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File-compression can detect life

8
stuart houghtonPerson was signed in when posted
04-01-2003
08:28 AM ET (US)
Cheem: talking of mdern SF, Iain M Banks' 'Feersum Endjinn' features a method of backing up personalities to a centralised storage. One of the key motivations in many of the character's lives is to experience as many unique experiences as possible - otherwise the compression algorithms in The Vault will largely erase them upon their attempt to transfer.
7
KassandraPerson was signed in when posted
04-01-2003
07:42 AM ET (US)
OOH! I love this kind of stuff.

[At this point the old warhorse sniffs the air and tosses her head - I did a geology degree]

I seem to remember that with the Mars "stromatolites" there was a problem of scale - the structures might have been an effect of the treatment you give things before you can look at them under electron microscopes.

btw stromatolites hang on in a few places in our modern world: http://www.sharkbay.org/terrestial_enviroment/page_15.htm

And the fossil ones are a good proof that the Earth is spinning slower than it did (a sort of tree ring effect - difference between winter and summer growth).

That's more than you ever wanted to know about stromatolites I bet.
6
CheemPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
07:52 PM ET (US)
I can almost imagine compressing modern science fiction... try compressing, say, Gor or Robert Jordan and comparing it with, say, _The Left Hand of Darkness_ or something... I wonder if compressability could be used as a mark of quality...
5
BommaPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
05:12 PM ET (US)
Has anyone gone about the useless but interesting task of compressing the various classics in literature and seeing how much redundancy they contain?

I wonder how Moby Dick compresses, it seems long but I wonder if it's also mostly redundant.
4
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
02:44 PM ET (US)
What boingboing addict said.
3
Joe StalinPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
02:27 PM ET (US)
It's been found that you can distinguish texts in different languages by the way they compress, too:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/30/science/physical/30ZIP.html
2
ahaPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
01:22 PM ET (US)
Have they tried this on pictures of other things, like world leaders?
1
boingboing addictPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2003
12:26 PM ET (US)
that is sooooooo coooooooool

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