Simon Cowell’s next recording star…

By skepticlawyer

… Alaska’s got talent.

Mind you, I strongly suspect that Mishka the husky’s owner has fed her through Autotune, an ingenious piece of audio processing software that blends pitches to the nearest true semitone (to the exact pitch of the nearest tone in traditional equal temperament). While huskies are among the most tuneful of dogs (in part through being genetically closer to the wolf than many other dog breeds), I doubt in the extreme that any dog can do this naturally:

This is (of course, and if you hadn’t noticed) the weekend chit-chat thread.


  1. kvd
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    As this is a Weekend Chat posting, I just wanted to pass on my recent experience in dealing with my Yellow Pages listing renewal (several thousand dollars’ worth) – and am wondering if similar frustrations have occurred to anyone else?

    The sales rep made the mistake of bringing up my listing on the yellowpages website – by entering the specific business category, and specific village name. My business was the last of four similar businesses, but is the only one physically located within 25 km of my village. Undeterred by the smoke starting to emanate from my ears the rep then started extolling the mobile version of YellowPages – however in this product my listing did not appear until after 20 other listings, some well over an hour away by road.

    So this morning I thought I’d check on the listings for the solitary village Pharmacy, Bakery, and Hotel. Same result – Pharmacy listed after 40 other businesses; Bakey after 60 others, Hotel not listed at all in 56 listings. Some of the earlier listings in each category were over 2 hours away by road, none less than 20 minutes.

    In the traditional hard copy Yellow Pages I suppose we are all used to scanning for the closest of the many listings – but when this info goes on line, and the specific (and sole) point of entry is (businesstype) and (townname) surely it is misleading to return a listing based upon (it now seems) the ‘advertising spend’ of the particular businesses?

    These web-based products, far from promoting my services, are quite possibly directing potential custom away from my business. Moreover, in the case of the Chemist, I would have thought that this could potentially have serious medical ramifications?

  2. Posted February 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m with LE in that I generally just Google if I’m looking for a type of business in a geographical area. The way it pops icons up on a map and you can adjust the search area by just zooming or moving the map make it quite useful. I’ve tried the yellow pages from time to time but found it’s on-line service generally lacking. That said, they still may be worth it from the business point of view for the (potential) customers who still use it out of trust or habit.

    “Search algorithm” is probably the best term, although you could also narrow to “sorting method”. I’d agree that a sorting algorithm based on payments where this is not indicated as part of the results would be misleading.

  3. Jacques Chester
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Geospatially-aware search engines.

    Search algorithms (“what’s the fastest way to find needle X in stack of hay Y given conditions Z?”) are properly a larger field than web searches (“swhow me boobs goggle”).

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