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Graph-types 2: towards a universal graphical mapping language

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — for background, see Graph-types 1: sample graphs and boards ]

The world is full of all sorts of wondrous things, and we can map and model many if not all of them. Here are some examples of the kinds of maps I’d like to see integrated in the One Big One. For a fun first instance, here’s a dynamic model of the functioning of a washing machine:

Washing machine 600

If you’re figuring out how to map the world, of course, you may think first of economic stocks and flows in a Forrester-style model, like this diagram for a model of housing market cycles:

:Housing development stocks and flows 600

There are a whole lot of different modeling conventions of this sort. One of my own devsing has to do with choice — and in this instance, with the meanings that can be given to the words “let’s play”:

ChoiceBach diagram

There are PERT Charts, which allow one to plan the sequencing of various “streams” of actions to arrive optimally at a given end-point:

PERT 600

There are Markov chains for probabilistic inference:

Marjov chain

And then there are those subatomic Feynman diagrams I mentioned in a recent post. I believe this one is the first published Feynman diagram, and you can find it on an Edward Tufte page that’s worth taking a look at in its own right:


For those of you who may be interested, I’m attaching here an earlier attempt to corral such things which I originally wrote as part of a 159-page documentation of my HipBone games for Amos Davidowitz of the Institute of World Affairs in DC:

Variety of Concept Mapping diagrams


The world-system in actuality “answers” in some way to each of the types of model I’ve illustrated above — and then some! — which leads me to believe that some sort of grand map or model should in principle be devisable which would incorporate them all — in principle, though not perhaps, or not yet, in practice.

That’s my idea — I hope it will stimulate msome quirky thoughts, questions, insights..

See, “node and edge” graphs are everywhere, and I’ve discussed several more of them in a series of posts titled On the felicities of graph-based game-board design which you may want to look at: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

And hey — the human brain, too, is a node and edge affair, so it may not be too surprising that my casual reading roundup this morning pointed me to this image of a real-world object called a Stentrode:

Stentrode 600

That’s from a DARPA page titled Minimally Invasive “Stentrode” Shows Potential as Neural Interface for Brain, and it’s a device designed by a team in Melbourne that can be slipped into the brain via the blood-stream, providing “a brain-machine interface that taps into your motor cortex through a relatively simple operation” allowing a patient to “directly steer an exoskeleton or artificial limb through thoughts alone”.

Like the brain that devised it, it is a physical edge and node graph — and so-o-o brautiful.

I am in awe.

Graph-types 1: sample graphs and boards

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — background reading for the post which follows ]

This is a quick look at node and edge graphs and some of the boards used in HipBone, DoubleQuote, and Sembl Games — a refresher for those who already know, and a quick intro for those who may not…


Above, you’ll see two graphs — one very simple and one far more complex. What they have in common is points (known as nodes) and lines connecting them (known as edges). Graphs of this kind are instances of the basic pattern on which much of contemporary understanding of the world rests, as it mostly rested on linear thinking in previous centuries. They are everywhere.


In the next image, however, we see some medieval and renaissance instances of graphs in which concepts and their relations have been assigned to the nodes and their edges — these are also commonly found today, but the early versions here have a beauty all their own..


Left to right: the Sephirotic Tree of classical Jewish Kabbalah; Oronce Fine‘s diagram of the four elements; and a medieval respresentation of the Christian Trinity. It was the Reformation & Counter-Reformation that really put a stop to this kind of graphical thinking, as Ioan Couliano teaches us.


Finally, my HipBone Games and the Museum Game that Cath Styles designed for the National Museum of Australia use graphs as their boards, and the players assign concepts to the various nodes, establishing conceptual links between them:

Game boards

Upper left, th4 standard WaterBird board for HipBone play; upper right, one of Cath’s boards for the Museum Game; lower left, the DoubleQuotes board, and lower right, a beautiful graph on which I hoped gto play a symphonic Bead Game.


That’s the essential background you need to proceed to the next post, Graph-types 2: towards a universal graphical mapping language, where I lay out my hopeful, hopeless scheme for a Grand Unified Map. Onwards.

McCain: This question isn’t about our enemies, it’s about us

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Sen. McCain on waterboarding / torture ]

Having only a superficial glimpse of the depth of experience from which John McCain speaks, I find this statement to be grounded, moving, and — if it were necessary — persuasive:

I’ve plucked what I believe to be the key insight from this video clip, and placed it as the title to this post.

Comparative martyr photos for Ibn Siqilli

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Muslim and Sikh memorial photos have similar aesthetic & emotional appeal ]

I’ve long been interested in the death photos used in AQ and IS propaganda, several of which Chris Anzalone [aka Ibn Siqilli] has documented, eg:

Al-Zubayr al-Sudani, as featured in the AQC-produced video series “Wind of Paradise


The late Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan leader, Baytullah Mehsud.


Today, I ran across similar images from a site devoted to the Khalistan (Sikh homeland) liberation movement

Sikh martyrs

As far as I can tell, being linguistically and historically challenged, the gentleman on the right would be Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala — perhaps someone can help me identify the gentleman on the left.

On myth, magic, rare canned meats, and mathematics

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a tale of Guru Nanak — & the things you can buy on Amazon these days ]

Painting by PM Wylam of Guru Nanak Dev Ji as a young boy

It is said that in his schooldays, young Nanak who, as Guru Nanak, would go on to found the Sikh religion was in math class when the numbers one, two, three and so forth fourth were explained, and objected when the teacher began to talk about two, on the grounds that he hadn’t yet fully grapsped the number one.



Putting that another way, the number one is at least as fascinating in its own possibities as it is with the series of integers that follows it — you may recall my earlier discussions of one and its possible opposites in earlier posts:



Here the conversation takes a completely different turn..

It’s in the spirit of that kind of mythematical — or perhaps better in this case, mathemagical — thinking that I offer this equation:

Unicorn plus dragon meat

I’m inclined to think they’d somehow cancel, or at the very least balance, each other out. I wonder whether Amazon has an algorithm that knows that, yet.

Really, I had no idea one could buy dragon’s meat in a can, nor that of unicorns.


I found out about canned unicorn and dragon while while reading up on Tactical Bacon in a spell of NSFW research on the Malheur business:

tactical bacon

Oy, the world we live in.

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