The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 December 2005

Sit on a potato pan, Otis

A palindrome is a sequence which, when reversed, is identical, give or take word spacing, capitalization, and other relative trivialities.

I had thought that not much had been happening on the palindrome front, though "Weird Al" Yankovic put together a nifty collection of them in a Dylan pastiche called "Bob" a couple of years back.

How wrong I was. The classic "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!" is seven words long; with (in)judicious use of computerized word lists, it's been expanded to 17,259 words. Not the easiest sentence fragment to parse, but it's pretty good for a rotary gyrator.

(Via Damn Interesting.)

Posted at 2:37 PM to Entirely Too Cool


My favorite:
A slut nixes sex in Tulsa
Yeah, Riiiiight.
The only one I ever wrote
See? Weep on. NO! Peewees!
I have NO idea what it means

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 2:47 PM on 16 December 2005

Oh come on. How is this 17,000 really "the world's longest palindrome?" I mean, really all one has to do is computerize a bunch of words together that create the palindrome. Most don't even make sense. It's just a bunch of letters as far as I can tell.

They're much more fun when they're shorter and make sense.

Posted by: Vickie at 5:03 PM on 16 December 2005

Well, yeah, but you know how computers are: they take the tasks literally.

I used to be pretty good at anagrams, but even that function has been automated lately.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:45 PM on 16 December 2005

I realize that, but that's my point; nothing is really "The World's Biggest (fill in the blank with whatever superlative you're addressing)" anymore, since whatever the computer can spill out will be practically endless, yet not quite serving the exact definition of the original search.

Posted by: Vickie at 5:03 AM on 17 December 2005

Well, whatever your position on artificial palindromes (as distinguished from the sort that grow on trees), always remember:

RATS LIVE ON NO EVIL STAR.

(Did I do, O God, did I as I said I'd do good? I did!)

(And don't miss the opening segment of my autobiography:
I Love Me, Vol. I)

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 5:33 AM on 17 December 2005

I am not impressed! It's just a string of words--

Posted by: Donna at 9:15 AM on 17 December 2005

Tut tut.

Posted by: McGehee at 10:18 AM on 17 December 2005

Hey, nice tuts.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:27 AM on 17 December 2005

Personally, I preferred the National Lampoon's 1970s improvement:

"A foof, a man, a plan, a canal. Panama, foofa!"

Posted by: Eric Scheie at 11:44 AM on 17 December 2005