Subject: Re: Why is this code broken? From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 15:26:34 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Gareth McCaughan | I'd expect "comparand", by analogy with "operand" and "multiplicand" and so | on. I briefly considered it, could not find it, went back to my Latin books and thought I had derived "comparend" correctly. (Perhaps it is the correct word for something else. Latin is like that.) | (Exercise for the reader: work out why I think "multiplicand" a better model | than "addend".) I would appreciate if you explained this, instead, since I already thought I had worked it out. | I think I'd say that it *is* a word, even though it isn't in any dictionary I | possess. It can be formed using a fairly standard process from an existing | word, so it's a word. Well, I know a bunch of lexicographers from my SGML days, and have access to *huge* citation databases. Neither "comparend" or "comparand" have been noted in them as sufficiently well established to be recognized neologisms, but it is of course invalid to reason from absence of information. | I get 973 hits for "comparand" at Google. Google is an interesting form of democracy in action. It is where I would go to confirm that a majority of people I know nothing about other than that they chose to use the same words I searched for believe something to be so. Considering the staggering amount of crappy disinformation that gets posted and published on the Net, the preponderance of nutcases who use USENET in preference to real publishers and the general degeneration of language used on-line, I am hard pressed to believe a google search more authoritative than polling people at the mall. (This cynic opinion has been formed after many a discussion with several of the people behind Alltheweb.) Incidentally, if you ask for pages that Google consider "English", the number of hits for comparand drops to 621 and if they are required to be located in the United States, it drops to 407. In other words, 58% of the raw hits are not in English and not "in" the United States. I think this is very relevant information in addition to the raw count. However, after I have talked with search engine people, I have concluded that the only actual question google and the like can answer is "is it part of the mainstream?", or rephrased "how many people agree with me?" This is, in my not at all humble opinion, _the_ most extremely irrelevant question. Worse, after the United States of America managed to elect George W. Bush, which was frightening enough by itself, even more people contributed to high approval ratings for that emotional bozo, and my trust in the majority of the American people's ability to get anythying right dropped to the same level as the disapproval rating of that real-life version of Anakin from Star Wars episode II. I considered switching to a British accent and spelling just to distance myself from the distastefulness of such cluelessness on a national scale. So for now, "X number of Americans prefer this" is only disqualifying. I mean, when people can seriously argue that George W. Bush is a _leader_ when he clearly only parrots the last smart person he has had in his office, there goes my trust in _their_ thinking ability, too. When you have ousted that stupid child from office and put someone with enough brains to be predictable and actually hold a thought and argue coherently without script, I may once again consider the American public and its opinions worthy of attention. Until then, I am predisposed to be most skeptical of Google results, too. -- Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business offer, please be specific and do not put "business offer" in the Subject header. If it is urgent, do not use the word "urgent". If you need an immediate answer, give me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention". Thank you.