Breakfast in Hyperspace

Originally from here. I found this illuminating and hilarious for my research on search engines.

Imagine that you are curious about what people typically order for breakfast down at your local diner, and you want to display this information in visual form. You decide to examine all the breakfast orders from a busy weekend day, and record how many times the words bacon, eggs and coffee occur in each order.

You can graph the results of your survey by setting up a chart with three orthogonal axes – one for each keyword. The choice of direction is arbitrary – perhaps a bacon axis in the x direction, an eggs axis in the y direction, and the all-important coffee axis in the z direction. To plot a particular breakfast order, you count the occurence of each keyword, and then take the appropriate number of steps along the axis for that word. When you are finished, you get a cloud of points in three-dimensional space, representing all of that day’s breakfast orders.

Eggs Bacon Coffee

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