Thursday, December 24, 2015

Best of the year? And the end of Paul Boyton... (for the moment)...

It's SNOWING in the Sierras. Huzzah!
The best thing we Californios could have at the end of 2015.

Regular reader Fred had an excellent idea. 

 "Why not," he wrote, "do a summary of the year in SearchResearch?"  A kind of year-end look back at the best-of (and maybe worst of) the year.  

He send this to me at the end of last year, 2014, but it's still a great idea. 
In particular, my "over the holidays" project is to put together a small e-book on the "best-of"  SearchResearch, which I hope to post to you sometime in January.  


But in the meantime, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts about this.  This leads to this week's not-really-a-Challenge question, but I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to answer...   

1.  What was your favorite SearchResearch Search Challenge of 2015?  (If you must, feel free to slip back into 2014--we never did a summary of that year.)   Tell us what you liked about the Challenge you enjoyed the most, or what you learned from it.  
2.  What was the best / most-interesting thing you learned in 2015 about search or research?  I'm looking for good ideas for future SearchResearch Challenges, but also I'm also looking for new information resources that we should all know about.   

Pro tip:  You can find all of the posts during a given month by using the inurl: operator.  Do it like this to find all of the January, 2015 posts:  

     [  inurl:searchresearch1.blogspot.com/2015/01/  ] 

In other follow-up news at the end-of-the-year... 

I'm not turning into a Paul Boyton fanatic, but I did find a couple of interesting tidbits this past week.  

First, I found an archive collection of Boyton's letters (nicely transcribed from their original handwritten forms).  This collection includes his "Dear Jane" letter, breaking off their relationship, to Elise (Feb 21, 1893) where he tells her "...my life is one full of danger and I fear I have done you wrong to ask you to share it..."  It's an odd letter; he's letting her down partly by saying that his new "secret" job (apparently a reference to his job as a human torpedo delivery man for the Peruvian navy) is too dangerous, and anyway, the letter he had received from Elise's father had "caused me great pain..."  

The archive also has the letter of Nov 14, 1883, addressed to Elise from San Bartholomé, Peru  in which he announces to her that he is ruined and that their chance for a life together is ruined as he has a son born in the US (to another woman, whom he plans to marry), and his fortune is bankrupt… “It is better to say farewell forever than have you living in false hopes.  Forgive me if you can and forget the past had my love’s dream been realized and you become my wife.  I would have been happy, but, alas, fate was against me, and it ended.  … Forewell forever.”  

What a character!  I'll let you draw your own conclusions... 

Since I was curious about Boyton, I wanted to find out about the last part of his life.  In the Google News Archive  (News.Google.com/newspaper) I did a search for: 

     [ "Paul Boyton" death OR died ] 



We'd found out about the "professional swimming" part of this life... he spent the last two decades of his life being an ornithologist??  

Ah, as I keep saying, everything is interesting if you look deeply enough.  

But for the nonce, I'll let Boyton be.  (If you follow-up about his life as ornithologist, let us know!) 

Search on! 


11 comments:

  1. …wonder if he focused on water fowl & penguins…?
    the birds have flown the coop so far, but I did find a related gator tale… and another aquapphiliac…
    •Capt. Lawson (the gator) & Nero (Capt. Paul's Newfoundland)
    •Craig Dudley (Boyton) Great Grandson Of Capt. Paul Boyton - The Coney Island Blog
    •† Capt. P.B. & family marker, Brooklyn - like the collective family stone -
    is the cross floating in its own rubber suit?

    AND a Boyton rival/waterlover… and a new movie about the swimmer (as opposed to the Yank floater) looks like it would be a good flick for the holiday break…
    who knew there were so many swimming adventurers?
    •Captain Matthew Webb & the Channel, before Niagara ate him
    "In April of 1875, American showman Paul "The Fearless Frogman" Boyton hurried things along by successfully crossing the Channel wearing an inflatable rubber "immersion suit." Powered by a small canvas sail and fueled by scrambled eggs and brandy, Boyton's crossing wasn't nearly as physically impressive as an unaided one would be—but he did capture a lot of headlines, and Webb's ire. A few months later, Webb was prepared to take the plunge."
    •King
    •Captain Webb - Marathon Films
    •write up on movie
    •Capt. Paul w/ cigar pipe - in the movie - fueled by scrambled eggs & brandy - if he had just had Tabasco too - it would have been around (1868)
    detour: •McIlhenny, 2nd Gen owner, adventurer, ornithologist too
    •Capt. Paul, movie
    •IMDb
    •the reviews are a bit harsh
    •trailer - Capt. Paul ~ 35-52 sec. in - £45 = ~$67
    and fwiw - Newfoundlands had a nose for adventure - this one with Lewis & Clark…
    •Seaman, the Newfoundland dog
    •wiki - Scannon?
    •NCoA
    a non sequitur:
    •also on Atlas
    •& a holiday Non Sequitur

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  2. These are remarkable find, Remmij! Looks like you were spending time in the Google News Archive, Google Books (for Capt. Boyton's Benefit Band) and the California Digital Paper collection. How did you spot the trailer? That's a truly amazing thing to see. Of course, I'd prefer if the movie were about Boyton rather than Webb, but still... what a find!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Dr. Russell. I was talking yesterday with my family about Johnny Clegg and how you will soon go to the concert. So we SearchReSearch a full concert. Here is one from 2007. I am just looking at it. I am sure yours will be even better and being there in real life so amazing. Anyway is a good preview

      JOHNNY CLEGG LIVE AT FETE DE L'HUMANITE 2007. Video

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  3. Merry Christmas, Dr. Russell, Remmij and everyone.

    Glad that you made this question again.

    best Challenge of the year? 2014

    This year has fantastic, interesting Challenges. The ones I like more are:

    How did traffic signs come to be?

    Discovering unusual perspectives

    A couple of fishy questions...

    how to find Photospheres

    What's the story with the star?

    Know how to create a timeline?

    I also liked the Real/Fake ones and fountains.

    The most difficult one was this one. I have difficulties to describe things and also find tools to answer questions like this one. I liked the Challenge and the photos.

    How to describe the hills?

    Another difficult one was the Android Wallpaper Challenge. I didn't have idea how to solve it.

    One question. While I was searching to review Challenges with Dr. Russell's Pro tip [ inurl:searchresearch1.blogspot.com/2015/xx/ ] noticed that after few searches got a box asking "To continue, please type the characters below:" why that happens?

    I like a lot of things of Challenges. For example, that we can later find lots of new things related to what we just learn. Practice the new tools that we find. That in each Challenge we find other related interesting facts, stories, videos, etc.

    Of course I love reading, learning and talking with my friends here on SRS and the Search Lessons you always gives to us Dr. Russell.

    In few words, it is very difficult to choose just somethings. For me, each challenge is a new experience and a way to discover and learn.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ramón, for your answer! Those were some of my favorites as well.

      WRT your question--that "please type the characters" below interaction is called a "Captcha" -- it's intended to prevent bots from scraping the content of Google by requiring that you do a "human-only" task. Basically, it's triggered whenever the "bot detector" sees suspicious activity in your query stream. Unfortunately, one thing that many bots do is to use advanced operators (e.g., "inurl:" or "site:"). As a side-effect, every so often Google will give you one of those captchas to make sure you're still a human... and not a robot! Hope that helps.

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    2. Thanks, Dr. Russell. Yes, that helps a lot.

      I didn't write the number in Captcha because was afraid something bad with my connection. What I did is go to incognito and keep searching and if that happened there too then close everything and start again. Now, with your answer, I'll answer the question when prompted.

      Thanks again and enjoy day.

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  4. I started to look at the searches we've done to come up with my favourites when I realized that I should tell you what my favourite thing is about our searches. It is the 'Search Lessons' you give us each week. I just did a quick search of 'search lessons' and here's a sampling of how you summarized each week's challenge results. Each week you share your search steps. You bring together everyone's contributions highlighting those results that have taught you and everyone else something new. Here are just some of the tips you have given us throughout the year:


    1. When searching for information about someone, it's often useful to approach the search as a problem of finding that person in the context of a group.
    2. Finding a resume is a great way to find the backstory of someone.
    3. Stick-to-it-tiveness matters.
    -----
    Tools: As always, know your tools.
    Verify: On the other hand, verify-verify-verify.
    Check the details: And always read the fine print.
    Common Reference Effect:
    1. EXIF metadata is your friend.
    2. Make use of places and names found on the maps.
    3. Image search for a marker is easy, especially if you know what kind of thing it's marking, OR the company name.

    1. Pay attention to the angle of the light and shadows in photos.
    2. Note the presence of identifying marks on suspect items
    3. As always, searching for tools to help do analysis tasks is a great trick.
    4. Checking quotations is tricky: double and triple check your sources. ---
    1. Manual search sometimes works, even when you don't think it will.
    2. As usual, it's worth checking multiple sources for consistency, and validating those against ground truth. ---
    1. As I've said before, verify/validate/triple check.
    2. Just because I asked you which of the images was original does NOT imply that either IS original.
    3. Don't get distracted by big changes elsewhere in the image.
    4. Search for analysis tools to help out.
    1. Search by Image works more often than you'd think.
    2. When looking for connections between ideas, AROUND(x) is your friend.
    3. Using context terms will help narrow down your search results.
    4. Google Books: Incredibly useful for background information.
    1. Search for the tool / database before trying to do this on your own.
    2. Pay attention to the UI.
    3. Sometimes you need to search for advanced features.
    4. Question what you find. Always always always keep a skeptical mind about what you discover. This is true for everything, including this blog post!

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  5. First thing I like is your enthusiasm for noticing things around you that are interesting if we only take the time to investigate. I admire your endurance in keeping all this afloat, with all the other things you must have to do. You never criticise us mortals for mistakes we make.

    "Always keep a skeptical mind" gets me in trouble when I am called cynical instead of skeptical.

    Why do so few people take the time to contribute to the comments ? How to get more ? Is it because the Comment box does not work 100% yet ? I use Ramon's discovery of first doing a dummy run with a letter, then posting the real thing which will now work. Usually.

    A moment I though fun was the pix you posted of somewhere and asked us where you were...and there was a taxi with its phone number in the foreground. Newcastle ?

    I like the problems you set which can be reasonabley done in a half hour or so-more if its raining is OK.

    I'd like to see some lessons on using Sheets and Fusion. Those still baffle me. And more on studying photo manipulation tricks to watch out for.

    I was amazed the solution for the wallpaper ID was so blindingly easy, I'd never have tried that, spent a long time doing other useless stuff.

    Last item, perhaps, I like the idea of triangulating the answer in totally different ways. And doing a search for Tools to use.

    Was the Mark Twain placename project ever solved ?

    Cheers

    Best Wishes to you for 2016

    jon on vancouver island

    ReplyDelete
  6. First thing I like is your enthusiasm for noticing things around you that are interesting if we only take the time to investigate. I admire your endurance in keeping all this afloat, with all the other things you must have to do. You never criticise us mortals for mistakes we make.

    "Always keep a skeptical mind" gets me in trouble when I am called cynical instead of skeptical.

    Why do so few people take the time to contribute to the comments ? How to get more ? Is it because the Comment box does not work 100% yet ? I use Ramon's discovery of first doing a dummy run with a letter, then posting the real thing which will now work. Usually.

    A moment I though fun was the pix you posted of somewhere and asked us where you were...and there was a taxi with its phone number in the foreground. Newcastle ?

    I like the problems you set which can be reasonabley done in a half hour or so-more if its raining is OK.

    I'd like to see some lessons on using Sheets and Fusion. Those still baffle me. And more on studying photo manipulation tricks to watch out for.

    I was amazed the solution for the wallpaper ID was so blindingly easy, I'd never have tried that, spent a long time doing other useless stuff.

    Last item, perhaps, I like the idea of triangulating the answer in totally different ways. And doing a search for Tools to use.

    Was the Mark Twain placename project ever solved ?

    Cheers

    Best Wishes to you for 2016

    jon on vancouver island

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jon, Dr. Russell and everyone. Happy New Year!!

      Jon, I just found that if we don't delete cookies, then signing on to our Google Accounts and writing comment on Dr. Russell's blog is much easy. This is because we are already signed. We just need to verify if in Reply as, our names are shown.

      I forgot to add this Challenge. beginning web scraping as one of my favorites. I like so much Challenges because we use them in our real life. And re-visiting past Challenges from past years we find new tools and Challenges to practice, learn and have fun with. Like this one: Who makes a dog toy? Dr. Russell, did you bought more of these dogs? Maybe a Cocker Spaniel?

      January 30th will be 6th Anniversary. So, we can start celebration tomorrow :)

      Dr. Russell, happy New Year and happy Anniversary!!

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