Riddle Me This, Google: Part Two

I knew this would end up being an agony column.

Of the 29950 Google-referred hits since the last time I analyzed the logs, a significant fraction of them were variations on "how do I get a boy to like me?" Thank goodness I've already answered that one, but what about all the questions that didn't get answered?

Once again, I'll answer some of the questions that people typed into Google and ended up referred to my blog.

(A number of people have asked me how this works. When you get a list of query results from Google and click on one of them, the browser can send the URL of the referring Google page to the referred page. The referring page URL contains enough information to deduce what the query was. The blog server software records which referrers went to which pages, so I can recover that information. But note that it requires someone to actually click on a link that goes to my blog -- just seeing it on the list of results (or looking at Google's cache) doesn't transmit any information to the blog server.)

Let's start with the agony:

How do you forget about a girl you get over vacation?

It just takes time, kiddo.

What to do if he doesn't propose?

Take the initiative already! This is the 21st century!

Is it good if I want it real bad?

I'm not touching that one.

On to some more practical questions:

Why can you see better from the edge of your eye at night?

The retina has two kinds of cells: brightness-detecting rods and colour-detecting cones.  There are more cones in the center of the retina and more rods on the edges.  That means that in bright conditions, you get really good colour vision when you're looking straight ahead.  At night, when it is hard to see colours, the rods along the edge are more sensitive to low light than the cones in the middle, so it sometimes gets easier to see things "out of the corner of your eye" than straight on.

How long does it take to spend 1 billion dollars?

It depends on how fast you spend it. Microsoft spends that much in a few weeks probably. If you're the United States government, not long at all.

Does anyone in Microsoft get the blame for the bugs?

Oh yeah! You haven't lived until you've woken up to the headline on ZDNet being "Worst Internet Explorer Security Flaw Ever Found In [Code Eric Wrote Last Week]".

how much does a hermit crab weigh?

Up to five kilograms! That's a heavy crab.

How to make the dead the undead?

There are many techniques, but for safety, I recommend using one that does not produce contagious or uncontrollable undead. Vampires are right out -- you don't want powerful, intelligent, flying undead creating their own army of slave vampires and rising up against you. Same with all forms of liches -- they're just too hard to control. Stick to low-level stuff -- ghasts, ghouls, skeletons and voodoo zombies. It is vitally important to realize that there is a big difference between voodoo zombies and virus zombies. You do not want virus zombies under any circumstances. (See Max Brooks' excellent book "The Zombie Survival Guide" for a ten-point checklist on differentiating voodoo from virus zombies.)

Where do I buy dead trees?

Costco? Office Depot's photocopy paper department?

Why can you not see an object that is behind another object?

Because light travels in straight lines and is absorbed by most materials. Note however that just because the object cannot be seen doesn't mean that it has ceased to exist.

How to make money running a blog?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh, you're serious. A bunch of bloggers have started selling T-shirts. Try that.

Hey, if I offered FABULOUS ADVENTURES T-Shirts, would people buy them?

Why have we got a skeleton?

It'd be a little hard to walk without one, no?

What makes me proud to be a Micronesian?

I'd think that you'd know better than me. The lovely scenery perhaps?

Are you a monkey?

No, I'm a primate but not a monkey.

What are you looking at, monkey boy?

I just said I'm not a monkey. Geez!

How can I tell if I'm a centaur?

Is the lower half of your body that of a large, hooved quadruped? Is the upper half human? If you answered "yes" to both questions, odds are good that you are a centaur.

Where can I find funny questions to ask somebody?

Write a blog. Read the query logs every six months.

And finally, though this isn't a question, this is my favourite of the 29950 Google queries:

Eric is completely complete of the things that are very complete.

Thanks, that's a nice thing to say. I think you're complete too.

[This is part two of Riddle Me This, Google.  See also Part One and Part Three.]

Comments (17)

  1. Julie Lerman says:

    thank you . Much needed hilarity in my rss aggregator (and the wit’s not too bad either!)

  2. Good reads Eric! I really need to go through my various .Text blogs and do the same 🙂

  3. Patrick says:

    I would seriously consider a brain shirt.

    I would IMMEDIATELY buy a brain hat.

  4. Eric Lippert says:

    Re: hilarity and wit: You’re too kind.

    Re: brain hat: I’ll get right on that.

  5. Joe says:

    Oh yea, give me some gear! Just came across your blog and I’m hooked.

  6. mike says:

    "How come I keep seeing extra u’s in the word color?"


  7. Doug says:

    It is a Canadian thing.

  8. Macneil says:

    Yeah, I think I’d like a shirt! If it was cool and high quality, not like iron ons or something.

  9. Michael Reinhart says:

    Eric, I’d buy almost anything you offered for sale (if the price were fair). And it IS colo>u<r.

  10. Scott Duffy says:

    Thanks Eric, for inspiring me to update my own list of search terms here:


    For those of you who use DasBlog as your blog engine, the little utility I wrote to analyze my web logs is here:


  11. Norman Diamond says:

    > See Max Brooks’ excellent book "The Zombie

    > Survival Guide

    Have you tried seeing it through that link, using a computer that isn’t in Microsoft’s firewall?

    Hint, if that link worked, then you’d have to change one of your other answers. In this:

    > "Worst Internet Explorer Security Flaw Ever

    > Found In [Code Eric Wrote Last Week]".

    you’d have to change Internet Explorer to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.

  12. Eric Lippert says:

    Argh, Outlook Web Access drives me nuts!

    Thanks, fixed.

  13. Peter Torr says:

    Actually, I sometimes wonder if people don’t have browsers which pre-load all the links on a page to give "faster" loading times (I remember doing this was A Hot Item (TM) a few years ago).

    I say this because I often get referrer hits for random stuff where I am waaaaay down the search results and all the hits above me are actually *relevant* to the query. I can’t imagine anybody actually VISITED my blog; just that maybe their browser pre-cached it for them just-in-case.

    Sorry to burst your bubble n’ all. 😉

  14. Happy New Year everyone! Let’s start 2005 off with another episode of Riddle Me This, Google. Yes, once

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