Stuck with Google (recursively)

by | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The other day, for one reason or another, I did a Google search for the word “recursion.” According to Wikipedia, recursion

… in mathematics and computer science, is a method of defining functions in which the function being defined is applied within its own definition; specifically it is defining an infinite statement using finite components.

This is a screen shot of what Google gave me as a result of my search: (Click on the image for a larger version).

Look carefully at what Google suggests. It says.

Did you mean: recursion

The exact same word that I had searched for… For a moment or two I thought I had found a glitch in Google’s suggestion mechanism… but it suddenly hit me, that this was exactly what recursion meant! If I clicked on that link I would be taking the first step into an endless cycle, an infinite loop, which would end only when I “got it.”

This has been an inside joke amongst programmers for a while. Wikipeda provides one example from a hypothetical dictionary that goes as follows:

Recursion

If you still don’t get it, see: “Recursion”.

So in some sense Google provides a “working definition” of the word – that explains it better than just reading a definition in a dictionary. How cool is that. I think it is little games like this one that make Google so much fun to use.

(I must add that this is not a new discovery. The Wikipedia page about recursion does mention this Google trick – but it was new to me!)

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Amruta Patil’s Family Album

A few weeks ago I had featured Nina Paley, animator and story teller. I just discovered another amazing talent: graphic artist Amruta Patil. I got know Amruta through the desi blog ultrabrown which recently featured an interview (Amruta Patil and Kari: A short Q&A)...

KJZZ interview on STEAM education

KJZZ interview on STEAM education

I was interviewed recently by Mark Brodie of KJZZ.org for a story titled: STEM Vs. STEAM: Educators Urge Adding The Arts To Classrooms. You can listen to the interview on their page by clicking on the link above, or the MP3 below. My piece comes in at around the 3:14...

The more things change…

I had posted earlier about a recent commercial that, though arguing at one level that technology can fundamentally change education, seemed to stick to the standard-lecture (albeit in different and cooler modes of transmission). Just how little the discourse around...

Principled innovation in hiring

Principled innovation in hiring

We, in the Office of Scholarship and Innovation (OofSI), have never been big fans of the typical interview and hiring process. We are not sure that the process helps us identify the right people, and more importantly, we find the process to be unnecessarily opaque and...

TE150 & the hope of audacity

Matt Koehler and I were asked to create an audio introduction to TE150 for the ATT and MSU award ceremony, and website. It is amazing what three people can do in a couple of hours, given a microphone and Audacity (the open source audio editing software). Check it out...

Design & the Creation of artifacts

I just discovered through the PhD-Design list an online book titled "Design: Creation of artifacts in society" by Karl T. Ulrich. Ulrich is a professor at Wharton School. The book is entirely available online and is licensed under the Creative Commons license. I have...

Digital before his time

A recent story in the NYTimes about Peter Gabriel (An Old Rocker Gets Digital) brought back memories of Peter Gabriel's album covers. It tells you a lot about me that I know album covers better than I know his music! During his time with Genesis and later, when he...

TPACK (and friends) in T.H.E. Journal.

Matt Townsley sent me an email this morning informing me about a TPACK sighting in THE journal. Well... actually it's a journal whose title is THE journal! Does that make sense? Anyway, T.H.E. Journal (Transforming Education Through Technology) has an article by Dian...

BAIS: Implicit Bias in AI systems

BAIS: Implicit Bias in AI systems

I don't usually post about articles written by other people (however much I may like the study or the authors) but I am making an exception this time - mainly because I believe that this is a critically important piece of research that deserves wider recognition. In...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *