Archive for April 29th, 2015

We are let down by those who are expected to represent our best interests. 

Not so long ago to be exact on September 24,2002 the British Government published what we now know as the September Dossier. The paper was part of an ongoing investigation by the government into weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, which ultimately led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contained a number of allegations according to which Iraq also possessed WMD, including chemical weapons and biological weapons. The dossier even alleged that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons programme. Without exception, all of the allegations included within the September Dossier have been since proven to be false. One might wonder how can a body of men selected for their expertise and life experience to be part of Joint Intelligence Committee, could go wrong. All the more disturbing is the fact we expect our city fathers, law givers are seized of the fact that any action they take shall have serious ripple effect on large part of the globe.(ack:wikipedia) We have misplaced trust in our elected representatives. They are as muddleheaded as most of us are.

At best data are cherrypicked and the sets of data thus collated are farther from reality. 

Since we are very much reeling under the fall out of a chain of bad decisions we may ask how come people whom we look us as paradigm of wisdom and probility get it so wrong. How can data of stockpiles of WMD be not intelligent data at all? What are data but nuts and bolts with which we erect an intelligent body that helps us with decision making, If Iran has developed nuclear capability Bibi can draw model for the media and draw a redline to indicate the critical line, crossing of which would mean danger for the State of Israel. Similarly financial experts make a pie chart based on the data they have collected. We look at their position in the world and accept their words uncontested. Why would the Prime Minister of Great Britain or Israel want to mislead the mass media.? Or why would  late defunct Enron present a dodgy forecast to the boardmembers? Here we go wrong. All these fellows are relying on data, which we need to understand is only sound as far as the user want to get his share of sound bytes across. Data are not all equal or perfect. Its slight anomalous position become a disaster when one sets it context of another set of data.

‘When Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans region in 2005, the US government’s Department of Homeland Security charged with monitoring the hurricane and formulating an appropriate response, made the wrong call, ignoring key topographical data.

Instead, Katrina was judged to be a hurricane, like so may others that hit Florida each summer, and therefore not worthy of extreme measures. With that mindset in place, the highly-decorated retired Marine Corps general in command of the probability and risk-assessment team proceeded to interpret the various information coming into his office in a manner fully consistent with his pre-judgment, while disregarding the rest. Reports of levees breaching were viewed as suspect and incomplete — not as factual and needing an immediate change of course for the response plan. When the general saw a report on CNN showing people in the French Quarter of New Orleans partying in the streets, he concluded, as he testified to Congress, that Katrina wasn’t going to be as bad as some had feared.

The biggest problem? Most of New Orleans is below sea level; most of Florida isn’t. And the French Quarter in New Orleans was one of the few places in the city above sea level and hence, relatively immune to the devastating effects from flooding.’(How we wrongly convince ourselves we’re right by Sydney Finkelstein-BBC News/Capital of 23 April,’15)

The concerned official setting data on New Orleans with that of Florida and presents to his peers at each chain of command perception on the data collated becomes curioser and curioser.

Politicians want to be survivors and data they create have the best chance to convince the people.In other words their real motives are to throw wool over the public.

Afterall man shall only believe what he wants to believe. His rational mind is superficial with which he shall reason out why Katrina would not be any more serious than any other hurricane that hit Florida. Real culprit is not in your conscious mind but deeper in the unconscious part of the brain. Isn’t that happened in the Enron debacle? Greed and preservation of one’s own skin had already seized the CEO and his coterie to make the Company’s financial malfunction go away before the shareholders. Everytime the same scenario till it blew apart in their faces.

Man presents data created unequally and if we wonder why a nation built on the sound principle that all men are equal suffers from gross inequality we need look no further.


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