rm-hull / yamátárájabhánasalagám.cljs
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Around 1960 the American mathematician Sherman K. Stein discovered a curious pattern in the Sanskrit nonsense word yamátárájabhánasalagám. The composer George Perle told Stein that the stressed (á) and unstressed (a) syllables form a mnemonic for rhythms, and correspond to long and short beats. Thus the first three syllables, ya má tá, have the rhythm short, long long. The second to fourth are má tá rá, long, long, long - and so on. There are eight possible triplets of long or short rhythms, and each occurs in the nonsense word exactly once. Stein rewrote the word using 0 for short and 1 for long, getting 0111010001. Then he noticed that the first two digits are the same as the last two, so the string of digits can be bent into a loop, swallowing its own tail. Now you can generate all possible sequences of three digits 0 and 1 by moving a long the loop one space at a time. I call such sequences ourborean rings, after the mythical serpent Ourboros, which eats its own tail. _ — Ian Stew

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