Fun with Ngrams – Art, Science, Programming

A recent gift from Google Labs – the NGram viewer, a fascinating tool that searches the Google Books database for words and phrases, and charts their relative frequency. For example – let’s take some of the themes of this blog …

ngram 000
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Apparently, Art and Science have grown closer, and enjoy a somewhat parallel existence together. Design (Inspiration) started strong, had a bit of a lull, but is enjoying a bit of a renaissance (as it were). And unfortunately, “management” is spiking in recent year – not sure if that’s good or bad.

Sense of Self

Code jockeys generally don’t like the term coder, that’s for sure – but it looks like after a peak in the mid-80’s, Programmers are losing their mojo to the Developers.

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Although I was a little surprised at the results of this one – who knew Pascal was apparently still going strong? Nothing on this page made me think I am suffering from some ambient data noise …

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Buzzword Bingo

Here’s an interesting one; LinkedIn recently published a list of over-used profile buzzwords; I wondered how recent these buzzwords truly were. Dynamic appears to be the outlier …

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… so we toss that one out to see that innovation is a child of the 60’s, and entrepreneurs are apparently less common than we might think.

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More Examples

A number of other folks have been publishing insightful comparisons over the last few days …

Information is Beautiful shows The spirit of inquiry over the ages (what, when, why, how), The Battle of the Brains (Plato vs. Aristotle), and others.

Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media gets into some interesting insights into the nature of language.

Scott Berkun investigates Innovation vs. Usability, and then descends into the inevitable blue humor.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.