People talk a lot, and politicians are certainly no exception. I spent some time recently skimming through transcripts of the House of Commons, and when you're tackling that much text, meaning starts to fade and patterns—meaningful patterns, maybe?—start to emerge.
This is a stab at a visual representation of some of those patterns and behaviours. You'll see sentences spoken in the Canadian House of Commons. And when a four-word phrase comes up that occurs elsewhere in the text, the sentence will branch off.
To follow branches, move your mouse up and down. You can also hit the space bar to tell the program to start following branches automatically.
To start off, click Go and, luck and Java willing, you'll soon see a prompt to type in a word. (Depending on your browser, you might need to click on the big white "Enter a word" prompt before typing will work.) After pressing Enter, and a pause of a few seconds, you should be off. Java applets can be quite finicky, so please try a different browser or e-mail me if you have problems. Alternatively, you can download a snazzy full-screen application version of the project, for Mac OS X or Windows.
The source data, by the way, are the Hansards of the House of Commons, from January 2007 to May 2009. A total of about seventeen million words.