When good Segways go bad

World’s longest palindrome

A guy named Peter Norvig got bored one evening and wrote a program to create the world’s longest palindrome — 15,139 words.

Granted, it’s just a list of names, places, and things, and doesn’t make grammatical sense. But the computer did wind up using some pretty interesting words:

Maybe I’m biased, but I think it starts out quite strong. “A man, a plan, a caddy” is the basic premise of another fine piece of storytelling. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there rather quickly. It contains truths, but it does not have a plot. It has Putnam, but no logic; Tesla, but no electricity; Pareto, but no optimality; Ebert, but no thumbs up. It has an ensemble cast including Tim Allen, Ed Harris and Al Pacino, but they lack character development. It has Sinatra and Pink, but it doesn’t sing. It has Monet and Goya, but no artistry. It has Slovak, Inuit, Creek, and Italian, but its all Greek to me. It has exotic locations like Bali, Maui, Brasil, Uranus, and Canada, but it jumps around needlessly.

If you want, you can download the source code here!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson