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Thursday, October 2, 2003

Google Answers from Digsalot

Here’s the next Google Answers interview in Round II of (you guessed it) the Google Answers interviews. As usual, none of this is official Google Inc information – enough disclaimers, over to Google Answers Researcher Digsalot-ga (167 answers as of today) ...


What’s your first name?

Rod – Rodney, for short – Rodney Lynn for really short (Though I’m German/Slovak, I guess when I was born, my mother was going through her Welsh phase.)

Whereabouts are you located, and what’s your profession?

Ohio – Curmudgeon at Large, professional future lottery winner and semi-retired from a variety of otherwise meaningless occupations mostly having to do with history or the interpretation of it.

Do you have a blog or some other kind of homepage? – The name says it all, a website dedicated to the history, archaeological excavation and evolution of chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

What’s the story behind your Researcher alias?

No story, – think – “archaeology” ??

Digging Google Answers

What would be an especially fun question for you to answer?

One that would permit me to give an outline of the history of the universe from the Big Bang to Madonna’s absolutely final, final tour and set the whole narrative to the nuance and structure of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. It would have to be at least a $2.00 fee. For a shorter version, the price would be higher. For $200, I would cut it to only one verse.

If I can’t get a question along those lines, then anything having to do with pipe organs. I consider those to be my finest answers and I had to actually invent a search strategy and look for websites to fit the answers after I finished typing them.

What were some of the most interesting discoveries you made during your research activity?

Oh good grief. You had to include a difficult one didn’t you. How could I discover anything? I already know everything.

I suppose “Onion” – I didn’t know a thing about food drying and was surprised to learn how many thousands of pounds of onions it took to make eight ounces of oil. With that little oil for lubrication, no wonder the poor little things are so arthritic. Bless their hearts.

Can you give an example of a question where you think the road of discovery (or the ways to get to the answer) was highly unusal, funny, or interesting?

This one which is an exercise in sheer inventivness. – The anthropology of dress for 5th - 6th century Byzantium is so preposterous a subject, the girl will get a superior rating for her project on pure chutzpah alone. I had made the suggestion in her previous question as an example of what “might” be done with a clothing anthropology topic and just how much could be learned from it. I never dreamed she would take me at my word and adopt that particular example. Since a science project is not homework and a participant is allowed to have as many adult advisors as they want, I will see her through it if she keeps coming back. I hope she does. I would follow up on this one for free.

When you consider just how esoteric the topic is, and if she follows through, which I think she will, She will have a stunning project, scientifically valid in every way and will overwhelm the judges. She will also need to learn her history well.

Hypothetical Musings by Digsalot-ga

If an omniscient deity would be a Google Answers Researcher, which question would you ask?

What is the true definition of the phrase “limits of infinity” in ten words or less?

Which famous person, dead or alive, would make a great addition to the Researcher team?

Elizabeth Taylor – She has the best of both of those qualities.

What would be a great new site on the Web... something no one ever thought of, or something plain impossible?

An online encyclopedia ennumerating the variations, hidden meanings, esoterica, history, and future of the great ancient chant and hymn of praise: “99 bote ng beer sa may pader.” It may be a real possibility. Revbrenda1st has already agreed to edit it.

What do you think would be the one question a being from another planet would be most interested in having answered upon arriving on earth, and spending one day with us humans?



What are your favorite research tools, on- and offline?

Besides Google itself, I like Look Smart’s Find and it is amazing how much specialized information I can uncover by snooping through various Yahoo clubs. Posts in special interest Yahoo clubs often contain links to websites I otherwise wouldn’t even think of. It may sound silly, but I have done a lot of research that way and with good results. If I have to go offline to do research, I usually don’t bother, unless I already have a book or other information at hand. I do have a fairly good personal library, mostly dealing with anthropology and history.

You are in charge of the Webby awards next year – who’s winning for which category?

You should have asked somebody with an imagination for this one. I take the fifth. Actually I’ve already taken quite a bit of the fifth which is probably why I can’t think of an answer for this one.

Which is an example of a Google Answer another Researcher provided which really opened your eyes on something and made you go “Wow, I didn’t know that"?

You are just trying to make me work. I am a basic coward and far too shy to chance insulting somebody just because I picked one person’s answer over another. The truth is I really don’t know. I am continually amazed at what I learn from my fellow researchers. I am even more amazed that so much of it is first hand knowledge and not just something picked up during the research process. I am proud to be associated with every last one of them. - - - - - - - - - - - - - well? - - - - ? - - - - maybe there’s one - - - - - - - - ok, so I follow Scriptor’s question trail like a puppy dog following a rabbit. I am amazed at what comes out of that man.

Digsalot’s Spare-time

What’s your most unusual hobby?

Collecting items related to the history, excavation and evolution of chocolate raspberry cheesecakes. I also collect dust.

What are some of your favorite books, movies, and music albums?

Books? – Too many to even mention. Historical fiction from ancient times through the Middle Ages, science fiction and fantasy. But I suppose if I had to pick one, it would actually be two. “River God” and the sequel “The Seventh Scroll” both by Wilbur Smith.

To me, the greatest movie of all time is “Giant” with Elizabeth Taylor, followed by “Night of the Iguana” also with Elizabeth Taylor – anything with Elizabeth Taylor. Even Cleopatra revivals. – Do you remember the scene where she rode into Rome on a sphinx pulled by slaves? I have always had a question about that. How much reinforcement does a sphinx need to hold up that much weight?

Music – “Bach Organ Blaster” recorded by Michael Murray, “Organ Encores” recorded by Marie-Claire Alain, and “Organ, Brass and Percussion” recorded by the Empire Brass and Michael Murray. I also like new age such as – “The City” by Vangelis, “Oracle” contemporary Gregorian chant by the Mount Angel Seminary Choir, “The Memory of Trees” by Enya and “Devotion” by Yanni.


It was Researcher Missy’s idea to include the Friday Five questions, and here goes your set:

1. What’s the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?

Jordan - Syria

2. What’s the most bizarre/unusual thing that’s ever happened to you while traveling?

My whole life is bizarre. When on the road, getting through a day ’without’ something strange taking place is one of the more unusual things that happen. - - - - getting peed on by a camel. - - I also got peed on by a rinoserous, rinouserous, rinosarus, that thing with a horny face.

It was at the San Francisco Zoo in the 1960s. There was even a sign warning that the beast could take dead aim at thirty feet. I didn’t believe it. - - - - You will also notice I referred to it as “the beast.” I didn’t want to have to try and spell rinocerous, rinou . . . . . .again.

3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?

Palmyra, Syria and Baalbek, Lebanon, (maybe I could visit with rainbow-ga) followed by a long rest in the Greek Islands, preferably during the spring and early summer.

4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?


5. What’s the next place on your list to visit?

If I can afford it, a pilgrimage to various Jodo Shinsu Buddhist temples and shrines in Japan.

Final words

Who would play you in a movie on your life... and what would the tagline on the movie poster be?

Dom DeLouis – The untold story of munchies, mummies and mayhem

Anything else you might want to say?

er - - um - - - uh? - - - Are we on candid Camera?


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