Unsafe Search

Posted April 15, 2004 at 6:15 pm | 2 Comments

While â„¢ allows you to filter pornography and explicit sexual content from your search results using their “SafeSearch” feature, they do not provide a means to search exculsively for such adult material.

It’s a shame when someone searching for pornographic material related to, say, llamas, is forced to slog though many pages of perfectly innocuous llama sites before finally hitting upon the llama porn he was looking for.

And nobody who does a â„¢ search for “nice tits” wants to find a site like this one.

That’s why I built the new UNSAFE SEARCH. Go and check it out! The unsafe search works by performing two google queries, a normal query and a query with SafeSearch enabled. The set of “safe” results is then subtracted from the set of normal results to yield only “unsafe” entries.

I’ve found it particularly entertaining to search for something relatively inoffensive, like “cheese,” and see how many “unsafe” sites it produces. For example, did you know that of the more than 681,000 sites about midgets, only 316,000 are “safe”?

In general it’s interesting to compare the “safeness” of various search terms. This page shows some current statistics about Unsafe Search.

Combinatorics

Posted April 9, 2004 at 6:14 pm | 4 Comments


Great at hashbrowns, bad at mathematics.

The Waffle House is bad at combinatorics.

Last time I visited the Waffle House in Atlanta, I took a photo of their menu. This section of the menu shows the various ways that they can prepare your hashbrowns. Notice that there are three sizes (regular, large, and triple) and seven options (smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered, and capped). That means that the number of possible ways of ordering your hashbrowns is

3 * 27 = 384.

However, as you can see in the photo, they claim that there are 1,572,864, or 3 * 219 ways to prepare your hashbrowns. Where does this number come from? Are there “secret” hashbrown options that aren’t on the menu?


Professor Simpson bungles a counting problem.

Jessica Simpson is also bad at combinatorics.

Jessica Simpson, along with the Muppets, stars in a commercial for Pizza Hut’s new 4forAll Pizza. Here’s a description of the commercial taken from the Pizza Hut press release:

The commercial features The Muppets in a heated debate about which pizza topping to order. For example, Kermit the Frog wants green toppings, Animal wants meat and Miss Piggy is a vegetarian. Jessica Simpson enters the scene and stuns The Muppets with the brainy answer, “Why not the 4forALL Pizza? It has more than 18 possible toppings… which gives you more than six million topping options,” leaving them completely speechless. Awestruck by Simpson’s ironic mathematic acumen, Miss Piggy pretends to have known this all along. The pizza arrives, Jessica reaches for a slice but Miss Piggy pulls the pizza box away from Jessica and says, “Beauty before brains.”

Now, let’s carefully consider the total number of options. Each of the four pizzas is allowed up to four toppings, and there are a total of 18 toppings to choose from. Assuming no repeated toppings, there are 18 choose 4, or 3060, possibilities for each individual pizza. Since there are four pizzas, the total number of overall options on the 4forAll is 3060 choose 4, or approximately 3.6 trillion. This is assuming that no two pizzas are identical and that no pizzas have repeated toppings (e.g. extra cheese, double pepperoni). If we discard these two assumptions the number of possible combinations is even greater! So although Jessica was technically correct when she stated that there were “more than six million topping options,” this is a pretty crappy estimate — it’s off by six orders of magnitude. This is particularly embarrassing given that the commercial’s main “joke” was Jessica’s “ironic mathematic acumen.”

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