Sunday, May 10

Doggerel dogfight; a bad poetry competition

My wife and I had a Bad Poetry Competition the other day; 10 minutes to write an impromptu dash of doggerel so eye-wateringly bad that the reader would have no choice but to commit suicide. You have been warned! Here are our entries. Who won?

Her entry:

"Poem 1"
By Pharaohmagnetic's wife, aka "A wench in the works"

The VitaMix
Is no arbiter
Of degrees of miscegenation
Whether things float to the top and are pushed down
Or incorporate in a smooth, foamy, emulsification
It cannot show you the way out.

My entry:

"Turbulent Hyperbole"
by Pharaohmagnetic

Turbulent hyperbole engorges on me verbally
While silent flights of guile
Bestride the islands of my mind.
Vanity, insanity are unto me profanity
Where more can see the side of me
Inside the violent brine.
Are thunder-tossed belittlements a little brittle
ever since
The fissures of the tissue in my brain
filled up with spit?
I cannot bluff or cough enough
to underseat the powder puff
that whittles at the spittle that exuberates my eyes.

More bad poetry featured on Shiny Things Distract Us: Here, here, and here.

Friday, May 1

"I am the author of all things"

Here on Shiny Things Distract Us, Fraxas is the real Code-Wizard-Software-Developer-Computer-Programmer guy; I'm just a meatspace lab monkey. What limited experience I have with the world of algorithms and other abstractions comes from my occasional use of Mathematica to model data or solve the Python Challenge. I really love Mathematica; it's fun and easy to tool around with. If I had learned to code with Mathematica, rather than the tooth-cracking monstrosity that is C++ or Motorola 6800 machine language, I might have discovered enough enjoyment to find a calling. Oh well! Back to the soldering iron.

I've blogged (if tangentially) about Mathematica and its creator, Stephen Wolfram, before. His latest project, Wolfram Alpha, has been picking up a lot of buzz, and I'm very excited to try it out next month or so. (Here are two Slashdot posts on the subject: 1, 2.)

Stephen Wolfram's outsize ego, as made physical in the sheer mass and pagecount (1197) of his vanity-published book A New Kind of Science, is the source of much controversy. Basically, he argues that all of science and nature can be explained by simple cellular automata, a claim that may be neither New nor a Kind of Science. Nevertheless, I find Wolfram fascinating and amusing all at once, and I thank him for bringing Mathematica to the world.

But this is the best take-down of him, or anyone, that I have ever read. Hilarious:

bixx456's review of A New Kind of Science from

More on Alpha below: