This post is part of the H. P. Lovefest.

I was not alone in observing the 75th anniversary of Lovecraft’s death on March 15, 2012. Here are some other commemorations:

The Thousand Young

This post is part of the H. P. Lovefest.

Cthulhu Mythos, As Imagined By Kids:

“I pitched the idea to [the children] that since it was getting on to Halloween how ’bout drawing some monsters? And not just any monsters but creatures from the writing of H.P. Lovecraft‘s Cthulhu Mythos. Now, only two of the kids (the older ones) had any knowledge of who Lovecraft was or had read some of his stories. So, I was able to introduce the kids to these creatures pretty much fresh with no previous imagining of what these monsters look like …”


Conjunction Juncture

“The advent of Google marks off two very distinct periods in Internet history. The optimists remember the age before Google as chaotic, inefficient, and disorganized. Most search engines at the time had poor ethics (some made money by misrepresenting ads as search results) and terrible algorithms (some could not even find their parent companies online). All of that changed when two Stanford graduate students invented an ingenious way to rank Web pages based on how many other pages link to them.” — Don’t Be Evil, The New Republic

If you are under 30, you may not recall a time when Yahoo! was as central to the online experience as Google is now. In 1998, when the search provider was nearing its zenith, I had a realization: I no longer thought of Yahoo! as a “website”, but rather as the Internet itself. I felt as if you could peel back any page available on the net and find Yahoo! beneath it, as though it were the canvas on which the entire web were painted.

Now, of course, I feel that way about Google. And I distinctly remember the day when my allegiance shifted. It was 1999, I was a programmer at, and one of my colleagues, a young guy fresh out of school with a degree in CS, was showing me this new search engine that everyone in his class swore by. He punched in a few words and clicked [Google Search] to illustrate. The moment the results came back I knew I would never use Yahoo! again.

Why? Was it because of Google’s “ingenious way to rank Web pages based on how many other pages link to them”? No, of course not–I was nowhere near savvy enough to pick up on something like that. It was for a much simpler and fundamental reason: Google took your search terms and only returned pages that had all of them, whereas Yahoo!, by default, returned pages that contained any of them. Put another way, Google joined all your words with “and”s where Yahoo! used “or”s. Tired of punching “board games” into Yahoo! and getting lumber companies, I set Google as my home page that same day.

Google’s rapid adoption in the late 90s owes a lot to its web page ranking system, no doubt. But the founders should also get credit for recognizing the fundamental shift in what searchers wanted: fewer results, not more. Where Yahoo! continued to boast about the sheer volume of websites that they would hurl at you, Google, simply by using a different conjunction, was delivering more specific and relevant information at a time when that was desperately sought.

It’s small and simple ideas like this that can make you the most powerful company in the world.

Here are three more recent articles about Google:

How Would You Prefer to Squander Your Weekend?

Flash game Friday.

  • King’s Guard: Fantasy-themed casual action game in which you select … well, anyway, it’s Bejeweled. It’s Bejeweled with minotaurs.
  • Interlocked: Mindbending brainteaser that will tax your spatial reasoning skills, modeled on those wooden disentanglement puzzles. Warning: combining with Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, as I did last night, will result in ow.
  • Hack Slash Crawl: Cute, Diabloesqe RPG with procedurally generated dungeons. Hope you like clicking! Click click click click click!!

Typical Reaction to the Revelation That I Do Not Own a Cell Phone, By Year

1998: Solidarity (“Yeah, me neither–I hate those things!”)

1999: Envy (“Lucky you; I had to get one for work.”)

2000: Indifference (“Okay, what’s your home phone number then?”)

2001: Encouragement (“You should get one–you can play Tetris on them now!”)

2002: Confusion (“I thought you were, like, a tech guy.”)

2003: Sympathy (“They’re getting pretty cheap. You’ll be able to afford one soon.”)

2004: Irritation (“So how am I supposed to get a hold of you?”)

2005: Derision (“If we go out tonight I’ll send you a fax.”)

2006: Skepticism (“Are you serious?”)

2007: Awe (“Wow, you’re like the last one.”)

2008: Incomprehension (“You don’t … how …?”)

The Descent of Bandann

While I allowed my blogging muscles to atrophy, my longtime friend has been pumping his up, and recently became the in-house blogger for the The Soup. And by “longtime friend” I mean, like, since first grade, although I’ve always known him by a name other than “Clog Narter.” I can only assume that that’s a pseudonym and/or anagram of “furry for life.”

Reading his blog yesterday, I cam across his entry on Bret Michaels which was a little unsettling because I’d never even heard of this guy until an hour prior when I came across this mindnumbingly atrocious video, apparently drawn from a “tv show” where “girls” compete to go on “dates” with the Mr. Michaels. I’ve known for a while that the teaching of evolutionary principles in the public school system has been under siege, thanks to religious fundamentalism, the ID movement, and Ben Stein. But never have the horrific consequences of these efforts been as apparent as on Rock of Love. Surely any woman with even a cursory knowledge of phylogeny would recognize that the female’s “mate choice” sexual selection criteria are askew when they vie for the affections of an organism who has, along with other exaggerated morphological features, a propensity for wearing bandannas.