An Editorial from Jane's, 9/11: in search of context and meaning
September 15, 2002 10:18 PM   Subscribe

An Editorial from Jane's, 9/11: in search of context and meaning "Fiction, non-fiction, news, news analysis and opinion... And unfortunately we continually mix and merge these groupings, using them in similar ways and often believing them to contain similar weight and importance." "We now tend to respond to the news rather than attempting to get behind it and create policy."
posted by semmi (7 comments total)
shame on you, semmi, for posting a balanced, insightful and informed article. this will never foster discussion or light up blogdex. people only like incendiary, reactionary, poorly-reasoned polemics disguised as journalism.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:18 PM on September 15, 2002

Great post! Using XML tags for more systematic analysis sounds really promising. (Having worked as an indexer, I could go on at some length about the significance of faceted classification ... but our conversation here probably needs to stay a bit broader.) I also liked the observation:

"In conversation people often jump from the news/gossip event, to history, to opinion and out to myth. They make little distinction between them. This is fine for social life, but for the information and intelligence process it is problematic and confusing ... "

No question that it's easy to get lulled into mistaking the immediacy of breaking news for the solid information it takes to truly understand foreign affairs or domestic issues. Assuming a best-case-scenario in which Thompson Learning and AOL/Time Warner don't succeed in privatizing all information, if we can ever get general public access to Lexis/Nexis and streaming video, maybe everyone will be able to move from "newsbytes" into deeper background information a bit easier.
posted by sheauga at 11:30 PM on September 15, 2002

Sheauga, can you elaborate?

I read this:
The language tagging software and processes associated with XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) and all its progeny will, for the first time, allow us to quickly and effectively scan an entire database and identify everything to do with specified concepts, events or organizations.

And I say to myself -- and I don't get how XML does this, sounds more like SQL to me. I get XML as being useful for getting data between different systems, but how does it help in the "scanning" and "identification"? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what they mean by "Database", maybe they mean a file system loaded with docs (where I could see XML-ifying them helping greatly) as opposed to and RDBMS of some sort? I'm so used to my insular web-world, I don't often follow what people are talking about when they use these same technologies in different contexts.

I'd appreciate you going on at some length, actually :)
posted by malphigian at 11:43 PM on September 15, 2002

Awesome. He's talking about the Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy or the Encyclopedia Galactica as though its first edition could be right around the bend. Cool article.

And donkeyschlong, the other stuff people post is usually just the mundane emotionalism that any of us feel in response to chaos, detected to a greater or lesser degree depending on how fucked up or non fucked up that one is. Hence disguised journalism. I suppose, if one were writing to appease the trees, then the emotionalism could be left out of it, as well as the rest of the linguistic and emotional flourishes that are the vital organs of human communication.
posted by crasspastor at 12:03 AM on September 16, 2002

I mean of course, that the compilation of published knowledge can be sifted out in such a way that there is a listing for anything the wandering wondering mind might wonder about. At the behest of a search algorithm. That's what I mean by my HGTTG and EG references BTW.
posted by crasspastor at 12:11 AM on September 16, 2002

malphigian -

I'm with ya - the author of the article seems confused. XML's usefulness lies in the format standardization that you mention and in structuring the authoring process (which this guy does at least mention), not in the interpretation of existing docs.

Anybody that sees where I'm misinterpreting Mr Rolington, please jump in.
posted by shemol at 12:50 AM on September 16, 2002

Janes has recieved some black eyes concerning data in the past. They are cracker jacks at the weapons buying guide. (ever check them prices? not the weapons, the books.) but the Intell side of the publication has a few flaws. good post semmi.
posted by clavdivs at 8:58 AM on September 16, 2002

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