Saturday, May 29, 2010

Warner Bros. Cartoon Characters

So of course in the great cartoon wars that exist only in my mind, the Disney stable would square off against the Warner Bros. team, with Hanna Barbera and whoever else mere bystanders. And, of course, Warner Bros. would win, with pluckier and more individual characters, with a sharper sense of humour and of surreal whimsy.

Just as Mickey Mouse is the jewel in the Disney crown, Bugs Bunny is the sun around which the other characters, like so many planets, orbit. So when I decided to look at five Warner Bros. characters, and how much they've been Googled, I went into it expecting Bugs Bunny would be the most Googled. I don't think I realised by how much, though.

That's a huge difference. What intrigues me, though, is where these characters are most Googled. Here's the top five for each:

  • Bugs Bunny: Turkey, Philippines, Canada, Peru, Greece. A more random list I could not imagine. Apart from Turkey and Greece being neighbours, the countries on this list are nowhere near each other. Perhaps each has a city or a major political personage with this name?
  • Daffy Duck: the USA, Australia, Turkey, the UK, Canada. A much more explicable list: with the exception of cartoon fan Turkey, this is primarily the Anglosphere, which brings up the question of what these characters are called in other languages.
  • Porky Pig: United States, Canada, the UK... that's it. Interesting. The Anglosphere, sure, but Porky, the guy who says "that's all, folks" at the end of every Warner Bros. cartoon, doesn't even register on searches outside of these three countries (the rest of the top ten in just countries in alphabetic order).
  • Elmer Fudd: Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK... that's it. Same as Porky, sadly - except the Australians show up.
  • Speedy Gonzales: Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada. And now for something completely different. I don't know whether or not I was surprised to find Mexico absent from the top ten, but the sudden preponderence of European countries threw me for a loop.
Here's a few translations, according to Wikipedia:
  • English, German, Spanish, French, Bahasa Indonesia, Itlain, Swahili, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish: Bugs Bunny.
  • Serbian: Duško Dugouško.
  • Danish: Snurre Snup.
  • Croatian: Zekoslava Mrkva.
  • Norwegian: Snurre Sprett.
  • Polish: Królik Bugs.
  • Finnish: Väiski Vemmelsääri, or apparently Pelle Pupu.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Regional spelling in Canada

The English language has, of course, two principal, slightly divergent, 'streams' within it: British English and American English. While the differences are way smaller than sometimes made out, and have nothing on the regional variations that exist in, say, German or Arabic, there are certainly things that make it clear that the two have developed along distinct routes over the past few centuries.

Where does Canada lie here? Well, unsurprisingly, somewhere in between. Canadian accents are meant to be more similar to American accents, and where vocabulary differences exist, Canadians tend to use the American word. However, as enforced in Canadian textbooks and some Canadian newspapers, Canadians are supposed to spell words the way the British do.

But is that true? Let's look at a few examples, with the American in blue and the English in red. These results are for Canada only.

"Flavor" vs. "Flavour"

You can see here that, by a large amount, Canadians Google the American spelling more than the British spelling. While it is true that the first two related searches, "Flavor of Love" and "Flavor Flav" are both correctly spelt without the 'u', there does seem to be a tendency, repeated across every province, to prefer the American spelling.

"Color" vs. "Colour"

While I might have thought that the more famous example of 'color' vs. 'colour' might bring back contrasting results, it does not. If anything, the difference is more profound here, mostly in Alberta and in the Atlantic provinces (perhaps surprisingly). Ontario is the province that Googles the u most frequently, but still less than the five-letter version.

"Center" vs. "Centre"

And yet there are exceptions... Excluding Québec, which generally speaking I will do, as 'centre' is the only acceptable French spelling, nationwide we suddenly see the opposite: the British spelling is preferred in every province (in New Brunswick it's nearly equal). Clearly Canadians cherry-pick their spellings.

"Theater" vs. "Theatre"

The preference for the British form is even more pronounced here, interestingly enough. The -re ending seems to be a Canadian standard, where the -our ending is less of one than generally presumed.

"Realize" vs. "Realise"

Inasmuch as a standard Canadian orthography exists, it's not merely 'copy the British'. The American -ize ending has a lot of poularity throughout the English-speaking world, and is unsurprisingly the only real spelling we'll see in Canada.

"Catalog" vs. "Catalogue"

The tendency to turn -ogue into -og is by no means standard American - the USA is rather divided on that topic. Yet the -og spellings are quite rare outside of the US, so I'm surprised to see that they perform in Canada even half as well as the longer spelling.

"Traveler" vs. "Traveller"

An interesting one here, one that's practically neck-in-neck, and one that I don't imagine many Canadians have even though of. The American spelling prevails in Manitoba, though there are several provinces that Google has no statistics at all about here. Guess Canadians don't Google travellers much.

"Gray" vs. "Grey"

A grain of salt is needed here, I think. Both of these variations are also surnames and geographical names. Still, there's very much a preference for the British spelling here. I was confused about the seasonal spikes until I remembered the CFL, and its cup, the Grey Cup. Searching for "gray" vs. "grey -cup" still shows a two-to-one preference for the e, though

"Yogurt" vs. "Yoghurt" vs. "Yogourt"

One last one. I include this one because ostensibly this word has, in addition to an American and a British spelling, a 'Canadian' spelling, which is identical to one of two French spelling for this cofusing dairy product. Google searching, though, shows this to be largely untrue: the American spelling clearly wins here, with the 'ou' spelling showing up on the charts primarily because of Québec. Outside of there, it's only seen in Ontario and BC.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Pile of PotatoesImage by incurable_hippie via Flickr
So this came about a week or two ago while discussing Vitamin D online. I mentioned that Vitamin D is a 'star' vitamin these days, getting a lot of press. I suggested that if you could see how much press each vitamin got, you'd find Vitamin D at the top of the pack.

Turns out I was right.

Quick caveats: I don't think there's any such thing as 'Vitamin B'. But all the B12s and B6s and whatever, I figured if I just looked for 'Vitamin B', they'd all get lumped in. I also know there are more vitamins than these. But this, A to E, seemed like a cute way of going about it.

When you actually look at the whole range from 2004 to today, Vitamins C and D are equal for number of searches. However, it's the trends that matter. Vitamin C has had a slow downward trend over the years, while Vitamin D is indeed shooting for the skies ahead of the competition. And, oddly, Vitamin E had a huge spike in November 2004.

Some random additions: Jamaica leads the pack for searches on both Vitamins A and B, but it's Trinidad and Tobago leading for Vitamins C and E. All-star D finds the Americans on top.

And for fans of cereal boxes, here's another chart for you:

Niacin FTW. The Americans lead the pack in three of these, with India topping the list for pantothenate.

Whatever that is.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Billboard #1 Singles

The most recent #1 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 chart are:
  • "OMG" by Usher
  • "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B.
  • "Rude Boy" by Rihanna
  • "Break Your Heart" by Taio Cruz
  • "Imma Be" by the Black Eyed Peas
What got me thinking about this, though, was none of those groups at all but Lady Antebellum, a band who seems to be doing well for themselves with distinctly regional, as opposed to national, support. I got to wondering if these acts also had regional success, as opposed to nation-wide. Since B.o.B and Taio Cruz are one-hit wonders, I used only their names for the search function. For the other three (rather more popular), I included the song title too.

It`s a pretty chart, with lots of criss-crossing. But let`s look at the goods. I'm listing the top ten states for each of these songs, coloured according to their region in the United States. Here's my colour scheme:
  • West
  • Midwest
  • Northeast
  • South
The regional definitions come from the US Census Service, by the way. So here we go:
  • "OMG Usher": Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana
  • "B.o.B.": Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, New York, D.C.
  • "Rude Boy Rihanna": South Carolina, Louisiana, New York, Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida
  • "Taio Cruz": Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, D.C., Arizona
  • "Imma Be Black Eyed Peas": Tennessee, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, New York
Some interesting trends here - noteworthy that the western half of the country contributes essentially nothing - of particular surprise is that California shows up only once here. There is a fair amount of regionalism here: though Usher has states from all four regions (if Maryland is really a southern state), fully half of the states are Northeastern (even though he's Texan). B.o.B. of Atlanta, Georgia has support from throughout the eastern half of the country: four northeastern states, three midwestern, and three by the Census Bureau's dodgy definition of 'southern', including his home state. Barbadian Rihanna, interestingly, finds her support primarily in the South - seven in ten, the remainder being northeastern. English Taio Cruz technically has support from all four regions (inasmuch as D.C. is southern), but half the states are northeastern. Half of the Black Eyed Peas' states are southern, with three midwestern and two northeastern. Even though they themselves are Californian.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Ah, the internet... the things you've changed.

I was inspired to do this entry based on an article I'd read in the newspaper, oh, a year ago. You know how some old scrap of forgotten info just suddenly, and randlomly, flutters back into your head? Something like that. It was about a person being given a licence plate that said 'WTF'. You know: WTF-528 or something. The kids giggled, the mom didn't know why. In truth, why not? I'm sure all five of these three-letter acronyms grace licence plates. Before the internet, they meant nothing at all.

The graph shows little: LOL beats all of the others, they're all steadily rising, near each other except for runaway winner LOL, and LOL and OMG are in the middle of current, very new spikes (well, Insights guesses it's a spike, but maybe it's just a massive, permanent upsurge in their fortunes).

Random info from the five:

  • OMG is searched most often in the Philippines and Jamaica. The most popular search item is "OMG Yahoo", which is a cheesy fake TMZ. Incidentally, is just a reroute to
  • WTF is most popular in Canada, and among other things, a popular search item is 'wtf taekwondo', where I presume WTF means 'World Taekwondo Federation'. There is a site at, which describes itself as 'an online community forum with a focus on ranting and debating for those who want to bitch and moan about anything on their mind.'
  • The top two countries searching for LOL are, oddly, Bosnia and France. Perhaps it has a second meaning in Bosnia? Anyway, unsurprisingly 'lol cats' is the most searched term. Again unsurprisingly, is a humour site.
  • BRB is far and away most popular in Brazil, and the top search items are filled with banking terminology. So BRB is clearly some Brazilian bank - where one hopes the tellers stay at their terminals. But is the website for Butler Rogers Baskett Architects.
  • FTW means 'for the win'. Top googling countries Norway and Singapore might know that, but they might not. Amongst the top ten most searched phrases are: 'what does ftw', 'ftw mean', 'ftw meaning', 'ftw means', 'what is ftw', 'ftw stand for' and 'ftw mean?' Poor confused internet. Lastly, is an 'under construction' site for Fort Worth.
Enhanced by Zemanta