Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Using the web you may run into self-reference

While the web is a wonderful to find things out there are times when it doesn't quite work.
  1. An old blog of Scott Aaronson's had as part of its title a Woitian Link. Wanting to find out what a Woitian Link is but not wanting to bother Scott (he's busy enough making comments on Shtetl-Optimized) I went to Google and typed in "Woitian Link". The ONLY hits I got back were to Scott's blog. I finally had to email Scott. He told me that it was referring to the blog not even wrong by Peter Woit which often has links that... Well, Scott never told me quite what it was but I'll go there myself and try to figure it out.
  2. An old blog of mine was the man who loved algorithms. Part of my blog said that I thought the man would be Knuth but it was not. (It was Thomas Kailath) One of the commenters said that it couldn't be Knuth since he was still alive. This made me want to check the original article to see if Thomas Kailath, is also still alive (he is). I didn't have the issue with me at the time so I typed "the man who loved algorithms" into Google. The first page of hits all referred to my posting. Eventually I found one to verify that yes, indeed, he was still alive.
  3. Donald Knuth VOLUME FOUR is actually OUT in a series of fascicle's. Whats a fascicle? Here the web was helpful- Wikipedia said it was a book that comes out in short pieces, the pieces of which are called `fascicle'. They gave only one example: Donald Knuth's Volume 4 will be coming out in Fascicle. Still, they DID tell me what I want to know. (Note- this was a while back, they have since removed that comment.)
For most things the web is great. But for some more obscure things, better off asking someone who knows stuff. ~ ~


  1. The 1st ed of the Oxford English Dictionary was famously released as a series of fascicles.

  2. How to create a self-referential tweet:

  3. I find it really confusing when someone uses the word "blog" to mean "blog post" or "blog entry". To me, a "blog" is a website on which one posts entries. It refers to the collection of posts (past, present, and future), not to a single post.

    At first I thought you meant Scott Aaronson used to have a whole blog (i.e. a whole site featuring a series of posts) named "a Woitian Link", and I was wondering why I had never heard of that before.

  4. Hi Bill,

    A grammatical point: As I understand it, in Scott's usage, "Woitian" referred not to the links themselves, but rather to some of Woit's posts, which consist of many links to un- (or loosely) related items. A link itself can not be Woitian; but a post consisting of "links, links, links" can. A good example is this post.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Fascicle (n): A bicycle which makes you run on time.

  7. Anon 3- AGREED I should
    use BLOG POSTING instead of BLOG.

    Fred- Thanks, I NOW know what Woitian means!

  8. Didn't a lot of science fiction books originally come out as a series of fascicles? Perhaps this isn't quite correct usage though since they were often published as a running column in a magazine, perhaps not intended to be published as a book later.

  9. Impossible to search on google for a tune that you remember, but not the lyrics.

    Impossible to search for "that little town that I saw once with a cute church steeple, riverbanks that are great for a picnic, and a campground with a weird owner"

    Impossible to search for "that famous book whose title escapes me, some classic about a girl recounting her childhood memories, somewhat historical, with a very distinctive, fresh writing style"

  10. It should be possible to search for a tune you remember.

    From Manuel Blum I learned about the "Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes":

    Now, we just need a program to automatically generate this code for a few million MP3 samples... if you don't like computing the code yourself, one could set it up so that if you hum into your microphone, the program translates the hum into Parsons code and then looks that up.