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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

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412

§38

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third-person, explaining the bug that conflated the two David Wallaces in the IRS' systems

Foster Wallace, D. (2012). §38. In Foster Wallace, D. The Pale King. Penguin, pp. 412-416

416

[...] 'ghost conflation' problem for employees with identical names had been recognized as early as December 1984--thanks mainly to a hideous mess involving two separate Mary A. Taylors at the Southeast Regional Service Center in Atlanta--and Technical Branch programmers were already in the process of inserting a BLOCK and RESET sub-subroutine that overrode the GO TO subroutine for the thirty-two most common surnames in the United States: viz., Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, & c. But Wallace was, according to 1980 US Census figures, only the 104th most common American surname, way down the list between Sullivan and Cole; and any override of GO TO that countenanced more than thirty-two surnames ran a statistically significant risk of reintroducing the original 'ghost redundancy' problem. In short, the name David F. Wallace fell in that statistical middle area where the original debugging's consequent 'ghost conflation' bug could still cause significant problems and woe, especially for any employee too new to understand why or whence these accusations of everything from contractual fraud and 'impersonation of an immersive' [...]

amazing example of yak-shaving a problem from bad to worse. the implied personal swing at the very end is great

footnote 7 below is just the cherry on top: "Now you can probably see why this occasional 'author' appositive thing is sometimes necessary; it turned out that there were two separate David Wallaces posted at the Midwest REC, of whom the one who ended up accused of impersonation was guess who."

—p.416 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] 'ghost conflation' problem for employees with identical names had been recognized as early as December 1984--thanks mainly to a hideous mess involving two separate Mary A. Taylors at the Southeast Regional Service Center in Atlanta--and Technical Branch programmers were already in the process of inserting a BLOCK and RESET sub-subroutine that overrode the GO TO subroutine for the thirty-two most common surnames in the United States: viz., Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, & c. But Wallace was, according to 1980 US Census figures, only the 104th most common American surname, way down the list between Sullivan and Cole; and any override of GO TO that countenanced more than thirty-two surnames ran a statistically significant risk of reintroducing the original 'ghost redundancy' problem. In short, the name David F. Wallace fell in that statistical middle area where the original debugging's consequent 'ghost conflation' bug could still cause significant problems and woe, especially for any employee too new to understand why or whence these accusations of everything from contractual fraud and 'impersonation of an immersive' [...]

amazing example of yak-shaving a problem from bad to worse. the implied personal swing at the very end is great

footnote 7 below is just the cherry on top: "Now you can probably see why this occasional 'author' appositive thing is sometimes necessary; it turned out that there were two separate David Wallaces posted at the Midwest REC, of whom the one who ended up accused of impersonation was guess who."

—p.416 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 2 months ago