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25 July 2008

Mike slays the Self-Ref Monster (and changes diapers too!)

Sorry it took a few days to count all the occurrences of all 26 letters, my trusty ancient QuickBASIC is allergic to Vista, and I was cruising around Vermont for a couple of days.

But, naturally and as always, Mike was right on the nose. He took this self-ref monstrosity and computed:

This is my favorite English sentence, and it contains five a's, one b, three c's, three d's, thirty-one e's, six f's, two g's, seven h's, sixteen i's, one j, one k, two l's, two m's, twenty-four n's, seventeen o's, one p, one q, nine r's, thirty-four s's, twenty-two t's, four u's, six v's, seven w's, six x's, six y's, and one z.


a 05 g 02 m 02 s 34 y 06
b 01 h 07 n 24 t 22 z 01
c 03 i 16 o 17 u 04
d 03 j 01 p 01 v 06
e 31 k 01 q 01 w 07
f 06 l 02 r 09 x 06

3 comments:

Mike said...

So was there Plotzing involved?

Jim Olson said...

I'm sorry, but I don't get it. The solution, I mean. Whats the point? I read mike's answer in the post above.

Vleeptron Dude said...

As the original PizzaQ from Self-Ref Hell said, the numbers (and the words for numbers) in this example are All Wrong (or mostly wrong). These are just dummy, fake numbers/words I picked randomly to show how the sentence is constructed:

This is my favorite English sentence, and it contains two a's, one b, two c's, one d, thirty-seven e's, twenty f's, four g's, thirty-nine h's, fifty-one i's, one j, one k, forty-seven l's, twenty-five m's, eighteen n's, thirty o's, one p, one q, thirty-three r's, forty-one s's, fifty-five t's, thirty-six u's, twenty v's, seventeen w's, fifteen x's, twelve y's, and one z.

So suppose you count all the m's and want to reduce the number of m's.

This is my favorite English sentence, and it contains two a's, one b, two c's, one d, thirty-seven e's, twenty f's, four g's, thirty-nine h's, fifty-one i's, one j, one k, forty-seven l's, eighteen m's, eighteen n's, thirty o's, one p, one q, thirty-three r's, forty-one s's, fifty-five t's, thirty-six u's, twenty v's, seventeen w's, fifteen x's, twelve y's, and one z.

OLD: twenty-five m's
NEW: eighteen m's

But now suddenly there's also

1 more e -- you'll have to fix that from thirty-seven to thirty-eight

1 less w -- from seventeen to sixteen

1 more g -- from four to five

1 less t -- from fifty-five to fifty-four

1 more h -- from thirty-nine to forty ...

(The number of n's doesn't change.)

When you've finished fixing {e,w,g,t,h}, then count all the letters in the sentence again and see what you've done. Are you closer to the correct answer?

Or are the 26 greased pigs just merrily slipping out of your frustrated grasp?

Numbers themselves are very orderly and well-behaved and obey very simple rules.

The SPELLINGS of the standard English WORDS for numbers seem comparatively wildly Arbitrary. They obey their own strict rules -- but these rules are far more complicated than the rules for simple whole numbers.

That's what the "Self-Ref" means ... literature which doesn't just try to describe something, but which describes itself, the way it spells itself, its own typography ...

(e.g. the poem in "Alice in Wonderland" about the Tale of a Mouse, which is printed to look like a Mouse's Tail)