One of the great things about the NY Times' new policy of "Times Select" — which charges people to view online such popular columnists as Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich, and whats-her-name — is that I no longer feel a masochistic obligation to read their rantings so as to see what "the other side" has to say. That obligation has receded even further with the development of an "Automatic Bob Herbert" article generator. Here's the premise, from Evan Coyne Maloney's website, >bt: brain terminal:
According to Nancy Kruh of The Dallas Morning News, veteran New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has been stuck in a rut for years. "For several months now," Kruh writes, "as I’ve read one Iraq war column after another, one thought always comes to mind: Um, haven’t I read this before? So, yesterday, I finally immersed myself in Lexis-Nexis to try to quantify and qualify this phenomenon."
What Kruh discovered is that many of Herbert's columns during the Bush presidency contain similar, interchangeable passages. She cites a number of examples that make it seem like your average Herbert column is just a random recombination of wording from earlier columns.
Given the paper's recent stock performance and rumblings from restless investors, I thought I'd help the Times find ways to put out the same product for less money. So I spent about fifteen minutes writing software that can generate Bob Herbert columns while using a minimal amount of our Earth's precious resources.
To read any number of generic, and completely true-to-form, Bob Herbert columns, just go here.
Hat tip: Power Line