Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Number 45

When Anne Hathaway comes out with a new movie, Berkshire Hathaway's stocks go up.

That's an easy one to figure out (unless, of course, you don't know that robots now run Wall St).

The following story, however, is much more indicative of the nonsensical, illogical (by any human measure or current definition of the word) behavior of the nature of emergent phenomena as presented by complex algorithms, in this case, copyright bots.

BBC and others targeted by Microsoft copyright takedown request
8 October 2012
modified article:
Sites such as BBC, CNN, Wikipedia, and the U.S. Government were wrongly identified by software which crawls the web for attempts to illegally share Microsoft content, and requests that the sites be taken down due to copyright infringement.
The [copyright holder's takedown] request, sent in July, contained hundreds of addresses, and appeared to pinpoint articles and pages containing the number 45.
For example, a BBC page following Day 45 of the Olympic Torch Relay was on the takedown list, as was a Wikipedia article on Caesar's Civil War, which ended in 45BC.
Yes, 45.
And tell me again exactly what made Kony 2012 the most powerful virus of its kind to date.
(personally, I think it was the 4.20, not 45.)

Post Script for good measure:

Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week
John Melloy, 8 Oct 2012

A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity. The motive of the algorithm is still unclear.

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