Fun question that we stumbled across after deep-frying chicken for dinner today: How many sunflowers are needed to create a litre of sunflower oil. As with many straightforward questions that aren’t just scientific trivia, wikipedia’s entry on sunflower oil FAILs on that question (and arguably does so with even more gibberish in German).
With all the hype about Wolfram Alpha (we’ll just skip the bewilderment about whether greek letters or vertical bars are required to write about it) and the global wave of non-enthusiasm I considered this a perfect opportunity to add mine. Of course the question ‘sunflowers in a litre of sunflower’ oil seems tailor-made for their ‘scientific’ approach. And as the question is not computationally trivial, it’s also a request you’ll expect their engine to FAIL. No disappointment there - my expectations were met. The site recognises all of the search terms in the request but still
isn’t sure what to do with my input.
Amusingly a straightforward Google search leads to a well hidden note in the German wikipedia entry for sunflower (rather than the separate entry for sunflower oil discussed above), claiming that the number I looked for is 60. I’ll leave figuring out whether that number is correct for another day. As ad brochures have already copied the wikipedia information, I’m sure people will be able to find proper, printed sources on that topic soon.
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.