The ever-expanding reach and capability of Solr/Lucene Open Source search has expanded to reach a new set of data sources,  most recently in the search and retrieval of the missing Egyptian Cobra from the Bronx Zoo. According to the New York Times:

The adolescent snake was found inside a nonpublic area of the zoo’s Reptile House, and was in “really good condition,” without any “obvious bulges.” He said the snake, who is 24 inches long and now weighs 3 ounces, would rest for a short period of time before being put back on exhibit. She was found coiled in a secluded dark corner — “almost exactly as we would have predicted,” Mr. Breheny said. He said the snake avoided detection because it was lurking in an area with “extremely complicated” system of equipment. … Since her escape, the Egyptian cobra had inspired feverish news coverage and a wildly popular fake Twitter feed.

Unnamed sources (who spoke about the matter anonymously as they were not authorized to speak to bloggers) speculated that use of freely available, off-the-shelf tools was in fact ‘code’ for use of open source search technology. Another indicator, that the snake was located in “lurking in an area with ‘extremely complicated system of equipment’, shows that authorities responsible for the search were challenged by data and content stovepipes common to explosive growth of data and content faced in legacy environments by many enterprises. The crucial role played by Lucene-powered social media giant Twitter.com, which was instrumental in enabling the search,  readily scaled to accomodate the increased search traffic above and beyond the 1 billion queries per day described by Apache Lucene PMC member Michael Busch at last year’s Lucene Revolution in Boston.

Nonetheless, use of open source search technology to search and retrieve things that have been missing for years remains quite controversial — with none of the following famous search problems on the agenda at the forthcoming Lucene Revolution Conference in San Francisco, May 25-26th.

  • In search of … the famous 1970s television series narrated by Leonard Nimoy, a licensed derivative work created based on the Ancient Astronauts documentary narrated by the late Rod Serling. A contrib module submitted in the last several days alleged that it could successfully compute whether vectors rendered on the head of stick-figure petroglyphs are best presented in autosuggest as as evidence of pre-lapsarian extraterrestial visitation or just old pictures of bad hair days. Nimoy, who lives in New York and has often been to the Bronx Zoo, did not return calls inquiring about the whereabouts of the missing Egyptian cobra.
  • Dick Fuld, disgraced former chairman of Lehman Brothers, reportedly uses the Internet Archive to search for keys to the roots of the subprime mortgage crisis that cost him and the world economy millions of jobs, billions of lost documents, and trillions in evaporated depreciation. While he apparently maintains residence in New York near Leonard Nimoy, he could also not account for the whereabouts of the Egyptian Cobra from the Bronx Zoo.
  • Remembrance of Things Past, the early translated title of À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust, literally means ‘In Search of Lost Times‘. As the latest release of Apache Solr/Lucene 3.1 includes numeric faceting and results ranking by function query, there’s tremendous excitement in the French open source community that despite mistranslations, the colorful remembrances by the early 20th century post-Romantic could be applied in computations relating time and space and use of meaning-based computing to examine cookie crumbs at the bottom of a cup of tea. At this time, however, we were only able to establish the availability of integrated language functions for CJK, Pashtun, and other bi-directional grammars from Basis Technology.
  • Who Lost China? Not long after the fall of the Kuo Min Tang in 1949, the political repercussions of the controversial American escape characters collaborating with Mao Zedong’s revolutionaries provided an early indication that the search for Communist Sympathizers by Senator Joseph McCarthy would become one of the darkest episodes of the 1950s. Apparently, there is no direct connection to the later development of  the color red as a proxy for commercialization of open source.
  • The American Bar Association, official registry of America’s practicing attorney, has ramped up more aggressively its efforts to search out what happened to all those lost $350 an hour jobs reading people’s email in litigation.
  • Finally, despite a last minute push for inclusion in the newly merged Solr/Lucene 3.1 release, the antanaclasis query handler did not make the release cycle, apparently owing to some organic thread bugs. “A shame,” commented one of the committers, “considering that time flies like the wind and fruit flies like bananas.”

In spite of these apparent limitations to open source search, Lucid Imagination continues to supply enterprise-grade support and expertise for cutting edge technology organizations to deliver innovative search applications, for both human and reptile use.