Stephen E. Arnold
A Not-For-Profit Search Engine? That’s So Crazy It Just Might Work
The Common Search Project has a simple and straightforward mission statement. They want a nonprofit search engine, an alternative to the companies currently running the Internet (ahem, Google.) They are extremely polite in their venture, but also firmly invested in three qualities for the search engine that they intend to build and run: openness, transparency, and independence. The core values include,
“Radical transparency. Our search results must be explainable and reproducible. All our code is open source and results are generated only using publicly available data. Transparency also extends to our governance, finances and day-to-day operations.
Independence. No single person, company or special interest must be able to influence the order of our search results to their benefit. …
Public service. We want to build and operate a free service targeted at a large, mainstream audience.”
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Preserved Poop Points Way to Hannibal’s Path
The question of precisely where the historically acclaimed general Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps into Italy to defeat the Romans — during the Second Punic War, around 218 to 201 B.C. — has perplexed historians for nearly 2,000 years. Thanks to a new study, the first evidence pointing to an answer has finally been unearthed. Clues to Hannibal’s secret military route were recently discovered — not in maps or letters, but in the geologic record. But it wasn’t exactly rocks that revealed the full story. Scientists dug up signs of Hannibal’s passage in preserved poop deposits, from a churned-up stretch of boggy terrain that likely served as a watering hole and toilet for the army’s resting animals.