Joe Ganley

I make software and sometimes other things.


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If you do a join on the lists of male and female first names from the 02000 census, you find that over 300 names appear in both lists. These include the ones you'd expect, such as Chris, Francis, Jamie, Kelly, Pat, and Terry, but also quite a few that were more interesting, such as Anthony, Charles, Dominique, Edward, Norman, Richard, and Thomas. It seems likely that some of these appear due to clerical error, but those surprising ones I listed appear with what would seem to be a statistically significant frequency. Women with traditionally male names seem much more common than the reverse.

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The other day my daughter was watching me send a text message, and how when two successive letters are on the same key I had to pause a moment until it timed out, and she wondered aloud what was the longest word that did not have two successive letters on the same key. Searching the web, I was surprised not to be able to find an answer, so I fed the 480K-word dictionary on my Linux box through a few tr and grep commands and a little Python code to find the answer, plus a number of other special words.
  • The longest word that is texted with no repeated keys is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (that's the full name of DDT).
  • The longest word that is texted with no repeated keystrokes (i.e. not only no repeated keys, but each letter is the first choice on its key) is pagatpat (a variety of mangrove tree).
  • There is a word that repeats no keys (even non-consecutively): idolatry.
  • The longest words that are texted with only a single key are bacaba (a variety of palm tree) and deeded (the dictionary also contains deedeed, but I can't find a definition and believe that might be a typo of deeded).
  • Several words contain a sequence of seven of the same key, including: fiddledeedee, homonomous, mononomial, and nonmonogamous.


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I saw where someone had posted their academic genealogy, so just for fun I looked up my own. Here it is, working backward: me - James Cohoon - Sartaj Sahni - Ellis Horowitz - George Collins - Barkley Rosser - Alonzo Church.

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