reCAPTCHA, repeat and recount

     
 
image: pexel
1.
In this garden,
You're irreplaceable:
With you, I'm thankful.
Without you, I'm thankfully missing you.

Either way, I'm taking the flower.

2.
Couple of days ago, Ben wrote a thought about reCAPTCHA.

The idea is this: Google Books scans using OCR. But OCR is still an imperfect technology. So sometimes it reads something but isn't sure about it.
Book Prints OCR Reads
from fnom
and amd

So Google uses RECAPTCHA for human eyes to verify the words. Every time we enter reCAPTCHA, we're helping Google verify its OCR scans.

3.
I wondered,  "How does reCAPTCHA know that our verification is correct? How does it know that we're not just fnoming around?"

Two ways:

One: Two-word verification
reCAPTCHA comes with two words. One word is verified by the system. And the other word is the word that the OCR isn't sure about.

Two: Algorithms.
If a lot of people enter the same word verification, then it's likely that it's a correct reading.

But, goddamn irrepressible curiosity, that made my head explode with crowdsourcing math.

4.
How many people do you need to amass the credible opinion that their reCAPTCHA entry is correct? How many votes does the engine need to gather to finally concede with the anonymous entrees claiming that the word reads "from" not "fnom"?

The answer:
"reCAPTCHA takes only 10 seconds to solve. There are 200 MILLION  reCAPTCHAs getting solved every day. A problem that would take 50'000 hours gets solved in a day."

5.
That last factoid closed the nagging questions that Ben triggered a week ago. And it came through a book that bored me to death.

It's not a bad book, mind. But after reading "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow" and "Willpower Instinct",  the current book I'm reading, "The Organised Mind", felt repetitive. I GET IT!

But even repetition has its values. The book offered insight on how many people solve reCAPTCHA

Without breaking my flow to google the answer, it came to me through force of habit. That's one less nagging question obstructing my flow. So I took it as a flower from the Universe. A tip that I'm doing the right thing even though I've read the same book a million times.

6.
Yesterday, I asked for a flower.

I felt shitty all morning. The book isn't coming out. The story isn't working out. The trip is debilitating the rest of my mental capacity. I wasn't just hysterical, I was a hysterical failure.

So I yelled. I asked for a sign, a flower, a friend. I was desperate, so I didn't care where it came from. I didn't care who brought it in. I was losing my mind and I needed help. And dared asking for it.

It came.

It came in volumes. In this auditorial hell of a village, help arrived. It arrived in metta and conversations. It came in naps and stories. It kept pouring in until I went to bed. And I kept pouring out with gratitude. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Hamdillah. You are a Godsend.

7.
This morning, I did my accounting.

You know what I do in real life? I listen.

I listen to stories and try to reframe them in a gentler another format. My main tools of creation are basically mouth and keyboard. I read and talk and write. That's it. All day. Every day. With all the tangible gifts and wealth and books I got, my results are mainly intangible. No thousands of followers. No millions of riyals. Not even an ISBN number to tag on my gajillion of words.

The accounting doesn't seem to add up.

Nevertheless, when I got stuck and hopeless, I was showered with help and love. So much love and hope that I managed to practice my asanas for another day. I managed to reopen that story I've been struggling with for another week. So much love and aid that I had to tell you about it.
(وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ)

I can't tell you the numbers. But I can show you how it works. How it has and will always work.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
You do it all day, every day. You don't worry about results or recognition. You don't worry about past or future. If you're really into your work, in flow with your work, you really won't care. It isn't work if you love it, right?

If the Universe would help me, someone whose main output are just words, then how could the Universe not aid you? How many people have you met with kindness today? How many tasks have you crossed out? How much temptation have you averted? With all that work, how could the Universe not notice and take into you into its account?

Your work, your service on Earth, is your heart reaching God with your hands, thoughts and words.

And when you get stuck, He will come. And when He comes, you don't ask questions. In God's presence, you don't ask questions. You only say, Hamdillah.

((َمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِشُ بِهَا وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا وَإِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ وَلَئِنِ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لَأُعِيذَنَّهُ وَمَا تَرَدَّدْتُ عَنْ شَيْءٍ أَنَا فَاعِلُهُ تَرَدُّدِي عَنْ نَفْسِ الْمُؤْمِنِ يَكْرَهُ الْمَوْتَ وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ مَسَاءَتَهُ ))
(صحيح البخاري)
 
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