Speil Chequers

Yesterday, my friend and collegue, Rob Slade, noted that …

Idly leafing through yet another IT executive rag (preparatory to recycling it),
and noticed an article on privacy by the head of a data destruction company. He
was talking about the problem of “data reminisce.”

Well, it may not have been the author at fault.
We’ve criticized journalists for lacking knowledge of various technical professions and so mangling and misinterpreting reports, but what about typesetters? And editors?
Continue reading Speil Chequers

Are Mission Statements High Entropy?

My friend and fellow security droid Gary Hinson asked why so many corporate mission statements end up being utter gibberish, with more meanings than bits.

A ‘bit’ being, according to /usr/share/units.dat, a measure of entropy.

No Gary, I think that corporate mission statements, like political party policies, are high entropy. and with a high negative correlation with observable reality.

Perhaps one of the stochastic/markov-chaining text generators was used – what were they called? “Racter“or something like that?

As it says at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonsense

The problem is important in cryptography and other intelligence fields,
where it is important to distinguish signal from noise. Cryptanalysts
have devised algorithms for this purpose, to determine whether a given
text is in fact nonsense or not. These algorithms typically analyse the
presence of repetitions and redundancy in a text; in meaningful texts,
certain frequently used words—for example, the, is, and and in a text in
the English language—will occur over and over again.

However the Racter (?) programs, corporate PR and political speech writers seems to know this – heck, if you can test for it algorithmically you can generate it algorithmically, so manage to make
‘nonsense’ have the necessary redundancy to pass these tests and sucker-punch our cognitive processes and perform memetic subversion.

If reading parts of http://megahal.alioth.debian.org/Classic.html reminds you of conversations with your boss or of televised political debates or radio phone-in shows with politicians, then you’ll understand.

(As a sidebar, I’ll mention that my local talk radio, CFRB, has a show late Sunday where ‘saucertites’and the like are given a platform. They answer phone-in questions more rationally than the politicians, in fact they actually answer the questions the callers ask instead of sounding off on their own agenda. Perhaps this is why people believe the politicians and not the saucerites.)

Perhaps, as Neal Stephenson speculated in ‘Snowcrash‘, there is some Deep Language of our brains and some Politicians know fragments of it.

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