June 28, 2012: History In The Making

Geekery, Politics & Current Events

On February 12, 1999, physicist and cyberethicist Robert Newsome (Ph.D., D.Sci.) measured the amount of internet rage, channeled through email, listservs, and websites, on the day of Bill Clinton's impeachment acquittal. Dr. Newsome quantified the total internet-expended rage of that day as one KHAN. (The measurement is always expressed in full capital letters).

Since 1999, the KHAN measure has been exceeded on a number of occasions, most notably December 12, 2000, the day the United States Supreme Court decided to reverse a lower court in Florida in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 121 S. Ct. 525, 148 L. Ed. 2d 388 (2000).

It was on that day that Dr. Newsome was forced to revise his scale to accommodate the growth of the internet, as well as the breakdown of social inhibition caused by prolonged internet usage, to record the world's first GENGHISKHAN.  A GENGHISKHAN, according to Newsome, is exactly One Godzillion KHANs of internet rage.  Dr. Newsome's team measured the aftershocks of Bush v. Gore at approximately 1.4 GENGHISKHANs.

Our correspondent Ezra sat down recently with Dr. Newsome, who is on sabbatical at the University of California Berkeley, to discuss his work and predictions for the future of internet-based rage.  He was kind enough to share this interview for publication:

Ezra: What brings you to California, Doctor Newsome?

Newsome: Well as you know, I began my career in high energy physics, a field not too dissimilar from the study of internet rage.  I'm taking a year off at the Berkeley radio lab to study a collision among three galaxies in the constellation Draco. Imagine the fires of hundreds of billions of suns, with three supermassive black holes at the center, all going off at once. Just think of the holocaust of energy such a collision would release.

Ezra: Have you ever encountered similar energies in your studies, Doctor?

Newsome: The closest would be June 2 this year, when scalpers bought out every ticket for the Justin Bieber concert at Madison Square Garden in thirty seconds. That produced an explosion, on the American internet, approximately half as powerful as powerful as the galactic collision I'm presently studying.

Ezra: Doctor, you claim that as the internet expands, American political discourse degrades into incoherent ranting. But isn't it true that this sort of thing was common in the time of the founding fathers?

Newsome: Yes and no. It's true that Adams allowed his supporters to call Jefferson a Libertine Poltroon. And it's a fact that Adams was tarred as a Monarchist Whoremonger by his opposition. But that was a play for the uneducated masses. Today, serious, informed people genuinely believe that Democrats want to install a Stalinist oligarchy in place of a republic, and that Republicans want to see poor children die of measles. The internet is a great leveler.

Ezra: You made your name back in 1999, studying the aftereffects and echoes of the Clinton impeachment on internet-based rage.

Newsome: Yes, and that's still my primary field of study. And great things are coming. I believe you'll see more than a few Nobels awarded based on research that's about to begin later this week.

Ezra: And why is that?

Newsome: We have the confluence of three great events, much like a collision among three galaxies. You see, on Monday, the United States Supreme Court gutted Arizona's immigration law, but not so sufficiently that either side on the issue could claim total victory. While most of the law was overturned, the Court left standing the controversial "papers please" portion of the law, the one that most infuriated people in favor of a relaxed immigration policy.

That unleashed a torrent of rage, on both sides.  Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.

Ezra: I'm sorry?

Newsome: Forgive me. When one studies the peculiar speech of web forum devotees too long, one picks up some of their habits. As I was saying, Monday saw a veritable flood of butthurt and bile cascading across the internet, as partisans of one side called the others NAZIS and BIRTHERS, and partisans on the opposing side shouted COMMUNIST! and the like.

Ezra: You can speak in caps lock?

Newsome: I speak d00d, haXXX0r, all the languages of the internet. Now, to put Monday's events in perspective, we'll borrow concepts from seismology. While the Arizona immigration decision produced rage, butthurt, and WTF? measuring at least a GENGHISKHAN in power, it was only a temblor, a minor warning shock of what's to come.

Ezra: Why so?

Newsome: On Monday there were a hundred fifty thousand people viewing the Scotusblog live feed, and it's safe to say than no more than one in a hundred were there for the Arizona decision. The other ninety-nine were all waiting for the decision in Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, the health care case. And yet each of those hundred and fifty thousand people, all of whom have strong feelings on health care, had an opinion on the immigration case. So all of them left Scotusblog feeling wounded, like a kid whose dad has promised to take him to the next Transformers sequel on opening night only to learn that dad has to work late that night, so he'll have to wait until Sunday afternoon.

After the resultant tantrum, on both sides, over immigration, the internet is sensitized, more vulnerable to the next shock than it would have been had the Justices kicked immigration to the next term.

And the next shock, well, I can remember November 17, 2006, when the Playstation 3 was released in North America with no games to play. I had to wear mittens to touch my keyboard.

And I was behind a computer on September 19, 2011, the day Netflix announced it was splitting into Netflix and Quikster for double the price. The rage flared so bright I had to wear a welding mask to read the monitor.

Ezra: Those were one-time events.

Newsome: Precisely. But the health care "debate", if you can call months of whinging, bitching, kvetching, and moaning a debate, has been going on for two years. And it's about to explode.

Ezra: Can that quantity of rage even be measured?

Newsome: Fortunately it can. As the internet has grown, so has the power and precision of our instruments. But we're going to have to come up with new scales. You see, on top of, or perhaps beneath, the health care decision, we're expecting the House of Representatives to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. On an ordinary day that would provoke many GENGHISKHANs of internet fury. But combined with health care, and an approaching election?…

If a GENGHISKHAN is exactly One Godzillion KHANs of fury, hatred, and rage, we're going to have to come up with a new measurement. I've proposed that we call what will happen a CHAKAKHAN, which amounts to One MechaGodzillion KHANs of internet rage.

Ezra: That's a lot of rage. Do you have a prediction for how the case will be decided?

Newsome: What's my prediction for tomorrow? Hmmm…

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

34 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Matthew Cline  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:03 pm

    Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.

    Aaahahahahaha!

  2. Kent Allard  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:22 pm

    Thank you Lewis

  3. Wesley  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:38 pm

    SCOTUSblog mentioned the possibility that SCOTUS could delay issuing any ruling and schedule the case for reargument in the next term. I almost wish they would do this just out of trolltastic glee.

    Also, another hilarious article in the same vein: http://noncuratlex.com/?p=760

  4. W Ross  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:40 pm

    So what's Charles Carreon rate on this scale so far?

  5. harqueb.us  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:40 pm

    The side which feels most wronged will wish a SALMANKHAN of death and torment on the other side (so named to measure the quantity of deathwish brought by an entire planet's muslim population against a single person).

    Let us hope we never approach the FARRAKHAN level of bile in this discourse.

  6. harqueb.us  •  Jun 27, 2012 @3:53 pm

    Nevermind, in my excitement, I got Salman Khan confused with Salman Rushdie. Oh well, it would have made a nice metric.

  7. Jordan  •  Jun 27, 2012 @4:00 pm

    I was hoping this was going to be about the Rakofsky oral argument tomorrow.

  8. perlhaqr  •  Jun 27, 2012 @4:00 pm

    CHAKAKHAAAAAAAAAAN!

  9. Ken  •  Jun 27, 2012 @4:38 pm

    I offer quantity. Patrick offers quality.

  10. Ken  •  Jun 27, 2012 @7:04 pm

    Did anyone measure Heller?

  11. Chris Berez  •  Jun 27, 2012 @8:20 pm

    This is fantastic. Really, really fantastic.

    As for me, I'll make sure to have plenty of popcorn ready tomorrow for sure. There's literally no way this won't be epic: upheld, struck down, delayed… no matter what happens, the internet and every single cable news network, will lose its collective mind. And after that–again, no matter what happens–we've got the buildup to November to look forward to.

    Buckle up, kiddies.

  12. Miss Adventure  •  Jun 27, 2012 @9:42 pm
  13. Robert White  •  Jun 27, 2012 @10:58 pm

    @harqueb.us Actually, while you did miss-cite (which I presume was just a typo, as the keys are -right- next to one another), I believe the SAMLMANRUSHDIE is a first order integral of a GENGHISKHAN, measuring a unit increase in the slope of hate being generated by a single event.

    Much the way a power is work over distance, but detonations must be measured in "explosive units" instead of Ergs, the RUSHDIE is the expression of the energy it takes to go from "no opinion" to "die in a fire" the word deals with the peak and decay rates for wishing someone dead. (It is believed to come from the guttural portmantu of rushing to the sentence of death.)

    So the RUSHDIE is a tricky unit as it is a KHAN over delta time. or KHAN/dick*time expression.

    The mistake is common, but do please refrain from using it technical forua such as this, since it can perturb result domain by eating up constants and covariants.

  14. Ansley  •  Jun 27, 2012 @11:02 pm

    Since Ken knows me and my outrage best, I wonder how he would measure my daily level of recurring KHAN… Hmmm?

  15. Robert White  •  Jun 27, 2012 @11:06 pm

    @Ansley: as long as your RUSDIE remains within a close order of magnitude, your background KHAN should be manageable at any level.

  16. Luke  •  Jun 28, 2012 @6:44 am

    @Robert – Shouldn't that be

    (KHAN * dick )/time^2?

  17. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @7:52 am

    @Luke: your are correct, good sir! I must have been thinking of the WTF, which is in the differential domain. The WTF describes the least noticeable change of oddity, more properly expressed as dKHAN/dRUSDIE, which is usefully approximated with KHAN / dick * time.

    My apologies.

  18. eman  •  Jun 28, 2012 @7:58 am
  19. Jess  •  Jun 28, 2012 @3:50 pm

    Robert White – are we going to have some fun getting into quantum physics which confused the living daylights out of early quantum experimenters, because it meant that things behaved differently when they tried to "measure" them. But it's not only measuring instruments that do the trick – any sensitive physical element will do. There is no need to suppose that the universe cares what we think.

  20. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @4:56 pm

    @Jess I believe anything willing to pass below/within the a TARACAREON limit into a quantum state simply ceases to exist. Since CC is already an irrational unit, the principle of indeterminacy indicates that a TC event is completely illusory as a and extension of a field effect of moronatron interaction across an unstable energetic domain.

    That is i(TC*CC)/dt remains irrational, while TC*CC approximates nullity without actually describing the empty set, so any force F nets a practical zero as lim 0->infinity of F for F*TC*CC/t is indistinguisable from F*0/t and any reasonable series R yields sigma(R[0]/TC*R[1]/CC*R[2]/TC) produces a self-canceling opposition for all TC|CC grouping.

    So any CC|TC series is an operation lacking the properties of unifying identity.

    Therefore, mathematically, they don't actually exist since they cancel themselves out of any reasonable sequence.

  21. jess  •  Jun 28, 2012 @5:21 pm

    Robert – various procedures are available to test for the possibility that the disturbance terms of a linear Carreon regression model are auto-correlated in a first order process with a constant autoregressive coefficient. As seen specifically in a study I conducted with results from both Charles and Tara Carreon relating to the powers of two such tests, namely the Douchebag Lawyer, and the Censorious Ass-hat tests, when the autoregressive coefficient of the disturbance terms is a function of one of the regressors. Charles and Tara are just such a case, the problems of autocorrelation and heteroskedasticity are intertwined. I was also able to report Monumental Explosive Asshatery results for an intuitive large sample “pterodactyl” test for autocorrelation which explicitly accounts for the variable nature of the autoregressive coefficient. Our “Carreon’d Ass-hat” results suggest that the Douchebag Lawyer, Censorious Ass-hat theorem as well as our proposed test all have very high detection rates even if both the sample size and the mean of the autoregressive coefficient of the disturbance terms are small. If these two magnitudes are relatively large, all three of these tests seem to be quite effective in detecting autocorrelation – specifically that Charles Carreon = Censorious Douchebag Ass-hat.

  22. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @6:23 pm

    Jess: I believe your procedures are flawed and not repeatable. Across the same regression I get an identity on "Ineffectual Censorious Ass-hat" across the domain of "Aspiring Censorious Douchebag". The results are indeterminate outside that domain because no observations seem possible since the exterior domain (q.v. the values outside the Ass-hat Douchbag continua) is completely unpopulated by any Carreon.

    Basically, as a peer review, I'd have to apologetically offer that you despoiled your factoring by dropping the effect-over-cause unit conversion and, as a result allowed the Carreon "illusion of import" to be improperly distributed over its "attempted relevance".

    The inability of a Carreon to localize effectively means that the active state "Censorious" is incompatible with the observed states-of-being. So "Ass-hat" is a given, and "Douchbag" is a given, but "Censorious" is only an aspirate.

    Please check my math: observed Ass-hat Douchebag as fact; observed impact on actual events as {0} is fact; domain of activity is Censorious Douchebag; therefore (Ineffectually*Censorious + Douchebag)(Ass-hat + Douchbag) => Ineffectual*Censorious*ass-hat + Douchbag*Asshat + Ineffectual*Censorious*Douchbag + Douchbag^2

    But he is also outside his own bounds so we have to divide a Douchbag out of the result leaving 1+(Ineffectual*Cennsorious*ass-hat)/Douchbag + Ineffectual*Censorious + ass-hat + Douchbag.

    Now you cannot have a rational term when you attempt to devide by "Douchbag" so we must substitute leaving i(CC); and of course ass-hat and Douchbag are scalars, while Ineffectual is a vector sum so we are left with an discontinuous series, one for state of being and one for motility. Left together the series is insoluable, but considered seprately on the Ass-hat and Douchebag axis yields two separate quanta. An Ineffective Censorious Ass-hat when plotted against Douchbagary and a Ineffective Censorious Douchebag when classified amongst Ass-hats.

    Since Douchebags simply are, i(CC) = Ineffective Censorious Ass-hat"
    While Ass-hats cannot function, i(CC) = Aspiring Censorious Douchebag".

    To simplify this into one term is too improperly collapse a two dimensional area Ass-hatted Douchbaggery into much less threatening line of Ineffectual Aspiring Censoriousness. It would just be improper. Especially since i(CC) always plots across an area instead of remaining on point.

  23. Jess  •  Jun 28, 2012 @6:46 pm

    @Robert – The Carreon test for Censorious Asshattery seems to have very low power if autocorrelation is also present, even if the sample size is moderately large. So, I suspect we are in fact in agreement on the base theorem which is Charles Carreon = Censorious Douchebag Ass-hat Attorney to the ^4 level. Please advise if your calculations are in line with my calculations in which the autoregressive coefficient of arrogance is constant, and to the least squares procedure of butthurt on which this formula is based.

  24. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @7:06 pm

    @Jess – I'll go along with that. Though we will have leave the Self-Entitlement and Ego dimensions out of the final results since numbers don't go that high on modern computing hardware and there is no evidence that Carreon are Turing Complete or properly self-aware as such terms are commonly used. I'd footnote it for completeness sake, but why bother really?

    I'm pretty sure both a TC and a CC can be replaced by constants of very low significance, should they be found either functional, relevant or deterministic in any operation.

    Within reasonable experimental error, as near as I can tell, TC and CC are just a waste of hydrogen.

  25. Dan  •  Jun 28, 2012 @7:08 pm

    Robert White and Jess, I love you guys.

  26. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @7:33 pm

    I think we are ready to publish, but I cannot find a reputable journal in the field of Ass-hatted Douchebaggery…

  27. theNuszAbides  •  Jun 28, 2012 @8:02 pm

    and i thought my misused-psychedelics/savagely-clean-living hypothesis dragged on…

  28. Jess  •  Jun 28, 2012 @8:06 pm

    Agreed – we should publish if we can find the proper channel. I too was conerned that I could not run the calculations for the Carreon Self-Entitlement and Ego dimensions through my computing model as it is giving me the error message:

    Error using ==> perfcurve>carreon at 424
    Unable to compute a performance curve for massive asshattery

    This is even after running the model on 100 terabytes using the latest Dell Hadoop storage and SPSS statistical data models.

    I can only state with certainty at this time that ferocity of Charles Carreon's hole digging has indeed reached the necessary escape velocity required to break free of the Earths gravitational pull.

  29. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @9:09 pm

    @Jess – you have superior hardware I think. I was just getting exponent overflows and not-a-number bounds-check events. Everything just goes negative or NAN when you get anywhere near CCs self-image using commodity gear.

  30. Robert White  •  Jun 28, 2012 @9:10 pm

    @theNuszAbides – The bit aint dead till the bill is paid… 8-)

  31. Ansley  •  Jun 28, 2012 @9:43 pm

    You people slay me.

  32. Jess  •  Jun 29, 2012 @3:27 pm

    Dan, Ansley – now we know why our teachers in high school and college kept telling us math and physics were both important and fun :-) And, it proves that there are certain anomalies like Carreon that cannot be explained despite the best application of logic. So perhaps a new definition is needed as follows:

    Carr-a•nom•a•ly
    n. adj.. Carr-a•nom•a•ly
    1. Reasoning that deviates or departs from the normal or common order, decency, form, or rule.
    2. One that is peculiar, irregular, abnormal, or difficult to classify: "He is a real Carranomaly, his argument makes no sense and his filing of meritless lawsuits has made his reputation as a douchebag."
    3. The standard deviation, as observed from the position of a rational person, of a Carreon case from any semblance of reality.

  33. Robert White  •  Jun 29, 2012 @4:28 pm

    There is no standard deviation, of if there is there aint just one involve, in a Carreon event.

    I would think it more likely that

    Carreon event limit:

    The asymptote disjunction value of an otherwise continuous function F which translated expected value (x axis), into likely effort (y axis), such that the graph approximates y=tan(x), where the unit increase in expected value takes the expected effort from +infinity to -infinity. Also known as the irrational freeloading threshold as sudden negative effort is not a rational expectation. This is the point where slapdash work of the least stable and competent sort is believed by the expending party to exhibit the greatest possible gain for unit effort.

    Diligent actors know to invest effort up to within one standard deviation of the Carreon limit, producing a positive expected value for a manageable expected effort, without producing irrational expectations.

    Usage: "Any something-for-nothing scheme, such as a 419 scam, is known to lie beyond the Carreon limit, and is a suckers bet by definition."

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