Sunday, December 22, 2013

Life, the universe, and everything considered as a helix of semiprecious Star Trek episodes

Version 0.2

Life, the Universe, and Everything Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Star Trek Episodes (and as explored with Internet search engines)

Well, it started as a kind of joke of a meme when I woke up this morning. Initially it seemed like a kind of zen collapse item, then as a humorous meme to claim, but now it feels like an overblown mockery of Delaney's truly original and creative story "Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones" from 1970. According to today's google report, the "considered as a helix" meme has 13.5 million. It appears Microsoft's bing is taking it more loosely, with 252 million hits on the unquoted form, but a mere 52,800 for the quoted string. Of course that leads back to a quoted search on the google, which yields 538,000 hits. All of the top hits are to the Delaney story, but this is clearly a highly contagious meme.

The titular form of this blog is then seen as a personal idiosyncrasy. I happened to be impressed by these three memes, with Delaney's as the natural uber-meme. to unify them. However, now I'm more interested in other people's extensions of the original Delaney meme, which I think is captured in the central phrase "considered as a helix"... Both of the unquoted searches quickly lead into unrecognizable territory, predictably dominated by the relatively unusual word "helix". My jumps are generally by 5 pages of search results at a time, and show an interesting range of wit and thought.

Actually, my most interesting discovery is that the google claims are misleading. Apparently the google runs out of steam at 217 results, while the hits are still dominated by references to the original meme, and it isn't clear how to force it to show the rest of the potentially more interesting hits that it claims to know about. That's only 22 pages of search results. In contrast, bing kept on trying to 605 results, when it suddenly decided it had had enough.

Adding -time to the search exposed many more of the derivative memes. Only 21 from bing versus 137,000 from the google? Interesting and stark contrast. In the next obvious step, it appears that I am the first to add "everything considered as a helix" to the Internet, insofar as both search engines reported no hits and unquoted the string for their searches... Kind of amazing how quickly we can get into the unexplored territory, isn't it?