June 2, 2010

I was thinking that the problem of making a copy of a copy of a copy had become a thing of the past because of digital files.

But that is not the case. Upload your file to YouTube, then download it, then upload it, then download it, etc. etc., and see what happens. After 775 ups and downs — I know, who has the time? — it looks like this:

23 comments:

C Black said...

This is what going up to the window in a government hospital will be like in 10 years... Thanks for getting me prepared.

Hunter McDaniel said...

The problem isn't 775 copies, but rather 775 cycles of lossy compression/decompression.

Imagine converting milk into powdered form and then reconstituting it with water. Repeat 775 times and then see what it tastes like.

C Black said...

@Hunter: 42 times is the magic mark for reconstituting milk. Don't ask me why.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you've ever got a lot of time to kill, try the same trick with WinZip and notice the difference.

Dave in Tucson said...

Transcoding is not copying.

They call it lossy for a reason.

D∈T

Palladian said...

There is no loss in the copy of digital files. There is loss, however, when you upload and download to YouTube because YouTube compresses and downsamples your files.

Oh wait, everyone else already said this...

The Crack Emcee said...

Two thoughts, the first from an art perspective;

That is so cool!

Second:

After I had figured out that my wife was in a cult, and had committed adultery, that's what happened to her face. I shit you not. It's like the muscles in her face had completely disengaged, started acting independently of each other, and she became a gargoyle. I was like, "Whoa, Honey, you need help." But, to this day, everyone seems to think it's me with the problem.

Nothing's ever been the same, for me, since.

Larry J said...

If they used a lossless compression algorithm, there wouldn't be much of a problem except perhaps some random bit dropouts. But like others have pointed out, a lossy algorithm throws away data with each iteration. The problem is that lossless algorithms don't compress as well so the file sizes would be considerably larger than with a lossy compression scheme.

rocketeer67 said...

42 times is the magic mark for reconstituting milk. Don't ask me why.

Technically, it's 6 x 9 times.

Moose said...

Bit rot, baby!!

Blue@9 said...

After I had figured out that my wife was in a cult, and had committed adultery, that's what happened to her face. I shit you not. It's like the muscles in her face had completely disengaged, started acting independently of each other, and she became a gargoyle. I was like, "Whoa, Honey, you need help." But, to this day, everyone seems to think it's me with the problem.

Nothing's ever been the same, for me, since.


Ha, best comment on Althouse, ever. You need write a short story or even a novel on this theme.

c3 said...

So at what point in the image transfer did he lose his soul?

C Black said...

@Crack: Post-Modern Impressionism, eh? That was actually my first impulse upon seeing this video as well (insert digital-degradation-of-the-human-spirit thesis here).

WV: fecubsta: That's what the video said.

The Crack Emcee said...

Blue@9,

Enjoy.

Kirk Parker said...

"If they used a lossless compression algorithm"

Whoa, stop right there. The reason nobody much uses lossless compression for A/V is that they don't compress worth a darn, for the simple reason that there isn't much exact redundancy to eliminate. Lossy compression lets you find "approximate" redundancy.

Lem said...

Careful with the volume.

jamboree said...

Well why wouldn't you keep uploading/copying the original file? You don't keep putting things through compression, duh. Not the same thing at all.

BrianE said...

In "Multiplicity", it only took Doug three copies to notice the same thing.

ontologist said...

I did 1000 of them. I mean, the extra 250 aren't that different, but still it's a rounder number:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qKz5YW5J-U

Jeffrey said...

Honestly, this is a step up from the 'government hospitals' that currently exist. LA County Hospital is a nightmare, especially because people use the emergency room for problems that could be better taken care of by preventative care, as health care reform will hopefully start moving towards.

Buzz said...

Cheaper than drugs.

Kev said...

Wow--by the time you get to #1000, the audio just sounds like someone repeatedly vomiting.

Cheaper than drugs.

That was my thought upon watching the video portion of some of the later ones: "I wonder if that's what a bad acid trip was like."

wv: partner. First time I've gotten a real word, I think.

Andrew said...

terrifying