Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Identity of 417Pundit

He hit the net like a whirlwind on the 9th of July. He promised to expose the logical errors and poor research by local bloogers. Unfortunately, he got off to a bad start. From the very first his criticism has consisted of silly critiques of style, spelling errors and typos, and other such trivial crap.

This "learned" and eructating pundit occasionally would admit that his favorite source was the World Book Encyclopedia, or The Elements of Style, a laughing stock among linguists. GeoffreyK. Pullum, author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language,refers to Elements as "that toxic little book of crap." A learned man would know this: calling yourself, "learned", is a lot like calling yourself "kewl". If you have to do it -- you probably arn't.

SGF bloggers reactions ranged from amusement (me), to annoyance, to mild anger at such trivial stuff. So we started guessing who was responsible. Early on, we decided that he was one of us (and we were certain it was a "he" right from the very beginning), because he knew stuff that you couldn't glean from listening to
Andy's podcasts. So the guessing game was on. The CHATTEismist-guy thought it was me. I accused Granny Geek. Everybody accused the Snarling Marmont, just on principal if nothing else.

So no suprise that
Andy from Rhetorica announced last night that he had figured it out -- and damn if I didn't think he was right. And then as Duane, Larry and Byron were mosying out they stopped by to give us the right answer and show how smart guys can fool themselves.

But they did it by intuition. Intuition is nice if you are a psychic who wants to get on the Art Bell Show, but still not very reliable. But all of a sudden Andy realized there was a quantitative way to positively ID the Pundit. Very smart guy that Andy --

If you go to the Rhetorica site on the right sidebar you will find a find a link to "Critical Meter" after you click that, click the link "computer assisted text analysis".

There, you will find the basics of an algorythm to ID an unknown writer from the writing alone. I had heard of this being used by cops, but hadn't really paid much attention, since it is a multivariant analysis and science types just get real sweaty thinking of multivarient analyses. (Cops even use remote viewers and dowsers when they are desperate to solve a crime, so science itself can be pretty sadly lacking in cop-work). But as you find out more the better this one looks.

You can take writing where you know the author and compare it to an unknown author and that's what Andy did.

Our original guess, based on some quotes and stuff from 417Pundit did not match. However, another blooger did match -- almost perfectly.

We have had our collective chains jerked -- royally.

We have been hosed -- in a very clever way.

And I am pissed because I didn't think of it first.

So at the boogers meeting on Oct. 17th I will be the first to buy a beer, and call for a standing ovation for ..........


Blogger Jacke M. said...


3:08 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Larry Litle said...

My arch nemesis has a name.

3:12 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Does this mean we can mispel werds now?

7:06 PM, October 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's 'kewl' you figured this out--or is it just a really good guess??? No one seems to give a shit, however. Which is kewler still cuz it means that 417 became irrelevant a while back. Good for the local bloggers for not playing a troll's game.

8:41 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

The "kewl" part is Andy who realized that there was a way to do it. I was intrigued with the method more than the ID.

It's not a SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Quess) but has quantitative aspects, and scientists like that - a lot. I calculated that there is a 1:17,576 chance of the test results being internally in error (including the null set). This doesn't mean that there is a 1:17,576 that it is wrong in it's intrepretation. There is a much higher chance of that.

Like all these sorts of tests all the facts can be intrepreted by the analog and you can get an absolutely wrong result.

In this case, however, I don't think so.

I have gotten a number of emails from people laughing their ass off but DocL is pretty well liked and most of us think he just played a good game of gottcha'. It might have been better to do it on April 1st.

8:54 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Duane Keys said...

Has he owned up to it yet?

To quote another blogger, "he seems to have a hard-on for Larry."

10:48 PM, October 06, 2006  

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