@Reno - I think you're bang on the money with "constructed to confound".
The pretense is that Panda is about quality, but the search results indicate otherwise. The original intention of Panda may have been to address the failings of the pagerank algo, but I suspect that it is being used to make adjustments to the results to skew them in favour of Google's money making, whilst killing small businesses.
This is one panda I would like to see reach extinction.
We are now being gamed by Google!