me figure out what the name of this fish really is? A. Neoglyphidodon

    I'll be back with other questions.

    1. Ramón - was also reminded of this non-cat by HK - Kat…
      should have known cats were in to such things — sandbox

    2. Question 1.

      [medical terminology]

      Question 3

      [Article finding tool]

      Those didn't work. After reading the posts already made.

      ["the gradual decline of disease symptoms"]

      Almadenmike method in question 3 is awesome. Never thought about doing that.

      Remmij, your "uhh, search cure for faulty memory or lack of attention?" make me laugh a lot. When I read the post I thought in a tool.

      Question 3 also took me a lot of time and I couldn't find yet another possible way to solve that part.

      Off topic. I was searching for what the Google Translate app icon means. I found that probably it is Wen in Chinese. Found that by practicing the tools that Dr. Russell shared with us in past SearchResearch Challenges. What do you think?

    3. "Neoclinus blanchardi" around(3) Neoglyphidodon

      "Neoclinus blanchardi" Photos
      "Neoglyphidodon melas" photo

      In the morning, tried to search in [Neocl*] no results. [Neoclinus] many results. Dr. Russell, why the * operator didn't work in this case?

      Neoclinus blanchardi

      Scientific Names where Genus Contains Neoclinus. 12 different Neoclinus. Satiricus is also known as Sarcastic since 1859.

      [Neoclinus satiricus]

  4. will be curious to see if any of this is close… tried Archie - it was under the weather too…
    • covalence - reverse dictionary
    • Neoclinus blanchardi - Sarcastic Fringehead - around SF (home), south to Baja
    "…Similarly, global runs trained only with Pacific Ocean reefs estimated that 60% of suitable habitat would be lost by 2100…"
    •• like the "future perfect" tense use - it took more like 40 minutes for me - 20x - common searches -"Remember what I've told you about problems like this--when it seems crazy hard, look for WHAT first?"
    uhh, search cure for faulty memory or lack of attention?
    ••• wondering?:
    • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
    • Severe headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Weakness
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
    • Compulsion to Google
    speedy, complete recovery DrD, the Fringehead awaits…

  5. ☯ SoCal - sightings
    ☯ @almadenmike - DMR on Facebook? heresy?
    [1) "Lysis" -- the gradual decline of disease symptoms. I got it originally from your Facebook post yesterday. :-) Confirmed the definition via [lysis define] search.]
    ☯ Fred - couldn't find a fringehead in Fiji, but found one on Fuji…

    1. Not heretical, merely catholic! (I'm on FB, G+, Twitter, etc...)

  6. a bit of a search puzzle - knew you had your own page, were on +, twitter, etc… but I can't find any trace of you on fb or links to fb off your other pages - what am I missing? maybe I'm incapable of social search…meh — link please

  7. 1 Reverse Dictionary One Look - I chose “convalescence" defined as
    time spent recovering from an illness or medical treatment; recuperation.
    "a period of convalescence" - synonyms -

    recuperation, recovery, return to health, rehabilitation, improvement
    "a long period of convalescence"

    2 From previous search - [ - Genus - Neoclinus] Several fish listed as Neoclinus * but closest letter to P = B. Neoclinus Blanchardi. No others beginning with Neoc*

    >[Image search “neoclinus”] Neoclinus Blanchardi/Sarcastic Fringehead.

    But I admit I see no records of the Neoclinus Blanchardi in the Fiji region, [off the west coast of North America]. So I will regroup & see what I can find.

    3 Future Perfect Tense - “coral will have”
    “We estimate that by 2050, half of the coral will have disappeared.”

  8. you might give this a whirl - closer than Fiji (a red herring) - the key to this ? was the note to check them out when you returned home SF/PA
    Anacapa Island - good set of images
    Sarcastic teeth - echos of the Titan
    or Santa Monica Bay, in the beer bottle field… a hazard zone & thriving habitat…
    & Rum bottles

  9. convalesence came to mind immediately and it seems to describe your recovery

    1. Gradual return to health and strength after an illness, an injury, or a surgical operation.
    2. The period needed for returning to health after an illness, an injury, or a surgical operation.
    The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary

    gradual return to health after illness, injury, or an operation, esp through rest

    2. SEARCH which allows scientific name to be searched letter by letter. Built name of Neoclinus Blanchardi known globally as Sarcastic Fringehead. Wow.

    3. Look up [future perfect] find

    Has an excellent page of examples and explanations.

    SEARCH[coral will have] find

    Caribbean coral reefs ‘will be lost within 20 years’ without protection

    I believe this is a sample of Passive Future Perfect. Did I really say that ?


    ...I hope by then I will have improved enough to snorkel at the reef and see the magnificent coloured corals...

    This was fun...and I hope your convalesence though frustrating will help you get back to action.


    jon tU

  10. The results for the fish left me doubting the answer Neoclinus Blanchardi. It wasn’t stated that the fish was in Fiji but I felt it was implied. As well I thought there was more to learn here. So I began researching “partial word search” and more specifically “multi partial word search”. For example it would be great if we could find “canine typhus” with just “can* typ*”. So I searched believing that it would be easy to find. But that isn’t quite so easy. Until I went back to One Look. You can see by typing [neocl* *] I get a long list but there is only one likely that is Neoclinus Blanchardi.*+*&ls=a

  11. I guess I should point out that part of doing well on this question is to not overread the question. My note was written in Fiji, but it says, "Check out the NeoclXXXX YYYYYYY when you get home. Cool fish." The relevant part here is "...when you get home..." The sense of it was "check out this fish after you home and have your reference books." The sense isn't that it's a fish local to Fiji. (Sorry about that; it's always hard to write these completely unambiguously.)

    1. That helps. The Wikipedia page for Sarcastic Fringehead states "They are found in the Pacific, off the coast of North America, from San Francisco, California, to central Baja California."

  12. That brings up an excellent point because often I will reread the question to see if I have really understood. At times as a student I do question my 'filters' such as- Am I reading too much into this or on the other hand am I overlooking some important facts? What does he mean by....? Is this important? Was that a clue? Am I jumping to a quick conclusion based on the facts presented or just because I think I know the answer? Have I made assumptions not based on facts? When you (Dr.Dan) formed the question what lesson do you want me to learn?

    Without the doubt I had I wouldn't have learned about multi partial word searching so its all good.

  13. 1. Off memory, convalescence. But I don't think it means specifically long and slow recovery. Then I read almandenmike's answer (Lysis). I didn't know this word. On the dictionaries I looked it up, it's not suggested that it means a longer or slower recovery than convalescence.

    2. Fishbase, starting to write Neocl on genus and autocomplete shows Neoclinus. Click search and there it is, Neoclinus blanchardi, the Sarcastic fringehead.

    3. Learned at English Page that future perfect forms are always of one of these types:
    will * have [past participle]
    going to have [past participle]
    Checked these various types on COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English), all with the appropriate search syntax and the collocate "coral", for example:
    WORD(S): will * have [VVN]
    COLLOCATES: coral - 9 - 9
    To my great surprise, only one result surfaced and it isn't relevant. :/
    I then read Rosemary's very simple answer and got frustrated. Effective (although not as elegant as using COCA could have been :) ).
    Some other possible sentences found this way with different types of future perfect:
    "The loss of coral reef ecosystems will have devastating effects on many marine species."
    "If the water level increases dramatically, the coral will not have sufficient sunlight."
    "You could argue that a complete collapse of the marine ecosystem would be one of the consequences of losing corals. You’re going to have a tremendous cascade effect for all life in the oceans."

    1. Aaargh, I was sleepy! None of the examples I gave are in the future perfect, of course! They all lack the verb in past participle after "have". Sorry.

    2. Luis -- FYI: Your final three "future perfect" tense examples are not that tense. They are simpler forms of the verb "have" ... but are missing the [past participle] (of another verb) that you had noted earlier (correctly) as being part of the future perfect form.

      Here's what those sentences might have looked like if they had been written in the future perfect tense. (Note: I forced these rewrites just as examples of form. In the larger context of their original articles, they probably would have been written differently, and possibly in different, simpler-form tenses):

      a) Many marine species _will have experienced_ devastating effects due to the loss of coral reef ecosystems.

      b) Should water level increases dramatically, the coral _will not have thrived_ due to insufficient sunlight.

      c) A complete, cascading collapse of the marine ecosystem _will have resulted_ from losing corals.

      The "perfect" verb forms are very confusing, even to native speakers ... especially now that grammar is no longer taught in our elementary and high schools as extensively as it was decades ago.