Superlatives and Range Searching—The Best Answers within One Query
Superlatives, like hyperbole, are my favorite thing. So it is with the greatest excitement that I am devoting this blog post to superlatives and range searching, as Wolfram|Alpha has again expanded its functionality in these areas.
I once heard from an actor pretending to be a scientist that the denser an element is, the better that element is for fighting terrible monsters. I cannot speak on the accuracy of that statement, as I am not an actor pretending to be a scientist, but if you wanted to apply superlatives to chemistry, Wolfram|Alpha can do that.
I rather like mountains, so when I moved to Illinois it was on the premise that it’s a great state to take in the majestic views of uneven terrain. In related news, I had never seen a map before. Luckily, I can ask Wolfram|Alpha where the tallest mountain within fifty miles of my location is. And since there aren’t any, I’ll instead ask: What is the tallest mountain within 250 miles of Champaign, IL?
I don’t presently have any children, but if everything goes my way, then eventually I will, and it’s probably pretty fair and reasonable that they would go to school so they can become productive members of society. Let’s specifically look for public schools with more than 500 female students within 10 miles of Saint Charles, MO.
Children, especially teenagers, want nothing more than to spend as much time as possible with their parents. (Right?) I feel it goes without saying that any child of mine would be just as understandably enthused about tall buildings as I am. So suppose I suggested to my hypothetical teenager that we take a tour of buildings that are taller than 500 feat near the Space Needle in Seattle—that sounds like the greatest vacation ever!
The best part about superlatives is how you can apply them to nearly any kind of query type imaginable. Here’s an enjoyable list of example queries:
- Closest airports with more than 2 runways
- Largest city within 40 miles of Huntington, WV
- Highest glacier within 50 miles of Zurich
- Biggest prison within 20 miles of Montgomery, AL
- US states with the most PhDs
- Country with the highest number of female grade school teachers
- Biggest company by market cap
- Pro golfer with the most winnings in 2011
So there you have it, my friend. (Anyone who reads the Wolfram|Alpha Blog is my friend, which includes you.) You too can use Wolfram|Alpha and superlatives to discover more about your world and your place in it.