I was reading in Phil Bradley’s blog yesterday about a site I hadn’t heard about called NumberQuotes. You go to the site and enter in a number, and NumberQuotes pulls data containing that number from around the Web. The idea is you have comparison data or a fun factoid that you can put in your presentation, blog post, etc.
So for example I might enter 339. I’d get quotes like this: “339 male giraffes stacked on top of each other would be as high as 6.04 Eiffel Towers” or “339: The population of Hydaburg city, Alaska, USA in 2008” or “339 dollars would buy a taco for everyone living in Kane village, Illinois (population 427)” (them are some cheap tacos.) There were also some stats in there about Alexa ranks. As Phil notes, the aren’t a wide number of statistics here, but the ones that are available are interesting. But as soon as I saw them, I thought, there’s got to be more….
W|A: I don’t know about you, but as soon as I think numbers I think Wolfram|Alpha. So I went over there and typed 339. I didn’t get a bunch of statistics but I did get the Roman numerals, binary form, Unicode, and prime factorization among other things. So if you want something a little more highbrow than how many CDs stack to the level of a can of hair spray, you can always slide this into your conversation: “Hey, speaking of wombat stalking, did you know that 339 has the representation 339 = 2^8+83?”
Mighty Number: Until today I didn’t know about Mighty Number, which bills itself as a search engine for numbers. Enter a number and you’ll get some facts. There’s some overlap with W|A here, but you’ll also get the number in several different languages, the hexadecimal, the octal, and the square root.
Specialty Google Search: Wolfram|Alpha and Mighty Number supply facts about numbers, but they’re pretty dry facts, so maybe you want to get some more stats along the line of NumberQuotes. Google to the rescue, only you want to do a fairly specific query so you don’t end up with spam, forum discussions, etc. So when you’re in Google try this search: “there are xx” (site:gov | site:edu)” where xx is the number you want. So doing a search for “there are 339” (site:gov | site:edu) I discovered the following:
— There are 339 endowed Stanford Graduate Fellowships;
— There are 339 households in Hulmeville, Pennsylvania;
— There were 339 plastics facilities in the state of Connecticut as of October 2002;
— There were 339 nuclear power plants in 30 countries outside the US as of 1997.
When I tested this search on Google I found it was a little harder to get the stats, but you got a wider range of number factoids than you do on NumberQuotes. So do W|A and Mighty Number for the dry number facts, and then NumberQuotes for the interesting stats, and then Google for the additional, more wide-ranging, interesting stats.