Monday, September 3, 2012

Other than the grammar ...

How often do people ask the question Other than the grammar, how was the speech? Well, apparently over 298 million times

Human speech derives its information carrying capacity from several places not the least of which is its temporal structure. Sorting on word frequency literally destroys significant quantities of information. The entire information content of the word green next to the word frog (i.e. green frog for those following along at home) is that green is modifying frog so as both to convey the information that the frog is green and distinguish said frog from e.g. a poison dart frog (which is not green, but instead blue or yellow). If I take that word green and move it to different position unrelated to the position of frog, that word green no longer carries any information at all ... and any information you do decide to imbue it with has no foundation whatsoever.

The above word cloud (apparently also known as a wordle, though that just may be specific generation software) of Romney's speech to the RNC has removed all of the information except that he might be running for President of America. However that is information I am adding to this infographic. The speaker simply mentions President and America. It could be in a negative light. The most commonly appearing words in this blog post are green and frog, but I'm not talking about green frogs. In a sense, the creators have only done a half-assed job. Below I lay waste to the information content, reducing the speech to an empirical estimate of the letter frequency in English.

(Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

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