Actually, just 24 pounds, but it still stings.

I tried a lot of queries without success on WolframAlpha, the new "computational knowledge engine," ranging from rates of homelessness and AIDS in various regions to salaries for college graduates. None of the first 20 or so queries gave me back meaningful results. Then I decided to hold myself under Wolfram's unflinching light by putting in some of my vitals. After all, Googling oneself is a time-honored tradition, so why shouldn't Wolfram'ing oneself become the same? Here's why: WolframAlpha thinks I'm fat While I know I could afford to drop a few pounds, 186 lbs for a 6'3" male sounds pretty downright unhealthy, and is about 20 pounds south of what my doctor recommended with his weight chart. Obviously, WolframAlpha's databases could still use expansion (that or I really am a lot worse off than I thought). But while these results weren't exactly pretty for anyone involved, I still see some strong potential for the service (which is NOT, as has been reported again and again, a "search engine," at least not as the term is commonly used today). Mr. Wolfram's introductory screen cast alone was enough to get me excited, even if, as a friend remarked, playing around with it for a few minutes shows just exactly how close you have to stay to its databases to get meaningful results. That said, the empty handed results on AIDS, homelessness, global warming ("Functionality for this topic is under development..."), post-graduate pay, etc. etc. shows not the engine's weaknesses, but how much potential it has as more databases, licensed or under public domain, become available. Having an engine that calculates and beautifully displays previously impenetrable data sets could be a huge asset to journalists, researchers, and everyone else with an inquiring mind. In the meantime, there are plenty of cool things WolframAlpha can do. I suggest: