1. We need to give ’em a few more days to spider Inkstain, apparently. Soon I will Rule the Googleverse (when people search on “radioactive laundry lint”)!

  2. It’s workin’ now!

    Reminds me of my hypothesis that laundry dryers use quantum mechanics to produce copious quantities of element 3.5 – Lintium.

    Cheers, Dave

  3. I thought I read somewhere that Lintium reacts with oxygen to create a time-space vortex, thus explaining why I have so many single sox?



  4. Dano – Almost. In fact, it’s a Lintium-carbon dioxide reaction, which explains the increasing loss of socks as atmospheric greenhouse gases increase. For reasons that are still not well understood, the models suggest we should expect to see the most significant effect at high latitudes, and some data from the laundry room at McMurdo Station seems to support this. However, there’s conflicting data from laundromats in Greenland, and skeptics suggest the McMurdo data is really a result of those Russian guys stealing socks. So I don’t think the question is at all settled.

  5. As I said to Benny Peiser the other day* (when, after failing to replicate the Oreskes search string, he emailed his misunderstanding of her paper to the CCNet list) — search the way other people do, to find what they tell you is there:
    Results …. about 18,900 for +radioactive +laundry +lint

    the decay of radon daughter products, collected from some lint from a clothes dryer filter. Each reading is one minute apart.

    *I get his CCNet email list, and pointed out his similar error in search design the day he announced his misunderstanding of the Oreskes study, as did a huge crowd of other people.

  6. Hank –

    If I might quote your criticism back at you: “search the way other people do, to find what they tell you is there”. Or, in this case, not there. 🙂

    You’re picking at the wrong bit of lint. I searched for what I wanted to search for, which was the phrase “radioactive laundry lint,” not for pages with the separate words “radioactive” and “laundry” and “lint” in them. You’ll notice my wording: “the phrase”. I did this after digging through the newspaper archive at work and finding a very old pre-Google-era newspaper story done years ago by a colleague with the phrase in it. For some reason the phrase struck me as amusing (I’m told I’m easily amused), which is why I Googled it as I did.

  7. I do appreciate the game of finding phrases that never appeared on Google.
    The first collection I recall seeing is at http://www.tbtf.com/jargon-scout.html — New Scientist also announces them from time to time.

    But my followup was tangential and pedantic, a rimshot; I happened to have run the same search you did recently, while showing friends how that collected dryer lint and vacuum cleaner dust does register on a Geiger counter.

    Tangential again — I suppose somewhere Google has the complete collection of searches that led to no result — an invaluable marketing tool knowing what people search for and don’t find. Did you ever read Avram Davidson’s “The Sources of the Nile”? Google’s found it, I think.

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