Computer annals: Reyes Korzybski and the avalanche of spam

The latest affliction in my technological life: an avalanche of comments spam on this blog, thousands a day, almost all of it from the same commercial site (which I will not, of course, reveal here). Each with a perky message or query, each labeled as from a named person — the names fairly obviously created by random choice from a giant database of personal names and surnames. I only notice the names that happen to be at the top of the spam file, but they’re often entertaining. This morning’s treasure is Reyes Korzybski, obviously an eccentric but regal Pole from the rocky shores of Marin County CA.

Korzybski first, from Wikipedia:

Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski (July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950) was a Polish-American independent scholar who developed a field called general semantics, which he viewed as both distinct from, and more encompassing than, the field of semantics. He argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain’s responses to reality. His best known dictum is “The map is not the territory”.

Then there’s the Spanish name Reyes ‘kings’. A fairly common surname, but also in the placename Point Reyes. From Wikipedia:

(#1) A map of the territory

Point Reyes is a prominent cape and popular Northern California tourist destination on the Pacific coast. It is located in Marin County approximately 30 miles (50 km) west-northwest of San Francisco. The term is often applied to the Point Reyes Peninsula, the region bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast. The headland is protected as part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

The headland of the peninsula:


[Addendum 3/1/18: The plague of comments spam vanished as quickly as it had appeared, a couple days ago. The ways of the net are mysterious.]

One Response to “Computer annals: Reyes Korzybski and the avalanche of spam”

  1. Joe Fineman Says:

    I was a disciple of Count Korzybski at the age of about 11. I still have my copy of _Science and Sanity_.

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