Data Anxiety

Tempus fugit

“Big Data, as a term with no clear definition, which serves as a marketing campaign for technology vendors, encourages people to put their faith in technologies without first developing the skills that are needed to use those technologies. As a result, organizations waste their money and time chasing the latest so-called Big Data technologies—some useful, some not—to no effect because technologies can only augment the analytical abilities of humans; they cannot make up for our lack of skill…”

Visual Business Intelligence - If Big Data Is Anything at All, This Is It Stephen Few

Where Sì means Yes

At fascist party headquarters, “maybe” and “no” also meant “yes”.

The face is an effigy of Il Duce. It is genuine, not photo-shopped.

TenaciousVulpin speaks truth. PNF was the Italian National Fascist Party as led by Il Duce, known to many as Benito Mussolini. I checked, and believe this is correct per a credible source, Sì means yes - Or else. The page name is “Propaganda”. Scroll down to the section heading, “Singles” for the Mussolini entry.

About that source

In striving to discover the image’s provenance, I found a most unusual website, The Visual Telling of Stories - RUGGED DESIGN IN OPPOSITION TO ELEGANCE. fulltable.com aspires to being a visual lexicon, “dedicated to the primacy of the Visual Proposition”, according to webmaster-owner-developer Chris Mullen PhD. He describes the site’s provenance, um no, its raison d’etre in Rationale - Section 2.02 History:

It began as course support…at the University of Brighton for part-time working illustrators and designers.

Professor Mullen built the site himself in the 1990’s, in some early, unspecified version of HTML. This was no small achievement! After a lot of digging, I realized that Chris Mullen was not a typical technophile. He’s no spring chicken either. Chris Mullen finished his PhD in Art History in 1972. Somehow (mostly due to his willingness to learn, unlike his university’s technical support staff), Professor Mullen spent the final decade of his 35 year career in academia as a “multimedia lab” instructor. The role segued into website design upon the arrival of dedicated applications, CSS etc. He rebuilt his site in 2007. The new and retooled website lacks the charm of the ruggedly designed original, in my opinion. It definitely works and is decently maintained.

Both the new and original designs of fulltable.com have a strong do-it-yourself feel, as though the developer had never studied user interface design. I don’t know if Mullen received any HCI training e.g. best practices for UX, or not. He was a reasonably talented fine artist. He also had a doctorate’s worth of familiarity with non-electronic visual design, including perspective and editorial layout. That’s why it was cool to see what he thought up, on his own, with very few examples from the mid-1990’s internet to use for idea generation. Go have a look!

Visual tale

All images are sourced similarly on FullTable. Each is curated, in the true sense of the word, by Mullen from his collection of rare and/or historically significant documents. I explored the Grammercy family story. If you wish to take the short-form tour, visit the Pyramid directly. Regarding the Grammercy Park archival material, Mullen says,

Eventually I found myself in the possession of those archival remains not thought fit to sell at Sotheby’s, 11 March 1958. Only on retirement in 2005 could I do justice to the riches I had acquired.

The Photoshop tutor, the Flash merchant, the Shockwave specialist

Professor Mullen has some insightful observations about website design, excerpted from the Rationale page, Section 5. General Conclusion - The Teaching of Multimedia (via Section 2.02 link, see above).

…the site is a plea for greater understanding of the role that digital imagery can play in the learning process. I don’t mean some inflated conference paper from a theoretical perspective nor some weekend workshop. I have observed a palpable gap between those who understand the mechanics of the applications and those who seek to deliver information - a sort of fragmentation where websites can be taught by application specialists - the Photoshop tutor, the Dreamweaver tutor, the Flash merchant, the Shockwave specialist, without ever meeting or discussing the entirety. Websites appear to be generated universally by the cartoonist or the librarian. What a lost opportunity!

That palpable gap, between those who understand the mechanics of the applications and those who seek to deliver information reminds me of a similar problem closer to home, in data science and open data in general.

Minerva, fame, history and faith overcome ignorance and time
Yes! That’s exactly how it should be.
stylinsci:

Project for a Cartouche: An Allegory of Minerva, Fame, History and Faith Overcoming Ignorance and Time

François Boucher


My absolutist, simple heart loves this.

Minerva, fame, history and faith overcome ignorance and time

Yes! That’s exactly how it should be.

stylinsci:

Project for a Cartouche: An Allegory of Minerva, Fame, History and Faith Overcoming Ignorance and Time

François Boucher

My absolutist, simple heart loves this.

via sheeper:

Michel Blavet: Concerto à 4 parties in A minor - ii. Gavotte
French Baroque Concertos, Musica Antiqua Köln
dir. Reinhard Goebel

Via the-rx:

Bountiful Waters:Aquatic Life in Japanese ArtThe waters that surround Japan and flow from its mountain ranges are host to plants and animals that have sustained human life since prehistoric times.

Ukiyo-e!
This exhibition, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Sackler Galleries features the public debut of the “large fish” series—twenty woodblock prints by Hiroshige, 1797–1858. Carp ascending a waterfall ca. 1926 is a more pleasing example, in my opinion, than the image provided by The Smithsonian tumblr, see above. “Carp…” is obviously not Hiroshige’s work, but rather, dates from the much later, “post Edo” era. I’m not sure what the story is. :o

Via the-rx:

Bountiful Waters:Aquatic Life in Japanese Art
The waters that surround Japan and flow from its mountain ranges are host to plants and animals that have sustained human life since prehistoric times.

Ukiyo-e!

This exhibition, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Sackler Galleries features the public debut of the “large fish” series—twenty woodblock prints by Hiroshige, 1797–1858. Carp ascending a waterfall ca. 1926 is a more pleasing example, in my opinion, than the image provided by The Smithsonian tumblr, see above. “Carp…” is obviously not Hiroshige’s work, but rather, dates from the much later, “post Edo” era. I’m not sure what the story is.
:o

timeless-couture:

"True to Form" Amber Valletta photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue (August 2007); Styling by Grace Coddington

Pleasingly diagonal, with a hint of Platonic solids

timeless-couture:

"True to Form" Amber Valletta photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue (August 2007); Styling by Grace Coddington

Pleasingly diagonal, with a hint of Platonic solids

To All That Love The Far And Blue

via brokencircadian:

TO all that love the far and blue:
Whether, from dawn to eve, on foot
The fleeing corners ye pursue,
Nor weary of the vain pursuit;
Or whether down the singing stream,
Paddle in hand, jocund ye shoot,
To splash beside the splashing bream
Or anchor by the willow root:

Or, bolder, from the narrow shore
Put forth, that cedar ark to steer,
Among the seabirds and the roar
Of the great sea, profound and clear;
Or, lastly if in heart ye roam,
Not caring to do else, and hear,
Safe sitting by the fire at home,
Footfalls in Utah or Pamere:

Though long the way, though hard to bear
The sun and rain, the dust and dew;
Though still attainment and despair
Inter the old, despoil the new;
There shall at length, be sure, O friends,
Howe’er ye steer, whate’er ye do -
At length, and at the end of ends,
The golden city come in view.

Robert Louis Stevenson