Me: "See? Other than a brief period in the 1880s, it's always been 'great aunt.'"
Ann: "What is that? You're showing me a graph and I don't even know what it means."
Me: "It's the Google NGram viewer. We scanned all the books we could find and indexed all of the words and phrases."
Athena: "You took a picture of the books?"
Me: "Well yeah... actually, that's exactly what they did."
Athena mimes holding a book and turning the pages: "It's like this?" She pretends a camera is sneaking up behind her. "Click! Hey, what are you doing, you're crazy!!!"
Me: "Ha, no kiddo, they didn't sneak up behind people and wait for them to turn the page. That would be very rude! They built machines to take pictures of the pages."
Maybe removing anonymity can reduce the percentage, but it seems like there's always going to be some non-trivial percentage of nastiness. At least on the web you can design moderation and ranking systems to mitigate the effect on the overall discourse.
- Support Engineer, Search Quality Team, present
This is my personal account, but feel free to follow if you're interested in stuff related to Google, web design, programming, maps, photography, random funny things my kids says, and related geekery.
- Ohio Wesleyan University
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Childhood Development - Languages and Learning - New York Times
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