“SOME INTERESTING SITES” is, naturally enough, about some interesting sites or places.
…. it is also to some extent about how to systematise information on sites, and/or how to interpret them.
That will, apart from current operating processes (very important at some ‘dynamic’ places, but not so at others), largely involve how to interpret the past – e.g. from the rocks (yep — I’m a geologist).
Previously I had discussion about this matter of interpreting the past elsewhere, under the title of “PROJECT PAST”. That had also focussed a good deal on ways of sharing information, cooperative interpretation, and so on. Some of my past writings have been lost, and/or have become inaccessible because of webhosts ceasing to function (e.g. Geocities).
Part of the process of understanding the past is the realisation that what we have ‘preserved’ of it is only a tiny part of all that has existed. Much has been lost, as is well known … even in our own time. For example the bombing of museums in WWII (even the simple institutions listing of destroyed/lost collections from that goes on and on, for very many pages. Or another example, about how things may not last ‘forever’ on the Internet is manifest from the broken links we find everyday – or in cases like the well-known Geocities.
GeoCities was founded by David Bohnett and John Rezner in late 1994 as “Beverly Hills Internet” (BHI). In 1999 GeoCities was acquired by Yahoo! which was to prove a disaster. At that time it was the third-most visited Web site on the World Wide Web. In its original form, site users selected a “city” in which to place their web pages. The “cities” were named after real cities or regions according to their content—for example, computer-related sites were placed in “SiliconValley” and those dealing with entertainment were assigned to “Hollywood”—hence the name of the site. Shortly after its acquisition by Yahoo!, this practice was abandoned in favor of using the Yahoo! member names in the URLs. In April 2009, approximately ten years after Yahoo! bought GeoCities, the company announced that it would shut down the United States GeoCities service on October 26, 2009.
There were at least 38 million user-built pages on GeoCities before it was shut down. Many users may have been computer-savvy enough to know how to save GeoCities-hosted information, or migrate it elsewhere. Back in 2009 I certainly would not have known how to do that. And perhaps not many easy-to-use other free hosts (like WordPress and others) existed then anyway(?). Sharing stuff by putting it on the Internet is now infinitely easier to do than it once was.
[ If or when I ever find my older “Project Past” work, e.g. on one of my several put-aside old hard disks now considered of impossibly small capacity, I will resurrect that name somehow. ] …. Some of my 0wn “Project Past” ideas (re the ways that people can and do interpret the past) probably first came from the Arkansas Archeological Survey , which is an organization whose mission is to “conserve and research the state’s heritage and communicate this information to the public.” In the NSW Government I worked in the Geological Survey (and, more broadly, the Department of Mines). The Geological Survey is of course concerned with interpreting much “deeper” or more distant time than archaeological surveys do (and my own ‘favourite’ period is the Silurian – http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5737284/silurian-quick-glimpses-1.htm ).
Here, at “Some Interesting Sites”, I may add here places I have recently been to – or have been to in the past. There have been (as with virtually everyone) numerous of the latter.
I have over time gathered a much larger collection of general snippets, and the method of storing these is ALPHABETICALLY (by place name). These can be found at the following link:
Other recommended sources for this sort of thing (geological sites) include:
Nancy and Bob set off hoping to take GEOLOGY TO THE MASSES.
Geological sites of NSW – http://www.geomaps.com.au (Viewed January 2013)
Information on sites is of course just a subset of information on everything.
One way or another I have always been engaged in dealing with information – seeking it, sorting it, checking it out (investigation or validation), re-working it, adding to it, whatever. Information was my speciality in a Master of Policy Studies course at the University of New South Wales (Kensington), namely how is it COLLECTED, STORED, and USED (interpretation/accessibility issues). My ‘major policy exercise’ was on this, with special reference to Government information.
Along with information there is of course also ‘misinformation’. I worked in government under a number of Ministers (Mines), including both Eddie Obeid ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Obeid )
and Ian Macdonald ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Macdonald_(New_South_Wales_politician) . On 31 July 2013 the ICAC found that Obeid, Macdonald, and others engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to their actions involving the Mount Penny mining tenement in the Bylong Valley. The ICAC found that Obeid engaged in corrupt conduct by entering into agreements with Macdonald, whereby Macdonald acted contrary to his public duty as a minister of the Crown.
Things ‘said’ by these two ministers (e.g. including Ministerial media releases) at times were seen/known/obvious to staff as wrong – but it was usually impossible to know if the Minister himself was putting out wrong information or perhaps it was someone in the Minister’s office, acting in the Minister’s name, who had done it. It was also, at times, quite obvious to departmental staff (and of concern to some) that there were [rarely] things going on which were in total contradiction to the department’s norms or well-formed internal rules – especially in relation to mining leases (but also, of perhaps considerably lesser, concern in relation to some water matters).
Other misinformation from Government witnessed over the years includes statement about the radioactive waste or contaminated soil (ca. 5,000t) at Nelson Parade, Hunters Hill, having been generated by a “smelter” (initially a ‘radium smelter’ supposedly, later a ‘uranium smelter’). There had NEVER been any smelter at the Nelson Parade factory, which was a wet-chemical factory for extracting radium salt from Radium Hill ore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium_Hill) transported to Sydney. Somehow the NSW Government got it wrong about the “smelter”, mixing up the Nelson Parade factory with a real smelter that had once operated on the waterfront just a short distance to the east. The Government began a parliamentary enquiry into the site, under the name of the mythical ‘Smelter’. This took over 200 contacts, to every single politican/authority involved before the matter got corrected (but was not in time to prevent the enquiry commencing under a nonsense name – viz. General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5. Chair: Ian Cohen (MLC) (September 2008). “The former uranium smelter site at Hunter’s Hill”. Parliament of New South Wales).
The interest/study of knowing what actually happened compared to what is thought or related to have happened, applies potentially of course to ALL OF THE PAST – and it is extremely easy for people to get things wrong, for a whole host of reasons.
On attempt to systematise the study of what actually happened vs. interpretation that goes astray has been termed “metamorphology” by Robert Bednarik (1995) to mean the ‘science of how forms of evidence of events in the past become the forms as which they are perceived or understood by the individual researcher today’.
But will Bednarik’s recommended definition/usage “take off” into general usage for our understanding of information and how it may transform?
More generally, metamorphology comes from biology: “the science of the metamorphoses or changes which an individual undergoes from the time it ceases to be an embryo to the time it ceases to live as a bodily organism. Metamorphology and embryology together constitute ontogeny” ( from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia).
Metamorphosis of rocks is a concept widely used in geology. (“Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock types, in a process called metamorphism, which means “change in form”. The original rock (protolith) is subjected to heat (temperatures greater than 150 to 200 °C) and pressure (1500 bars), causing profound physical and/or chemical change. The protolith may be sedimentary rock, igneous rock or another older metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the Earth‘s crust and are classified by texture and by chemical and mineral assemblage (metamorphic facies)” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamorphic_rock ). Metamorphosis = the change, and is not much spoken of in geology; metamorphism = the change process/processes, and is widely considered/discussed.
By analogy, the metamorphosis or change of information (on any given thing) also does change over time. And metamorphology (of information) theoretically could be systematised somehow as a study or science.
Robert Bednarik is about the only person I know of who is greatly concerned with trying to systematise such things (information metamorphology). Robert works on the record of the human past, especially rock art or other very old art forms – particularly for the Pleistocene (where what it thought to have happened and what actually happened are highly likely to be divergent).
Something Robert Bednarik has worked on. Also see his homepage at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~auranet/auraweb/web/index.html