## Wednesday, September 30, 2015

### Search Challenge (9/30/15): Thinking outside the box

Some problems are hard.

But often, if you know where and how to search, the answers can be found without an excess of work.  This week's Challenge is an example of exactly this idea.

If you spend more than 5 minutes on this Challenge, you should stop and think to yourself:  How else can I solve this Challenge?  Once you figure out the method, you'll see why I've posted this particular Challenge, and you'll have yet another arrow in your quiver of SearchResearch skills.

 A whale shark with swimmer for comparison. (Photo credit to Heather Traher.)

1.  Can you create a chart showing the difference in the populations between North and South Korea since 1970?  (Just a simple line graph would be fine, thanks.)
2.  Can you compute the market cap, total revenue, and number of outstanding shares for each of the companies IBM, Apple, Google, and Xerox?
3.  Having recently dived in the Caribbean, I'm really interested in whale sharks.  Can you quickly compare blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, and whale sharks in terms of (a) lifespan, (b) maximum length, (c) weight?  (Just the facts, ma'am.)

As I said, this really is a 5 minute Challenge.  Do you know a method to make your searches that quick and effective for this kinds of data collection / comparison?

Search on!

1. 1. 1st thought: google [ population growth by country ]. 2nd result: Population growth (annual %) | Data | Table - The World Bank. Not happy so…
2nd thought: just do it for each country. So google [ population north korea since 1970 ]. 1st result: NORTH KOREA : population growth of the whole country. Create new Google Sheet and copy figures. Not happy with having to do everything by hand, so…
3rd thought: google [ population by year by country ]. 1st result the same as the 1st thought. :/ Had a better look at it and realized I can easily tweek the countries and years by clicking on "metadata".
Answer: World DataBank MyChart - NKorea x SKorea pop 1970-

(This was less than 5 minutes in total, in fact. So back to the challenge and try to have the same luck for challenges 2 and 3.)

2. 2. 1st: I know there is something called Google Finance I never used. Let me try it. Writing IBM gives me several lines (stock markets, probably; I know close to nothing about finance). I chose NYSE. I had thought of writing [ IBM, Apple, Google, Xerox ], the way I would do in Ngrams, but I notice immediately that there's a "Compare" box, so I just add the companies one by one, always chosing NYSE for consistency. Problem: there's no NYSE:Google. Back to the beginning. Chosing SWX:IBM and so on. Aaargh! There's no SWX:Apple. Still, anyway, this is apparently giving me only the EPS (Earning per Share), and that's not what I'm looking for.
2nd: Google [ market cap, total revenue, and number of outstanding shares ], hoping these appear in some aggregating site. 1st result: GOOG Key Statistics | Google Inc. Stock - Yahoo! Finance. This seems to be the Yahoo! equivalent of Google Finance (this page in particular being for the Google company). There's "Market Cap", there's "Revenue" (I hope this is what's being asked for, ie, the "total revenue"), there's "Shares Outstanding" (which seems a little more understandble to me than "outstanding shares", which I thought were the "really good ones", whatever that meant — for real haha).
3rd: I suppose Google Finance must have the same data! I come back to Google Finance and realize it's a little more difficult to get the required data. Market Cap is called "Mkt cap", there's "Shares" but they aren't detailed (and the figure is quite different from Yahoo!'s), there's no immediately findable "Revenue".
4th: Back to Yahoo! Just collect the data for each of the companies and I'll have the answer, even without understanding what the data means. I hate to do this, giving an answer without understanding what I'm saying, but the chore is in fact "find these data in 5 minutes", and I am more or less confident I found what's needed. So let me create a new Google Sheet and copy the numbers. All is good for Google, but then when I try to "Get Key Statitics for" IBM, the data types are not the same! I have Market cap but no Revenue nor Shares. Aaargh!
5th: Back to the Google company, where I remember having seen a line reading "Data provided by Capital IQ". Follow the link on "Capital IQ". Unfortunately, it seems to be a professional portal for logged-in members only.
6th: Back to my 2nd thought, this time searching for one company at a time. So [ IBM market cap, revenue, shares outstanding ] gives me, on the 2nd result, the Yahoo! Finance page I was looking for and hadn't found. This is taking too long so I decide to copy the data and look for the other companies the same way, without studying what I should have done to find this page from within Yahoo! Finance. Data being from Nasdaq or NYSE may be either unrelated to these particular figures we're looking for or irrelevant. I hope.
Answer: My doc SearchResearch Challenge 9/30/15, "Compare companies" tab"

3. Do you know a method to make your searches that quick and effective for this kinds of data collection / comparison? No, I don't so I need to think about how to solve it and of course, looking forward to learn.

1. First, tried reverse dictionary to find a word that describes what you ask for. Maybe Almanac or demographics. That doesn't work.

[lifespan maximum length weight whales comparison table]

Whale Facts and Information I just read that Luis posted this link.

I think that I need to find the key word and after that find the data with that tool.

4. 3. Even before starting, I'm stuck with a basic difficulty: sharks are not mammals, so I guess whales and whale sharks will not have been compared on any existent webpage. This is almost the inverse situation of the previous one. On challenge #2, it was hard for me to find a solution because I didn't know the basics. Now it may be hard because I know too much. Anyway, I still try:
1st: Google Search [ blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, and whale sharks ]. On the first search result page, I can't find anything that seems to answer the question. So…
2nd: I decide to do two separate searches, one for the whales, the other one for the whale shark, and incorporate the data. 1st result from [ compare blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales ] is a Smithsonian Institute page, What is the Biggest Whale? A Cetacea Size Comparison .... Nice image but sizes only, unfortunately. Also, the Gray whale isn't there (unless under any other name).
Side note: I am looking for data published on the Web. I think of "public data" and I remember that searching for Google Public Data cuold have been another way of solving challenge 1.
3rd: A slightly different approach: [ whale species lifespan length weight ]. Almost all results are for individual species but 5th result may be what I'm looking for: Whale Facts and Information. The site doesn't look credible enough, though. From the list of references, I can't take anything good enough for what I'm looking for.
4th: I am about to quit but I decide to google each individual species, believing that a) at least from the Wikipedia pages for each of them I will have quick and easy results; b) Google may give me better options. Google Search [ blue whale ] yields (of course!) a Knowledge Box with everything I need. Better yet, in decent metric units, not in feet or tons (which I never know if they aremetric or not). Unfortunately, the Knowledge Box has those clear figures for the blue whale but not for the gray whale. So…
5th: Back to Wikipedia on individual species. Unfortunately, in spite of this being a featured article, the boxes I was hoping to find with this kind of information aren't there, at least not for the blue whale.
For now: This is taking too long so I decided to stop my search. Maybe in some hours I think of some completely different approach.

5. All three of these were easily found on Wolfram Alpha.

1. Enter "population n korea s korea" in the search bar. That gets you the current population of both countries, and a bit farther down the page a line graph comparing historical population numbers.

2. Type the company name into the search bar. Market cap, total revenue and number of outstanding shares are all listed in the "fundamentals and financials" section of the results.

3. Type the animal into the search bar. You get back some basic data, including lifespan, maximum length and weight.

Wolfram Alpha is my first stop when looking for basic factual data like this. It's usually not in depth, but the basics are easy to find in one stop.

1. AH! Now that you say it… of course! I had never found a real circumstance where Wolfram Alpha was in fact useful so I never cared to use it.

I had the feeling, from the beginning that the box we had think outside of was Google, but I took the wrong exits. :)

Well done, and thanks for the short and effective explanation of when to use Wolfram Alpha.

2. You are right, Luis. Thanks Jerry for your post and Dr. Russell for the Challenge. I knew and tried Wolfram but never like this.

There:

[South Korea North Korea population history] and in the results we have options to download, share and others
[blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, whale sharks] .

1. Can you create a chart showing the difference in the populations between North and South Korea since 1970? (Just a simple line graph would be fine, thanks.)

Population

2. Can you compute the market cap, total revenue, and number of outstanding shares for each of the companies IBM, Apple, Google, and Xerox?
Companies

3. Having recently dived in the Caribbean, I'm really interested in whale sharks. Can you quickly compare blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, and whale sharks in terms of (a) lifespan, (b) maximum length, (c) weight? (Just the facts, ma'am.)
Whale Sharks Interesting that they call Physeter catodon and not Sperm Whale

3. agree, well done Mr. Hill - it'll be interesting to see if the DMR solution follows this path… - this approach/method seems to fill the bill… the sad thing is Wolfram Alpha is on my toolbar and it never even occurred to use it…
wonder if Siri would return the same?
Wolfram prefix
most curious
300"'
0s, my time has expired… multiple times

4. After reading Jerry post and searching for the answers to the Challenge; I searched for alternatives to Wolfram. Found some alternatives for step by step solutions and also new ways and things to search. Great to have this new SearchReSearch Skill. Have some of you worked with the app?

Also it is good to remember that we can compare some things with Google, like fruits, dogs and others with simple queries like [cocker spaniel vs labrador]

5. Hope this post is not repeated: Very interesting knowing how to answer Challenge.

1. Can you create a chart showing the difference in the populations between North and South Korea since 1970? (Just a simple line graph would be fine, thanks.)
Population

2. Can you compute the market cap, total revenue, and number of outstanding shares for each of the companies IBM, Apple, Google, and Xerox?
Companies

3. Having recently dived in the Caribbean, I'm really interested in whale sharks. Can you quickly compare blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, and whale sharks in terms of (a) lifespan, (b) maximum length, (c) weight? (Just the facts, ma'am.)
Whale Sharks Interesting that they call Physeter catodon and not Sperm Whale

6. Wolfram|Alpha Clip ’n Share — another Wölf Ram Alfalfa feature I was unaware of - thanks for pointing it out, Ramón…
don't know what happened to my wed. post - was also WA/Siri related - off in the ionosphere/eMdomosHaidou I guess.
chèvres françaises
3 years ago, a little different now…

7. Good day, Dr. Russell, Remmij and everyone. Sorry for the duplicate post with the answers.

Thanks to you, Remmij. Wolfram|Alpha Clip ’n Share was also new for me. And your links as always very interesting. With them:

[WolframAlpha Google now] very interesting articles. Then Search Tools, past year.

Another New Tool: identify any image and the link to the tool, did you know about it?

With [France Goat population] link, tried the classic [Mexico Goat population] and [France Mexico Goat Population] Really interesting results. What happened to goats in Mexico? Maybe the "Chupacabras"? Also didn't know France had so much Turkeys. Thanks Remmij :)

8. …search can be a long and winding - not always 5 minute - road — I need to work on my sRs discipline, as I am prone to wander… but not quite now, too entertaining…
"Another New Tool: identify any image and the link to the tool, did you know about it? "… no Ramón, IDNKT - you are removing the W|A scales from my eyes… gracias!
…perhaps Mr. W. is a polymath?
Stephen W does some interesting - many beyond my comprehension - things
in the tailored tool category - the influence of mobile
as DrD has noted before, image identification/recognition is difficult, but progress is happening… some images I had on my desktop…
some success ( 2, lower right)
a partial success:

Goatram|Alpha?
goat milk poundage differential - who knew?
…tried camel, seal & whale milk too, but goat was the only one that seemed to return 'vs' results…
Goo class A, over time
interesting that this came up as a related query when I looked at Chupacabras -
"The chupacabra is a legendary creature rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas and known for allegedly attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats"

fwiw - was curious about 'LostinGallus'
⌘F LostinGallus - the structure of beaks, in some detail…
perhaps Frankfurt

9. But it's also interesting that it did NOT label "Diver" or "Human" (or, "ocean") in that pic. A hard problem with such systems is knowing what gets a label, and what doesn't. Do you label the "chupacabra" but not the "humanoid" in a picture? (Or vice versa...)

10. Glad that you tried Remmij.

For what I read, Dr. Russell, they said that the system learns as also does Google Photos. I think as the whale is the bigger subject in photo, that was the one labeled. Don't know if project has some options to add more labels.

I agree with you that labels can be a problem. Also a great help for many situations in which maybe we don't have a clue about what is in the photo.

About the label question, don't know if you ask Remmij, me or it is just a comment about labels.

I searched about goats in Mexico. Apparently, economic crisis in the 90's was the cause for the lower number.

Have great weekend and October.

11. I finally understood your comment: Do you label the "chupacabra" but not the "humanoid" in a picture? " Yes, you are right, we label all subjects in an image.

12. agree, the selection process is curious and the challenge daunting…
can't verify salinity levels
hominid
let's hope not
from: (nice view of Miami too…)
overview
would keep the goats guessing
chupawhawhat
related tool/interface story
audio learning

13. Thanks for the links and comments, Remmij. I didn't know about "goat milk poundage differential", that is very interesting. I tried other topics about that and yes, goats are incredible. I like the tests you did on W|A. For what I see, project works when in image has something very clear. Audio learning is algo cool.

As you say, Challenge is always fun and entertaining.

6. I just realized that, if I'm OK with doing two dozens of simple searches instead of trying a complex one, questions 2 and 3 are answered by Google Quick Answer Boxes. Google searches like [ IBM total revenue ] or [ sperm whale maximum length ] have as result a box on top of the search results.

Revenue
US\$ 92.793 billion (2014)
IBM - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale, with adult males measuring up to 20.5 metres (67 ft) long and weighing up to 57,000 kilograms (56 long tons; 63 short tons). By contrast, the second largest toothed whale, Baird's Beaked Whale measures 12.8 metres (42 ft) and weighs up to 15 short tons (14,000 kg).
Sperm whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The same inelegant but efficient method can't be used for question 1, though.

7. Not quite but my quick search was to Google Public Data Explorer. Unfortunately Korea is showing under one name.

http://bit.ly/srs_Sept_30_2015

Second quick look - not quite right either was Google Finance - http://bit.ly/srs_Sept_30_2015_Markets

And last quick look Query shark facts Whale Shark http://www.sharks-world.com/shark_species/ states...

The whale shark is the biggest of all shark species. Adults are at least 25 feet long and they can be up to 45 feet in length.

That's it - 5 minutes.

8. Hey everyone

1. Query inside google: "population growth north korea" showed me this google page with public information that is just amazing to play with : http://goo.gl/2VF9wd
2. Query inside google finance: the Three Stock names show these fundamental informations
3. Query inside wolfram alpha: just the name of the animal. you can even compare them

9. Wolfram Alpha was also my first stop. It took much less than 5 minutes and it's a perfect example to use for my talk at WebSearch Academy in London on 19 October. If you're in London, Dan, drop by! internet-librarian.com

1. Alas, I won't be in London... but I DO hope to make it to Internet-librarian in Monterey.

10. Well after a long hiatus Anne and I are back! We were both busy over summer and thought we'd get back into the swing of things once school started. It has been crazy but today we actually had a few minutes. Our chart for question 1 can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Ef5qTgL4ZBoJVuZNNReo1RzUwu36nZVI18hLYkSCze8/edit?usp=sharing
To get our data we did a search using terms- population north korea 1970-2015. We got a lot of hits. Went to the site http://www.bluemarblecitizen.com/people/census-world-North-Korea While the site had the info we needed we couldn't find out enough about the site to verify whether it was credible. We noticed that they used stats from the US Census international database. http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/informationGateway.php So we went to that site and found that you could search for up to 25 years worth of data and search several countries at once. So we selected 1970-2015 and then Korea, North and South. We got the results (we elected to have them show aggregated and individual data) and then took this information and pasted into google sheets. We created the chart there. Even with interruptions (we are working with a class right now) we did this in probably about 3 or 4 mins.

1. Welcome back!

WRT your doc--did you mean to include a chart in that?

2. Yes! This is what happens when i do this at lunchtime in our library (with about 300+ students in attendance!). Here is the link with the saved chart included-

11. I had a quick look at the World Bank Data and it provides a chart, a map and you can download data. I chose 50 years. http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=world-development-indicators&Type=TABLE

12. [chart korean population]

[chart market cap apple ibm google]

2 http://www.statista.com/statistics/216657/market-capitalization-of-us-tech-and-internet-companies/

[chart whales blue gray sperm shark]

3 http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/alphawhales.shtml

All this took less than 2 minutes. I must be learning somethings. This is great stuff.

Cheers

jon tU

13. I remember from a few years ago the Google Public data site.
I go there and enter [population] as a search term

5th option is the World Resources Institute – go into that and I can select North Korea and South Korea to compare on a chart

Result is here -

I'm struggling with the other 2 questions to do quickly so am obviously missing something. You can compare portfolios in Google Finance so perhaps that works. But seems complicated.

14. a bit off topic, but still about comparative information analysis exercises…
for some Sunday grins - makes about as much sense as American football in Wembley Stadium…
some further W|A tests - seems to show the problem with generically & specifically identifying images…
#s 3 - 9 may appeal to Dan's Parisian experience…
•#1
•#2
•#3
•#4
•#5
•#6
•#7
•#8
•#9 - confusing similarity to Charlie
•#10 - surprisingly close, but no cigar (Lactophrys triqueter, smooth trunkfish, Cozumel)
•#11 - unfair cigar
and for future reference — chupacabras and all