WolframAlpha Passover Matzah

WolframAlpha is the newest website offering information.

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Somewhat ambitious. Here are a few Easter Eggs (or as I like to call it, Passover Matzah)

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airspeed.jpg

More matzah courtesy of Mashable

0 thoughts on “WolframAlpha Passover Matzah

  1. Blair

    Very good work!

    But as you know, in the more relaxed parts of the world, Google has supplanted the public library as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom. So really, for completeness, you need to include Google in the comparison. Realizing that you have a busy schedule, I’ve taken the liberty of doing some research on your behalf.

    The Google calculator also does quite well at answering what is the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything.

    I’m quite disappointed however by Google’s results when you inquire what is the average air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. I mean, sure, they do come up with plenty of Monty Python results, and they even link to the detailed calculations for the European swallow (which is incidentally 11 meters per second or 39.6 kilometers – about 24 miles – per hour), but apparently Google is unaware that there are also African swallows. This Wolfram site however seems to be unaware of the European variety.

    If either site had responded to the second question by asking, “Is that the African or the European swallow?” then it would be the clear winner. Unfortunately, I fear this can only be counted as a tie and without superior results, this new site is not a Google-killer.

  2. John

    You may have missed that there is a red link in the second picture referencing the European Swallow.

    It links here:
    http://www35.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=airspeed+of+an+unladen+European+swallow

    One could argue providing the answer to the African Swallow, and then linking to the information on the European Swallow, is somewhat similar to asking – “Is that the African or the European swallow?”

    WA says the speed of the European Swallow is 25 mph, which is close. Under unit conversions, it does say 11 m/s and 40 km/hr, so I think there is some rounding.

    A third comparison
    http://www35.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=How+many+licks+does+it+take+to+get+to+the+center+of+a+tootsie+pop%3F

    http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=how+many+licks+does+it+take+to+get+to+the+center+of+a+tootsie+pop&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=

    I think Wolfram|Alpha wins that battle as well, though the Wikpedia article providing the answer is the #1 result for Google.

  3. Blair

    You’re right, I did overlook that link.

    On Google, the answer I see in the number one spot is from wiki.answers.com. It states 700 but cites no research to back up the claim. The Wikipedia article says the question remains unanswered, which isn’t really an answer.

    WolframAlpha appears to be the winner after all.

  4. DL Emerick

    Blair raises a good point, though. The sign of intelligence is not simply the ability to answer a question, but to ask what other “related” questions are implicated in the original question.

    Or, is that the character of philosophy, itself, that it knows the folly of default assumptions, of thinking that a question is properly posed, besets every question?

    And, then, does this latter question recognize that there is no universal grundnorm? This very question is akin to all the primary questions that sharply divide the philosophic community, today, and perhaps always. It is a matter of whether relativism is necessary, as Derrida may be rightly interpreted as implying, without suggesting which relativism should reign. History may only tell us what ones seemed to rule, but not what rules we should adopt for our own history, the one that we are making by our own course of living.

    And, history making itself involves an interminable question, as to what we shall find better as an explanation of such fundamental questions as “What is Man?”, “How ought I (He) to live?”, and so on.

    Hence, Douglass Adams’s tongue-in-cheek answer to the “meaning” of “life, the universe and everything” is an apt parody of such searches for questions that lack criterion-referencing assumptions that jointly determine what could be an answer — even if such an answer is calculable.

    Vary the assumptions, which themselves can be made to recede from us, foundationless as they always are, except for the force of the will asserting them, and entirely other answers are possible — which is to say, as to Man and the things of Man — no absolute answers are possible. Social (psychological) reality is not “real” but surreal.

  5. DL Emerick

    Grundnorm

    How many times must a man type a phrase, before he gets it “right”?

    42, but I am stopping at 3, because I am done for now.

  6. John

    It’s the difference between the science/math student who wants to know the answer to the question, what is the boiling point for nitrogen, and the history student who wants to know the causes of the War of 1812.

    The science/math student is going to love Wolfram/Alpha. The history student, not so much.