December, 2007       -- 365  days of Google Answers

 "The amount of new information stored on paper, film, magnetic, and optical media has about doubled in the last three years."  How Much Information? 2003, (University of California at Berkeley)  


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    This is the darkest month of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere at least.  So it's an appropriate time to discuss the "dark web" or the "deep web", the part of the Internet that isn't illuminated by the spotlight of search engines.


    This invisible portion of the worldwide web includes:

    *  databases that are unsearchable by search engines

    *  private corners of the TCP/IP network that sit behind corporate firewalls, often with proprietary data

    *  proprietary databases run by commercial companies such as Lexis/Nexis or the Thomson Gale databases

    *  information that is unreadable, often due to proprietary formats


    The Berkeley study, 'How Much Information, 2003', estimated that between 400 and 550 times as much data is available on the "deep web".  BrightPlanet came to a similar conclusion.


    This Google Answer on "Information Growth" treats the topic in more detail.


    Search tip:


    Some excellent databases that are difficult or impossible for search engines to penetrate include:


    SEC EDGAR -- filings of public corporations with the Securities & Exchange Commission


    Property tax records for your county, most of which are now online in the U.S.  One good example is Hillsborough County, FL (Tampa), which even has diagrams of the property and buildings.


    U.S. Census data, which is maddeningly scattered in hundreds of reports.  Included in here is the U.S. government's Statistical Abstract, which has data back to 1878.


     Cornell Law School's Supreme Court Collection, with well-organized information on decisions.


    The Smithsonian Institution's photography collection, so badly organized that the museum now has at least three entry points on the Internet for images -- none with complete coverage.  But the link here is one of the most-complete for historical collections. 


    Retrosheet's box scores for an enormous number of Major League Baseball games played since 1871.


     And search engines are constantly being changed to improve search techniques.  In December 2006, Google announced a beta version of searches in the U.S. government's database of 7 million patents.  The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office web page is quite good, though curiously it is missing some patents like the original Wright Brothers' airplane patent. 







On this day:


Saturday, Dec. 1:

  * Playboy Magazine hits the news stands for the first time in 1953.  Though the magazine was quickly profitable, Playboy TV took 13 years to get into the black:


Sunday, Dec. 2: Advent (336)

 * Ford introduces the new Model A in 1927. Pricing for its predecessor and some Ford history:



Monday, Dec. 3:

  * King Camp Gillette applies for a patent on a safety razor with disposable blades in 1901.  How to care for those razor blades:


Tuesday, Dec. 4:

  *  First Heisman trophy awarded in 1935 to Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.  One woman has married two Heisman winners:


Wednesday, Dec. 5: Hanukkah (339)

  * Charlemagne becomes King of the Franks in 771.  Pictures of Charlemagne's Chapel in Aachen, Germany:


Thursday, Dec. 6:

  * The explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbor on this day in 1917 was so powerful that it was used in preliminary estimates of the strength of the atomic bomb:


Friday, Dec. 7:

  * Misinformation following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941:


Saturday, Dec. 8:

*  John Lennon murdered in New York (1980).  Lennon's family background:


Sunday, Dec. 9:

 * On this day in 1992, the separation of Princess Diana and Prince Charles is announced.  Other significant events for this date:



Monday, Dec. 10:

  * On this date in 1910, the first five Nobel Prizes were awarded (Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Medicine and Peace) were awarded in Stockholm:


Tuesday, Dec. 11:

  * Six years ago on this day China entered the WTO.  An early estimate of the impact:


Wednesday, Dec. 12:

  * Largest one-day drop in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, 24.39% in 1914.  Tracking the Dow:


Thursday, Dec. 13:

  *  Ellis Bell publishes 'Wuthering Heights' in 1847.  That was Emily Bronte's pseudonym at publication. Bronte never married:


Friday, Dec. 14:

  * Birthday of Nostradamus in 1503 at the start of the French Renaissance.  His prophecies on war:


Saturday, Dec. 15:

  * Birthday of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, French engineer.  Nine other things to do in Paris besides visiting his radio tower:


Sunday, Dec. 16:

  * Boston Tea Party in 1773.  More on the tax:




Monday, Dec. 17:

  *  Dealing with awkward gift-giving requirements at Christmas:


Tuesday, Dec. 18:

  *  What it takes to start a Christmas tree farm:


Wednesday, Dec. 19:

  *  Lutefisk is a Scandinavian lye-soaked cod dish served at Christmas.   But is it Norwegian or Swedish?


Thursday, Dec. 20: Eid-al-Adha (354)

  * The Louisiana Purchase was completed on this date in 1803, which soon made New Orleans the second largest port in the U.S.:


Friday, Dec. 21:

  * On this day in 1933, 20th Century Fox signed 5-year-old Shirley Temple to a studio contract.  She appeared in "Little Miss Marker" early in 1934:


Saturday, Dec. 22: Winter Solstice (356)

  * The U.S. Golf Association was formed in New York City on this date in 1894, forerunning the creation of the "golf widow":


Sunday, Dec. 23: Emperor's Birthday -- Japan (357)

  *  Holiday tipping protocol for personal services people:



Monday, Dec. 24:

  * With the support of Puritans, in the mid-1600s the English government suppressed Christmas as a holiday:


Tuesday, Dec. 25: Christmas (359)

  *  Christmas becomes a national holiday in the U.S. in 1890:


Wednesday, Dec. 26: Boxing Day (360)

  *  Though Boxing Day is widely celebrated in the Commonwealth countries, its origins are uncertain:


Thursday, Dec. 27:

  * HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, sets sail in 1831.  Darwinism's development during the 19th Century:


Friday, Dec. 28:

  * Born on this day in 1934: Dame Maggie Smith, known widely as Prof. Minerva McGonagall in the "Harry Potter" movies.  Send her a birthday card here:


Saturday, Dec. 29:

  * Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, considered the last between American natives and U.S. troops.  History of other battles:


Sunday, Dec. 30:

  * The Poison Prevention Packaging Act is signed this day in 1970. A history of poison warnings:



Monday, Dec. 31:New Year's Eve (365)

  * According to the U.S. Copyright Office, any works published on or before this date in 1922 are in the public domain:




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