November 29th, 2006

distributed postmodern agitprop

The search for search answers (2 of 2)

To: "Fang, Claw N" <>
From: "Technical Support - FeralNet" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006, 21:54:02 GMT -0800
Subject: FWD: Re: That search we were talking about

And here it is.

-- Forwarded Message -------------------------------------
To: "CB Fox (Feralnet)" <>
From: "George Sinclair" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006, 18:16:34 GMT -0800
Subject: Re: That search we were talking about

> > A mystery indeed! Do you mind if I do a
> > little digging and blog about your friend's
> > search?
> Should be alright :) But just in case, maybe you
> should take his name out of it entirely, and any
> context for the search? I know he wants his
> privacy.

Fair enough. Here's what I posted.

Subject: A dwivination Discovery
Tags: dwivination, tinfoil hat, current events

Regular readers of our dev-team blog already know that one of our favorite games here at bwim is trying to puzzle out "dwivinations," those search results that are so counterintuitive or bizarre that even magic seems insufficient to explain them.

Another stellar example comes to us today by way of a friend of mine who just got hired to dwim-dev. (Congratulations, and see you in the office!) He related to me a search that someone shared with him regarding the New Atlantis Project's recent run-ins with the U.S. government. Take a look at totp://dwim.mag/search?type=saved&user=geosincronous&id=f55HX2aOTp95dB and tell me that didn't send your jaw to the floor.

For those of you following along without magitech or who are too lazy to click on the link, that would be a dwiv for "Why isn't the government magically searching for the Discovery?" (the Discovery being the NAP's flagship on their island-raising mission; great reading on them in the current Vanity Parade.) The top link goes to (subscription wall; BugMeNot). In a nutshell, a September news brief about a history professor being injured in a natural gas leak.

As others have written here, us non-digital beings can easily create ways to link two seemingly unrelated events -- albeit implausible and/or uncomfortable ways. We just don't expect our computers to have that same power. And they don't; search results follow a strictly logical and verifiable process. While DWIM's searches are based on proprietary magical technology, that magic serves exactly two well-defined purposes: Organizing the end user's thoughts, to distill vague desire for knowledge into a coherent question with a coherent answer; and comparing that question against a database of human-generated knowledge.

It can't know anything we don't already know; it can't play the what-if games that lead us into conspiracy theories. It can only search for and connect public facts. The chain that DWIM follows unrolls from question to partial answer to refined question to better answer, etc. It can't go anywhere the facts don't lead.

So how did it make the seemingly conspiratorial link between the continuing inaction of the world's most powerful government and a single barely notable pipe failure? As usual, the results of dev-team research are below the fold, to give readers a chance to scour the Web themselves before seeing the "official" conclusions.

Collapse )

Readers, feel free to flesh out the research or post questions below. As always, we welcome your dwivination submissions at

- geo
pacific torus vedic echoes

The search for search answers (1 of 2)

To: "Fang, Claw N" <>
From: "Technical Support - FeralNet" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006, 21:53:17 GMT -0800
Subject: Getting some DWIM answers

Yay new magitech! Hee hee ... sorry to laugh at your frustration with 3T, but you have to admit that's funny :-D

As for the search. Whoah. Let's see if I can explain this.

First of all, I passed it on to Geo, who gave me the dwim lead in the first place. You and Claw met him last year at Jen's wedding. He's on the dwim development team. They love little mysteries like this.

Don't worry, I didn't mention the Gold search. I'm not stupid ;-)

He's getting back to me with what he finds out. I'll pass that on probably later tonight.

But he did explain to me a little about what they call "dwivinations." It's only a few searches that can turn up freaky results like that. If there's too little information available on the web, it will say essentially "I don't know", like with the Discovery location. If there's a lot of information available, it will go for the most reliable, like with the Gold murders. So basically neither of those is going to turn up different results than you got, no matter how you word it. Unless new facts come up and get made public.

btw, my search results for the government search thing were the same. So it wasn't just you.

I also tried out the search you suggested, about latitude and longitude. What it gave me was totp://dwim.mag/search?type=saved&user=justthefox&id=f6aAqj38CehS4b&authas=redwolves, the coordinates of the island the vacation pictures you mentioned were taken on. Those pictures were the first result in the plus sign. So I got a more specific answer but based on the same info. Hehehe ... I guess your search with the Pacific map shows dwim has a sense of humor :)

As for Claw ... I don't know. :( I'm worried too but I'm worried for both of you. You guys have been with each other a long time ... please don't let this hurt you, ok?

He owes you an explanation but you don't even know he was involved with whatever happened. Don't assume he lied until you have a chance to talk. If you think it would be easier maybe I can ask him. Let me know.

And look ... I hate seeing you like this. Maybe it would help to come over on Saturday and we can spend the night? I know it's been a while ... I don't want this to be awkward, I never did. But you've been having some rough times. I'd hate myself if I couldn't make the offer. Getting some of this off your chest or maybe getting a little distracted might do you good?

Love you, wuffie. Things will be ok.

## ## ## CB Fox, Systems Analyst and Senior Technical Support ## ## ##
Phone (510) 555-HOWL ext. 144;; on-call 9am-9pm Mon-Sat
# FeralNet - The nation's first theri-run ISP, serving the S.F. Bay Area
Open to all * Quality service * Dial-up, ISDN, DSL.