Victus Spiritus


Scattering Light is Enchanting, But How Can We Identify the Source

13 Jul 2009


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Scattered Light

The image above is explained on the site it was shared from (Mail Online):

The night skies over Britain will turn a deep shade of crimson this week as the fallout from a Russian volcano blast hits the UK. Millions of tonnes of dust, ash and sulphur dioxide were thrown up to 30 miles into the air when Sarychev Peak on Matua Island in the Kuril Archipelago erupted last month. The blast created what experts call a ‘volcanic aerosol’ - a colourful mixture of ash and sulphur compounds - in the stratosphere.

Much like the ebb and flow of information on the Internet from far away we can only see the scattered effect of people applying their own perspectives to an original source of information. Bloggers, commenters,  and social media users all add their own point of view to events as they take place and become documented in our shared global information repository. It's beautiful to witness the scintillating analyses shared by interacting nodes (individuals & crowd sourced sites). But we are challenged with understanding the source of truth behind all the glittering lights. Thousands of individual voices can be describing similar events and trends but remain disconnected due to different languages or choice of terms.

In comes semantic interpreters. Behind all the rays of light and photons there is a trail that leads back to the meta data, the volcanic eruption. This is the raw common event, product, or gathering that ties all the divergent conversations together. From many millions of opinions and observations essential information is extracted and shared. We become more knowledgeable on the whole, if only we can piece the fragmented conversations together. It is beyond any single dust particle to have knowledge of all the nuances of scattered light from the source, just as it is beyond any single person or organization to understand the sum total of all internet perceptions.

We are challenged to manifest magnifiscent tools to make sense of the relentless information stream. Perhaps only collectively, all of humanity may understand the nature of the source of events, and truly harness the collaborative power of billions of minds and their technologies working together.