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The parable of the net

The parable of the net

Simon Woodside

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The parable of the net

The parable of the net

The nets people use to catch fish are a lot like the nets people use to catch information. A net is a big thing made of lines with lots of holes in it.

In fact, the more holes, the better the net. This is true for fish nets too. Each hole means that there's a space that's completely surrounded by lines. The more holes, the more lines, the more lines, the more spots that are criss-crossed by connections between different lines. Connections are strength, in a fish net, or in a network.

Each hole has a loop around the hole. Loops are special because if you cut the loop, you still have a line, which connects everyone together. The same thing is true for a fish net, if you cut a little bit of the net, you still have a net. You can cut a lot of little bits of a net and still catch fish. Networks work that way too.

Making a net bigger involves adding loops. It's more work to add loops to a net than just adding lines. You have to make lots of knots. Knots are also called nodes, which comes from the Latin, nodus, literally, knot. Every place that two lines cross in the net, you have to make a node. Nodes create interconnections. A net with lots of nodes is a strong net with lots of small holes.

You can make a bigger network out of two smaller networks by stitching them together along the edges. You connect the nodes together. "Inter" is Latin for "between" or "among". Each place where a node from one net is attached to a node from the other net, creates a point of interconnection. The more points that interconnect, the stronger the new net will be. This is an easy way to make the net bigger. A harder way is to add new loops to the edges. If you do that, you have to be careful to make a lot of knots between the loops, or else the edge will get stringy and the fish will get through.

People who fish know that a big interconnected net is much better than a bunch of small ones. Still, they make their own small nets first and then knot them together with good strong nodes.

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