Further results

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I fitted extremal Levy stable distributions to the paragraph lengths in a fairly random set of texts. Will explain method more fully in a future entry, for now here are results.

The number listed is the "alpha" parameter, which according to Mandelbrot may also be considered a fractal dimension. There is something of a qualitative difference between alpha < 1.0 and alpha > 1: brownian motion with alpha < 1 forms a fractal dust whereas brownian motion with alpha > 1 is more line-like, and there are certain mathematical hiccups at alpha = 1.

Of the people listed, Temple Grandin and Michelle Dawson have been diagnosed as autistic. It is also possible for high functioning autistic people to go undiagnosed. There is speculation, for example, Thomas Jefferson was autistic. One may suspect there are quite a few such people.

One final thing to note: aside from considerations of who is autistic and who not, authors tend to have a more or less consistent alpha value across works. I am at the very least measuring some quality of the authors, as opposed to some quality of individual works.


 1.44 mark twain           huckleberry finn
 1.49 mark twain           yankee in king arthurs
 1.52 charles dickens      christmas carol
 1.54 charles dickens      two cities
 1.54 jane austen          pride and prejudice
 1.57 lewis carol          alice
 1.59 charles dickens      oliver twist
 1.62 jane austen          emma
 1.69 jane austen          sense and sensibility
 1.76 lewis carol          looking glass
 1.76 lewis carol          sylvie
 1.91 cory doctorow        craphound
 1.97 paul harrison        overclocking
 2.00 charles darwin       origin of species
 2.00 cory doctorow        down and out
 2.00 cory doctorow        drm talk
 2.00 cory doctorow        return to pleasure island
 2.00 cory doctorow        the super man and the bugout
 2.00 g k chesterton       all things considered
 2.00 margaret mitchell    gone with the wind
 2.00 michelle dawson      misbehaviour of behaviourists
 2.00 michelle dawson      no autistics allowed
 2.00 paul harrison        finity
 2.00 richard stalmann     should be free
 2.00 temple grandin       inside view
 2.00 temple grandin       my experiences
 2.00 temple grandin       thinking in pictures
 2.00 thomas jefferson     state of the union

(revised (again) 18 January 2005. Improved estimation method, hopefully more accurate. Estimation of parameters is a tricky problem.)





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