3

Firstly, sorry if this is a very specific question.

I am trying to translate A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace and I stuck at this phrase "bit-bearing":

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Unfortunately I couldn't find anything using Google but one similar question at this site. From the answer in at the link, I assume it means “media which uphold or to some extent control the way the bits operates”.

Thanks!

  • 1
    My first instinct is to say that it means guided by a bit and reins, like a horse. – Anonym Jan 29 '15 at 19:02
  • 3
    Cyberspace is all about computers and computes think in bits. These bits (i.e., information) will soon be arriving in all types of media and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent this information from leaking in no matter how hard you try to prevent it. – Jim Jan 29 '15 at 19:17
  • Interesting -- A professional programmer and computer engineer for over 40 years and I never heard that idiom before. – Hot Licks Jan 30 '15 at 3:35
  • (In the US, at least, it would normally have been "... will soon be blanketed in digital media.") – Hot Licks Jan 30 '15 at 4:09
  • (But, given that this is an excerpt from a longer treatise on the topic, I'm guessing that the author had worn out "digital media" and was looking for a "fresh" term.) – Hot Licks Jan 30 '15 at 19:16
4

In my dialect of English this would refer to media that is predominantly digital (bit-bearing) as opposed to predominantly printed.

  • 3
    I've no doubt that's what the writer meant, but in my dialect of English it sounds really daft. Would anyone describe printed material (books, magazines, etc.) as letter-, word-, or ink-bearing media? Or pre-digital films as celluloid-bearing? – FumbleFingers Jan 29 '15 at 20:04
  • @Fumble The digital small press is the bitty media then, eh :) – tchrist Jan 29 '15 at 20:18
  • @tchrist: Indeed - those small independents would be the ones the global players routinely take [shark-]byte-sized chunks out of. – FumbleFingers Jan 29 '15 at 20:37
  • @Fumblefingers; your examples of letters and ink are apt, but the "celluloid" one is backwards, the celluloid bears the images; it is more analogous to paper. Movies were previously "celluloid-borne". – Brian Hitchcock Jan 31 '15 at 13:52
  • @Brian: I guess you're right - I was carelessly thinking along the lines of the magnetic coating on the polymer base of an audio tape (which in principle could be called magnet-bearing media, except in practice it's not). – FumbleFingers Jan 31 '15 at 14:04
2

Bit-bearing in this context means bit-carrying. The media is digital—that is it carries information in the form of bits (Binary digITS - 1s and 0s).

Similar expressions: a water-bearing river, gold-bearing rock.

  • But it "bit-bearing" is a rather odd and obscure stand-in for "digital". – Hot Licks Jan 30 '15 at 4:11
  • I take it as an attempt to be somewhat literary. – Paul Senzee Jan 30 '15 at 4:13
  • I take it to be more illiterary. – Hot Licks Jan 30 '15 at 4:15
  • Maybe — it doesn't sound that strange to me, although semantically, I'd think a better rendering would be media-bearing bits—because bits carry the information, the information doesn't carry the bits. The wires, however, really do carry the bits. – Paul Senzee Jan 30 '15 at 19:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.