Wolfram Alpha

Hey gang,

I have a cool website for you.  I hadn’t heard about Wolfram Alpha until this past Friday but it has been around since Q1 2009.  It is kind of like Google or Bing but it is much more oriented to giving you an answer rather than a link.

If you have some sort of computation to make, I can think of no better site to try first than this one.  It will do obvious calculator operations, weights, conversions, etc.  Because their goal is to make all of the world’s data computable you can begin to make some really interesting comparisons too.  You might ask what the weather was like on the day Prince Charles was born.  Type in “Smith vs Jones” and you see which one is more popular in the US and which one is a higher % of white people.  How about “Mount Everest Height / Golden Gate Bridge Span?” It’s 6.914.

This should be a great resource for homeschoolers.  Well, certainly for the teachers.  Maybe it would be better to get students to find the info in other locations online first.  You could ask your student to compare the GDP of the US to China.  What is the hex value of the color that is made when red and blue are mixed equally together?

I think the thing I’ll probably use it for most is the nutritional data.  I typed in “Apple + 1 tbsp peanut butter” and received a nifty nutritional label like you see on grocery store packaging.

Here are some other things I tried:

“retirement”  returned a retirement calculator

“football vs soccer” taught me that you burn more calories playing football (wouldn’t have guessed that)

“Jason” confirmed what I’ve suspected for years.  Within a year or so of when I was born my name spiked in popularity.  It was almost completely unused before then.  Thanks a lot all of you copy cats.  Well, I guess it is the sincerest form of flattery.

Put in the sequence of numbers from Lost and it will identify them correctly.  Then you can do various calculations with them.

“What is the speed of a swallow?”  Try it and find out.

“What is the meaning of life?”  Try this one too.

Even with all of its mighty computing power, I was able to stump Wolfram with the following:

“Weight of a fart”

“Fart vs belch”

“Kicking power of a ninja”

“Navy SEAL vs Green Beret”

Let me know the most interesting things you find on Wolfram Alpha.


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