If I may be so bold as to make a value judgment, kids are—if nothing else—totally super awesome. A little over two years ago, we wrote a blog post entitled “10 Fun Questions Kids Can Answer with Wolfram|Alpha.” Since then, however, our blogs have focused on expanded functionality, socioeconomic data, sports data, and all sorts of things that are really cool but, truthfully, geared toward people whose ages are in the double digits. Luckily, Wolfram|Alpha can compute answers to all sorts of queries kids (or people who self-identify as kids) have, too.
So let’s start out with dinosaurs. I recently learned that the brontosaurus is formally called an apatosaurus. Wolfram|Alpha knows that not everyone knows that, though, so if we query “Compare T-Rex, Brontosaurus,” we get information on both Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus. “They never saurus coming!” you could say. The apatosaurus is potentially twice as long as the T-Rex, and weighs several times as much—but curiously enough, the public is more interested in the T-Rex, as evidenced by how many more times its Wikipedia page is queried. More »
Since President Reagan declared it in 1987, every third week in November in the United States is celebrated as Geography Awareness Week. Related to that, one of my favorite novels—Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy—is coming to cinemas today. Thanks to Wolfram|Alpha, I’ll be able to discuss these two seemingly unrelated things with you. My nerdy dream has finally come true.
If you’re unfamiliar with Anna Karenina, I won’t spoil the content, but suffice it to say that Anna is a Russian socialite and aristocrat whose lover, Count Alexei Vronsky, due to various reasons best discovered on your own, takes her across Europe, later returning to Russia. There’s a lot of discussion about ethics and morality, with some deeply flawed characters making interesting if non-ideal decisions, to say the least. What matters for this blog post, though, is that Anna visits a bunch of places. And she’s from Russia, which is huge. It’s about the size of Pluto. More »
Recently we asked educators who use Wolfram|Alpha to participate in our contest and tell us their story. After spending the last few weeks sifting through entries, our Education Outreach team has finally chosen a winner. A very sincere congratulations to Christopher Benshoof in Fairbanks, Alaska, a teacher at Lathrop High School! More »
At 2am on Sunday, November 4, the United States (sans Arizona and Hawaii, which are special) will end daylight saving time. The result is that Americans will essentially “gain” an hour. I thought it would make for a fun blog post to tell you about what you could potentially do with your extra hour, in part because none of my real-life friends would listen to me. More »