Wednesday, March 16, 2022

SearchResearch Challenge (3/16/22): Finding the connections?

 Finding connections... 


.. is a good part of what I do in my day-to-day work.  As a professional researcher, I often look at data and try to figure out what this data is telling me, and how it connects to other things I know about. In particular, I try to understand how X connects (or influences) Y.  That's sort of science in a nutshell--how do things connect?  

Here's an example of this kind of connective thinking that occurred to me the other day.  

I was walking along a trail that follows the edge of an oceanside bluff in a place that has wind and weather that always comes from the same direction.  In this case, the winds always come out of the west, flows over the bluff, and then blows constantly on the trees and shrubs at the top of the cliff.  As you'd expect, this causes some pretty serious deformations in the way the trees grow.  The tree shown above was especially bent and pruned by the wind, as are most of the trees along this part of the coastline.  

As you can see, it leans away from the wind and rain coming off the bluff (which you can barely see falling away into the sea on the far left).   

While walking past this tree, I wondered today's Search Challenge: 

1. If I want to learn more about such bent and deformed trees, what's the specialized search term that I'd want to use?  (Hint: There is a very specific term to describe such trees--that's what you seek.)  

And, as I was thinking about that term, I realized that it made a connection to a musical instrument, also made of wood, that uses the same bit of language in its name.  The moment I realized this, I understood the connection!  This leads to the connecting Challenge: 

2. What is the name of a musical instrument that sounds a lot like this specialized term?  (Hint: The word for the instrument shares a language of origin and the first 6 letters with the tree-term.  This is one of those "you'll know it when you see it" kinds of Challenges.)  

I don't think this is too hard, but it's fun to find connections between very different parts of one's life (in my case, a connection between botany and music).  

Let us know how you did.  Next week I'll talk about what I did to figure out this connection.  

Search on!  


  1. Good morning, Dr. Russell and everyone.

    It's very interesting and even more with the connection in Q2.

    I noticed that trees also bent and deform when in close location with high voltage cables. I'm wondering if this and yours have the same name.

    I'll SRS!

    1. Not what we are looking for. However, interesting

      With [deformed trees by weather]

    2. With [trees bend wind] found this video from 2012. It's amazing.

      How Trees Bend the Laws of Physics

    3. Tried with Remmij's query in different order and adding words like terminology. At the end, used the exact one.

      However, then wanted to check something and forgot one part. I used [term for bent trees] and found

      Trail Trees,deformed%20by%20nature%20or%20disease

    4. I used [term for deformed tree] and got

      Then I used [krummh musical instrument] and found the krummhorn.

      “This was too easy,” I thought. “I never get answers quickly.”

  2. “krummholz” and “krummhorn”, “krumm” meaning crooked in German. They share their first seven letters, but I suppose they also share six.

    1. They also share four, three, etc.

      More importantly, the first 5 letters are an independent word. The first 6 letters are a word + 1 random character from the next term. ;-)

  3. sorry to be long winded… like the wind over the bluff, but connections kept popping up… and I was sidetracked by kazoos…
    Sea Ranch…? also called knieholz ("knee timber")
    the wiki take
    search SERP
    another example, different coast - Tuckamore
    in Poland
    a version? ship building?
    K(or C)rummhorn,
    Crumhorn SERP
    Krummhörn is also a municipality in the district of Aurich, in Lower Saxony, Germany

    what is the connection here?: (also related to Sea Ranch…)
    will you attend for the presentation?
    Côte d’Ivoire

    tea too
    Yellow Gold Tea: The most expensive exotic tea in the world, this variety was once a favorite of Chinese Emperors. Now found only in Singapore, each bud of this exotic tea is lavished in 24K gold rendering it with a metallic and fruity flavor!
    Hebrew: רות rut
    … hope the photographer will excuse the use… and there is something for ML:
    a fantasy coast
    bassoon - tune for the bluff

    1. Orlo Musical instrument, mentioned on Wikipedia article about crumhorn

      Video. Orlo Soprano (

    2. I’ll admit that reflection of 3.14 is new to me, though I should have seen it before.

      So – Happy (belated) Pi Day. This was told to me by a former engineering student. You have to say it out loud.

      Cosine secant tangent sine
      Three point one four one five nine.

      I’ve since learned that it is part of many college cheers.

    3. glad you found it
      I quickly succumb to numerical dystopianism & tyranny - ordering chaos, my hoof… 2+2 = HTHDIK and then my cortex trips a breaker… what equals cake?
      I had no idea
      meanwhile, at Dartmouth

    4. “It pays to stay awake in math class….. Mathematicians are a clever bunch.”

      Don Lincoln

      I never heard HTHDIK before. I can't wait to use it.

    5. Yes, that is the Don Lincoln.

      His question “Where did the Big Bang happen?” would be an exciting challenge, though I “know” the answer but still don’t understand it.

    6. Lincolnism…
      from the comments:
      "This reminds me of the joke about the astrophysicist answering listeners call in questions on local radio station. Of course one of the questions was "Where is the center of the universe", and he calmly reaches for his phone and responds "Let me call my wife and ask her where she is"."

    7. That was my husband speaking.

      I’ve done some work related to mathematicians who are women and Emmy Noether is a superstar. Read her obituary in the NYT.

    8. agreed…
      have had a few comments not show up… this was one.

  4. I thought I knew this but searched anyway for "windswept" tree which confirmed by vague memory: krumholtz Lots of interesting pix here:

    Krumhorn or crumhorn is the instrument. krummhorn (ˈkrʌmˌhɔːn ) noun. a medieval woodwind instrument of bass pitch, consisting of an almost cylindrical tube curving upwards and blown through a double reed covered by a pierced cap. Collins English Dictionary.