Monday, December 07, 2009

Trend setting

Here's the newest thing from Google. You can track apparent correlations in the frequency with which various terms show up over time. Above I've compared William James (red) with two marine animals of which he made metaphorical use. Not only does the crab (gold), which refuses to be classed as a crustacean but insists "I am MYSELF, MYSELF alone!" in the opening of the Varieties of Religious Experience, outpace him (especially in summer), but both are put to shame by the wild and unpredictable exploits of octopus (blue), though it's not necessarily the "PhD octopus" James thought was strangling American higher education, I suppose. It's just amazing what one can discover! It sure looks like information, like there's got to be a story to tell...

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