Thursday, February 07, 2013


Helena came home from school one day recently all excited to tell me about palindromes. There'd been a substitute teacher that day, and the regular teacher hadn't provided a lesson plan. So, palindromes!

And though I know a bit about palindromes, and I know some palindromes, I don't think it had ever occurred to me that there might be palindromes in languages other than English. Thus, my first French palindrome: élu par cette crapule. (For a palindrome to work in French, diacritics are often disregarded.)

And it seems obvious to me now that this is exactly the sort of jeu de mots that Georges Perec might have played with. In fact, he composed a palindrome (in the form of a story or poem, kind of) that is 1247 words long.

Coincidentally, later the same evening that Helena and I were getting word nerdy, I was reading my book (which was rather big on coincidence) and it happened that the point was made that a character's cellphone ringtone was a palindrome — Bach's Crab Canon.

See also how Vi Hart folds space-time with Bach and plays a music-box Möbius strip.
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