Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Search Challenge (3/25/15): Discovering unusual perspectives

I'm back from my mini-break, back from diving in the Caribbean, rested and relaxed...
... and immediately heading out on the road again to teach search classes.  I'm traveling to DC to bring a bit of SearchResearch there.  Stay tuned for more Challenges coming from that part of the world.  (And not to worry--we'll have Challenges from Cozumel as well.  In just a bit.)  

First, I wanted to focus in a bit on finding "unusual perspectives," that is, finding answers to questions through images in ways that you might not have thought about.  

Today I have three questions, all of which can be answered, but the usual searches might not quite work, so you'll have to try something a bit different. 

1.  I was in Los Angeles (CA) the other day, and I happened to notice something unusual attached to the back of each letter on the famous "Hollywood" sign.  Once you see it, of course they'd need to have this on the back of each letter--but I'd never though about it before.  What's on the backside of each of the letters? 
2.  The aurora borealis  (or aurora australis) is one of the most amazing sights on the planet.  When you look at it, you see vast sheets of colored, translucent drapes moving across the sky.  In appearance, it's just colored lights--but when seen from above, what shape are the Northern (or Southern) Lights?  Can you find a picture that shows the overall, planet-wide shape of the aurora? 
3.  We know that some plants move to follow the sun.  Can you find a video of a sunflower following the sun?  How about some other plant?  What do they do to follow the sun across the sky? 

As always, be sure to tell us HOW you found the answer to the Challenge questions.  (And what did NOT work out for you?)  

Search on! 


  1. Welcome back.

    My search path can be seen here

    1. Did a couple different image searches for behind the Hollywood sign to see the upport structure. I think that is the answer. A nice article looking at the Eiffel Tower and Hollywood sign as two different symbols.

    2. I had seen the NASA picture being shared around (Ramón maybe?). NASA took a picture of the recent one from space showing the halo ring around the northern part of the world.

    3. Search [ plants following the sun ] and two different videos were in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). One for plants and one for sunflowers. It also mentioned Heliotropism and Phototropism. Heliotropism gave the cells based near the base of the flower that can turn it follow the sun similar to muscles.

    1. Well done!

      Sharing OneTab lists followed by a short explanation is a great way to answer these challenges—the right amount of information between cluttering the answers with bad English sentences as I do, and being too cryptic as remmij does.

      I have the similar Session Buddy extension installed and I think I'm going to stick to it, but the swift OneTab shareable lists are tempting me.

  2. 1. What's on the backside of each of the letters? My first reaction: "apart from the scaffolding that keeps the letters upright?" I had seen pictures of those before, and I remember once long ago having noticed them from the front and be a little disappointed at how amateurish and temporary the sign looks because of that.

    To find out: Google Earth, search Hollywood Sign, move around to see it from behind. Nothing but the scaffolding. Next, still on Earth, find some pictures from right above it (the top of Mount Lee). Nothing else either. Then I come to write this answer. Not sure if "scaffolding" is the right term, I use Google Translate. It seems to be right. Just to be sure, search [ scaffolding behind hollywood sign ]. First result is a really interesting article on A Sign is Born: 1923. Amazed to find out it was HOLLYWOODLAND in the beginning, and it was illuminated ("At night the Sign blinked into the Hollywood night: first 'Holly' then 'wood' and finally 'land.') I don't know if it still has some kind of illumination, so I open another link on the right menu of that page: A Sign is Reborn: 1978. This way, I will also check if there's anything apart from the scaffolding nowadays. Worth reading in full and keep on reading to the next page ("The Sign Today"), which includes a link to a well-done short Time-lapse video of Hollywood Sign refurbishment. My last impression: yes, it still looks amateurish (unintendedly, I'm sure) and temporary (which was the idea 85 years ago).
    In the meantime, I also search [ hollywood sign by night ] on Google Images. Apparently, it still has some kind of illumination.

  3. 2. What shape are the Northern (or Southern) Lights? Can you find a picture that shows the overall, planet-wide shape of the aurora? Search [ aurora satellite picture ] and accept the autocomplete suggestion: [ aurora satellite image ] gives plenty of results. It also turns out that IMAGE is the acronym (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration) for a now-defunct NASA satellite that produced images of auroras. So, in spite of "image" being an acronym and also precisely because of that, the results for this search are excellent. The second result for that search ("POES Auroral Activity Maps Page Has Changed | NOAA ...") is a defunct page, as stated, but it's worth a visit because of its link "Try the following page: 30-Minute Aurora Forecast". This shows a 24-hour animation for auroras, both borealis and australis. They are ring-shaped as viewed from above, circling around a point that moves in what I would guess is a small oval centered off the pole,

    I still want to find a photo of what an aurora looks like to an astronaut, that is, an image of an aurora using visible light and not the ultraviolet and other means used by the IMAGE satellite. After several attempts, the verbose search [ aurora as viewed by an astronaut ] gives me a great article on The Independent (Northern Lights: Nasa astronauts share incredible images showing aurora borealis seen from space). It's still not what I want. These are not images from above, just from far, really far.

  4. 3. Can you find a video of a sunflower following the sun? How about some other plant? What do they do to follow the sun across the sky? YouTube [ sunflower time-lapse ] gives some results of a sunflower growing, so I decide to go back and accept auto-complete suggestion [ sunflower time lapse following sun ]. The second result, how time flies and sunflowers catch the sun HD is CGI, but the sixth result is a decent Time Lapse Photography of Sunflowers Tracking the Sun.

    I remember the word heliotropism from when I was a highschool student 40 years ago. On Wikipedia, I learn that the "motion is performed by motor cells in a flexible segment just below the flower, called a pulvinus." I also learn (or recall) that the Ancient Greeks "named one of those plants after that property Heliotropium, meaning sun turn". I click the link to the Heliotropium page, and learn that these are called heliotrope in English. Back to YouTube, I search for [ heliotrope time lapse ]. The first result is not heliotrope but another well done video: Pepper plant time lapse. It shows both the growing and a clear heliotropism during what can be guessed as the sunniest hours of the elapsed days.

  5. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers

    Glad you had great moments in Cozumel. Did you visit Playa del Carmen?


    [backside Hollywood sign]
    [hollywood sign backside story behind]

    THE HISTORY OF THE SIGN First sign 1923. August ’78, for three lonely months Hollywood had no Sign. The Sign’s #1 fan, Hugh Hefner. Site also links to Time-lapse video of Hollywood Sign refurbishment | Sherwin-Williams

    [hollywood sign backside structure]
    A History of the Hollywood Sign, 1923-2009. Video commissioned by the Art Institute of California-Hollywood

    The Hollywood 'Sign', History.

    [aurora borealis shape]

    he Northern Lights can be both static and dynamic throughout the night sky
    The Encyclopedia of Earth. Lots of information and links.
    What causes Auroras PDF by Nasa

    [aurora borealis from space] in images

    [time lapse sunflower following sun]

    heliotropism is the key and searched[sunflower following sun]

    [heliotropism unknown facts]

    Science clarified: How phototropism works


    [plants phototropism]
    Auxin is the key

    They grow toward the sunlight to be able to generate energy by photosynthesis.


    What's on the backside of each of the letters?

    A:Metal Structure with stairs to give maintenance and barbed wire.

    What shape are the Northern (or Southern) Lights? Can you find a picture that shows the overall, planet-wide shape of the aurora?

    A: From Nasa PDF, Why the different shapes? Scientists are still trying to answer this question. The shape of the
    aurora depends on the source of the electrons in the magnetosphere and on the processes that cause the electrons to precipitate into the atmosphere. Dramatically different shapes can be seen over the course of a single night.

    The IMAGE satellite captured this view of the aurora australis (southern lights) on September 11, 2005

    Can you find a video of a sunflower following the sun? How about some other plant? What do they do to follow the sun across the sky?

    Sunflower time lapse
    Video and a surprise: these flowers are not responding simply to light, but also to an internal clock, researchers have found. Nature

    They grow toward the sunlight to be able to generate energy by photosynthesis.

    1. A link provided by Google Now.

      Following the sun helps plants pollination.

  6. tricky DrD - that's one way to go all Hollycellulose and lignin on us… any plans to dive the Potomac with Fred?
    the changing hills
    backside trail route
    alas, my search skills/terminology are rusty… are you signing autographs?

  7. 1. query [aerial photography hollywood sign]
    Drones are everyday tools go give the average person a different perspective.
    2. query [nasa captures northern lights]
    Space Stations/satellites are the new eye in the “sky”.
    3 query [time lapsed photography flower]
    Time lapsed photography has changed our viewing. Rámon contributes regularly to this type of photography on G+.

    1. You've cut right to the point of this week's Challenge. These new image types (video and images from drones and satellites) DOES offer entirely new perspectives, literally. (As does timelapse.)

    2. nice drone find Rosemary… occurred to me that Dan might mean the tower (owned by the city of L.A. now) too…?
      also on Mt. Lee:
      toward bottom of page
      ☑ drone v ◻hike
      hike detail
      even though these are from earth bound positions, worth a look - Tommy has others…
      merry dancers, revontulet on Fair Isle

  8. Trying again because first seemed not to work. Dump this if you got the first one.

    1. Images ["hollywood' sign backside] Back of Hollywood sign in images shows in this very large image just sopports for the letters and between the letters and the top of the hill is a chainlink fence,

    2. Images [aurora from space planet-wide] Here is one.

    3. video [phototropism] finds a brilliant animation here

    and Farmer Kirby showing an actual flower thru the day

    3 [phototropism sunflower video] finds this which is not a vid. As to how and why your local rag explains very nicely


    Interesting stuff once again

    jon tU

    1. jon - interesting message in the photo you found, back to the sign and visitors…
      tourists go away

  9. Started challenge number 1 with query - hollwood sign from behind - search results included many views of the sign from behind which shows extensive scaffolding (steel footings) behind each letter and a ladder-like structure on some of them. Hope we aren't missing something here. There is also a high fence behind the structure.

    Challenge 2 - aurora borealis shape viewed from space query led to some articles and images that said when viewed from space the shape of the borealis is an elongated oval or halo shaped. Found several images and information from several sources; and

    Challenge 3 - video sunflower following the sun - google completed the search for me. First result was youtube video - and from Nature, Sunflowers Move to Internal Rhythm This article suggests that research shows that the plants don't just follow the sun but have some type of internal mechanism causing them to move.

  10. Searched Google Images : backside hollywood sign = scaffolding; searched Google : satelite image aurora borealis = ovals around the magnetic poles from Australean Geographic magazine ; searched Google : video plant following sun = sunflower in motion video ; then searched Google : plants following sun = the term phototropism; searched Google : plant phototropism = list from biology dept Indiana University ;