Each of these arrows can be like the telephone game, something important and subtle lost. Which of these is a better model
Each of these arrows can be like the telephone game, something important and subtle lost. Which of these is a better model
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Last week the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Northern Virginia Chapter (CSI NOVA) welcomed scientists from the NIST Fire Research Lab to give a talk about fire simulations and the new test facility.
NIST’s Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS)
A couple simulations were of just the fires themselves rather than walls, furniture, elevator shafts and other elements that might influence where a fire would move next in a building. The NIST Fire Research lab studies both the effects and relationships of different building materials with fire, and the physics of fire by itself. The physics of fire by itself has some known properties, such as maximum temperatures, and the short SHORT flashover point. The space around a fire is not always needed for better understanding of what a fire is likely to do next.
National Fire Protection Association (2001) from NFPA 1710
Today we have a lot of data moving around the Internet. Behaviors and patterns in the physics of data flow may have properties like maximum temperatures or flashover points in fires.
Ebb and Flow of Box Office Receipts Over the Past 20 Years – at Flowing Data
However it seems like most of these studies only look at the data, rarely the space around. As if the way different areas of the Internet were built, or the composition of various user communities, could influence where data are likely to go next and whether they are likely to spread quickly or slowly smolder. Below is an image about the flow of physics data from CERN, but who is studying the physics of data flow? Or more importantly, structural details about spaces around data, or how more precise configurations might help push relevant information into specific areas that are most conducive to those particular ideas catching on, spreading, and growing… Until at some point, inevitably, even the most gigantic ideas, like fires, will eventually die out. We are still learning about the physics of fire today, the physics of data flow and a better understanding of the life cycle of ideas and information may take many MANY generations of study until the statistics and calculations are relatively accurate, or at least aligned with the unpredictable real world.
When organizing large quantities of resources and information in the digital world… putting things into groups, determining what goes where and assigning boundaries, it can be helpful to look at the real world for lessons learned. Imposing boundaries in unnatural locations is bound to fail sooner or later, the results can be disastrous taking generations to overcome.
Take for example Southern Africa. Oceans, mountains, deserts, vegetation and other natural features determined where people lived and worked.
Over time, people settled in various areas surrounded by their culture. Learning the best ways to be productive based on the conditions in their area – whether it was a jungle with vast resources or a desert with very few.
From Africa Expat
Ancient people such as the Shona in modern day Zimbabwe congregated and stuck together in different areas. Many of these languages and traditions continue today. But these curving, natural, and emergent boundaries don’t match boundaries imposed from outside cultures.
From Wikimedia Commons
Occasionally, an imposed boundary may coincide with a natural boundary such as a river. More often though, imposed boundaries are designed to work within larger more global schemes, without paying enough attention to the local impact.
From Wikimedia Commons
Anyone can see where arbitrarily drawing lines has gotten us today. What can be learned from history to avoid similar situations in the fresh, clean, brand new digital world where ideas and information are still patterning out and have no where in particular to belong except where they are emerging as “next to something else” or arranged for convenient, all encompassing, upper level views
Linked Open Data, Colored, as of March 2009
What about situations where digital terrain and intellectual data boundaries are being purposefully laid out. For example Master Web of Science, mapofscience.com and Places & Spaces where navigating the data is like exploring uncharted territory, and Katy Borner and collaborators seek to enable the discovery of new worlds while also marking territories inhabited by unknown monsters.
The difference in the semantic world versus the physical world should be that the digital world has no constraints like rivers or mountains. Eventually all of the layout can be determined. Attention does need to be paid to where cultures are emerging, and how this can benefit everyone both globally and locally.
Not only watch how the semantic web is emerging, but to direct it’s flow in productive ways, geared for people in different areas that may vary widely in their density and resources, rather than as one empire. Because that only causes trouble in the long run.
Random Layout Algorithm at Cell System Markup Language (CSML) an XML format for modeling, visualizing and simulating biopathways.
The advantage of paying attention to this is, reaching an appropriate balance between random emergence and directed flow will ultimately serve end users and programmers better than any other option, and the solutions will last for a long time.
On 10 July 2009 Steve Kehlet said: “For a while I’ve been reading I Love Typography, which describes itself as a means of bringing the subject of Typography to the masses. I am definitely part of the masses, I know I don’t have the critical eye and patience needed for good page design, as made evident by my site with its uninspired look, horrible colors, blocky layout, and general failure to render properly in any browser but Safari. But as I Love Typography says, it is truly inspiring at times to see these beautiful fonts and what people have done with them. Each article showcases numerous typefaces and sometimes works of art created with them. It’s a fascinating read on a beautiful topic I now realize I know so little about.” So he starts to look at it:
Context Driven Topologies are mathematical groups of ideas and information transmitted over computers and networks. Their form and process are expressed using drawings and specifications. Their purpose is to organize and drive network topologies to answer questions and derive meaning from data collections of any size, particularly in open source environments. The purpose of answering questions and deriving meaning is to foster Collective Intelligence. Refer to Wikipedia Unassessed Systems for related work.
The default form envisioned for storage mode is a spiral. Groups of ideas and information can be rearranged infinite ways while working with or distributing to and from precise locations. Locations can be physical, conceptual, or a combination of both. Assuming constructing exchanges and working this way is possible, what shapes and topologies would be most effective? What are their properties? What do they have in common? What would a computer and network language about these pathways, densities, colors, transparencies, forms, linkages and exchanges look like?
Its too complicated to wonder about ALL possible forms, the question can be simplified by just concentrating on spirals for an example. Therefore, a previous post Spiral Model is expanded to incorporate slides prepared by A&A Director Vera W. de Spinadel for a Postgraduate class on Form and Mathematics which focuses on logic and technique. Dr. de Spindel remarks “Of course this has a lot to do with the subject of Context Driven Topologies“. Lets see what this means to computers and networks, starting with :
According to Wikipedia on November 22, 2006: The spiral model is a software development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. What a perfect shape spirals are to portray complex evolving relationships. Just imagine the possibilities using spirals as a base structure.
Now for Vera’s slides:
English captions to be completed at a later date – this slide says “Carrying out some modifications in the process of construction of this spiral, we are going to build other linked with the Numbers of the FNMPP. In the following figure details of the construction are shown.”
Of course spirals are seen in nature and architecture. Rough translation “Finally, in the country of the Architectural Design, fits to mention the interesting antecedent of the Spiral building, built by the Arq. Fumihiko Maki in Tokyo, Japan in 1985. Maki gue prizewinner with the Prize Pritzker in 1993 and in its Spiral building has utilized the geometry of the curve, that conjugates marvelously the concepts of fragment and unattainable center. The geometric figure is an evocation of the ones that are found in Kyoto, in the famous Temple of Ginkakuji (Silver Building) 1338-1573 and in the Temple of Kinkakuji (Building of Gold) 1398, reconstructed in 1955. Though these denominations of Gold and Silver have religious and historic meaning, they would be able to serve of example to design making use of so much, metallic spirals flat curves like helicoides metallic.”
The question Vera is looking for is geometrical interpretations of the members of the family of metallic means – which she discovered in 1997. She found a relationship of the golden mean with the pentagon and another of the silver mean with the octagon. And that was all, there were no more relationships with polygons. So, she began trying to construct metallic spirals, generalizing the well known golden spiral – and was successful! She introduced a family of metallic spirals and continues intensively working with the silver spiral. There will be more to see when she presents at the International Conference on Geometry and Graphics ICGG-2008 in Dresden Germany.
Other computer and network systems that may be interesting to study in terms of forms, dynamic properties, geometry and graphics to streamline information that have been highlighted in recent discussions include:
But what is even more interesting is
the Information Economy Meta Language IEML see the paper “Collective Intelligence Protocol Semantic Metadata Exchange Standard (CIP-SMES)” by Michel Bietzunski and Steven Newcomb 18 July 2007. A commentary on this paper and Chapter 3 of Topic Maps by the same authors, edited by Jack Park is here IEMLcomments
The diagrams above show dance patterns. Its easy to imagine how these shapes and places to put your feet could be drawn on a floor for dancers to follow. Experienced dancers could probably just look at the diagram and recreate the movements.
By contrast, its more difficult to imagine how dynamic movement of information could be diagrammed to be followed and recreated by others. Below are examples of a cellular automata pattern about Emerging Complexity by Stephen Wolfram, LLC.
This image confuses Photoshop because pixels and colors are more continuous than they seem. There are actually very few boundaries or stopping points. The flow is constrained to limited dimensions with all elements are moving in the same direction.
If working with this pattern was like preparing a set of building specifications – the first step is starting with everything possible. There are patterns which are unseen here before dimensions are constrained. First, a process of elimination to look at only parts. Then working with each part. Some parts may be the exact same on several levels. They can be picked up, inserted, repeated and slightly modified to fit within the set of working information. Tracing paths through working sets and patterns could be a really fun mathematics and art problem.
Finding Continuous Threads
2 – Orange – trying to cut across horizontally by inferring a line. Started looking for configurations with a sharp tip and two vertical lines going straight down on both sides.
3 – Purple – noticed some of the orange shapes had a strong spine of exactly repeating shapes in chains of varying lengths.
4 – Blue – noticed some chains were independent from the ones colored orange in the red pencil shapes.
5 – Light Green – easier to see by itself with trails above filled in.
Depending on what you are looking for, there are lots of ways to find and isolate repeated elements and trace continuous threads in seemingly disconnected, parallel tracks. If the patterns themselves could be worked on to push the information around in the first place…
Sketch to figure it out, automatic placement by the computer of 2 unlike scales, some angles still align.
Image collage presented to Jim Crutchfield at Santa Fe Institute and the Art and Science Laboratory in 2004. The black and white backgrounds are evolving cellular automata patterns, the blue lines were added to trace continuous threads.
Krzysztof Penderecki communicates flow in his musical compositions through his own annotation system. Eventually his drawings are translated into traditional notes and lines so performers can play the work. But for his own purposes, and maybe to explain the details and overall patterns to performers and patrons – Penderecki’s own system captures his ideas best.
The scores above are from wood s lot, Sinepost, and the gallery of music at WFMU.
A set of images from Mattmo‘s Inspiration Set on Flickr are presented in contrast below. They also capture flow. At one point maybe only to the artist or mathematicians but at some point later, perhaps to others interpreting or performing the work…..maybe even machines performing work that has a flow.
A selection of illustrations by Rockwell Kent, in Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, published by Random House, in 1930 are used herein as an experiment about tags.
Written following the CSI format for architectural specifications by breaking into PARTS 1, 2, 3.
PART 1 – GENERAL
The National Gallery of Art presented a film “Retracing Rockwell Kent” by Frederick Lewis. Rockwell Kent (1882?1971) was a painter, illustrator, travel writer, social activist, and American celebrity. He was so famous in the 1930s the New Yorker was prompted to write “That day will mark a precedent which brings no news of Rockwell Kent.” The documentary asks, why, then, was he nearly forgotten only two decades later? A stunning example of Rockwell Kent’s work are huge number of illustrations in Moby Dick, a huge commission during the depression in the United States.
Below are a set of images scanned with the words on the page, meaningless to the computer, simply lines, black versus white, not letters forming words with meaning. After loading the images, a new evaluation will be made of computer suggested tags. Next, the pictures will be shown by themselves and the text manually entered to see what terminology coming together to form this compelling story are deemed worthy enough by the computer to serve as keywords and tags.
Currently, only by writing these few words, the computer suggests the following tags “art, aesthetics, accuracy, about, images, Accuracy&Aesthetics, set, connect, process, and sketch”.
Amazingly, Random House forgot to list the author on the cover.
after only 3 interior pictures, the following suggested tags appear “see, document, versus, gallery, mark, tags, semantic mashup, connection, people, shapes”
inexplicably, the computer now suggests the tag “K-12”.
PART 2 – PRODUCTS
poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andres Jackson from the pebbles,; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!
after three more pictures and the text above, the following tags are suggested “tags, design, Map, master planning, outreach, beauty, preference, architecture, history, context”
Continuing on with the story:
omit them as altogether obsolete; and can hardly help suspecting them for mere sounds, full of Leviathanism, but signifying nothing.
Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would not be here, and at once, perfected. You cannot but plainly see that I have kept my word. But now I leave my Cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncomplicated tower. For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught – nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!
Come, Ahab’s compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!
Days, weeks passed, and under easy sail, the ivory Pequod had slowly swept across four several cruising-grounds; that off the Azores; off the Cape de Verdes; on the Plate (so called), being off the mouth of the Rio de la Plata; and the Carrol Ground an unstaked, water locality, southerly from St. Helena.
It was while gliding through these latter waters that one serene and moonlight night, when all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude: on such a silent night a silvery jet was seen far in advance of the white bubbles at the bow. Lit up by the moon, it looked celestial; seemed some plumed and glittering god uprising from the sea. Fedallah first descried this jet.
With reference to the whaling scene shortly to be described, as well as for the better understanding of all similar scenes elsewhere presented, I hae here to speak of the magical, sometimes horrible whale-line.
The line originally used in the fishery was of the best hemp, slightly vapored with tar, not impregnated with it, as in the case of ordinary ropes; for while tar, as ordinarily used, makes the hemp more pliable to the rope-maker, and also renders the rope itself more convenient to the sailor for common ship use; yet, not only would the ordinary quanitity too much stiffen the whale-line for the close coiling to which it must be subjected; but as most seamen are beginning to learn, tar in general by no means adds to the rope’s durability or strength, however much it may give it compactness and gloss.
Of late years the Manilla rope has in the American fishery almost entirely superseded hemp as a material for whale-lines;
A word concerning an incident in the last chapter.
According to the invariable usage of the fishery, the whale-boat pushes off from the ship, with the headsman or whale-killer as temporary steersman, and the harpooner or whale-fastener pulling the foremost oar, the one known as the harpooneer-oar. Now it needs a strong nervous arm to strike the first iron into the fish; for often, in what is called a long dart, the heavy implement has to be flung to the distance of twenty or thirty feet. But however prolonged and exhausting the chase, the harpooner is expected to pull his oar meanwhile to the uttermost; indeed, he is expected to set an example of superhuman activity to the rest, not only by incredible rowing, but by repeated lout and intrepid exclamation; and what it is to keep shouting at the top of one’s compass, while all the other muscles are strained and half started – what that is none know but those that have tired it. For one, I cannot bawl very heartily and work very recklessly at one and the same time. In this straining, bawling state, then, with his back to the fish, all at once the exhausted harpooneer hears the exciting cry – “Stand up, and give it to him!” He now has to drop and secure his oar, turn round on his centre half way, seize his harpoon from the crotch, and with
only new suggested tag at this point is “system”
When in the Southern Fishery, a captured Sperm Whale, after long and weary toil, is brought alongside late at night, it is not, as a general thing at least, customary to proceed at once to the business of cutting him in. For that business is an exceedingly laborious one; is not very soon completed; and requires all hands to set about it. Therefore, the common usage is to take in all sail; lash the helm a’lee; and then send everyone below to his hammock till daylight, with the reservation that, until that time, anchor-watches shall be kept; that is, two and two for an hour, each couple, the crew in rotation shall mount the deck to see that all goes well.
Crossing the deck, let us now have a good long look at the Right Whale’s head.
As in general shape, the noble Sperm Whale’s head may be compared to a Roman war-chariot (especially in front, where it is so broadly rounded); so, at a broad view, the Right Whale’s head bears a rather inelegant resemblance to a gigantic galliot-toed shoe. Two hundred years ago an old Dutch voyager kikned its shape to that of a shoemaker’s last. And in this same last or shoe, that old woman of the nursery tale, with the swarming brood, might very comfortably be lodged, she and all her progeny.
If the Sperm Whale be physiognomically a Sphinx, to the phrenologist his brain seems that geometrical circle which it is impossible to square.
In the full-grown creature, the skull will measure at least twenty feet in length. Unhinge the lower jaw, and the side view of this skull is as the side view of a moderately inclined plane resting throughout on a level base. But in life – as we have elsewhere seen – this inclined plane is angularly filled up, and almost squared by the enormous superincumbent mass. At the high end the skull forms a crater to bed that part of the mass; while under the long floor of this crater – in another cavity
Other poets have warbled the praises of the soft eye of the antelope, and the lovely plumage of the bird that never alights; less celestial, I celebrate a tail.
Reckoning the largest Sperm Whale’s tail to begin at that point of the trunk where it tapers to about the girth of a man, it comprises upon its upper surface alone, an area of at least fifty square feet. The compact round body of its root expands into two broad, firm, flat palms or flukes, gradually shaling away to less than an inch in thickness. At the junction, these flukes slightly overlap, then sideways recede from each other like wings, leaving a wide vacancy between. In no living thing are the lines of beauty more exquisitely defined than in the crescentic borders of these flukes. At it supmost expansion in the full grown whale, the tail will considerably exceed twenty feet across.
tail of this whale, how understand his head? much more, how comprehend his face, when face he has none? Thou shalt see my back parts, my tail, he seems to say, but my face shall not be seen. But I cannot completely make out his back parts; and hint what he will about his face, I say again he has no face.
Ere now it has been related how Ahab was wont to pace his quarter-deck, taking regular turns at either limit, the binnacle and mainmast; but in the multiplicity of other things requiring narration it has not been added how that sometimes in these walks, when most plunged in his mood, he was wont to pause in turn at each spot, and stand there strangely eyeing the particular object before him. When he halted before the binnacle, with his glance fastened on the pointed needle in the compass, that glance shot like a javelin with the pointed intensity of his purpose; and when resuming his walk he again paused before the mainmast, then, the same riveted glance fastened upon the riveted gold coin there, he still wore the same aspect of nailed firmness, only dashed with a certain wild longing, if not hopefulness.
But one morning, turning to pass the doubloon, he seemed to be newly attracted by the strange figures and inscriptions stamped on it, as though now for the first time beginning to interpret for himself in some monomaniac way whatever significance might lurk in them. An some certain significance lurks in all
one hand, and a pill-box held in the other, occasionally casting a critical glance at the ivory limbs of the two crippled captains. But, at his superior’s introduction of him to Ahab, he politely bowed, and straightway went on to do his captain’s bidding.
“It was a shocking bad wound,” began the whale-surgeon; “and, taking my advice, Captain Boomer here, stood our old Sammy – ”
“Samuel Enderby is the name of my ship,” interrupted the one-armed captian, addressing Ahab; “go on, boy.”
“Stood our old Sammy off to the northward, to get out of the blazing hot weather there on the Line. But it was no use – I did
Inasmuch, then, as this Leviathan comes floundering down upon us from the head-waters of the Eternities, it may be fitly inquired, whether, in the long course of his generations, he has not degenerated from the original bulk of his sires.
But upon investigation we fine, that not only are the whales of the present day superior in magnitude to those whose fossil remains are found in the Tertiary system (embracing a distinct geological period prior to man), but of the whales found in that Tertiary system, those belonging to it latter formations exceed in size those of its earlier ones.
Of all the pre-adamite whales yet exhumed, by far the largest is the Alabama one mentioned in the last chapter, and that was less than seventy feet in length in the skeleton. Whereas, we have already seen, that the tape-measure gives seventy-two feet for the skeleton of a large sized modern whale. And I have heard, on whaleman’s authority, the Sperm Whales have been captured near a hundred feet long at the time of capture.
Not seldom in this life, when, on the right side, fortune’s favorites sail close by us, we, though all adroop before, catch somewhat of the rushing breeze, and joyfully feel our bagging sails fill out. So seemed it with the Pequod. For next day after encountering the gay Bachelor, whales were seen and four were slain; and one of them by Ahab.
It was far down the afternoon; and when all the spearings of the crimson fight were done: and floating in the lovely sunset sea and sky, sun and whale both stilly died together; then, such a sweetness and such plaintiveness, such inwreathing orisons curled up in that rosy air, that it almost seemed as if far over from the deep
It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep.
Hither, and thither, on high, glided the snow-white wings of small, unspeckled birds; these were the gentle thoughts of the feminine air; but to and fro in the deeps, far down in the bottomless blue, rushed might Leviathans, sword-fish, and sharks; and these were the strong, troubled, murderous thinkings of the masculine sea.
But though this contrasting within, the contrast was only in shades and shadows without; those two seemed one; it was only the sex, as it were, that distinguished them.
Aloft, like a royal czar and king, the sun seemed giving this gentle air to this bold and rolling sea; even as bride to groom. And at the girdling line of the horizon, a soft and tremulous motion – most seen here at the Equator – denoted the fond, throbbing trust, the loving alarms, with which the poor bride gave her bosom away.
hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beach thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven with her, and helmeted herself with it.
Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.
“And I only am escaped alone to tell thee” Job
The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth? – Because one did survive the wreck.
It so chanced, that after the Paree’s disappearance, I was he whom the Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab’s bowsman, when that last bowsman assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from out the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So, floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the half-spent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and, owning to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirge-like main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage seahawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in here retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.
PART 3 – EXECUTION
In conclusion, the computer suggests the following tags: “compare, place, local, understanding, contrast, fixed, OWL, change, logic, and Geo”
to that, as a human reader, must add:
“story, interpret, inscription, computer suggest, purpose, formations, time of capture”
and most importantly (even coldly based on occurrence or placement) “whale”
After saving, the computer now adds the following suggestions:
“figures, tags, global, visual, Maps to Make, standards, create, specifications, detail, and pattern”
Furthermore, the computer now goes on to suggest:
“Google, music, consensus, education, technology, colors, general public, ideas, visualization, Africa”
In one last save and inspection, the following terms are highlighted, seemingly at random:
“color, public, concept, support, spectrum, math, science, BIM, geospatial, mathematical”
………not convinced computers are able to suggest tags accurately or aesthetically at this point in time because this is a real story with great drawings and the computer did not get it. Better for a person to select their own keywords and tags until machines can learn to be more subtle, not simply spitting out what we want to hear, making it too easy to click on proposed terms that may or may not reflect the stories being told; and certainly not grasping the process of selecting parts from a whole or looking at drawings to enhance the letters, words, paragraphs, pages, books, libraries, digital collections forming the sea of records we swim in and attempt to navigate.
Below are images from Dale Chihuly’s Gardens and Glass installed at botanical gardens all over the world. Perfect juxtapositions of beautifully crafted objects, once fluid and rapidly changing, now fixed in time. Purposefully and collaboratively placed in similar backgrounds. The living objects continue to slowly change and grow in ways that are impossible to observe in a single visit. The now-fixed and eternally-changing are simply together, enhancing each other’s beauty, creating a place.
What can designers of modern, fluid, information patterns learn from this stunning collaboration between botany and art? How can cleaning your data and preparing records for deep, widely distributed archiving feel more like working in your garden? If dynamic growing data collections could be shown, and tended to, in forms that were able to be made more beautiful over time…what do newly fixed data structures look and act like in context of slowly changing knowledge domains forming beautifully tended backgrounds?
To really see, be surrounded by, experience and wonder for yourself, please go to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh PA before November 11, 2007 – where juxtaposing dynamic forms is made real.
Per request by Susan Turnbull at GSA, the position paper below from the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting a few years ago is resurfacing to update and present at the workshop Mapping the Navigable Waters of Public Information: Connecting People to Science and Scholarly Knowledge. Images from AAG slides will be interspersed soon, both text and images will be updated.
Position Paper for Mapping Humanities Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain held at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Denver, CO, April 5-9, 2005. Organized by Katy Borner & Andre Skupin. By Deborah L. MacPherson, Projects Director
Accuracy&Aesthetics, PO Box 52, Vienna VA 22183 USA
Part 1 This session
1.1. Describe your main interest in this session.
I am interested in participating in this session because I am bothered by what a map of all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise would look like, how it would function, and how or why people would use it. On the one hand, it seems very straightforward to compare this type of map with “regular maps” that show geographical features, relationships, distances, and even how each of these aspects may change over time or be influenced by people, technology or events. On the other hand, most “regular maps” capture and simplify features, relationships and distances that can actually be measured. Information maps are different, we are not sure how much is there.
1.2. Which major technical challenges do you see for Mapping Humanity’s Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain, as laid out in the session description?
There are countless reasons why each knowledge domain needs to use their own numbering systems, methods of describing and citing pieces of work in relation to other work to form a whole. By trying to consolidate all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise into one shared system, there will need to be significant, possibly permanently damaging, mathematical and conceptual reductions down to a level where the details and relationships can no longer be seen.
1.3. Which major non-technical challenges do you foresee?
Changing the way people work and organize their ideas and information is worse than many technical problems because look at the progress that has already been made since 1990 when the total number of websites was 1. Tim Berners-Lee’s prototype. All of humanity’s knowledge and expertise is much older, interconnected and sometimes isolated behind impenetrable walls. Databases, patents, designs, maps, new frontiers and papers (good or bad) are peoples’ work and they are attached to it. Each person, research institute and field of study prefers their own words and don’t care if anyone else knows them, they may even have their own spatial visualizations, and definitely believe they know the best way to fit it all together to decide and show which information is most relevant, interesting or important. Many individuals and institutions entire life’s work is devoted to exactly these tasks – and they know what they are doing so creating a map like this must account for all of these different ways of knowing, techniques and expertise. When all the pieces from every domain are all thrown on the floor together, suddenly, we are asking everyone to cooperate and let other people who do not care or know about the details or relationships of their information to be in charge of what it should look like, act like, and how it should influence or relate to other information around it. If we can work this out, I believe many of the technical challenges will solve themselves.
1.4. Which major opportunities do you envision?
Educate and inspire the general public. Make people more curious. Let people look outside their knowledge domain and area of expertise. Get history to quit repeating itself. Learn and discover new things we could not do without a map such as this.
BEGINNING OF PART 2 OMITTED UNTIL THE PROTOTYPE IS REALIZED
2.4. Supported User Tasks
The ability to look through other domains information, place your information where you think it belongs then have it reviewed to be argued against, rejected or raised higher according to the collective view of people who understand what you are working on. In the long term, being able to save only the ideas, information and techniques that actually work; and the ability to streamline all digital collections into one interconnected knowledge base accessible to all people from all cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
2.5. Data Sets Used
The first set will be created especially to be random and cross cutting against different intellectual/cultural backgrounds and institutional requirements. Subsequent data sets are intended to include digitized art collections, patent specifications and drawings, architectural work, mapping and exploration, large scale databases and new types of digital collections that are not possible yet.
2.6. Algorithms Used
Context Driven Topologies, a mathematical and perceptual system based on algebra, knot theory topology, cultural anthropology and art curation where each entity within a group knows where it belongs within the context of each particular group, or arrangement, of digital information. Over time, streamlining overlaps between entities, groups, arrangements, and layers of information will generate new views and associations. The purpose of the prototype is to see if these automatic views and associations actually correspond to the ways that people generate and create work to represent ideas in a variety of artistic and scientific fields.
2.7. Sample Maps – WILL UPDATE
2.8. Pros and Cons
Pro- looks like the right overlaps when you are remembering it. Con- The computer just put everything in places, it no longer corresponds to the placement I gave it and cannot be searched.
2.9. Planned Work
To develop a prototype of the Context Driven Topology system then present it via papers, conferences and exhibits. Gather feedback from individuals and institutions around the world to consider these views and work requirements in the development and implementation of this system.
Collecting Patterns that Work for Everything, the International Journal of Dynamical Systems Research, Chaos and Complexity Letters Vol. 1, #2, special issue: Chaos and Complexity in Arts and Architecture
Perceiving Design in Virtual Spaces the International Conference of Mathematics & Design June 7-10, 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Collective Consciousness, Qi and Complexity, Consciousness Reframed 2004 in Beijing, China November 2004. Organized by the Planetary Collegium
Digitizing the Non-Digital in Rethinking History, The Journal of Theory and Practice, published quarterly by Routledge/Taylor&Francis.
Sent September 30, 2004 to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com