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Re: Are you wolfing tonight?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg99988] Re: Are you wolfing tonight?
  • From: dbreiss at
  • Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 00:06:14 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <> <gv0gn0$a19$>

I think that with any complex tool, you will find some silly things
being generated.  It comes with the territory.  Of course one of the
things that we all like to do (and I am being quite serious here) is
to prod something new to see how we can break it.  This is one of the
ways that we, as scientists, try to understand how something works.
Think of how elementary particle physicists work: bash things together
and understand what they were by looking at all the smashed up stuff
that comes flying out.

So, perhaps we, as supporters of Mathematica and parties interested in
seeing good things come from its wider infrastructure should both
report the silly things that W|A can generate, but also help shepherd
people towards how to interact with it.

Naive expectations are that it will answer anything--which of course
is not the case.  In the subfields that it currently covers, it does
give quite useful information.  And it's parser in these fields--if
treated with some reasonableness (i.e., ask it relatively simple
calculational questions)--does work much of the time.

It's best, I feel, to be a mixture of realistic and supportive.   If
it generates something that is *really* funny, then enjoy the laugh.
But submit a useful bug report!  This one of the ways we can help this
child down the birth canal....

Just my (non flaming) two cents...


On May 20, 4:58 am, J=E1nos L=F6bb <janos.l... at> wrote:
> On May 19, 2009, at 7:01 AM, magma wrote:
> > Are you wolfing tonight?
> > Not yet the title of a new pop song, but wolfing (or walphing) is the
> > new thing to do on the net. Not necessarily lonesome.
> > Wolfram|Alpha went live in test mode at 8:48pm CST on Friday 15th May.
> > While its fictional "city" cousin HAL comes from Urbana, W/A is
> > perhaps more "rural" coming from Champaign :-)
> > It can't yet play chess and hasn't killed anybody yet, but it's
> > nevertheless a killer app.
> Yes, it is a killer app.  It kills itself !!
>   Just type into it "Ampere's law" and watch what do you get.
> Or, if You do not want to bother yourself with such bagatelle, type
> in: "Map of lung cancer in Connecticut"  and see what is unfolding.
> J=E1nos
> P.S.  Of course if I type the same in Google, I am getting something.

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