Monday, January 30, 2006


An interview with Stephen Colbert on comedy, improvisation, The Daily Show, and yes, truthiness:

"Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don't mean the argument over who came up with the word. I don't know whether it's a new thing, but it's certainly a current thing, in that it doesn't seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything."

More here.

Update: This just in from NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman:

"How does one report the facts," asked Rob Corddry on "The Daily Show," "when the facts themselves are biased?" He explained to Jon Stewart, who played straight man, that "facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda," and therefore can't be reported.

Mr. Corddry's parody of journalists who believe they must be "balanced" even when the truth isn't balanced continues, alas, to ring true.

Is fake news more informative than so-called "real" news, and why is so much of the Daily Show's success tied to their ability to "go meta" with the data?

More here.

Another update: Is our Grad seminar dialogue contemporary, or what? Another NYtimes headline from today reads "How Oprahness Trumped Truthiness" which relates to the fake memoir (i.e. pseudo-autobiographical fiction) of James Frey. If you feel so inclined, follow the story here.

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Blogger i_answer_to_john_most_of_the_time said...

Intersting post... here's a recent email I sent to Mark Amerika which has a brief comment on the notion of "truthiness".. Not sure if I'll get a response from M.A. since I don't know him..:)

Hi, my name is John Cook, I live in the Boulder area and am involved in high tech stuff -- mainly start-ups. I also make objects and some static painting. I've been sporadically following ur and other folks work in the area of "av pop." As an off shoot, I'm in the conceptual phase of a project that looks at the changing nature of networks with the notion that changing idea groupings (or changes in the networks node intensity) creates certain effects -- swarms, etc. Anyway, we all know that increasingly network effects are being seen in the world around us. E.g., people grouping at one place based on text messages and then leaving ... or the current boycotting of certain products in the Arab countries. I also think that the network effects are at the heart of the current talk about folks are more worried about perception and not "truthiness." Soooo... HERE's the conceptual framework im thinking about .... and then the project... maybe u can point me in a direction that could help this get off the ground.

The basic conceptual framework is the notion of the old koan -- would you rather be a point or a grid. In the case of networks the point is an increase in the network density (or gravity) around floating contexts which normally are a group of ideas. The ideas may be positively related or just in the neighbourhood or opposites. The grid is the processes both virtual and in the real world that feed the networks. With the notion that the value is in the network and specifically in network density. So what does this have to do w/ ur notion of av pop. It means that it is the network that provides many of the changes and the nature of the network is changed by filtered idea groups (or seeding) which in the physics realm is a changing of gravity. It also means that network behavior is loosely coupled to architecture and more closely related to idea clustering and the change in "traffic." And that the world is showing more signs of network effects.. which can be seen as chaos.. but really is not. That's a simple look at the framework.

This project is .... to use a clustering engine with visualization tools that looks at syntactic and idea relationships (which may be changed) via spiders on the web and random searches, emails, IMs, news, etc. Then use this information in a live simulation. The user interaction with the simulation would be in feeding the network with various information and changing the rules the that they see the world from .. this can be compared to other's view too. Then a clustering engine would display the clustering of ideas in a mountain like topology. The colors of the mountain would indicate network density and the idea cluster would look at the changes in ideas as well as the static grouping of ideas. There are several clustering engines and visualization programs that could help in this effort. Of course a user could then look at various behaviors and outputs to feed other simulations that could easily be linked to real world interaction.

.. ne that's were I'm at in the project.

7:05 PM  

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