Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

May 23, 2009

Want to know? Find out here

It may not be as appealing and as easy to use as Google, but a new free Web service called WolframAlpha may be worth your time for a look-see.

The brainchild of Stephen Wolfram, a 49-year-old, British-born physics prodigy, the site is all the talk in technology circles.

Type “March 25, 1984, Cumberland, Md. weather,” for example, and you learn that the local weather that day was rain, fog and overcast. You also learn that the average humidity was 73 percent, the average windspeed was 7 mph and the temperature ranged from 38 to 47 degrees.

What is the distance from Cumberland to Jacksonville, Fla.? In a split second, Wolframalpha says 663.6 miles.

What is 15 percent of $250? You know in another second it is $37.50.

The site is located at

Memorial Day 2009 is observed on its earliest possible date, May 25. The holiday is always the last Monday of May.

Next year, it will seem more traditional, being observed on May 31 while the date for 2011 is May 30....

On the topic of dates, we received an email noting that at five minutes and six seconds after 4 a.m. on July 8 of this year, the time and date will be: 04:05:06 07/08/09. Who has time to keep track of these things?...

With billions in stimulus money floating around, perhaps Congress could allocate some dollars for a larger, more modern Amtrak station in Cumberland.

The existing station could almost be called an eyesore. Even worse, many passengers have to stand outside because there is not enough room inside....

The Social Security Administration routinely compiles a list of top baby names for boys and girls.

The top 10 girls names for 2008 were Emma, Isabella, Emily, Madison, Ava, Olivia, Sophia, Abigail, Elizabeth and Chloe. Leading the boys, in order, were Jacob, Michael, Ethan, Joshua, Daniel, Alexander, Anthony, William, Christopher and Matthew.

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Jan Alderton - Opinion
  • Internet sales tax coming?

    Look for Maryland legislators to zero-in on how to tax Internet sales when the General Assembly convenes next year.

    June 25, 2011

  • Frederick may lose postal jobs

    At one time, it appeared that U.S. Postal Service jobs in Cumberland would be moved to Frederick. But the agency couldn’t justify the move, so now it is considering moving Frederick’s operations to Baltimore.

    May 14, 2011

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg Their days are numbered

    Incandescent light bulbs and mercury thermometers — long staples of everyday life — are nearing extinction in the United States.

    February 27, 2011 1 Photo

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg Why not ask those who know?

    Instead of considering another survey about the condition of its streets, the city of Cumberland should turn to its own employees for input.

    January 23, 2011 1 Photo

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg Let’s test your memory

    How is your recollection of major local news events of the past year?

    December 19, 2010 1 Photo

  • Talking turkey (and more)

    While researching Cumberland Evening Times files for some information on local historical sites, I ran across several items that gave a glimpse of local Thanksgiving observances 90 or so years ago.

    November 21, 2010

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg eEdition generates interest

    Although it been less than two weeks since it was launched, the Cumberland Times-News eEdition is generating a lot of interest.

    October 26, 2010 1 Photo

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg Meetings: Still only partial sunshine

    On March 15, 1973, The Cumberland News — which was the morning newspaper published by the Times-News — carried the following column written by me about the need for more open government in Maryland.

    September 26, 2010 1 Photo

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg We’ll get a break this winter

    Amidst one of the hottest summers on record comes a forecast for how much snow we might expect this coming winter.

    August 8, 2010 1 Photo

  • JAN-ALDERTON-1.jpg Guess who’s 60? Beetle!

    A Deep Creek Lake house recently sold for $3.5 million — a record for the Western Maryland resort spot.

    July 5, 2010 1 Photo