Check out a new resource on the Internet: www.wolframalpha.com, a computational knowledge engine that quickly returns a lot of information on any topic you throw at it.
I typed in “Emma,” my dog’s name. I found out that Emma is the top female name for US births, with 18,587 people given that name each year (based on 2008 births). The average person named Emma is 7 years old. The frequency of naming children “Emma” was lowest in the 1970s, highest in the 1880s, and headed up in this decade.
Imagine how useful this engine might be for important questions! To quote the site:
“Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.”
This site would be very useful in prewriting, for example. You could do quick research on your topic, avoiding having to open a lot of Google links.
Thanks to Camille Walker for the tip to look at Wolfram Alpha’s site.