Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Envisioning Information: Information Design can lead to a design to predict Catstrophe Theory

Tuffe, an information designer, believes that data and information should be designed well for presenting the information to us. Surely, this is crucial to Catastrophe Theory- the methods of Catastrophe Theory, although the necessity to design the method of interpreting media and images to find clues to predict Catastrophe is important, the design to make images that can predict Catastrophe is also equally important to the Catastrophe Theorist as artist and detective. A good way to find methods of design, is perhaps, to look to information design, as represented here Edward Tuffe. I,  a Catastrophe Theorist, do have the luck to get Envisioning Information, and the Visual Display of Quantitative Information both for only one dollar each, as these books are very, very expensive brand new. I hope, from my studies, to extract design methods in which one can design a method of analysis of data and images for Catastrophe Theory, as well as creating data and images to predict/solve Catastrophe Theory 

The following is someone's review of Edward's book.

Over the last twenty years, Edward Tufte has published three impressive volumes setting forth his ideas on information design. The first, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information was designated as ‘pictures of numbers’ and dealt with statistical charts, graphs, and tables. This second volume deals with ‘pictures of nouns’, which is his metaphorical way of describing the ‘strategies for high-dimensional data, and how to increase information depth on paper and computer’.

Envisioning InformationHe makes a persuasive case for layering, colour, and separation as a means of clarifying information when it is rendered in two dimensions – principally on the printed page. What he calls an ‘escape from flatland’ is illustrated in a series of wonderfully complex diagrams: a Javanese railway timetable shows departures and arrivals, distance, altitude, and even facilities at each station.

He explores the interesting notion that in a world of marks on paper, good presentation is affected by the rule that ’1 + 1 = 3 or more’. That is, even two simple lines become three visual units because of the space between them – and he provides plenty of information to prove his case, illustrated with such diverse materials as old maps, musical notation, and even medical records.

His argument that small multiple images are the best way to reveal differences is beautifully illuminated by photographs of Chinese calligraphy and nineteenth century engravings of fly fishing lures, but it doesn’t seem altogether convincing – and as in the other volumes of this trilogy, some of the bad examples are just as visually attractive as the good – which appears to spoil the point he’s trying to make.

He’s much more persuasive on the use of colour to impart information, although at some points, even if the prints and engravings are stunning, the reading is not easy:

Transparent and effective deployment of redundant signals requires, first, the need – an ambiguity or confusion in seeing data display that can in fact be diminished by multiplicity – and, second, the appropriate choice of design technique (from among all the various methods of signal reinforcement) that will work to minimize the ambiguity of reading.

For somebody who claims to be aiming for clarity in communication, this reads like a bad example out of a writer’s style manual.

He keeps coming back, as do many other theorists of two-dimensional spatial design, to one of the most interesting challenges of all – the notation of dance. Cue eighteenth-century engravings of dancing masters with fancy hats and weird hieroglyphics trailing out of their feet. Other examples in the book range from flight schedules from Czech airways to Japanese railway timetables, rowing contests, and even a diagram of Wagner’s operas.

If we want to take a robust line on someone who is obviously very successful, it’s possible to argue that Tufte designs more successfully than he writes. Much of the time, his text reads as if it has been badly translated from German; yet if ever he issues his books in paperback, they are so attractive he’ll be able to retire on the proceeds.


  Envisioning Information

  1. Escaping Flatland
    • Introduce multiple dimensions on a two-space surface, e.g., time, compounding, links, etc.
    • Focus on the point and not the Pridefully Obvious Presentation - good design strategies are transparent.
    • Study the variations, there are patterns to be found even in chaos.
    • Words are a strong deterrent to international communication, symbols convey messages to all.
    • A steady canvas makes for a clearer picture.
    • Multiple smallness of images allows local comparisons with the eyes.
    • Decorate construction, never construct decoration: Pugin.
    • Respect the audiences intelligence - construct high quality "maps" and avoid chartjunk and posterization.
    • The ducks of information design are false escapes from the Flatlands, adding pretend dimensions to impoverished data sets.
  2. Micro/Macro Readings
    • To clarify, add detail.
    • Micro/macro information: visualization is condensed, slowed, and personalized.
    • Artificial boundaries can be a good for dividing up information.
    • Stem and leaf plots can save characters and give better visual comparisons.
    • Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.
  3. Layering and Separation
    • 1 + 1 = 3 or more (the space between 2 objects can create new objects - watch out for clutter.)
    • Visual relationships must be in relevant proportion and in harmony to the substance of ideas, evidence, or data conveyed.
    • Macro annotation can help explain micro detail.
    • Use light, color, size, space effectively.
    • Remove the weight, avoid vibration.
    • Clarity is not everything but there is little without it.
    • Unless deliberate obscurity is sought, avoid surround words with boxes and set type above graphics (fewer descending rather than ascending letters.)
    • Information consists of differences that make a difference.
  4. Small Multiples
    • Comparisons... use a scope of alternatives, a range of options - show changes in data and not in data frames.
    • There is nothing as mysterious as a fact clearly described.
    • Comparisons must be enforced within the scope of the eyespan.
    • Flatlands within flatlands significantly deepen displays.
  5. Color and Information

    • Above all, do no harm when bringing color to information.
    • Use color to label, to measure, to represent or imitate reality, and to enliven or decorate.
    • Large areas of glaring, rich colors or placing bright colors mixed with whites produce unpleasant, confusing results.
    • Color spots against a muted field highlight data and weave an overall harmony.
  6. Narratives of Space and Time (see book examples)

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Smile can save the world- it can prevent catastrophe

 The Catastrophe Theorist, recalls from a sermon, of a man who, wrote a suicide note, that he will not commit suicide if someone smiles at him on his walk to the bridge. No one did, so he jumped to his death. Thus, Smiling, can prevent Catastrophe. Smiling can save the world.
 The lips, an important aspect of the smile expression, is a great communicator, a great sensory, the lips in themselves are like a brain- it thinks in it's own sensory world. One lives through the lips. Nourishment comes through the lips. A great universe of taste goes through the lips. Life goes in and out. For it to smile, communicates the pleasure of the life it receives in gratitude as it breathes.
 The smile, communicated with the entire face, the eyes the expression, the twinkle in the eye, the mouth! The Mouth, the biggest and strongest muscle in the smile, draws it's attention. Its for kissing. It speaks, for the powers of words hold life and death in them. One can speak for life, or speak for death. Such is the kiss, the taste, notice the sugars and candies on the lips. A smile is in fact, a treat! Yes, of course, to kiss sugar lips, is a very tasty sweet. Such is the reflection, to kiss with lips, of which one tastes the universe, gain nourishment, speak words that direct our fates, thus a sugar kiss, is in fact an accumulation of desires, is the satisfaction of having breathed life with those lips!
 Thus, the suicide, who wanted a smile, a sugar smile, a sweet to light up his darkness. He wanted the signal, that the lips would tell him, not to kill himself. That the lips, which hold power over life and death, the lips that drink, eat, and breathe, would smile to acknowledge his existence, and that everything is OK! It's the dessert treat that would save his life! His lips eat, breathe, drinks.. but he needed to see a smile at him. He needed reassurance. A smile was all he needed. From any stranger, anyone. That smile would have sugar. That smile would have candy! He would be back in the candy-store of the living again!
Smiling can save the world! The world is a cherry! It is in your lips! Hold the world in your lips with a smile! A terrorist, plotting his sinister evil schemes to blow up the world, may change his mind after seeing a smile!
When one embraces a fond memory in one's mind, or has an ideation of humor, or thinks well, one smile! Thus a smile is a realization of mental faculties in sync! One smiles at pleasurable stimuli, the smile acknowledges pleasure. To see a smile, in one's presence, expresses pleasure. The suicide, seeing a smile, would feel that he stimulated pleasure, stimulated living, stimulated existence, stimulated a dessert, a candy,  sugar, in which he is pleasing to the world he exists in. A smile brings to the mind the ideations of which brings a smile to that person's mind. A smile is a road signal, a signpost, to the mind's roads of which the thoughts travel. A smile is powerful indeed, and can save the world. A smile can save billions of people! A smile, seen by the sadistic terrorist, may change his mind at being evil!


By Stephanie Pappas

CHICAGO — Next time you're out walking about, you may want to give passers-by a smile, or at least a nod. Recent research reveals that these tiny gestures can make people feel more connected.
People who have been acknowledged by a stranger feel more connected to others immediately after the experience than people who have been deliberately ignored, according to study reported here today (May 24) at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Motivation.
"Ostracism is painful," said study researcher Eric Wesselmann, a social psychologist at Purdue University in Indiana. "Sometimes, colloquially, I like to say ostracism sucks. It's not a pleasant experience."
The pain is psychological, but it can also extend to the physical. Studies have linked loneliness to a weakened immune system and a hardening of the arteries, for example. And a variety of laboratory experiments have shown that when a person is excluded, even if for a brief time in something as inconsequential as a silly computer game, they feel worse about themselves and experience an all-around sour mood.
Researchers suspect that this response is evolutionary. Humans are social animals, adapted for group living, Wesselmann said.  
"If you depend upon others for your survival, if you are culled from that group, you are as good as dead," he said.
If that's the case, people should be very tuned-in to clues about social acceptance and rejection. Wesselmann and his colleagues decided to conduct a subtle experiment to find out. Their participants, 239 pedestrians in a busy campus area, didn't even know they were part of a study. They simply passed by someone who acknowledged them politely, acknowledged them with a smile or stared straight through them as if they weren't even there. The researchers were aiming to create a feeling the Germans call "wie Luft behandeln," or "to be looked at as though air." [ 7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You ]
(Psychology has also explained another German expression, " schadenfreude," or the joy we sometimes get when others fail.)
Immediately after this encounter, the unknowing participants got waylaid by another person who asked them to fill out a survey on social connectedness. The participants had no idea that the stranger who had just passed them was part of this study. A fourth group of participants filled out the survey without ever encountering the stranger at all.
The survey results showed that being pointedly ignored by a stranger had an immediate effect. Participants who'd gotten the cold shoulder reported feeling more socially disconnected than people who'd gotten acknowledged, whether that acknowledgement came with a smile or not. People who hadn't encountered the stranger fell somewhere in the middle.
Cities, suburbs and rural areas all have their own rules about street meet-and-greets. (You'd likely get strange looks nodding at every stranger on the sidewalk in Manhattan, but ignoring fellow walkers in small-town Tennessee wouldn't be looked upon kindly.) Those regional differences could influence the results, Wesselmann told LiveScience, though it's likely that the deliberate "wie Luft behandeln" look would be off-putting anywhere.
Wesselmann and his colleagues detailed their results in February in the journal Psychological Science.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Theory of Mind: Cognitives for the Catastrophe Theorist

Art of Manliness: Why Men Should Read more fiction

Reading Fiction Strengthens Your Theory of Mind

Theory of mind is a cognitive ability that humans use all the time, but take for granted. Basically, it’s our ability to attribute mental states (like thoughts, feelings, and beliefs) to others based on a whole host of input in order to predict and explain what they are thinking. Cognitive scientists call this ability “theory of mind” because when we interact with others, it’s impossible for us to know exactly what they’re thinking/feeling/perceiving, so we have to construct a theory of what they’re thinking/feeling/perceiving in their mind. Without theory of mind, social interaction would be awkward, clumsy, and nearly impossible.

Catastrophe Theory: Theory of Mind is necessary, and very important cognitive function for developing Catastrophe Theory and predicting and solving problems. Catastrophe is a social interaction, but Theory of Mind isn't just limited to social interaction.

One can use Theory of Mind to attribute Catastrophe Theory to time, place, scenes, events, by placing clues, media, things that can lead to a formulation and solving a Catastrophe Theory. To see past events and the clues and things that tell us about the Catastrophe and its effect on our lives- does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? Thus with art, media, our media that we so engage in and interact with, gives us a rich window to view the universe in which one could perceive and predict a Catastrophe and predict it. 


Theory of mind is a theory insofar as the mind is not directly observable.[1] The presumption that others have a mind is termed a theory of mind because each human can only intuit the existence of his or her own mind through introspection, and no one has direct access to the mind of another. It is typically assumed that others have minds by analogy with one's own, and based on the reciprocal nature of social interaction, as observed in joint attention,[2] the functional use of language,[3] and understanding of others' emotions and actions.[4] Having a theory of mind allows one to attribute thoughts, desires, and intentions to others, to predict or explain their actions, and to posit their intentions. As originally defined, it enables one to understand that mental states can be the cause of—and thus be used to explain and predict—others’ behavior.[1] Being able to attribute mental states to others and understanding them as causes of behavior implies, in part, that one must be able to conceive of the mind as a "generator of representations".[5][6] If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.
Theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, but one requiring social and other experience over many years to bring to fruition. Different people may develop more, or less, effective theories of mind. Empathy is a related concept, meaning experientially recognizing and understanding the states of mind, including beliefs, desires and particularly emotions of others, often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes." Recent neuro ethological studies of animal behaviour suggest that even rodents may exhibit ethical or empathic abilities.[7] Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development maintain that theory of mind is a byproduct of a broader hypercognitive ability of the human mind to register, monitor, and represent its own functioning

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hourglass Summer: Dating can lead the Catastrophe Theorist to clues.


The story revolves around a Japanese sophomore named Kotaro Makimura. As the school year ends and summer vacation approaches, he decides to admit his feelings to his crush, the beautiful Kaho Serizawa. As hopeless as the situation looks to his best friends Ai and Takeshi, he is determined to make Kaho his girlfriend by the end of summer vacation. However, on his way home, he has a collision with a mysterious stranger, and ends up getting covered in a strange multi-colored powder. When he wakes up the next day, he finds himself waking up on September 1 - the first day of the next school year. He also learns that Kaho, who had been his girlfriend, had died in a car accident. Eventually, Kotaro discovers that he has begun day-dropping, in which he skips days, and goes back and forth in time through different days of the summer vacation. With the help of Ligene the Time Patroller (also translated as Lee Jane), Kotaro must win Kaho's heart and prevent her death before he runs out of time.
Although Kaho is the girl that Kotaro aspires for at the beginning of the game, the player can choose different decisions that will eventually lead him to relationships with one of the other four girls. Of course, the wrong decisions could result in an ending in which Kotaro wins the affections of none of them. Although the objective of the game is to become the boyfriend of one of the girls, some of these other endings can be the only way to view certain images not found in the other paths.
 Kotaro, the Catastrophe Theorist, has experienced visions/dreams that has given him Catastrophe Theory clues, in which he dates several girls to get clues that lead to his discovery on how to prevent a Catastrophe Theory of one of the girls he loves, from dying. So, by dating and engaging in courtship, romantic behaviour, the Catastrophe Theorist can get clues from the girls to prevent Catastrophe Theory. Every single good opportunity with a woman must be taken to get Catastrophe Theory Clues. All girls are or have the abilities to be mothers and give birth to life. Mothers on the planet have clues to provide for the Catastrophe Theorist. Sex, in it itself, lead to clues. The act of courtship for libidinous behaviour can direct the Catastrophe Theorist in finding clues. Girls are nurturing and by being the nurturing mother, they nurture the earth. Thus the protection of the Earth and it's survival is to be looked upon by getting clues out of participating in courtship with the girls.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Twix Candy bars, and the fall of the Twin Towers

Twix- seeing these two candy bars reminds you of the two Twin Towers of World Trade Center in NY, before they were destroyed by planes manned by terrorists in 911, right? The symbolism is uncanny. Well, once upon a time, our little Catastrophe Theorist, David Cardamone, was a little tyke attending middle school at Victory Christian School, where he was sent to the principal's office every time he went to class every single day and was expelled for pretending to pee on himself. Well, let's get to the point- well there was a spelling class, and his teacher Miss Tate, who according to David's father, this woman was a "Miss" and was a "Sexually Frustrated Cranky Teacher". Miss Tate did not trust David to take the spelling test, thinking he would cheat, so she had David take his desk out to the hallway, and had a girl student stand next to David, and watch David take the spelling test and said, "David, I'll give you a Twix" candy bar if you pass the test with 100%. David said, but what if I miss a few points and still get an A? And the sexually frustrated, cranky Miss Tate said, "No, you have to get a Complete Full Score on the spelling test". Well, David did his best, with the distraction of a girl looking right at him standing right in front of his desk, and he got a 99%. So, David, even though he got a 99% on the spelling test, and it was a good grade, and it was an A, he did not get the candy bar reward. What a bad impression this would make on a little boy for doing so well in a spelling test- an A!!!!
Well, as a Catastrophe Theorist, David blames the meanness of Miss Tate on not giving him a Twix Candy bar, and blames that meanness to cause 911. To not give him a reward for doing so well with 99%. Thus we can see that the sexually frustrated psyche-soma of Miss Tate to punish such a little kid, but also to trigger a chain-reaction that leads to 911. Surely, this incident and this candy bar provides a Catastrophe Theory clue. There is a strong sembelance in the damaged psyche-some of America and it's downfall with 911. Thus America's sexual problems, in mastrubating and not having sex, has a lot to do with it's weak links in it's defenses.