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New Company Seeks to Bring Semantic Context To Numbers

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the quick-create-another-standards-body dept.

Math 264

A new company, True#, is seeking to bring extensive semantic context to numbers to give them obvious meanings just as certain words have obvious meanings to most readers. "Most of us can probably recognize 3.14159 and the conceptual baggage it carries, but how many of us would recognize 58.44? (That's a mole of sodium chloride, in grams, for the curious.) And the response that would work for words — look it up — doesn't work so conveniently for numbers. Only one of the top-10 hits in Google refers to salt, and Bing fails entirely (though it does offer 'Women's Sexy Mini Skirts by VENUS'). Clearly, we haven't figured out how to make the Web work for numbers in the same way it does for words."

cancel ×

264 comments

Web searches aren't THAT bad... (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014161)

1337 returns EXACTLY what I expected.

Re:Web searches aren't THAT bad... (1, Redundant)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014253)

So does 69 and 42. Maybe they are related.

Re:Web searches aren't THAT bad... (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014703)

I did know about 69 ... but 42 ... It's kind of kinky.

What, the hhgttg? Nop, never heard of it.

Re:Web searches aren't THAT bad... (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014943)

> I did know about 69 ... but 42 ... It's kind of kinky.

You don't like thigh on shin action?

Works for me (2, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014165)

I get one return for NaCl on Bing and nothing about miniskirts.

Cue the conspiracy theorists.

Re:Works for me (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014215)

Maybe Bing learns from previous searches.

Re:Works for me (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014569)

Maybe Bing learns from previous searches.

...by google!

Re:Works for me (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014227)

Working as intended.

What, you thought the net was for number nerds?

Re:Works for me (3, Informative)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014513)

I get a hit discussing "Which hot moms wear their teen's jeans!"

Google 69 and you will be surprised Shocked IN AWE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014747)

Google 69 and you will be surprised Shocked IN AWE Fell outta my chair onto the floor I was laughing so hard

When I search for infinity... (4, Funny)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014181)

...it returns "number of years it will take before True# turns a profit."

I'm seriously confused how many companies will jump at this -- and why someone like Google won't just do it for free? Couldn't you use Google Base for something like this?

Re:When I search for infinity... (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014613)

Speaking of infinity, query the number "11 trillion" ... in my view, both Google and Bing get it exactly right!

Which begs the question, what's the point of this True# service when the major search engines already appear to do a good job with numbers.

Ron

why (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014191)

In all seriousness - this is not a rhetorical question. Usually I want this information in the inverse order, not just having a number with no context. What is the value in searching in that direction is their some widespread need I don't know about?

42 (2, Funny)

edalytical (671270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014287)

Need I say more?

Re:why (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014373)

Shhhh... Since when has making sense had anything to do with raising money from VC's? Especially when you can use the word crowdsourcing in your pitch.

Re:why (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014623)

He would get a lot more money if his project used open source cloud crowdsourcing 2.0.

Re:why (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014861)

I'm sorry, but I own the trademark on "Open Source Cloud Crowdsourcing 2.0" (R), so prepare for a call from my lawyers.

I also own the phrases "Enterprise Blogging for the Dynamic Synergy Framework" (R) and "Proactively Empowering the Long-Tail Social Paradigm Shift" (R).

Reverse Engineering and Better Search (5, Interesting)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014531)

I have had this need when reverse engineering and debugging algorithms in software. There are magic numbers in the formulas and I have no idea what they mean.

Additionally, if something like this was rolled into a more generalized search algorithm, it could be used the other way around. Google could know, for example, that a paper with the number 58.44 a lot of times is probably about NaCl even if it is not mentioned explicitly.

Re:Reverse Engineering and Better Search (1)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014983)

But in the case provided, you would have no reason to know that number but not know what the molecule is. I can't even think of a situation where you would be looking for a molar mass and it didn't matter what the molecule was that had that mass. The reason search engines don't work backwards is the same reason the period table of the elements doesn't work that way either. You wouldn't just have a number in mind and expect the atomic mass or electronegativity or oxidation state or melting point or radius or atomic number to jump out at you. There are relationships, but you're looking for a specific element's properties.

mole (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014651)

If the search term includes "mole" as well as "58.44", the first few pages of google results are almost all for stoichiometry of NaCl. Nuff said, Google works.

Re:why (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014933)

In all seriousness - this is not a rhetorical question. Usually I want this information in the inverse order, not just having a number with no context. What is the value in searching in that direction is their some widespread need I don't know about?

I suspect the primary use would be using an internet-connected device to cheat on multiple-choice tests.

I Shudder to Look Up 69 (-1, Redundant)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014195)

Maybe this will become the Urban Dictionary of the nerd world?

Errrm (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014197)

So, a search doesn't bring up what one person would expect and that means the search engine failed? Sometimes the problem with logical fallacies is that they are so big as to defy categorization.

Re:Errrm (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014829)

But this is slashdot. We could always use a bad car analogy:

"This is like saying you expected your car to not only go 100 mp/g, but also fly, and that means the car failed?" :)

Everyone knows 6 million (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014207)

The amount of jews pwned by Hitler.

Wrong conclusion (5, Funny)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014229)

Only one of the top-10 hits in Google refers to salt, and Bing fails entirely (though it does offer "Women's Sexy Mini Skirts by VENUS").

Bing seems far superior to my hormon^W^Wme.

Wolfram Alpha (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014249)

Wolfram Alpha returned:

cosh((2 (4+pi))/3)~~58.439252

Re:Wolfram Alpha (1)

pele (151312) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014443)

interesting, isn't it? after all the bragging about it's endless scientific prowess...

Sig Figs (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014251)

Actually, the accepted weight is 58.443 thats why Bing didn't show any NaCl results.

Re:Sig Figs (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014869)

Bing and/or google will also not show results you expect for words if you don't actually put in enough context to make the search relevant for you. I mean seriously, who's going to look up 58.44 or even 58.443 all by itself? What were they trying to find? If you want all instances of the number 58.44, then that's all you type. Otherwise you need to add some qualifier, otherwise you're going to get whatever Bing or Google determines is most likely a match to what you want. Simply add "weight" or "mole" and bam...almost all exactly the results you'd be looking for...maybe. As I'm still not sure what you'd be looking for...somehow you have to indicate what realm you're looking in...

First you need a semantic context (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014255)

Search [google.com] 58.44 and chemistry and you'll find what you are looking for a lot faster.

This will be much more useful if it allows for approximate numbers and widely-used but inaccurate numbers. "1.4 math" should return 7/5, sqrt(2), and a bunch of other things. "3.142857 and math" should return "22/7" and "approximate value of pi" and probably a lot more.

Re:First you need a semantic context (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014463)

Without units, it's pretty pointless. For example, 0.129 lbs is the weight of a mole of sodium. The possibility space of three-digit numbers is only 1000 entries, and saying that 129 is the weight of a mole of sodium in millipounds is another possible response.

So, basically, without units asking what a number means is pretty dumb.

Where? (3, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014617)

The weight of a mole of sodium varies by location. In most of the universe the weight of anything is almost zero.

Re:First you need a semantic context (1)

howlatthemoon (718490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014741)

I used 58.44 and molecular weight and all top ten hits told me what molecule I was dealing with. Same with 58.44 g/mol. You are right, numbers require context or 58.44 could be anything, and most of the time a generic search without units the context would be wrong. I am sure that I have used 58.44 outside the context of chemistry much more often than I have in it even though I spent many years in a molecular biology lab.

Seems to work just fine (5, Informative)

gt6062b (1548011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014269)

I'll bite.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=mole+of+sodium+chloride+in+grams [google.com] - seems to work just fine searching for "mole of sodium chloride in grams" and also works without the "in grams".

http://www.bing.com/search?q=mole+of+sodium+chloride+in+grams [bing.com] - works for Bing too.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=sodium+chloride+molecular+weight [bing.com] - also works.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=58.44+science [bing.com] - "58.44 science" 6th one down. Better results from google.

Why would anyone just type in a number and expect it to know that you want the molecular weight of NaCl? If you add a little bit of context to your search, it magically works.

Re:Seems to work just fine (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014709)

Hell, even if you had the number, and needed to figure out what it was, WHO SEARCHES WITH NO CONTEXT?
 
Type that in and the word "chemistry", (the overwhelmingly vague content area you might have encountered that number in), and 58.44 shows up as sodium chloride with no problems.
 
Is this for the same people who type "cocks" into a search engine while looking for birds, and are shocked at the results? I was under the assumption that most people understood that search engines don't read minds...

Re:Seems to work just fine (2, Insightful)

Rival (14861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014761)

I'll bite.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=mole+of+sodium+chloride+in+grams [google.com] - seems to work just fine searching for "mole of sodium chloride in grams" and also works without the "in grams".

http://www.bing.com/search?q=mole+of+sodium+chloride+in+grams [bing.com] - works for Bing too.
http://www.bing.com/search?q=sodium+chloride+molecular+weight [bing.com] - also works.
http://www.bing.com/search?q=58.44+science [bing.com] - "58.44 science" 6th one down. Better results from google.

Why would anyone just type in a number and expect it to know that you want the molecular weight of NaCl? If you add a little bit of context to your search, it magically works.

You're missing the point. The purpose is to provide explanation for numbers which have no context. Presumably, if you're looking at some equation or source code which uses an unrecognized constant, or if a calculation returns a surprising result, one might be able to use such a search to find more information.

For example, let's say you're poking around with math and discover that 0.5^0.5 == 0.25^0.25 =~ 0.70710678118654752440084436210485. Is that irrational number significant somehow? What if you were only returned that result from some function -- would you recognize it as 1/sqrt(2), or sin(45)?

I'm not sure how necessary this capability is, exactly, but that is what they are trying to do.

Re:Seems to work just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014935)

Yeah, but how often do you work on an equation of piece of old source code without having the slightest idea what it's for?

I mean, if you know *anything* about it (it's a chemistry equation, geometry problem, a trig function) then you have the information you need to get a useful search.

It's pretty unlikely you'll find some C function called "f" that returns some number, and need to search google with several parameter/result pairs to deduce the purpose of the function.

Re:Seems to work just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014837)

Why would anyone just type in a number and expect it to know that you want the molecular weight of NaCl? If you add a little bit of context to your search, it magically works.

Of course. We're fat and lazy and we don't like to actually do any, you know, work.

If I type 69, 42, 31337, 355/113, 2.71828, 9.8 or 6.023 into a search engine it should give me back some proper results. All those numbers are immediately recognizable to any card-carrying geek on the planet.. But what about the other less famous:

196.97
384,403
31,557,600
1073741824
299,792,458

Actually, those are pretty simple too. A google search should bring them up exactly.. But how about these:

9.19357
6.31002
206

Re:Seems to work just fine (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014985)

HELP!! I'm stuck in an infinite loop!
When I google "58.44 science" it just brings me back to this page!

Hitchhiker's Guide? (5, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014275)

So, put in the (numerical) answer and it gives you the question?

Thank God Douglass Adams didn't know about this.

Re:Hitchhiker's Guide? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014515)

forgive me but I don't remember the actual quote but it goes something like this:

"Some say that if the answer and the question where known at the same time that the univers would be destroyed and replaced with one far stranger. Some say this has already happened."

okey dokey (3, Insightful)

Nyall (646782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014277)

Sounds like a solution looking for a problem.

Re:okey dokey (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014391)

More like it's getting into Jeopardy...

Re:okey dokey (2, Funny)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014769)

a sodium chloride solution specifically

Wikipedia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014303)

Look up any number there, and if it's meaningful in some way you'll find it.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

RichardDeVries (961583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014789)

Exactly [wikipedia.org] .

Is this a joke? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014335)

How often do you have a number without units? Putting in "58.44g" returns NaCl, sodium chloride, or molecular weight in every one of the first page results.

not really useful? (1)

Farlan (1145095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014339)

To me this doesnt look like theres a real need to do this. A lot of research has gone into getting a bunch of 0s and 1s organized in a way that can represent text. It appears counter-intuitive to go back to numbers... why dont they just do a wiki?

Works in Google (1)

GarbanzoBean (695162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014341)

Type "what is 58.44" without quotes into google and you'll get all 10 answers on first page that are relevant. Someone just doesn't know how to do searches.

Re:Works in Google (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014459)

This.

In recent years, Google's "parser" was tweaked to get semantics from natural language constructs...so often, typing your question is the best way to get search in Google.

A few months back, someone at work was asking me for how to implement something specific in Java... Not having done any java in several years, I copy and pasted her question, word for word (no editing or cleanup) in google, and the answer came up as the very first search result.

When I asked her what she searched for, she tried to be too clever: she would search for specific keywords, instead of searching for her question, which would have worked fine in the Google of several years ago, but not with the Google of today. You're now better off "asking" Google what you want, and it will understand better.

Searching for just 58.44 will make google search for those numbers, and potentially even have it ignore the period. Not good.

This is really stupid. (4, Insightful)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014343)

Why in the hell would I want to search for a number with no context? Who thinks that way? Everyone remembers the concept, not the number.

You say "3.14" and people know it as pi. But if you said "pi," people would say "3.14." This example is only interesting because it's widespread.

Nobody would start with "58.44" and say "Hmmm, what does that symbolize?" No. They need to know the molecular weight of sodium chloride, and so they'll search Google for "molecular weight sodium chloride" and turn up the number 58.44. We're not computers, we know semantic context, and need numbers. Not the other way around.

Though I guess this sort of thing might be useful for some sort of numerical AI, who has numbers but no semantic context. Time to don the tinfoil hats, fellows.

Re:This is really stupid. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014697)

We're not computers, we know semantic context, and need numbers. Not the other way around.

Often, when studying a system of some kind, you encounter seemingly "random" constants. For instance suppose you kept getting the number 1.618 as the ratio between two quantities. Instead of dismissing this, you might actually look up this number and find that it's extremely close to the Golden Ratio. That would probably cause you to spend a lot more effort examining the system to figure out why this interesting constant is appearing in your measurements.

I'm not sure I understand your argument that somebody who wants the mol-weight of NaCl would not type in the value 58.44. Of course they wouldn't -- what they know is 58.44, and what they need to find out is what this number means.

Suppose you are measuring noise on a transmission line and you find an interesting band of noise at some particular central frequency. Maybe this noise is generated by some physical phenomenon that somebody in the world has already studied. Plugging this frequency into a search engine might be a good way to find out what's going on and get you a long way toward solving your shielding issues.

Re:This is really stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014779)

The context in which this kind of thing makes sense is mathematics (and the fields to which it has the most direct application). Many people have heard of The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences [att.com] where you can search for a particular sequence to find out more about what's known about it, but less well-known is the Inverse Symbolic Calculator [cecm.sfu.ca] where you can look up individual real numbers.

Re:This is really stupid. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014839)

Why in the hell would I want to search for a number with no context? Who thinks that way?

TV Detectives investigating the death of a Chemistry Prof. would find this tool invaluable...

Re:This is really stupid. (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014889)

Mmmm.... pi.

Numerologic web (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014361)

Whats next? Astrological web?

420 comes up correctly! :) (3, Funny)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014371)

For the number 420, Wikipedia's Cannabis information page comes up #1 in both google and bing.

35484.32384 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014381)

3494.13
332
8494.354
2324.234

Hahaha, I kill me sometimes.

Get it? 332 ... 3494.13 -> 8494.354 ?

Man, that is too funny!

Note to self: patent the following numbers... (4, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014417)

1. Eleventeen
2. 867-5309
3. 451
4. 1999
5. a gazillion
6. THIS MANY (holding up three fingers)
7. infinity minus one
8. approximately
9. 9/11 (may already be taken)
10. Top ten

Wolfram alpha? (1)

BigDXLT (1218924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014421)

Sounds like something wolfram alpha should do.

What's the problem? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014433)

So Bing apparently works and is superior to Google.

Sounds like Marchex (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014437)

Marchex [marchex.com] is a "domaining" company. They're the people behind those "What you need, when you need it" ad-heavy landing pages. [90210.net] They tried to buy up all the 5-digit number domains. (So did others; nobody got all of them.) This sounds like a similar idea, only less profitable.

Thank goodness my numbers are safe (5, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014449)

When I searched "1234" on google and bing, the top results are about that Feist song. Thank goodness it doesn't mention anything about it being my root admin password and my luggage combination--hey! Where did my bag go? It was just here, and why is there a sudden spike in my internet tra#%^W&*s%!$AF{:

---[CONNECTION LOST]---

Re:Thank goodness my numbers are safe (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014891)

When I searched "1234" on google and bing, the top results are about that Feist song. Thank goodness it doesn't mention anything about it being my root admin password and my luggage combination

Well, duh... that's because your luggage combo is 12345 [imdb.com] .

Re:Thank goodness my numbers are safe (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014905)

If "12345" doesn't bring up Spaceballs, it's a fail.

(Oh God - I've contracted net-speak from my kids. Is there a cure?)

Google Works Fine (3, Informative)

shma (863063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014465)

Their example fails because they chose a number that has no significance on its own without including a unit of measurement. If you search 58.44 grams [google.ca] , instead of just the number, you get plenty of relevant results. And look at what happens if you take a famous unitless number from chemistry and do a google search [google.ca] . Again, plenty of good results.You can try it with the speed of light as well. A search for 3x10^8 yields nothing, but 3x10^8 m/s gives you the Wikipedia page for Speed Of Light. And as far as I can tell, Google gives you good results for useful numbers in Mathematics like the golden ratio [google.ca] . So I don't see what the problem is.

wrong, there are no problems (2, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014475)

Put in "58.44 moles" and you'll have proper answers in the top ten, putting in units makes all the difference for number searches.

And as for dimensionless numbers, 3.14149 gives wikipedia article for pi, 2.71828 gives wikipedia for e as top answer, even "square root -1" gives i.

Absolutely false the premise or conclusion of this article. Searching for numbers gives useful information

Re:wrong, there are no problems (1)

vvildcard (1544763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014739)

Better still... Search for: "58.44 g" and you'll get perfect results.

1 letter of context makes all the difference... and, as stated before, anyone who expects valid results from an otherwise arbitrary number is an idiot.

Google is not a mind reader (nor is any other inferior search engine, for that matter)... It works for non-arbitrary numbers (like Pi and e) because those numbers are exponentially more common. If the number of g/mol for salt suddenly became an extremely important number, so much so that it was required for every math/physics class from Middle School up, then guess what? It would suddenly start showing more results in searches. But it's not an extremely important number, so it's all going to end up moot.

Worthless article about a worthless project.

A new tag? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014489)

Seems that we'd need a "measurement" element, with a quantity and a unit. <measurement quantity="1" units="m/s"> Then your browser can render the m/s as it wants to.For instance units of a circle (degrees or radians) can be rendered as the number or graphically.

Of course, this opens a can of issues in expressing equasions, because X could be a quantity too. Expressing <term><<measurement quantity="1" units="m"><over><measurement quantity="1" units="s"></term> would probably be more helpful as now you can look for relationships as well.

Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014493)

CARES!

Not sure of usefulness (1)

reginaldo (1412879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014495)

Using numerics in search phrase construction just seems like it would screw up the results regardless. It would be similar to constructing search phrases using multiple foreign languages at the same time. Even when searching scientific journals, I use common nomenclature rather than specific values.

Irony? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014497)

I find it ironic that the 'net is good with words and not with number, as numbers are what it's based on.

Re:Irony? (2, Insightful)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014885)

The fact that computers are based on numbers is part of the reason it's hard to be good at this, since numbers are used to represent anything and everything. Numbers sometimes aren't really even "amounts" they can be ASCII codes or addresses, so if you give me 58.44 how do I know that's not just ":.," or room #44 on floor #58 (or room #68 on floor #88 from hex). Numbers are meaningless without context. Even the phone numbers that we use every day would be unrecognizable without specific formatting and/or a standard length to give them context.

Step 1, indeed (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014503)

Sounds to me like the Underpants Gnomes have found their niche on the internets.

unnecessary (1)

luftrofl (1212770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014509)

It's really not hard to put in the SI prefixes- most of them are letters found on a U.S. keyboard and the others are easily inserted with a word processor.

How disappointing. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014525)

Google obviously fails. A search for "12345" had exactly ZERO hits to Scroob's luggage OR Druidia's Air Shield.

What kind of fly-by-night company are you running there, guys?!

Re:How disappointing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014743)

Search for "1 2 3 4 5" idiot. There are 5 numbers, not one.

Finally there's more to it than 23 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014563)

True#: The company that makes it possible to be obsessed with numbers different from 23:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Number_23 [wikipedia.org]

Backward Forward HO! (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014583)

The ancient Greeks, remember Pythagoras, saw numbers as things, and, IIRC, used their alphabet to represent numbers. Then came the cumbersome Roman numerical system and, finally, more or less, the Arabic which may have been derived from Indian, Sanskrit sources. OK, so history aside, why bother. Because as far back as the first flicker of the enlightenment commentators have been suggesting Science would become the new religion. If a religion is seen as 'the book', or, the canon cementing a civilization together than it becomes convenient and, perhaps, even necessary that symbols pop up everywhere. If e were everywhere, which it is kinda, then science, or, the sciences may become more tractable to more people. This is gonna happen anyway, but will it induce in true believers the criticality crucial to the methodology of science? My best guess is no, most people are happily submerged in their limbic motivations and drives and live wet lives blissfully out of touch with the arduous work of critical thinking. It's been recently suggested that intelligence stems from associational pathways. Wild extrapolation allows one to posit that while science symbols made ubiquitous would help people better immerse themselves in the new story driven by science theory, and, more especially evolution theory; it won't help foster critical thought.

3.14159 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014605)

... is an approximation of pi. To be more precise one should say: 3.14159265358979323846[..]
[here is were I would post the entire 50-row long representation of pi courtesy of wolfram alpha]

  But ./ says: "Filter error: That's an awful long string of letters there."

This place and all is paranoia is getting more silly than a republican convention.

He's right, you know (2, Funny)

imadork (226897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014619)

I typed "12345" into Google, and Google did not know that was the combination to my luggage.

I find it humorous... (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014691)

...that as others have pointed out, pretty much any useful number search can be done with existing search engines. Meanwhile, a Google search for "true#" turns up nothing relevant.

This is why we don't put funny characters in our company names, kids.

Sounds like the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (3, Informative)

OfficeSupplySamurai (1130593) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014715)

This sounds a lot like the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences [att.com] .

That site labels and stores integer sequences for easy lookup, and will let you simply search for a subsequence to find the one you're looking for. This proposed site keeps track of numbers instead and incorporates more than the pure math that the sequence encyclopedia limits itself to, but it sounds very similar in concept.

NaCl Mole? (1)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014735)

That's a mole of sodium chloride, in grams, for the curious.

Can we at least have some pumpkin seed in that too?

what about brain first? (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014781)

"Clearly, we haven't figured out how to make the Web work for numbers in the same way it does for words."

We haven't figured that out even for our brain!

Try to use good value and not approximate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014785)

Google 58.443 and second result is "How to prove that the formula mass of NaCl is 58.443 (+- 0.002) g/mol?"

Slashdot's Braindead Need My Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014793)

I thought one of you would have posed this question by now:

Does this crap sound vaguely similar to the puffery of
Wolfram "BBBBBBBBbaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrfffffffffffffffff" Alpha [wolframalpha.com] ?

Yours In Topology,
K. Trout

fuck 4 homo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014799)

Starting Point: XKCD (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014821)

If it is anything like this, then I might be interested: http://xkcd.com/526/ [xkcd.com]

666 (1)

alvieboy (61292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014823)

Funny enough, if I do search in Bing for that I get a Japanese page as first hit, and second a Wikipedia page depicting.... "666 is the natural number following 665 and preceding 667". This was actually what I was looking for, not any number of the beast... Sorry google, you're a fail.

We could pay this company, OR (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014899)

The 1990's called, and they want their business models back (if they'll give me my 401K back it's a deal!)

So, we can either:

  1. Pay this company money to create a link from a number on my web page to their page, where full details live,
  2. or

  3. Define an open XML namespace which we can pull in to describe a number, something like this:

    <sn:number_use fields="chemistry" description="molecular weight of NaCl" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NaCl">58.44</sn:number_use>

    and have something we can use free of charge.

Hmmmm. I wonder which one will win out.

Does anybody else see the family resemblance to the CueCat business model here?

   

I can't believe you people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014907)

Here we are in a world with "Let me Google That For You" and you guys are actively pissing and moaning about this thing? Here, let me put your Google-fu to the test. Tell me the significance of the number 656.2. Yes, it's pretty damn significant. (If you know it off the top of your head please don't answer).

I bet it takes you more than a few minutes to figure it out. You know what that means? It means your Google-fu SUCKS. And you seem to be rejecting a new tool that would help your Google-fu not suck so bad. I don't get you people.

Re:I can't believe you people (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014959)

656.2 feet = 200 metres, and I'm sure 200 metres is quite significant in many, many ways.

Plouffe's inverter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29014909)

Plouffe inverter [lacim.uqam.ca] will give you a formula for your number, though it doesn't do physical constants.

Hello World (1)

esten (1024885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014977)

Numbers have context without anything else. I guess that means if I search:

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01010111 01101111 01110010 01101100 01100100 00100001 00100000

I should get the first words of every novice programmer.

Sounds like (1)

Daenks (947197) | more than 4 years ago | (#29014979)

something out of THX 1138
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