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Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:

‘Tis herself: A search for “english major who taught herself calculus” returned The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Oulette. Plus one viral tweet.

When I googled “english major who taught herself calculus,” Google gave me the result I wanted — plus a most unhelpful suggestion. I wondered why.

Last Thursday morning, I was following up on a book recommendation from sometime-TED-blogger Ben Lillie. A writer he knows, an English major, taught herself calculus and wrote a book about it. Don’t you want to read that book? I do. I couldn’t remember the writer’s name that morning, but I remembered the plot of the book. So I searched for “english major who taught herself calculus.”

And Google asked:

Did you mean: “english major who taught himself calculus”?

It was just so weird, I took a screengrab and tweeted it. What was there to say in comment besides: “No Google, no I didn’t.”

Then I…

View original 915 more words

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