Friday, June 12, 2009

Analogue to Digital: Like IT or Not


Today’s the day.
TV signals: from analogue to digital..
Paradigm shift?

Analog transmission uses signals that
are exact replicas of a sound wave or
picture being transmitted…The term
"analog signal" came about because
the variations in the carrier waves are
similar, or analogous, to that of the
voice itself.

In digital transmission the signals are

converted into a binary code, which
consists of two elements—positive and

Positive is expressed as the number 1,
while non-positive is expressed as the
number 0.

Numbers that are expressed as a string
of 0s and 1s are called binary numbers.

In a standard code used by most computers,
the letter "A" is expressed in 8 bits as

Digital format is ideal for electronic

communication as the string of 1s and 0s
can be transmitted by a series of "on/off"
signals represented by pulses of electricity
or light. A pulse "on" can represent a 1,
and the lack of a pulse "off" can represent a 0.

Information in this form is very much easier
to store electronically. Furthermore, digital
transmission is usually faster and involves
less noise and disturbances as compared to
analog data transmission.

digital read-out....................... analogue read-out

Logic (1)......................... Analogic (0)

All men die............................... Grass dies
Socrates is a man..................... Men die
Socrates dies............................. Men are grass

IS................................................... LIKE (as-if)

Between (digital) Logic and Analogic: can you see the
difference? Tell the difference? See the relationship? Tell it?:

Scholarly GRADING is the same deal going on: Translating
by reducing a whole process (analogue) into a digital-logical
readout—easier to store & involving less noise and disturbances
as compared to analogical transmission. An essay reduced to
78, say—or 85 depending on the reducer.

Numbers don't cry.

Don’t you know if you passed one of your essays down the hall
among the department of English, you’d get a range of numbers.
I’d probably give it 100 because I’m easy. My more rigorous,
disciplined, discriminating and demanding colleagues: not so easy.

They could detect obvious or subtle differences that make a
difference to them, and you could get 71 from one, 73 from
another, 82 from still another.

But of course you can average the evaluations together, my 100
skewing the result—but never the less: you’d have your digital
logical grade

And if you want the grade for a course: average the numbers
(digits) from
and the various “weights” given each item and you end up with a
digital logical read out for the whole course.

(I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Same
with my courses: they don’t
tell any one what they don’t
already know.
Unveil, maybe. Revelation. Small apocalypse—
but nothing that wasn’t there already. )

Then stack the read-outs of all your courses and you
have your Grade Point Average— sometimes called a
QPA (quality point average)

A translation (or reduction, always something lost)
of analogue process to digital transmission. How else
record and store with a minimum of noise and
disturbance. Our educational lingua franca.
Standard transmission.

I can’t imagine a shift from digital to analogue grade
keeping. We call it our Necessary Evil. Evil, sure:
everybody knows that. And necessary.

My grade point average in college put me right
smack in the center of my graduating class. 1/2
of my classmates were smarter than me in measurable
and assess- mental terms: more successful in schoolery,
and 1/2 dumber— less successful in schoolery.

Man in the middle:
More ana-logician than digital-logician,
I confess.

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