Monday, May 07, 2007

Through a glass, darkly, transcription, dissection, analysis

1 Corinthians 13-6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth

In photography compression algorithms are used to reduce image file sizes. The JPEG is the most popular example of this mathematic wizardry.
In government, a similar process is used, known as "the minutes". A record, a snap-shot of the governmental meeting, is taken by the on-site stenographer, and this written, compressed distillation is made available to the public.
The JPEG is known as a lossy compression method. Some of the image data present in the original photograph goes by the wayside when the the file is reduced in size.
Images are strong, they bear up to high compression ratios with much of their original impact intact.

The same can not be said for thoughts and words. I can not offer an average ratio for the compression imposed to the minutes of our legislative and judicial bodies. But I did the math on one speaker before City Council in March and found a compression ratio of 28:1.

Woolen Mills neighbors are currently appealing the "accidental" removal of protective zoning from a seven acre historic site in their neighborhood. The removal of this historic designation took only the figurative "slip of a pen" by the City, a mistake was made.
In contrast, the appeal process is rigorous and exhausting for everyone involved.
The appeal process is reflected to the public at large via print media, radio, and the "minutes" that will ultimately emerge.
Thank God and Mr. Jefferson for the free press.
But many of the ideas expressed, many of the statements and misstatements made, will be lost in compression.
For those who have an interest in the unfiltered process, a transcription of the public hearing on the "taking by typo" and BZA discussion is available here.

What is the remedy for institutional mistakes?



Blogger PeeWee said...

Read the RAW data. Don't get your knickers in a twist, yet. On a different issue, how do you manage to post these really big pictures? Does the size of posted pics depend on the original entered data or is it a blogger tweeking excercise?


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