Google and Googol

5 03 2009

I apologize for not posting in a while. There’s this wonderful Flu thing going around, and I was lucky enough to have won the lottery on that contest. Now, if I could only win the real lottery….

Anyways, I have an interesting tidbit about Google. I had a high schooler ask me what a googol was. First, I had to explain that a googol was NOT a search engine, but a math term, and the search engine creators made a word play on the math word Googol. Now, if you were to go to Wikipedia or some other source of information on the web (like there aren’t any…) and look up Google, it would take you directly to information about the search engine.

The real math term is spelled GOOGOL, and was coined in 1938. There are a couple of ways of expressing exactly what a googol is, but it’s basically the number one (1) followed by one hundred zeros. Mathmatically, we write this as:


That is what a googol is. Its official English number name is ten duotrigintillion. But you already knew that, right? Now don’t get this confused with a Googolplex – that’s something different, but incorporates googols nontheless. But we’ll save that for another day! So go out and show your friends just how smart you are!

Penguin Awareness Day

21 01 2009

Hmm. Turns out, yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. Now, we all love those little birds in their little tuxedos, and we love it when they waddle to the shore, jump in and fly through the water.

I just find it a bit funny that this day just happened to be on Obama’s inaugeration day……..A relation, perhaps?

The World’s Fastest Typist

9 01 2009

Okay, in this wonderful age where we live in, surrounded by technology, we have records for all sorts of things. We type on keyboards, we play piano on keyboards, we type on cell phones and PDAs. So I thought I would dedicate today to the current world record holder of typing, Barbara Blackburn.

Here’s an article I found on her. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….


Barbara Blackburn, the World’s Fastest Typist

Typing, Fastest. Mrs. Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon maintained a speed of 150 wpm for 50 min (37,500 key strokes) and attained a speed of 170 wpm using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) system. Her top speed was recorded at 212 wpm. Source: Norris McWhirter, ed. (1985), THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS, 23rd US edition, New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

How did she type so fast? The key, so to speak, is in the keyboard design. Blackburn would type on nothing but the Dvorak keyboard, which has vowels on one side and consonants on the other, with the most frequently used letters on the center row. “It makes much more sense than the standard, so-called Qwerty keyboard (named after the first five letters on the top row),” Blackburn said. In fact, it was the Qwerty keyboard that was her undoing in high school typing class back in Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

“Typing was the bane of my existence.” She remembered how her I-minus (I for Inferior) typing grade kept her from graduating at the top of her class. As it was, she graduated third in a class of 46 students. In 1938, as a freshman in business college, Blackburn first laid hands on a Dvorak keyboard. She took to it like a fish to water. In only a few years her speed was up to 138 words per minute.

Blackburn had been such a whiz in her other high school classes, it was no surprise that she would attempt to better her record as a typist, given a chance. The Dvorak keyboard was what gave her the chance. When a representative of the Royal Typewriter Co. came to her business college looking for someone to train as a demonstrator of the Dvorak keyboard, she decided to give it a try.

In no time at all she was as good a typist as she was a bookkeeper and stenographer. She had won statewide contests in the latter two fields as a high school student, but the woman who taught all three courses at Pleasant Hill “was ashamed to admit I was in her typing class,” Blackburn remembered.

Carrying her own Dvorak typewriter with her wherever she worked after graduation from business college, Blackburn’s extraordinary talents paved her way. From 1939 to 1945 she worked as a legal secretary, and when she decided she needed a change of pace and left the law firm, “I left with the reputation as the best legal secretary in Kansas City,” she proudly recalled.

Suddenly there was a mad scramble of executives trying to nab her for their personal secretary.

Blackburn next worked at an electronics company, first as office manager and then as a sales engineer. She did speed typing demonstrations at the Canadian National Exposition and the Canadian Educational Conference. It was then that she was clocked for the the Guinness Book of World Records, in which she was listed for a decade as the world’s fastest typist (the category has since been removed). Blackburn went to work at State Farm Insurance in Salem, where she was employed in the word processing department until she retired in 2002.

Also, she starred in a television commercial for Apple Computers, which offered a switchable Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard with its Apple IIc model. When she was in New York to tape the commercial, she appeared on the David Letterman Show. But Letterman made a comedy routine out of what she thought was to be a serious demonstration of her typing speed, and Blackburn felt hurt by the experience. In her own words:

“The show aired on Thursday night, after I had returned back to Salem. They had taken my PR photo and blown it up to gigantic size) with the typewriter sitting on a stand (covered with a Plexiglas cover) in front of me and a little to the side with three men seated at a table with a big copy of my Thursday night paper sitting on an easel at the side. My photo took up the entire area behind the men. Letterman was standing beside the typewriter – his opening remark was “No doubt Ms. Blackburn is a very nice lady, but she has to be the biggest fraud and con artist in the world.” That he is still running it about every year completely astounds me! I have a complete tape of all of my TV appearances during my publicity reign, but I REFUSE TO WATCH THE LETTERMAN FIASCO.”

In the intervening years, Letterman’s comedy style has become better-understood and we’ve grown more accustomed to it. Nevertheless, anyone who has seen her whizzing fingers in action, as well as the flawless results on paper (her error frequency is two-tenths of one percent), can have no doubt that Barbara Blackburn will forever hold her place as the world’s fastest typist.

Mrs. Blackburn passed away in April, 2008.

Where it all began…

27 10 2008

A little girl wrote to Sarah Palin and asked; ‘How did the human race start?’

Sarah Palin answered, ‘God made Adam and Eve; They had children; and so was all mankind made.’

Two days later the girl wrote to Michelle Obama and asked the same question.

Michelle Obama answered,’Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.’

The confused girl went to her father and said, ‘Dad, how is it possible that Sarah Palin told me the Human race was created by God,

And Michelle Obama said they evolved from monkey?’

The father answered, ‘Well, Dear, it is very simple, Sarah Palin told you about her ancestors and Michelle Obama told you about hers.’

The picture says it all….

13 10 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Humor from abroad…

13 10 2008

You know, most Americans only think of ourselves in very specific ways.  Truth is, we’ve got it pretty damn good here.  So, for the next few days, I’m going to  be posting some cartoons as some of the people in other parts of the world view what’s happening with our lives.  To start, something rather patriotic, coming from Australia.  Very meaningful to me that someone halfway around the world sees this like I do:

Rotary Phones

10 10 2008

You know, I miss the old rotary phones.  They were absolutely wonderful!  You didn’t have to deal with any of this “Press 1 for English” Shit!   🙂