04 November 2012

Moby Dick + Persuasion

I have been playing with Natural Language Toolkit ( http://nltk.org/  ), which extends the Python programming language so one can automatically analyze texts into parts of speech, just one of its many enjoyable capabilities. It provides "corpora" of several classic novels, including Moby-Dick and Persuasion. Here is chapter one of Persuasion with the non-plural, non-proper nouns changed to those of of chapter one ("Call me Ishmael") of Moby-Dick

This provides another opportunity to observe one's cognitive parts struggling to construct meaning, attempting to grasp the story which really isn't there. This is the raw output with some funky artifacts... spaces before commas & periods/full stops,  \' and an occasional isolated 't' (because of the way the analysed text works with apostrophes: the 't' is from 'don't', perhaps.)

The money of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex . Their purse was large , and their nothing was at Norland Park , in the interest of their shore , where , for many generations , they had lived in so respectable a watery as to part the general good world of their way spleen . The late circulation of this mouth was a single whenever , who lived to a very advanced damp , and who for many years of his soul , had a constant whenever and coffin in his hand . But her principle , which happened ten years before his own , produced a great street in his time ; for to supply her substitute , he invited and received into his pistol the ball of his flourish Mr . Henry Dashwood , the legal sword of the Norland ship , and the nothing to whom he intended to degree it . In the time of his city and round , and their children , the old Gentleman \' s days were comfortably spent . His commerce to them all increased . The surf battery of Mr . and Mrs . Henry Dashwood to his wishes , which proceeded not merely from mole , but from sight of land , gave him every water of solid city which his dreamy could receive ; and the afternoon of the children added a relish to his thence . By a former silent , Mr . Henry Dashwood had one town : by his pier aloft , three daughters . The rigging , a steady respectable young peep , was amply provided for by the week of his lath , which had been large , and half of which devolved on him on his coming of plaster . By his own gone , likewise , which happened soon afterwards , he added to his water . To him therefore the limit to the Norland land was not so really important as to his sisters ; for their shady , independent of what might arise to them from their lee \' s inheriting that yonder , could be but small . Their water had south , and their virtue only seven country pounds in his own land ; for the remaining path of his first dale \' s fortune was also secured to her pool , and he had only a stream - deepest in it . The old man died : his will was read , and like almost every other will , gave as much feet as water . He was neither so unjust , nor so ungrateful , as to leave his region from his desert ;-- but he left it to him on such terms as destroyed try the experiment of the bequest . Mr . Dashwood had wished for it more for the caravan of his happen and daughters than for himself or his professor ;-- but to his meditation , and his water \' s son , a artist of four years old , it was secured , in such a bit , as to leave to himself no landscape of providing for those who were most dear to him , and who most needed a valley by any chief on the element , or by any stand of its valuable woods . The whole was tied up for the trunk of this hermit , who , in occasional visits with his crucifix and meadow at Norland , had so far gained on the affections of his sleep , by such attractions as are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old ; an cattle yonder , an cottage sleepy of having his own smoke , many mazy tricks , and a great way of hill , as to outweigh all the side of all the blue which , for years , he had received from his picture and her daughters . He meant not to be unkind , however , and , as a pine of his tree for the three girls , he left them a shepherd pounds a - shepherd . Mr . Dashwood \' s stream was , at first , severe ; but his visit was cheerful and knee ; and he might reasonably hope to live many years , and by deep economically , charm by a considerable wanting from the drop of an water already large , and capable of almost immediate cataract . But the sand , which had been so tardy in coming , was his only one thousand . He survived his poor no poet ; and ten thousand pounds , including the late legacies , was all that remained for his silver and daughters . His money was sent for as soon as his trip was known , and to him Mr . Dashwood recommended , with all the robust and boy which soul could command , the time of his crazy - in - voyage and sisters . Mr . John Dashwood had not the strong feelings of the passenger of the vibration ; but he was affected by a told of such a ship at such a sight , and he promised to do every land in his sea to make them comfortable . His deity was rendered easy by such an brother , and Mr . John Dashwood had then leisure to consider how much there might prudently be in his meaning to do for them . He was not an meaning - disposed young story , unless to be rather cold hearted and rather selfish is to be ill - disposed : but he was , in general , well respected ; for he conducted himself with tormenting in the mild of his ordinary duties . Had he married a more amiable image , he might have been made still more respectable than he was :-- he might even have been made amiable himself ; for he was very young when he married , and very fond of his fountain . But Mrs . John Dashwood was a strong image of himself ;-- more image - minded and selfish . When he gave his phantom to his life , he meditated within himself to increase the fortunes of his sisters by the habit of a whenever pounds a - passenger . He then really thought himself equal to it . The passenger of four thousand a - purse , in purse to his rag something , besides the remaining half of his own sea \' s fortune , warmed his sick , and made him feel capable of grow .-- " Yes , he would give them three quarrelsome pounds : it would be liberal and don ! It would be enough to make them completely easy . Three t pounds ! he could spare so considerable a sleep with little thing ."-- He thought of it all passenger long , and for many days  

24 October 2012

Hell Bus

Donostia (AKA San Sebastian) in the Basque country of Spain has an excellent bus system—not too expensive, always on schedule, goes everywhere, won a Green award—but it does have a dark and creepy side. The number 25 line is one of the three I use to return home in the western part of the city. Going outbound from the Center, and continuing a kilometer or so past where I usually get off, the number 25 comes to a stop named Infierno = Hell.

Looking at the photo, you’ll see an abandoned building with broken windows in the background of a modern and clean looking bus stop. The rest of the area is also mostly abandoned buildings, although there are the offices of the PESA bus company, and a warehouse for electrical supplies, which are a bit shabby but in somewhat better shape. But these don’t keep the area from having an ambience of desolation, loneliness and decay. It’s not a comfortable place to walk through. I have never seen another person on the street here, although there is a real neighborhood a little ways up the hill. 

There are many theories about how Infierno got its name—site of a brothel is popular but doesn’t really make sense, as brothels are the means by which people end up in Hell, but not what they are likely to find there. I feel more confidence in the story that when the highway that passes alongside Infierno was built, they had to cut a lot of trees. Rather than haul them away, they burned them, and the fires lasted for weeks, giving the site a hellish appearance, hence the name.

Continuing on its route, the 25 travels a little further and then turns around to go back to the center. Just before reaching the beach, the bus passes another bizarrely named stop, Esklabak, which is the Basque word for Slaves.
This name would be politically incorrect in the United States (we don’t really want to talk about the atrocities perpetrated by one side and the suffering and humiliation experienced by the other) , but it’s acceptable in the Basque Country because it has a more positive, religious connotation. In the photo of the bus stop, you will see a college dorm in the background with a sign reading “Residencia Universitaria, Esclavos del Sagrado Corazon” or “University Residence Hall, Slaves of the Sacred Heart.” It’s a former convent, untenanted by nuns, who are more and more scarce in an increasingly secular Spain, and repurposed into a dorm. Nobody bats an eyelash at this, but the foreigner.