Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Search Challenge (2/3/16): Mysteries at universities

As I travel around... 

... I often visit different universities to give talks (often about SearchResearch), to visit with faculty members, or to teach classes.  It's a part of my job that I really enjoy--I love teaching, and I'm lucky to have a job that lets me do this fairly often. 

However, as I travel around, I often spot various mysteries at these universities that beg for an explanation.  Often I find these things while on my run through campus, so I'm usually alone, without a local guide to tell me what these strange things might be.  

Can you help me identify these mysteries? 

The Challenges this week are pretty straightforward, but might require a bit of sleuthing: 

1.  What IS this strange animal perched on the edge of the building?  And what's the story that led to it being installed on a university campus?  (Yes, you could call it a gargoyle, but can you be more specific than that?)  

2.  What's this odd pattern of bricks over the window?  Why is it there?  

3.  What's this? Where is it? And how long has it been there??   

The Challenge here is to go from the image to the answer.  Can you do it?  Everything you need is out there on the web. 

Tell us HOW you found the answers! 

Search on! 


  1. 1. The Cat Gargoyle or on the roof of one of the Arizona State University buildings near Heritage Square.

    Googled "Cat gargoyle" "ASU" - can't find anything else on this besides a bunch of random photos.

    2. This is killing my brain trying to figure it out.

    3. The Winnie The Pooh stump/house at Harvard. (Googled: winnie the pooh stump hut outside)
    It used to be a tree, but was cut down to a stump in 2012. The tree goes back to before 1946 when there was a 'Pooh Club' on Harvard campus....

  2. the ASU/AU/Mercado downtown Phoenix future medical center mashup is too much for me to sort out
    was hiding behind a tree in 2008
    cleared & palm-less by 2014

    regarding #2 — now I know what framing bits are - wahoo!
    worth $1m
    The Clay Mathematics Institute
    the problem defined
    PU/SU nexus

    …meanwhile @ Hav_add
    “Mr. Sanders”
    one summation

    1. Great answer, Remmij. How did you figure out the P=NP Challenge?

    2. I have tried and failed. No findings yet.

      I found the ring-tailed cat while searching Q1 but other than that still not found the answer.

      For Q2, tried searching what I thought is a word, but that didn't work. Great finding, Remmij! I'll visit your links

      For Q3, tried searching with SanderZ and that didn't work.

      Need try different way.

      Looking forward to read Dr. Russell and Remmij's path to get the answers. For me until now is not so straightforward.

    3. …wish I had solved the P=NP Challenge
      used a method you've outlined previously - cropped the image to the brick pattern, then did an image search + the terms [brick pattern university] - gave 2 results

      should also note, used wmwrightpgh's answer to locate the perched AU Wildcat? on the Mercado complex…
      article on the area
      Wilbur and Wilma
      UoA - early tragedy “Rufus Arizona”
      other mascots… oh RISD/“Riz-Dee” my, my, that would be subject to sunburn atop the Mercado ;)

      more on #3 —
      oh bother, the google pot
      oh bo
      so saith the Pooh (he can be a tad harsh at times - Chris)
      John Harvard's Journal
      …and I was nudged by Eeyore & a striped cousin of Tigger named Hobbes…
      regarding 'Sanderz - #3'
      more Sanderz, before Yahoo goes away

      fwiw, on top, fttb…

    4. Hi remmij,

      I searched the brick pattern exactly as you did (cropped image + [brick pattern university] but image search gave me two different results : here which do not bring me to Princeton, and funny thing, your link doesn't lead to Princeton from my place (France) either. Google's mysteries…

    5. Salutations passager, good thing to point out, I hadn't considered that. Google mysteries and OS/browser/version variables…
      imagine Capt'n Dan would say use the latest versions of everything & Chrome to have the best returns…
      (I was almost stumped by the Pooh stump… started by barking up the wrong tree. Mr.Sanderz)
      that aside, perhaps he can shed some light on international SERP results & how language affects search results?
      Maybe the folks at Princeton can sort all this out so a universal/latest info result will be shown everywhere… but they will need new bricks. À la vôtre!
      using Firefox as my browser (the '1989' link used above )
      your French link, using my older Safari browser
      the English version, on the older Safari…
      using French language (Goo translate), using Firefox… no 'west wall'…?

      Amit Singhal
      a 10 list - nothing new to DMR OR sRs users, but worthwhile as a reminder

    6. Hello Dr. Russell, Remmij and Passager. I tried both photos and Remmij's worked. I thought images worked based on our search history like in "all" option results but with this result I don't think so. Who knows why Passager's photo doesn't found result. Also, tried links on mobile and none gave me the answer.

      About Pooh question, I wonder why some write "Sanders" others "SaИderz", etc. Btw, stump new word for me.

      [original draws pooh sanders]

      that bear wasn’t named Winnie: he was initially called Edward

      1928 ilustration

      [pooh drawing sold]

      Winnie the Pooh drawing fetches £314,500 at auction

      Ernest H. Shepard, Illustrator

    7. good background on Ursidae Poohtosium (think that is the Latin/Scientific classification ;)) Ramón… you motivated me to search on…
      we do seem to be consumed with creatures that can consume us… (nice job turning the type too - "SaИderz")… zrednaS, sɐupǝɹz…
      made me go tool searching, used this, fun: textmechanic
      [from here] ⓔⓥⓔⓝ ⓑⓤⓑⓑⓛⓔⓢ……ⓢⓔⓛⓑⓑⓤⓑ ⓝⓔⓥⓔ
      NYPL, WtP

      thought this showed another side -
      all before iPhones & the photo barrage…
      another dimension of E.H.… poignant, haunted by P, R.I.P. Graham…
      Long Meadow, Longdown

      …how odd that this would be the name of the auction house…
      Nate D. Sanders
      dated 29 February 1932
      ""He was humming this hum to himself, and walking down gaily, wondering
      what everyone else was doing, and what it felt like, being someone
      else." - Winnie the Pooh — "Curiouser and curiouser!" -- said Alice in Wonderland"

      the attitude of the day

      Lot #163: it is interesting to click through what all will be sold & bought…

      …while I'm on the stump…
      & on the wheel turns…
      ‘Masha and the Bear’

    8. Thanks for the links, Remmij. The text tool is super fun and the rest are very interesting. Never thought E.H could not like his work and the War illustrations are something I am sure almost no one knew that about him. At least I didn't. My sister loves Eeyore, Disney's version, so I'll share with her the links.

      Related to bears, Did you watch this one? in Spanish has more information. In those time small bears to put on clothes were so popular but with the serie I cried a lot and worst; it was not transmitted complete so need to search for the final.

      I'll watch Masha and the Bear.

    9. Hi Remmij and Ramón,
      Thanks for trying, but this is something I really don't understand. Whatever language or country specific search I do, I never get the answer. I think it may have something to do with the ip address. I could try using a proxy. Anyway, this already happened in the past, and Dan had no solution (or something like 'yes the results may differ depending on the country your in').
      This could be a great challenge, finding the different answers using a different place/language/ google site etc.

    10. hi passager, I can see where that could be quite vexing - was wondering what OS/browser version you are using? is it different from what I see when I use your link below?
      the way I see your link - the answer is the 4th return on the page on your passager February 3, 2016 at 6:09 PM post
      your link, using Firefox
      any of this seem familiar?
      image search on Firefox
      wanted to see if I could get close even with the answer added to the image, used [west wall bricks Princeton university]
      it's interesting that the layout of the search page/side panel is different
      click on Images similaires brick image
      similar images
      a similar French result
      bricks show up here - Spanish result from the French SERP
      Google translation to French from the 2nd SERP page…
      … I still can't explain why the results are different and vary seemingly based on your location in France…??

      the Computer Building at Princeton — "30 years of Computer Science at Princeton"
      Research at Princeton
      a Princeton Papers archive with architect info & mention of Steve Jobs being at the dedication:
      said Sedgewick. "We designed this conjecture into the facade of the building as a gargoyle for the 20th century. "
      a Paul Goldberger NYT contemporaneous review
      Robert Sedgewick - out of Stanford
      the architects - Robert Kliment and Frances Halsband

    11. Thanks remmij for the research. I did a little too and here are my first findings :

      - Search from France in French -> France - Français

      As you can see the Princeton page does not appear on the first SERP, not even on the 2d. And the page layout differs from yours.

      - Search from France in Spanish (Latinoamerican) à la Ràmon (changing the language setting in search prefs) -> France - Spanish

      Not your layout, Princeton is #5 on the SERP

      - Using a proxy in the US, search from the US in French -> US- French

      Almost your SERP, same layout, #3 page differs but Princeton appears as #4

      So, it appears that the results depends on your location, your language and something else I still don't get (the day and time of the research perhaps) as searching from the US in French doesn't give exactly the same result as yours.

      I'm going to try to do a more throughout and extensive search this week-end if I have time.

      I use the last version of Chrome (46.0.2490.86) on Yosemite, but the results are the same in Firefox.

    12. Good day, Passager. I read that while logged in, your results in Google first page will be close to what you search but something interesting is that you only have 16,800,000 and 16,900,000 results. I tried signed and incognito. 17,000,000 and 17,400,000 results. In incognito Princeton is shown 6 result; logged no.

    13. hi passager, decided to try a slightly different tack and look at Wikipedia results using language (and location?) to
      see what the variants were… used 'Josef Albers' because he was turning up often on the French SERP page because
      of the term [brick pattern] at Yale? Anyway, here is a sampling of what I saw… there is a fair amount of substantive
      content difference - can't really tell why unless it is related to the contributors native language editing and doubt that
      would be a factor in Google SERP results
      so, while I know more about Albers now, I still can't explain why the search results vary…?

      5 wiki languages/same subject
      list of SEs

  3. 1. Can clearly read ASU Arizona State University. Thank you, Jeffrey provides the exact location. Images fails to find a cropped version. Now what. Mascot ? Nope. [asu phoenix animal on roof gargoyle statue] finds it on Flickrhivemind. Its a cat. fancy that. But why ? HOurs of searching and finding nothing except that its on Mercado D. Student newspaper no help either

    2. ? [jacquard brick] nothing. ditto punchcard. [organ card] looks promising. nope

    3. Images finds it at Harvard. In various guises its been there a long time. By the time you snapped your pix the diseased tree had been cut down and Pooh had a new house made.

    Found 1 & 2 taking way too much time. No can do.

    jon who knows more about ASU that he ever thought possible

  4. 1. [ASU mercado wall animal] finds

    An article in Phoenix New TImes 1989 'The Mercado' near the vottom of teh article we see (the closest I've got yet) ...the whimsy that seems to be the governing concept in the Mercado's design....Humor... Lizards carved from stone will seem to scale the buildings. Statues of flute-playing frogs will be tucked away within a wall's recesses, and will probably go unnoticed until a recording of low-playing flute music causes passers-by--like downtown, itself, eventually--to slowly turn around. So, although not mentioned in this article I think my initial guess of Cheshire Cat will turn out OK.

    1. It does look a bit like the Chesire Cat... Nice find from the Phoenix Times.

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