January 17, 2009

Infinitely recursive "crosswords"

Here's something for you mathy types.

A guy named Frank Force told me about the hypnotic moving pixel/letter/word/criss-cross screensaver he created:

You'll see plenty of words that wouldn't pass muster for a crossword, but Frank explains that his word list includes "(e)very English word of 5 letters or less (about 14,000 total). Good and bad, god and devil, war and peace, live and die, qanat and crwth, hm and sh, frank and force, fuck and shit, pixel and word. They are all there, interlocked in a never ending cascade of randomness. Currently I have it set to use the Official Tournament and Club Word List making this a useful vocabulary building tool for games like Scrabble, Boggle, anagrams, etc. This is also why you may see some obscure (and obscene) words."

Frank plans to allow users to customize the word lists used in the "word fractals," though limiting it to crossword-suitable words wouldn't work unless you add all the legit two-letter words—and with fewer words to choose from, the fractal thingamabob would apparently have a harder time spinning out the words the way it does in this video.

You can download the screensaver at Frank's site.