Monday, October 5, 2009


I only just noticed that lists Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs) below the summaries of each book page. Seriously, how awesome is that?! I have listed some of the SIPs of my favourite books below:

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

"Kid spat" is the only one listed. Sparse as Cormac himself.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene

vibrational string patterns, sliding clock, stationary light clock, familiar extended dimensions, quantum undulations, three extended spatial dimensions, superpartner particles, circular girth, resonant vibrational patterns, quantum jitters, five string theories, given string theory, second superstring revolution, circular dimension, energy denomination, perturbative tools, spatial fabric, string theory offers, nine space dimensions, observational vantage points, winding energies, string coupling, string theorists, perturbative framework, elegant universe

The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands

irish ferries, happiness junkies, simian intelligence, epistemic duty

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

garbage cop, ambulance ramp, phone downstairs, homicide cop

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

cloud factory, giant women

Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

great demotions, deflection technology, pale blue dot, scaling heaven, spacefaring nations, cometary fragments, gravitational tides, human missions, first spacecraft, other planetary systems, planetary society

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

queer lodgings, fourteenth share, unexpected party, old thrush, wood elves, other dwarves, lake men, gob lins

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

These ones take the cake. I mean, seriously, DFW was a master of employing statistically improbable words, let alone phrases:

medical attaché, annular fusion, entertainment cartridge, improbably deformed, howling fantods, feral hamsters, dawn drills, tough nun, professional conversationalist, new bong, ceiling bulged, metro boston, tennis academy, red leather coat, soupe aux pois, red beanie, addicted man, magnetic video, littler kids, little rotter, technical interview, police lock, oral narcotics, sober time, veiled girl.

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