Category Archives: literature

License agreement as literature

George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm (August, 1945) has 29,966 words.

Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 (October, 1953) has 46,118 words.

Apple’s  “Apple Developer Program License Agreement” (June, 2017) has 42,993 words.

In terms of plot, setting, and character, the license agreement is no match for either of the former two works. But all three could be classed as dystopian.

Titles from a strange upbringing

There are many titles I wish I had read; I have bookcases filled with unread and partially read volumes. But here are some that are high on my list:

Untouched by Human Hands: The Last Dangerous Visions, by Robert Sheckley and Harlan Ellison. Ellison’s famous epic struggle to get his last Dangerous Visions anthology out is assisted by Sheckley.

All the Myriad Ways: Of Man and Monsters, Heroes and Horrors, Parsecs and Parables, Nightmares and Geezenstacks, Ice and Iron, Digits and Dastards, Murder and Magic, Ape and Essence, Fancies and Goodnights, Alchemy and Academe, Foundation and Empire, Visions and Ventures, Time and the Stars, by Larry Niven, William Tenn, Fritz Leiber, Robert Silverberg, Fredric Brown, William Tucker, Frederik Pohl, Randall Garrett, Aldous Huxley, John Collier, Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon and Poul Anderson. A galaxy and time-spanning story of nouns smashed together into subjects.

“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, Or All the Seas With Oysters, formed of Mist, and Grass, and Sand, and ruled by the Queen of Air and Darkness, will carry you Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38º54’N, Longitude 77º00’13″W, where you may watch The Dance of the Changer and the Three, and learn that Love is the Plan the Plan is Death, and that The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas must confront The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, never to discover that Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones is the Good News from the Vatican, by Harlan Ellison, Avram Davidson, Vonda N. McIntyre, Poul Anderson, Terry Carr, James Tiptree Jr., Usula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, and Robert Silverberg. This surprisingly thin science fiction-fantasy mix is essentially a fleshed-out expansion of the title.

Early version of Google

This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.

Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.

How I miss card catalogs.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder's of the world's past and the future of the universe.
The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.

The Invisible Man does not like rain

What do you know about the Invisible Man? I mean, besides the fact that he is invisible?

Well, did you know he does not like rain?

The Invisible Man and his umbrella came visiting.
The Invisible Man and his umbrella came visiting.

Automatic translation

I was just alerted to a new site, ackuna.com, that is promoting their crowd-source translation capabilities by showing how bad machine translation can be. To illustrate this, you type in some text, and their “Bad Translator” feature runs it back and forth between English and various other languages using popular on-line translation sites.

As I had just seen “Anna Karenina” (superb movie), the obvious phrase to use was Tolstoy’s famous opening paragraph: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Eight translations later through Bing I got:

“”

Which was disappointing. So then I tried SDL, which I’d never heard of, and five translations later I got: “The happy families that I am like everything; each family in a satisfactory way not is not in a satisfactory way in its real way. ”

This seemed more promising, so I tried Bing again, and got this (WordPres still strips out non-Roman characters):

From English: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
To Bulgarian: ?????? ????????? ?? ?????? ????????; ????? ???????? ????????? ? ???????? ?? ???? ?????.
Back to English: Happy families are all worthy; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
To Catalan: Feliç famílies són tots dignes; cada família infeliç és infeliç en el seu propi camí.
Back to English: Happy families are all worthy; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
To Chinese Simplified: ????????? ???????????????????
Back to English: Happy family all worth it; each unhappy family is sad in its own way.
To Chinese Traditional: ???????????;????????????????????
Back to English: Happy families, are worth a look; is tragic in its own way, each unhappy family.
To Czech: Š?astné rodiny, jsou stojí za to podívat; je tragické, svým zp?sobem, každá neš?astná rodina.
Back to English: Happy families, are worth a look; Tragically, in his own way, each unhappy family.
To Danish: Glade familier, er værd at se; Tragisk, på sin egen måde, hver ulykkelig familie.
Back to English: Happy families, are worth a look; Tragic in its own way, each unhappy family.
To Dutch: Happy families, zijn de moeite waard een kijkje; Tragische op zijn eigen manier, elke ongelukkig familie.
Back to English: Happy families, are worth a look; Tragic in its own way, each unhappy family.

Which was more promising (though ??? is clearly suspect…)

Then I decided to be cruel, and tried this: “Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist.

Feeding this to Bing for eight passes:

From English: Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist.
To Bulgarian: ???? ????? ?????? ???? ???????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ?????? lodge, ???, ??????.
Back to English: Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle Gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, doc, florist.
To Catalan: Vol peó termini s’atreveixen estam cullera Gavina aixada lift humides assassinat interior cullera cordage honor picor oferta lodge, doc, floristeria.
Back to English: Wants pawn term dare lift inner ladle Gull hoe bucket Stamen humid cordage honor itch offer lodge, killed doc, florist.
To Chinese Simplified: ?????????????????????????????????? doc? ???
Back to English: Wants pawn term dare lift inner ladle Gull hoe bucket stamens wet cordage honor itch offer Lodge, killed doc, flower shop.
To Chinese Traditional: ?????????????????????????????????? doc?????
Back to English: Wants pawn term dare lift inner ladle Gull hoe bucket stamens wet cordage honor itch offer Lodge, doc killed, flower shop.
To Czech: Chce, aby p?šec termín odváží zvednout vnit?ní pánvi Racek motyka kbelík ty?inek wet š??ry ?est sv?d?ní nabídka Lodge, doc zabit, kv?tiná?ství.
Back to English: He wants to weigh up the internal term pawn basin Gull hoe bucket of wet cords honor itch offer Lodge, doc killed, flower shop.
To Danish:
Back to English:
To Dutch:
Back to English:

Not too surprisingly, Danish was the weak link. So I tried five passes through SDL:

From English: Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist.
To French: Les besoins mettent au mont-de-piété le défi de terme ascenseur de houe de mouette de louche en laine peignée meurtre plus mouillé cordages de louche intérieurs honorent la loge d’offre de démangeaison, le bassin, le fleuriste. 
Back to English: The needs put to the mount-of-piety the challenge of term elevator of hoe of mouette of ladle in wool combed wetter murder ropes of internal ladle honor the lodging of offer of itch, the pool, the florist. 
To German: Die Bedürfnisse stellen zur Untersatz-von-Frömmigkeit die Herausforderung des Begriffsaufzugs der Hacke des mouette des Schöpflöffels in Wolle hat gekämmt nassere Mordseile des inneren Schöpflöffels ehren die Unterkunft des Angebots des Juckreizes, des Teichs, der Florist. 
Back to English: The needs place to the support-of-piety the challenge of the concept procession of the hoe the mouette of the take spoon in wool combed wetter murder ropes of the internal take spoon honor the lodging of the offer of the itchiness, the pond, the Florist. 
To Italian: I bisogni collocano al sostegno-di-la pietà la sfida della processione di concetto della zappa il mouette del porta il cucchiaio nella lana ha pettinato le corde di assassinio più bagnate dell’interno portano il cucchiaio onora l’alloggio dell’offerta del prurito, lo stagno, il Fiorista. 
Back to English: The needs place to the support-of-the pity the challenge of the procession of concept of the hoe the mouette of the door the spoon in the wool combed the cords of assassination more wet some inside carry the spoon honors the lodging of the offer of the itch, the pond, the Florist. 
To Portuguese: As necessidades colocam ao apoio-de-a pena o desafio da procissão de conceito da enxada o mouette da porta que a colher na lã penteou os cordões de assassinato mais molhado algums dentro de carregar a colher honra a hospedagem da oferta da coceira, a lagoa, o Florista. 
Back to English: The needs put to the of of penalty the challenge of the procession of concept of the hoe the mouette of the door that the spoon in the wool combed the weter cords of murder algums inside carry the spoon honors the lodging of the offering of the itch, the pond, the Florist. 

This is a great toy! Check it out: http://ackuna.com/badtranslator