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Google, Tell Me Why

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If you type “why” into Google, the pop-down window on the search bar suggests the following common searchers (as of Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009):

– why is the sky blue
– why do men have nipples
– why did the chicken cross the road
– why do cats purr
– why men cheat
– why did chris brown with rihanna
– why did chris brown beat up rihanna
– why did chris brown feat rihanna
– why do dogs eat poop
– why did i get married

A few of these questions seem unanswerable. For example, you can say that the sky is blue because of the light refraction through the Earth’s atmosphere, but that only explains why it comes to us in the wavelength that we perceive as blue. Why we perceive the color blue as blue is a mystery that all of philosophy and neuroscience have been unable to nail down.

“Why did I get married?” is either endemic of a population that misunderstands exactly what kind of information Google is capable of relaying to you or, alternatively, simply reflects interest in the Tyler Perry film.

Similarly, there happens to be a book that answers why men have nipples, a joke that explains why “the” chicken crossed “the” road (answer: it was seeking out a better life for its family on the more economically prosperous other side). The mystery of cats purring is also easily answered: they do it to manipulate you.

This website says that dogs eat poop for 20 reasons. Number six is “simply to pass the time,” which makes since because I usually only eat poop when I’ve got a few minutes to pass before the The People’s Court airs and I figure, hey, why not, I need something to occupy me for the next couple minutes.

The Chris Brown stuff is a little more mysterious. It seems to be a combination of legitimate Chris Brown searches combined with Google’s sentence mashing ability. The real question behind “why did chris brown with rihanna” isn’t why, it’s what Chris Brown did with Rihanna: a word seems to be missing. That’s answered by the next question: “why did chris brown beat up rihanna.”

This website provides three possibilities:

1. Chris was cheating on her. Rihanna found out and “hit him while he was driving and he flipped out and beat her up.”

2. “Rihanna Gave Chris Brown Herpes”

3. Rihanna dumped him, causing him to “flip out” and beat her up.

Though I don’t really think any of these actually seem to explain why. They seem more like answers to the question “What happened in the moments immediately preceding Chris Brown beating up Rihanna?”

These answers all seem to describe why by saying he “flipped out.” If only more great mysteries could be explained with those words: why is it all here? (Sometime, so long ago, the universe flipped out, and here we are.) But it’s nice to know that Google is doing its best not only to answer, but also anticipate, the great mysteries its users have.

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Written by Greg Karber

September 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

2 Responses

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  1. oh yeah…type in “i am”…hilarious what you’ll find :)

    Kimbo

    September 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm

  2. Wow. “I am extremely terrified of Chinese people” beats out “I am bored.” That’s amazing: people are really terrified of the Chinese.

    Greg Karber

    September 5, 2009 at 11:43 pm


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