[Paleopsych] Widsom of crowds

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sat Sep 18 13:53:57 UTC 2004

These are fascinating! I am a psychologist, which means I hid from hard 
science in grad  school, but I must say, the idea of many individuals 
all contributing something to determine the behavior of the colony does 
illustrate the wisdom of the group. I intend to carefully study these 
and incorporate them into my thinking. thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Eshel Ben-Jacob wrote:

>Dear Lynn,
>You might find the attached papers interesting, All the best, Eshel
>Eshel  Ben Jacob                                     E-mail:
>eshel at tamar.tau.ac.il
>Professor of Physics                               Home Page:
>School of Physics and Astronomy
>The Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems
>Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
>President of the Israel Physical Society               Visit the IPS on-line
>    http://physicaplus.org.il
>Tel #'s Country (972) City (3)   Home: (972-3) 644-8265
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>Laboratory: 640-8066; 640-8261
>Quoting "Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D." <ljohnson at solution-consulting.com>:
>>Here is an interesting example of the wisdom of crowds, in today's
>>Opinion Journal, by John Fund:
>>The energy of the internet to solve difficult problems (oil, space) has
>>not yet been effectively tapped. There may be great ways to do it.
>>I'd Rather Be Blogging
>>CBS stonewalls as "guys in pajamas" uncover a fraud.
>>Monday, September 13, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT
>>A watershed media moment occurred Friday on Fox News Channel, when
>>Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News who
>>oversaw "60 Minutes," debated Stephen Hayes, a writer for The Weekly
>>Standard, on the documents CBS used to raise questions about George W.
>>Bush's Vietnam-era National Guard service.
>>Mr. Klein dismissed the bloggers who are raising questions about the
>>authenticity of the memos: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between
>>the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy
>>sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."
>>He will regret that snide disparagement of the bloggers, many of whom
>>are skilled lawyers or have backgrounds in military intelligence or
>>typeface design. A growing number of design and document experts say
>>they are certain or almost certain the memos on which CBS relied are
>>Mr. Klein didn't directly address the mounting objections to CBS's
>>story. He fell back on what high school debaters call the appeal to
>>authority, implying that the reputation of "60 Minutes" should be enough
>>to dissolve doubts without the network sharing its methods with other
>>journalists and experts. He told Fox's Tony Snow that the "60 Minutes"
>>team is "the most careful news organization, certainly on television."
>>He said that Mary Mapes, the producer of the story, was "a crack
>>journalist" who had broken the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story.
>>But leaning on reputations does nothing to dispel the doubts raised by
>>bloggers, experts and relatives and associates of the late Lt. Gen.
>>Jerry Killian, the memos' putative author. Gary Killian, Gen. Killian's
>>son, says CBS apparently didn't call several people he suggested they
>>contact who would have contradicted the CBS story. Bobby Hodges, a
>>former Texas Air National Guard general whom "60 Minutes" claimed had
>>authenticated the memos, says that when he was read them over the phone
>>he assumed they were handwritten and wasn't told that CBS didn't have
>>the originals. He now says he doesn't believe the memos are genuine.
>>Hugh Hewitt, the unofficial historian of the blogging movement, says
>>that "bloggers have been overwhelmed with e-mails from active-duty and
>>retired military who scoff at the form of the memos." They point out the
>>man cited in the memo as pressuring Mr. Killian to "sugar coat" the Bush
>>military record had left the Texas Air National Guard a year and a half
>>before the memo was supposedly written. In addition, typewriters with
>>perfect centering ability were nonexistent in 1972 and 1973, and
>>National Guard regulations barred the maintenance of such records. Mr.
>>Killian's widow adds that her late husband kept no personal files from
>>his Guard duty, notes that CBS won't reveal its source, and says the
>>memos are bogus. Earl Lively, director of operations for the Texas Air
>>National Guard in the 1970s, told the Washington Times that the memos
>>are "forged as hell."
>>CBS's fallback defense is that its story was only partly based on the
>>documents and points to its on-camera interview with former Texas House
>>speaker and lieutenant governor Ben Barnes, who claimed that he pulled
>>strings to gain a place for Mr. Bush in the National Guard. But Mr.
>>Barnes is clearly unreliable. The New York Times reported last February
>>that an unnamed former Texas official--later revealed to be Mr.
>>Barnes--was telling reporters he had interceded on behalf of Mr. Bush
>>but that his story "was subject to change, and there were no documents
>>to support his claims."
>>Indeed, Mr. Barnes's own daughter says her father's story can't be
>>trusted. Amy Barnes Stites called a talk radio show Thursday to report
>>that her father had told her a different version in 2000, when Mr. Bush
>>first ran for president. "I love my father very much, but he's doing
>>this for purely political reasons," she said. "He is a big Kerry
>>fund-raiser and he is writing a book also. And the [Bush story] is what
>>he's leading the book off with. . . . denied this to me in 2000 that he
>>did get Bush out (of Vietnam). Now he's saying he did." When hostess
>>Monica Crowley asked Ms. Stites if she believed her father had lied in
>>his interview on "60 Minutes," she replied "Yes, I do. I absolutely do."
>>"60 Minutes" may have a sterling reputation in journalism, but it has
>>been burned before by forged documents. In 1997 it broadcast a report
>>alleging that U.S. Customs Service inspectors looked the other way as
>>drugs crossed the Mexican border at San Diego. The story's prize exhibit
>>was a memo from Rudy Comacho, head of the San Diego customs office,
>>ordering that vehicles belonging to one trucking company should be given
>>special leniency in crossing the border. The memo was given to "60
>>Minutes" by Mike Horner, a former customs inspector who had left the
>>service five years earlier. When asked by CBS for additional proof, he
>>sent another copy with an official stamp on it.
>>CBS did not interview Mr. Camacho for its story. "It was horrible for
>>him," says Bill Anthony, at the time head of public affairs for the
>>Customs Service. "For 18 months, internal affairs and the Secret Service
>>had him under a cloud while they established that Horner had forged the
>>document out of bitterness over how he'd been treated." In 2000, Mr.
>>Horner admitted he forged the memo "for media exposure" and was
>>sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. "Mr. Camacho's reputation was
>>tarnished significantly," Judge Judith Keep noted.
>>Mr. Camacho sued CBS and eventually settled for an undisclosed sum. In
>>1999 Leslie Stahl read an apology on the air: "We have concluded we were
>>deceived, and ultimately, so were you, the viewers."
>>If it turns out that the Killian memos are indeed forgeries, the
>>Internet will have played an invaluable role in exposing the fraud much
>>faster than the 18 months Mr. Camacho had to twist in the wind. Free
>>Republic, a Web bulletin board, raised early warning signals about the
>>memos within hours of last Wednesday's "60 Minutes" broadcast.
>>Powerlineblog.com, a site run by three lawyers, reposted those comments,
>>which were amplified by indcjournal.com. Then design expert Charles
>>Johnson, who blogs at littlegreenfootballs.com, retyped one of the memos
>>using Microsoft Word and showed them to be a perfect typographic match.
>>A defensive Dan Rather went on the air Friday to complain of what he
>>called a "counterattack" from "partisan political operatives." In
>>reality, traditional journalism now has a new set of watchdogs in the
>>"blogosphere." In the words of blogger Mickey Kaus, they can trade
>>information and publicize it "fast enough to have real-world
>>consequences." Sure, blogs can be transmission belts for errors, vicious
>>gossip and last-minute disinformation efforts. But they can also correct
>>themselves almost instantaneously--in sharp contrast with CBS's
>> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>> This Mail Was Scanned By Mail-seCure System
>> at the Tel-Aviv University CC.
>Eshel Ben-Jacob
>Professor of Physics
>The Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems
>President of the Israeli Physical Society
>This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
>paleopsych mailing list
>paleopsych at paleopsych.org
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