Mentioned in Dispatches

Mentioned in Dispatches
Quote from my 1998 Paper in response by NASA (!) to FAQ on the importance of exploiting information standards …

“Taking a step forward with FLAIR (Foster Wheeler Lifecycle Asset Information Architecture — [Standard Information Model])”, arguing that information management is more important than information technology, Ian Glendinning of Foster Wheeler describes the progress being made towards putting [Standard Information Modelling] into practice in the process industries:

At last year’s [1997] UK Process Industry IT Strategy Conference, organised by IChemE and PRIMA, several speakers referred to the success of IT in many service and manufacturing industries and contrasted this with the failure of billions of dollars of IT investment over 10 years to deliver such benefits to the process industries. The lack of success was blamed on ‘failure in the boardroom to grasp the information management agenda.’ [ the same PRIMA conference mentioned earlier in relation to Clive Holtham btw ]

These same speakers — directors from the oil, gas and chemical majors — shared their visions of information and knowledge as their key corporate asset to be exploited by making it available to anyone, anywhere in their organisations. Most agree that the key issue is not IT but Information Management, and that a major dimension of this involves soft issues like knowledge, people, and business culture.

Although the data integration and standardisation objectives are widely accepted, few people … would accept [Standard Information Models] as fully proven in the bottom line. However, there is already a threefold drive to create a strategic framework … at this stage:

Firstly, the pace of change in IT [and the web – ignored in a 1997 conference !] continues to be so great that planning future exploitation cannot be left until the potential is fully proven and developed in detail.

Secondly, the potential changes are so far reaching in terms of ‘business re-engineering’ possibilities that the cultural changes needed cannot simply be switched on once [Standard Information Models] become a shrink-wrapped solution.

Finally, the complexity of the detail is such that fully detailed [Standard Information Model] solutions will not arise from standards development alone, without the iteration provided by early implementation.”

(The entire arcticle is preserved on-line at the Impact of Standards User Group Project of the Commission of the EU and cached by Google.)

Confusing Learning with Education

Learning – as in getting oneself educated for your purpose, as opposed to
Learning – as in assimilation a piece of information – receiving communication.
Part of education / learning confusion apparent within and between learning organisation approaches in business organisations in general, and those “educational” organisations whose “customers” are learning. Some references suggested by Sylvia from IAG / CFL / LLL perspective.
Bill LucasCEO of Campaign for Learning, Author of Your Brain – A User’s Guide.
Dr Peter Honey – Learning styles guru. Own .com web-site organisation
Guy Claxton Author of Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind. Some interesting East / West stuff in here, like “The best thinking takes place below the level of consciousness”, and a focus on subjects that might be seen as “airy-fairy or unscientific”. Evocative of Michael Kinsey’s “The tortoises will win the race”.

Virtual Mobs – Another Day at the Office

Virtual Mobs, Terrorists For Troop, Police Training
From UniSci via Jorn
Importance of subjective content in simulations.
There’s a growing realization that more realistic training simulations lead to higher levels of skill attainment for trainees, but current training games are more concerned with eye-catching graphics than with modeling real human behavior,” said Silverman, professor of systems engineering and computer and information science at Penn. “Our goal is to build in factors like fatigue, stress, personal values, emotion and cultural influences.”

Silverman’s crowd-modeling work will offer detail to the level of single provocateurs within a crowd, taking into account, for instance, young agitators’ frequent desire to assert themselves, dominate conflicts and avenge wrongs.

The simulation can model terrorist behavior based upon observations of extremists’ sense of commitment, feelings of competence and need to right perceived injustices.
Mob Violence ? Funny, sounds like a day at the office !

Reading – Heisenberg / Poincare / Melville

Wow, is it really two weeks since I last posted.
Actually I’ve been ill with a heavy cold, and have done very little apart from read.
Finished Heisenberg, Physics and Philosphy – good read
Started Poincare Writings, ed SJ Gould – not so promising
Started Melville, Moby Dick – excellent read so far.

Spotted this interesting BMJ link from Jorn
About drug companies talking up “illness” to boost drug demand.
From my perspective this is “spinning” information.

Physics and Philosophy – Heisenberg

Reading Physics and Philosophy by Werner Heisenberg (c1958/p1962)
Having previously read the Physical Principles of Quantum Theory, to get a first hand account of the Uncertainty Principle, found this much more readable volume of his. Pretty comprehensive summary of Philosophical views of the “reality of matter and atoms” from the Greeks to Hume and Russell. Illustration of uncertainty principle effects at each step seems to be leading to many worlds (no buts so far as I can tell). Says the quantum / uncertainty view of the world is a “paradigm shift” in the way the reality of the world is viewed. Makes allusions to human scale manifestations, without really illustrating with examples (yet), so far all his examples are at the quantum / measuring device level – still, only 1/3 of the way through. Some excellent fit with Pirsig static (matter) / dynamic (energy) perspectives, and problems with One/Duality/Binary vs Plural views of possible states. Expect the latter to lead into where quantum computing gets its alternative view of “information” – will develop further when completed.

Also suggests a new thread – distinctions between Metaphor, Analogy and Model. Let’s be honest, when we say this is a Metaphor or an Analogy to help understanding of the principles and effects of something, are we also saying it is a Model of what actually exists ? Is this distinction meaningful or not ? Either way, every time I see “many worlds and multiverses” I get this dilemma in my head. I can see why Stephen Hawking screams whenever he hears of Erwin Schroedinger’s overcooked Cat – just like Chares Handy’s overcooked Frog !

Also obtained Melville‘s Moby Dick, and Poincare Writings edited by SJ Gould.
The most cited sources in so many others.

Lila – Brain Dump Notes

Pirsig’s Lila – finished at last, after many interruptions.
Will add a review, but may need to re-read final few chapters to absorb.
Thoughts for now.

The lunatics take over the asylum again. Should I be worried ? – in ZMM I identified with Phaedrus, in this, I am Lila ! The “game” of Catch22 and the “character” of Cuckoo’s Nest feature very strongly, but only implicitly, in passages about “insanity”. (The reference to an imposter in an asylum, spotted by the inmates, but not the staff – is surely a reference to Cuckoo’s nest, or shares a common source. Similarly the strategies inmates play to convince staff of “sanity” are full of Catch22 allusions – no references made to Heller or Kesey anyway.)

Levels of intellectual / social / biological cultures very reminiscent of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (not mentioned by Pirsig), as used to describe motivation of individuals and groups within organisations / cultures. A culture having ascended to a higher level (or dynamically within a higher level), those levels below become static “hygiene” to be challenged / controlled from the higher culture, but not undermined, without replacement foundations. Equally, static cultures must not be allowed to control / restrict higher dynamic cultures – necessary controls to avoide degeneracy must come from within or from higher levels. This is the main framework of Pirsig’s commentary on “morals”, and the concepts of absolute goodness and badness, and or course, his “Metaphysics of Quality”. (Consequently – lots of good stuff on the bounds of scientific argument vs value judgements.)

Main thread revolves around “anthropology” and its history as a “science” (or not). Encouraging to my main thread – pointing to ethnography / behavioural / process model for “information” (Interesting description of Philosophology as distinct from Philosophy.)

Lots of new references (philosophical and philosophological) and lots of namedropping arising from his post ZMM celebrity. The general line is a clear development of his thoughts in ZMM, but somehow as a novel, it is less gripping than the original, possibly due to the constant references to the previous book. The underlying narrative, Hudson river boat trip / New York locations (and WTC / Manhattan skyline references too) has some good emotional twists though, so definitely recommended reading (after ZMM – no point reading out of sequence.) Post Moby-Dick note – Did Pirsig have Melville in mind when he chose the Hudson ?

[Post Note 2002 – since reading ZMM and Lila, Pirsig became for a time a project in his own right – see Pirsig Pages. Interesting, updating links in 2015, that these notes already carry all my ongoing agenda items – except maybe the realisation of scientific vs anthropological knowledge-and-decision-making converging in governance or “cybernetics”.]