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Googlewhack!


Sometimes I get caught up in the most inane activities. For example, I recently was introduced to the world of Googlewhack, which can become a time-consuming and adrenaline-pumping game.

The challenge is as follows: You are to enter two English words into Google with the goal being to find only one result, and that result is "the only website on earth and in heaven containing both of those words." This site is the googlewhack."

On hearing about this game, I changed the rules...not only did the words have to be English, they also had to be a mathematical term that I could explain to a secondary student. This turned into a real challenge that consumed more time than I want to admit...but I finally found a googlewhack!

For example, the following are some of my discoversies:

  • tractrix totitive (77 hits)
  • tractrix spinode (28 hits)
  • separatrix scattergram (18 hits)
  • separatrix nappe (105 hits)
  • separatrix interquartile (37 hits)
  • separatrix parallelotope (9 hits)
  • separatrix lituus (85 hits)
  • lituus interquartile (33 hits)
  • lituus parallelotope (11 hits)
  • lituus cyclides (5 hits)
  • separatrix tacpoint (2 hits)
  • lituus tacpoint (1 hit)
Got it! Now, you might want to look up the mathematical meaning of some these words. It turns out that separatrix is a word for something you probably use/write daily, but lituus and tacpoint are a little more esoteric.

One trouble with this game is that as soon as I write about it and my succssful mathematical googlewhack, my answer is wrong... because the number of web sites found to include the words "lituus" and "tacpoint" has now increased to two (as it now by self-reference includes this site as well)...and it is no longer a googlewhack.

So now my real hunt was on...to find two English mathematical terms that returned zero hits....and then once I talked about it on this site, it would become a true googlewhack. And, I did it at last...The words are "tractrix" and "sinistrorsum."

Two final comments are in order. First, the one site containing the words "lituus" and "tacpoint" is a German Web Site that is a cross-reference listing of words on other web sites. Oddly, this site claims the two words both appear on the American website known as Wolfram's Math World, yet the latter did not appear in the original google.

And second, believe it or not, the game Googlewhack has been turned into a play called Dave Gorman's Googlewhack! Adventure, which is a comedy currently playing at the Moore Theatre in Seattle...but unfortunately its final performance is tonight (12/10/2005)and I cannot make it.