Our world is full of mystery...
|DALL-E, "thinking hard in the style of Picasso"
.. and everyday I find myself thinking about some question or another that pokes at my curiosity. Often, this makes me do some searching with the result that some number of these questions appear in SearchResearch!
As you've probably noticed, not all questions are clear, crisp, and simple to articulate. Sometimes you need to figure out how to move from an inarticulate sense of a question to something that you can say aloud.
This step--the conversion from an internal wondering to an externalizable question-about-the-world is often tricky. Sometimes we internally censor ourselves before letting the transformation happen, sometimes thinking that this question is too dumb or that I can't figure out how to ask this thing...
I've seen this happen with students: they get caught up in something, but don't quite have the language to pursue the thread of interestingness, and so they drop it.
But SRS exists to help get you out of your internal stuckedness and express your inner, curious child!
So today's Challenge has a few of these questions that occurred to me over the past week or so.
The Challenge for us is to figure out how to overcome our lack of language (that is, our inarticulateness), get past this and pursue a search strategy to get some answers.
1. When I wake up in the middle of the night, my head sometimes feels "fuzzy" or somehow strange and different--a little as though my brain isn't working quite right. I assume that this happens to everyone. If I stay up for a while, it goes away. And of course, when I awaken properly (at a reasonable time), I don't have this feeling at all. Challenge: What is this feeling called? Is there even a term for it? Does it really happen to everyone? (Really, does it happen to you too?)
2. I remember reading a paper many years ago about the psychology behind why people often can't talk very accurately about why they did something. This comes up most often in psychology studies when people are asked "why did you do that?" and ask for an explanation. People will give explanations about why they did something, but they're often not very accurate. Challenge: What is this effect called? Can you find a scholarly article about why people are so bad at giving such explanations?
3. I know the word "colleen" is often used to refer to an Irish woman: for instance,"she's a lovely colleen". Likewise, "shelia" is used in Australian English as a synonym for a woman, while in American English "jane" or "john" (Jane Doe, John Doe) often refers to a generic person. Challenge: Is there a term for this idea, that some names are used as generic signifiers of categories of people? Are there other names that are used in this way in English? (Say, Indian English or Nigerian English.)
For this suite of Challenges, I'm interested in your answers.. but I'm REALLY interested in how you got from "vague idea" (or at least the "vague scribblings of Dan") to something that you could use in an online search. Can you talk about the process you went through? (And yes, I'm aware of the irony of asking this given Challenge #2 above... still, we have to try!)
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.