Thursday, 29 October 2009

Under The Radar

Still furious over the whole Lieberman outrage, but I have just about enough humour left in me to think that this is the best veto note I've ever read. [1]

Certainly it's the best thing I've read all week. The second best? An article on the odds of it occurring by chance.

(If you're not sure what's so funny about the note above, I'd advise studying it for a little while before clicking on the link. Think of it as a tremendously rude Magic Eye picture.)

For the record, one needs to be careful here. 1 in 10 billion isn't a bad start, but one needs to consider the relative frequencies of each letter appearing at the start of a word, the chance of the line break appearing when it does, but also the number of alternative messages (offensive or otherwise) that could also have been spelled out (and if I ever decide to send subconscious messages to people through this blog, you better believe I would be more imaginative about it [2]). My gut instinct, though (combinatorics being a field in which gut instinct is very important, as I'm sure you can imagine), is that the odds are actually a good deal higher than Langer's rough estimate.

Even if the odds were significantly lower, though, smart money would most certainly be on Schwarzenegger doing this deliberately. Quite aside from the odd rhythm to the note, anyone who saw his promotional interview for Jingle All The Way in which he inserted the name of the film into every single answer he gave will be well aware that what he thinks is clever word-play is merely obvious and tedious. At least this time round he's pissing off the dysfunctional Californian legislature and not Barry Norman.

[1] Number of other veto notes I've read: zero. I did see President Bartlett do it on TV once, though.

[2] Hands up who scanned the first letters of each line of this blog post just to check if I'd tried it. Not that I won't sooner or later, obviously.

1 comment:

Senior Spielbergo said...

Got to love Arnie :-) Have they sorted out that amendment so he can be the next President? I would vote for him :-)