Monday, July 27, 2015

Today Via Google I Learned The Home Of America's Biggest Boondoggle Is America's 17th Largest City

Last night I Googled Seattle. When I did so I saw that Google put a blurb about Seattle on the right side of the search results.

I was Googling Seattle because I wanted to find a paragraph I had previously read in the Wikipedia Seattle article about Seattle's print media, as an example of a town with real news sources of various sorts compared to a town without a real newspaper doing real investigative journalism.

The point I was going to opine was that in a town with real newspapers you don't have things happen that result in becoming something like America's Biggest Boondoggle. Or a public works project never voted on by the public, where a local congressperson's unqualified son is hired to be the executive director of the project, where the son's executive directing goes into planning things like floating beer parties in a polluted river.

The Wikipedia article also mentions that Seattle has the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major American city. And that Seattle is the most literate of America's 69 largest towns.

How do you go about measuring how literate a town is, I am left wondering? Percentage of people with library cards? Number of libraries? Hours libraries are open? Number of books sold in bookstores? Number of bookstores? Amount of print media produced in a town?

Anyway, after I saw that Google puts up a little blurb about any town in the world that you Googled, I thought I would check in on a few towns and see what Google blurbs about them.

Well, Google pretty much waxes poetic about Seattle....

City in Washington
Seattle, on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland (hence its nickname, "Emerald City"). It’s home to a thriving tech industry, with Microsoft and headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair, is its most recognizable landmark.

I then Googled Fort Worth to find that Google did not have a lot to say about Fort Worth....

City in Texas
Fort Worth is the 17th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas.

One would think that Google could at least point out that Fort Worth is known for its Stockyards and for currently hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle. And that Fort Worth has a long history of making other towns, far and wide, green with envy. Google does point out that one can stay in a 3-star Fort Worth hotel for around $120, while Seattle's 3-star hotels will cost you around $300, with 5-star hotels running around $510.

Now let's look at Fort Worth's sister city, Dallas.

Well, Google has more to say about Dallas than it says about Fort Worth, saying....

City in Texas
Dallas is a major city in Texas and is the largest urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city proper ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio.

Apparently Dallas has 3-star hotels cheaper to stay in than Fort Worth's at around $110. Dallas has 5-star hotels way cheaper than Seattle's at around $180. Google really does not have much more to say about Dallas than it did about Fort Worth. No mention of Dallas being the location of the State Fair of Texas. Or being the location of America's most recent presidential assassination.

Let's go back to Washington to see what Google has to say about the town I was living in before I was exiled to Texas.

City in Washington
Mount Vernon is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The population was 31,743 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

I just now noticed that Google is getting some of the blurbs from Wikipedia, which would explain the sparse Fort Worth entry, because the Wikipedia Fort Worth article is sort of pitiful.

Mount Vernon's 3-star hotels are a more expensive stay than Fort Worth and Dallas at around $150. I've stayed in a Mount Vernon hotel or two on return visits to Washington. Never paid anywhere near $150. I have no idea if I was staying in a 3-star hotel.

All the blurb examples I have used here came from the first sentence of that town's Wikipedia article.

Except for the Seattle blurb.

Which I assume means there must be a way to edit Google's description of a town. I think someone needs to get on this serious issue right away and spruce up the Fort Worth and Dallas blurbs.

And Mount Vernon's as well, with mention made of the annual tulip festival attracting over a million tulip tiptoers, the annual Skagit County Fair, the Riverwalk, Little Mountain and other stuff I am not remembering right now....

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