It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tempest, Meet Teapot

Richard North's idea is to take the ratio of Google web hits to Google News hits; he gets 22.5 million web hits vs. 46,025 news hits for Tiger Woods (a ratio of 489), and compares some other topics (some of them a bit UK-centric):

1. Climategate: 28,400,000 – 2,930 = 9693
2. Afghanistan: 143,000,000 – 154,145 = 928
3. Obama: 202,000,000 – 252,583 = 800
4. Tiger Woods: 22,500,000 – 46,025 = 489
5. Gordon Brown: 12,300,000 – 37,021 = 332
6. Climate change: 22,200,000 – 68,419 = 324
7. Sally Bercow: 25,000 – 86 = 290
8. David Cameron: 545,000 – 4837 = 113
9. Meredith Kercher: 261,000 – 3,471 = 75
10. Chilcot Inquiry: 125,000 – 4,350 = 29


Via Mark Liberman, who elucidates here.

The statistic indicates a lot of interest in the subject from writers of web content, not from readers. So what is really crucially revealed about the politics of the situation is not how shocked the public is at this little bit of insider talk, but how much effort is going into encouraging the public to be shocked.

Why is this? How does such a concerted attack emerge?

In any case, it seems the best thing to do is to move on and leave it echoing long into the night in the echo chamber. We'll never be entirely free of this media event, but it's not an unreasonable response to just leave it alone. It really isn't capturing the popular imagination at all, and it doesn't deserve to either.


Pantheist Mom said...

Encouraging, and kind of what I'd expect (hope?) the reaction would be. I imagine very few minds are going to be changed one way or another from this ridiculosity.

syphax said...

Thank you! I had done a couple other quick investigations via Google Trends to assess the ridiculousness of the "Google is suppressing Climategate in Google Suggest" meme, which is about the best, most delusional thing I've seen in quite some time.

Hank Roberts said...

Also collected here: