Wednesday, December 28, 2022

2022 in Review: A year of SearchResearch

 Once again we're at the close of the year... 

Sunset over the Pacific with a tiny green flash

... and I'm trying to summarize all that happened in SRS as a way of looking back over the year.  It's a bit of a complicated story--we certainly covered a number of topics (see the list below), and touched on a number of SearchResearch topics, methods, and means.  We talked about whether a parakeet is really a kind of parrot, where the oldest solar observatory is in the Americas (A: Peru), and how to read in language and scripts that you don't recognize.  

This was also the year where I taught the Human-Computer Interaction & AI class at Stanford (with Peter Norvig) which was a tremendous amount of fun, but I'd forgotten how much time standing up a full class takes, even if it's in a domain that you know well.  

Despite the class and a few trips here and there, we managed to keep SRS rolling along.  We had 55 posts this year, just over 1 per week and just a few less than last year. 

I hope you found these entertaining and educational--that's certainly my intent in writing them.  I want to encourage your curiosity, and give you some of the tools I've found that help me with my curiosity addiction.  

I'm looking forward to next year's crop of SRS Challenges.  Where in the world will we go next?  

If you would, leave a comment about what you found most interesting in SRS during 2022, and if you have ideas, what would you like us to cover in the year ahead?  The comment line is always open. 

As always, 

Search on!  

SearchResearch Challenge (1/5/21): A new year, a n...Carolina parakeets... or parrot?
Image identification is great, when it works.Google Lens caution
Answer: A new year, a new Challenge about parakeets!
How to find downloadable books in Google BooksHow to find open access books
SearchResearch Challenge (1/19/21): Time and tides...Are tides different in different places?
Answer: Time and tides in different places?
How to find anything #4 (part 2/3): News and Late ...How to find current news
SearchResearch Challenge (2/2/22): Search in a wo...Dealing with constantly changing names
Answer: Search in a world of changing names?
How to find anything #5: (part 3/3) Assessing Cre...How assess credibility of sources
SearchResearch Challenge (2/16/22): How can I sear...Searching for sounds
Answer: How can I search over audio?
SearchResearch Challenge (3/2/22): What are some g...How to find near real-time satellite images
Answer: What are some good (almost) real-time sat...
SearchResearch Challenge (3/16/22): Finding the c...Finding special connections and terms (krumholz)
Answer: Finding the connections?
SearchResearch Challenge (3/30/22): Where is the o...Oldest solar observatory in the Americas (Chankillo)
Answer: Where is the oldest solar observatory in t...
SearchResearch Challenge (4/13/22): Why water the...Why would you water Astroturf?
Answer: Why water the astroturf?
SearchResearch Challenge (5/11/22): Why... in New ...Symbols of New Orleans
Superb example of SearchResearch... in AlgeriaA great SRS tale from Algeria--tracking down mysterious holes
Answer: Why... in New Orleans?
SearchResearch Challenge (5/25/22): Finding origin...Using patents to find dates of old machines (apple parer and stapleless stapler)
Answer: Finding original patents?
SearchResearch Challenge (6/8/22): Why do gnats D...Gnats swarm, but why?
Answer: Why do gnats DO that?
SearchResearch Challenge (6/22/22): Why is there a...Elephant statues in Wisconsin
Where's Dan? A slight SRS delay this week...
Answer: Why is there an elephant statue in this Wi...
SearchResearch Challenge (7/13/22): What is this ...Identifying abandoned oil rigs in the PA woods
SearchResearch Bonus Challenge (July 20, 2022): Wh...US city population density
Answer: What's a large US city with very low popu...
Answer: What's this rusty thing I found in the woods?
SearchResearch Challenge (8/17/22): Horses are nat...Where did horses come from?
Answer: Horses are native to... where?
How to find anything #7: How to Find News and Late...More about how to find current news
SearchResearch Challenge (8/31/22): How can you fi...Finding those hard-to-find terms
Answer: How can you find answers to those mysterio...
Extra: Napa Soda Springs to return to life?Update on Napa Springs
SearchResearch Challenge (9/14/22): Can you find t...Finding Starbuck and Queequeg
Hint 1: Can you find the characters from Moby Dick...
Hint 2: Can you find characters from Moby Dick in ...
Answer 1: Can you find characters from Moby Dick i...
Answer 2: Can you find characters from Moby Dick i...
SearchResearch Challenge (10/26/22): A missing bui...Exploring the hole in Conordices Park
Answer: A missing building in the park?
SearchResearch Challenge (11/9/22): Questions abou...Bats: why sleep upside down?
Answer: Questions about bats--How many? Why do th...
More surprising insights about bat predation
SearchResearch Challenge (11/23/22): How to read o...How to read text in languages you don't recognize
Answer: How to read other scripts and languages?
AI writing systems, a poetic prompt, and The CyberiadThoughts about AI-generated text
SearchResearch Challenge (12/14/22): Does animal c...Does bird coloration change by latitude?
Answer: Does animal color and weight change by lat...


  1. I loved ever Challenge, every Answer and the comments that we made. I like the most Challenges about animals and nature. Also the series How to Find Anything is awesome!

    The best however, is the surprise each week with something new. Stuff that I couldn't think about. And how the SRS Magic keeps coming even after years. It's incredible how you read something and it's connected with some Challenge. As Dr. Russell says: Learn while reading. And always thinking what skeptical Dr. Russell ( you said skeptical Dan) would think.

    I'm sure 2023 will bring us a fantastic journey. I'd love more How to Find Anything and the return of 1MM.

    Thanks for another amazing year, Dr. Russell and everyone. Thanks 2022 !

    Wishing everyone a great and full of SRS's Challenges in the upcoming 2023

    1. I was thinking about a Challenge. However, I am not sure how to and if it is real.

      A tree keeper a few months ago told me that camphor tres give cold shade. Is that something real? For me all shades by trees feel the same. He means if your house has camphor tree will be colder than if you have another tree species.

      Also this week discovered something amazing and new for me. Opossums eat banana peels?

      Searched for them and found

    2. BPF, I did not know that
      also, bird & mammal related…
      bats — TPR, Houston
      from under a bridge
      and tropical spy bird…
      "Ian Fleming took the name “James Bond” from a famous ornithologist. In exchange, Fleming told the real Bond he could give a horrible bird the name “Ian Fleming.”"
      Tyto alba bondi
      Bond, Bird Bond
      in a data base
      …could Dan be 008?

    3. Thanks Remmij. Also related to birds:

      Flight feathers and other kinds:

    4. More about bats

      Nearly 700 frozen bats nursed back to health after surviving chilly weather

      ...It’s hard to feed bats in care, because they normally eat in flight..."

  2. happy neue year… 2023 or 536?… and yet, here we are - "C'etait une nuit orageuse et sombre"
    wiki account
    Happy Hooligan
    whine wind witches…
    for sell…
    6 words
    "We thought lenticular clouds were clouds."

  3. frohes neues jahr/urte berri on/novus annus……例年通り
    536 ☛ 538
    3 things
    as 1941 started

  4. flash fiction
    (true or false?)
    ChatGPT prompt:
    did Ernest Hemingway write a six word story

    Yes, Ernest Hemingway is credited with writing a six-word story that reads, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." This story is often referred to as the "shortest story" and is an example of a form of literature known as "flash fiction," which consists of extremely short stories that typically have a complete narrative arc within a few hundred words. Hemingway's six-word story has been widely anthologized and has inspired numerous imitations and variations.

    did he?
    Mull: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
    Arthur C. Clarke duped?

    correction -
    Happy Hooligan

  5. For Sale: search engine, incorrectly used ˚‧º·(˚ ˃̣̣̥᷄⌓˂̣̣̥᷅ )‧º·˚ .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·. Ernie Himminwaygone

  6. Happy New Year. I really liked the Year in Review table, although it made me realize that I need to follow through and write up my search path more often. I noticed that while I had done the challenge, I hadn't actually written up and posted my search path. There's next year to do better. :-)

    I always the enjoy the challenges that involve imagery (going way back to "I woke up here".) I also like challenges that involve finding a new tool to either search or create something.

    Something I'm wondering about: Educators have long been encouraged to look at writing Google-proof questions. Questions that can't easily be googled for the answer. I always thought the writers for Jellyvision, the makers or That's A Fact, Jack! Read did a good job of this when the questions were posed to the students in situations that weren't stated explicitly in the book. Questions like "How do you think Fern would react to finding a stray dog with a hurt leg?" or "When Jim is freed what is probably the first thing he will do?"
    Will AI be able to answer those types of questions? Will there be a way for educators to ChatGPT-proof their assignments?

    I've also been thinking of proposing a challenge to you dealing with corpuses that might not be indexed by Google. This year I might actually figure it out to the end and get it to you...

    Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Search Year.

    1. As you know, the AGoogleADay site had a few thousand "non-Googleable" questions, but with the intro of Large Language Models, some of those have become moot. In general, we ARE going to have to figure out how to work around LLMs for educational purposes. Having a student use ChatGPT (or friends) to answer questions is a just a waste of everyone's time--the student and the teachers.

  7. I hope it isn’t too late to chime in here.

    I prefer the challenges that have to do with science and nature, such recent topics being tides, bats, and internal incorporation (from 2021). I especially like ones that are more complex and open-ended and lend themselves to explorations beyond the challenge after the answer is known, ones that can spawn other questions for my personal musings. That is how life is, at least mine, and how some scientific discoveries (and disasters) occur.

    I have learned a lot from the challenges that have introduced me to tools I did not know, such as Google Books, Images, and the reverse dictionary. These are not as thought provoking but have proved useful in a wide range of contexts.

    1. Never too late. Thanks for the comments... and glad you're finding SRS useful!