Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did you know...

... where the name Google comes from?

Google is a play on the word googol. A googol is the number

10100 ,

which is a one followed by 100 zeros. It looks like this:


The name 'googol' was invented by nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, the nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner, back in 1920.

The word was slightly scrambled, and used to name Google, to indicate the incredible high amount of information available on the web.

If you want to get an impression of how large a googol is, see what Schroeder had to say about that:

But somewhere out there in the vast possibilities of the landscape, there are even universes in which Lucy got lucky...

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  1. Well if there are only 10^500 theories in the landscape, and one Witten can show that 5 theories are all really the same theory, it should only take about 2.5 * 10^499 Wittens to reduce the landscape down to the one true theory of everything.

  2. I assumed that "google" was the atrifact of a search engine, that "looks-for", "finds" "seeks" ?

    Go-OGLE ?

    At least thats my interpretation!

  3. OOoops..should have been :
    Go-ogle = Go-look .

  4. How could you have lived without Google and Googleplex?

  5. Unless my TV is a liar (naw!), Microcrap's foetid (nee "Ask Jeeves") boasts 25 million inquiries last month. Google gets 260 million/day - it's one of the planet's largest server builders. I love living in the future!
    Did BillGates swallow it?

  6. Hi Paul,

    I thought something similar, but the interpretation comes from the Google-website itself, so I guess they'll know

    Google Corporate History

    Hi Anonymous,

    well, I apologize. Wondering where the name Google came from, searching for Googol+Motl wasn't exactly the first thing that crossed my mind.

    Hi Uncle,

    Some while ago I read a report about the Google headquarter, and it said they have all the entered search tags projected to a wall. Since that time I wonder what some Google employer might think when I type in search tags like cold+wimps+matter or so.



  7. You know Bee,

    By the Time ONE
    has experienced neing everyone else that exists, that has existed in his or her story, and that will exist ...
    or experienced being ONE of the many lifeforms (including insects)that exist on Earth

    One will have little TIME for Parallel Worlds, Pocket Universes in which to experience yet more 'realities' never mind even more dimensions

    Google That!

  8. The square root of a googol should be called an "archimedian reckoning". Let the master to speak:

    "Now, as we have already seen, the diameter of the (then) known universe is less than 10,000,000,000 stadia. It follows that the number of grains of sand sufficient to fill up that universe is less than 1,000 units of the seventh order of numbers, or 10^51.

    A sphere of the size attributed by Aristarchus to the sphere of fixed stars would contain a quantity of sand no greater than 10,000,000 units of the eighth order of numbers. (i.e., 10^63) This follows from the hypothesis that the ratio


    "I conceive that these things, King Gelon, will appear incredible to the great majority of people who have not studied mathematics

  9. William, et al,

    I'm not supposed to be thinking about these things, but I can't help it. What would happen if you thought of those 10^500 things as frames in a movie? Couldn't you 'run' them through some kind of projector-like formula or something so that the movie they formed could be seen? Oh, nevermind me.

    Poor Lucy.

  10. Hi Arivero,

    Thanks! The last sentence is great :-)

    Hi Rae Ann,

    Couldn't you 'run' them through some kind of projector-like formula or something so that the movie they formed could be seen?

    I don't think so. They are different in too many ways, you couldn't align them in one film strip. It's like you have one of these DVDs with alternate endings. But now imagine there's not only two endings, but say, one billion. You could all attach them to the last scene, but attaching them to each other wouldn't make sense. You had split up the story in one billion different movies. You could 'run' through specific movie-like path's but you wouldn't cover all there is.

    Besides this, I'm not sure if it would look particularly movie-like. It would be fairly difficult to arrange all the pictures such that they would fit together, and not just being some weird sequence. It would work though in CNS, where the parameters do only change slightly from one universe to the next - so they would fit together movie-like with only very small changes from one still to the next.

    I'm not supposed to be thinking about these things,

    Why not?



  11. PS: I meant to say in CNS you still have too many directions (parameters) in which the story can split to get only ONE movie, but if you pick one story, you'd get it almost continuous.

  12. Great post! And interesting comments, folks... Thanks Alejandro for the nice quotes.

    I would pitch in by asking you folks what is the chance that a pot of say 1 liter of water set boiling will completely freeze. Assume typical air temperature and heat transfer from the heater.

    Less or more than one googol ?


  13. A liter of water at 100 C can be trivially frozen in place within seconds - still at over 100 C. Look at the PVT phase diagram then

    The big question is... can we squeeze freeze preserve whole soldiers? Breed 'em, train 'em, then squeeze freeze them until needed. (Apply for funding with volunteer feeder goldfish.)

    "Name, Qarlo, Clobregnny, Pri, RMENTNDO"

  14. Hey Uncle,

    I think the problem isn't the freezing, the problem is the unfreezing. You'll have to ensure you can do it without destroying cells. There's been some progress in that direction lately I think (adding chemicals to the blood etc), but it still doesn't really work. If you pay enough though, you can always find someone who convinces you that it does work. See e.g. Alcor and the eternal life.

    But more interestingly, from what I've read it seems to be quite a good idea to cool down body temperature before surgery. Also in emergency transport, cooling down the whole system lowers damage due to slowed down processes. Interesting. Promising. Science works.



  15. If the odds of Lucy getting lucky are a googol to one, then the odds of Charlie Brown getting lucky must be at least a googolplex to one... Not enough universes in the Landscape for poor Chuck!

  16. Hi Bee,

    "I'm not supposed to be thinking about these things,"

    "Why not?"

    I was trying to give up the physics habit and dedicate my life to the God of Cute Kittens. (you need to watch the youtube video What a Cute Kitten! to get the kitten connection) But it's not working out so well, not for me anyway.

    Thanks for asking though. :-)

  17. One cryopreservation problem is crystallization. Solutes segregate during phase transition, sharp solid water punctures membranes. Counterpoint is adding solutes that encourage amorphous solid water. Another problem is progress/time. Drop a living rat into liquid nitrogen and its core is still fluid five minutes later. Dead rat.

    Squeeze-freezing a purely hydraulic system would solidify an arbitrarily large volume within seconds. /_\PV heating discourages focal asymmetries. Admittedly, hyperbaric shock is used as an effective sterilizing procedure... but that assures lots of grant funding renewals. Like religion, it's proximate failure is inarguable proof of its eventual success.

  18. A googolplex is puny compared to a megiston.


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