Is the U.S. evil?

The reputation of the U.S. has been taking a beating for decades now, and even more so since a lying adulterer gave up his office to a lying warmonger. Let’s see if a few search engines can give us an idea of what people think…

Google gives 254 million results for good and 40.9 million results for evil, that is 86% good.

All right, but that just counts the number of pages. How about del.icio.us, pages that people actually read? 2294 results for good and 515 results for evil, that is 82% good.

Interesting stuff. But in all fairness, Reddit deals a whole lot more with news, and should give a better zeitgeist than all the del.icio.us bookmarks thrown together. Counting only stories of the last month with a score over 1 (that is, at least two persons must have voted for the story) gives 2 results for good and 8 for evil, that is 20% good. Ow!

But check out those links! That’s not proper news… Unfortunately, the Digg search gave no results whatsoever in the “World & business” category for these searches, even when searching a whole year, and no useful results in the other categories.

Anyway, it’s a bit futile to get a semantically correct view. Reference.com’s thesaurus entry for the adjective “evil” lists “good” among five other antonyms, for a total of six. “Good” has a total of 19 antonyms (“Evil” is only listed in the noun definition). So how about we test with “evil” against all the other antonyms, “moral”, “righteous”, “sinless”, “upright”, and “virtuous”?

“Evil” versus “moral”, “righteous”, “sinless”, “upright”, and “virtuous” in search engines
Site Not evil Evil %Not evil
Google 39,600,000 40,900,000 49%
del.icio.us 242 515 32%
Reddit 7 8 47%

In plain words, web pages, and bookmarked ones in particular, look a whole lot worse when looking for the “moral” antonyms of “evil”, while news stories look a whole lot better. Who’da thunk? Of course, this method doesn’t take into account spam and other #$@%. In any case, this seems to be a rubbish method for gauging public opinion.

No, I don’t have a life right now. Thank you, and good night!

Job trends in web development

The job search service Indeed has an interesting “trends” search engine: It visualizes the amount of job postings matching your keywords the last year. Let’s see if there is some interesting information for modern web technologies there…

XHTML vs. HTML

The relation between XHTML and HTML Relative popularity of XHTML and HTML in job offers could be attributed to a number of factors:

  • XHTML is just not popular yet (1 Google result for every 19 on HTML).
  • The transition from HTML to XHTML is so simple as to be ignored.
  • The terms are confused, and HTML is the most familiar one.
  • XHTML is thought to be the same as HTML, or a subset of it.

The XHTML graph alone Popularity of XHTML in job offers could give us a hint as to where we stand: At about 1/100 of the “popularity” of HTML, it’s increasing linearly. At the same time, HTML has had an insignificant increase, with a spike in the summer months (it is interesting to note that this spike did not occur for XHTML). XHTML could be posed for exponential growth, taking over for HTML, but only time will tell.

AJAX

This is an interesting graph Popularity of AJAX in job offers: It grows exponentially, which is likely to be a result of all the buzz created by Google getting on the Web 2.0 bandwagon. Curiously, the growth rate doesn’t match that of the term “web 2.0” Relative popularity of AJAX and "Web 2.0" in job offers. Attempting to match it with other Web 2.0 terms such as “RSSRelative popularity of AJAX and RSS in job offers, “JavaScript” Relative popularity of AJAX and JavaScript in job offers, and “DOMRelative popularity of AJAX and DOM in job offers also failed. The fact that AJAX popularity seems to be irrelevant to Web 2.0 and even JavaScript popularity is interesting, but I’ll leave the creation of predictions from this as an exercise for the readers. :)

CSS

While insignificant when compared to HTML Relative popularity of HTML and CSS in job offers, the popularity of CSS closely follows that of XHTML Relative popularity of XHTML and CSS in job offers. Based on that and the oodles of best practices out there cheering CSS and XHTML on, I predict the following: When CSS is recognized for its power to reduce bandwidth use and web design costs, it’ll drag XHTML up with it as a means to create semantic markup which can be used with other XML technologies, such as XSLT and RSS / Atom.

Discussion of conclusions

The job search seems to be only in the U.S., so the international numbers may be very different. I doubt that, however, based on how irrelevant borders are on the Web.

The occurence of these terms will be slowed by such factors as how long it takes for the people in charge to notice them, understand their value / potential, and finally find areas of the business which needs those skills.

Naturally, results will be skewed by buzz, large scale market swings, implicit knowledge (if you know XHTML, you also know HTML), and probably another 101 factors I haven’t though of. So please take the conclusions with a grain of salt.

My conclusions are often based on a bell-shaped curve of lifetime popularity, according to an article / book I read years ago. I can’t find the source, but it goes something like this:

  1. Approximately linear growth as early adopters are checking it out.
  2. Exponential growth as less tech savvy people catch on; buzz from tech news sources.
  3. Stabilization because of market saturation and / or buzz wearing off.
  4. Exponential decline when made obsolete by other technology.
  5. Approximately linear decline as the technology falls into obscurity.

PS: For some proof that any web service such as Indeed should be taken with a grain of salt, try checking out the result for George Carlin’s seven dirty words Relative popularity of George Carlin's seven dirty words in job offers ;)