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Search Query Sunday, 21st Edition

July 13th, 2008

cell-phone-search-queries.jpgThis past week has seen a continuing surge in traffic to my wet cell phone page. It has now increased to over 2,000 visits within the last 30 days, as there seems to be an epidemic of people dropping their cell phones into lakes, swimming pools, and even toilets. Some people are also asking about overheated cell phones, but I’m not sure what to do about these other than replacing the phone or perhaps the affected parts if possible. Meanwhile, here are some of the other questions asked by our ever-inquisitive searchers.

what mean simple interest — Simple interest means that the interest is calculated and paid only on the principal amount each period (month, year, etc.). Therefore, the amount of interest that must be paid each period remains the same as long as the principal does not change. This is contrasted with compound interest, where the interest is added to the principal amount each period, such that interest in each successive period is calculated based on both the original principal amount AND the interest paid from previous periods. With simple interest, the calculations are performed only on the original principal.

Example: You have $10,000 in a savings account that pays 1% interest per year. Under a simple interest plan, you would be paid just that — 1% of $10,000, or $100, each year for as long as you kept the same amount of money in the account. However, under compound interest, which is what most banks use, you would be paid $100 after the first year, but after the second year (we will assume yearly compounding for simplicity’s sake — most banks actually compound interest monthly) the interest would be calculated on $10,100 (original principal plus the first year’s interest), so you would wind up with $101 as the second year’s interest payment, for a new principal total of $10,201. Over time, compound interest can be become a very powerful force; in fact, it is actually one of the most powerful forces in the universe according to the famous Albert Einstein quote.

how often alexa rank change — This depends somewhat on what your current rank is. From my observations, if your rank is in the top 100K, the rankings will be updated daily under the “Yesterday” column of the traffic details section. If your recent ranking is below 100K, you will see “N/A” under Yesterday but will have a ranking under “1 wk. Avg.” that will change approximately once per week. Meanwhile, the 3 months average (3 mos. Avg.) that is used to display the figure found on the Alexa widgets and reported by most automated software queries seems to be updated somewhere between once and twice per week regardless of the current ranking. For tips on how to improve your ranking, see my article on ways to increase your Alexa rank.

why people have ants in their houses — Usually ants find their way into houses because there is some type of accessible food source present such as leftover crumbs or spilled sodas. If wandering ants detect this type of food source, they will attempt to carry it back to their nest and lead the way for other ants to find it, which creates the familiar ant trails. It is also possible for people to have ants in their houses as pets (usually kept in enclosed “ant farms”) for observational purposes, although this is relatively uncommon.

what does salmonella look like magnified? — It looks like a flagellum, that is, it has an oval-shaped head with a group of long, thin, wavy tails attached and flailing along behind it. For a picture of what a single salmonella bacterium looks like, see my article on causes and treatment of salmonella.

do stumble upons count towards page rank — No. StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site that allows users to surf through sites semi-randomly and vote for their favorite web pages by giving them a “thumbs up”. This does not have anything to do with PageRank, which is an algorithm used by Google to rank web pages in terms of their importance to the search engine. It is possible to increase your traffic from StumbleUpon by having users submit your pages and giving them more “thumbs up” votes; PageRank is primarily increased by gaining a higher quality or quantity of backlinks.

correct use of “people who” or “people that” — The correct form is “people who”. The word that is usually used in reference to inanimate objects, but if you are referring to people, you should use who.

why is scurvy not here today?Scurvy is not as prevalent today as it once was (it does still exist, but its occurrence is less common) because its cause has been discovered and compensated for by most of the world’s communities. Specifically, scurvy is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) over a sustained period of time. Prior to the 20th century, this cause was not known, resulting in a relatively high incidence of scurvy due to a combination of poor diet and ignorance. Today, however, preventing scurvy is as simple as eating a few of the right fruits and vegetables or drinking a glass of Karlonian iced tea.

bank of america atm cash increments — According to my experience, Bank of America ATMs dispense cash in $10 or $20 increments, depending on the amount that you request. Occasionally, a particular machine will run out of $10 bills and may prompt you to re-enter a withdrawal amount in a $20 increment if this is the case. Most of time, however, I have not had any problems obtaining both types of bills from the ATM if necessary.


One Response to “Search Query Sunday, 21st Edition”

  1. comment number 1 by: ireland5

    Holy cow! Can’t believe you found a picture with the phone in the toilet! How funny!

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