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Natural Language Processing with Python by Edward Loper, Ewan Klein, Steven Bird

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Colophon

The animal on the cover of Natural Language Processing with Python is a right whale, the rarest of all large whales. It is identifiable by its enormous head, which can measure up to one-third of its total body length. It lives in temperate and cool seas in both hemispheres at the surface of the ocean. It’s believed that the right whale may have gotten its name from whalers who thought that it was the “right” whale to kill for oil. Even though it has been protected since the 1930s, the right whale is still the most endangered of all the great whales.

The large and bulky right whale is easily distinguished from other whales by the calluses on its head. It has a broad back without a dorsal fin and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye. Its body is black, except for a white patch on its belly. Wounds and scars may appear bright orange, often becoming infested with whale lice or cyamids. The calluses—which are also found near the blowholes, above the eyes, and on the chin, and upper lip—are black or gray. It has large flippers that are shaped like paddles, and a distinctive V-shaped blow, caused by the widely spaced blowholes on the top of its head, which rises to 16 feet above the ocean’s surface.

The right whale feeds on planktonic organisms, including shrimp-like krill and copepods. As baleen whales, they have a series of 225–250 fringed overlapping plates hanging from each side of the upper jaw, where teeth would otherwise be located. The plates are black and can ...

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