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What Does Google Suggest Suggest About Humanity? 513

Posted by samzenpus
from the fire-makes-things-hot dept.
CNETNate writes "You'll laugh, but mostly you'll cry. Some of the questions Google gets asked to deliver results for is beyond worrying. 'Can you put peroxide in your ear?', 'Why would a pregnancy test be negative?', and 'Why can't I own a Canadian?' being just a selection of the truly baffling — and disturbing — questions Google is regularly forced to answer."

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What Does Google Suggest Suggest About Humanity?

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  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by crumbz (41803) <.moc.liamg>maps ... uj>maps_evomer> on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:42PM (#30008504) Homepage

    Now my curiosity is piqued. WHY can't I own a Canadian? Or at least lease one for a year?

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Guido del Confuso (80037) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:50PM (#30008642)

      Try actually searching for those terms. It's the title of an essay satirizing Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Biblical literalism. Not so weird, really, in context.

      This is two monumentally stupid articles I've seen from CNET UK in as many days (the other one being the power plugs article from yesterday). If Slashdot continues to post them, I think we should insist on a tag just for that site so we can filter them out.

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by johnlcallaway (165670) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#30009042)
        The "Why can't I own a Canadian" is a wonderful essay that slams using religious texts for moral arguments by using parts of the bible people don't quote to justify slavery, stoning, and killing. As part of the essay, it uses Old Testament text that seems to justify owning slaves as long as they are not from your own country. As for the peroxide search, it's a treatment for getting wax out of your ear, although I don't know if it works or not.

        I was in Chennai several years ago and noticed no one was in the water other than wading. My friend told me most Indians don't know how to swim. I figured it was probably because they don't have the same infrastructure in place as the US in teaching swimming. Maybe someone from India can shed some additional light on that and solve that mystery.

        Just another worthless piece from what passes for news these days. Maybe someday reporters will get away from their desks and actually go out and report on news.
        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by using parts of the bible people don't quote to justify slavery, stoning, and killing. As part of the essay, it uses Old Testament text that seems to justify owning slaves as long as they are not from your own country.

          There are reasons for that. It's called "context."

          If you want to argue whether or not slavery has ever been ok according to the Bible, that's one thing; if you want to apply what laws that the Bible states were given to a particular nation at a particular time in history for a very specific purpose to current nations and thus show how the Bible condones modern day slavery, then you have major contextual issues. It would be similar to me taking a quote from a 3rd century Greek philosopher about how Greeks

          • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by pluther (647209) <pluther@u s a . net> on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:40PM (#30009366) Homepage

            Yes.

            That's kind of the entire point of that article.

            It was a response to people using that same section of the bible to justify their modern day opposition to the rights of gays.

            • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:49PM (#30009494)

              I should read the article.

              Hopefully it does not simply say "the Bible is wrong about this, so why use it for that?" as - whether true or not - that misses the "out of context" point.

              People that believe the Bible still very, very, very frequently take it out of context and simply use it as proof of their own ideas. "proof-texting." Finding texts to prove your idea instead of finding the idea the text is giving...

        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:37PM (#30009316) Homepage Journal

          There are those who suggest that many of the early books in the Old Testament aren't exactly God's commandments to his followers, but rather a historical accounting. For instance, the Old Testament lists the kashrut laws. This does not mean that Christians must keep a kashrut diet.

          The Torah has 613 Mitzvot, commandments, or laws. Yet there are 10 commandments directly attributed to God. If you read the Old Testament, you'll see that there is a story arc in which God goes from having simple commandments and dealing directly with his people, to his people intentionally seperating themselves, wanting to establish government, establish a complex priesthood, and then develop these complex laws.

          I don't think it is far to say that the Mitzvot constitute Biblical law in any true sense.

          That means fundamentalists who want to come down on gays suddenly don't have much in the way of Biblical evidence to support themselves, but it also means those that want to mock Judeo-Christian beliefs can't uphold the silliness contained within the 613 Mitzvot either.

          • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:00PM (#30010398) Homepage Journal

            That means fundamentalists who want to come down on gays suddenly don't have much in the way of Biblical evidence to support themselves

            Half true, half false.

            Christians don't have the authority to "come down" on _anyone_.

            However, there are several places in the new testament where male adulterousness, male homosexuality, and at least one spot where female homosexuality are discussed and condemned, either by Paul or Jesus.

            A quick search for "new testament homosexuality" will let you read about a variety of interpretations of a variety of new testament passages.

            Naturally two groups of people can read the same text, both claim to be experts in translating the original written language, and come to different conclusions.

            The question of the sinfulness of homosexuality is important not because it grants or revokes a license to stone gay people, but because if it is infact sinful, those who continue to willfully sin without repentance are condemned by God. There are other more practical and earthly ramifications: those who wilfully sin and refuse to repent are not fit for membership (much less leadership) in the church body.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by lessthan (977374)
              When did Jesus condemn homosexuality? I was aware that Paul did, but I always thought that Jesus had never said anything. Plus, he did heal the centurion's lover, which seems a little incompatible with condemnation.
        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

          by MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:40PM (#30009368)

          peroxide in the ear is a common treatment for ear infections, ingrown hairs, cuts and ear infections. it can also be used to flush out foreign bodies like the small stones that children like to shove in them

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by biryokumaru (822262) *

          My friend told me most Indians don't know how to swim.

          In the US Navy, the overwhelming majority of those who require special training to qualify for basic swimming proficiency are African American. Whether this is due to cultural or socioeconomic influences, I do not know. But it is very often the case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by molnarcs (675885)

        This is two monumentally stupid articles I've seen from CNET UK in as many days (the other one being the power plugs article from yesterday). If Slashdot continues to post them, I think we should insist on a tag just for that site so we can filter them out.

        You forced me to ask google if it's possible to have an allergy to humour...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dmmiller2k (414630)

      You can't possibly be serious. You can rent one for a day at a time if you can find an available one. But, the best I've ever heard of is a 1-week timeshare, but you'll never get the week you want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Along those same lines I was pondering the question at the top of the article "Why would a little girl in Yorkshire think Jesus was born in an egg?" Oddly phrased, and I don't think google is the place to search for insight on the immaculate conception, but if you believe that, it WOULD be an interesting embryological issue. Was it like a human egg and, er... a set of divine chromesomes or what? I bet some church scholar has talked about that more than any person reasonably should, it's entirely possible

      • Was it like a human egg and, er... a set of divine chromesomes or what? I bet some church scholar has talked about that more than any person reasonably should, it's entirely possible that got transcribed and computerized.

        The Biblical texts don't comment, so I don't think many church scholars should comment on it, either. It appears to be pretty clearly stated that she was a virgin... that was the whole point of the visits to Joseph by angels, etc.

        Just random though (I'm not a "church scholar," so I can comment! hehe) - if God is Biblically able to create the entire world, I'm pretty sure He would be able to fertilize a human egg (and give it actual human chromosomes) without needing one of His created men involved. If you

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:16PM (#30009010)

      Because they got sk1ll5, and you are a n00b.

    • by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:41PM (#30009376)

      I own a Canadian. Cost me everything I have, and everything I ever will have. Worth every penny.

      However, independent observers may conclude she owns me. ...sorry, gotta run, being paged...

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

      by click2005 (921437) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:51PM (#30009520)

      Can you put peroxide in your ear?

      Yes, unless its frozen.

      Why would a pregnancy test be negative?

      Because you're male

      Why can't I own a Canadian?

      You can until the ACTA comes into effect. From then, you must license your Canadian.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:43PM (#30008534)

    Why is the peroxide question that stupid? The only thing I can think of is that the person probably meant 'hydrogen peroxide', and then I think it's a pretty reasonable question.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:03PM (#30008834) Homepage

      I agree. Hydrogren peroxide is a common home remedy for ear-aches and wax buildup. It seems reasonable (and even smart) for someone, upon receiving advice to put hydrogen peroxide in his ears, to plug it into Google to see if it's actually a good idea.

      I also don't think "Why would a pregnancy test be negative?" is that crazy a question. Yes, there's the obvious answer (you're not pregnant), but one might assume the intention of the question is "Are there reasons why a pregnancy test would be negative even if the woman were pregnant?" Pregnancy tests aren't 100% accurate, after all, so someone might have just wanted to know what factors might throw one off.

      In fact, most of the questions in this article are pretty valid questions that I can understand a person wanting the answer to. "Am I going into labor?" Well it's not necessarily immediately obvious, and there's even such a thing as "false labor". "Why would a married man cheat?" It's a valid question, and I bet there are interesting scientific studies that try to address the question.

      • >>>"Why would a married man cheat?" It's a valid question, and I bet there are interesting scientific studies that try to address the question.
        >>>

        How about: "Why do little girls not have breasts?" Or the corollary: "Why do humans have breasts?"

    • I wondered the same thing. In fact my own doctor told me that it's a hydrogen peroxide in warm water solution that is used to syringe wax out of your ears.
  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:44PM (#30008548) Journal
    "How is babby formed?"
  • Peroxide (Score:5, Informative)

    by gauauu (649169) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:45PM (#30008560)

    Can you put peroxide in your ear?

    Why is this disturbing? Pouring peroxide in your ear bubbles like crazy (and feels rather nice), and supposedly helps remove built-up ear wax. But some sources say it does more harm (drying and/or irritating the ear) than good.

    Either way, it's about as disturbing as asking whether I can put a Q-tip in my ear.

    • Re:Peroxide (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Enahs (1606) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:53PM (#30008688) Journal

      I do this on occasion. It's been beneficial, imho. Stupid author is stupid.

    • by athakur999 (44340)

      I suppose if you're ridiculously pedantic, you'd interpret "can you put peroxide in your ear?" as meaning "is it physically possible to put peroxide in your ear?" and the answer, of course, is yes and you'd have a good LOL and go back to counting the number of hairs on your arm.

      Normal people, on the other hand, will interpret it as "is it a good idea to put peroxide in your ear?" which is indeed a valid and good question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:47PM (#30008588)

    Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

  • by kidblast (413235) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:48PM (#30008604)

    "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

    • by Znork (31774)

      Frankly, I'm disappointed that 'diy' doesn't seem to suggest 'surgery' in the top list. The results of that query I think says more about humanity than google suggests suggestions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dogmatixpsych (786818)
      I know that quote is humorous but it is technically wrong. "Average" intelligence extends +/- 10 points the mean IQ score (set at 100, with a standard deviation of 15) - although, there are people who consider average to be +/- 20 IQ points. In any case, 50-68% (or even higher) of people have "average" IQ (intelligence).

      This means that the "average" person only has a maximum of 25% of the population with a lower IQ. I know that's technical but when we (psychologists) talk about average intelligence, avera
  • Personal anecdote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:49PM (#30008620) Homepage

    I once many years ago went to Google HQ to interview for a part-time job. In the lobby, right above the receptionist's desk, they had a big scrolling LCD thingy that shows actual searches that have been sent to the search engine.

    The list was censored so that nothing NSFW would pop up, of course, but it was far from perfect. So me and my friend got treated to a good one: "voir les culottes de filles."

    • by Zoxed (676559)

      > So me and my friend got treated to a good one: "voir les culottes de filles."

      And in other news Google Translate gets /.ed !

  • Juts for kicks I used to enter strings of random words into google just to see what sort of associations popped out .. it made for minutes of harmless fun but it always produced interesting results.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:49PM (#30008628)

    Hydrogen Peroxide in your ears is a way to remove ear wax buildup.

    Idk what is so worrying about that.

  • by The_AV8R (1257270) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:50PM (#30008638) Homepage
    A radio personality named Dr. Laura Schlessinger, an orthodox jew, once said on her show that homosexuality was an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and could not be condoned under any circumstance. "Why Can't I Own A Canadian is the title of the letter in response to her comments [humanistsofutah.org].
  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:50PM (#30008640) Journal

    (No, not World of Warcraft.)

    I just tried the little experiment in TFA with the phrase "What are..."

    Google's #1 suggestion: "...these strawberries doing on my nipples I need them for the fruit salad"

    I boggle. I boggle at google.

    There's an amazing untold story there. I hope it stays that way.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:52PM (#30008664)

    Many of the "inane" questions in the article illustrate the stupidity of the journalist who wrote the article. Most of these questions are legitimate, with a legitimate answer.

    Some examples :
    Can you put peroxide in your ear?

    Actually, you can use it to remove earwax and to disinfect your ear if you went swimming in dirty water. It's a perfectly safe, legitimate use.

    Am I going in labour?

    Actually, other pains can be mistaken for labor, and it takes hours to develop in many women. Perhaps you're a woman, and you want to know if that abdominal pain was your first contraction or just a GI problem.

    Am I having a heart attack?

    Again, it's possible to mistake heartburn and cracked ribs for a heart attack. Maybe you should see what the symptoms are before you blow $300 at the Emergency Room.

    Why can't black people swim? Why can't white people dance? Both must be stereotypical behaviors, and maybe there is a reason why it can seem like both are true.

    Can you drink your own urine?

    Again, a legitimate question. In a desperate situation, drinking your own urine may extend your survival under some environmental conditions. It's commonly mentioned in media.

    Why would a pregnancy test be negative?

    Yes, it's possible to get a negative test and be pregnant.

    Can two women make a baby?

    Yes, it's possible with newly developed technology to create sperm from stem cells. However, it has never been demonstrated in humans and may be quite unsafe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (1) Google "What is the chance" and facepalm away.

      (2) Slate had an article this week about the differences between how people ask google questions. It's enlightening.

      http://www.slate.com/id/2234019/

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Any Web Loco (555458)
      "...blow $300 at the Emergency Room."
      Ok so a little off-topic but if you think you're having a heart attack you should not have to think twice about seeking medical advice - cost should not hold you back. One of the advantages of socialised health care I guess...
  • The "Why can't I own a Canadian" question comes from this joke: http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html [humanistsofutah.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:57PM (#30008746)

    Me:
    what is the

    Google:
    date today
    meaning of life
    population of Canada
    name of bo and luke dukes 69 dodge charger in the tv series the dukes of hazzard
    population of the world
    sum of days in a week months in a year hours in a day
    largest city in canada
    canadian dollar worth
    best laptop
    capital of california

    I don't know how their system works, but I don't think it's based on actual searches that people have done. I mean, how many people who google for the name of the Dukes' car would actually type a full sentence like that?

    Another one I just tried:

    Me:
    what's worse than
    Google:
    a pile of dead babies

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]

    and the end all most awesome/ most depressing question ever asked there:

    "how is babby formed, how girl get pragnent"

  • Jesus (Score:5, Funny)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:58PM (#30008760) Homepage

    FTFA: "Why would a little girl in Yorkshire think Jesus was born in an egg?"

    HAHA. What a stupid little girl. Everyone knows that Jesus was born to Mary after she immaculately conceived him by receiving God's seed somehow.

    An egg. LOL.
    Moron.

    • Everyone knows the holiday Easter came from the three wise-men scouring the desert looking for the egg of Jesus.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If you type in "why is" one of the first suggestions is "why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?"

      I just poked my head in the living room. It's actually a pretty good question.

  • How can I nail...

    I expected Google to suggest, "a hot chick." at minimum, but instead it suggested nothing.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:58PM (#30008776) Journal
    Of this piece is the same issue that plagues the "Dear God, look at Yahoo Answers, and weep for humanity" articles.

    Obviously, the internet is, in fact, filled with fucktards; but it is also full of people searching for jokes, people trolling for the lulz, satire, google bombing, etc. Without reasonably solid statistics munching, you can't really say whether a given query is common because people are searching for it in seriousness, in jest, because they are mocking the people who were searching for it seriously, etc, etc.
  • We typed: 'Why can't...'
    Google suggests: '...black people swim?'

    Answer: There is no answer to this question. It's demented to even ask it.

    In fact, not quite so stupid, black people can swim, just not as well as white people, and it is all due to average density and skeleton formation.

    • by GuyFawkes (729054)

      Replying to myself...

      The flipside is white people can run, just not as well as black people, for the same bone / skeleton reasons.

      (human racism has always seemed to me like a labrador and a retriever arguing who us best... )

  • by syousef (465911) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:09PM (#30008900) Journal

    Since when is it now laughable or stupid to ask questions to relieve oneself of ignorance? I'd say it's stupid to want to stay ignorant.

    Basing your actions entirely on one or two less than credible sources might be stupid. I wouldn't put peroxide in my ear for instance without making sure I had plenty of credible sources to back that action. However asking the question on a search engine which might lead me to such credible sources is anything but stupid.

    Whoever came up with this tripe is the one that's stupid. We don't need to praise willful ignorance, when knowledge is just a google query away...

  • So I tried a few of the searches myself, I wanted to see what these pages actually said. After reading the article here [christwire.org], I found myself in a world of hilarity. The web is an interesting place.
  • by Explodicle (818405) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:28PM (#30009204) Homepage
    We typed: 'Am I going...'
    Google suggests: '...into labour?'
    Answer: There's an easy and reliable way to test. Is there a brand-new human poking out of your lower body? If yes, then congratulations, you're going into labour. More accurately, you're already in it.


    I'm amazed that these guys make fun of a question, act like wiseasses who know the answer, yet did not read the results of the search! The early stages of labor can start DAYS before birth, and false labor is very common.
  • OK, this is kind of dumb. As others point out, most of these questions have reasonable explanations. But I think this (http://i.imgur.com/EYY9.png) is actually interesting.

    The way someone words his question appears to be correlated to how educated the question actually is.

  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:39PM (#30009354)
    One of the sites I like to look at from time to time is a blog of webmasters who post some of the more bizarre search requests that have led people to their sites. A recent one: "masturbate with armor all". http://www.disturbingsearchrequests.com/ [disturbing...quests.com]

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