Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?
August 12, 2013 10:06 PM   Subscribe

Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
posted by 23 (56 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
North America: Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?
UK/Australia: Why is there war...?
Kiwi: Why is there life on earth?
posted by nickrussell at 10:19 PM on August 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is only true for Noah Veltman. e.g. I'm an Australian that gets for 'is it dangerous'… 1) to photocopy your face, 2) to sleep with a tampon in.
posted by unliteral at 10:19 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


UK: is it legal to marry your cousin?

o_O
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:33 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"why does everyone hate me?" seems to be common across all countries. How sad.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:35 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


For the record, no we do not Fosters. It is widely - and wisely - regarded as foul piss-leavings by most people here. That even includes people who will drink XXXX and Melbourne Bitter.

Unliteral, you and have obviously both been searching out photocopiers and tampons, as I'm the same.
posted by smoke at 10:36 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]




Are there any good Australian beers that I can get in Southern California?
posted by mr_roboto at 10:43 PM on August 12, 2013


Canada:

why is the uk
…raine flag blue and yellow
…weather so bad
…so expensive
…in debt


Well, I guess that says something about how much we care about the mother country..
posted by Chuckles at 11:01 PM on August 12, 2013


Coopers Pale apparently gets exported a bit, and it's a fairly standard mass-market pale ale but delicious nonetheless; it'd gives you a good idea of what you'd order in a pub or bar if you were an Australian who gave a few fucks here and there about beer but wasn't super serious about it. If you can find something from Three Ravens, they're a great little brewery. The microbrew scene in Australia lags about a decade behind the States, as far as I can tell, but we're slowly catching up.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 11:01 PM on August 12, 2013


I like the persistent bias against New Zealanders. There's questions for all the other collective nouns for people from a particular country (Americans, Canadians, British, Australians) but no New Zealanders. Maybe Noah Veltman doesn't know what the collective noun for people living in New Zealand is.

FWIW, I get (in Australia):
why are new zealanders
...moving to australia
...called kiwis
...so nice
...so rude

do new zealanders
...need a visa for australia
...need a visa for usa
...need a visa for malaysia
...need a visa for singapore

are new zealanders
...permanent residents of australia
...eligible for medicare (public health cover system)
...eligible for centrelink (where you register for the dole/unemployment benefits)
...eligible for hecs (government-funded tertiary education which you pay back later)
posted by Athanassiel at 11:30 PM on August 12, 2013


In Norway here. In an "incognito window" as my Norwegian Chrome installation calls it, I get the following:

Why is everybody afraid of love
Why is education important
Why is English important
Why is the sky blue

posted by Harald74 at 11:31 PM on August 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


From Australia:
I love american
… accents
… music
… girls

I love canadian
… accents
… girls
… beef bumper sticker

I love english
… language
… bulldogs
… magazine

I love australian
… accents
… shepherds
… men

I love new zealand
… in maori
… facebook


I hate american
… accents
… culture
… pickers

I hate canadian
… geese
… tire
… accents

I hate english
… class
… book
… teachers

I hate australian
… politics
… accents
… aboriginals

I hate new zealand
… accents
… top ten
… people
posted by unliteral at 12:02 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's nice that everyone is asking why Canada is awesome :) You know when not asking why we are even a country... Though I really wonder why everyone is also asking if we are afraid of the dark...
posted by cirhosis at 12:02 AM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


These are absolutely awesome. I love the ones that are completely different from the rest. Everyone wants to know how to tie a tie, except the Brits - no, they want to know how to make pancakes. Guess they're dressing casual.
posted by Metro Gnome at 12:05 AM on August 13, 2013


I like the persistent bias against New Zealanders. There's questions for all the other collective nouns for people from a particular country (Americans, Canadians, British, Australians) but no New Zealanders. Maybe Noah Veltman doesn't know what the collective noun for people living in New Zealand is.

It's a list of peoples based on their country, rather than a list of nicknames for those peoples. It doesn't say Yanks, Nyctophobes, Brits, Aussies and Kiwis.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:08 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked this one. Australia: Do Americans ...
  • ... like Australian accents?
  • ... have kettles?
  • ... like AFL?
  • ... like Australians?
"Dear Diary, do you think they like us!? Maybe we should invite them over for AFL ... wait, would they like that? Maybe they just want some tea -- oh crap do they like tea?! I just hope they like the way I sound ... 8((("

My Australian partner is totally not gonna give me a lift home from work tonight if she reads this, but I kid because I love. A profile in courage!
posted by barnacles at 12:50 AM on August 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Every country has "Why doesn't he love me?"

None have "Why doesn't she love me?"
posted by straight at 1:02 AM on August 13, 2013


"why does everyone hate me?" seems to be common across all countries. How sad.

You, sir, have clearly not met enough assholes.
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:02 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


So apparently everyone wants to know why Canada is so awesome. And Americans want to know it twice.


Also nobody knows how to tie a tie, and everyone should DTMFA because it's not you, it's him.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:05 AM on August 13, 2013


Is anyone up?
Is anyone up?
Is anyone up?
Is anyone up
Is anyone up?


Is anyone down?
posted by louche mustachio at 1:45 AM on August 13, 2013


As an American living in Australia, I get scared every time I see a dragon.
posted by Phssthpok at 1:48 AM on August 13, 2013


are canadians real


WELL NOW THAT YOU ASK I'M NOT SO SURE. CANADA.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:51 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey guys, I made this. Glad you like it!

ActingTheGoat, sorry about NZ, it was not an intentional snub, just got left out by mistake while I was sifting through the data (there were lots of other prompts I didn't include in the display because the results were less fun). I will fix. I hope that New Zealand won't hold it against me. I also feel slightly bad about double-counting England/UK but it wasn't clear to me how people would tend to Google it, especially given their limited geographic understanding demonstrated by some of these results ("is england an island," "is the uk a country," etc.).

unliteral, it doesn't surprise me that you would get different results. This is a snapshot of a particular point in time from a particular set of endpoints. If I re-run it on two different days, the results change. It's also a good bet that Google's algorithms are clever enough to filter on more things than just the country level. I do not recommending relying on these results for rigorous scientific inquiries. :)

For the record, I think my favorite bit is the Canadian preoccupation with American Netflix. Also, the original inspiration to do this came when I noticed that the UK saw the prompt "why does everyone hate margaret thatcher" and the US saw the prompt "why does everyone hate nickelback," but BOTH saw "why does everyone hate comic sans." I guess some things are universal.
posted by veltman at 1:59 AM on August 13, 2013 [16 favorites]


Do Americans ...have kettles?

I have learnt, in the last year, that in fact they do not. 110v AC power isn't enough to drive an electric kettle. 240v FTW!!1!
posted by Jimbob at 2:08 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think my favorite bit is the Canadian preoccupation with American Netflix.

You have no idea how bad Canadian netflix is. Gaining access to American netflix was like discovering that ice cream comes in flavors other than butterscotch.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:17 AM on August 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Hey, no dramas Mr Veltman, I thought it was lots of good fun - I only noticed the New Zealander thing because I have one sitting next to me at work and we were having fun with the often very odd kiwi results. It's a weird collective noun, though not as odd as New South Welsh.

My favourite part was everyone wants to know if it's legal to marry your cousin except the Americans (presumably because they know you can) and the Canadians (because they are more interested in marrying themselves). Hilarious!
posted by Athanassiel at 2:29 AM on August 13, 2013


How do you do this, do you just go to google.whatever country and check it out?
posted by gucci mane at 2:38 AM on August 13, 2013


Yeah, you can tell the "snapshot in time" by people wondering about why England was not in the Confederations Cup, or people in the U.S. asking "why are there only 6 jurors".
"Why is the UK weather so bad" is asked everywhere but the U.S., probably because most other people watch soccer and saw how miserable the weather was all last season of the Premier League.
posted by Red Loop at 2:41 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


New South Welsh!

gucci mane, proxy servers + country-specific domains. I would have included some non-English speaking countries, but when I tried a few, it seemed to just serve the same suggestions as the American version for English search beginnings.
posted by veltman at 3:12 AM on August 13, 2013


So my question now is, why is a 1974 Ursula L. Le Guin essay such a thing in Canada?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:37 AM on August 13, 2013


If you're Canadian and want to gain access to non-sucky Netflix, your salvation is also proxy servers.

I reverse discovered this: I use a VPN (PIA) and was using one of their Toronto tunnels. I idly navigated to Netflix hoping to watch something cool, but whatever I searched came up "computer says no." Eventually I realized what was going on and switched to a US server, and hey presto, I had options.

So there you go. There is an annual fee, but it's worth it for many reasons, and accessing internationally unavailable video is one of them.


Oh, also, I Googled "why are Canadians afraid of the dark" for you, because to the best of my knowledge they aren't, and discovered that it was a joke on How I Met Your Mother, a show I do not watch. that's why it's such a popular query, most likely from people who have never met anyone from Canada. (Either that or they thought you were merely tourists trying to cover up the fact you were from the US. Or someone's fictional girlfriend. But I believe.)
posted by louche mustachio at 3:42 AM on August 13, 2013


^P.S. that solution works for anyone who wants access to "video is unavailable in your country."
posted by louche mustachio at 3:44 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What is the difference between a duck"

What? This 'joke' confuses me, but I'm even more confused that enough people have searched for it to make it a suggestion.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:25 AM on August 13, 2013


It's nice that everyone is asking why Canada is awesome :) You know when not asking why we are even a country... Though I really wonder why everyone is also asking if we are afraid of the dark...

All 3 things in you comment are directly related (via dialogue) to episodes of How I met Your Mother.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 5:35 AM on August 13, 2013


Surprised not to see the "Is America...batshitinsane?" in the results.
posted by arcticseal at 5:41 AM on August 13, 2013


What is the difference between a duck

Two legs both the same.


I'm here to help.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:42 AM on August 13, 2013


What color is New Zealand butter?
posted by royalsong at 6:06 AM on August 13, 2013


What color is New Zealand butter?

Presumably it's yellow. Milk and butter from cows fed on pasturage will contain plant-derived carotene, which makes it yellow. But if you feed them... well, whatever it is we feed them in America... then it's just white.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:46 AM on August 13, 2013


More on the white butter controversy.

The Canadians want to know:

why are british people so cold
why are british people so arrogant
why are british people so weird
why are british accents attractive
posted by asok at 6:49 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Surprised not to see the "Is America...batshitinsane?" in the results."

Well Florida hasn't yet metastasized to encompass all of the USA.


Yet.
posted by oddman at 6:50 AM on August 13, 2013


Americans want a fox or a wolf, Australians want a monkey and the rest just want a sloth. Is that another snapshot thing?
posted by asok at 7:09 AM on August 13, 2013


Canada:
why is the uk …raine flag blue and yellow


I know there are like a million and a half people with Ukrainian ancestry in Canada, but that top result still surprised me.
posted by Kabanos at 7:23 AM on August 13, 2013


how to

United States:
... tie a tie

Canada:
... tie a tie

United Kingdom:
... make pancakes

Australia:
... tie a tie

New Zealand:
... tie a tie

posted by Kabanos at 7:35 AM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


louche mustachio, you can also access American Netflix using the Media Hint plugin for Chrome/Firefox. It is free and works on other streaming sites like Pandora and Hulu.

I love the questions about American's kettles. I just can't fathom why anyone would be interested in a country's kitchen appliances. Do Brits have can openers? Do Kiwis have toasters?
posted by wollaston at 7:52 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


are canadians real


WELL NOW THAT YOU ASK I'M NOT SO SURE. CANADA.


That's "Sir Real" to you lot.
posted by srboisvert at 8:56 AM on August 13, 2013


Presumably people in the UK want to know how to make pancakes because Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) is a big deal over here.
posted by aychedee at 9:06 AM on August 13, 2013


Presumably people in the UK want to know how to make pancakes because Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) is a big deal over here.

Nah, it's just that they already know how to tie ties.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:49 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


neat, but these sorts of games aren't as fun now that Google results are personalized. Just like Googlewhacking, which was fun until it was pointless. Ok it was always pointless but now it's more pointless.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:55 AM on August 13, 2013


What are Americans afraid of dragons? Cuz we're not idiots. GOSH!
posted by Mister_A at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2013


Based on discussions with friends over the last several weeks, the Canadians concern with accessing US Netflix is born out.
posted by sfred at 11:04 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's such a negative stereotype. More and more Americans respect dragons and their culture and traditions. Trust me, you'd rather be a dragon in America than somewhere like Russia, that's for sure.
posted by Mooseli at 2:22 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re kettles: I, a much-untravelled USian, didn't know about kettles. I boiled water in what I called a kettle--it is unpowered, sits on a stove, and whistles when the water in it is boiling.

I met kettles on a trip to Ireland. Coffee, on visits and in hotels, was all instant.

My american experience with instant coffee has been terrible, so i was surprised to find that irish instant coffee is pretty palatable. The diifference: the kettle, which, while not whistling, turns itself off when it decides the water is boiling hot. This seems to occur some time after sufficient whistle-steam has been generated.

On my return to the home of the brave, I bought a kettle. It makes palatable instant coffee even in the USA. It is also much faster than the stove-top kettle--because it turns off when the water is boiling, it is possible to fill the kettle with the exact amout needed (one cup, or one ramen-soupbowlfull) which greatly reduces the heating time. Coffee water is generally boiled by the time the instant coffee has been measured into the cup.

I have since given two kettles as presents to similarly-benighted americans, and they have both expressed their great amazement and appreciation.

You're welcome.
posted by hexatron at 3:30 PM on August 13, 2013


110v AC power isn't enough to drive an electric kettle. 240v FTW!!1!

Re kettles: I, a much-untravelled USian, didn't know about kettles.

What? What a load of Don Cherry. I'm boiling water in a 110 volt electric kettle this very moment. In Ottawa. Electric kettles are less popular in North America that stove-top. I don't know why. But you'll need to look to other explanations than your weird, over-voltaic house mains.
posted by ~ at 4:02 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related: Metafilter A to Z.
posted by unliteral at 4:44 PM on August 13, 2013


What is the difference between a duck

Two legs both the same.


One leg is both the same. What you said doesn't make any sense.
posted by Segundus at 4:46 AM on August 14, 2013


North America: Why is there fuzz on a tennis ball?

I just wanted to point out that, having taken a few fluid dynamics classes, the answer to this question is a lot more interesting than you think it might be. There is a sweet spot where the gains in the parasitic drag force are outweighed by the gains in the pressure gradient force. Changing the texture of a sports ball means altering the characteristics of the boundary layer on the ball's surface, or rather, being able to control the shape of the flow field as air moves around the ball in both space and time. Being able to quantify things on a sphere like that is totally rad, and I applaud North America for its intellectual curiosity.

Fuzzy balls are not arbitrary balls, but rather balls of deep thought and careful planning.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:54 AM on August 16, 2013


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