Just tonight, for example, I was wondering why the Japanese seem to hate licorice. My own data sample, while yielding compelling evidence, is statistically small. I was hoping that perhaps there was somebody doing similar work and who had a broader test sample. Failing that, I was hoping at least that someone, somewhere, had had a similar notion and had written about it somewhere on the web. I found a couple of tantalizing leads, but nothing conclusive.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, meaningless and useless stuff on the web. Right. In the course of my licorice research I stumbled across a site called DopeStats, which claims to track "drug prices, drug statistics, and drug use" in 3,140 American counties. From the website:
Welcome to DopeStats, a public awareness project. Our data is compiled by anonymous users providing information about their use of substances ranging from common psychoactives such as alcohol and cannabis (marijuana), to chemicals like nicotine and crack/cocaine.Now I know what you're thinking--you're thinking, "gee, Rick, this might actually be useful information." And you'd be right!
But then I saw this:
The United States faces an on-going drug problem due to the lack of an easy method for the people to report this kind of data. The most familiar ways include local law enforcement, a counseling or rehab center, or an out-dated survey. Neither of these attract the recreational drug user at the necessary level, which leaves society with a very limited picture of today's illegal drug markets [...]But the real stunner was this:
You can't read this sort of stuff just anywhere, you know.