Saturday, November 15, 2008

By now you've probably read how Google can help pinpoint flu outbreaks based on search terms submitted by users. Could a similar technique be used to track "paranormal" activity?


intense said...

"Could a similar technique be used to track "paranormal" activity?"

I very much doubt it would have any practical application, if for no other reason than that the nature of "paranormal" activity is not only so elusive, idiosyncratic, and sporadic, but also because the varying definitions of the term "paranormal" itself are so controversial, and muddied.

Flu, caused by known viral sources, is obviously much more concrete in causation, and thus easier to track via the Google technique.

dbd said...

Not only that, I would think that there are a non-trivial number of people who will google paranormal topics without having had any recent paranormal activity. It would make sense that the number of folks who google about the flu without having some immediate connection to the flu is probably much more limited.

Mac said...

OK, then what about Twitter? :-)