Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Too Much Information Age

Data has reached a Quantum State.
There is so much information that it is impossible to determine validity anymore.
Photography and movies can be very well faked. Paper documents are virtually useless as proof anymore.

In other words, Truth and falsehood are impossible to determine anymore.

Since the NOLA disaster i have been paying attention to blogs, media outlets, CNN, and other forms of hard news. The ability to determine what's going on in NO is seemingly impossible to determine. Cops are looting? People are dying? People "chose" to stay there in the city? Food and water are in the city? People are shooting at one another? Fire? Busses that are leaving people behind without stopping? Armed forces pointing guns at people trying to leave? The Bush administration refusing foreign aid?
a young guy who stole a bus and got 100 people out and now they want to put him in prison? "Zero Tolerance" for people trying to steal food? FEMA dicking around for days? President Bush dicking around for days? Condi Rice shoe shopping in New York?
and more horrors than can fit in one spot...

And no way to figure out what is true.

We turn away. We turn our face away from this world because we can't manage any faith in anything or anybody. And we wonder why there are others who are content to turn their faces away from this administration and believe that they have their best interests at heart.

I wonder, if it will get worse before it gets better.


At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....As one of my favorite Star Wars characters once said, "Your focus determines your reality." Just bear in mind that such as Dan Rather and the big outlets have a lot more to lose if caught playing fast and loose with the truth. At the risk of sounding Republican, I think they are more reliable than most sources. A lot of bloggers write well, and are entertaining, but they don't always have "fact-checking" departments... Just watch more than one network!

.....There's plenty of blame to go around in the New Orleans disaster. The engineers said years ago that if the city got a direct hit from a cat 4 or 5 storm, it was all over. Blame the politicians who put pork over the common good, blame the voters who didn't punt them out, blame the folks who wouldn't get on the buses out before the storm, and blame FEMA for sitting on their asses in horror for days. Blame us for being strung out in Asia (like we could really make a difference with billions there who hate us...) while our citizens thirst and die. Blame the junkies and alcholics who didn't stock up before the storm.

.....This is one of those times when humanity rears its ugly side. This is when tempers fray, and we find that we are little different than a wounded beast that bites at those who try to help it. And sometimes, there are no good answers.

.....New Orleans has been a charnel house of death and misery since its founding. Malaria, cholera, slavery, heat, flooding, etc, have plagued the area for several centuries. This is the latest chapter. Past woes have produced a tough, independent people, and folk will rebuild both their lives and this city, even if it is once again not up to code. (When was it ever?)

.....Before we go pointing fingers at the looters and shooters, ask yourself how your city would fare if the poorest quarter of the population were stranded without food, drinking water or transportation for several days. I'm thinking the result would be equally alarming regardless of the location...


At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Everett said...

So who's up for a game of New Orleans by Night?

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....I'd like James Lee Burke to write it. Less twinky were-gators, more mundane, squalid meanness. My biggest problem with being a vampire in New Orleans means that I can't eat the food. Sheer torture!

.....Imagine the tragedy if Commander's Palace and Antoines don't re-open! Not to mention Tujaques, Acme Seafood, Cafe duMonde, and of course, Snug Harbor over on Frenchman.


At 9:49 AM, Blogger sF said...

the choice i've made regarding news validity is to divide in my head information as 'fact' and 'opinion'. things with properly represented numbers qualify, after some checking, as 'fact'. everything else is 'opinion'. including this post. =)

properly represented numbers are, btw, proportional, not absolute. i like percentages, not raw numbers. raw numbers do not give anyone a sense of scale. for instance: around 2000 soldiers have been killed in iraq in the past two years. that is 1:145,000 or .0000069% of the US population. in the same period, around 850,000 people have died in the united states from smoking-related illnesses. (these numbers are based on a study of death rates i did a couple of years ago, comparing cancer to terrorism, and are based largely on census and cdc data.) proportion, in this case, gives perspective. while 2000 seems like a big, sensational number, it really isn't.

the same can be said of dollars, profits, unemployment rates, whatever else. it's not the number that matters, it's the proportion.

sources are another important thing to me. good reporters give their numbers sources, be they bls, or a survey group, or whatever. and if it's a survey, i have to read the survey. what questions get asked has as much to do with people's answers as anything.

another example, consider the results of the following two surveys, and how they would be portrayed on cnn:

1: do you feel the president has done a good job in iraq? (yes/no)


2: what do you think of the president's approach to the war in iraq?
a) shouldn't have gone in the first place.
b) mission accomplished.
c) should be more sensitive to the needs of iraqis.
d) should be more agressive against terror.
e) good intentions, but complete failure to execute.
f) reasonable progress, and should continue.

in #1, cnn would report a favorable/unfavorable. however, that doesn't tell the whole story: almost as many people are as unhappy with bush in iraq because of a *lack* of agression as are because of too much.

this survey becomes more meaningful when taken by a populace that is independent, and not pro- or anti- bush. then again, those people are increasingly hard to find. politics is the new baseball, and anti-bush is the new iconoclast chic.

in short, read the surveys. information management becomes necessary in the quantum news age. as the saying goes, we're drowning in information, and still thirsty for knowledge.

At 3:05 AM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....The information I get is often late in coming! One of the faults of Blogger is that late posts on a subject can go unnoticed. The last one in this thread is genius, and I almost missed it!

.....Let me place myself in two disparate camps! If we are to be involved in Asia, MORE AGRESSION might well be needed! Unfortunatly, it's not going to work. We should have never gone there to begin with. A few Tomahawk spankings were all that was needed. General MacArthur had it right about not being able to win a land war in Asia. And now we're strung out with TWO of them!

.....We can't keep illegal Mexicans out of the US. (Never mind that respected US companies hire said workers!) How can we keep Iraq's borders secure?

.....I had an interesting week on the Emerald Coast recently. We arrived in Ft. Walton during the aftermath of hurricane Rita, and a lot of the Florida sunshine and beachy things were shut down. Next to our building, a new luxury monster-condo complex was being built.

.....I had the opportunity to converse with the workers shoveling washed sand away, and working on the building. It seems that they were making about $4 an hour, with the stipulation that they could live in the shell of the building till it was finished. They were hired under the vague US laws involving "contract labor," and had no other benefits... And they were THRILLED! One particular fellow, "Jorge," was ecstatic that he was going to be able to pay for all of his children (in Guatemala) to go to elementary school on such wages....

.....What is an honest US citizen to do? Should I try to hunt through the phone book for the INS? And what will they want? My identity? And will they actually move against a company exploiting foreign workers rebuilding the tax base?

.....And more importantly, should I should I, as a decent human being, turn in a hard-working, good natured fellow trying to provide for his family? Difficult questions, these are, at least for me.



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