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  #31  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:13 AM
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Apparently the TOS are pretty strict. They own all resulting output and must be cited.

ETA:
http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?...46258&from=rss
Quote:
Wolfram|Alpha's Surprising Terms of Service



Posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 19, @03:56PM
from the badges-coming-soon dept.

eldavojohn notes that Groklaw is highlighting the unexpected Wolfram|Alpha ToS — unexpected, that is, for those of us accustomed to Google's "just don't use it to break the law, please" terms. Nothing wrong with Wolfram setting any terms they like, of course. Just be aware. "We've seen people comparing Wolfram's Alpha to Google's Search from a technical standpoint but Groklaw outlined the legal differences in a post yesterday. Wolfram|Alpha's terms of use are completely different in that it is not a search engine; it's a computational service. The legalese says that they claim copyright on the each results page and require attribution. So for you academics out there, be careful. Groklaw notes this is interesting considering some of its results quote 2001: A Space Odyssey or Douglas Adams. Claiming copyright on that material may be a bold move. There's more: if you build a service that uses their service or deep-links to it, you may be facilitating your users to break their terms of use, and you may be held liable."
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  #32  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:22 AM
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Luckily, most of the calculations are reproducible by other means.

I wouldn't use Wolfram Alpha for serious research, because I want original sources of data. And from my own experience with Mathematica & Maple, even for symbolic stuff I'd check it by hand. For numerical crunching, I'd use R or Excel.
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  #33  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
Review from Charlie Martin:
http://pajamasmedia.com/edgelings/20...ind-of-search/



I'm pretty stoked about having free (stripped-down) Mathematica. But yeah, it's somewhat limited for research purposes. Looks more like an educational tool for now.
Yes, I see it as a first/rough draft of a new class of search engines. It should be regarded as highly beta. It's a pretty cool draft though.
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  #34  
Old 05-20-2009, 11:05 AM
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One of it's suggestions said to "enter any town." So I put in my town of Middletown, NJ. It came up with, instead, Middletown, CT. I tried it with and without the comma. Tried Middletown Township. Tried spelling out New Jersey. I either got the info for Middletown, CT or it could not interpret my request.

(plus, my town is bigger. It says the CT town has some 47,000 people. My town has close to 100,000....)
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  #35  
Old 05-20-2009, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BG5150 View Post
One of it's suggestions said to "enter any town." So I put in my town of Middletown, NJ. It came up with, instead, Middletown, CT. I tried it with and without the comma. Tried Middletown Township. Tried spelling out New Jersey. I either got the info for Middletown, CT or it could not interpret my request.

(plus, my town is bigger. It says the CT town has some 47,000 people. My town has close to 100,000....)
But does your town really exist if Wolfram says it doesn't?
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  #36  
Old 05-20-2009, 12:47 PM
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I just tried a different kind of calculation that I don't normally do in Google's search field: "15 min per day for 30 years"

Google didn't recognize that I was trying to do math, but Wolfram did. Wolfram also gave the answer in an array of units.

http://www44.wolframalpha.com/input/...y+for+30+years
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  #37  
Old 05-20-2009, 01:37 PM
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I asked for "Top schools in Actuarial Science" (inspired by a post elsewhere on the AO)

And got

Spoiler:
Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input


Is anyone surprised by that?
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  #38  
Old 05-20-2009, 02:28 PM
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I've also asked it questions about the future. No luck there either.
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  #39  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:15 PM
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Two more interesting results (not original to me)

http://www79.wolframalpha.com/input/...neliest+number

http://www51.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=does+god+exist
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  #40  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:18 PM
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Entering first names is fun, too. It gives the popularity of the name over time, which a lot of sites do, but it also gives the estimated current age distribution.

Let's look for the oldest-skewing name.

First guess for female names: http://www51.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=maude
mode of ~85 y.o.
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