Fact, Fiction and BS

How to distinguish between fact and fiction then fight the lies and BS in your life…

If you check out the latest in the world of politics, its impossible not to feel a big butterfly flapping its wings in hour belly, no matter in what side of the political arena are you at the moment.

We are inundated and practically drawn in information, hitting us at the speed of light from all directions. We all have the feeling that most of it is simply BS, meant to pull us to one side or another of a conversation, which most of the time makes little sense and even more, you have no idea how all this will impact your life in the future. “Most likely in a negative way”, you think, if you are the “half empty kind of person”, positive if not and yes most of us are simply confused most of the time.

Most of the confusion comes straight out of our inability to discern between fact and fiction. Yes, we can smell it, but can’t really put our finger on it, the regular BS, the one you smell, when let’s say some ruthless sales person picture the products they try to shove your throat and  take your hard earned money, then vanish beyond your ability to ever meet them again. At least with sales you know (and possible respect) that most of them must make a living, as you do, put food on their table and they are pushed by their businesses, to make more profit at any human cost. Of course, (hopefully) we all have a job and probably there is a sales person (if you are not one of them), which you need to thank that you can take your hard earned money home, twice a month, if you work for an organization bigger than your own basement.

But then, there is the big BS, the one which is simply there to damage you, your reputation, your life, used as a weapon against you and the entire society by some few BS experts (some people call these artists, but I think it is wrong, artists create fiction not BS).

It is hard to exactly tell, how much damage the confusion generated by BS creates at the social level, but I feel its impact is huge. If so, can we do something about it? I’ve studied this issue for some time now and found that before the age of computers, (the things we now can have and tuck in our pocket) there was no real solution, however, now we do have a chance to fight against BS and give ourselves the gift of being able to distinguish between fact and fiction and reduce if not eliminate the BS from the world.

So, well, how do we do this?

First, we need to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction. To be able to do so, we need to clearly understand what fact and fiction are. You may believe you know, but please stay with me for a while and I may change your understanding of what they actually are (at least in the context of this article).

The definition of facts.

A fact is any piece of information created by a sensor of any kind measuring one or more parameters, from a well defined position in space-time and whose content can  undoubtedly be authenticated by a quorum of “witnesses”  at any moment in time and space, after the measurement, upon request.

Once the definition of fact is clear the notion of fiction is simply created by exclusion.

Any information which is not fact is fiction!

OK, good, but then what is BS? In this context BS is linked how the fictional information is used to influence human minds.

BS is fiction disguised as fact and used to manipulate human minds mostly to engage in what I define “destructive competition“.

Yeah, I know that is darn mouth full and probably may have confused the heck out of you, yet it contains all the “requirements” for distinguishing the fact from fiction and allow for required devices to be built in order to actually make it reality. Let’s try bring that awful definition down to our world.

Why our own brain is not a good place to find facts?

You may ask yourself why the humans using their natural sensors eyes, ears, nose, skin plus our marvelous brain can’t be used to produce facts. The main issue is that our natural memory is simply designed to be flexible and adaptive. As such it will distort information stored in time based on the future experiences and human activities. The other part is the impossibility to “calibrate” the natural sensors so there is no way to tell if the information sensed by a human is same as by others when sensing an external phenomena. The last but not the least is that the information stored in our brains is can’t be “extracted” (at least for now) and compared with information stored in other brains. Additionally the brain stores in same way and around same place fictional information (essential for life to exists) which can and usually do taint the sensed information in our minds. If you do not believe (and I do not ask you to) the above explanation start reading about what we already know about how human memory works. A great book I’ve read is “The memory illusion” by Dr. Julia Shaw (Amazon) .

I believe that both factual and fictional information is valuable.

I love fiction and I trust facts.

Fiction, is an essential process by which our minds “test” the future (and,in a wilder version, creates it) in order to define the present. Without it we would not be able to exists, we must always “guess the future” by using intuition (which is a form of fiction) to be able to do even the simplest tasks. In technical terms this is called “feed-before” as opposed to “feedback” which is reacting to events. Just to make my point imagine you are a boxer and you can only “react” to the punches of the adversary, it would be for sure a short fight…

Only when certain minds try to disguise the fiction as fact, the fiction tuns in BS as a would be reverse alchemy process turns gold to shit, sorry for the expression but is an excellent analogy generating a mental image of what BS is.

Unfortunately, the reverse alchemy of BS is sometimes, or maybe too many times, a unconscious process. Without fighting hard against BS we can all generate too much of it and in time risk drown into it. This is even more obvious these days when we can generate more information than ever, yet the average person is basically unable to process almost any of it. On top of that, the digital information is notorious for how easy is it to be changed without living a trace. And this is a heaven for BS.

These days you can easily find on the internet pictures or movies which are almost impossible to tell if they were actually the originals the video sensor captured from the reality or were tinkered with. Some changes are subtle and technical in nature as changing the contrast luminosity of the picture, other are more insidious but kind of benign, like erasing pimples from your face, eliminating the “red eye flash” or even “thinning” your middle a bit to make you look better (at least to today’s standards). But then there are those changes which if used in justice may incriminate you without a cause like adding your face in a porn scene or depicting you smocking crack. The image editing tools are getting better and better and already is just a matter of time to create a perfect “fake”.

When it comes to justice (or injustice via the justice system) some ill minds can use the system in their advantage in order to damage you, your life and the life of your beloved ones. By using BS in computers any of us are exposed to the digital bulling via skewed justice systems.

Why are facts defined as only the information we capture via sensors, and what is a sensor anyway?

If you pull your smart phone out of your pocket and take a look at what “sensors” are available you’ll probably find the following:

  • Sound sensor (the mike of your phone)
    Those sensors measure the movements of a thin membrane which is moved back and fourth by the air around the phone. When we speak, or there is sound around the phone, vibrations of the air are creating variation in pressure on the mike’s membrane sides. The membrane then moves with the sound and transmits that movement to an electronic subsystem converting the movement in electric currents. The amplitude of the membrane movement is converted proportionally in voltage or current. Next a digital subsystem measure this electric value (voltage or current) and generates a series of numbers at equal time intervals. Each number is represented by using a number of bits, and the more bits per number the best the “quality” of the sound. In a regular phone 12 to 16 bits are used. A bit is simply the basic unit of digital information is a ‘0’ or ‘1’ or maybe ‘true’ or ‘false’ or ‘exists’ or ‘not exists’ kind of thing. These bits have no “smell” no weight, you can’t see them directly they are just darn simple numbers! And numbers can be changed without living a trace unless we can do something about that! (see further down this article).
  • Video sensor (your camera)
    The video sensor works in principle in the same way (from fact/fiction perspective). The light is sampled by an array of microscopic sensors each sensor generating a number representing the intensity of the light it measured at a moment in time. For the same location (x,y) (top,down) on the array there are three sensors “specialized” for Red, Green and Blue spectral domains. The sensor generates an image which from digital perspective is the same kind of string of “bits” as in the case of the sound sensor, the difference is that the image sensors generate way more data in the same time interval and how we interpret the bit string is different. Yet again those bits can be changes without living a trace!
  • The GPS
    The GPS measures your position on the surface of the earth and gives you a stream of three coupled numbers (longitude, latitude, height from sea level)
  • Accelerometer
    Generates measures and provides a stream of three numbers representing the acceleration your phone has as you handle it on three directions (x,y,z). As with the other sensors same digital bit representation same fake-ability issue.
  • Magnetic sensor
    Also a tri-axial (x,y,z) stream of numbers measuring he magnetic field strength around your phone. Same digital issues as with all other sensors.

So, all the sensors you have in any device around you (smart phone, tablet, computer, watch etc) all have the same problem. They generate bit streams which are fake-able once they exit the sensor chip. Even worse, once the information is stored in your phone’s memory it can be “attacked” by malicious software executing on your phone or when you publish pictures or video via public sites that information is stored in those server memories (disk, etc) and are accessible to be changed by few but not zero amount of people.

This means that ALL the information currently generated by the any of our digital sensors can be subject of modification by ourselves or other people for various reasons. Clearly some information may be more valuable than other and its value can change in time. To get a sense of that just look at the 2016 US election drama and see how information was used to attack the each opponent. Also see how video from cell phones was used in various police shootings. Things are getting serious, away is the time of innocence when only cute pets were the subject of attention.

More, these days you start to hear buzz words like “big data”, “cloud”, “machine learning”, “artificial intelligence”, etc. All those new technologies are wonders and can help everyone if used right or lead to something I coined as “Informageddon” if not. The key for all those systems is the ability of the system to differentiate between fact and fiction and maybe later weed out the BS. At this moment in time, they can’t and that can lead to miss use and abuse.


By now you must have seen already a bunch of sequences in movies where low resolution images are first shown only to give the lead character in the movie the chance to say “enhance”. An so, we are brainwashed to think that we can create information out of nothing! Yes that is exactly what “enhance” is. Let’s make it clear, if a sensor measures some parameter with a given precision then there is no way you can retrieve the missing information other than by using interpolation, which is a mathematical way to guess. But guessing is guessing and when you “enhance” you must be aware that you are mixing fiction (the interpolated info) with facts (the actual data). The resulting info is not factual any more! The same issue is when the sensor measurements overflows or measuring overlapped output of multiple activities.

What can we do about it?

The same technology which generates the issue, can if used fix it and backed by the existing digital cryptography technology and the force multiple devices on public networks can help differentiate the fact from fiction.

Why to do all this anyway? What is so bad what can happen to me?

Imagine the scenario where someone posts a picture or movie of you taking part of a criminal activity. Without a way to verify the authenticity of the information the authorities will at least need to contact you and you’ll have to spend some time explaining and trying to defend yourself. Even if you can prove the picture was “doctored” or edited by other means you still had to waste some of your time (and lots of money) as well as the officers who were mislead in the first place. This scenario is more and more plausible and if you are a public figure part of an election process or in a position of power then it is more probable you may experience this type of issue. However, all of us can be impacted sooner or later and that should be enough to worry you.

You may say, well its simple I don’t need special apps I can simply choose to live offline to stop using those dreadful devices and it will all go away. Unfortunately this will not work unless you’ll start living under a rock, literally. If you stop using the technology the others around you will most likely not and you can be a target without even knowing it! How is that going to save you? The only solution is to understand the dangers posed by technology,use it correctly and in your advantage.

The solution or… How can it be done.

The bits and pieces required to solve this issue already exists. The cryptographic technologies notable, the so called “public key cryptography”, the existing armada of smart phones and the newly emerging cloud solutions are the very components we can use to finally give ourselves the gift of distinguishing fact from fiction.

Of course, things are slightly more complex (as usual) but there is no “show stopper” here. We just need to get down to business and create the actual systems. How would this “look and feel” for the regular (non IT literate person). As with any other case you’ll need to download an app into your phone for regular usage or buy some small box you plug it in your phone or your home network for a “rock solid” secure case. Then you enable and keep all your phone sensors working, or have a more “power smart” way to select what sensors are used when. The phone will record and keep the sensor info secure (encryption) “distillate” chunks of it based on well defined time intervals and “share” the distilled information with other phones which so will “witness” it (your data/facts). The cloud can “save” all this info for later use all under your “key” to keep the privacy strong.

Then when someone will claim you were in a bad place or a bad company, or you simply wish to send some pictures or movies to a group of friends or the media they can now verify if the info you sent is fact or fiction (you changed it, or someone else did without your consent).

Since you save the information in the cloud and keep it there forever. You can come back to it and prove your innocence even after you are no more! However this info can be used by yourself for many other proposes than avoid prosecution.

The experimentalists scientists will now have a tool which can be used to validate experimental data as it too can be subject of “doctoring”.

What if someone gets a hold on your stuff from the cloud? How secure is this?

By using strong encryption and strong encryption key management you will always be in control of who can access your information. By using this technology in fact you are safer than if you don’t use it as unprotected information can be changed and you can’t prove it.

Unreliable media!

Hmm… Media, we really have no clue what to believe these days. One thing is clear, media is a business and for any business the first pillar is to maximize its profit. If you think otherwise you should take a hard look at your thinking cause is, well… flawed. So, any business, in order to survive and even more to thrive must truly understand its market its customers. With media, that is, what you are looking to hear or see. Unfortunately most of us are biased towards bad, hype, buzz, abuse, and yes fear. We simply choose to be “informed” more about what can hurt us than what can help us, we tend to watch the half empty than the half full and yes media MUST give you what you are most likely to consume. Are you still surprised that WE ALL ARE THE REASON all this crap hits us everyday?

When people are asked want they wish from media almost all of us say we want FACTS! Unfortunately, there was no reliable way to distinguish between fact fiction and BS, until now…

The future of the media is clearly split in two main roles, first as an information of any kind collector second as processor and distributor. Nothing new you’ll say they already do that. Yes they did but the way the information is acquired has changed. The media can’t control (good thing) the collection or production of information. These days you can “Google” or use other search engines (smart thing to do) to find almost anything. The media these days has the problem of information overload and and on top of that our ability to distinguish between fact fiction and BS is on a historical low.

So, the solution I’m proposing will give you the solid foundation for finding and proving facts. This is a fundamental ability which media can use to build its analysis on and generate predictions based on simulations of the potential future paths for all of us. When this happens we will at least be able to separate the fact from fiction and eventually decide when that fiction gets to close to the stink of BS and discard it.

Even more important our abilities to process vast amount of information will improve by starting to use the “Cloud” and “Big Data” abilities which all big information technology players in the market are starting to make it available for use.


The future is bright!

If we will be able to distinguish fact from fiction, we can accomplish a lot and make big steps towards a global democracy. The issue is that the democracy only works when we all are able to listen, understand and appreciate each others distinct abilities, when we all nourish our differences as global strengths and not as weakness.

In order to do so we need to master the “many-to-many” type of communication. If you think of a scheme which classifies communication based on volume we can identify four classes of communication “one-to-one“, “one-to-many“, “many-to-one” and “many-to-many“. We think we mastered the “one-to-one” kind yet when we look at the aftermath of many of ours one-to-one discussions we realize we are at best mediocre in how much information are we able to receive and understand or verbalize and transmit. We toy around with “one-to-many” in media and I say “toy” as we now know that most of us do not trust media any more. That is a monumental failure of our ability to handle the  “one-to-many” type of communication. The “many-to-one” is even more questionable as the main use of this pattern is elections, pooling and “en mass” espionage. When it comes to “many-to-many” we are really loosing it for good. There is not even “a thing” in most minds let aside to try tackle it. Yet this is the only way we can become “something rather than nothing” at the cosmic and universal scale. You may think this is not important but somehow down there in your soul you know it is the most important thing you’ll ever be part of.

The future is bright!

… only if you stop chasing BS and give facts and fiction their right places in your mind…

Just For Fun!

John Oliver: Last Week Tonight on Scientific studies..

Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rule – Lies Are the New Truth (HBO)…

BS definition from Wikipedia

Article as a pdf document signed on http://digistamp.com : PDF  TIMESTAMP VERIFY

The original post had the mistaken title “Fake, Fiction and BS”, the browser editor “auto correct function” and my temporary stupid state made it possible. I fixed the title, though the signed version still has the original mistake, as it is a fact now! 🙂 …

I stand with you, Orlando, Brussels, Paris, Pakistan, and for all people who lost or had their lives destroyed by madness of extremisms

Orlando Florida US Jun 12, 2016, 50 dead 53 injured. People died and got hurt again, is there a way to stop this from happening?

  • Paris France, Nov 13, 2015, 130 dead and more then 350 injured (source Wikipedia)
  • San Bernardino California US, Dec 2, 2015, 14 dead and 22 injured (source Wikipedia)
  • Brussels Belgium, Mar 22, 2016, 35 dead and more than 300 injured (source Wikipedia)
  • Lahore Pakistan, Mar 27, 2016, 75 dead and more than 300 injured (source Wikipedia)
  • Orlando Florida US Jun 12, 2016, 50 dead 53 injured
  • And then the Sirian Civil War counting to more than 400000 people killed until now with millions pushed to live their lives with mostly nothing
  • And the list is longer, to long…

I would like to extend my condolences to all the people who lost loved ones in all those tragedies.

In total, in less than a year, we lost 130+14+35+75+50=304 people and destroyed or badly impacted the lives of 350+22+300+300+53=more than 1025 people by a handful of other people who’s minds were twisted by extreme ideas. I can’t even imagine what 400000 dead and millions more displaced means for a time we call ourselves “civilized”.

But by simply stopping here, by only feeling sorry for the loss, would not make much difference for the future. We need to start open our eyes minds and harts to the truth no matter how hard is to find it.

Against all the primal instincts which pushes us to answer the violence with violence the path to a solution include quite a different path. It is said that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing again and again without changing anything and expecting different results. If that is true it is also an extreme, and we could tame the definition by excluding the “changing anything” to “changing enough” to reach a realistic goal. The thing is, we all find ourselves in various shades of insanity and need to continuously correct our action to stay out of it.

My personal opinion is that one important root cause, if not the most important one, on all our history, but more important these days is our ability to communicate.

The communication process implies extracting information from our minds, filter it, encode it in speech or words, then transport it over various mediums like airwaves (voice), electromagnetic waves, in networks, or solids, to one or more people, the receivers. The receiver(s) will then attempt to decode the information and (attempt to) re-integrate it in their minds. Both the sender and receiver have different mind contexts and each of those steps can and usually will be subject of errors.

My explanation of the communication process, may look “Rube Goldberg”-is but it is darn simple compared to the full fledged phenomena.

We usually do all this in “automatic” mode, paying little attention or no or little attention to all the possibilities for errors and that is where things break down. We assume we “master” communication, when in fact we kind of suck at it and the consequence of this inability is dire.

These days our abilities to transport information has advanced faster than our ability to process the information we receive (and make sense of it) due all the technological advances. Now we are witnessing the first consequences of this imbalance between our abilities to transport information, and our ability to process it. On top of that, we are unable to distinguish between fact and fiction and our ability to listen and understand other cultures has diminished due to of this informational overload.

All this pushes some of us to drawn in the informational flow, and tumble down into the vortex of madness and extremism.

Carl Sagan had this prescient view, he expressed in his last interview with Charlie Rose. Charlie asks, “What’s the danger of all this…?” referring to the Science and Technology in the hands of the public. Carl answers “We arrange the society based on Science and Technology where nobody understand anything about Science and Technology and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow-out in our faces…”  For the full interview (if you didn’t see it yet) check here.

I’m coining this phenomena the “Informageddon” as a derived form of the regular Armageddon, describing a way to screw ourselves big time due our collective madness and stupidity.

Of course, you may say, you can go crazy about it, but nothing would really happen (to others) if there will be no guns. Personally I think we should be able to defend ourselves, however if anyone would own a classic gun can lead to a arms race at the micro social level. All this is good for making bucks on short term but makes no sense on long term. I will discuss more about how to balance the need for self defence and what sort of technology can we use to replace the actual guns. As a Canadian I’m impacted in a slight different way than a US citizen but the problem is actually universal and needs attention.

I’m sure that there is a brighter future ahead of us. Yet the path to it is narrow and not a straight one, but I believe in it. To draw the path to an acceptable future we need to understand the dangers of the new technologies as well as their strengths. As with all other Technological wonders we can use every one of them for both good and bad, the distinction is apparent when we are able to see the big picture on long term.

“In order to be able to harvest the fruits, first we must take care of the roots”

The last two important aspects of the social organization, which can push towards the “Informageddon” are the specialization and competition. Even though both of them are essential for our progress an unhealthy amount or kind of each can hamper the progress.

We can distinguish two types of competition, constructive (or positive) and destructive (or negative). To understand the difference I have to tell you a small story. “Once upon a time there were two neighbours. And they (as with many of us these days) were competing on who had a better life. They both had livestock and were proud of their animals. One day the goat of one of them dies accidentally. In the evening both neighbours pray to God. First one asks God for good health for his family and livestock and wishes the best for his neighbour. He shares some of his goat milk with his neighbour whose goat died . The other neighbour though, prays for his neighbour’s goat to die too so he would not be in the position to be helped as he feels this as humiliating”.

You can see clearly the difference between constructive competition in the first person action and the destructive one from the other person.We can see how for the entire system (the two people together) helping each other leads to a stronger state whereas in the destructive case both would suffer. The problem with the technology is that it speeds up all processes and makes it harder and harder to people to react with long term plans. This inadvertently favours he destructive type of competition.

Please take some time and think how much of the constructive versus destructive competition is promoted more these days? What is the impact on long term of all the secrecy out there and all the actions we are involved in. This is the first step towards a sane future.

For future articles check the “Informageddon” category.


Is this guy inventing the ZPM?

I stumbled on youtube.com on this video recorded from a presentation given by Nassim Haramein presenting a new model for interpreting the world of small (we now brand as Quantum Mechanics) where simply put he presents a model and some calculations supporting the idea that protons are made out of small Black-Holes!

Cool!, Not sure is the model holds water but you have to admit the idea is cool.

However this is not all, Nassim says he works on a device which is able to extract energy directly out of the space itself. This takes me back to a Sci-Fi I love, the Star-Gate series where they talk about an energy source used by some very advanced (and ancient!) civilizations, called ZPM or Zero Point Module. In the flick the ZPM is a sort of battery which can generate an enormous amount of energy being able to power spaceships as large as entire cities for thousands of years. The ZPM “extracts energy from a region of the space”.

Now, you’ll say, well Sci-Fi is some % of “Sci” + some % of “Fi” so it is not exactly real.

Let’s take a look at the history of the “Tablet Computer”, Wikipedia has an article about this where they show that the idea was first floated around since 1951 by Isaac Asimov as a “Calculator Pad” in the novel Foundation. Just take a look at the “pads” used by the different Sci-Fi movies (Star-Treck, and Star-* in general). I found this pintrest pin funny saying “1988 Star-Trck tablet computer presented, 2002 Microsoft introduces a tablet computer and 2010 iPad is introduced”. At the time when those movies were produced the notion of “tablet computer” looke light years away, yet we have them now and they look even damn better than what we imagined only few years ago.

That seem to be the case with multiple “ideas out of their times” which then we realized them one way or another. The most obvious of all is our ability to fly. Given all this, I will not be too surprised if the ZPM can actually be built. Then, buckle-up your sit belts as our reality will really take off. Only if, it would happen for us all…

Even if it does not actually predict any ZPM this article about Black Holes from Stephen Wolfram is cool too.

Bellow Nassim Haramein about this potential new energy source. Will this be successful? I’d like to think so yet only time will tell. He is leading “The Resonance Project” @ http://resonance.is .

What would happen if you give a monkey a machine-gun?

Carl Sagan talking about the danger of marring more and more advanced technologies with very little or no understanding of the technology background by the masses.
Was he right? I thing he was. Arthur Clarke observed that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is undistinguishable from magic”. Which means that for most of the people out there science and technology is magic, this allows religious fanatics to attack science by brainwashing the very people using the technology. And at the top of the magic hill are the computers… We have to take computers out of the magic by simplifying them and making them understandable by everyone, or the future may not be ours.

All human beings make mistakes, and we are all human, how blind love leads to death

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
Author: Mark Twain

The road to hell is paved only with good intentions.
Author: Unknown

It take a village to raise a child.
Author: Unknown

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

We all think “I had nothing to do with it” if you think so think again, if you don’t you are an indirect enabler of violence…

Paris I stand with you

Have no Fear!, Fear leads to hate and hate leads to suffering”. My hart goes out for all people hurting now in Paris and all over the world.

We can’t change the past or even the present but we can change the future. Fear is born from lack of quality information and quality information is only born from deep listening and understanding of our peers. Ignorance is not bliss is death. We can’t afford ignorance no more.