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WHAT'S A GOOD WEBSITE TO OBTAIN AND INTERPRET COMPLEX INFORMATION SUCH AS ABOUT DIET AND EXERCISE?
by Ray Carlson


Q:  I am trying to monitor my diet by figuring out how many calories are derived from different foods, how many calories I burn with different types of exercise, how to interpret my cholesterol score, how much overweight I am, etc. What websites might help?

A:  There is a new site that could help with all these items and a wide variety of numerical information and calculations. It is www.wolframalpha.com It is being developed to include a large database of information and to do calculations based on that information. You can ask any of the questions you listed, check financial information like stock prices and exchange rates, get weather information including heat and chill indexes and check information on hundreds of other topics. The site includes information on most areas of science and mathematics as well as the media, sports and history.

In addition, you can do comparisons with data for different locations and do any calculations and conversions. Developed by the company that created Mathematica, the well known mathematics software, the current site is free but professional versions are available to fit certain technical uses. It is definitely a useful site, but it is still under development and frequently misinterprets questions. Luckily, the website provides hundreds of examples demonstrating the type of wording that usually works for a specific topic. Other websites provide information on specific topics, but it is worthwhile bookmarking this one since it covers such a variety of topics and subs as a calculator too.

Published: Courier 9/20/09 - Page 5C