Google Assistant Was Creepy Smart This Morning

This morning, as I listed to the radio, I heard a NPR story about the Ethiopian airline that’s been in the news. I quickly wondered if this was an airline that I heard Craig Ferguson and Bruce Dickinson discuss in one of the best interviews I’ve ever heard in my entire life (from the former’s far-too-shortlived SiriusXM show). I wanted to ask my phone if it was but the part of my brain that stores rock information was temporarily unable to recall Dickinson’s name.

“Okay, Google. Who is Iron Maiden’s lead singer?”

I expected the correct answer, but Google did even better.

“The lead singers of Iron Maiden are Bruce Dickinson, Paul Di’Anno, Blaze Bayley, and others.”

“Okay, Google. What Airline did Bruce Dickinson own?”

After Google told me about Astraeus — a British, not Ethiopian, airline — I wasn’t quite sure how to ask about some African airline he’d had something to do with so I stumbled a bit …

“Okay, Google. What African airline … um … did …” and so on. Google was very intuitive or human or whatever, and knew exactly where I was going and gave me the details about Air Djibouti — which answered my original question: No, Dickinson’s airline/business wasn’t involved.



Solving Mysteries with Google Reverse Image Search

Each year, Digital Ocean sends a bunch of stickers with their Hacktoberfest t-shirts. This year, I didn’t recognize one of them:


After a few days tangled up in wondering and unanswered tweets, I remembered Google’s Reverse Image Search which I’d learned about in their Data Journalism Fundamentals course. Check it out–I dropped the image into the search box and …


Twillio. I don’t know what they do or make but I know it’s their logo.

I’ll bet you could totally drop pictures of people in and find them. I’ll bet you could draw something you remember and find it … and I’m so gonna try that. There are a couple books I read as a kid that I can’t remember any real details about but I remember the cover vividly! If I can reproduce, maybe the ReverseImage box can help! Dude … sketch artists and facial recognition!

Wow … The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would have been a much shorter book if Lisbeth and what’s-his-Millenium had used this. I wonder if it can find individual components and suggest them as … something to focus on … I’ll bet that would be a relatively easy thing to code.

Like … you know how Sherlock and other androids identify things like … dirt on someone’s collar, dry skin or whatever … and those observations become clues? It would be great to evolve some machine learning to automate what poor Deckard did in Blade Runner with that photo … all that zooming and panning before he noticed the scale.

Update: Watched Searching on Thanksgiving evening in which a Dad uses Reverse Image Search to solve an missing person and/or murder case.

My Future In Data Journalism

Is there a cooler phrase in the English language than “Data Journalism”? I didn’t think so!

The hottest thing on my To Do list this very second is Google‘s Data Journalism course.

Started the Fundamentals course on April 13, 2018. There’s also an Investigative Reporting course among many others as well as tons of Tools training and “Extra Resources” which I haven’t even looked at yet.

Directly Related links:

Indirectly Related links:

Ugh … what was the site from which I first heard of “data journalism”?

Note to self … it’s bookmarked in your browser at work.

Ah-hah! It was ProPublica! Because of their Data Store! Yay!

Seriously, I’ve written about the mind-bogglingly awesome gamified eLearning at … but I can’t find that post (right now) to link to …

And now …

From Poynter

Careers & Job Descriptions

Wasn’t there one other place besides ProPublica?