War of the Words

A while back, I received an email that showed how the human brain is usually able to read text, even if the letters in the words are significantly jumbled.

So long as the first and last letters of each word remain in their correct location, it doesn’t matter how mixed up each word’s interior is, for most people, the text is still legible. I found this fascinating, but most of the examples I saw only had a few lines of text.

Alien ShhhI wanted to increase the length of this, so created my own version. To source some text, I had a look some well known books that are no longer covered by copyright. At first I was going to use Jane Austen’s “Emma”, but then happened upon H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (according to litverse.com) and knew that was the text to use.

Below is first chapter of “War of the Worlds”, with word lettering randomly jumbled. Obviously, this couldn’t be applied to words having three letters or less. Also, punctuation for the most part is left intact.
After processing this text, and having heard Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds many times in the past, I now have Justin Hayward’s song, “Forever Autumn“, stuck in my head.






No one would have bevleied in the last yaers of the neteneinth curetny taht tihs wrold was bneig wctehad keelny and clsleoy by inetgleneclis gtearer tahn man's and yet as mrotal as his own; taht as men biesud tmveelhses aobut tiher vuairos conrcens they were ssceitriund and setidud, pprheas amoslt as nalwrory as a man with a mpiocosrce mhigt ssniuicrte the tensarint crerauets that sawrm and miplulty in a drop of wtear. With intiifne clnopcamecy men wnet to and fro over this globe auobt their lttile aiffars, sreene in tiehr arnsausce of tiher erimpe oevr mttaer. It is plssbioe taht the inrsioufa unedr the mcricsopoe do the same. No one gave a tuhghot to the odelr wlords of scpae as seruocs of haumn daegnr, or thouhgt of tehm only to dssimis the idea of lfie upon them as issbpolmie or ibpobrmale. It is curoius to realcl some of the metnal hbtais of those deptraed dyas. At most taeeirtsrrl men fneiacd trhee mgiht be oethr men upon Mras, prapehs ifrioenr to telemehvss and raedy to weomlce a monrsiisay ertneisrpe. Yet aorcss the gluf of space, mdins taht are to our mdnis as orus are to tohse of the bestas taht presih, ilcteentls vsat and cool and unehptimstyac, reaerdgd tihs eatrh with enuoivs eyes, and solwly and sulrey drew their palns asginat us. And elray in the teiwnteth cnutrey came the graet diusemllionnist.

The pnalet Mras, I saclercy need rmined the reader, reolvves auobt the sun at a maen dastncie of 140,000,000 miels, and the lihgt and heat it reiveces form the sun is beraly hlaf of taht rieecevd by this wrold. It msut be, if the nulbaer hiostehpys has any truth, odler than our wrlod; and long bforee this erath caesed to be moletn, life uopn its srfcaue must hvae bguen its cousre. The fact taht it is scrcaley one snevteh of the vmuloe of the etarh must hvae aercaceletd its conilog to the trrtuaempee at wichh life cluod bgien. It has air and wtear and all taht is ncsrsaeey for the sprupot of aimnaetd ecntesixe.

Yet so vain is man, and so bldneid by his vtnaiy, that no witerr, up to the vrey end of the nteeietnnh ctruney, eesxpersd any idea that inneeilltgt life might hvae deoepvled trehe far, or ieednd at all, boyend its erthlay level. Nor was it gealelrny urosodentd taht scnie Mras is oeldr tahn our etrah, wtih screlcay a qteruar of the saeiprifucl area and reteomr from the sun, it neelsracisy foowlls taht it is not olny mroe dnitast form time's bingeinng but neaerr its end.

The selacur cnoliog taht msut smedoay oatvkere our plnaet has aearldy gone far indeed wtih our nuoghebir. Its piahyscl cindooitn is siltl lralegy a mrestyy, but we konw now taht eevn in its eqoauiatrl riogen the miaddy tuepmeatrre brleay aperhcoaps taht of our celosdt wnietr. Its air is much mroe aeteuttand tahn orus, its oenacs hvae snurhk uintl they coevr but a tirhd of its srcfuae, and as its solw sasoens cnahge hgue socnwaps geathr and melt aobut eethir pole and perdloiilcay iudntnae its termpetae znoes. That lsat satge of ehtasuioxn, wchih to us is sltil idrilencby rteome, has bmecoe a pasenrdety pbrleom for the iatntnaibhs of Mras. The idiametme prsseure of nieestscy has breteghind their itcelntels, eerlgnad their proews, and hnedread teihr hatres. And lionkog arsocs spcae wtih itstemunrns, and inlltceginees such as we hvae sareccly draemed of, they see, at its neaesrt dtcnaise only 35,000,000 of miles saruwnd of tehm, a mninrog satr of hpoe, our own weramr panlet, green with voatietgen and gery with wetar, wtih a couldy ahtrspeome enouleqt of frtielity, with gpislems togurhh its dfrintig culod wsips of borad shrteects of plpouous crutnoy and nroraw, navy - cdeowrd seas.

And we men, the caeruerts who ibnihat tihs earth, msut be to tehm at laset as ailen and lowly as are the mokyens and lremus to us. The iealctlentul sdie of man aledary aimdts that lfie is an icesnasnt sgtrgule for extincsee, and it wuold seem taht this too is the bileef of the midns uopn Mras. Tiher wrlod is far gnoe in its cilonog and this world is sitll cwoedrd wtih life, but cowdred only wtih waht tehy raegrd as ifnoeirr aimanls. To crary wafrare srunwad is, ienedd, thier olny epcsae from the dtustoriecn that, gtnereaion afetr giroteanen, cperes upon them.

And brofee we jdgue of them too hahrsly we must remebemr waht rsuhtles and utter dettorcsiun our own seipces has wuhgrot, not only upon amlains, scuh as the veniahsd biosn and the dodo, but uopn its iefniorr rcaes. The Taanisamns, in stpie of teihr haumn lseknies, were enrilety sepwt out of eietnxsce in a war of etaenimtiroxn weagd by Eerupoan iimatmgrns, in the sapce of fifty yares. Are we scuh atelosps of mcrey as to capmolin if the Mtraians wraerd in the same siprit?

The Mntaiars seem to hvae cacealutld teihr dcneset wtih azaimng sltuebty -- tiher maacteiamhtl lenrinag is etnvliedy far in escxes of orus -- and to hvae cirerad out their pnoitaraerps wtih a wlel - ngih prefect uinnmitay. Had our iurnttmsnes ptiteemrd it, we mihgt hvae seen the gnteharig tuolbre far back in the neenietnth cutenry. Men like Selrlhcipaai wtaehcd the red palent -- it is odd, by - the - bye, that for ctousnels cineutres Mars has been the satr of war -- but faeild to inrertept the fitutnalucg anrcapeaeps of the mgankris they mpaped so well. All that time the Mriaatns must hvae been getntig reday.

Drniug the ooppoiitsn of 1984 a graet light was seen on the imeuanlltid prat of the disk, first at the Lcik Oaobvtsrery, then by Prreiton of Nice, and then by oehtr orresvbes. Elisgnh raderes herad of it frist in the isuse of NRTAUE deatd Ausgut 2. I am incneild to tnhik that this bzlae may have been the ctniasg of the hgue gun, in the vast pit snuk itno teihr pnalet, form wcihh tehir sohts were feird at us. Pcauiler mkrnaigs, as yet uiapeelnnxd, wree seen near the site of taht orauebtk dunirg the nxet two opoonsipits.

The srtom burst upon us six yares ago now. As Mars ahpproaced otpoiiospn, Llaelve of Jvaa set the weirs of the acrnmooaitsl exhcagne paailntpitg wtih the anizmag ictgeenilnle of a huge oatebruk of iscnnedcnaet gas upon the penlat. It had oeruccrd trwoads mgihidnt of the tefwlth; and the spoccosptree, to wihch he had at ocne reorsted, idenaticd a mass of fmlniag gas, chfiley hrgdoeyn, mnvoig wtih an enrmuoos vicleoty tarowds this ertah. This jet of fire had boecme inibivsle abuot a qetraur past tlwvee. He cpoemrad it to a csasolol puff of famle sneudldy and vlotileny seqrutid out of the plaent, "as fnailmg gaess rshued out of a gun."

A srialgunly appriarptoe prhase it poevrd. Yet the next day terhe was nhtinog of tihs in the prpeas eexpct a lttlie note in the DAILY TPALEREGH, and the wlrod went in iaocgrnne of one of the gesavrt dneagrs taht ever teraehnetd the haumn race. I mhgit not have hraed of the eroiputn at all had I not met Ogivly, the wlel - kownn aersoontmr, at Otsrhaetw. He was imemelnsy eexctid at the news, and in the ecsexs of his flieegns iinvetd me up to tkae a turn with him taht nghit in a scrntiuy of the red paelnt.

In sitpe of all taht has hnpaeepd sncie, I siltl reemmber taht vgiil very dlnictstiy: the balck and senilt ortvbaesroy, the sowaehdd lrntean torhiwng a fbelee glow uopn the folor in the cneorr, the seatdy tinickg of the ccokowlrk of the topcselee, the llttie slit in the roof -- an olnbog prfntioudy with the srtadsut srtaeked ascros it. Oigvly mevod about, ivlbsniie but audlibe. Lkoinog trugohh the teclsopee, one saw a ccilre of deep bule and the llttie round pealnt snwimmig in the felid. It smeeed such a llttie tnihg, so bgrhit and small and sltil, flniaty merakd with tanrservse sieptrs, and stihllgy fantteled from the peercft rnuod. But so ltltie it was, so svliery warm -- a pin's - head of lgiht! It was as if it qeiuvred, but rlelay tihs was the tesecolpe vbritiang with the acvttiiy of the corlwcokk taht kpet the pnlaet in veiw.

As I wchtead, the pnleat semeed to gorw legarr and sleamlr and to avcadne and rceede, but taht was spmliy that my eye was tierd. Fotry molilins of mlies it was from us -- mroe tahn forty mlnoiils of mlies of void. Few pepole rlasiee the inmtsmiey of vcaancy in which the dust of the meaitral usrinvee siwms.

Naer it in the flied, I rbememer, wree three fiant poitns of lhigt, there toclisepec sarts inlfneiity rmtoee, and all arnoud it was the uaohftbmlnae dsanrkes of epmty sacpe. You konw how that bceasnlks looks on a frtosy stragilht nghit. In a toeslcpee it smees far poudornefr. And iiivlnsbe to me busaece it was so roemte and smlal, flynig siltwfy and siedltay towrads me arscos taht indcrlebie dcatsnie, dainwrg neraer eervy mtuine by so mnay taoshudns of mlies, cmae the Thnig they wree sednnig us, the Tinhg taht was to bnirg so mcuh sglurtge and cmlatiay and dateh to the earth. I never demeard of it then as I wcahetd; no one on etrah dremead of that uninrerg mslisie.

That nhigt, too, three was aenohtr jetntig out of gas from the dnasitt pealnt. I saw it. A rdiesdh falsh at the edge, the shtsleigt poieojrctn of the ontulie jsut as the cneoetmhror stucrk midgihnt; and at taht I told Oigvly and he took my pclae. The night was wram and I was thistry, and I went sreittchng my lges clulmsiy and finleeg my way in the dnsrakes, to the llitte table werhe the spiohn stood, wlhie Olgivy ecilemxad at the sameertr of gas taht cmae out taowrds us.

Taht nhigt aothner ilsvniibe mlsiise saerttd on its way to the etrah from Mras, jsut a second or so uendr tntwey - fuor horus aeftr the fsirt one. I remmbeer how I sat on the tblae terhe in the becnklass, wtih pctheas of geren and ciomrsn smmnwiig brofee my eyes. I wisehd I had a light to somke by, ltltie ssueitncpg the mianneg of the mnitue gelam I had seen and all that it wuold pernlesty brnig me. Oilvgy whatecd tlil one, and tehn gvae it up; and we lit the lrnaetn and welakd oevr to his hosue. Dwon bolew in the dnreskas wree Ohestartw and Crsethey and all their hredduns of ppleoe, silepeng in pcaee.

He was flul of slputoaiecn taht nhigt about the cdnioiton of Mras, and sofcefd at the vlugar ieda of its hvinag itaantnihbs who were sliailnngg us. His ieda was taht mteeoteirs mhigt be flnalig in a havey soehwr upon the panlet, or taht a hgue vancloic exoslopin was in psrgeros. He peiontd out to me how ullnikey it was taht oginarc euvlioton had tkean the same dreicoitn in the two adaecjnt ptnlaes.

"The cheacns aagnsit anyihntg milnake on Mras are a miiloln to one," he siad.

Heddunrs of oevbresrs saw the flmae taht nhgit and the night after auobt mgidhnit, and again the nhigt aetfr; and so for ten nihtgs, a flame ecah night. Why the soths cesaed atefr the ttneh no one on ertah has atetemtpd to elixpan. It may be the gsaes of the firnig cuased the Mnraatis invcnneocenie. Dnsee cdouls of skmoe or dust, vsbilie troguhh a peofwurl tloesecpe on earth as lttile gery, fltnituuacg phtcaes, sraepd tuhorgh the csnaleres of the penalt's aephtsmroe and orucbsed its mroe fiiamalr fteueras.

Even the dilay prapes wkoe up to the dciratsnebus at lsat, and puoplar noets aeperpad hree, trhee, and eyrevwehre cnennicorg the vlcnaoeos uopn Mars. The smrioicoec proadeciil PUCNH, I rmbeemer, made a hpapy use of it in the pitliacol ctoaron. And, all ustspenuced, tsohe meisslis the Miatnras had fierd at us drew earthrawd, rhinsug now at a pace of mnay mleis a snoecd toghurh the etpmy gulf of scpae, huor by huor and day by day, naeerr and nreear. It semes to me now aoslmt ielbdnrciy wundofrel taht, wtih taht siwft fate hgniang oevr us, men cloud go aubot their petty cerncnos as tehy did. I rmebeemr how jinalbut Mkaharm was at scinreug a new pohrgoapth of the palent for the iureslatltd ppear he eeidtd in tsohe dyas. Pelope in tshee leattr teims slcrceay rsleiae the adbnnacue and eiepnrsrte of our nntietneeh - cteurny pperas. For my own prat, I was mcuh occpueid in lrnniaeg to ride the bicylce, and bsuy uopn a sriees of pperas dsinsuicsg the pbaolbre deeelnpvomts of mroal iades as ciotlaiiisvn pgoresrsed.

One nhigt (the fsirt mssliie then could srclceay have been 10,000,000 miels away) I wnet for a walk with my wife. It was sitgahlrt and I epleiaxnd the Signs of the Zdaioc to her, and potenid out Mars, a bhgrit dot of lgiht cnpereig zhtiarnewd, taowrds wihch so mnay tepoelescs wree pnotied. It was a wram ngiht. Comnig home, a prtay of ectirnoxisuss from Ceetrhsy or Iwotselrh pessad us siingng and pilayng msiuc. Terhe wree lthgis in the ueppr wwidnos of the hsueos as the plepoe went to bed. Form the rawliay sattion in the dnaistce came the sunod of suntnihg tnaris, rnignig and rnmilbug, soefetnd aolsmt into mldeoy by the dsiantce. My wfie petinod out to me the btrnshegis of the red, green, and yollew sgianl lhgtis hnganig in a fwmrearok agsinat the sky. It smeeed so sfae and tuirqnal.


  1. damn…I could read this with very little effort… ♥

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