All posts for the month May, 2004

Keep getting cross-search-hits with an organisation called s_t_o_r_m_f_r_o_n_t – no-link / disguised here to avoid linking / hits and providing the oxygen of publicity.

Dreadful mentality these people (evil anti-islam propaganda forum in the current world climate), but the common ground is the Aryan (Proto-Indo-European) cultural origins, and the Vedic / Sanskrit sources of Hindu / Bhuddist thinking. Innocent cross hits on the word “Viras”. Apparently Sanskrit for “man” – probably perfect man in the Sanskrit language of perfection sense – but hijacked for the “master race” rhetoric of this group. My Vedic interests crossed with a reference to Viras as one surname of Pallikari-Viras, authors of a 1991 paper on Quantum Non-Locality. How remote is that ?

Each to his own I guess, but boy, does the web need at least some useful ontology.
Discrimination (discernment) of the right kind.

Talking of which – Save the Great White Males concludes Eric Idle. [via Adam Curry][via Lisa Rein]

Informal Education – Been browsing the INFED site since I linked to their Argyris biography earlier.

As well as the site’s own collection of educational content, it is dedicated to promoting the idea of informal education & lifelong learning, and other resources on the subject of education and learning. It’s heavily based around a 1997 (2nd Ed 1999) eponymous book by the same authors as the site – and as such is at least partly promotional with respect to the book – Good though. Decidedly London centred – includes an informal educational walk around Soho, Covent Garden, Euston and Fitzrovia, focussing on YMCA and other societies set up over the centuries for the “betterment of youth” – Fascinating list of famous-name-dropping-by-association with the buildings en-route – many more than the blue-plaques reveal.

Has a good conversation and story-telling focus – which is (rightly) fashionable in this sector of the blogosphere. Can’t help thinking this is where Pirsig was with his informal education “Chautauqua” too.

When I posted the piece on Francisco Ayala a couple of weeks ago, I amost started with a flippant aside about a spooky coincidence with his name – but thought better of it when I saw how significant the guy’s work was.

Anyway the story was this. The name Ayala rang a bell, because about 5 years ago I was working in the Philipines, in a suburb of Manila called Ayala. The software I was setting up had a web server running in a third-party component and it was called Ayala, on the box I’d brought in from the UK. I thought, that’s nice, the supplier called the server after the customer’s location – how thoughful. Well no, the supplier in fact had no idea we were in Ayala, or that Manila had a suburb called Ayala, in fact neither did I until I was in the taxi from the hotel to the office. Apparently the supplier was in the habit of naming his web servers after wines, and Ayala was the name of one of his favourites. (Makes a change from Star-Wars characters I suppose.) Spooky.

That’s Not What I Meant. Dave Pollard via Anol’s Soul Soup. Someone in this blogosphere published something very similar over a year ago, may even have been Dave.

Fits very much with the Cynefin warning about what people “hear” being massively influenced by their existing “schemata”, and of course the two “laws” of Schank and Dennett below

It’s also the “send three and fourpence” syndrome. I call it shooting rabbits – once a misunderstood message gets out there, (for whatever reason it is mis-interpreted) correcting the situation is like shooting a whole herd (?) of rapidly breeding rabbits as they disperese away from you into the world – not very effective. Memes succeed because they are easy to understand from a current perspective, and because they are easy to pass on, not because they are in any sense right or true or otherwise “as-intended”.

Had another connection there, for a minute – damn, lost it … the Italian connection ? … Nicola Guarino … ah got it. His model is like an elaboration on Lakoff’s Conduit Metaphor. Messages look like they are passed from communicator to receiver, but in fact they pass thorugh many layers of filtering and distortion on the way, rather than through a simple conduit.

In fact in my original Manifesto I put it like this …

C.3 There are no facts, only interpretations of perceptions etc. of facts. Given humans in the loop the idea of facts being recorded or communicated becomes tenuous to say the least. You are brought back to interpretation of perception at every level from existence of fact, through observable phenomena, through formulation of model of observable facts, through formulation of decision or intent, through framing of message, through transmission of message, through observation of message phenomena on receipt, through model held by recipient, to interpretation and/or recording by recipient. Send three and fourpence is only the half of it !

And as if to prove my point – the prisoner abuse photos from Iraq may not have been the message the US Army and Government wanted to communicate (however true / false / distorted / exaggerated they might be in relation to the overall facts) – but once the genie is out of the bottle / the rabbits have run, the memes take over – they ARE the facts. Post on Salon, via Matt Mower this week.