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The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:42 pm UTC
by Christo
I heard awhile back that the origin of using "man" as slang--as in "Hey man, how you doing?"--comes from the black power movement. It was a response to racist whites referring to adult black males as "boy." Calling one another man was a way of conveying respect. I tried googling it and couldn't come up with anything, which leads me to some questions:

First, can anyone verify the story?

Also, I'm so accustomed to having all human knowledge at my fingertips that not being able to find something really got me thinking about the limits of search engines and apps. For example, if you didn't know what blowing a raspberry was called (also referred to as blowing a strawberry or a Bronx Cheer), how could you come up with it's name?

Another question is, can you think of other things that are unsearchable? For awhile one of those things would be finding the names of instrumentals, but there are apps now that can identify songs. So, what information can't we find?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:55 pm UTC
by Tirian
Googling numbers often leads to tears in my experience.

I found a new pet peeve last week when I went to Google John Stewart, the African-American Green Lantern. Google helpfully pointed out at the top of the search page "Did you mean Jon Stewart?" (the host of The Daily Show), but then unhelpfully assumed that that's what I meant and the entire page was filled with Jon Stewart links. Of course, "John Stewart green lantern" gave me the information I actually wanted, but that's what it took to bypass Google's helpfulness.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:00 pm UTC
by jestingrabbit
The copy of the shorter oxford english dictionary I have dates that usage to late middle english ie some time about 1350 till 1470. As to how it came to be repopularised, no idea sorry.

Here's another page asking the same question

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/sho ... p?t=429863

I got it by googling "man interjection origin" with no quotes.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:36 am UTC
by Patashu
Anything that relies on punctuation to be distinguished. Example: Looking up a programming language operator.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:56 am UTC
by Qaanol
I’ve had difficulty searching for songs to which I only knew the wordless refrains (not instrumentals per se) such as the “Lie la-lie” part of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer or the “Na na-na-na na” part of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances. You say there are programs that can identify these for me if I sing them into a microphone?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:21 am UTC
by HonoreDB
I saw a list of these somewhere, possibly tvtropes, a few years ago. The only one I remember is searching for an mp3 of something with the acronym MP3, such as the film Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar or the game Metroid Prime 3. But I tried it just now, and it looks like google's twerked its algorithms to fix this.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:44 am UTC
by RebeccaRGB
Images. Say I've seen an image on a page somewhere before, but I don't remember where. Maybe I saved the image; how do I give the image to Google so it can go find the page it came from? How about a much harder problem: Maybe I didn't save the image; how can I give Google my own drawing of what I remember of the image so it can go find the image I'm thinking of?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:22 am UTC
by Xias
It kind of reminds me of the spelling/dictionary problem.

For example, if you didn't know how to spell "pneumonia" or "mnemonic" , you would not be able to look it up in a dictionary.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:49 am UTC
by Magnanimous
Online Etymology Dictionary wrote:As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, first recorded c.1400, but especially popular from early 20c.
Sort of helpful, I suppose.

I'm impressed with how advanced Google's gotten... If you type in "the the" without the quotes, it'll actually lead you to the band.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:50 am UTC
by HonoreDB
RebeccaRGB wrote:Images. Say I've seen an image on a page somewhere before, but I don't remember where. Maybe I saved the image; how do I give the image to Google so it can go find the page it came from? How about a much harder problem: Maybe I didn't save the image; how can I give Google my own drawing of what I remember of the image so it can go find the image I'm thinking of?


If you've saved the image file itself, http://www.tineye.com/

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:32 pm UTC
by greengiant
If you search google for 'stick out tongue and blow' (no quotation marks), the first result is the wikipedia page for blowing a raspberry. I'm always impressed by how well you can find seemingly tricky things on google if you put in a bit of effort.

Normally when I have difficulty it's with things that ought to be easy to find. Can't think of any specific examples off the top of my head but certain searches just seem to bring up pages and pages of dodgy websites that have no real content, but that are spammed up to the eyeballs with mentions of what you've searched for.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:14 pm UTC
by Qaanol
greengiant wrote:If you search google for 'stick out tongue and blow' (no quotation marks), the first result is the wikipedia page for blowing a raspberry.

…and what happens when you put that in an image search with SafeSearch turned off?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:05 pm UTC
by Cosmologicon
Qaanol wrote:I’ve had difficulty searching for songs to which I only knew the wordless refrains... the “Na na-na-na na” part of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances.

That's funny, I was going to give that exact same example, except I was going to say it was surprisingly easy to find the answer. True, it wasn't the first hit, but given how ill-defined my search was, and how many song have that sort of lyric, I was surprised it was even on the first page. A search on what's the song that goes naaaa na na na naaaa takes me here for the eighth hit.

I had trouble searching for the origins of certain snowclones before I knew to treat them like a formula. For instance, having seen variations on "X Y is X" such as "obvious troll is obvious", I had no idea how to find out the origin (The Simpsons, btw) because the only constant was "is".

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:43 pm UTC
by greengiant
Qaanol wrote:
greengiant wrote:If you search google for 'stick out tongue and blow' (no quotation marks), the first result is the wikipedia page for blowing a raspberry.

…and what happens when you put that in an image search with SafeSearch turned off?


Piqued my curiosity. Surprisingly you get results that are only 10% smutty. Quite a good selection really; a polar bear with a blue tongue, a frog blowing a raspberry, shrek with one of those party blower things and interestingly two pictures of raspberries (the fruit).

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:18 am UTC
by KrazyerKate
Tirian wrote:I found a new pet peeve last week when I went to Google John Stewart, the African-American Green Lantern. Google helpfully pointed out at the top of the search page "Did you mean Jon Stewart?" (the host of The Daily Show), but then unhelpfully assumed that that's what I meant and the entire page was filled with Jon Stewart links. Of course, "John Stewart green lantern" gave me the information I actually wanted, but that's what it took to bypass Google's helpfulness.


Cut google some slack. 95% of the people that typed in 'john stewart' DID mean to search for the host of the daily show. You just happen to be in the unfortunate 5%.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:45 am UTC
by RebeccaRGB
HonoreDB wrote:If you've saved the image file itself, http://www.tineye.com/

Awesome. Thanks.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:26 am UTC
by HonoreDB
Oh hey, just ran into another one. Yay. :?

The word "comments" is prominently featured on EVERY WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET. This makes searches for other meanings of the word "comment" difficult.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:37 am UTC
by Tirian
KrazyerKate wrote:
Tirian wrote:I found a new pet peeve last week when I went to Google John Stewart, the African-American Green Lantern. Google helpfully pointed out at the top of the search page "Did you mean Jon Stewart?" (the host of The Daily Show), but then unhelpfully assumed that that's what I meant and the entire page was filled with Jon Stewart links. Of course, "John Stewart green lantern" gave me the information I actually wanted, but that's what it took to bypass Google's helpfulness.


Cut google some slack. 95% of the people that typed in 'john stewart' DID mean to search for the host of the daily show. You just happen to be in the unfortunate 5%.


Yes, but I am in the unfortunate 5% who want WHAT THEY ASKED FOR. I would cut Google some slack if the search return page says "Here are the Jon Stewart results. *Click here* if you actually did mean 'John Stewart' and then I will stop second-guessing you." Instead, they gave me something I don't want and then give me a correction link to switch to the same thing.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:09 am UTC
by phlip
If you search for "John Stewart" including quotes, then it'll give you exactly that, only results that contain "John Stewart" as a phrase (no Jon results). If you search for +John Stewart with a plus before the contentious word, then it'll offer "Jon" as a replacement, but it'll still only give "John" results (and it will include results that just contain "John" and "Stewart" separately, like normal).

The message used to say "Showing results for Jon Stewart, If you really meant John Stewart click here" or suchlike, which would take you to the results for +John Stewart, but they got rid of it. No idea why, it was a useful link.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:18 am UTC
by Patashu
HonoreDB wrote:Oh hey, just ran into another one. Yay. :?

The word "comments" is prominently featured on EVERY WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET. This makes searches for other meanings of the word "comment" difficult.

Google has the answer. Type this into a search

define:comment

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:45 am UTC
by Arancaytar
Tirian wrote:Googling numbers often leads to tears in my experience.

I found a new pet peeve last week when I went to Google John Stewart, the African-American Green Lantern. Google helpfully pointed out at the top of the search page "Did you mean Jon Stewart?" (the host of The Daily Show), but then unhelpfully assumed that that's what I meant and the entire page was filled with Jon Stewart links. Of course, "John Stewart green lantern" gave me the information I actually wanted, but that's what it took to bypass Google's helpfulness.


"john stewart" -jon

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:44 am UTC
by Christo
Qaanol wrote:I’ve had difficulty searching for songs to which I only knew the wordless refrains (not instrumentals per se) such as the “Lie la-lie” part of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer or the “Na na-na-na na” part of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances. You say there are programs that can identify these for me if I sing them into a microphone?


I don't know about that, but there are apparently phone apps that will identify songs for you and take you straight to iTunes to buy them. You can also take pictures of book covers and it'll pull the book up for you on amazon. That's a total mind fuck to me.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:21 pm UTC
by Jimmigee
Certain symbols seem to be litterally impossible to include in the search. I work with SAS software and have tried finding various 'macro functions' all of which start with %. If anyone can get a search to actually include the % then I would love to know how! Example: "%macro"

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:24 pm UTC
by Tirian
Christo wrote:
Qaanol wrote:I’ve had difficulty searching for songs to which I only knew the wordless refrains (not instrumentals per se) such as the “Lie la-lie” part of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer or the “Na na-na-na na” part of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances. You say there are programs that can identify these for me if I sing them into a microphone?


I don't know about that, but there are apparently phone apps that will identify songs for you and take you straight to iTunes to buy them. You can also take pictures of book covers and it'll pull the book up for you on amazon. That's a total mind fuck to me.


That product is (very appropriately) called Shazam, because it must require the combined forces of six different gods to do something so awesome. My brother showed it to my by holding up his iPhone in a crowded restaurant, and it took about five seconds worth of sampling to identify the song being played over the loudspeaker.

I believe I have heard a couple of years ago of a project where you can call a phone number and sing into it and it will sort it out for you, but that would be a whole different encryption algorithm and I don't know how far along that development is.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:27 pm UTC
by Qaanol
Arancaytar wrote:"john stewart" -jon

This reminds me of a question I’ve been wondering for a while: Let’s say I want to search for websites that include both "john" and "stewart", not necessarily consecutively, but that do not include "jon" unless they also contain "john stewart" consecutively. Is there a way to do that in one search?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:45 pm UTC
by Cosmologicon
Yeah, you wouldn't want to spend an extra 0.23 seconds doing two searches, after all. :)

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:36 pm UTC
by mike-l
phlip wrote:The message used to say "Showing results for Jon Stewart, If you really meant John Stewart click here" or suchlike, which would take you to the results for +John Stewart, but they got rid of it. No idea why, it was a useful link.


I just tried it right now and got

"Showing results for jon stewart. Search instead for john stewart"... maybe your google is broken?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:53 pm UTC
by HonoreDB
Qaanol wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:"john stewart" -jon

This reminds me of a question I’ve been wondering for a while: Let’s say I want to search for websites that include both "john" and "stewart", not necessarily consecutively, but that do not include "jon" unless they also contain "john stewart" consecutively. Is there a way to do that in one search?


john stewart -jon OR "john stewart" seems to work.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:40 pm UTC
by Kolko
Tirian wrote:
Christo wrote:
Qaanol wrote:I’ve had difficulty searching for songs to which I only knew the wordless refrains (not instrumentals per se) such as the “Lie la-lie” part of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer or the “Na na-na-na na” part of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances. You say there are programs that can identify these for me if I sing them into a microphone?


I don't know about that, but there are apparently phone apps that will identify songs for you and take you straight to iTunes to buy them. You can also take pictures of book covers and it'll pull the book up for you on amazon. That's a total mind fuck to me.


That product is (very appropriately) called Shazam, because it must require the combined forces of six different gods to do something so awesome. My brother showed it to my by holding up his iPhone in a crowded restaurant, and it took about five seconds worth of sampling to identify the song being played over the loudspeaker.

I believe I have heard a couple of years ago of a project where you can call a phone number and sing into it and it will sort it out for you, but that would be a whole different encryption algorithm and I don't know how far along that development is.

If you don't wish to pay for an iPhone app (or don't have an iPhone) there are other ways as well. The first is midomi.com, a website which does the same thing for free. The second does just the same, except as a program on your computer. This is tunatic, found at http://www.wildbits.com/tunatic/tunalyzer.html

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:22 pm UTC
by Adacore
Xias wrote:It kind of reminds me of the spelling/dictionary problem.

For example, if you didn't know how to spell "pneumonia" or "mnemonic" , you would not be able to look it up in a dictionary.

It's similar, although problems like that are largely solved now - I know if you google phonetic spellings ('newmonia' and 'nemonic') it suggests the correct spellings. I imagine there are decent spellcheckers (perhaps MS Word) and online/computer dictionaries that could give you the correct spelling too.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:59 am UTC
by iroZn
Patashu wrote:Anything that relies on punctuation to be distinguished. Example: Looking up a programming language operator.


Google has a code search database. You can search through public source code, and of course punctuation is important.

http://www.google.com/codesearch

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:11 am UTC
by HonoreDB
Adacore wrote:
Xias wrote:It kind of reminds me of the spelling/dictionary problem.

For example, if you didn't know how to spell "pneumonia" or "mnemonic" , you would not be able to look it up in a dictionary.

It's similar, although problems like that are largely solved now - I know if you google phonetic spellings ('newmonia' and 'nemonic') it suggests the correct spellings. I imagine there are decent spellcheckers (perhaps MS Word) and online/computer dictionaries that could give you the correct spelling too.


Or you can take this approach.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:29 pm UTC
by pooshare
Is there a fine difference between "something that Google cannot search" (i.e. odd symbols) and "Google did not find what I was looking for" (i.e. "man" as the OP states)?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:03 am UTC
by Blatm
I can't seem to find the code for specific unicode characters I've seen in the past (but whose names I don't know) using Google.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:21 am UTC
by Patashu
pooshare wrote:Is there a fine difference between "something that Google cannot search" (i.e. odd symbols) and "Google did not find what I was looking for" (i.e. "man" as the OP states)?

The former is "trivially" solved by an identical search engine that accounts for the thing that the previous one dropped, while the latter is more fundamentally a problem due to shadowing and so on.

Blatm: Is there not a big function somewhere where you put in a unicode name and get out the code for it? Or am I thinking of the opposite... Even if there is, you could write a program to iterate over every code point and print it all out - wouldn't take long, then you could search it.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:34 pm UTC
by Pangolin
I have an 'ungoogleable' as far as I know anyway: the Boston Legal episode "Helping Hands" has a scene where Daniel Post (Michael J Fox) and Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) are at a restaurant. In the background throughout there is a song playing - and I really want to know what it is. To help identify the scene, either immediately before or immediately after the scene there is a 'fly over the city' pan shot, at night (not that odd for Boston Legal, but I try).

I tried Tunatic but it didn't know what the song was and because I can't make out any lyrics I can't google those. IMDB has 2 songs listed for that episode but I'm 90% sure that they aren't the song I'm talking about. I tried a few Google searches, but I can't make it out.

So what's my next step? I'm stumped basically. (Also if anyone here is inclined to figure it out - or if you know anyway - I'd appreciate it so much if you put me out of my misery XD).

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:25 pm UTC
by Kolko
Pangolin wrote:I have an 'ungoogleable' as far as I know anyway: the Boston Legal episode "Helping Hands" has a scene where Daniel Post (Michael J Fox) and Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) are at a restaurant. In the background throughout there is a song playing - and I really want to know what it is. To help identify the scene, either immediately before or immediately after the scene there is a 'fly over the city' pan shot, at night (not that odd for Boston Legal, but I try).

I tried Tunatic but it didn't know what the song was and because I can't make out any lyrics I can't google those. IMDB has 2 songs listed for that episode but I'm 90% sure that they aren't the song I'm talking about. I tried a few Google searches, but I can't make it out.

So what's my next step? I'm stumped basically. (Also if anyone here is inclined to figure it out - or if you know anyway - I'd appreciate it so much if you put me out of my misery XD).

Is it one of these? http://heardontv.com/tvshow/Boston+Lega ... ping+Hands

This one has as description "Denise and Daniel at the restaurant".

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:46 pm UTC
by jestingrabbit
Kolko wrote:
Pangolin wrote:I have an 'ungoogleable' as far as I know anyway: the Boston Legal episode "Helping Hands" has a scene where Daniel Post (Michael J Fox) and Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen) are at a restaurant. In the background throughout there is a song playing - and I really want to know what it is. To help identify the scene, either immediately before or immediately after the scene there is a 'fly over the city' pan shot, at night (not that odd for Boston Legal, but I try).

I tried Tunatic but it didn't know what the song was and because I can't make out any lyrics I can't google those. IMDB has 2 songs listed for that episode but I'm 90% sure that they aren't the song I'm talking about. I tried a few Google searches, but I can't make it out.

So what's my next step? I'm stumped basically. (Also if anyone here is inclined to figure it out - or if you know anyway - I'd appreciate it so much if you put me out of my misery XD).

Is it one of these? http://heardontv.com/tvshow/Boston+Lega ... ping+Hands

This one has as description "Denise and Daniel at the restaurant".


How did you find it though?

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:48 pm UTC
by Kolko
I checked heardontv.com

Not exactly google, but the site itself is googlable.

Re: The Ungoogleable

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:11 am UTC
by Pangolin
Yes! Mystery solved! Thank you so much!
That's brilliant - one of those things that just drive you insane over time.

Thanks!

Plus now I have another method of solving these problems myself!