Friday, May 6, 2016

Funniest computer search of the day

You know how when you do an online search, the search engine sorts the responses into those that are most likely to be what you are seeking and puts them at the top? That's the theory, anyway. 
I recently watched a documentary on algorithms that "explained" how this works. Unfortunately in order to explain it, they used the metaphor of a European football game: a classic example of explaining the obscure by means of the more obscure.
Well, near the top, because the things at the actual top of the list, things that can easily fill the whole screen, are usually paid ads.

This morning I did a quick search on monastery. Top of the list? "Buy Monastery at Amazon -- Low prices on Monastery." I did the search a second time and got another batch, but I was tempted to see what monasteries Amazon might have on offer.

As you would expect, they did not list any actual monasteries for sale, although I suspect it is just a matter of time before they enter the real estate market. Instead they offered mostly books about monasteries. But down the list was this item: Russian Gastric Monastery Tea.

Item description: 
The composition is useful in folk medicine for stomach ulcers and 12 duodenal ulcer, chronic gastritis with high acidity, are actively using anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, enveloping properties of plants. Ingredients: calendula, flax seed, hips, St. John's wort, uliginose, peppermint, wormwood, horsetail, yarrow flowers. Mode of application: 1 teaspoon per 200 ml of boiling water. Infuse for 30 minutes. Drink warm during the day. 
My warped mind had thought maybe there was something called a Russian Gastric Monastery, but that was just the result of the ambiguity of the placement of English adverbs in relation to the noun they modify. And I did pause over that list of ingredients when I got to the word hips.

A few items lower on the list was the less ambiguously, though perhaps more disturbingly named Russian Monastery antiparasitic tea.

I admit the items look identical in the photos, but then dried leaves look like dried leaves. And an examination of the photos shows that the labels are different, even if you are not familiar with Cyrillic script.

This one is described thus: 
Monastic tea antiparasitic, monastic tea antiparasitic of worms, fungi and parasites Weight (g): 100 / 3,5 oz Application: one teaspoon of brew 200 ml. boiling water, leave for 15 minutes. and take 1stakanu per day.Ingredients: birch leaf, oak bark, calendula, peppermint, pimzha, wormwood, chamomile, sishenitsa swamp, tysyacheslistnik, Agrimony, Salvia officinalis. Elimination of bacteria, fungi, viruses, preventing the processes of fermentation and putrefaction in the intestines, ridding the body of worms and other harmful parasites, removes toxins and waste products of parasites, inflammatory action, stimulating the work of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, biliary and urinary tract, stimulation of healing lesions of esophagus, stomach and intestine It consists exclusively of herbs, a completely natural product; Certified Product with clinically proven efficacy; It has high efficiency (a synergistic effect)...
 Worms, fungi and parasites must have been a bigger problem in Russian monasteries, because the Amazon ad says that only four of this tea remain in stock while no such claim is made about the gastric tea. I would think if I were in a monastery where others were suffering from worms, fungi and parasites, that would concern me enough to give me ulcers.

I checked with Tom and we seem to have misplaced out stakanu during our move to Madison. I guess I am just out of luck.
Final note: In my compulsive library-ferrret way, I discovered that if you do a separate search for "convents and monasteries for sale" you will come across some lovely places. An old Dominican friary in Tuscany could be just the ticket. So if you are in the market and have a great deal of the folding green  on hand, have at it! 

1 comment:

Dave R said...

A few years back, when I was going through my "I'm going to sell everything off and move to France where I can drink wine and ride my bicycle" phase, I spent some time looking at manor homes. The one that most caught my eye noted that "the cave in the basement is used for the wine cellar." I almost flew over to have a look at that one.