"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How people search for data

I started typing IPCC into my Google search box. Firefox helpfully supplies a pull-down list of common searches to save on typing. (tech note: I'm not sure how it does this; it seems there must be some AJAX trick with Google?)

This time, only one suggestion appeared. It's a bit alarming; it seems to show a great deal about what most people doing web research think "research" means.

5 comments:

coby said...

Hi Michael,

I have no insights into where the data comes from, but wanted to tell you that my results are completely different, and not alarming. You can see them here:

http://vec.com.au/~coby/IPCC-search-suggestions.jpg

Sparrow (in the coal mine) said...

My search seems fine as well:

Sparrow's screenshot

Michael Tobis said...

Yes, I see similar results on other machines. This one still offers "IPCC wrong" though it has also added "IPCC sea level".

Michael Tobis said...

I looked, and the top hit on 'IPCC wrong' is a BBC headline about the Independent Police Complaints Commission. So maybe this tempest should go back in the teapot.

I get a smattering of search hits on "(something) refuted" where (something) is eminently reasonable, though; most recently "tragedy of the commons refuted". I am sure that this googler was disappointed to read my summary of the whole climate change controversy.

James Annan said...

Sorry mt, but it's remembering YOUR previous searches :-)

(maybe)

At least, when I type something in the same box, I get my own previous searches first, and then suggestions below (which are clearly labelled as such)