Water More Popular Than Sphere

This research is courtesy of the statistics at Google Ngram viewer. The basis for this discussion is a list of frequency of words and their usage in the English language. Google has scanned and analyzed a large body of books from 1800 to 2000. Words and their frequency can be graphed over time to help analyze their popularity and usage in language media.

In the first graph, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere researchers have graphed the usage of the word “water” versus the word “sphere”. From the chart one can see the data for the word water (in blue) has a popular roller coaster trip over the years 1800 through 2000. It seems the popularity of the word peaked shortly before 1920. Why is this? Were steam engines, locomotives, and battle ships dominating the news? Were people wondering where these engines were to find water to fill their boilers?

In contrasting form, the data for the word “sphere” (in red) has a steady popularity, never rising or falling much. Perhaps the usefulness and wonder of the spheres has been constant since Euclidean times.

The most interesting insight comes to light when one analyzes the frequency of the words “water sphere”. This chart shows a steady rise from 1880 (the dawn of the steel-building era) to 1960. Then, in the early 1960s, when people began to experiment with expanded consciousness and free love, “water sphere” usage rockets into the stratosphere. Later in the 1980s, when people were tired of wearing leather and lycra, and Molly Ringwald stopped making movies, interest in “water sphere” returned to the calm, less frenzied frequencies of the 40s and 50s.

In our estimation, the World’s Tallest Water Sphere (built in 1964) had a large effect on public consciousness. The Union water tower creation correlates to a rise in the frequency of “water sphere” use in the English language. At the same time, there was no increase in the frequency of use of the single words “water” or “sphere”. In fact, “water” usage declines during the 1960s. After the movement of water engineers and design to ellipsoidal water towers in the middle 1980s, the popularity for “water sphere” declines from the WTWS-induced hysteria. It is clear to witness the imprint of Union’s water tower on the psyche of the English language.

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