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Other Tools: “At the Mountains of Mutiny” with Mark V Shaney

June 26, 2010


We consisted of adventure;
regions never trodden by the voyage had ever been its lightness,
and disturbing descriptions of thought
to conclude work by human foot.

It was strangely convinced that this proved impossible
we tried to my reasons for moving apparatus,
we would enlarge the sound of the great unknown continent
and myself.

I had previously explored paths
would be our engines.

Through the antarctic.


Our early flights were gone,
I kept with current from a westward or highly baffling myth-cycles;
and stopping at beholding
a raw
and having nominal command besides sixteen assistants; seven graduate students Gedney
and condition.

Our sensations on the small boats, we crossed on final supplies.

We were poignant
and salted food,
and nine dogs,
and which bore at the pre-Cambrian strata of this sort.


Distant mountains of several points
a leisurely course
we crossed on the northern edge of the planes
were of ice with the snowy slope;

I despatched a leisurely course down the lower levels.
Steel head,
jointed rods,
gasoline supply
from the great publicity.

We landed all four men
from a variety of antarctic season
or nearly exposed granite slope.

At the antarctic specimens of Dunsanian dreams and geology.
In the antarctic night.

At last we would now be concerned.


I saw no greater load than this;
but I hung breathlessly over the whole white world

It is an area as the barrier.

enchanted cities,
the white, ghost-like height
That groan as the source of antarctic waters.
and death is altogether

the region of unimaginable cosmic castles
its lightness, portability, and black
aeon-dead world of the use of the continent
and death is pressed

Terror on the terrible antarctic plateau
savage windstorms
and triumphant ascent of mutiny
and death is the lofty ice barrier


At length we were fashioned.

There was rather sorry,
later articles of smoking Mt. Erebus;
our exploring material, the whole vista ahead.

We were disappointing in variety, accuracy, and I.

Still, they are damnably vivid and condition.

The ink drawings, of frozen death.


June 23-25, Selected Fragments of Text Generated from bigrams. Source Text: Lovecraft, “At the Mountains of Madness”. Generator: Mark V. Shaney (Stefan Strack implementation)

Kickin it old school!!1! Let’s go way back in time to 1989 (golly, we had computers back then?! Yeah, I guess we did…) Anyway, the Scientific American of June, 1989 had a “Computer Recreations” column by one A.K. Dewdney where he talks (in a lame kinda way) about computer-generated poetry, including “MARK V. SHANEY, a computer program created by Bruce Ellis (now at the University of Sydney) that is based on an idea of Don P. Mitchell of the AT&T Bell Laboratories.” Basically, it’s an n-gram generator. In 1991 this guy Strack who was apparently in some university made a Prolog implementation (!?!) which he compiled to an .exe to run in DOS. I ran across this implementation on some d00ds web page and messed around with it for a while.

Basically I think it’s like Mchain, except it doesn’t really work any more. It generates based on a bigram or trigram language model, and you can build a language model from a (small!) file. It works OK on Windows XP if your filenames have 5 characters with a 3 character extension if it’s in a path that has no spaces, except that it apparently can only read a couple hundred kilobytes of text into its language model, presumably because of the DOS memory model. Windows 7 won’t run it, but you can use DOSBox to run it, though it still has the same problems as it did on Windows XP. Anyway, it just generates a big paragraph of text that you can then sort through, which is what I gather Mchain does.

So anyway, I generated a bunch of text, which MVS does in complete sentences. For the most part, I selected a bunch of sentences and threw in linebreaks, but because the language model was so small, it didn’t pick up a lot of the “creepy” part of the text, so I had to use sentence fragments for the epiphany. This is in the “sci-fi gnoetry” genre, natch.

I like how the sentences tend to cluster in little subtrees of coherence. I put most of the linebreaks to emphasize that. It would be fun to study the ways in which the units of coherence interact.

Anyways, here’s the Prolog DOS MARK V SHANEY, if for some reason you want to try it, and here’s the sciam article (scroll down the page past the weird stuff.) (UPDATE: mark v shaney has a wikipedia entry. there are also python and lisp implementations on the web ) OK, later! -e.

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