Sunday, May 08, 2005

Shitike Creek, Oregon, flooded roadPonderings:

Figment: does the word ever occur outside close proximity to the word imagination? It must do, yet I can't ever remember being aware of it as anything but a "a figment of my imagination". Google claims figment and imagination appear on the same page 266,000 times, out of 779,000 instances of the word figment. There are apparently 279,000 occurrences of the word figment without imagination appearing on the same page. Which according to my maths means there a 234,000 pages which feature the word figment but not imagination, but also do not not feature the word imagination. My brain is not in right state of randomness to begin to understand this.

Anyway, so apparently there are 279,000 pages in which figment is not used as part of that stock phrase. The early results appear to refer to various bands and brands (or dogs). The first one I find which doesn't feature figment as a name claims not to feature it at all. The next has: A figment spell creates a false sensation (from the glossary of the Dungeons and Dragons game). The third (and result number 77) is: Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error? And that's about it for the first hundred results. Figment when not being used as a name seems to be most common in reference to computer games and graphics, and even then it isn't that common.

While playing in Google, I noticed a the new Local button. E.g. Poughkeepsie? Is this going to be yet another stunning wonderful, but dead from Maine outwards, feature? Like Google Maps was until they noticed North America was not the only continent (no, there's the continent of Ukie too). Well, it might work. And that's quite a mighty might.

Getting links for Google Maps invoked that thing about bringing horses to water. I used the address The page loaded, and the address stayed as dot-com. The map loaded was the UK.

But as the only time I tried using it in earnest it told me to drive to Brighton via the M25 (if I wanted to go London on the way there, I'd get the train), I think I'll stick the AA for a while yet (as long as I never have to cope with one way streets; it knows they're there, it just isn't entirely accurate about which way they go).

Back to Local Google for local people. So do I try it, and be asked if I mean Ohio or Idaho? May as well. Except I decide to be really cruel and stick in a postcode instead of a name. Was I looking for quilt shops in Lafayette? Did I mean... woah, it actually worked. And that was with a partial postcode. And the results seem fairly accurate.

Oddly, as I reduce the search range, the number of results stays nearly the same, but the quality decreases, as Google quotes the Borough Council, and some lawyers, when I was looking for a supermarket (although I found out about a Thai market I didn't know about). It also gets a little petulant if one tries to search by county: Did I mean: town, county.

Just noticed on Google maps: England has an exhaust pipe. Just search for Dover (I don't know how to get functioning urls for the maps yet).

Running with yesterday's stats, and today's Google Maps theme: Shitike Creek Road. I was searching for where the heck Eugene is (it's about there, no, there, in Oregon), and having to zoom out some distance to find any recognisable feature. When I did, the most prominent thing was an unlabelled darker patch of greige somewhere northwest of Eugene. I try centring over it and zooming in, but there's not much detail other than some yellow road with 26 written inside a shield (I've never known which shape denotes what when it comes to American cartography). Zooming in further veins start to appear, including a cluster the other side of a lake from Madras (not that one). The yellow 26 road is now Warm Springs Highway. Zooming in further, the veins are roads with names, but no texture. And then I notice one of the names.

Shitike Creek Road? Just think of the minutes of entertainment a well placed paddle leant against the road sign could create. And the name does rather suggest there is a Shitike Creek (please, please, please let there be a Shitike Creek Whitewater Rafting Company or Canoeing Club).

Oh, I've just noticed the satellite option. Green and pleasant (it's a figure of speech, ok) set-squared land to the right, brown hills to the left. Lurid green streaks following rivers, and dusty blues hedging roads. Occasional blocks of white, sitting in dark scars.

A bit of research suggests my initial guess was correct, and it's some Indian Reservation. The featureless town is apparently Warm Springs, OR (and it's been raining).

Anyway, I think I'd better stop being puerile (unless I happen to be passing through Austria soon, which is oddly not yet on Google Maps).


try google: figment -imagination

Figment is the no-longer-original name de jour for ad agencies and consultants.
Ah. you did. And you found the other thing too.
Which now leaves me wondering: what is the original nom de jour for advertising agencies? (If that's not a slight oxymoron).
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