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Show HN: Weltschmerz by age (p.migdal.pl)
72 points by stared on Aug 23, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments

Author here. I defrosted a 4-year old project, thanks to this tweet: https://twitter.com/brian_bilston/status/1031844013236789248 ("Love in the Age of Google").

Also, a lot of inspiration from various xkcd experiments with Google search (such as "I should have" https://xkcd.com/458/ and "stripped game of life" https://xkcd.com/696/).

Looking for interesting phrases. (Found one? Share it!)

Also, since this project is old, I would have started it with better modularizaiton (Vue?) + texts in url bar. If you want to fork it, go for it.

I just get horizontal line with numbers on it, there is nothing else on the page when I click "Go!". Is it down somehow?

I used it with "I am 30 years old and" which yielded your result.

But you have to use an X as placeholder somewhere.

My takeaway is that people use this query for things they are worried about. Personally, I have never entered my age as part of a full sentence in a search query.

Doing the "I am X years old and" for X in [30,40], a few observations:

"want to go back to school" and "broke" stop at 40.

"have no energy" and "can't lose weight" start at 40.

"have no friends" appears somewhat age-independent but does have peaks.

End of their 30s people stop asking why they are single and start asking why they are tired.

Note: you need to disable PrivacyBadger (if installed) to allow the (many) requests to suggestqueries.google.com

Linguistic observation with the default setting (I am [12-50] years old and):

"i don't know what to do with my life" peaks at 20-25, "don't know what to do with my life" at 30-40. "i want to lose weight" peaks at 12-15, "want to lose weight" at 40-50.

I wasn't aware of preference for the "I am X and I do Y" scheme vs the "I am X and do Y" one being correlated to age, but the data seems to say so.

This is nifty. I'm kind of surprised Google hasn't flagged you for being a bot, doing all these queries.

There's a typo while querying: "quering"


That was fast!

I hope Google won't be nearly as fast. ;)

What I'd like to know is who searched for "I am 80 years old and pregnant"?

Any recommendations which queries to try besides "I am X years old and"?

To get it grim try "X months since" (1-24); similar for years.

To get a lot of time-stuff "I had sex X" (1-30), to get about money "I need X" (1-30), about weight "I lost X" (1-100), etc.

Waiting for for more suggestions!

"sleep X" (0–50) is an interesting mix of sleep disorders, child care, programming and some fad of sleeping 15, 20 or 30 minutes every 4 hours.

"My girlfriend is X" shows more younger than older (and a bunch of pregnancy worries), while "my boyfriend is X" shows more older than younger (and a disturbing age range with completion "... and im 14").

"I got X" (0–100) yields grade distributions, but they seem to skew to the top (at least if you go by "percentile in cat", which should be uniform but isn't).

"My baby is X months old and" led to discovering much fretting by parents.

"I drank X " 0 to 50, gives a nice indication of when people had to much of something to no longer be able to use Google. And drinking 10 days old doesn't kill you (other conditions might apply).

Oh, this is depressing. :(

I don't know if I'd call it depressing. I think the results are more an indication of how we use search engines in general than an accurate portrayal of the human condition. We search out answers to our questions and solutions to our problems, right? I'd guess it's pretty rare for someone to enter a string like "I'm 20 years old and I'm in perfect health!" or "I'm 38 years old and I've never had a cavity" in a search box. Still, kind of interesting to see the types of things a demographic wants answers to.

Funny I find it uplifting. The human experience is universal.

It does not work for me when I try to change the query in any way. For example "I have X years left to live and"

It worked for me when I tried "I weigh X pounds" from 100 to 250... I think it only returns results for queries that have been asked enough times to generate Google's suggestions.

FYI "Weltschmerz" is a German word variously defined as...

1) German, from Welt ‘world’ + Schmerz ‘pain’

2) Sadness or melancholy at the evils of the world; world-weariness

3) Sorrow that one feels and accepts as one's necessary portion in life

This is not a portmanteau at all. It's just two words combined.

Wow, cool project! Funny how with the query there's so many results to do with being or getting pregnant.

Works for other stuff too. Try "District X" from 8 to 12.

Really cool

I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

The result of Google search's auto-complete for the string on the left of "[Google autocomplete...]", so some kind of most common query with that particular prefix.

Quite the downer, in my opinion.

What are the numbers on the right for?

That's the age range it replaces X with. It conducts the query multiple times, across that range.

It makes sense if you just press "Go" when you visit the page (don't change anything). My first instinct was to replace X with an integer and you only get one result when you do that.

I never saw any results, maybe it's broken? [UPDATE] it works in Chromium, but not Firefox.

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