the Google symbol ^^ and when to use it

You may have stumbled on this problem:
On many websites and blogs that allow comments the option to put an internet link there has been disabled. An url in your text won’t be accepted on their server. As you hit the submit button your contribution may disappear, in some cases irretrievably and you have to write the whole story again.
The good habit of copying all your text before you submit can save you from this agony. But how do you link to a page without being able to make its url explicit?

Or people with problems with comments:
On some news websites a comment with url has to be checked by a moderator first. But you can never be sure if there is a moderator available to handle all comments, let alone approve of yours. Comments often remain in limbo.
Moderation is to be avoided at all cost, these people feel too important. If a moderator doesn’t like your link you might be blocked from their website. This happened to me on when I posted the link I was thrown out and all my former news comments were instantly deleted. If you don’t like machiavellian moderators to judge your carefully crafted posts, it helps not to paste urls.

YouTube’s ghostly problem:
Often a comment with url will be “ghosted” by YouTube. This means that, as long as you are logged in you see your comment alright, but when you are logged out it is gone. For other visitors your comment with link is invisible too.
I don’t know if these ghosted comments at YouTube should later be approved by the owner of the channel. I found I had to paste my text in a new comment and remove the url. But there is something better you can do!

Prepare for link rot:
The internet is slowly disappearing… If you choose not to depend on direct urls, you avoid the problem of dead links, which becomes worse as the years go by. Or did you think a web archiving service can be trusted upon? Wikipedia recommends to link to an archive, but that is bad planning.
Trust on Google, without a good search engine the internet is useless anyway. The Google bot actively indexes the whole web, so by Google search you may find back the article for a broken link.

Fix yours:
Just supply the info so people can paste it in Google to retrieve a link to the intended webpage. Prefix ^^ so all users can clearly recognize your search link.
An example of the universal search link format I propose:

^^ New York Times “Google C.F.O. Is Retiring to Spend More Time With Family”.

  • Start a line with ^^ which is my symbol for Google
  • Then the website name, plain without quotes
  • And last the “article title” in quotation marks.

The double caret ^^ sign is available on your ASCII keyboard by typing shift 6 twice.
Put the title or main headline of the page in some “double quotes”, so that Google searches for the words in that particular order. And finds the article of course.

Back to math class:
The origin of my Google symbol ^^ mirrors that of the name Google. Both stem from the popular mathematics of big numbers. A googol is an astronomically large number and the operator ^^ signifies the superpower of tetration.
To be exact googol equals 10^100 = 10^^2+^2 if you can figure out what I mean…

You probably want to copy the main heading from a page, to paste it in between “” as your search link. But some comment boxes will preserve layout, rendering its font too large. Best first paste a text in Notepad (simple editor), and copy it from there.

When a direct url is problematic, write a Google search link as:
^^ Domain “Article title”.

Please leave a comment. (^^)


One thought on “the Google symbol ^^ and when to use it

  1. The operator for tetration ^^ with two upward arrows comes from Donald Knuth, the genius computer scientist from Stanford who still writes on “The Art of Computer Programming”.
    Computers used to print an arrow to avoid superscripts. But now only the arrowhead ^ of exponentiation remains. This system for superexponentiation is known as Knuth’s up-arrow notation.
    Source article:
    ^^ Donald Knuth “Mathematics and Computer Science: Coping with Finiteness” in Science 1976.

    An alternative for counting carets ^.. to express superpowers is to write multiple *.. superstars.
    A natural system initialized by addition xy with zero stars, next multiplication x*y with one star, powers x**y with two, etcetera.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s