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Search engine query suggestions: Looking at what’s allowed, and what’s not

December 29, 2009 2 comments

Warning: This is long and picture heavy!

Yesterday, I decided to do a little experiment, because I found Google to be very limited in searching apparent “mature” words and especially noticed that “abortion” was considered one of those “mature” words. So, I decided to look at several search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL) that offer query suggestions in the search box. Before I go further, I need to say that I made sure that all the filters were off. The whole point of this was really to see if “abortion” was limited in other search engines as well, but I discovered some other things along the way!

The main words that I looked up were abortion, vagina, penis, sex, sexi (it’s not a work, but I just put that in and lots came up!), fuck and maybe a few others. I’m going to go through this word by word, so that you can see the comparison immediately.

First, since I was most interested in the lack of “abortion” on Google, I’ll go over that first. Here are the findings:

So, before I actually got into the word “abortion”, I decided to just type in “abor”, and you can see that there are many results for that. Even in the non-Google search engines, abortion comes up when you just type in “abor”, but in Google, it’s all about Aboriginals. And then, all of a sudden…when I type in “abort” or “abortion”, Google doesn’t like that and doesn’t give any suggestions that have to do with abortions!

As it can be seen, Google is the only search engine that is crazy and thinks that “abortion” is a dirty word. Now, I moved onto other “mature” words, and I for one felt as though I lost a little bit of my dignity while doing so…all in the name of science! Next up, is “sex”, “sexi” and “sexy”.

What I thought was interesting about the MSN search for “sex” was that the word sex wasn’t allowed to be searched at all, even in the case where I put in “sexism”. Weird. Next up, AOL.

So, I’ve kind of determined that AOL will almost let you search anything. And finally, Google and Yahoo!

What I found interesting here was that in Google, you can’t search “sexy”, but you can search “sexi” or “sexiest”…which really makes no sense. Yahoo! of course lets you search what you want. Next up, the words “vagina” and “penis”.

So with Google and MSN, you can type “vag” and get some suggestions. However, type in “vagina” and that’s a big no-no! Remember, vagina’s are bad and scary, kids! However, Yahoo! and AOL aren’t as scared of vagina’s as Google and MSN.

Now, we move onto “penis”. I didn’t really know what to expect, after the results that “vagina” had.

Turns out, even more people are scared of penises. You can see in the first Google search box that I just put in “peni” to see what would come up, and then BAM! I put in “penis” and everything goes away! MSN and AOL gave some different suggestions when “penis” is in the search box, but they fully stay away from an actual penis.

This next one, well…I really lost all my dignity doing this search. However, I will say it again, it’s all in the name of science! I typed in “boobs” in AOL, because I had found that AOL had been the most unlimited search engine. Guess what I found? A lot of suggestions for “boobs”.

It kind of makes me sad and a little pissed, to be honest, because you can’t even type in “penis” and get valid penis suggestions for that, but you can type in “boobs” and get that sick shit? Not fair. Not cool.

Finally, I wanted to find a word that would virtually be off-limits for every search engine. In the end, this word was “fuck”.

So, what can we get from all of this? Ultimately, I want to focus on the “abortion” not being something that is “valid” in Google’s search box. What the hell? Why is “abortion” a dirty word? Google will let “sex”, “sexi” (which turns into sexiest, etc). And considering that Google is the biggest and most well-known search engine, I personally don’t believe that “abortion” should be off-limits and ignored in terms of query suggestions. It really, honestly, doesn’t make sense. Every other search engine offers query suggestions for the word “abortion”. No one crying about it. I just wish people would understand that abortion is not a dirty word and that it’s not a bad thing.

Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine. However, I respectfully disagree with you as well. Ultimately, I can see some reasoning for every other word that doesn’t have query suggestions (however, since the filters were completely off, I still find it kind of weird). However, I don’t really see the problem with the word “vagina” or “penis”, because those words are generally not used for pornography. In the case that they were, I would understand more.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with search engines and what they offer in their query suggestions?


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A positive personal testimony of having an abortion

December 28, 2009 6 comments

It’s always nice to come across these, not just because I’m pro-choice or think it’s just fine for women to have abortions, but because we’re constantly bombarded with horror stories of abortions and how it ruins women’s lives. Maria Elizabeth Rubio, of InTheFray, shares her story of having an abortion and how she knew it was the right decision.

I found out I was pregnant and knew immediately that I wasn’t yet ready to become a mom. I didn’t have to think very long or hard about it; I knew that, given who I was at the time, I simply did not want to give birth to a child.

Look at that, a women who knows herself and knows what decision she needs to make, despite our society not being trustful of the capabilities that women have in decision-making when it comes to their bodies and their lives.

I thought a lot about my decision, about the morality behind taking the potential life of a human being…I wanted so much out of life, and I didn’t want the complications of pregnancy or motherhood to deter any of my aspirations from becoming realities…I thought about becoming a mom, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew that it just wasn’t for me.

She then talks of her experience going through with the abortion and how everyone at the clinic was great. She was completely put under for her abortion, and she tells of her feelings after:

The moment I opened my eyes, a wave of serenity washed over me. I felt giddy, euphoric, completely at ease. I knew I was no longer pregnant, and I was certain in that moment of tranquility that I had made the right decision.

Now, she doesn’t make it all sunshine and roses, even though her personal experience was good. She talks about another woman who had an abortion the same day and was weeping after her procedure. Obviously, abortion is something that can affect everyone differently. She doesn’t shy away from that aspect. But as for her, she didn’t feel upset.

Later on in life, she did decide to become a mother. Throughout having a child, she tells of “dreams permeated by thoughts of my aborted would-be child.” However, she states that her “What if’s” about her unborn baby are short-lived and superficial.

Thanks, Maria. It’s so refreshing to hear a positive abortion experience!


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An abortion compromise made for health care reform

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I have neglected to post anything about the abortion debates/Stupak-Pitts/health care reform before this, because I just felt that others could explain things much better than myself, as I’m Canadian and don’t completely understand all the ins and outs of the American political system. However, I can’t neglect this anymore. As most of you may know by now, there is now an abortion compromise being proposed for the hopeful passing of the health care reform, just for that one damn vote from Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.. Pretty much, most women are still getting screwed out of abortion coverage. Shit. Here’s how it goes:

No health plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those funds would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money.

Moreover, individual states would be able to prohibit abortion coverage in plans offered through the exchange, after but passing specific legislation to that effect. The only exceptions would be those allowed under current federal law.

So, what I’m hearing from this is that women are still getting screwed. Women should not have to pay a separate check for abortion coverage. That’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Seriously. Abortions should be considered a medically necessary procedure for those who need or want them (similar to how they are labeled in Canada), and there should be equal access across the board, for all women. The access thing is absolutely more difficult, but the first step is to allow abortions into the health care reform without any separation. This seriously just boils my blood. It’s ridiculous.

So how are other people responding to this? NARAL gives their take and states,

“At every turn, our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system…the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language.”

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., says that she’s “disappointed that women’s access to full reproductive health care is again paying the price.

Planned Parenthood gives their thoughts:

There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.

No doubt, there will be more news about this and more to say about it in the coming days and weeks. Right now, I have to say that this is not good enough, and some fighting still needs to be done, especially since people who support Stupak-Pitts aren’t going to go down without a fight.

Update: After I wrote this post, we now have found out that the Senate has voted yes (60-40) on the first health care reform vote.


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Food for thought!

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

I have been so busy, and will remain busy all weekend until Monday, which means I can’t post! So instead, I’m putting up lots of interesting links for you to go to and mull over! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Can women learn something from the gay rights movement?

Hm. Surprise, surprise. Rush Limbaugh thinks that people in poverty “don’t deserve healthcare”. You make me sick, Rush. Sick.

One story about a family’s difficult decision to have an abortion, while being a part of the Catholic Church. (They went to Dr. Tiller’s, by the way – there are some great things said about him.)

The Women’s Health Amendment was passed!

Operation Rescue (“pro-life” activist group) have a new target in Dr. Leroy Carhart.

Rosie the Riveter High, in Long Beach, CA is making some serious efforts to teach their female students the trades.

Finally, this Sunday, December 6th, marks the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, where the men were told to leave the room, while 14 women were murdered, just because they were women. Read the basic facts here.

New Delhi: Rape victim told to have baby

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

The Feminist Majority brings us this story of a mentally-handicapped rape victim being ordered to have her baby, although the New Delhi Supreme Court says that she will not rear the child.

The lower court ordered that she terminate the pregnancy, by stating: “We have no hesitation in observing that she is extremely vulnerable to all types of deceptive, dishonest and immoral offers even at the hands of those whom the law bestowed with the duty of looking after her.”

For me, any Indian news regarding women’s issues/gender issues/feminist stuff is near and dear to my heart, because I was there last year for about a month, doing some volunteer work. I know that doesn’t qualify me for much, but even being in India for that short period of time makes you understand how things work in that country. There is too much culture shock to not understand.

So, all I’m thinking about is how I’m actually not overly surprised that she is being ordered to have the baby. India is progressing, but it is moving slow towards that progression and is still a conservative country with much gender inequality.

I agree with the lower court’s decision, not just because of what they said about the victim (which is VERY true), but for the wellbeing of the newborn child. This child may be able to be taken care of by someone else, but I truly doubt that the child will have a chance at a good standard of living. Until you go to India and see things for yourself, you don’t understand the vast amount of street children, the vast amount of babies, children and adult beggars that are being exploited by the mafia (yes, Slumdog Millionaire was correct) and the vast amount of children in orphanages. India is obviously an overpopulated country that is bursting at the seams, and the Supreme Court’s ruling to me just doesn’t make sense. I can’t help but believe that they know this child will either end up in an orphanage (and honestly, not ALL are bad) or on the street, begging.

I just wish that the lower court’s decision was kept, because I truly believe that that was the right decision. I know many may disagree with me, but I just can’t see the pros to the Supreme Court’s decision.

Thoughts?

Categories: abortion, india, international, rape

Another instance of celebrating boys over girls

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

The border town of Blaine, Washington has been found to have a clinic called “Koala Labs” that attracts Indo-Canadians (and I’m sure many other people as well) to see what the sex of their baby is at 3 months into the pregnancy, so a couple will know earlier if they will be getting an abortion or not.

Liberal MP Ujjah Dosanjh drew attention to the clinic this week, after an Indo-Canadian man, Lakhvinder Kahlon, of North Delta, B.C., was charged with killing his two-year-old daughter. Mr. Dosanjh denounced the cultural tradition of celebrating boys over girls, and said South Asian families from Vancouver go to clinics in Blaine in order to find out a fetus’s gender early enough in a pregnancy to permit an abortion.

Very sad. When is this going to end?

Um, not to sound “man-hating,” but…

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Alternet has a sweet piece called “If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would be a Sacrament.

It’s not really about men too much, but just a little history of abortion and those rights. Check it out!