The Enemy is Noise

In information parlance, the enemy is “noise”–a perfect word for all the random interferences with what man or nature is trying to say. Noise is the typographical error and the poorly designed page and the caption that doesn’t quite explain what’s happening in the picture. Noise is handwriting that’s hard to read. Noise is distortion on the TV screen. Noise is the lapse of memory, the slip of the tongue, the wrong neuron fired by the brain–anything that brings disorder to the intended order of a message.

— William Zinsser in Writing to Learn, first published in 1988

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