Monday, August 27, 2012

Serach* (for Search*)

In a television ad for (formerly Ask Jeeves and now the fifth largest search engine on the web), a perplexed, if not flat-out flummoxed, woman wonders: "Is it wrong to use salt when you're cooking?" Well, not if you ask me, no. Of course not. But sometimes, I guess, yes. Obviously, it depends upon what you're cooking (there are optimal times at which to add it, according to recipe) and whether or not you have a medical condition that precludes it. But generally speaking, salt isn't bad for you. And it's definitely good for cooking. returns results that don't seem all that different from what Google would get you, but the company is currently at pains to explain why it's better. And the recent TV commercials seem to be part of that ongoing effort. As for the salt question, I wouldn't necessarily trust what either search engine has to tell you. Just like with eggs, milk, meat, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, etc., the findings of various "studies" seem to fluctuate daily. I mean, don't get me wrong. Go right ahead and ask. But just don't automatically believe everything that shakes out. A quick search in OhioLINK turns up 14 records containing this typo of the day, along with 304 found in WorldCat.

(Table salt and peppercorns, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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