Skip to main content

crowd sourcing graphic
From NPR:
Google Trends is basically a way of looking at what people are focusing on by mapping out their Google searches. Marketing firms have been using Google Trends for some time. The government has, too. Back in 2009, during the swine flu epidemic in the U.S., Google launched Google Flu Trends. The National Institutes of Health found it helped track outbreaks of the disease.

It turns out that when people started to feel feverish and nauseous, they would go to Google to check out their symptoms. While it wasn't a perfect indicator, Google Flu Trends often beat government predictions about flu outbreaks by a week or more. Imagine using the Internet to do the same thing in predicting political unrest.

Now, there's an example of passive crowd-sourcing: get folks to do what they were going to do anyway, and data mine some analytical info out of it. Sounds like what marketers do every day.

But a fascinating variant of that is the more active version: get some interested folks together (geeks of the world, unite!) and let them search for data, sort it, and publish it. That was the idea for Flu Wiki, which I and two of my colleagues started in 2005 to help prepare for pandemics. Good that we did. We had a pandemic in 2009, and all the prep work done by the feds, by local public health, by us and by others was a huge help, with many lessons learned that were put into play during the pandemic—helped tremendously by the relatively mild nature of the outbreak.

Tracking the spread of bird flu around the world still goes on, both by public health agencies and by interested individuals at the Flu Wiki Forum and other places around flublogia. If you wish, you can try HealthMap and search for H5N1, as an example, or measles, or some other illness or current outbreak.

These days, however there are other urgent concerns, and in Japan, active crowd-sourcing is being used to track radiation levels outside the Fukushima nuclear reactors. From ScienceInsider:

If you want to know what's going on, ask the nerds. As fears swelled over radiation from Japan's battered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the days after the 11 March quake, computer-savvy individuals around the globe had an immediate reaction: show people the data. Within days, individuals began tracking down and using the data to create interactive maps and graphs of radiation levels in Japan. Here are some that have stood out as especially useful.
One that I like is Crowd-sourced realtime radiation monitoring in Japan, which has a great Google Earth-based radiation graphic (still picture here):

The height of the pink columns represents the radiations being reported from various official and unofficial sources, and you get a sense right away as to where geographically the problem areas are.

Now, imagine you are the Japanese government, or the official spokesperson for TEPCO. If you knew these graphics in real time were available to the public, do you think it would affect your communication strategy? How could it not? If your communications are not covering what people can see for themselves, why would they trust you? What, in the end, if you deny the data, makes you different than Baghdad Bob?

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (Arabic: محمد سعيد الصحاف‎; born 1940) is a former Iraqi diplomat and politician. He came to wide prominence around the world during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, during which he was the Iraqi Information Minister under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, acting as the mouthpiece for the Baath Party and Saddam's regime. He is best known for his grandiose and grossly unrealistic propaganda broadcasts prior to and during the war, extolling the invincibility of the Iraqi Army and the permanence of Saddam's rule. His announcements were intended for an Iraqi domestic audience subject to Saddam's cult of personality and total state censorship, and were met with widespread derision and amusement by Western nationals and others with access to up-to-date information from international media organizations.
The idea that governments or companies or anyone gets to control information is sooo 20th century. Sure, plenty of things are secret (but ask the Wikileaks folks for how long) while/but plenty of things are out there for anyone enterprising enough to put the data together.

Does this replace health and disaster reporters and journalists? Not at all. It's data for them to vet, just like it's data for us to vet. Sometimes, it'll be vetted by non-journalists with expertise in a particular area (and some of them, like Nate Silver and Glenn Greenwald, will move from blogger to pundit over time.)

Now, is the data on the internet always going to be right? No, but it will get corroborated and corrected. If it raises the right questions, it's done its job. In fact, traditional journalism also makes errors (and sometimes sources are flat-out wrong), so the correction process is always a dynamic one.

Confusion reigned Sunday at a crippled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, as emergency workers were pulled from a reactor building after dangerously high levels of radiation were detected in water that had accumulated in a turbine housing unit.

A spokesman for the operator of the Fukushima-Daiichi power plant originally told reporters that radiation had spiked 10 million times the normal levels Sunday, driving workers to flee the facility.  Authorities later said those radiation readings were not accurate and that new tests had been ordered.

Once the data is out there, or suggested to be out there, the inquiries will follow. New Scientist:

Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

In the end, thanks to crowd-sourcing and the internet, that great 20th century philosopher and sage Daniel Patrick Moynihan will be proven right yet again: you're entitled to your own opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts. And if I have what appear to be the facts, well, you'd better start explaining yourself better.


We are examining the cause of this, but no work is being done there because of the high level of radiation," said a spokesman for the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).

High levels of caesium and other substances are being detected, which usually should not be found in reactor water. There is a high possibility that fuel rods are being damaged," the spokesman added.

Tepco has been criticised for a lack of transparency and failing to provide information more promptly.

Of course, if you're an official in charge, you could anticipate that and start providing transparent information from the beginning. The more of that you do from the beginning, the less of a communications mess you'll have to deal with later.

For some Daily Kos crowd-sourcing on current information on the Fukushima reactors, follow the Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs group.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by InfoWar.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  If only there was a sex wiki when I was in school (9+ / 0-)


    The uses of the intertubes are only limited by our imagination (and possibly hormones). Disease, people movements (Eygpt, Yemen, Libya), coordination of protests (Wisconsin),  these are but a few possibilities.

    The problem is that corporations want control. And governments want an off switch. (Thanks, Senatwhore Lieberman)

    Net neutrality is our friend, the beast that keeps all options open.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:04:02 AM PDT

  •  Here's the dangerous part: (16+ / 0-)

    People like those in the Right Wing, backed by people like the Kochs, can manipulate these things to give them what looks like a large advantage and to further spread their propaganda.

    For example, if you Google any sort of topic related to governance and policy, you almost invariable have a whole slew of Right Wing talking points driving a narrative and almost NO Democratic voices at all.

    We're losing the war by the very techniques WE invented.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:08:07 AM PDT

    •  and they have the schock doctrine down pat (9+ / 0-)
      using the public's disorientation following massive collective shocks — wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters — to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy

      I would imagine that somewhere in the Kock Brother's offices this statement is framed and on the wall.

      Any disorientation is an opportunity to achieve more control.

      If cats could blog, they wouldn't

      by crystal eyes on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:14:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  right on point! (5+ / 0-)

      But with any media, that danger existed.

      When Guttenberg sinned in the eyes of god by creating the means to print lots of porn, or worse, anti-religious literature, he not only allowed for mass education and communication, he also set the stage for Hitler's massive disinformation.

      When Marconi stole ideas from Tesla and created global communications, he also created the possibility that Orson Welles would scare the shit out of ineffably stupid Americans, who actually thought that the martians were landing.

      TV gave us the moon landing. It also gives us Billo and CSpin's coverage of Iowa's Conservative Pol Parade.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:16:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  during the flu media storm (6+ / 0-)

    it would have been hard to know what to believe without a lot of research. but you made it easy. we've already proved that we can bypass traditional media for political "news," and it's now expanding in every direction.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:17:58 AM PDT

  •  Japan's radiation numbers are declining. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crystal eyes, foresterbob, DemFromCT

    Here's the SPEEDI update. (0+ / 0-)

    Highest readings in Japan outside the Fukushima Daiichi area. Those SPEEDI sensors were destroyed by the tsunami.

    Hitachinaka City in Ibaraki Prefecture went from 639 nanoGrays/hour up to 2040 nanoGrays/hour in one 12 hour interval. This is due south from Fukushima Daiishi NPP.

    That rise matched the initial aerial water drops. Since then airborne radiation measurements have declined steadily.

    -- 684 nGy/h - 10:20 PM local time on the 27th

    -- 786 nGy/h - 11.00 PM local time on the 25th

    -- 866 nGy/h - 8:20 PM local time on the 24th

    -- 957 nGy/h - 7:30 PM local time on the 23rd

    -- 1012 nGy/h - 1:10 AM local time on the 23rd

    -- 1221 nGy/h - 7:20 PM local time on the 22nd

    -- 1178 nGy/h - 9:20 PM local time on the 21st

    -- 1145 nGy/h - 6:10 PM local time on the 21st

    -- 1160 nGy/h - 4:30 PM local time on the 21st

    -- 2040 nGy/h - 5:50 AM local time on the 21st (water drops)

    -- 1635 nGy/h - 4:20 AM local time on the 21st (water drops)

    -- 639 nGy/h - 5:40 PM local time on the 20th

    -- 749 nGy/h - 1:00 AM local time on the 19th

    Japan Radiation Maximum by Prefecture

    The units are nanoGrays/hour. The maximum observed dose was still well below the 5,700 nanoGrays/hour that matches the IAEA professional limit at 5 REM/year. (Same as 35,000,000 nanoGrays/year.)

    Tokyo and Kanagawa are up from normal radiation levels. Yokosuka City is sitting at:

    139 nanoGrays/hour -- declining steadily since the water drops.

    Not totally great. But we're not talking a present danger when we're at 3% of the IAEA limit for lab workers at 35,000,000 nannoGrays or 5 REM's per year.

    IAEA still has the three burned workers hit with 15 REM radiation doses. Hot water can cause skin damage, but not 15 REM's over someone's calf. Nobody is dying from radiation at Fukushima Daiichi -- absolutely nobody.

    Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:18:18 AM PDT

    •  So much radioactive water in Japan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      doing its lowest level thing
      is going to have an impact.

      This is a first of its kind of nuclear disaster and the first casualty should be the certainty that we can comprehensively envision the consequences.

      If cats could blog, they wouldn't

      by crystal eyes on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:33:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Without knowing what the dosimeters... (11+ / 0-)

      ...of workers at the plant read, we have no idea if what you're claiming in your final paragraph is true. Given TEPCO's appalling lack of transparency in this whole matter, and its long record of concealment and deception, speculation about what is actually going on and whether workers may be slowly dying as a result of their possible exposure is not foolish.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:41:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we spoke at length with Honey's family (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Akonitum, Vtdblue, BYw

        Last night.

        They live in various locations around Tokyo, including further north, closer to Fukushima.

        the government has been doing its best to get radiation readings out to the public, and despite TEPCO's astoundingly bad performance, they all feel pretty well informed.

        Their biggest collective complaint? the rolling blackouts, without warning. It makes it impossible to plan meetings, plan meals, even simple travel up and down, inside taller buildings.

        Normally, the Japanese culture looked at survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as somehow "tainted," almost as badly as how ye olde christians looked at menstruating women. Even Japanese who held those views were embarrassed about it.

        Now, the Japanese have taken a huge collective step. In part, this is due to the unbelievable bravery and strength of will being shown by those 50 or so workers, risking their lives and their health each day near the reactors. Japan is looking at them as brave, almost superhuman heros.

        As they should.

        Amazingly, the nation's view of radiation, radiation victims, and people who used to live near Fukushima, have also changed. Less and less they are viewed as unclean or untouchable, but as pure victims.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:52:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Odd, Bill Nye Says Radiation Levels Are Increasing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      On the CNN interview recently, Bill Nye reveals that larger levels of plutonium are now spreading around the Fukushima power plant.  And these levels are INCREASING.  Plutonium has a 24,000 year half-life.

      So use just one source.  Watch this interview.  And watch how CNN cuts of the expert it hired to talk to the subject when he started to say that Fukushima [the new Chernobyl] could happen anywhere.  It happens right at the end of the bit.

      More needs to be said about the political ramifications of supporting nuclear.

      Given that Chernobyl has become a household word meaning 'unspeakable horrors surrounding just one nuclear reactor', politicians should be very careful advertising support for that industry.

      Things to consider.  Alongside the word "nuclear meltdown" is associated "Chernobyl" is also now associated "Fukushima"..and with those associations come the knowledge that children are being horribly deformed in areas even significantly far away from ground this day..

      In order to promote nuclear energy, the politician is essentially saying right out of the chute, "in spite of saying I am for the people, I am in fact in the pocket of GE/big industry and I have zero intentions of looking out for anyone's interests but my own.  And on top of that, here is how vacant my soul is: I will do all that with full knowledge that many many children I don't even know will be horribly deformed and suffer cruel and lingering deaths so I can make bribe [lobby] money."

      Wow!  Got my vote..  

      It's done.  It's over.  Cat's out of the bag.  And the bad news has only BEGUN to flow in about Fukushima.  And it cannot be stopped.  Too many people already know.  Too many people have cameras.  Too many people use the internet.  It's a political death sentence.  In fact you could use the nuclear support issue as a directly-proportional litmus test for how likely a politician will sell you down the river the minute they take office..

      •  Bill Nye responds to the bogus 10-MM TIMES (0+ / 0-)

        NORMAL RADIATION report.

        Well, of course such an increase would indicate a broken core or broken pipes.

        Of course, we would worry about plutonium getting out.

        But that report was wrong.

        He does not question that report, but speaks to what its effects would be. Nye is worried that the three guys with the leg burns have radiation burns. But that conflicts with the IAEA report that they were hit with 15 REM.

        Hot water is not radiation.

        Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

        by vets74 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:26:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A uni physics dept is a crowd source site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Vtdblue

    The crowd sourced radiation data in Japan have some very reliable sources. A well educated and informed public is able to cut through the bull shit very quickly.

    TEPCO is not able to cover up it's incompetence and mismanagement.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:20:32 AM PDT

    •  Nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

      Very good engineers, full support from management, nothing so far that looks any way like the SNAFU-MAX disasters at Chernobyl and the first phase of TMI.

      The Japanese are reluctant to admit failure. Still, TEPCO has not engaged in a cover up. No way.

      There is no instance, so far, of TEPCO doing disinformation apart from relaying a misreading of the radiation meter with this "10,000,000" announcement. That misreading went against TEPCO, if you noticed.

      Anything to keep America pumping away $700-billion a year to foreigners for oil ???

      And of course with a lot more nuclear we could swap out at least half our passenger cars for electrics -- virtually eliminating this hemorrhage of $700-billion a year.

      We could reduce global warming significantly.

      Oil Biz bull ??? That's the only thing I see.

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:22:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we can't do this . . . . . (0+ / 0-)
        And of course with a lot more nuclear we could swap out at least half our passenger cars for electrics

        without better battery technology.  And once we get better battery technology, then microgenerating electricity at the point of use becomes a much more viable option--and nukes are no longer needed.

        •  backup for micro at point of use (0+ / 0-)

          is essential - we've had so much more rain and cloud cover this year than usual, that micro dependency would leave us lightness and powerless.

          •  Microgenerating ????? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Whatever you're drinking, I want some !

            And you surely have not seen the new model lines out from Toyota and Lexus.

            Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

            by vets74 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:32:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The thing is ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, DRo, juliesie

    I could see how crowd sourcing could be used in a bad way too. Say there is a controversy manufactured about a thing, financed through corporate money. The corporate media endlessly covers the controversial thing. People go to the internet and Google the thing they keep hearing about. Crowd sourcing data indicates people are really, really interested and concerned about the thing. The traditional media reports on the crowd sourcing data and more people head to the internet to search on the thing. The thing becomes legitimized and needs to be fixed which raises stock prices for the antidote of the thing.

    •  Nazi germany is very instructive (6+ / 0-)

      Tell no small lie,
      Repeat the lie over and over,
      When caught lying, ignore it, do not react, deny that your were caught.

      This also describes the MO of Fox News, the Koch brothers, and wankers in several governors' offices who are attacking labor using that same plan.

      If you want to see its evil side, check out today's articles about ALEC. Scary stuff.

      (And guess which billionaire brothers underwrite ALEC, too)

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Rumsfeld Corollary to the... (10+ / 0-)

        ...Goebbels Doctrine: When caught lying, call it "old news" and move on to the next lie.

        Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:43:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, vets74, Vtdblue, BYw

          Although Rummie's technique needed some honing. It wore on the nerves, even on the most rabid pro war supporters.

          I think Cheney was the most masterful of all from the prior administration. W could get by with an "Ah, shucks" smirk and bead eyed grin. But only Cheney could look so clearly and directly into the camera and lie through his teeth without flinching. A truly amazing performer. Completely without shame, a conscience, ethics, morals, or even a shred of honesty.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:59:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  think about the crazy links between (0+ / 0-)

      vaccinations and autism... crowd sourced, completely wrong, followed by spikes in childhood diseases and deaths.

      All that information + hysteria ==> individual disasters.

      All the educated, well informed info to the contrary, well educated, net savvy parents still took a pass on the vaccinations for their children, with the forewarned outcomes.

      Does crowd sourcing work before it becomes crowd sourced  kool aid?

  •  Crowd-Sourcing is Only as Good as the Quality (4+ / 0-)

    of the data.

    Your Flu-Wiki was excellent as an aid to tracking the pandemic from its earliest stages, individuals being instantly aware of feeling ill, probably days before they get a formal diagnosis.  Their interaction with the Wiki provided instant data.  Of course, false positives in the data result, but huge sample size helps dampen that "noise."

    In the case of the Japanese nuclear disaster, the data is only as good as the detectors are in terms of placement, specificity of detection parameters, and accuracy in reporting that data.  If all or most of the detectors are in the hands of entities bent on suppressing or massaging the data, then the crowd-sourcing can become a statistically misleading crowd-control.

    That international monitoring can be brought to bear in this nuclear accident is important to enhancing the quality of the data, but it is qualified by the same restraints I mentioned, and probably others as well.

    6 million Frenchmen may be present, but a statistically significant number of them can still be wrong.

    I'd like to know if anyone has studied the accuracy of crowd-sourcing methodologies across a broad spectrum of applications.  Crowd-sourcing appears at first glance to be an excellent method of generating statistically significant data and serving as a thermometer of truth.  I suppose marketers are its biggest utilizers.  I wonder who else and to what purpose other interested parties are using crowd-sourcing.

    Your Flu-Wiki is one of the best examples of how important and valuable this data gathering tool can be.  

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:29:43 AM PDT

  •  Here's the good news... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    With crowd sourcing, we will at long last track down Sasquatch and those elusive UFO's.  The bad news is that the so-called science channels on cable TV will have to find something else to speculate about.

  •  interesting reading this post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    back to back with Mark's This is the Way the World Ends just below.

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:34:48 AM PDT

  •  crowdsourcing is not synonymous /c public sphere (0+ / 0-)
    (Jürgen) Habermas completed his dissertation in 1954 at the University of Bonn, writing on the conflict between the absolute and history in Schelling's thought. He first gained serious public attention, at least in Germany, with the 1962 publication of his habilitation, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; English ed., 1989), a detailed social history of the development of the bourgeois public sphere from its origins in the 18th century salons up to its transformation through the influence of capital-driven mass media. In his description of the salons we clearly see his interest in a communicative ideal that later would provide the core normative standard for his moral-political theory: the idea of inclusive critical discussion, free of social and economic pressures, in which interlocutors treat each other as equals in a cooperative attempt to reach an understanding on matters of common concern. As an ideal at the center of bourgeois culture, this kind of interchange was probably never fully realized; nonetheless, it “was not mere ideology” (1989, 160, also 36). As these small discussion societies grew into mass publics in the 19th century, however, ideas became commodities, assimilated to the economics of mass media consumption. Rather than give up on the idea of public reason, Habermas called for a socioinstitutionally feasible concept of public opinion-formation “that is historically meaningful, that normatively meets the requirements of the social-welfare state, and that is theoretically clear and empirically identifiable.” Such a concept “can be grounded only in the structural transformation of the public sphere itself and in the dimension of its development” (ibid., 244). His concluding sketch of such a concept (ibid., 244–48) already contains in outline the two-level model of democratic deliberation he later elaborates in his mature work on law and democracy, Between Facts and Norms (1996b; German ed., 1992b).

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:46:14 AM PDT

  •  None of this information will be useful (4+ / 0-)

    if the population doesn't understand it. In a country where the majority doesn't accept facts as basic as evolution, we're all just Cassandras.

  •  i wonder if they keep track of porn site visits? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Our 'neoconservatives' are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell" - Edward Abbey

    by stormserge on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:47:54 AM PDT

    •  Luv yer sig line. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Recalls Richard Perle taking $500,000-a-year under the table from Far Right Israelis while he was faking the evidence to get us into Iraq.

      America fighting Arabs !! -- perfect not-new, not-conservative Black Heart piratic sell-out sin.

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:30:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My take on crowd sourcing is positive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    and optimistic.  Sure the bad guys are winning now.  But most of their followers are old and will start fading away.  My hope is that young people will start figuring out who is screwing them, and will be smart enough to screw them back!  

    Of course, I'll probably be dead by the time that happens.  But it will happen.  Technology can be used to fight ignorance, instead of promulgating it as it currently does.  Do you really think Fox can survive in the long run?

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:02:02 AM PDT

  •  traditional journalism also makes errors (0+ / 0-)

    can we expand this to repug victory's, naomi klein's shock doctrine & repug over reaching

    "you people are truly EVIL MOTHER-FU@KERS" Mickey Leeland to the RX drug lobby in the TX legislature, 1972

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:17:40 AM PDT

  •  So true, so true! (0+ / 0-)

    The IAEA belatedly acknowledged the problems created by bureaucratic footdragging.

    "The speed at which information now travels and the huge volume of information in public circulation are among the most significant changes since then," Amano said. "Live television and the internet provide constant updates on a crisis situation -- not always accurately -- to a global audience. The responsibility of the IAEA is to provide authoritative and validated information as quickly as possible, but doing this under the current arrangements inevitably takes time and has limitations."
  •  great diary this is SO HUGE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, KimD

    attended the Google Earth engine seminars at COP16 and it is just amazing mind boggling in fact what they are doing with layers and customizing and the reports they already have up .... specficic focus at the start on REDD and forest cover! Its being used now for reporting on climate change locally.

    Ushahidi (begun in Kenya - as i recall- to report on election fraud is HUGE now.

    A lot of this is based on systems used by international public health  agencies reporting on infectious diseases and early warning systems in LDCs (least developed countries)

    Im so glad you wrote about this!

  •  oh . also being used for fundraising nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Am I missing something -all the links from same... (0+ / 0-)


    I feel like a techno-dope after visiting that site.

    I went to the site and when the Google Maps image came up, I started clicking on the various sites in the map (green arrow markers, that typically "explode" into several green markers when you click on them). The surprise was that EVERY ONE I clicked on (admittedly not 100%) was "provided by Marian Steinbach".

    Am I missing something? If this person is the source for all these readings, just how "crowd"-sourced is the data?

    "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by frisco on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:33:58 AM PDT

    •  different folks doing the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Japan Radiation Map Roundup

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 10:01:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  more... (0+ / 0-)
      If you want to know what's going on, ask the nerds. As fears swelled over radiation from Japan's battered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the days after the 11 March quake, computer-savvy individuals around the globe had an immediate reaction: show people the data. Within days, individuals began tracking down and using the data to create interactive maps and graphs of radiation levels in Japan. Here are some that have stood out as especially useful. Their sources include government monitoring stations and Geiger counters duct-taped to the balconies of Tokyo apartments, and vary in completeness and in how frequently they're updated. Neither Science nor the creators guarantee these maps' accuracy; they are meant to supplement, not replace, official formats of releasing data. These maps are works in progress, and new ones are coming online every day. If a map has caught your eye, if you're developing your own, or if you're a scientist and have found visualizations like these to be helpful, send us an email, or leave a comment below. We'll add them to this page, so check back again.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 10:01:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  May be I don't understand the article (0+ / 0-)

    but can't you easily skew on what the "the people are focussing on" at any given time in point?

    Why wouldn't a government or corporation being able to unleash a software that would simulate a certain "focus" of specific google searches that would help skew the results to their agenda?

    And wouldn't the opposite also be possible, like unleashing software that would simulate specific crowds only sourcing those data that are consistent with their agenda?

    Just asking. I am not that smart.

    •  Yeah, but Google is constantly on the lookout (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for that, because various parties (typically commercial, but not always) are always trying to game Google's algorithms to bias search results towards specific outcome.

  •  Radiation Monitoring Sites (0+ / 0-)

    Russian crowd sourced radiation monitoring

    US-based Japanese monitoring

    Monitoring Seabrook, NH

    Monitoring Three Mile Island

    And a radiation monitoring company sponsored US site:

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:55:24 AM PDT

  •  tangential remark to your tangential remark (0+ / 0-)

    I find very little to admire about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who not only did a lot of damage with his  skewed reading of the demographics of black family life and his call, as NIXON's adviser, for a terrible policy of benign neglect, he just plain lied about stuff when he felt like it.
    He was my senator, and the bull he would sometimes retail in his constituency newsletters was maddening. What he was was a smart and educated academic, who could spin language and data in a convincing way. Unless you knew better.

  •  Crowdsourcing is a great invention of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...Internet age, and I fully support it, but it does have its limitations.

    In particular, with regard to the crowdsourcing of radiation data, we have to remember the GIGO principle--Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    Radiation monitoring is not something that can be done properly, in general, by the amateur.  Radiation detectors have to be properly calibrated and maintained, and the data from them has to be properly interpreted in order to have meaning.

    Improperly maintained detectors can become contaminated, and so give incorrect counts, either very high or very low.  And unless unit conversion is done correctly (rads/hour used by older devices to millirems or microseiverts) the results can be absurdly incorrect.

    I speak as someone who actually has a radiation detection running on my Linux server right now, saving counts every 10 seconds to a database I can generate plots from.  To me, it's an interesting exercise, and something of general use (it's showing background levels here in Santa Cruz, CA right now), but I don't trust the results enough to contribute its data to any crowdsourcing effort.

    Again, I think crowdsourcing is generally a great idea (here in California there is a network of "crowdsourced" seismographs), but one has to be careful not to assume that crowdsourcing always results in quality data.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 11:49:15 AM PDT

    •  absolutely!! (0+ / 0-)

      like an encyclopedia, it's a starting point. But it can be very helpful, when you keep the limitations in mind.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:12:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "X-ray comparison" morphed into... (0+ / 0-)

    Re: the wonderful "transparency" cartoon you used to illustrate a couple of your posts:

    The official in the cartoon says: "Whatever radiation our citizens are getting is no more than an x-ray."

    Some Japanese officials used disingenuous framing when they started comparing potential radiation exposure to CT scans, rather than to chest x-rays. This kind of framing -- absent the relevant context -- has the effect (and almost certainly the intent) of making the potential exposure appear smaller, in order to "reassure" rather than to "inform".

    This CT-scan comparison framing started around March 19, the day the government announced that crops and milk had been contaminated (having failed, by the way, to warn the public in advance that this was possible or likely...).

    "This is not at the level that would have any direct effect on your health,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a news briefing in Tokyo yesterday. Eating the spinach for one year would be equivalent to 20 percent of the radiation exposure associated with a CT scan, he said.

    A chest x-ray exposes you to about 0.1 mSv of radiation.

    And a regular CT scan of the chest exposes you to about 8 mSv of radiation, about 80 times as much radiation as a regular chest x-ray.

    So "20 percent of the radiation exposure associated with a CT scan" would equal about 16 chest x-rays.

    Still not a very large amount of radiation, but my objection is to the official's attempt to make it appear even smaller.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site