So Many Questions

On February 1, 2011 · 3 Comments

When most people use a search engine they focus on a few key terms, perhaps use quotation marks to find specific phrases or using addition or subtraction marks if they’re a bit more sophisticated in the use of such tools. Others seek knowledge using an actual question, as if the search engine is a human who happens to be sitting somewhere in the cloud. This probably happens less than five percent of the time based on years of screening my access logs.

I recorded search engine queries that arrived in the form of a question on a single day. They provide a fascinating case study as well as an opportunity to present some "greatest hits" from my articles archive. I can only hope that these actual, genuine questions got proper responses from the Twelve Mile Circle.

  • Are there any states that split a time zone? – Yes, 14 (not 13!) States are split by time zones.
  • What counties in the united states share a border with their namesake? – There are at least 11 instances of adjacent counties with the same name.
  • Approximately what percent of the population lives within 160km of the us border? – I looked in the logs and determined that this was a visitor from Canada, thus it’s approximately 75%.
  • At what elevation is Nepal? – Mt. Everest is 8,848 m (29,029 ft) and it’s the answer this visitor probably sought. What they found, however, was a much more interesting and obscure reference to the lowest elevation in Nepal at 67m (220 ft).
  • How did Gambia get its shape? – Colonialism combined with the Gambia River, put simply.
  • How many sides are there in the shape of the state of Colorado – It depends, but it’s not a rectangle.
  • The prime meridian now goes through which city? – Greenwich, but others too.
  • What are the world’s northernmost and southernmost capitals? – Reykjavík, Iceland and Wellington, New Zealand, respectively.
  • What is the smallest county in Alabama by population? – Greene County, 9,974 people in the 2000 Census.
  • Why do you think the time zone boundary lines are not straight lines? – Probably because national, provincial, city, etc., boundaries are not straight lines, and groups of affiliated people would be split into different times.
  • Why does the southern border of Massachusetts dip into Connecticut? – That’s the Southwick Jog and it has an interesting history.
  • Why is Kearneysville coast guard in West Virginia? – The late Sen. Robert Byrd more than likely had something to do with this, but it’s also because this facility handles functions that don’t depend on access to the sea.

I hope you enjoyed a day in the life of search engine questions on the website.

On February 1, 2011 · 3 Comments
Under Miscellaneous | Taged

3 Responses to “So Many Questions”

  1. Anthony says:

    Re: counties and namesakes. Delaware County, PA borders Delaware, and Nevada County, CA borders Nevada. Are there others like this?

  2. Peter says:

    At what elevation is Nepal? – Mt. Everest is 8,848 m (29,029 ft) and it’s the answer this visitor probably sought. What they found, however, was a much more interesting and obscure reference to the lowest elevation in Nepal at 67m (220 ft).

    Something I find surprising is that the country whose lowest point is at the highest elevation above sea level is not a country commonly thought of as mountainous, such as Nepal, Bolivia or Switzerland, but Lesotho.

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