Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Have you ever been to WolframAlpha.com? Well, I just went there today for the first time after my dad wrote me to tell me about something cool on the internet that he knew about before me. This did not make me feel hip.
WolframAlpha is similar to Google, but let's say I want to find out the population of Denver. If I type that in at Google and hit enter it lists links to websites, which, Google finds, will give me the answer I am looking for. However, if I type 'population of Denver' into WolframAlpha, and press enter, I am provided with an immediate answer on WolframAlpha's site. In addition to that answer, you get a lot more additional information. For example, in addition to the population of City of Denver (598,707 - 2008 estimate), the site tells me Denver ranks 25th in population in the U.S. I am also presented with a graph showing population history, the metropolitan area population (2.552 million) and the population of nearby cities (Aurora - 319,057).

Type in a date. I chose February 3, 1983, my birthday. The results: time difference from today, 27 years 4 months 5 days, or 1426 weeks 5 days, or 9987 days, or 27.34 years. No observances for February 3, 1983. Events on February 3, 1983, Birth of Dimitry Patzold and Michal Slesingr (both athletes I am not familiar with). The daylight information for that date in 1983 is given. Sunrise was at 7:33am CST and Sunset was at 5:55pm CST and the duration of daylight was 10 hours 22 minutes as recorded in Newton, Kansas. There was a waning gibbous moon that day.

I punched in another date, June 25, 1951. An event listed for that day, "CBS becomes the first to broadcast television in color." I typed in Oak Creek, WI, the quaint, boring little suburb of Milwaukee I live in. Of course, I get population, but also current weather, cost of living index, median home price, unemployment rate (8.2%, ouch), total sales tax, rate of violent crime and property crime, elevation and nearby cities.

Milwaukee: 604,477 people - ranked 24th. Take that, Denver.
Unemployment rate: 12.3% - Take that, Milwaukee.
Notable people born in Milwaukee: William Rehnquist, Spencer Tracy, Bud Selig and Gene Wilder.

You get the point. WolframAlpha is great. Hopefully, like all cool things on the internet, it isn't bought by Google or some other huge corporation. Maybe it is already owned by a mega corporation. I don't know.

Go there. Check it out. Another way the internet will gobble up your time.

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