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  • Writer's pictureEmily Kane

Explaining integration with the ten hundred most common words

Full image available from XKCD.

I recently became intrigued by the "up-goer five" initiative, to explain a difficult idea using only the ten-hundred most used English words. I thought I would give it a shot with my research. There are several text editors for this. I used the one here.

First, I did it with a short summary of my research:


"Integration between locomotion and feeding"


"Moving and eating at the same time has problems"

Then I did it with the background text on my website. Here is the original text:

Here's my edited text:

Animals have to eat other animals that don't want to be eaten. To get away, they often run and this means the other animals have to chase them. But, it's not as simple as that. They have to use many body parts together to catch the animals, like their mouth and legs. Their mouth has to be open at the right time that their body is close to the other animal or else it will not catch it. If they miss, they could have to work harder to eat and could even die from not eating enough.

Many parts do different things, and using them at the same time is hard. How the parts work together could change if what the animal is chasing is different, such as if it is running away or staying still. Many people have thought about how the body parts work together to change what an animal does with the parts. But how one part acts can change how another part acts. The way parts act together can make the animal live or die in a different way than if parts act alone.

I guess this still gets the point across, but it sounds over simplified, as though my work is a bit silly or that this topic is something that we already know intuitively and doesn't need further study. It does make me consider how other people may be understanding (or not understanding) what I am trying to convey!

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