Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.


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Tech Tuesday: Wolfram Alpha

Want to know what time the sun will set on November 1, 2010 in London, England?
4:35 pm–Crikey that’s early!

Need to know the weather in Boston on July 15, 1980?
Partly cloudy, high 91°

Looking for the population of Ghana?
2.34 million

Does your algebra student need help finding the roots of x³+2x²?
-2, 0

Then you need Wolfram Alpha!

Okay, I know I usually focus on Scrivener during Tech Tuesday, but in deference to the writing friends I haven’t been able to convert yet, I thought I’d discuss an amazing resource on the web. ;-)

Wolfram Alpha was designed by Stephen Wolfram, a really smart guy who had a PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech by age 20. The goal of his website is “to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity”.

As a writer, that means a wealth of data at your fingertips. It’s especially good for things that can be charted, graphed, calculated, or parsed. If you want to read an article about Siberian tigers, check Google. If you want to know what kingdom, phylum, and class they’re in–and their alternate names (like Amur tiger)–try Wolfram Alpha.

Interested in learning more? Click on the link above to go to the home page, or check out the video introduction by Mr. Wolfram himself. Amazing!

Warning: Wolfram Alpha may induce procrastination. I recommend a timer, or a friend who can stage an intervention. Have fun!

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