Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Question Hour

by Tom Bozzo

This is an irregular feature examining search terms that bring presumably unpremeditated visits to this blog.

The blog's name is the most common search term that leads people here. I suppose a handful of those visits might represent people who don't remember the non-mnemonic URL, though that is almost surely not the case for queries like "what three forms of utility do most businesses attempt to meet? economics" (looks like something from a class assignment, if not a very well-designed assignment) or "how do you find marginal utility." Many of these come from academic domains, and are frankly not the sort of things professors would be Googling. My advice is to talk to your professor or TA — if you find yourself visiting blogs hoping to find out about utility theory, you are at dire risk of an unsatisfactory grade in your micro class!

Then there are queries along the lines of
marginal utility of gasoline
which makes me think that the substitutability of other fuels for gasoline is the better question, or
what is the marginal utility of beer
to which I can provide a simple, if personal, answer: The marginal utility of beer declines very rapidly at the end of the first and through the second pint (assuming alcohol content in the 5-7% range typical of most beers), such that that the third pint should be well-spaced or well-buffered with food or its marginal utility won't exceed the price (converted into utils) ex-post.

Then there's stuff you don't find in economics textbooks
economics of "national treasure"
which I assume refers to a movie I am unlikely to see. As I understand it, the premise is that the Founding Fathers encoded in U.S. iconography (of the sort you see on the $1 bill) clues leading to some fabulous treasure amassed over the centuries. This is, on its face, preposterous. The likelier situation, were such a treasure to exist, is that some combination of inflation and economic growth over the last 230 years would lead to a variation on the Dr. Evil problem of what was once thought to be a fabulous sum being reduced to a CEO's lunch money. On the other hand,
FDR "pay for WWII"
would be covered in a U.S. economic history textbook. Was this to settle a score at the water cooler (or tavern), or a Fighting Keyboarder trying to make Bush out to be not so bad for borrowing the money with which he's losing the GSAVE? Who knows. The answer is that FDR paid for WWII through a combination of borrowing and tax increases to what would now be considered confiscatory rates.

Some searches manage to touch subjects close to my heart:
coolest legos in the world
Three quick thoughts by way of reply are the Brick Testament, AFOL Chris Giddens's "Pre-Classic Space" theme, and (for an official set) the 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer.
google bombing "minimum links"
The entirety of my understanding is that I read somewhere something to the effect that the required links are inversely related to the page rank(s) of the bombers. If you want to get thrown out of the TTLB Ecosystem, on the other hand, I can be of greater assistance.

Various car-related inquiries draw a trickle of visitors, too — surprise surprise.
karl rove maybach
If the doughy doyen of disinformation gets a Fitzivus miracle and avoids indictment, the foregone legal fees will cost Euro Motorcars (of Bethesda, Md.) a Maybach sale or two.
BMW drivers are bad
No, we're just misunderstood! It's Jetta drivers who are reported by the Car Talk guys to be crazy as a group, though I've always seen the invincibility aura plus the cell-phone talking thing to make large SUV drivers the worst.
passat harm premium gas
The Passat's petrol engines are tuned for premium, though like most modern engines they're unlikely to be harmed by use of regular. If you put premium in your TDI, however, you're on your own.

And planes:
how much does a gulfstream 550 cost
If you have to ask, you can't afford one. But if you must know, depending on the extravagance of the interior appointments, don't expect much change from a $50 million bill, unless it leads you to the National Treasure.

Finally, there's stuff I just couldn't make up:
george w bush stealing retirees
He's a very bad president, but he's not that bad. (Well... as far as I know. That's the thing about secret detentions.)
I "saw" the last hour-ish of National Treasure (wife watching something while I worked, after the kids were in bed) so you don't have to.

The deep, clever clues lead Nic Cage, his love interest (for no apparent reason), his sidekick, and his estranged father to Trinity Church, under which there is an amazing trove of riches.

Judging by the prevailing winds of NYC, I believe the trove is slightly Southeast of the WTC. To say that there has been a bit of development in that area since the FF might be considered an understatement.
I've been Googling various combinations of words to see if I can get a hit at MU ... "I definitely want Tom Bozzo on my side in a political race" did the trick but that was too easy.

Who can get the most obscure combination of words to hit MU?
Mark: I'll take that as a compliment. Part of me would like to be a non-evil Karl Rove, but I understand the hours are not so good.

I think finding the most obscure search term that leads here is a good job to assign to the genius of the market.

Ken: I appreciate your sacrifice.
I wanted to find information about the article in the NYT published about Michael's Frozen Custard last May, which led me here, and I just kept coming back.
Sara: Glad to know that some of these visitors become regulars!
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