As you probably noticed...
... I'm slow in answering the last Challenge. This time, I'm not in Fiji (alas), but I'm flying all around the east coast of the US. I left the Googleplex last Thursday, and will be in motion for 15 days, giving talks here and there, attending various Information School board meetings, and teaching classes on how to be a better searcher.
You'll be happy to know that most of the material in my "better searcher" classes is almost completely drawn from SearchResearch. So your comments and thoughts over time have worked their way deep inside the structure of my classes.
Today, I'm here. (Can you figure out where this is? warning, there's no EXIF metadata here...)
I'm heading to Pensacola (Florida) to give a talk about "Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, or Machine Intelligence? Does it matter to the user?"
It probably won't surprise you to learn that I don't think it matters, but the user has to understand what the system is doing, and that means giving some kind of explanation or story about what's going on.
In a sense, this is what SearchResearch is all about: How can we learn how to use all of the online research tools available to us? There are many; what are they and how do they work?
We don't need to know the fine detail about how the Google algorithm works, but we have to have a mental model for what it will do when we make particular kinds of queries. That's a key skill. If you don't know, you'll be surprised when a totally random query like [beelzebub dandelion tensor] gives you over 5K results.
In any case, I'm actually writing the answer, but all of this time in airports takes a chunk out of my time--as does preparing for the talks, classes, and meetings.
I'll get back to you, though, probably later this week. This is a particularly interesting Challenge, so I want to get it right! Thanks to everyone who's commented. I appreciate all of your thoughts and SearchResearch!