Tag Archives: streamline

Spending More Time with Better Information

In the book You Are Not a Gadget Jaron Lanier talks about the unrecognized value of ideas generated by individuals, and the unintended effects the internet is having on musicians, visual artists, writers and other professional creative people. One way he describes it is the the “digital flattening of expression into a global mush“. Another is the “adoration of fragments“.

From Jaron Lanier at the RSA uploaded to Flickr by PSD.

One of the best examples he uses is what MIDI did to music “squeezing all of musical expression through a limiting model of the actions of keys on a musical keyboard“. All of the nuances, individual interpretations and stellar performances are gone. Every performance is the same.

People are not spending enough time with better information because some parts of the internet design do not allow for multiple iterations without ditching the previous versions, or any way to see how an idea or the information surrounding it has evolved.  There is no variation of the same, there are only exact copies and links.  A new digital architecture is needed with provisions for continuity, and coming back to an idea again with a fresh perspective, to promote the slow building and appreciation of work that takes longer than a few minutes or hours to create or interpret. There is hope though, with organizations like the Long Now Foundation working on projects to foster long term thinking and responsibility. It is a monumentally large challenge to consider more efficient ways to process infinite data fields intersecting – in such a way that better data might rise up out of the fray.

From The Effects of Digital Crosstalk in Data Converters
by Maxim where Innovation is Delivered

For better data to be created in the first place, professional creative people need to be paid reasonable rates to be ABLE to spend more time making work that in turn lasts longer out in the world. Consider for example these beer taps, an actual designer was paid a reasonable rate to figure out a shape, they were free to use any typeface, the only design requirement was a universal hookup. That is all internet standards should be, universal screw threads that allow designs to be professionally created, manufactured, and distributed.

Dr. Dremo Donut Beer Tap from the Quest for the Holy Grain

It truly is a conceptual and mathematical problem to devise a system of standard access points that allow data to slowly evolve, and get better, in ways that enough people can become truly engaged in what hand crafters have made.

Some designs will last longer than others but there is no inherent functionality in the design of the internet currently to let digital cross talk start eliminating what should sticks around longer or pop up in searches faster because it is actually better or supported by people who have actually looked at some thing from all sides. The idea of what fits is underused because there is no geometry around data forcing some information to stick around certain areas or flow through and keep on going.

Processes need to be developed to start dealing with the pace ideas and information fly around.  Data flow needs to be treated more like music. Like many people have observed – the symbolic encoding can be very simple and the same everywhere – but more time and attention is needed for actually the shapes and architecture of what supports a digital idea or lets it exchange faster, slower, closer, further away.

Yale Research, Breakthroughs in the Water, the Science of Swimming

What would such an ideal exchange architecture look like? Where would the universal screw threads be and how can the visitor experience be directed through this information space like a museum design? Where are the long axial views? The hints of what might be around the corner? Where do you pause and consider individual works? There is a flatness to digital information, everything is in your face on the same plane. There needs to be a better way to get a longer perspective on what surrounds ideas and information. Where they came from, how they have evolved, and which parts need to stay connected so they can hold together and stand the test of time.

DNA from Emergent Culture


Talking About Spirals

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.

CItypes (131)

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 :

spiral model

Spiral Model, Boehm, 1988, Original Creator: Conrad Nutschan

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.


A Equiangular Spiral and its Secants from the Visual Dictionary of Special Plane Curves

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:

Artificial Neural Networks

Pattern Recognition

Single Instance Storage

But what is even more interesting is


Collective Intelligence


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









Social Justice and Peace

There is a place in Washington DC called Busboys and Poets that believes social justice and peace are achievable goals.

What does this mean today? What data structures need to be built to further this goal? What geometry works best to distribute and streamline the information flow?

Peace Education Image by D@dalos
Today, there were 1000 monks and nuns in Myanmar seeking social justice in a quiet, peaceful manner. The Washington Post Express reported concern for the monks and nuns safety. The author noted the monks and nuns are the conscience of their country. Every country could use a group of people thinking, and acting, together like this for peace and social justice. This is what the monks look like.


AP Online via the Washington Post

Archiv-Burma, source reference www.asiatours.net

Here is where Myanmar, that was once Burma, is located:

East Asia Blog Spot

What are the optimal, most efficient paths for quiet, peaceful, social justice people to get the word out?


Social Network Diagrams and instructions available at Group10


Rework Old Work

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.



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.


2.10. Publications

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 katy@indiana.edu and askupin@uno.edu