Wolfram Alpha

Various authors, Website, May 19, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As a kid, I would eagerly await the annual publication of the World Almanac, and when it came out, would eagerly devour the new flags, population statistics, industrial and trade figures, and of course the updated maps. Wolfram Alpha, which has just been launched after months of intensive publicity, reminds me most of the World Almanac. It's not the sort of thing people will browse through, or even use as a search engine, but if you want the miscellanea formerly found in the World Almanac, this is your source. That said, the kid in my with the critical eye was disappointed to find population figures already badly out of date, and I despair of the (human?) effort it will take to maintain this resource.
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