Monday, October 01, 2007

At First I Thought It Was Spam


Don't be flakey, stay connected to friends.

You know how you sometimes get junk email that is just a bunch of words that seem strung together? They arrangement of the words is not as arbitrary as it may seem. A lot of times the sequence of the words is the result of a Markov Chain, meaning that the spammers have taken a huge chunk of real English text and analyzed the probability that a certain word will come after another, and then they take those probabilities use them to generate random texts in which each individual word could logically and probably occur in real English when viewed with the word that comes either before of after it, but when viewed as a whole by a human just looks like nonsense. This nonsense, however, looks legit to spam filters, and that is why you get such weird emails sometimes.

The email message above, while at first seeming kind of fishy (the subject and first line really threw me off), was actually from a sweet friend who happens to have a writing style that is as surprising as the best Markov-generated wildness.

Yeah! I am excited for dinner tonight. Not sure what to make yet, but it will be good, trust me.

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