The Land of Oz Ozzie Liu


Last week, something weird happened on a Google search page. I was searching for “list comprehensions” when part of the result page right underneath the search field opened up with a black header.

It couldn’t have been a browser toolbar - I’m inoculated from them. So at first I just figure it was some sort of Google doodle for a special occasion or whimsy easter egg that my random mouse movement unlocked. I already clicked my search result link before the animation loaded and I had a chance to glimpse at the prompt. I didn’t take a screenshot, but it said something like, “you’re searching for something we’re interested in, would you like to take a challenge?” I might searched the web for a screenshot of this later.

Well my result page loaded, but I wanted to see what that was about. I clicked back on my browser but the search page was blank and just waiting for my new search terms. I typed in list comprehensions again, but clicked the 2nd suggested link instead and was led to like “list comprehensions python”. I entered the search term just as before, but nothing weird showed up. So I waited.

Well it appeared again. This time I see options like Yes and No. So of course I clicked yes in the little black browser toolbar looking prompt.

I’m brought to a black screen with just a few short lines of words. A terminal prompt. I’m user guest. Mounted on guest’s home directory. foobar:~/ guest$

Very interesting. I can do this. I entered ls. Nothing happens.

Huh. I hit return a few times. Getting new prompts. It is working… ls again.

One file: start_here.txt


>> cat start_here.txt

Type request to request a new challenge.

>> request

Wall of text. It’s a word problem about doctors and pirates. Whoa a programming problem! Neat!

I have 48 hours to complete it. But I still have MTA subway turnstile data to crunch. I switch desktops to finish my function but I’m still thinking about the rabbit hole I just entered.

To be continued…