• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Flip Tanedo | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

The SnarXiv

Before I explain anything, consider the following two screen shots:

The first image comes from the arXiv.org (“archive”), the official (pr)e-print server for papers in fields such as physics, mathematics, and computer science. The second image comes from a the snarXiv, a delightful parody by a friend and colleague of mine, David Simmons-Duffin, a high energy theory grad student at Harvard.

The snarXiv is a game of “computer-generated mad libs” that presents intelligently-constructed abstracts for hep-th (high energy physics: theory) papers. It’s a little more sophisticated than filling-in-the-blanks—as David explains on his blog—but the punchline is that these “fake” abstracts often sound like actual papers one might read. It’s been a big hit with grad students who, I think, sympathize with the feeling of not understanding paper abstracts due to jargon. (The feeling passes with time… very gradually.)

The snarXiv became so much fun that David made a game out of it: arXiv vs. snarXiv, which presents readers with two paper titles and asks them to identify which one is real. (I’ve been having mixed results…) The interface takes some nice statistics about which real titles most often believed to be fake.

In a recent online conversation one of David’s friends noted that a blog post about arXiv vs. snarXiv got several hits in Korea. I joked that his game will steal popularity from StarCraft II, so David made a rather nice desktop wallpaper which made me laugh (and was actually my desktop wallpaper for a while):

Cheers,
Flip

Share