Computational linguists Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight have created a computer program that uses meter and rhyme to generate more secure, memorable passwords. You could also check out Andrew Kay’s Millions essay on the power of poetry.
A couple weeks ago, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll argued in a Salon piece that David Foster Wallace, who wrote an essay about the television and irony back in the early ‘90s, presciently diagnosed the danger of snark in our own age. Now Peter Finocchiaro, a senior editor at Salon, argues instead that we need irony more than we ever have. You could also read A-J Aronstein’s notes from the DFW Symposium.
Gossip is often seen as inherently frivolous and trashy, which is why it’s odd that a poet would use it as the subject of his or her work. On The Poetry Foundation’s blog, Austin Allen writes about George Green’s collection Lord Byron’s Foot, in which, as Allen puts it, “the dish spares no one.” (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
Beer bongs are never a good idea. Besides the killer hangover you’ll inevitably wake up with the next morning, you might also steal literary art. When Mitchel Potter was a frat boy in 1987, he stole a bronze bust of Robert Frost from Wichita State University and hid it in his basement for 25 years until someone tipped off the police. Ironically, Potter didn’t even know who Frost was, but the prosecutor read “The Road Not Taken” at his trial.
Following last week’s Sotheby’s auction, the archives of Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky will soon be headed back to Russia. The collection amounts to “several thousand working manuscripts, personal photographs, recordings and private documents” and it sold for a whopping £1.5 million.
I’m feeling surprisingly broken up about this: Reading Rainbow comes to the end of its 26-year run on Friday.