Today’s Phrase That Improbably Has Up To This Point Turned Up Nothing On Google

“Defense Against Snark Arts”.

Come on, Harry Potter fans. It was right there in front of you this whole time.

I cast the Disappointus Majorus spell upon the lot of you!

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

42 replies on “Today’s Phrase That Improbably Has Up To This Point Turned Up Nothing On Google”

I know for sure I’ve heard the phrase “The Snark Arts” before, though possibly from Buffy fans rather than Potter fans. Not sure why it’s not on the googs.

Our Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Un is very displeased that you have disclosed his top secret missile launch code! We will re-target our missiles as soon as we find Iowa on our inflatable globe. I must now go and blow up the world…globe.

As a practitioner of the Snark Arts I object most strongly to the very idea of a defence against them. A class in teaching their use, however, I very much favour; it’s so dull to attempt to duel against unarmed opponents. One starts off thinking they *are* armed, and then one is enlightened otherwise, and it becomes bullying from that point.

‘Look at this list,’ said Harry. ‘Thimbles, forks, a railway-share and soap… do they even sell thimbles in Diagon Alley?’
‘I know, isn’t it thrilling,’ replied Hermione. ‘Using normal, everyday objects to defeat your enemies! Thingumbobomancy is a very complicated and pointless discipline. I can’t wait to start.’
Ron looked at her darkly. ‘Yeah, sure, that’s what it is. And not that this Professor Boojum is just another in a long line of sodding nutters.’

“When Spells are diffused from one person to another, it can be modeled the same way as experts model advertising with word of mouth communication,” said Feynman.

“We consider now scenarios where λ /∈ [λi(q), λs(q)] and the initial set of adopters grows linearly with the total population n,” explained Olga. “More precisely, consider now a firm advertising to a group of consumers, who share product information among themselves: potential buyers are not aware of the existence of the product and the firm undertakes costly informative advertising. The firm chooses the fraction of individuals who receive advertisements. Individuals are located in a social network modeled by a random network G(n, d) with given vertex degrees as in previous section.

However contrary to most work on viral marketing, we assume that the advertiser has limited knowledge about the network: the firm only knows the proportions of individuals having different degrees in the social network. One possibility for the firm is to sample individuals randomly and to decide the costly advertising for this individual based on her degree (i.e. her number of neighbors). The action of the firm is then encoded in a vector α = (αd), where αd represents the fraction of individuals with degree d which are directly targeted by the firm.”

“These individuals will constitute the seed and we call them the early adopters. Note that the case αd = α for all d corresponds to a case where the firm samples individuals uniformly. This might be one possibility if it is unable to observe their degrees. In order to optimize its strategy, the firm needs to compute the expected payoff of its marketing strategy as a function of α. Our results allows to estimate this function in terms of α and the degree distribution in the social

“From the viewpoint of consumers making the decision?” I said.

“We assume that a buyer might buy either if she receives advertisement from the firm or if she receives information via word of mouth communication,” said Olga. “More precisely, we consider the following general model for the diffusion of information: a buyer obtains information as soon as one of her neighbors buys the product but she decides to buy the product when Bi(k, π) > K(s) where s is her number of neighbors and k the number of neighbors having the product, Bi(k, π) is a Binomial random variable with parameters k and π ∈ [0, 1] and K(s) is a general random variable. In words, π is the probability that a particular neighbor does influence the possible buyer. This possible buyer does actually buy when the number of influential neighbors having bought the product exceeds a threshold K(s). Thus, the thresholds K(s) represent the different propensity of nodes to buy the new product when their neighbors do.

The fact that these are possibly randomly selected is intended to model our lack of knowledge of their values and a possibly heterogeneous population. Note that for K(s) = 0 and π ∈ [0, 1], our model of diffusion is exactly a contact process with probability of contagion between neighbors.”

“Contagion,” said Feynman, “also in the sense of the Law of Contagion in MagicoPhysics, due to entanglement.”

When I was young I discovered (amidst stressful circumstances, which is how most such discoveries take place) that I had a knack. Later on I cultivated the knack and the knack took on shape and definition and came to a point. My knack is still with me and has, if anything, increased; which is why I can state without demur that, for a Defense against the Snark Arts to be possible, one must have a thorough grounding in the Snark Arts first.

Thank you for your time.

MemePoint: The point in time where a meme came into existence. “The memepoint for Scalzi’s ‘Defense Against Snark Arts’ ([a] Phrase That Improbably Has Up To This Point Turned Up Nothing On Google) was 2014-12-08T14:46:02+00:00.”

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