Berto Jongman: ISIS — What We Do Not Know and How NOT to “Understand” ISIS

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Most interesting for its itemization of what the US does NOT know about ISIS.

How Not To Understand ISIS

EXTRACT

I should begin by emphasizing that our knowledge of ISIS is extremely scant. We know close to nothing about ISIS’ social base. We know little about how it made its military gains, and even less about the nature of the coalitions into which it has entered with various groups—from other Islamist rebels in Syria to secular Ba‘athists in Iraq.

Sensationalist accounts of “shari‘a justice” notwithstanding, we do not have much information about how ISIS administers the lives of millions of people who reside in the territories it now controls.

Information about the militants who fight for ISIS is likewise scarce. Most of what we know is gleaned from recruitment videos and propaganda, not the most reliable sources. There is little on the backgrounds and motives of those who choose to join the group, least of all the non-Western recruits who form the bulk of ISIS’ fighting force. In the absence of this information, it is difficult to even say what ISIS is if we are to rely on anything beyond the group’s self-representations.

Read full article.

See Also:

ISIS @ Phi Beta Iota

1989+ Intelligence Reform

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Oct 5

Hal Berghel: Big Data is Big Doo Doo

Hal Berghel

Hal Berghel

Spy the Lie‘s techniue and informal logic work together to help us disinfect our infospheres from crap, bilious bombast, media-babble, disinformation campaigns, pseudoevents, and bad information of every stripe. These days common sense itself doesn’t cut it. We need tools!

. . . . . . .

In fact, we computing professionals have unwittingly made infopollution much worse by increasing storage network capacity and bandwidth without a corresponding advance in filtering capability. We’ve turned big data into big dada.

Berghel Big Data as Big Doo Doo October 2014

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Sep 17

Robin Good: Content Curation as a Problem-Solving, Re-Assembling and Stewardship Process

Robin Good

Robin Good

Content Curation as a Problem-Solving, Re-Assembling and Stewardship Process

Ibrar Bhatt, shares some of the insights he has been been able to discover in his research work for his forthcoming PhD thesis (“A sociomaterial account of assignment writing in Further Education classrooms”) for the University of Leeds.

In his short blog analysis he first comprehensively defines the new emerging content curation space, and then he highlights

the relevance this may have, once it is validated and acknowledged, in allowing students to explore the creation of reports and the development of new work assignments in a new light.

Here a few brief excerpts:

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Jul 29

Stephen E. Arnold: Using Real Data to Mislead

Categories: IO Sense-Making
Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

Using Real Data to Mislead

Viewers of graphs, beware! Data visualization has been around for a very long time, but it has become ubiquitous since the onset of Big Data. Now, the Heap Data Blog warns us to pay closer attention in, “How to Lie with Data Visualization.” Illustrating his explanation with clear examples, writer Ravi Parikh outlines three common ways a graphic can be manipulated to present a picture that actually contradicts the data used to build it. The first is the truncated Y-axis. Parikh writes:

“One of the easiest ways to misrepresent your data is by messing with the y-axis of a bar graph, line graph, or scatter plot. In most cases, the y-axis ranges from 0 to a maximum value that encompasses the range of the data. However, sometimes we change the range to better highlight the differences. Taken to an extreme, this technique can make differences in data seem much larger than they are.”

The example here presents two charts on rising interest rates. On the first, the Y-axis ranges from 3.140% to 3.154% — a narrow range that makes the rise from 2008 to 2012 look quite dramatic. However, on the next chart the rise seems nigh non-existent; this one presents a more relevant span of 0.00% to 3.50% on the Y-axis.

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May 14