Skip

The entire Harper's Index
February 14, 2009 12:44 PM   Subscribe


 
Overall, I am impressed, as I've always loved the Index.

However, a single search has kicked my assumption -- perhaps unfounded -- that they never repeat a factoid.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:20 PM on February 14, 2009


Best of the web.
posted by mullingitover at 1:28 PM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


harpers was always metafilter on paper, for me, when i was a teenager, before the internet.
posted by geos at 1:30 PM on February 14, 2009


I'm going to need Metafilter to have my opinion for me here: is that interface really cool or really irritating? I'm genuinely not sure.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:35 PM on February 14, 2009


Yes

It's cool because it's so simple and minimal, with the auto-suggestoron, but it's also irritating because you don't know what you're actually searching for until you get some results.
posted by device55 at 1:42 PM on February 14, 2009


Ratio of hockey rinks to hospitals in Canada: 3:1

Maybe they should merge hockey school with medical school.
posted by furtive at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2009


Hmm, you can pass HTML through the search and it displays it. A non-malicious example. Note: it won't work if you have No Script running.

I personally don't know what someone could do with that, but it seems insecure. And lazy.

With that said, this is great.
posted by defenestration at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wrote this one. Researching that was one of the oddest phone calls I've ever made. "Can confirm for me that Reverend Graham has calculated that Heaven is 1,500 cubic miles?" "Let me just check... yes, that's right, 1,500."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:05 PM on February 14, 2009 [11 favorites]


Fun.

12/01
Minimum number of cats fitted with high-tech listening equipment in a 1967 CIA project: 1

Estimated number of minutes after the cat was released on its first test run that it was killed by a taxi: 10
Source: Victor Marchetti (Vienna, Va.)

posted by theefixedstars at 2:06 PM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Can confirm for me that Reverend Graham has calculated that Heaven is 1,500 cubic miles?" "Let me just check... yes, that's right, 1,500."

Wow. That seems small. The earth has a surface area of 57,500,000 miles, so if Heaven is "above" the earth, it's only about about an inch and a half tall.
posted by exogenous at 2:20 PM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Drugs over time, per Harper's Index.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:27 PM on February 14, 2009


Those darn cubic miles, making everything so tricky.

Originally the line was going to be a comparison of Heaven's size to that of the World Trade Center towers (this was in 1998), but I wasn't able to get a good number for the volume of the WTC.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:29 PM on February 14, 2009


"Let me just check... yes, that's right, 1,500."

Weird. Revelation says 1,400 cubic miles, with walls 216 feet thick. Of course, it's originally in the Greek unit of stadion, so different translations give different numbers, but still - what gives, Rev. Graham?


(and this is really cool. I might just need to subscribe to the physical copy now.)
posted by niles at 3:02 PM on February 14, 2009


There needs to be a sequel to "How to Lie With Statistics" titled "How to Tell Greater Truths With Bad Statistics", and a Harper's Index writer should write it.
posted by wendell at 3:20 PM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks, defenestration; excellent catch. There was a weird setting on the production server blah blah etc. It wasn't a security problem for us but it could have been used to phish. I'll have a serious word with our development team regarding security.

Grabbingsand, you're likely seeing special "retrospective" editions of the Index mixed in. There have only been a few repeats, but when you slice and dice things by individual line this way they are more noticeable. I figured I'd err on the side of completeness rather than try to strip them out.
posted by ftrain at 3:39 PM on February 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


No problem, ftrain. The site in general is great and bringing the Index online was a smart move. I imagine a lot of new traffic heading in your direction.

Personally, I think the interface works really well; I like the simplicity.
posted by defenestration at 3:47 PM on February 14, 2009


I'm' using Opera right now and had a little problem with the search:
I start typing something, when the search find something it pops that googly-list and if I continue to type the cursor jumps to the start of the word. Dunno if it happens in FF or IE.
posted by zouhair at 4:19 PM on February 14, 2009


I don't know, I've always thought the whole thing was more than a little contrived. Sort of like Lapham's prose. Interesting at times, absolutely, even at times thought provoking, but frequently, frankly, affected.

Of course, no one's forcing me to read it, so there you are.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:09 PM on February 14, 2009


Those references say 1400 miles wide, long and tall, so 2 744 000 000 cubic miles in total.
posted by alexei at 6:10 PM on February 14, 2009


WIN
posted by wowbobwow at 6:22 PM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


10/05- Percentage by which the average amount of anesthetic required by redheads exceeds the average for everyone: 19

I'll remember to cite this during my next dental visit/pelvic exam/eyebrow waxing
posted by wowbobwow at 7:02 PM on February 14, 2009


best of web? yes.

I'm impressed how it took a word like 'satanism' and gracefully gave me results including the word 'satan'.

It might be interesting to have a list of the most frequent queries. Also it might be interesting to have a list of some of the editors favorite queries.

Corruption yields more interesting results than satanism. Censorship didn't yield much of interest, fundamentalism was my first query to yield no hits (surely more influential/interesting than satanism).

On religion, Catholic yielded many [interesting] hits, Mormonism very few (although a note to any church leaders - I hope you have quit including holocaust victims in your ranks, not cool, guys), Islam yields a good deal of results (Bush had 40% approval rating in 2000 among this group, later 2%, inexplicably), Calvinism was my first query that yielded unrelated results (not only to Calvinism, but to each other), Judaism yielded the most interesting results (in '93 apparently 20% of the US population was antisemitic), Buddhism no hits (but Buddha yields one - first time the engine didn't change the word for me).

I won't bore everyone with my explorations, but I will restate: best of web? YES!
posted by el io at 7:03 PM on February 14, 2009


I lied. Too compelling not to bore everyone with my explorations.

Feature requests: give the number of hits returned at the top of the query results, expand some common acronyms automatically (NSA, DOD, for example yield no hits, the expanded versions do).

On intelligence: NSA had two hits (if you like math, I hope you like secretive government work), CIA was far more interesting, FBI a good number (Warhol is still a threat perhaps), Mossad gets no hits, KBG only 3 hits, MI-5/MI-6 are neglected altogether, Interpol is unmentioned, as is the DIA, FISA got a hit, Secret Service had a couple (good example of lack of context - the reason they seized computer disks is they investigate credit card fraud), Assassination had interesting hits (more than one about JFK)...

Really now, I'll quit.

Are these textbook examples of 'factoids'? I wish these had citations associated (the lack of such make it dubious to cite, although good luck, wowbobwow; although you may have better luck trying to find professionals that care about pain management).
posted by el io at 7:40 PM on February 14, 2009


I like the Index, I like the website and I like this post.
posted by box at 7:49 PM on February 14, 2009


Very nice. I like how mouse-over reveals citations too.
posted by cali at 8:23 PM on February 14, 2009


Cali: thx for the pointer (sometimes noscript is not my friend).
posted by el io at 8:26 PM on February 14, 2009


harpers was always metafilter on paper, for me, when i was a teenager, before the internet.

So true, the fact the my high school social studies teacher had a subscription to Harpers and had them in her classroom for students to read was more important to my education than any of the classes I took.
posted by afu at 10:15 PM on February 14, 2009


The Feburary issue of Harpers is crazy awesome, for people looking for something to read. The Serious Boy at War is one of the better articles I've read in a while.
posted by chunking express at 8:17 AM on February 15, 2009


Number of search results for “metafilter”: 0
posted by ALongDecember at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2009


« Older Vintage Valentines   |   This post is exactly the sort... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post