Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A strange attractor in web search

Looking through the stats, I see that one of the search terms that landed someone here at Field Notes recently was "How many threes are in a dozen?"

That sentence does appear in this blog, unlikely though that might seem, in a post in which I summarized, among other things, odd search terms that had brought people to Field Notes.  At the time it was sheer coincidence that that search happened to work, but of course since I mentioned it, it's no longer coincidence.  Moreover, since I'm mentioning it again here, I am practically putting myself forth as an expert on the subject.  Search engines are still figuring out the use-mention distinction.

The exact phrase "How many threes are in a dozen?" turns up only two hits (soon to be three).  Since the other one is a discourse on riddles, I should mention that I don't know the intended answer.  The only ones I can come up with are:

  • Um, four, right?
  • None -- there are no threes in "a dozen"
  • 220 (that's the math degree talking)
[And, of course, right after I hit the publish button I realized the right answer is almost certainly 12]

1 comment:

earl said...

I got 20