[ExI] [wta-talk] LA Times: Unlimited space for untold sorrow

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Feb 7 15:00:44 UTC 2008

On Feb 6, 2008 9:11 PM, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:

> How does this help you or any of us exactly?  What does it change for
> the good in your life or in the lives of those you interact with?   I
> am honestly curious as I do not find such information so valuable and
> useful.

Samantha -

You, P.J. and others make pertinent points:

-  We lack adequate access to and visibility of many statistics (such
as violent deaths by location) where the data exists but isn't made

-  The statistics which are reported are unevenly emphasized and
distributed, tending toward sensationalism and skewed assessments.

-  Data is not informative without context.  In the absence of
contextual data, people tend to apply their own personal context (see
the sharp contrast between PJ and Lee in the meaning they derive from
this isolated data on inner city violent deaths.)

What I find interesting in the bigger picture is the common lack of
appreciation of the **necessity** of fine-grained contextual data
relevant to social decision-making, and more importantly, systems
making such data easily and widely available for a multitude of
competing/cooperating interpretations in the marketplace of ideas.

We continue to unthinkingly resort to the evolved heuristics of our
ancestors for aggregating and refining meaning.  Democracy was a
fairly recent step in the right direction.  We already have technology
that could serve us much better.

- Jef
Increasing awareness for increasing morality

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