And while we’re talking about how much information. . .

20 August 2008

Couldn’t figure out a graceful way to integrate into the last post, but another interesting stance on analysis and information comes from Chris Anderson et al at Wired. If I may summarize with far too much brevity, it is the nth degree (or the reductio ad absurdam, depending) of the dictum that to increase understanding, add information.

While even I think that statement needs qualifiers, it is demonstrably true on most maps. Cf the two pictures below:

simple map

simple map

detailed map

detailed map


While it seems to me that the maps are within the category of observables and petabyte data are not, I do think that both examples make the same point. I suspect more analysis will reveal the flaws in my argument. 

Meanwhile, though, it is very disappointing that a distinctly observable reminder of one of the most serious security issues going has come down. A now-removed Union of Concerned Scientists ad in the Mpls airport urged Senator McCain to support a reduction in the US nuclear arsenal–a policy that he has already declared he favors. Due to sponsorships and business relationships between the Republican National Convention, Northwest Airlines, and Clear Channel Communications, the ad has been pulled from G concourse. No complaints from Denver, where a parallel ad is dedicated to Senator Obama, who has similarly expressed the importance of cutting down on numbers of nukes.

Perhaps this is another example of anthropocentric sovereignty rearing its ugly head.


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