Friday, September 02, 2005

Nokes's Law

I realized this evening that it's been all Katrina, all the time on the Wordhoard for the last couple of days. I'm too exhausted from a variety of Katrina and non-Katrina related crises around here to think of anything smart or medieval to say, so I thought I'd let you all know about Nokes's Law.

I formulated Nokes's Law about six or seven years ago. It was tax time, and I needed a little clarification on some point for filing my taxes. I wasn't sure if the IRS web URL would be based on the acronym, spelling out the words, the words together underscored, or what, so I ran a search on "IRS."

The second hit was the Internal Revenue Service. The first was a porn site. I realized then the frequency with which porn sites came up, and formulated Nokes's Law:

"Any internet search on any term will yield at least one porn site..."

... as well as the Corollary to Nokes's Law ...

"... and that porn site will probably be within the first 10 hits."

Now, people have challenged this rule, with mixed results. Someone challenged me with "driftwood," which yielded a porn site. "Tweed" also yielded porn. Most recently, though, someone succeeded with the phrase "vampire caterpillars." Someone else noted to me that the name of this blog, "Unlocked Wordhoard," still yields no porn sites.

To which I respond -- first, it is unfair to use phrases instead of single words; second, these phrases yield no porn sites yet. I'm sure it is just a matter of time.

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