, which bills itself as the world’s first open search engine, today announced its public beta launch…

Founded in 2020 by Socher and Bryan McCann, leverages natural language processing (NLP) — a form of AI — to understand search queries, rank the results, and semantically parse the queries into different languages, including programming languages. The platform summarizes results from across the web and is extensible with built-in search apps so that users can complete tasks without leaving the results page.

“The first page of Google can only be modified by paying for advertisements, which is both annoying to users and costly for companies. Our new platform will enable companies to contribute their most useful actual content to that first page, and — if users like it — they can take an action right then and there,” Socher continued. “Most companies and partners will prefer this new interface to people’s digital lives over the old status quo of Google.”

—Kyle Wiggers, “AI-driven search engine takes on Google with $ November 9, 2021.

First I’m hearing of, but it’s clear that something like this is the next iteration of search. Bookmarking to look into later.


“What is Letterboxd?

Letterboxd is a global social network for grass-roots film discussion and discovery. Use it as a diary to record and share your opinion about films as you watch them, or just to keep track of films you’ve seen in the past. Showcase your favorites on your profile page. Rate, review and tag films as you add them. Find and follow your friends to see what they’re enjoying. Keep a watchlist of films you’d like to see, and create lists/collections on any given topic. We’ve been described as “like GoodReads for movies”.

New to me. IMDB doesn’t really do this that well. So, hopefully, this will be an improvement.

Social Justice Kittens 2022

Social Justice Kittens is a calendar of cute kittens and social justice statements made in social media that provide food for thought about social justice. Is math inherently racist? Spend August thinking it over! The perfect gift for your politically involved friends, of whatever political stripe.

When I saw this is brought to mind a Facebook discussion of a friend of mine’s son, years ago. There was a person they knew in college who had gone to a party in black face. Apparently, this person was also a homophobe and had been a bit of a dick to one of his friends. There was some talk about putting together an online lynch mob and teaching this person a lesson of some sort. And I, being older and perhaps dumber, suggested that perhaps college was the place to do stupid shit, and enforcing our preferences through mob action is being a dick in a different way. Moreover, it wouldn’t be effective. You’d just be punishing someone, retributive “eye for an eye” justice, if there’s any justice in it at all.

His argument was, essentially, that real harm was being done by this person. Therefore, this kind of response is justified. My argument was that this is the same tactics used by homophobes to discipline society and people that don’t conform to their views. As someone who tries to think for himself, I frequently find I’m the outsider with views people don’t agree with. I’ve been on the receiving end of this kind of mob action designed to create conformity, and I didn’t like it. People should be free to have dumb opinions. Because, everyone has dumb opinions. Improvement of opinions is done incrementally, if at all, and it doesn’t tend to happen beyond the surface under the auspices of coercion. People tend to change their opinions only in the face of other people that care about them. It’s also the reason that most change requires generational replacement. Groups tend to stick to patterns of behavior over time. It’s what creates group cohesion.

Related: Rich Asshole Syndrome.


“Rome2rio makes travel planning easy. We are a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world safely.

Enter any address, landmark, or city as your destination and we will instantly display all your travel and booking options, along with information about accommodation and things to do, in one convenient spot.

Whether you’re after flight, train, bus, ferry, rideshare or rental car info, we’ve got estimated prices, journey durations and booking details from over 5000 companies in more than 160 countries – making us one of the top online travel resources used globally.

Download our app, so you can plan your journey while you are on the road, wherever you are.”

“There are some ugly things down in these archives; there are narcissistic ravings from pre-adolescent social misfits. There are calls for anarchy. There’s satanism, there’s racism, there’s all the -isms in the book lurking in the words. But there’s hope, too. There’s excitement, there’s joy, there’s every manner of feeling being crammed down into ASCII and posted for the world to find. It’s a spectrum of humanity, and this is what I hope you’ll find, buried there, among the text.”

What to know what early BBS culture was like? That your parents and grandparents were just like you? There’s a website for that.

Marginalia (Serendipity Engine)

“It is a search engine, designed to help you find what you didn’t even know you were looking for. If you search for “Plato”, you might for example end up at the Canterbury Tales. Go looking for the Canterbury Tales, and you may stumble upon Neil Gaiman’s blog.

If you are looking for fact, this is almost certainly the wrong tool. If you are looking for serendipity, you’re on the right track. When was the last time you just stumbled onto something interesting, by the way?

I don’t expect this will be the next “big” search engine. This is and will remain a niche tool for a niche audience.

I came to the About page for the explanation of the website, but the true gold is in the section: A Theoretical Justification:

The measure of a website should be how well it enriches the life of – and empowers the visitor, rather how well it enriches the wallet of the website owner, especially not at the expense of the visitor’s long-term interests…

…The purpose of the tool is primarily to help you find and navigate the strange parts of the internet. Where, for sure, you’ll find crack-pots, communists, libertarians, anarchists, strange religious cults, snake oil peddlers, really strong opinions. Yes all manner of strange people.

You’ll surely find uncomfortable ideas too, but I’m sure you’ll survive and find the experience worthwhile, because for every turd you step in, there are also plenty of brilliant and interesting gems to find that for one reason or another didn’t live up to the standards of the big search engines.”

The whole A theoretical Section is worth a read.

Regarding using the site, I searched Occam, and in the first few listings there was this:

“Occam’s razor says to accept the simplest explanation, and resurrection from the dead is not it.”

I liked the formation of the objection. The website author then tries to make preposterous arguments that grossly misunderstands the point of Occam’s razor, weakly points out his incorrect assumption is not always right, etc.

The strange thing about reading through it, I’m left wondering what plausible explanation would not be simpler than the resurrection? There’s very little here that is forwarding an argument for the Bible, i.e.,

“But the claim of (conservative) Christians is not that the Bible has the most compelling story or the most spectacular intervention claims. They believe the Bible to be a truthful account of history, of God, and of Jesus Christ. Disprove these and conservative Christians have nothing.”

I think it’s a hard argument to make that the Bible is history. If that’s your ground, you’ve kind lost before you’ve really begun.

Anyway, an amusing interlude. Recommend this search engine wholeheartedly.

Always Judge a Book By Its Cover

“Some books win awards, some win our heart, and others… only serve to confuse.”

Eating People is Wrong’s commentary made me LOL. But, it was the Chuck Tingle book that convinced me to post this website. I don’t know why I even know who Chuck Tingle is, probably has something to do with the “weird fiction” phase I went through mid-2019, but I’d like to do my part to increase his readership.