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Doing it right, doing it wrong, & it could be your Sunday surprise

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a quick note about putting the mind through hoops, aka connecting dots ]
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For the record, the mind is not a phalanx but a swarm — IOW it gets creative when the links are leaps, not serried ranks.

So when your evidence board, memory jolt, graphical display looks like this (and it’s not the unavoidable dimness of the screen-grab I’m talking about):

wrong way to stir memories The Killing s3 e8 around 39 mins 2

the mind won’t see as many possibilities as when it’s more like this:

**

Randomize. Create uneven spaces between items. Shift items around. The idea here is to create fresh possibilities, not to look tidy.

I had a friend once who was an artist. His studio and his life were both disasters — and in his studio, in the middle of that life, he created dazzling, gorgeously colored and delicately graduated geometric patterns — as though he was a disorder organizer, and the more disorderly his input, the greater the precision of his output.

Think about that.

Here is what may be a diagrammatic version of what I’m saying, or maybe not, but which stirs my mind in any case, just thinking about it — from Ron Scroggin about a year ago, shared in John Kellden‘s Conversations on G+:

projectmixtape RC

**

Sources:

  • Evidence board, The Killing, series 3 episode 8
  • Al Qaida board, Manhunter
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: six

    Thursday, May 19th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the rich visual similarities between two diagrams from widely separated topic areas ]
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    I don’t think we always appreciate just how similar graph-based mappings are to one another — or why the HipBone-Sembl Games are therefore so closely analogous to so many other graph-based mappings of the world around us:

    ARPANET Washingmachine DQ tablet

    This particular pairing of images struck me today when Mike Walker tweeted it the Arpanet map in quoting a World Economic Forum post — and the memory it called up was another image I found, who knows where, quite a few years ago, of the workings of a washing machine.

    We really have two tips of the iceberg of a hugely pervasive language of node-and-edge-based graphs here.

    **

    Previous posts in this series:

  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: preliminaries
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: two dazzlers
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: three
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: four
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: five
  • Related posts, overlapping with those above:

  • Graph-types 1: sample graphs and boards
  • Graph-types 2: towards a universal graphical mapping language
  • I expect there’s more but that’s what a quick scan brought up.

    That a world-mapping should include our assumptions

    Friday, May 13th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Lorenz’ butterfly : tornado :: Fukushima’s rat : earthquake? + Brussles metro attack ]
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    Brussels map
    Brussels metro & tramway map

    **

    For every unintended consequence, there’s an assumption that was assumed and thus overlooked, forgotten, unfairly assigned to oblivion, amirite? Sometimes we’re fortunate, and a pattern emerges that can then be written into checklists, and repeat unintended consequences subsequently averted, if we heed the checklists, ahem.

    Consider this stunning paragraph, from a Union of concerned Scientists‘ 2013 piece titled Fission Stories #133: Mayflies, and Squirrels, and Rats, …:

    Fukushima Daiichi recently received worldwide media attention when another power outage once again interrupted cooling of the water in the Unit4 spent fuel pool for several hours. The culprits in 2011 were an earthquake that knocked out the normal supply of electricity to the cooling system and a tsunami that disabled the backup power source. This time, a rat was the culprit. It chewed through the insulation on an electrical cable, exposing wires that shorted out and stopped the cooling system. It was also the rat’s final meal as the event also electrocuted the guilty party.

    Part of what’s so conceptually audacious here is the implicit risk equation, okay, perhaps I should call it the implicit risk approximation:

    earthquake = rat

    **

    Take the Brussels metro attack: in my less-than-graphically-ideal mapping below, the left hand column shows what was intanded by the police to be the order of events as they initiated them in response to the airport attack a little earlier:

    01

    while the two centered annotations in red indicate the unverified assumption that interfered with the sequence of events as intended by the police, and the right hand column shows what actually transpired.

    Exceopt that the situation was wildly more complex than that — a point not germane to my argument here, but elaborated upon in today’s WaPo article, The email that was supposed to prevent the Brussels metro attack was sent to the wrong address. Which see.

    **

    Getting back to Fukushima, the earthquake and the rat, perhaps we can now take the title of Edward Lorenz‘ remarable paper that gave us the term “butterfly effect” — Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas? — out of the realm of speculation, and into the realm of improbable yet actualized comparables, by rephrasing it thus: Predictability: Does the Bite of a Rat’s Teeth in Fukushima Have Comparable Effect to an Earthquake in Fukushima?

    Oh, and just because something is predictable doesn’t mean it’s predicted — and just because something is predicted doesn’t mean the prediction will be heard or heeded.

    And that’s an anticipable consequence of the way we are.

    **

    In the matter of Quixote:

    I have this quixotic wish to see a map of global dependencies — it’s something I’ve thought about ever since Don Beck told me “Y2K is like a lightning bolt: when it strikes and lights up the sky, we will see the contours of our social systems” — and I’ve talked about it here before, in eg Mapping our interdependencies and vulnerabilities [with a glance at Y2K].

    It’s a windmill, agreed — a glorious windmill! — and indeed, combining all our potential assumptions about even one single Belgian metro station in the course of just one particular morning and adding them to a map — or a checklist — would be another.

    Tilting at windmills, however, is one of the great games of the imagination, frowned upon by all the righteously serious among us, well-suited to poets — and having the potential to help us avoid those damned unintended consequences.

    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:

    **

    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.

    **

    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..

    **

    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.

    **

    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.

    **

    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.


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