So last week week AOL released 3 months worth of search data keyed by "anonymous" user id numbers. They were quickly slammed by the blog types, who knew that the search queries themselves could be used to determined identities--which is exactly what the NY Times did on Wednesday.
There's a lot to be said about privacy and data minining and who owns our identities.
But it's even more fun to search other people's freaky searches.
For instance, here's a guy from Lee County Florida who's planning to kill his aldulterous wife with either a cocaine overdose or a tranquilizer dart gun.
Here's a guy who's in to his car and little girls. Actually, until today I thought that pedophelia was more of a moral panic than a real problem, but after finding so many pervy searches I am now convinced that people are just as sick as Andrea Dworkin would have had us believe.
Here's someone who wants to buy a ranch and raise primates.
Also common are suicide questions. I consider the first four searches pure, sad poetry--especially knowing that they were written in anti-chronological order.
And then there's user 23187425, who over the course of ten days posted 2758 searches, not one of them with any meaningful chance of returning practical information. "at my door stand joe campbell"? "tell rick i say hello"? "why did i live 2 yrs ahead"?
At first I thought 23187425 was some kind of spider or spam bot, but after a few pages you start to see a thread and come to realize it--23187425 had a 10-day conversation with the AOL search engine.