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14 Hilarious Automatic Text and Tweet Generators

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We now have the processing power, and mountains of language data, to automate all kinds of useful language tasks, from translation to reading messy handwriting. These automatic text generators may not be, strictly speaking, useful, but usefulness was never what we really loved about language anyway.

1. FavThingsBot(@FavThingsBot)

Information about rhymes and stress patterns are used by Mark Sample (@samplereality) to make the mesmerizing @FavThingsBot, which constantly finds new verses and choruses for the classic Sound of Music song “My Favorite Things.” These go way beyond raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

2. Google Poetics (@GooglePoetics)

This collection of found poems that emerge from the autocompletion of search terms on Google offers a funny, and sometimes sad view of humanity and the things we seek. Curated by Sampsa Nuotio (@SampsaNuotio).

3. Pentametron (@pentametron)

This bot, created by Ranjit Bhatnagar (@ranjit), mines tweets for stress patterns and rhymes in order to make couplets in iambic pentameter. The results, drawn from the bottomless bucket of Twitter activity, are consistently amazing. Read them in pairs.

4. Anagramatron (@anagramatron)

This clever bot by Colin Rothfels (@cmyr) finds pairs of tweets that are anagrams of each other (they contain the same letters arranged in different orders). Guys, you have no idea how many sentences are anagrams of each other.

5. Haiku9000(@HAIKU9000)

Another bot by Rothfels builds haikus out of three unrelated tweets.

6. Pangramtweets (@pangramtweets)

A pangram is a sentence, such as, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” that contains all the letters of the alphabet. Jesse Sheidlower’s (@jessesheidlower) bot finds natural pangrams in the Twitter wild.

7. Times Haiku (http://haiku.nytimes.com/)

The New York Times has its own haiku generator, built by Jacob Harris (@harrisj), that finds haikus in the connected text of its articles. Topical and sublime.

8. RealHumanPraise (@RealHumanPraise)

In response to a report that Fox News had staffers set up fake accounts to praise the network in online comment sections, Rob Dubbin (@robdubbin), a writer at The Colbert Report, created this bot that automatically creates reviews of Fox programming by substituting names of Fox anchors and shows into movie reviews from RottenTomatoes.com. It’s generated over 180,000 tweets since last November, and still hasn’t stopped being funny.

9. I am the x of y (@x_of_y)

Alexander Furnas (@zfurnas) created this bot that randomly pairs famous names with present participles to create the perfect absurd boasts for your resume.

10. snowclone a minute (@snowcloneminute)

A snowclone is a type of hackneyed phrase in which some of the pieces can be swapped out, but the template remains the same. It was named “snowclone” in honor of one of the most well known such phrases, “If Eskimos have N words for snow, surely X have Y words for Z.” This bot created by Bradley Momberger (@air_hadoken) tweets out an original snowclone phrase every two minutes by randomly combining the templates at snowclones.org with the word database at wordnik.com. They really highlight the staleness of these template phrases. Here are a few recent gems.

11. Metaphor a minute (@metaphorminute)

Darius Kazemi’s (@tinysubversions) metaphor generator substitutes random words into a template to produce metaphors that hover just on the edge of somehow maybe making sense.

12. AmIRite? (@amiritebot)

Kazemi also created this bot that purposefully makes terrible “amirite” rhyme jokes about trending topics on Twitter.

13. Online dating ipsum

Lauren Hallden’s (@phillylauren) generator creates filler text out of online dating profiles “because most profiles are word soup anyway.” You can generate in “typical inane jabber” mode or “with a side of crazy sauce.” This guy I conjured up in typical inane jabber mode is pretty realistic:

Working at a coffee shop only looking for something casual coffee going to the gym. Ask me anything foodie shoot me a message passionate about joking around, working on my body and my mind training for the marathon foodie chilling at a bar with friends bacon. Quizzo Kurosawa Vampire Weekend strong and confident if you like my profile my friends tell me they don't get why I'm single.

Sadly, the same holds for side of crazy mode too:

Someone to provide for you proper grammar I love the smell of I despise. Ask your mother with morals MFA shotgunning beers I'm a nice guy, my beard performance art other shenanigans skydiving for real though. Snapchat I'm too lazy to keep typing I'm a nice guy if you like crossfit nubile.

14. The Idiomatic

This automatic proverb generator mashes up timeworn bits of wisdom and gives them new, intriguing life.

“The best things in life spoil the broth.”
“A rolling stone is your oyster.”
“When the cat’s away the mice come in small packages.”

And remember (as grandma always said):

“The road to hell is where the heart is.”

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Live Smarter
Including Smiley Emojis in Your Work Emails Could Make You Look Incompetent
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If you’re looking to give your dry work emails some personality, sprinkling in emojis may not be the smartest strategy. As Mashable reports, smiley emojis in professional correspondences rarely convey the sentiments of warmth that were intended. But they do make the sender come across as incompetent, according to new research.

For their paper titled "The Dark Side of a Smiley," researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel looked at 549 subjects from 29 countries. After reading emails related to professional matters, participants were asked to judge the "competence and warmth" of the anonymous sender.

Emails that featured a smiley face were found to have a "negative effect on the perception of competence." That anti-emoji bias led readers to view the actual content of those emails as less focused and less detailed than the messages that didn’t include emojis.

Previous research has shown that sending emojis to people you’re not 100 percent comfortable with is always a gamble. That’s because unlike words or facial expressions, which are usually clear in their meanings, the pictographs we shoot back and forth with our phones tend to be ambiguous. One study published last year shows that the same emoji can be interpreted as either positive or negative, depending on the smartphone platform on which it appears.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to communicate effectively without leaning on emojis to make you look human. Here are some etiquette tips for making your work emails sound clear and competent.

[h/t Mashable]

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Words
9 Sweet Old Words for Bitter Tastes and Taunts
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Whether you’re enjoying the sharp taste of an IPA or disliking some nasty words from a colleague, it’s hard not to talk about bitterness. But we could all use a few new—or old—terms for this all-too-common concept. So let’s dig into the history of English to find a few words fit to describe barbs and rhubarbs.

1. STOMACHOUS

Have you ever spoken with bile and gall? If so, you’ll understand why stomachous is also a word describing bitterness, especially bitter words and feelings. This is an angry word to describe spiteful outbursts that come when you’ve had a bellyful of something. In The Faerie Queen, Edmond Spencer used the term, describing those who, “With sterne lookes, and stomachous disdaine, Gaue signes of grudge and discontentment vaine." You can also say someone is “stomachously angry,” a level of anger requiring a handful of antacids.

2. WORMWOOD

Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) is the patron plant of bitterness, which has made wormwood synonymous with the concept. Since at least the 1500s, that has included wormwood being used as an adjective. Shakespeare used the term in this way: “Thy secret pleasure turnes to open shame ... Thy sugred tongue to bitter wormwood tast.” George Parsons Lathrop reinforced this meaning in 1895 via the bitterness of regret, describing “the wormwood memories of wrongs in the past.” Unsurprisingly, some beers are brewed with wormwood to add bitterness, like Storm Wormwood IPA.

3. BRINISH

The earliest uses of brinish are waterlogged, referring to saltiness of the sea. The term then shifted to tears and then more general bitterness. Samuel Hieron used it in his 1620 book Works: “These brinish inuectiues are vnsauory” [sic]. Nothing can ruin your day quite like brinish invective.

4. CRABBED

Crabby is a popular word for moods that are, shall we say, not reminiscent of puppies and rainbows. Crabbed has likewise been used to describe people in ways that aren’t flattering to the crab community. The Oxford English Dictionary’s etymological note is amusing: “The primary reference was to the crooked or wayward gait of the crustacean, and the contradictory, perverse, and fractious disposition which this expressed.” This led to a variety of meanings running the gamut from perverse to combative to irritable—so bitter fits right in. Since the 1400s, crabbed has sometimes referred to tastes and other things that are closer to a triple IPA than a chocolate cookie. OED examples of “crabbed supper” and “crabbed entertainment” both sound displeasing to the stomach.

5. ABSINTHIAN

This word, found in English since the 1600s, is mainly a literary term suggesting wormwood in its early uses; later, it started applying to the green alcohol that is bitter and often illegal. A 1635 couplet from poet Thomas Randolph sounds like sound dietary advice: “Best Physique then, when gall with sugar meets, Tempring Absinthian bitternesse with sweets.” A later use, from 1882 by poet Egbert Martin, makes a more spiritual recommendation: “Prayer can empty life's absinthian gall, Rest and peace and quiet wait its call.”

6. RODENT

Now here’s a bizarre, and rare, twist on a common word. Though we’re most familiar with rodents as the nasty rats digging through your garbage and the adorable hamsters spinning in a wheel, this term has occasionally been an adjective. Though later uses apply to corrosiveness and literal rodents, the earliest known example refers to bitterness. A medical example from 1633, referring to the bodily humors, shows how this odd term was used: “They offend in quality, being too hot, or too cold, or too sharp, and rodent.”

7. NIPPIT

The first uses of nippit, found in the 1500s, refer to scarcity, which may be because this is a variation of nipped. In the 1800s, the term spread to miserliness and narrow-mindedness, and from there to more general bitterness. OED examples describe “nippit words” and people who are “mean or nippit.”

8. SNELL

This marvelous word first referred to physical and mental quickness. A “snell remark” showed a quick wit. But that keenness spread to a different sort of sharpness: the severity or crispness of bitter weather. An 1822 use from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine uses this sense: “The wintry air is snell and keen.”

9. TETRICAL

The Latinate term for bitterness and harshness of various sorts appears in José Francisco de Isla's 1772 book The History of the Famous Preacher Friar Gerund de Campazas, describing some non-sweet folks: "Some so tetrical, so cross-grained, and of so corrupt a taste." A similar meaning is shared by the also-rare terms tetric, tetricity, tetricious, and tetritude. Thankfully, there is no relation to the sweet game of Tetris.

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