(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘haiku

“Those distinct substances, which concretes generally either afford, or are made up of, may, without very much inconvenience, be called the elements or principles of them”*…

An interactive encomium to the elements…

A review of the Periodic Table composed of 119 science haiku, one for each element, plus a closing haiku for element 119 (not yet synthesized). The haiku encompass astronomy, biology, chemistry, history, physics, and a bit of whimsical flair…

Elemental haiku,” by Mary Soon Lee (@MarySoonLee) in @ScienceMagazine from @aaas.

Robert Boyle, The Sceptical Chymist


As we celebrate chemical compliments, we might send illustratively-arranged birthday greetings to Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois; he was born on this date in 1820. A geologist and mineralogist, he was the first to arrange the chemical elements in order of atomic weights (in 1862). But De Chancourtois only published his paper, not his graph with the novel arrangement; and because it was a geology paper, it was largely ignored by chemists. It was Dmitri Mendeleev’s table, published in 1869, that became the standard– and the model for the periodic table that we know today.


Wisdom is where you find it…


Quotidian philosophical observation and advice wrapped in a suger cookie shell– fortune cookies, almost unknown in China, have become the customary prize at the end of a Westernized Chinese meal… and a big business for the two companies that turn out millions of “wisdom slips” a day.

Wonton Food, Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of fortune cookies and fortune cookie messages. It was established in 1973 and is based in the New York City area, with an additional factory in Houston. Wonton Food ships between 4.5 million and 5 million cookies per day to restaurants and chains throughout the U.S. and to Canada, Latin America, and Europe.

Yang’s Fortunes, Inc., founded in 1996 and based in San Francisco, just handles printing, cutting, and packaging fortunes to send off to clients baking them into cookies. Yang’s churns out about 4 million fortunes per day.

Learn how they avoid oracular overload at “Who Writes the Messages in Fortune Cookies?


As we compare our fortunes, we might send distilled birthday greetings across the Yellow Sea to Kobayashi Issa; he was born on this date in 1763 (though some scholars cite yesterday; and others, May 5).  A lay Buddhist priest of the Jōdo Shinshū sect, Issa (a name meaning “one [cup of] tea”) was one of the “Great Four” haiku masters (with BashōBuson, and Shiki).

Everything I touch

with tenderness, alas,

pricks like a bramble.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 16, 2013 at 1:01 am

Serene machine…


In honor of National Poetry Month, a visit to Times Haiku

… This is a Tumblr blog of haikus found within The New York Times. Most of us first encountered haikus in a grade school, when we were taught that they are three-line poems with five syllables on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third. According to the Haiku Society of America, that is not an ironclad rule. A proper haiku should also contain a word that indicates the season, or “kigo,” as well as a juxtaposition of verbal imagery, known as “kireji.” That’s a lot harder to teach an algorithm, though, so we just count syllables like most amateur haiku aficionados do.

How does our algorithm work? It periodically checks the New York Times home page for newly published articles. Then it scans each sentence looking for potential haikus by using an electronic dictionary containing syllable counts. We started with a basic rhyming lexicon, but over time we’ve added syllable counts for words like “Rihanna” or “terroir” to keep pace with the broad vocabulary of The Times.

Not every haiku our computer finds is a good one. The algorithm discards some potential poems if they are awkwardly constructed and it does not scan articles covering sensitive topics. Furthermore, the machine has no aesthetic sense. It can’t distinguish between an elegant verse and a plodding one. But, when it does stumble across something beautiful or funny or just a gem of a haiku, human journalists select it and post it on this blog…

Find the wisdom of stillness at Times Haiku.


As we read the paper with a new kind of attention, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that House of Wax premiered in New York.  The first 3-D color feature from a major American studio, it was Warner Bros.’  answer to the indie 3-D hit Bwana Devil, which had been released the previous November… and a very effective answer it was:  House of Wax was a huge hit, grossing an estimated $5.5 million in North America (before a 1980 re-release).  It is widely considered one of the greatest horror film of the 50s, and boosted the careers of it’s featured players:  Vincent Price (who went on to The TinglerHouse of UsherThe Masque of the Red Death, and the epic The Abominable DrPhibes), Charles Bronson (Once Upon a Time in the WestThe Magnificent SevenThe Dirty DozenThe Great EscapeRider on the RainThe Mechanic, and the Death Wish series), Carolyn Jones (Morticia on TV’s The Addams Family), and Phyllis Kirk (co-star, with Peter Lawford, of the television series version of The Thin Man).




Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 10, 2013 at 1:01 am

I’m a poet, and I didn’t know it…




The Economist‘s Free Exchange blog report’s on the Kauffman Foundation‘s most recent quarterly survey:

THE KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION conducts a quarterly survey of economics bloggers (you can see the third quarter results here). It tends to focus on current economic conditions and policy questions, but the fourth-quarter questionnaire contained something a little different: a challenge to capture the state of the economy in haiku. The results are sublime…

Indeed.  Consider the stylings of Reuters’ Felix Salmon:

No one has a job
Except econobloggers
And they’re not paid much

Or the musings of Professor Stephen Karlson:

Intermodal loadings increase
Trade conflict looms without cease
Occupy Wall Street

Or this, from Robert Cringely:

Econ guys, gentle souls
Think policies guide markets
Jail time is better

Or the only-too-culturally-appropriate contribution of Amol Agrawal:

When Japan fell in 1990s
They were lectured by the world economists
Time for Japanese to smile

… more at “The economy in haiku .”


As we think in seventeen syllables, we might recall that it was on this date in 1993 that the Maastricht Treaty came into effect, formally establishing the European Union (EU)… and laying the groundwork for the Eurozone– the European Monetary Union and the creation of the Euro– and thus for the painful pecuniary pageant that is playing out on the Continent today…



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 1, 2011 at 1:01 am

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