Wednesday, March 16, 2005


The better to read your emails, my dear ...

Who says government doesn't know how to invest money as well as the private sector? Oh, they mean only in those sectors that actually might be of benefit to the public, such as pharmaceuticals and alternative energy. The CIA, however, has an "investment arm" that knows how to invest.

According to Noah Schachtman of the NY Times,

Attensity, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and financed in part by In-Q-Tel, the C.I.A.'s investment arm, has developed a method to parse electronic documents almost instantly, and diagram all of the sentences inside. ("Moby-Dick," for instance, took all of nine and a half seconds.) By labeling subjects and verbs and other parts of speech, Attensity's software gives the documents a definable structure, a way to fit into a database. And that helps turn day-to-day chatter into information that is relevant and usable.

The company is "using the technique to comb through e-mail messages and chat room talks, which can be a rich lode of corporate and government information, and a tough one to mine."

The CIA is also investing in two other firms—Inxight Software and Intelliseek.

Inxight Software, of Sunnyvale, Calif. ... produces software that turns grammatical relationships into mathematical formulas, allowing it to parse documents in 31 languages. Intelliseek, of Cincinnati, plucks entities -- proper names and places -- from blog entries as a way to categorize them. The company's software will also characterize a document as positive or negative based on the words it contains.

Reading blogs for negativity should be a piece of cake. Thank goodness, we have only positive things to say here at Simply Appalling.

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