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The Termites Who Can Generate Shakespeare

"he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his" Henry IV Part 1: Act 2, Scene 1
  [vote for,

Now that the typing monkeys have proved themselves capable of outputting the complete works of the great bard, it's time to compose a variation on the familiar challenge. I therefore bring you The Termites Who Can Generate Shakespeare.

This is a comparatively straightforward task, requiring ordinary termites to create the works of William Shakespeare. It does nevertheless require a little careful preparation. I shall explain.

Termites love to eat paper, so it should be no problem for them to munch around the individual letter forms on the printed page. To encourage this activity, the paper is treated to be especially desirable and nutritious for the termites, while the actual letters are printed using a noxious ink, which the termites won't eat, apart from certain selected ones. Now we have created a scenario where the termites will eat all of the paper and much of the text, but will avoid some of the printed letters and words, preferring to carefully eat around them.

With a bit of judicious planning, a series of pages can be printed that look like random words and phrases. Hidden in this mass of what is referred to in the publishing world as 'jabber', are the actual works of Shakespeare, but printed in two different types of ink. These are indistinguishable to the human eye, but not to the hungry termites, who will eat away all of the superfluous paper and extra words, leaving behind the letters and words that actually constitute the writings of William Shakespeare.

For viewing purposes, long glass encased tables feature the carefully prepared separate pages all facing upwards. The intrepid termites have full access to the entire arrangement, and being perpetually hungry, begin to consume the paper, along with the superfluous letters and words. A roving time-lapse camera records the process, as The Termites Who Can Generate Shakespeare satisfy their life's work.

xenzag, Oct 16 2016

Readin', eatin', writin', routin', Termite_20router
makin' a mess of your cellulose [lurch, Oct 19 2016]


       When I started reading this I was convinced it was going to involve either converting all the baryonic matter in the Universe into termites, paper and ink and waiting, or some kind of selective breeding process akin to when termites invented telescopes. Since it's neither, bun.
nineteenthly, Oct 19 2016

       Quite a obscure meaning of generate, in relation to writing.
wjt, Oct 19 2016

       //converting all the baryonic matter in the Universe into termites//   

       That happened soon after the big bang. There were almost equal numbers of termites and antitermites created, but there was a very small imbalance. Over time, most of the termites and antitermites annihilated, leaving us with a universe containing only a relatively small number of termites and ants.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 19 2016

       //letters and words that actually constitute the writings of William Shakespeare// with a sprinkling of Afrikaner English spellings thrown in, to offend the purists...
lurch, Oct 19 2016

       That's actually a rather beautiful visual idea - scores of termites swarming over a blank page and nibbling away the paper where letters have been printed in invisible delicious-to-termites ink. All of this shown in fast-motion time-lapse of course.
hippo, Oct 20 2016

       somewhat peculiar [+]
Voice, Oct 20 2016

       // Afrikaner English //   

       If the line " Hamlet, I am your Father's ghost" is rendered literally into Afrikaans (a.k.a. "Crunched Dutch") it comes out as "Hamlet, Ek is spook von jou Vader"   

       Absolutely true. Bizarre, but absolutely true.
8th of 7, Oct 20 2016

       Equally interesting, the French word for "hello" is "Je me rends"
Voice, Oct 21 2016


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