Snap quiz: What do the following verses have in common?
And that’s how it went
all afternoon, one lizard
It made me wonder
if snow leopards have a taste
for joggers as well
As is typical,
the Pope stayed above the fray
and did not comment.
Whether such tactics
will have a chilling effect
remains to be seen.
Answer: All four are inadvertent haikus, composed by humans but discovered by machines.
The first two come from a Tumblr blog created by New York Times editor Jacob Harris, who adapted some open-source compter code to scan the homepage of the New York Times, looking for snippets of text that conform to the Haiku syllabic structure: 5:7:5.
“Sometimes it can be an ordinary sentence in context, but pulled out of context it has a strange comedy or beauty to it,” Harris told the Nieman Journalism Lab.
“Not every haiku our computer finds is a good one,” Harris wrote on the Times Haiku blog. “The algorithm discards some potential poems if they are awkwardly constructed, and it does not scan articles covering sensitive topics. Furthermore, the machine has no aesthetic sense. It can’t distinguish between an elegant verse and a plodding one. But, when it does stumble across something beautiful or funny or just a gem of a haiku, human journalists select it and post it on this blog.”
Both the Times project and Haikuleaks have their roots in Haiku Finder, an open source python script that crawls through text and ferrets out haiku. You can try it yourself by copying a large block of text—the bigger the better—and pasting it into the Haiku Finder search box.
If you do that with, oh, say, Nova Scotia’s broken Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Haiku Finder coughs up this ironic bit of poetic wisdom:
is critical, please consult
Today’s massive Wikileak dump of US diplomatic cables from Canada includes 131 from the US Consulate in Halifax. For anyone interesting in foraging, here are the subject headings with links to the cables. Please let me know what you find.
- New Brunswick and Quebec Agree to Significant Modifications
- Nova Scotia’s Emera Inc.: A Unique Energy Entity Poised for
- ATLANTIC CANADA ENERGY UPDATE: ENERGY EXPORTS TO THE U.S.
- HMCS FREDERICTON TO JOIN NATO COALITION FLEETS
- ANOTHER SUNDAY, ANOTHER STORM: PREPARATIONS FOR TROPICAL
- NEW INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE AND PORTS OF ENTRY NEARING
- NOVA SCOTIA ELECTION RESULTS: NDP MAKE HISTORY IN OUSTING
- BIO DATA REPORT: DEXTER, DARRELL E. — PREMIER OF NOVA
- ATLANTIC CANADA ENERGY UPDATE: NEW BRUNSWICK AND
- FILMMAKING IN NOVA SCOTIA
- BIO DATA REPORT: LESLIE, MEGAN — MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR
- SEVEN STOWAWAYS APPREHENDED IN HALIFAX
- ATLANTIC CANADA ENERGY UPDATE
- FALL OF NOVA SCOTIA GOVERNMENT LEADS TO JUNE 9 PROVINCIAL
- NEW BRUNSWICK STILL BULLISH ON NUCLEAR POWER DESPITE DELAYS
- NEWFOUNDLAND-LABRADOR OIL INDUSTRY: PRODUCTION MILESTONE
- NEW NOVA SCOTIA ENERGY MINISTER HANDLING GEORGES BANK