Google Tests:
In a Slate piece on the modesty of John Roberts, Bruce Reed does a little googling to prove a point:
   No biographical profile of Roberts is complete without a few references to his famous modesty. According to Google, the word "modesty" has already appeared alongside "John Roberts" more than 18,000 times.
  It's true that googling "John Roberts" together with "modesty" yields about 18,100 hits. But I picked a few other words to run through Google that are not generally known for their association with Roberts, and this is what I found: satan — 70,900 hits; pasta — 13,900 hits; hip-hop — 150,000; French --- 604,000; Social Security — 515,000; NASCAR — 74,700; and, finally, sex — 1,070,000. I don't know exactly what it means, but it probably suggests that this Google test isn't a very good measure of what Bruce Reed has in mind.
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
It mainly means that John Roberts is a very common name.

9.13.2005 5:35pm
Nick Levay (mail) (www):
Now we can amend that old adage: Lies, damn lies, and statistics based on google.
9.13.2005 5:42pm
Scipio (mail) (www):
Googling Scipio and modesty yields 29,300 results.

I am more linked with modesty in the public mind than John Roberts!

Scipio FTW!
9.13.2005 5:45pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Just what I was going to say, Wince. I know a John Roberts, the head librarian at the UC/Berkeley Music Library. There are at least two in Marin County, CA to judge by my phone book (I say "at least" because of the six listings for "Roberts, J"). &c. Unless a Google search were qualified by sticking in, say, "law" to narrow it, it's completely useless; and even the narrowed one would still rope in a lot of false entries.
9.13.2005 5:47pm
Goober (mail):
Also it means that Google spiders will link to a lot of newspaper sites with many different kinds of stories.

Although the results to this search still puzzle me.
9.13.2005 5:53pm
Andy (mail) (www):
For clarification: how are you Googling this- as "John Roberts modesty" or John Roberts modesty (no quotation marks)?
9.13.2005 5:54pm
"John Roberts" modesty. No quotes at all gives quite a few more hits . . .

Wonder how many of the sex sites were using interest in the "real" John Roberts to try to drive traffic?
9.13.2005 6:06pm
Zubon (mail) (www):
If you click the link, it shows the search as ["John Roberts" modesty]. We are looking for "John Roberts" (phrase) with modesty (word). This returns 18,100 at present.

["John Roberts" badger] returns 21,600, which implies that John Roberts is 19% more associated with badgers than modesty, which is of course far less than the 5812% greater association with sex. You only get 759 if you try "John Roberts" with badger AND sex, and none at all with "John Roberts" "badger sex," which is probably for the best.
9.13.2005 6:08pm
K1avg (mail) (www):
A slightly better test, although still wildly inaccurate and completely useless for making any sort of a logical point, would be to Google "Judge John Roberts" + string. This turns up:

"Judge John Roberts" + modesty = 401

"Judge John Roberts" + satan = 47,700

"Judge John Roberts" + pasta = 154

"Judge John Roberts" + hip-hop = 813

"Judge John Roberts" + French = 121,000

"Judge John Roberts" + Social Security = 146,000

"Judge John Roberts" + NASCAR = 731

"Judge John Roberts" + sex = 118,000

Draw your own conclusions.
9.13.2005 6:09pm
The porn industry is more egalitarian than the government?
9.13.2005 6:27pm
man crush:
Number one hit for "john roberts" + "man crush"

way to go VC!
9.13.2005 6:40pm
Zubon (mail) (www):
I just realized that, assuming Google indexes this comments thread, there could be a lot of odd things linked to "John Roberts" in Google. Our use of "John Roberts" several times in almost every post can't hurt the Google rankings on that, either.
9.13.2005 6:47pm
Shelby (mail):
"John Roberts" + Volokh: 200,000 hits.

"Orin Kerr" + modesty: 173 hits. Hmmm.
9.13.2005 7:20pm
I've always wondered why internet search companies can't be more like westlaw.

"john roberts" /2 modesty
"john roberts" /s modesty

would be much more useful
9.13.2005 7:21pm
Paul Sand (mail) (www):
My favorite: googling "hapless toad" gives you 18,200 hits. Plus, it would be a good name for a rock band.
9.13.2005 9:40pm
john thomas roberts:
I'd think "John Thomas" and sex would bring up more hits than "John Roberts" and sex. But I'm afraid to run the search to see, what with that nasty Patriot Act and all. Someone is watching my Googles and giving the intercepts to John Bolton.
9.13.2005 11:30pm
Syd (mail):
"John Roberts" +"Space alien" 230 hits
"John Roberts" +Martian 13,300 hits
"John Roberts" +extraterrestrial 496 hits
"John Roberts" +werewolf 492 hits
"John Roberts" +vampire 23,900 hits
"John Roberts" +Cthulhu 297 hits
"John Roberts" +zombie 18,700 hits
"John Roberts" +saint 178,000 hits (That's because there actually was a 17th century saint by that name)
9.14.2005 2:45am
BobVDV (mail):
"John Paul Stevens" modesty = 378
"Sandra Day O'Connor" modesty = 948
"Antonin Scalia" modesty = 859
"Anthony Kennedy" modesty = 839
"David Souter" modesty = 311
"Clarence Thomas" modesty = 15,400
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg" modesty = 567
"Stephen Breyer" modesty = 450

"William Rehnquist" modesty = 9,160
9.14.2005 10:09am
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
"Eugene Volokh" "Paris Hilton" = 558.
9.14.2005 6:17pm
markm (mail):
'"John Roberts" arrogance' gets 74,000 hits.
9.14.2005 6:19pm
NickM (mail) (www):
"John Roberts" Jurassic gets 11,000 hits
"John Roberts" Triassic gets 264 hits
"John Roberts" Jurassic gets 166 hits

I demand equal time for underrepresented eras.

Meanwhile, "John Roberts" chocolate gets 107,000 hits - and 6 of the top 10 are profiles of him that mention his favorite ice cream!

9.15.2005 6:06pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"john roberts" antichrist 666 gets 183 hits.

"john roberts" antichrist lucifer 666 gets 89.

"john roberts" "is the antichrist" gets an unbelievable 268.

"Judge Roberts, there is one question I have for you, for which I desire a categorical answer. Are you the Antichrist?"

"I'm sorry, Senator, but it is foreseeable that cases involving the Antichrist might come before the Court..." (returns to daydreaming about the pentacles he'll put on his robe).
9.15.2005 10:28pm