Dates, Evidence

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology /

2006 08 15 The computer date-stamps every file. This or that application date-stamps every subsequent save. Once upon a time I never dated anything. When I wrote a letter I knew when it was and where I was. I don’t mean that I knew the calendar date — Tuesday, 15th day of October, year of our Lord 19-what-ever, twenty-three minutes past noon — I mean I knew I was a junior in high school, that it was autumn, that I was sitting on the porch with my shoes off … If I find the letter decades latter, going through grandpa’s basement, I may recall one, two, or none of those details. I may or may not recognize the letter as from me. The cop, the lawyers, the twelfth mistress … finding the letter may notice only that it’s not the will naming them heir.

These days, aided by the computer, I do have the dating habit. But when I’m adding new paragraphs to one of my many scrapbook files at, and then decided to rearrange them, by date, or by subjective importance, or by sub-category … it can get bollixed pretty quickly.

Wrong labels can be worse than no labels. Imagine the sign painter asked to spruce up the sign To Brooklyn. He’s also asked to repaint the sign to New Jersey. He does both, but late for a date, he reinstalls the signs at the wrong locations. People on Canal Street may laugh and know that that’s the Brooklyn Bridge, not the George Washington Bridge, that it goes over the East River, not the Hudson River, but what happens to the Thai immigrant trying to meet her caseworker on time?

Hansel leaves a trail of bread crumbs, but wind, birds, squirrels … gravity can scatter it screwy.

Geology started when some guy noticed what looked like layers exposed in a hill side. Guys since are confident that if they dig downward in the earth they’re uncovering evidence in reverse chronological order: the first layer of dust is from last week, the layer of rubble is from that war in 18-some-thing … there’s the layer from when the town was mostly Dutch, then from when it was mostly Algonquin … then there are layers from 1,000,000 years ago, 1,000,000,000 years ago.

The cops haul evidence off to the evidence room. What happens in court though if the cops have played strip poker in the evidence room and then extended their wardrobe with the packages of evidence? Necktie, shirt, undershirt … silk garters, the bloody panties from the rape.

The anthropologist digs around the Great Rift Valley. Here’s a chip of bone from 3,000,000 ago, here’s a bit of rib from 8,000,000 years ago … Label them, put them on the shelf. Along comes the student. Should he believe that the shelf is 3,000,000 years old where the chip of bone is? and 8,000,000 years old where the rib is? Should he then also believe that the shelf is one day old when he finds his own fingerprint?

And what should be believe after the typhoon shuffles everything?

(Oh: and I could easily mention: computer date stamping can easily be cheated. I could tell the computer that it’s June 6, 1975. Then the computer would stamp the next save of this file June 6, 1975. If the power goes off, if the battery dies, the revived computer will reset its clock to whatever it’s default date is: 1959. Or whatever.

And how do we know the cops didn’t jerk their own jissom into the rape panties?)


These days we all know what Photoshop can do with a scan.

dutch pair

When I saw this picture I instantly started looking for careless path-clipping around the large figure, was astounded at how professionally the photo had been doctored … But why? Why was the picture worth bothering about? Then I realized, No, that’s a real girl. That is some giant of a girl: and not bad. In fact, look at that lower belly! Look at those kazambies!

Actually, I like the “normal” blond. But actually, how can anyone not love both!?

(Actually, I just cropped the photo, getting rid of a blank border, and now see that the upper right needed a bit of clone tool. I’m not going to bother with it though.

Social Epistemology

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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