20.139 applied humanities; accuracy

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2006 08:56:15 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 139.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois (46)
         Subject: Re: 20.121 applying the humanities to the world

   [2] From: "Nathaniel Bobbitt" <flautabaja_at_hotmail.com> (171)
         Subject: RE: 20.136 which scissors & how to cut with them

         Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 08:41:15 +0100
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Re: 20.121 applying the humanities to the world


I am intrigued. Who is the audience for making the case that the
Humanities are connected to the World?

One of the uses of the humanities is world-making (and exploring).
That is the humanities at their best
provide a perspective from which to view the show. You seem in your
missive to Humanist however to suggest
that more than pointing to the achievement of distance and the
practice contemplation is required to argue
for the connection. Pragmatic response to a Why? question sometimes
involve shifting the question to a
How?. Sometimes those students are merely asking permission to be
curious. And an invitation to ask "how
should I be interested in that or whatever" can quickly morph into
"how am I to be interested". Dropping
the _should_ removes a barrier and allows students to develop style,
their style for their life as they
are living it.

Now if you are talking to deans and the heads of industry, the
argument from freedom may not be the most
appropriate one to secure support. The argument takes a second step:
freedom (based in discipline) can
augments the chances for diversity to flourish and where diversity
flourishes there are greater chances for
inovation. It is the arguent for maintaining intellectual ecologies.

The humanities in short are necessary for the reproduction of the
world and the finding of a place for the
self and its others in the reproduced world. Without potential there
is no reproduction. The humanities
preserve potential.

> Many here have been involved at one time or another in worrying the
> intersection of the humanities, computing and the world. Humanities
> computing has been promoted to students as a way of getting ahead in
> life, and part of that promotion has involved the (proto)argument
> that computing connects the humanities to the world at large. We've
> claimed that if you learn how to tackle the hardest problems known --
> those of the humanities -- empirically, you'll have a leg up on the
> simpler task of applying the computer to the problems one encounters,
> say, on the job. The question from students, "Why should I be
> interested in that, whatever it is?", is as urgent as ever. We are in
> need of genuine, straightforward arguments (as mutatis mutandis are
> our colleagues in all the other disciplines of the humanities).

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
~~~ to be surprised by machines: wistly and sometimes wistfully
         Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 08:47:42 +0100
         From: "Nathaniel Bobbitt" <flautabaja_at_hotmail.com>
         Subject: RE: 20.136 which scissors & how to cut with them
Will and Humanists,
Bringing Greater Accuracy to the Unknown
This sounds like a paradox it is not. The unknown here is not lexical
instead think of the weaving of access ways, sightlines, and
obstructions in the flow of a basketball game of a soccer match at
either end of the court/field.
Not only should science consider the use of instruments but
expressive visualization practices of genomic, protein, or massive
ecological data sets. Viz-expressions should include the ability to
take a mapping and  revert it back to the starting experimental
conditions. Too often visualizations fail to support the process by
which our findings were made. By taking this approach we come closer
to a method of modeling and simulation that is more energy based and
embodied with how things playout...dynamically in a eco-system. More
importantly this model helps us to look at the impact and address
planning as well as the support of the discovery process, in science.
By looking at the limitations of paper I have come to a new way to
mark difference that draws on Deleuze's "Difference and Repetition"
with some corrective measures.
I mark difference using an  optical non-lexical approach. This leads
to the development of boundary systems based on optical operators
(non-arithmetic) and a granular system.
So when one talks about how/which scissors to use I go exactly, with
one modification. Paper limits the scope of how we can conceptualize
numerical relationships, especially the opaque paper. Instead we need
to consider other media as our primary recourse, before we start
talking about relationships and how to control them or expressive
them in a computational (algorithmic) system.
You can see some advance preview of my work through my participation
in a MIT/Harvard workshop on new ways of envisioning science see PAGE 5:
I would invite others to visit an announcement for collaborations
with me in the PDF at:
This results in avoiding a conceptual framework as found in Zeno, B.
Russell, or the recent interest in cellular autonoma in NKS
(Wolfram).  While Cantor brought into focus ordinality in
mathematical reasoning, I have come to realize a mathematical and
philosophical view of relationships (quantitative, qualitative, and
classifiers: logical, computational, spatial) based on dimensional
symbols. Dimensional symbols are derived from dimensional analysis
and my work on the porous-solid-fractal.
I am in the process of releasing several of my findings that fall
under two headings:
1. Why invent a new numeral system?
2. Future of crystallography
Crystallography is so pivotal in the move beyond the printing press
and a move toward spectroscopy, genomics, and quantum computing.
My work in going public is ready for collaborative efforts based on
my findings:
1. hand-held 3D fractals 4D (all spatial) Fractal Space
2. optical computational language
3. switching logic for high performance/quantum computing based on
dimensional symbols (degrees of freedom with conformal geometric expressions)
4. bulging frame that modifies our intuition on the interval
(Zeno-Russell) and the grid (Cartesian)
By developing a dimensional symbol, optical computational language, I
have set my sight on how to bring greater accuracy to the unknown. My
techniques have applications in corpus/text analysis, genome mapping,
and other computationally massive problems. I am always amazed to see
research in quantum computing/DNA computing that remains clueless to
the role of the display system and the operators used to support the machine.
My work turns away from the Turing machine and Morse related encoding
systems. My work arrives at an encoding system that solves label
problems, addressing challenges, additional middleware that only slow
down processing of instructions, and the ability of the system to
function in terms of excitable forms that act on itself, that is,
where hierarchy is left alone to re-write itself.
In terms of the humanities, doing philosophy with computers,
bibliographic study, text analysis, or art historic lecture
(combination of slide show, narration, and visual/historical
analysis) my Myriad system will prove to be a scaling/metric system
that improves upon set theory and system of indexing across the
terminological challenges in expressive or technical communication exchanges.
My system signals the road toward a new mode of publication and
exchange of expressivity and technical communication. The goal of
this new form of publication is to help others see the hidden,
emergent relationships, while being able to look at multiple resolutions the
hierarchy in the author vs. the hierarchy of the reader vs. the
hierarchy of the commentator vs. the hierarchy of the text over generations.
My system is so powerful because I have focused on how to develop a
boundary system rather focusing on those lexical questions based on
symbolic representation, meaning etc...I have opted for those
"next-steps" in a performative process... The formation of this
boundary system has made some basic observations on the interval
without cutting. Instead I make insertions the results are staggering.
Since my "Survey of Visual Paradigms" (1999) Leonardo Exchange
Almanac I have taken the study of visual langauge towards human performance:
Since 2002 my work has resulted in visual (optical) form of
computation and expression.
Nathaniel Bobbitt
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Eugene,OR
From:  "Humanist Discussion Group
<willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>)" <willard_at_LISTS.VILLAGE.VIRGINIA.EDU>
Reply-To:  "Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty
<willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>)" <willard_at_LISTS.VILLAGE.VIRGINIA.EDU>
To:  humanist_at_Princeton.EDU
Date:  Thu, 3 Aug 2006 06:40:09 +0100
  >               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 136.
  >       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
  >                        www.princeton.edu/humanist/
  >                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu
  >         Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006 09:15:32 +0100
  >         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
  >         Subject: which scissors & how to cut with them
  >The French philosopher of aesthetics Etienne Souriau, in "A General
  >Methodology for the Scientific Study of Aesthetic Appreciation"
  >(Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 14.1 (1955), begins his
  >essay with an overall comment on method. "Scissors are always
  >scissors", he comments. "But the tailor, the embroiderer, the
  >gardener, and the surgeon must have different kinds. There is no
  >scientific method good in itself. A good scientific method is one
  >well adapted to the kind of facts to be studied. The experimental
  >quantitative procedures perfected by contemporary psychology and
  >sociology may be ever so valuable, efficacious, and indispensable,
  >but the worth of the results obtained with them depends upon the
  >nicety of their application to the study of behavior or aptitude, to
  >personality patterns, or to the structures of emotion or opinion. It
  >may be said that certain supposedly scientific investigations of the
  >aesthetic fact give at times somewhat the impression of a surgeon
  >trying to operate on the heart with a gardener's clippers." (p. 1).
  >There are two points here to be disentangled: first, that a good
  >method must closely match that to which it is applied; second, and
  >less obviously, that its manner of application must hug its object
  >even more so.
  >The first point has to do with selection of the right tool.
  >surgeon is a butcher because he or she does not have the right sort
  >of cutting instrument to hand. The second point has to do with the
  >skill of the surgeon, which is not at all guaranteed by having the
  >right sort of scissors. Between these two points lies the designing
  >of this right sort, in which the experience and knowledge of many
  >surgeons directs the shaping and articulation of the surgical steel.
  >As tool-providers, we strive of course to satisfy the first point --
  >the right tool for the right job. Much fuss over design
  >specifications and their translation into code is involved here. But
  >computing would hardly be special if that were the whole story. The
  >special quality of our tool-building, it seems to me, lies in the
  >potential for putting into the hands of working scholars the means
  >designing, interactively, on the spot -- the scissors bend and twist
  >so that the surgeon may reach around an obstruction to that which
  >must be snipped, then bend and twist differently for the next task.
  >Is there an asymptotic relationship between such flexibility of the
  >tool and the skillful intentionality to which it gives reach?
  >Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
  >Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
  >Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
  >-2980 || willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
Received on Mon Aug 07 2006 - 04:22:59 EDT

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