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Which words do you own?–Asara’s Mental Meanderings May 2, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, Haiku, linguistics, Other, statistical analysis, vocabulary.

[Note: This is part of a continuing series on the actual vocabulary in use in the blogosphere.  Posts on this subject started here and will continue on a somewhat weekly basis.]

A long time ago I worked for the State of California as an economist, and one of the more fun aspects of the job was preparing estimates, all kinds of estimates.  I had read an interview once with a somebody who was part of the rather large team of people that prepared estimates of the Gross National Product [GNP] (yeah, it’s now called the Gross Domestic Product [GDP].  This person did this in the 1960s, if I remember correctly.)  The guy said that it was like making sausage, because economists use it all the time, but they don’t really want to know what goes into it.  I took to calling my place of employment the sausage factory, until it was clear that nobody got the joke or was interested in why I called it that.  It didn’t really catch on. 

Anyway, Asara, today’s blogging vocabulary project volunteer, of Asara’s Mental Meanderings, actually works in a hot dog factory, so I took the liberty of rendering (yeah, that’s covert livestock humor) her vocabulary cloud in a font called Hot Dog.  So, for those of you who are new, these are words that out of the more than 20,000 distinct words in the database had not yet appeared.  Their size varies according to the frequency with which they appeared in Asara’s sampled posts (click to enlarge).


Asara added 392 new words to the database, out of a sample of 30,000.  Here is the cloud in Times New Roman font, for easier reading (click to enlarge).


There are lots of really cool words here, and cool juxtapositions of words.  Ranger, guild, paladin, are those Dungeons and Dragons words (or possibly whatever has replaced D&D–WoW)?

Anyway, the middle lobe of the Venn diagram is somewhat interesting. I was a little surprised that I used some of those words in my sample, particularly god (click to enlarge).


Here’s something new.  I was doing another project, one for which I was technically getting paid, that forced me to learn to use logical operators in Microsoft Excel.  And a strange combination of things I am reading (about which I might later post) got me thinking a little bit about Haiku.  So, to make a long story short, I have a large and growing database of words on hand, so I decided to take a crack at building a machine that uses them to generate a Haiku.  I will post some things about the various algorithms when it works a little better, when I have most of the bugs worked out.  For now, here is its first effort:

jogging near a trucker of
brain-dead gorillas

It’s not as enigmatic as I hoped it would be.  But not bad for a first effort, I think. 

The next volunteer is Are We There Yet?, slated for early next week.


1. Asara - May 2, 2007

For a second, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the word “ranger” was so large. Then I looked at some of the other words, and realized that it came from the Manic Monday post I did about the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. HA! Love it :)

And yes, those other words come from my giant obsession with WoW, which so far has only invaded a couple of posts on my blog. Odd, since I spend so much time playing it, but I suppose it can’t be helped. Thanks for including me in your experiment, and I love the haiku!! :)

2. Linda - May 3, 2007

Interesting haiku you have there! Will be interested to see more of them!

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