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The Man Who Invented the Computer

  by Jane Smiley

(about 279 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

World War, he would have been in Ames to make sure that his patent application was filed and, possibly, to make sure that the lawyer, Richard Trexler, understood it; he would have found the proper card stock for charring his results; his machine would not have been dismantled and hauled away. From Zuse’s point of view, his machines would not have been bombed into smithereens; he would have filed his patents and secured proper component parts; he would have, perhaps, more easily benefited from the insights and aid of Helmut Schreyer, who might not have left Germany for South America; he would not have had to evacuate Z4 in the mountains where he was stranded for years; he would have had access to computer experts in other nations. From Tommy Flowers’s point of view, he might have taken his vacuum-tube idea and used it to invent a computer, but he also might not have met Alan Turing or Max Newman; the computer he invented would not have been Colossus, but on the other hand, he would not have had to invent it and then destroy it within two years, never referring to it again for decades. From Turing’s point of view, he might have had plenty of good ideas about how the mind works and what a computer would be like, but he would not have met Tommy Flowers and the other engineers who understood how to make something. From John Mauchly’s point of view, he would not have had eight, became seriously ill with asthma and allergies. According to Burton, the standard treatment of the day, adrenaline shots, had a negative effect on Elsie’s condition, so Atanasoff threw himself into reading about allergies and observing his daughter. He decided that she was allergic to cow’s milk, chocolate, and wheat, and he bought two pregnant female goats, which Lura cared for and milked in the backyard of the Woodland Street house. He rigged up a system for circulating fresh air into Elsie’s room and became so knowledgeable about allergies that a local doctor used him as a consultant. His daughters also gave him entrée to the grammar school authorities—when teachers complained that the girls were often late because Atanasoff was dropping them off on his way to the college, he got interested in how the teachers were doing their jobs—investigated how school resources were being used and made suggestions about what the science and math curriculum should look like. When the school nurse suggested that one of the girls have her tonsils removed, Atanasoff lectured her on why they should not be removed. His arguments were always complete and forcefully presented, and school authorities soon learned to leave well enough alone. Once, Burton writes, “when the family’s enormous vegetable garden produced a large crop of soybeans, he immediately addressed the problem of shelling the beans by rigging the washing-machine clothes-wringer to assist in the task. Whole soybeans were hand-fed into the electric clothes wringer and came out shelled

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 1397.28 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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