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How to find things…

And then there are those who weigh all things to a nice settee, cross the tees and dot the ice. They end up catching the tiger by the tail. They have a wooden view of life, would you agree? The hangover of nonsense still remains…

I have often wondered how people find things out. Traditionally a gardener would be imagined to be a man while a cook to be a woman. We do know this need not be true. Henry Ernest Dudeney in his book Amusement in Mathematics in the problem 428, has a puzzle that deals with a race between the cook and the gardener. At the end of the problem he poses “..but then she made three bounds to his two.”

Now depending on the assumption of the solver as to the gender of the cook and the gardener the answer differs. If the problem can be put to a large number of people then it would be possible depending on the answer the bias amongst us in the occupation gender scenario. Interestingly the puzzle solver has no clue that he is actually being tested for something else altogether.

Software programs that verify the authenticity of the user by way of passwords often offer a strong worded error message when the user enters a wrong password. There is a school of thought believes that this very behavior would force the user to attempt breaching the system. Instead imagine if the software recognizes the password as wrong and proceeds to welcome the user and displays an arcade game and prompts the user to play. Now the user will believe that he has breached a game and will never suspect that something else is lurking behind that is probably worth more! Of course this assumes that the user is a casual user. This approach would help track the user by getting other details as a part of the game and gain understanding of the possible intruder.

Market researchers, social behavior analysts probably have encountered such situations and have developed acumen in solving such problems. The skill of searching and finding things out is becoming important day by day. The other day there was this post on the power of network over knowledge. Indeed it is the skill to search on the internet now that hampers many of us. Sometimes we know it is all there but how do we get it?

Google has become the de facto method to find things out. In fact the term ‘lets google it’ is now used to indicate searching on the internet. It is much like the word xeroxing that has become a substitute for copying.

Searching is a skill that needs to be mastered. While there are tips and tricks available at the Google site, it is something that is mostly acquired, honed and used. While you are at it, try to find out the name of the movie where the heroine in the pink dress jumps in the blue car shooting at a black cat crossing the road.



4 thoughts on “How to find things…

  1. As the saying goes – “You are what you read”. We may have to modify this to “You are what you can search”.

    That brings us to the interesting point that there are more than a billion people in the world who do not use Google or Bing for searching and access a different set of page, whose social network is not Facebook, who cannot access WordPress or Wikipedia.

    Will the world split into two …

    Posted by Udayan Banerjee | April 26, 2012, 11:06 am
  2. May be we will have a new profession called “Searcher”

    Posted by Mahadevan.P | April 26, 2012, 11:13 am
  3. Great post. I cannot for the life of me imagine a life without google.

    Chandrasekar Venkataraman

    Posted by Chandrasekar | April 26, 2012, 3:44 pm
  4. And you have a “search” almost transformed into a “snoop” & I am sure finding the name of the movie where the heroine in the pink dress jumps in the blue car shooting at a black cat crossing the road is made any easy or difficult for that matter by having the googlies in place of good old Byomkesh Bakshi ! Did someone say… Hercules Poirot & the case of [R]e-search! Druids at work.

    Posted by Manali Pathak | April 26, 2012, 3:56 pm

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