http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2011/03/07/staving-off-the-search-war-apocalypse/

Sometimes I have to search for things online for my job, sometimes for the volunteer work I do, sometimes for pleasure and sometimes for researching things I'm writing. I have rarely had the joy of having the first result in a search be the one I need or am looking for. Half the time, it's not even relevant to the entered keyword(s). I usually find what I'm looking for half way down the page or even several pages back. Even now, with the so-called algorithm change, the things I search for aren't on top.

What frustrates me more is that if I look at the site and forget to bookmark it, the next time (and this may only be minutes later) that site isn't even appearing in the search. I have to use different keywords to get it to re-appear and sometimes, it's gone forever. I just can't find it again.

I can find similar sites, so it's not a dreadful loss in my personal searching, but it's perhaps a loss for the person's site.

Mind you, I use google scholar more than I do just plain google. It's an expensive site to search because nearly everything there requires you have professional memberships, but the information, while deeply hidden and often incorrectly tagged, is peer reviewed, documented, cited, and usually well-researched.

Sometimes I use other search engines because google has this distressing habit of censoring the information for which I am searching - and google isn't as strong when it comes to searching in other languages.

I don't restrict my searches to English only. There'sa whole huge web out there and I don't play in just one corner of it.

I do use google out of laziness, but when I am dedicatedly searching for something, google is only one of many, many search tools I use.

I, personally, think the algorithm change makes it harder for me to find the weird and odd things I search for.

I would love to see dedicated search engines for specific broad topics, that wouldn't bring in irrelevant sites, like searching for gardening tips and getting porn sites, or searching for cooking tips and getting car buying sites.

What do optometrists have to do with climate conditions on Alpha Aurigae?

talon: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2011 09:41 am)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/us/06fin.html?_r=1&hpw

"People come to America to enjoy the freedom, including what's on the plate," - Mr. Kinson K. Wong of R&G Lounge I California.

This is not entirely true. We don't eat endangered species. Americans may eat a lot of food, and may eat a huge variety of food spanning the globe, but we don't eat endangered plants or animals. That's not just because it's illegal to do so - many endangered plants and animals that aren't in our larders are also not officially listed as endangered.

I like to think it's because we are enlightened enough to know we shouldn't eat plants and animals into extinction, but really, it's because Americans don't know they are edible, or have a large "ick" factor going on (bird's nest soups, shark fin soup, dog meat chili, goat meat, ostrich, witchety grubs, honey ants, chicken feet, pig's feet....), or they aren't available in a drive-through, or they don't know how to cook or eat them. Ignorance is a large factor in the American diet, and this can be a Good Thing - it means we don't mindlessly eat things into extinction.

Of course, it also means we eat a lot of stuff that looks like food but really isn't - soylent green-esque type lab-grown foods aren't that far off in our futures and I for one don't want lab-grown frankenchickentofu or frankenbacon or tofu peas.

I am especially against eating only one portion of an animal, particularly when it means removing that prized body part from a living animal and then leaving the animal to die a long agonizing death. I despise wasted deaths.

So I am pleased with the purpose of this California bill, but not so happy that it is a blanket ban. If the shark is legally caught and humanely killed and all its parts used, without being over-fished, then I have no issue with shark fin soup.

I love shrimp. I adore shrimp, but because I love it so much, I restrict how much of it I eat so it won't be eaten to extinction.

I believe, in my heart, that eating ethically and responsibly is the American Way. Whether it is or not. Don't shatter my illusions.

talon: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2011 09:55 am)

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/powerful-winds-cause-damage-across-southern-california.html

These are average gusts around here in spring and fall. If the wind falls below 20 mph, we panic. The day is too still, too quiet, with the constant susurrus of rustling leaves and blowing debris. We don't put wind warnings up until the wind exceeds 30/40 mph, and gusts to 60 are quite common, particularly in the spring and fall.

MedFair is known for its winds ranging from 40-60 mph the entire weekend, and gusting up to 70 or 80 mph.

We don't worry until the winds exceed 70 mph.

Our trees are deep rooted and thick limbed to cope with the winds here.

I can see where what is normal for us would be hard for states with no wind at all.

I can't breathe in states that have no wind. It freaks me out to watch camp fire smoke rise straight into the air instead of swirling around people and blowing in our faces. It makes me nervous to not see flags whipping in the wind. Without the wind blowing up my skirts, they tangle around my legs. I've been to windless states and have decided when I travel, I must bring a fan and plug it in wherever I go. I won't need it for the cooling effect, I need the wind.

It's a factor in deciding where to retire - it must be someplace with steady breezes. I don't demand excessive wind - I'll be happy with gusts that don't often exceed 70 mph.

talon: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2011 10:21 am)

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/04/FDDA1HMQ5E.DTL&type=food

I have long loved fried pickles.

They are a must have fair food, and I even bought a deep fryer so I could make my own fried pickles from pickles I'd put up myself. They are truly divine with a tatziki style sauce, dill cucumber buttermilk dressing, cucumbered sour cream with dill, cucumber yogurt sauce, anything like that. The chilled sauce superbly complements the fried pickle.

In spears, in coins, in trapezoid cuts, with a beer batter, a champagne batter, a tempura batter, it doesn't matter, they are all yum!

http://www.bnet.com/blog/innovator/the-1-step-to-improving-government/211?tag=content;drawer-container

" Government jobs aren't "real" jobs. Public service is for people who can't cut it in the private sector. Or, as The New Republic memorably put it (in an article defending public employees), teachers and firefighters have become "the new welfare queens.""

Both of these are actually in support of public employees, but they are addressing the issue that politicians (themselves public employees!) are turning public employees into Teh Eeebbil Ones, sucking taxes dry to fund high and mighty lifestyles, that they're all slackers and lazy and stupid.

But without public employees, you wouldn't have roads, safe drinking water, a decent education (many people would never have gotten to college without their public school education, and quite a few of the college students wouldn't have gotten in without federal financial aid in the form of Pell Grants and other financial aid), and other things. We wouldn't have police to track down criminals or fireman to put out fires.

I think we can more easily do without politicians than we can the county clerk.

All the public employees I know have post high school educations, most are older people bringing their years of experience to the public sector to improve things.

As with all things, the public sector is behind the private sector when it comes to innovations both good and bad. When I first started working, employees in the private sector had much better guaranteed retirement plans, but those were gutted to provide better pay and severance packages for the upper management. In the public sector, those retirements were kept because there was no upper management to gut the retirements of the average employee. Rather than be pissed that public sector employees have guaranteed (albeit small - mine will be a whopping $400 a month!) retirements, people should be asking why private sector employees don't still have them.

I can tell you in one word why they don't: Greed.

And now the politicians are so greedy they don't want the low-earning government employees getting the retirements they've worked decades for (most public employees must work a minimum of 30 years to get their retirement) while they continue to rake in the big bucks, the huge retirement plans and the absolutely awesome health insurance they deny all the rest of us.

I think instead of being pissed at public employees in general, we should be pissed at the greedy politicians because they truly are the welfare queens of the country.

The sneak preview (or sampler copy) of Time Tarts and Chrono-Teas: Dirigible Devourments for the Intrepid is here!

This booklet only has an abbreviated version of the tea portion of the entire book. The sampler book focuses entirely on the steampunk history of tea, steampunking tea accessories, and then recipes for the steampunker - both how to make the foods and where to buy them already made. It's steampunk, and it is multicultural, as I have recipes for making boba teas, pickled teas, tisanes, layered teas, iced teas, long island tea, and brief information on the Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese tea ceremonies. And there are recipes using tea as an ingredient, for sorbets, tea smoking, making baklava with African honeybush tea, and more.

The full book goes into greater depth for tea, has more tea recipes of all sorts, and also has chapters on coffee, cocoa, sodas, and other beverages imbibed throughout the world and the snack foods that accompanied them. Most are from the era of steam, with overlap into gearpunk and dieselpunk, and all are adapted for the steampunk enthusiast.

I will have copies of the TT and CT sampler book available at the Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition. It is the only place anyone will be able to get copies and there are only a limited number of copies available. Once these are gone, people will have to wait until the full and complete book is available.

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