From: Grant Callaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 02 Feb 2003 - 22:59:44 GMT
(Well worth reading!)
You may see it as anything that can be analyzed and some information
discovered about it. But most of that information would not be memetic
because it was not transfered from one mind to another. Of course, if you
write a paper about that information, then it would become memetic.
I am sorry, but you just *can't* use words like Humpty Dumpty did in Through
the Looking Glass!
Question: Which words do you feel I am misusing and how?
bit (b) 
the basic unit of information. Each bit records one of the two possible
answers to a single question: "0" or "1," "yes" or "no," "on" or "off."
Logically, this is the smallest quantity of information that can exist. The
word "bit", coined by the American statistician and computer scientist John
Tukey (b. 1915) in 1946, is an acronym for binary digit.
bit (b) 
a logarithmic unit of storage capacity, equal to the base-2 logarithm of the
number of possible states of the storage device or location. If data is
stored as binary digits, this reduces to definition : an 8-bit storage
location, for example, has 28 = 256 possible states, so its capacity is log2
28 = 8 bits. If, however, a storage location stores one letter, then it has
26 possible states, and its storage capacity is log2 26 = 4.7004 bits.
bit (b) 
a unit of information content, now known properly as the shannon.
a unit of information content used in information and communications theory.
The definition is based on the idea that less-likely messages are more
informative than more-likely ones (for example, if a volcano rarely erupts,
then a message that it is erupting is more informative than a message it is
not erupting). If a message has probability p of being received, then its
information content is -log2 p shannons. For example, if the message
consists of 10 letters, and all strings of 10 letters are equally likely,
then the probablity of a particular message is 1/2610 and the information
content of the message is 10(log2 26) = 47.004 shannons. This unit was
originally called the bit , because when the message is a bit string and
all strings are equally likely, then the information content turns out to
equal the number of bits. One shannon equals log10 2 = 0.301 030 hartley or
loge 2 = 0.693 147 nat. The unit is named for the American mathematician
Claude Shannon (1916-2001), the founder of information theory.
Grant: Of the definitions listed above, I think the kind we are talking
about would be the shannon rather than the bit, even though it was called a
bit at one time.
Lucent - Information Theory
... In 1948, Bell Labs scientist Claude Shannon developed Information Theory, and the world of communications technology has never been the same. ... Description: A basic introduction and history of information theory from Bell Labs. Category: Science > Math > Applications > Information Theory www.lucent.com/minds/infotheory/ - 13k - 1 Feb 2003 - Cached - Similar pages
A Mathematical Theory of Communication
... was reproduced in the collection Key Papers in the Development of Information Theory
. The paper also appears in Claude Elwood Shannon: Collected Papers [3
... Description: Claude Shannon's seminal paper, made available by Bell Labs in PostScript and PDF. Category: Science > Math > Applications > Communication Theory cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/paper.html - 5k - Cached - Similar pages
If you want to redefine "square root" in the context of a discussion on
mathematics you have to expect people to object.
I think what you are trying to do is discuss perception of something like a
painting or statue in cultural (meme pool) terms. As you may be able to
tell, this is something I really appreciate. But please be careful about
using words that have specific and long established technical definitions.
I was talking in cultural terms because the subject was memes. If you want
to talk science, that's a different subject -- at least until we've reached
a point where memetics is called a science by the majority of people who use
the term. The reason why scientists came up with the term "shannon" appears
to be that the term "bit" was not useful for discussing the kinds of
information transmitted through such mediums as actions, artifacts and
natural phenomena (like volcanoes, for example). If bits and shannons were
the same thing, I doubt the people who coined the term would have bothered
to do so.
But I'm glad you included the term "shannons" in your list of definitions.
I wasn't familiar with it before and it gives me a good word to use for the
kind of information we normally transmit with actions and artifacts. It
also demonstrates that there is a difference between the kind of information
transmitted in bits and forms other than bits.
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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