corvi (corivax) wrote,

  • Mood:

in which there are too many circles

Science yearly gives out awards for the best science images and visualizations. Here is one of this year's runners up:

This is “Visualizing the Bible” by Chris Harrison and Christoph Romhild. So they started at the left with Genesis, and put each bible verse along the white line toward the right. If any bible verse refers to a previous one, they draw a half-circle connecting them. The circles are color-coded by how far apart the verses are.

So it's very pretty, but I don't feel like I learn anything new about the Bible by looking at at, and that annoys me. Okay, so scholars have found lots of places it refers to itself, but I knew that. It seemed like you could get a lot more interesting information with this technique.

Okay, here is my much less pretty, much less complicated version. :) To make this picture, I wrote about my day in an
informal, conversational sort of way for about eight hundred words. Then I put all the words I wrote from left to right across
the bottom of the picture, and every time I used the same word twice (and it wasn't a word like "the" or "of") I drew a circle
connecting the spots with those words. (Bigger circles are more transparent; otherwise you wouldn't be able to see what
was underneath them). So you can see, when I'm talking, where I'm repeating words I've already said a lot, which tells you
how related my sentences are to each other.

The section of the graph about two thirds of the way through where it gets really gray and there's a lot of repeating is where
I'm talking about all the different crows I see on my way home from work, but I use a lot of similar words to describe each
crow - "fly" and "caw" and "beak" and things. So it connects all those words up and the area gets pretty shaded.

So we'll call that "normal".

Here I do the same thing with a section from an unpublished story by gement . I picked gement's story because she
writes lots and lots of witty, intricate dialog. Almost every word in this section was said by one character to another, with
clever banter. And see how different it looks! There are a lot MORE circles drawn, which means that more words are
repeated in the story, since every circle connects a word that was said twice. This isn't a surprise at all. The characters are
responding to each other, playing off each other, making jokes based on wording, or answering questions the others have
asked... lots of reasons for words to come up twice.

It also makes sense that more of the circles are shaded darkly, which means words come up twice only a sentence or two
apart. That's what you'd expect since a lot of the repeats are character B responding to somethign character A just said.

Here's another go, with some erotica. I do have permission to use it, but the author is anonymous. :) For most of this story,
it looks like the "normal" image we looked at first especially at the very beginning, which sets up the story and the chance
enounter with the hot member of your preferred gender. But as you get closer to the end it gets greener and greener. The
story gets more repetitious because there are really not very many ways you can say "she verbed my noun with her noun
and it felt sooo adjective" - so words are repeated as you get away from the plot and into the sex. I think most erotica would
come out looking like this. :)

Here's another piece of fiction, one of caladri's "Lies" pieces, which are stream of consciousness meanderings on
events that never happened. There aren't very many "big" circles in this one; after a sentence or two she's already drifted to
a new topic. However, the small connections are so insanely tight you can't see most of them. This is an insanely dense,
poetic, self-referential bit of writing.

And now for some actual poetry! This is tfabris's and vixyish's song Thirteen. See those bits that are all parallel and
connected to eachother? Those are the three choruses. (This song is only like 200 words, instead of 1000, so we're
zoomed way in). You can also see that the bit at the very beginning is mostly unconnected to anything - it's sort of an intro,
but that the rest of the verses are all linked up.

Here's another of their songs, Apprentice. (I picked it 'cause it was long. For a song, anyway.) Once again we have three
choruses, though there are more verses between the second and third than the first and second, and you can see that.
Interestingly, in this song, it's the middle verses that mostly stand alone, and the first and last set are both all connected to
themselves, and also connected to eachother. This is obviously pretty deliberate on Vix and Tony's part, with lines like:

One night I stole into her garden
And I overheard her sigh...

at the beginning and:

She taught me to look beyond the garden
And she never said goodbye..

at the end. The first bit is "she is so awesome!" the second is "here is our story" and the third "she is so awesome and I
miss her," so the first and third are pretty similar. :)

Oh, and finally here's some C++ code of mine that renders simulated nitrogen uptake in a stand of trees. It is very, very
repetitive. (I counted a->b as two separate words.)

So that was fun. It's very primitive, obviously - I'd like to get a word list and start looking at repeating patterns of synonyms,
instead of just the same word each time, and look at different parts of speech and sentence structure and stuff. caladri did some
diagrams of her stuff last night, too, which might also amuse you. She's looking at what words occur
near eachother in a sentence.

Does anyone have a writing sample they wouldn't mind me playing with and posting, of a type I don't have yet? Recipe?
Fiction that is neither stream of consciousness nor dialog-based? Something you've written in another language?
Rhyming poetry not intended to be sung? Blank verse? Non object-oriented code? Noncode technical writing? Ideally
complete and 500-800 words.

ETA: novalis made an online version for you to play with!


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