Thursday, July 27, 2017

Am I the only one...?

Am I the only one who is always searching for answers to technical questions, and then being disappointed because the answers are too... ahem... technical? The science of computing really is over my head. I just want to have a little website, with no hassles about it. I'm not at all comfortable with tech talk. They might as well be speaking Greek. Just call me "the fearful geek."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fake News? Nonsensical Mashup in Google Search of Bonnie and Clyde

Fake news? Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, better known as simply "Bonnie and Clyde," a female and male, were a couple of American outlaws who died in a gory showdown with the police in 1934. A Google Search turned up a false bit of American history in the featured snippets block at the top of the search-results page. The snippet is a nonsensical mashup. A logical reading of the following result would lead one to believe that Bonnie and Clyde (a) were both men; and (b) both lived through their "final" showdown. Neither statement is true.

Nonsense in Google Search result clip about Bonnie and Clyde
As it turns out, the error is in the mashup, not in the source site for the statements. It is just an accidental bit of nonsense. At the time of the search, the clip had no link directly under it, but a little further down in the block, a link was provided for its introductory sentence, "How many bullets were fired at Bonnie and Clyde in their final showdown?" That link pointed to a Tripod user's personal page, "The Last Day for Bonnie and Clyde," or "Gibsland Ambush." A quick perusal of the page showed a correctly written history, which had been clipped into the nonsensical mashup. The first two sentences of the above answer were clipped from a paragraph about Barrow and Parker (Bonnie and Clyde). The third sentence, which makes the result seem humorously incorrect, is from a separate photo caption about two witnesses, both men, who only heard two shots. The result seems slightly humorous, in a morbid way, but is not as frustrating as the frequently misleading mashup results from Ancestry.com that are produced by genealogy searches.

Suggested Reading: Nuclear Physics Prank: A Bit of iOS AutoComplete Nonsense