mobius strip Information

is different from data. That is to say that we derive meaning from data and call the product information.

"We must never forget that it is principles, not phenomena,–laws, not insulated independent facts,–which are the objects of inquiry to the natural philosopher."

Sir John F. W. Herschel. A preliminary discourse on the study of natural philosophy.(1830), p. 11 .

In order to obtain information from data we must interpret or translate what the facts among the data mean.

Two ways to think about the above relation between facts and interpretations of the data are in a formula and arranged as a table.


Framing question | formula | graphic | data table | four ways to see | global ideas | warnings

What is the relation between data and information?

". . . we live in a world blessed by an information infrastructure of computers, tied to each other and a host of telecommunication's peripherals...." Pursell, p. 194.

1: Data times interpreter equals information.


Sufficient data, what does that mean?

"How much data do we have to have, and can they help us distinguish between UAPs unidentified aerial phenomena and what I (Michael Shermer) call Completely Ridiculous Alien Piffle (CRAP, such as crop circles and cattle mutations, alien abductions and anal probes, and human-alien hybrids?" * 1

"Think of your data set as a jewel. Your task is to cut and polish it, to select the facets to highlight, and to craft the best setting for it." * 2

1) Michael Shermer, "UFOs, UAPs and CRAPs," April 2011, Scientific American, p. 90.
2) Michael Shermer, "Extrasensory Pornception," May 2011, Scientific American, p. 90.

To "distinguish" facts from opinions (doxa).

Data is translated as a formula:

Data  times  interpreter  equals  information

 { D1+ D 2+ D3 - D4 }





Data are things known or assumed as facts; something given. For example, the hours of daylight and the hours of night are not always equal in duration.


Four ways to envisage the world globally!

The first graphic above is the spinning Earth, the second graphic is someone viewing the world, the third third is a composite picture of the planet in infrared, and last graphic, on the bottom, is the world map with south pole up, Antarctica on top, instead of at the bottom.

These four suggest there are more than one way to see the very same facts!

Often a change in perspective is necessary to interpret facts more revealing of details and subtlety. That is the information will be more revealing of actual conditions you want to understand better. Take for example the concept of globalization.


"The problem, [Pankaj] Ghemawat says, is that globalization theories fail to account for the very real distance factors (geographic and cultural). He crunches these factors into a distance coefficient akin to Newton's law of gravitation. For example, he computes, "a 1 percent increase in the geographic distance between two locations leads to about a 1 percent decrease in trade between them."

"A common currency increases trade by 114 percent."

"According to Ghemawat only 10 to 25 percent of the economic activity is international (and most of that is regional rather than global). Consider . . . As Ghemawat starkly notes, 90 percent of the world's people will never leave their birth country."

1) Michael Shermer, "Globaloney," August 2011, Scientific American, p. 90.

Are such errors are common?


2: interpreted into a table.

Conceptual table
Class of terms description
data any sources for signals about external or internal conditions that can be visual, audible, tactile, or chemical. Herschel's "insulated independent facts." Mostly meaningless!
information conversions of raw data by an interpreter (you) that can be seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted. Meaning is applied to data by an observer.

a specific reference to an actual or fictitious issue, idea, or belief that arises out of events in volleying persons, places, or things.

Lightening strikes twice!

Andrew Mellon's ancestral home in Ulster, Ireland.

Building a vocabulary is the first step assisting us to better inform one another.

Muslim Nations

Islamic distribution of Sunni and Shiite (dark green) populations in different nations.


booksFor information defined by Ann & Paul Ehrlich, The Dominant Animal.



Science methods

What then is a metaphor?

Cultural filters can often act as blinders.

Upbringing or the way we are raised can create prejudice.

What happens when someone fits the facts into existing prejudices?






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