This morning I read a wonderful post on Alex Brown’s excellent blog, Do You Speak Science?, in which he addresses the questions that people search for before landing on his blog. I liked the idea so much that I decided to write a similar post over here at Inspiring Science. Let me know what you think of it — if you like the idea, I might make it a (semi-)regular feature!
Despite its title, this blog doesn’t answer a question that recently brought someone here: “Who is an inspirational scientist?”. I think many of the scientists I’ve met (or read) are inspirational, but I’m guessing “inspirational” is being used in a more public sense here. Off the top of my head, Carl Sagan & Stephen Jay Gould certainly fit the bill. If you’ve got a suggestion, please share it in the comments! (Note: David Attenborough, though incredibly inspirational, isn’t a scientist.)
I was amused to find out that the question “Why do women in different areas like different guys?” led someone to this blog. I guess I mention sexism & gender issues pretty frequently, and I did write a post entitled Why do men and women want different things?. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for the original question. Don’t different men/women generally like different people? I’ve never thought of it as correlating with areas; I thought that’s just how people are.
Someone searching for “Did our ancestors have group sex?” found this blog — probably thanks to my old post Debating our ancestors’ sex lives. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question (I’m not sure anyone really does!), but I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t have. Modern humans have group sex, as do some of our closest living relatives, so I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess that our forebears did, too.
Whoever asked “Why is it always the most incompetent people promoted to leadership positions?” (or, similarly, “Why do incompetent people get promoted?”) may have been left unsatisfied by my post about the Peter principle. If you were looking for emotional release and didn’t get it, I’m sorry. I can only hope that learning about the inherent problems in how people are promoted made you feel better.
This one isn’t a question, but it was so odd that I decided to include it anyway: “peacock tail breast milk”. I have no idea what that query is supposed to be about, but I hope my post about sexual selection and the brain satisfied whoever found it. I’m also really glad I was able to tell someone the name for “the earthly smelling substance after first raining”: petrichor.
I’m guessing it was the discussion about parasites and identity that drew in the person who asked, “What is the natural habitat of an emerald cockroach?”. I’ve never heard of an Emerald Cockroach (is there such a thing?), but if you were asking about the Emerald Cockroach Wasp, you’re in luck — I’m planning to write a whole post about it!
So, how about you?
- Have you done any unusual searches lately? What did you find?
- What strange searches have led people to your blog (or website)?
- How did you find Inspiring Science? What brought you here?
Ashana M said:
My favorite searches are those in scrips I can’t read–isn’t Google translate a marvelous thing? Not that most of the translations make sense, but that search in Cyrillic turned out to be gazelle–straightforward enough for Google to handle.
That sounds like fun! My list only has searches in Latin script; I’m not sure if that’s an actual result or because of how WordPress reports things.
I seem to remember that what brought me here was the title of the blog. About inspiring scientists, Edward O. Wilson… (:-)
I spent a long time agonizing about the title, so it’s great that it drew someone in — yay! EO Wilson is definitely a great scientist, though I’m not as fond of some of his more recent writing…
I agree about Wilson’s very last book, but if you read “Naturalist” or “The Creation”, they are awe-inspiring…
I just wanted to add that I think Neil Degrasse Tyson is a very inspiring scientist. An excellent speaker too. I once spent an afternoon watching youtube vids of him speaking.
I’ve heard of Neil Degrasse Tyson, but I’ve never read/heard anything by him. I should probably have a look! Thanks for the comment!
Definitely do so. There’s plenty of youtube videos featuring him available. He and Michio Kaku are some of my favorite scientists to listen to.
I’m glad you liked my post! For my part, I’ve started it as a monthly feature. What really gets to me about the fairly odd-seeming search terms is that my blog typically isn’t very highly ranked on search engines! So people must be going several pages into their results before finding me…
As for how I got here, I think you originally stumbled on my blog via Twitter somehow, and the rest is history.
iThanks for the idea! I may make a regular feature of this, depending on how frequently interesting queries lead people here. As for the question of getting visitors from searches despite not being well-ranked on search engines, I wonder it it’s an artefact of readers getting caught in the filter bubble? I often think that’s the case with this blog, though it is surprisingly well ranked for some search terms. 🙂
This is a great idea! I looked through the search terms that got people to my blog a while ago too, and found some fun things:
camera with photographer (that’s an alternative viewpoint for you)
show the picture and the place were it happened. (very mysterious)
you always further ages without me (sorry!)
love letters for boyfriend who left and come back (i’m afraid i can’t help you there)
1 (strange that that would bring someone to my blog)
what will happen if the ant migrate to the other place (they’ll settle)
gender stereotypes man and his cars (yeah, those men and their cars…)
right and wrong abstract photography (i’m not sure there is any right and wrong!)
i spend time in graveyards (you caught me there)
… and my favourite: man drenched in hot chocolate
I haven’t made any very strange searches in a while, but one that didn’t give me what I wanted was when I searched for images on google, and typed in “slave-maker queen”. It got me to all the wrong places; all I wanted, of course, was a picture of an ant queen.
I came here via Alex Brown’s tweet! I create so called Search Term Poetry from the search terms (about monthly) because they are too good not be published 😉
In particular I like those full sentences, especially questions:
“Can a mouse get into a microwave?” – a long-term classic since my first post on related experiences.
“Are gyroscopes magic?” – most recent, nearly viral question, often phrased as “Gyroscopes are magic”.
And now I have copied those grand search terms to your blog too and you will attract similar searchers 🙂
I would be delighted if you would join the circle of search term poets!
Welcome to my blog; I hope you like it! Thank you for sharing your strange search terms and the poetry you made from them. I like the idea of search term poetry; I think I might try my hand at it, though I’m not sure if the result will appear on Inspiring Science. Maybe I’ll add it to the next edition of this post, if there is one. 🙂
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Sedeer, do you mind if I steal your idea about “What brought you here” and post it in my blog? Now I am curious to know how people tend to find me. You will be fully credited and linked of course.
Please go ahead! The idea for this post isn’t mine, though; the credit and the link rightfully belong to Alex Brown, whose original post I copied.