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Watch out, or the DoubleTweets will get you

Friday, April 8th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Hillary Clinton hoist as the contrapuntal mind springs into action ]
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Hilary Clinton recently tweeted:

That was March 26th this year.

I have a certain fondness for the Medici, who sponsored the Platonic Academy under Marsilio Ficino, and more or less gave us the Florentine Renaissance, and for Paul and Mary Conover Mellon, who sponsored the magnificant Bollingen Series of books, starting with Where the Two Came to Their Father: A Navaho War Ceremonial, Joseph Campbell‘s collaboration with Jeff King and Maud Oakes..

But then I’m also highly appreciative of St Francis, the poverello of Assisi.. go figure.

Thing is, Bernie Sanders had tweeted pretty much the same thing just a week earlier:

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But hey, wait a minute, Hilary had also tweeted in June of 2015:

— so now who has the “first mover” advantage? — plus she had graphics!

— and hold on, even that tweet drew an almost immediate tweet-back in refutation:

— from the redoubtable Marc Andreessen, no less.

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Nor are those the only ways those tweets of hers can bounce back on the Clinton campaign. Here’s another:

I suspect, btw, Xavier Perez swiped that from Kevin Tulppo on Facebook a couple of days before..

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I’m not really much of a political animal — feeling powerfully drawn to Justin Erik Halldór Smith‘s remark today

some questions have complicated histories and there might be no right side to take

— but in this entire by turns provocative, hilarious, sad, infuriating, and by now deeply fatiguing campaign season thus far, there has only been one image giving me a sense of quiet delight in one of the candidates..

Bernie Sanders reads Rimbaud

On the left, Bernie Sanders as a far younger man — I can vaguely recall being a far younger man myself — and on the right, the book he was about to read, or had just been reading..

Rimbaud, poetry. Ah, youth.

DoubleQuoting Trumps and Cruzes

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — various angles on graphical thinking in two Republican presidential campaigns ]
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To start with, here is presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeting a humorous, tasteless and wildly unfair DoubleQuote in the Wild against his rival for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz — evidence for the pervasiveness and persuasiveness of this mode of thinking & linking, if any such were needed:

The tweet comes from Trump’s verified Twitter account, and might as well feature the words, “I’m Donald Trump, and I approve this message”. Ugly, and thus sad.

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Once you get me started DoubleQuoting Trump and Cruz, though, it’ll be hard to rein me in.

The Trump logo below was, I believe created for a graphic design contest unaffiliated with the Trump Campaign, but has since been tweeted at least once by the verified “Real Donald Trump” account, while the cruz logo is undoubtedoy official.

trump cruz logos

Both, you’ll note, feature the American flag and a lone star, though Trump is triumphantly New Yorkan, while Cruz is junior senator for the Lone Star State.

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While some have compared the Cruz logo with such secular analogs as the Al Jazeera logo and the Onion‘s onion, the Washington Post comes closer to the point, trumping them with a variety of pentacostal-themed logos

cruz logos secular sacred

— a matter of some significance given Ted Cruz’s anointing to a kingship role within his father’s “Seven Mountains” pentecostal faith tradition.

And Donald Trump? Here the hair is significant, and Trump himself seems to have a good-humored attitude, as evidenced by the upper panel below. If this seems superficial, however, the lower panel demonstrates beyond question that Trump follows the Golden Mean —

trump toupee golden

— though whether the emphasis is placed on “golden” or “mean” would seem to be a matter of personal and political preference.

Reversals and blowbacks

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — cf. boustrophedon, enantiodromia, ouroboros, paradox, unintended consequences ]
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I have had this graphic around for a while:

reverse arrow

As you can see, I originally intended it to accompany a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

— but it can actually serve a more general purpose than that — the basic “opposing arrows” graphic can be used to cover all sorts of situations in which a push in one direction results in movement in another. In the OW Holmes example, the two opposed pushes occur within the same person — we are bidden to protect that which we despise.

Here, though, is an instance in which what seems a laudable action on the part of the authorities has a counter-productive result:

No longer a movement that concentrates its brutality on the Nigerian government, [Boko Haram] now attacks mainly civilians, using women and child suicide bombers as its primary weapons of war. The reasons why the group has changed tactics, however, and the complex motives for why women and children have become the weapons of choice, needs to move beyond the fallback narrative of victimhood if attempts to end the unthinkable are to succeed [my emphasis].

That’s essentially the “we learn, they learn” dynamic that’s present in all insurgency-counterinsurgency situations, no? It’s the basis of escalation — it’s what Hermann Kahn‘s Ladder was all about — it’s a bidding war.

But I want to capture it in its most basic moment, when something pulls its opposite into place. The Taoists expressed the same idea very gracefully —

tai chi

— but maybe that’s just a little too graceful — I’m looking for something just a bit more abrupt, with a more overt sense of tension.

So you may be seeing more of my reverse arropw / blowback diagram:

reverse arrow oops

Oops!! It’s often, though by no means always, a sign of folly.

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 ]
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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:

Feynman_AmericanScientist

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

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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 ]
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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…

graphs

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.

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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..

3-ancient-bds2

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.

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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.

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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.


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