We th ppl f th US (Compressing the US Constitution)
April 7, 2005
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As promised, a quick test of compressing the US Constitution to compare it to the compression rates seen by Jean Véronis for the European constitution.
It’s interesting to note that the compression ratio went down with the addition of the Bill of Rights. Not surprisingly, the other amendments have the biggest compression ratio There are a number of copies of “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” in the later amendments–I’ve never understood why some amendments have this proviso, and others don’t.
In any case, even at its highest ratio (indicating the most redundant text), the US constitution does well in contrast to the European constitution. And taking the original constitutions head-to-head? No contest: 65% vs. 75%.
Of course, take this with a grain of salt. Compression was done using gzip. By the way, Jean Véronis’s text compression (for his post in French) is 52%. Apparently, he’s a good writer.