Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poetry in Translation

A few years ago I stumbled across a technique to turn mundane text into wacky poetry – using the amazing Google Translate tool.

Here's a sentence from a news story from this morning.
In its first ruling on the rights of employees who send messages on the job, the Supreme Court rejected a broad right of privacy for workers Thursday and said supervisors may read through an employee's text messages if they suspect work rules are being violated.
And here's the glorious poem that results. (The line breaks are my own addition.)
In the first Human Rights Award
them the right way,
the Supreme Court rejected the rights and privacy
of its kind to work
last Thursday, he said,

can read text messages to officers, staff,
we suspect violations of the trade rules.
The technique? Simply translate some text into another language using the Google Translator. Then take the result and translate that text into a third language, and so on. Finally, translate it back to English. If you've done enough translations into enough languages, you should end up with something fairly presentable.

My example above translated from English to Afrikaans to Arabic to Belarusian to Catalan to Traditional Chinese to Czech to Irish and then back to English. Voila!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Human Flight to Mars - 20 years behind schedule

I stumbled across this 1969 news article stating that President Nixon wanted achieve a manned Mars landing as early as the 1980s.

Of course, back they all believed that in 2010 we'd have flying cars and unlimited energy. I guess dreams just became too expensive. They probably got sucked up by government social programs.