Medium, Message, Meaning and Measure

This is a bit of a rambling thought.
Marshall McLuhan in his studies divided all Media (tools), including art into Medium and Message.  In working on this essay, I have come to find another division for McLuhan’s Model:
contains Message
contains Meaning

I was thinking about how to represent this and turned toward the interrogatives to look for guidance.  As I worked with the interrogatives I realized that the interrogative “What?” was the bridge between one level of the new media structure and another.  I found I could nest Meaning in Message in Medium using What as the doorway.

Dealing with it this way brings out the Semiotic trio of Semantics, Syntactics and Pragmatics.  However, it does not fit cleanly.  Medium is not semantics, for example, for it involves the physical carrier.  Semantics is more part of the message.  Yet Semantics itself can be called a Medium for Syntactics and Sytactics a Medium for Pragmatics.  As you can see it is really a pain, because the term Medium has been over generalized.

Another way to think about it may be Medium as Form and Medium as Function, Message as Form and Message as Function, Meaning as Form and Meaning as Function.  I had to come up with new language to handle the scope of my thinking.

What – What as Form – Medium as Form
Where – What as Function – Medium as Function – Semiotic Semantics
How – How as Form – Message as Form – Semiotic Sytactics
When – How as Function – Message as Function – Semiotic Pragmatics
Why – Why as Form – Meaning as Form
Who – Why as Function – Meaning as Function
How Much – How Much as Form – Measure as Form
How Many – How Much as Function – Measure as Function

Notice I added two interrogatives at the end.  I realized message has a size and a quantity.

What this reveals is the interrogatives are paired.  What is a point but Where is What occupying space.  How is a point, but When is How occupying time.  Why is a point, but Who is Why occupying a person.  How Much is a point, but How Many is How Much occupying a quantity.  Form and Function.

I am going to think about this more, but it’s out there for you to think about as well.


X Time, Y Time and Z Time

An idea I have been playing with recently is wondering if time could be viewed in an alternate fashion than is now.

One of the traditional ways of viewing time is conically:

I have been wondering if time could be viewed spatially as x, y, z coordinates.  I don’t know if the time of physics and the time of perception are different.

Let’s call them x time, y time and z time.  What if x were past, y were present and z was future.

One of the reasons I wonder about this is because the present seems more dynamic than a point in time.  One of Einstein’s insights was that objects were not points in space, but complex volumes.  Why can’t the same be said for the present and the observer?

I am going to think more about this, but I will leave you with this question.  How could time have a positive and negative past, a positive and negative present and a positive and negative future?

I think the answer lies in realizing the observer is not a point.   TimeSpace as opposed to SpaceTime.


Time and Distance. Or is it Distance and Distance.

When you look at a clock it is measuring time.  Or is it?

Look at the clock again.  It is measuring distance.  Distance.  Not events.  Change in distance.

If you look at the rotation of the earth.  A rotation is a distance.

If you look at the revolution of the earth around the sun.  A revolution is distance.

If you look at an atomic clock.  It is measuring a distance.

Velocity is Distance / Relative Distance.

Events are artificial cuts in the distances.  We invented events.  Motion does not stop in the big scheme.

All we have are intersections of relative distances.


Structure, Content, Medium

I have been thinking about Art from the perspective of a Data Analyst and something occurred to me.

Databases have multiple levels:

  1. Logical
  2. Physical
  3. Storage
And at each of these levels you have two states:
  1. Qualitative
  2. Quantitative
It made me think about a two dimensional binary
  1. Art : Abstract / Qualitative
  2. Math : Abstract / Quantitative
  3. Poetry : Concrete / Qualitative
  4. Science : Concrete / Quantitative
Logical tables contain the structure of the database while Physical tables contain the content of the database and Storage places the content on a medium.
I looked at this and wondered if the construct was able to abstract further.
  1. Logical  :  Structure : Abstract / Concrete
  2. Physical : Content : Qualitative / Quantitative
  3. Storage : Medium : Form / Function
What this yielded was a three dimensional concept where each dimension had two states.  In other words, a binary cube.
Binary cubes have eight possible states
  1. Abstract : Qualitative : Form
  2. Abstract : Qualitative : Function
  3. Abstract : Quantitative : Form
  4. Abstract : Quantitative : Function
  5. Concrete : Qualitative : Form
  6. Concrete : Qualitative : Function
  7. Concrete : Quantitative : Form
  8. Concrete : Quantitative : Function
So we have a new set of Dimensions:
  1. Structure
  2. Content
  3. Medium
And a new set of states:
  1. Structure : Abstract / Concrete
  2. Content : Qualitative / Quantitative
  3. Medium : Form / Function
There are many 8 part models out there for system life cycles, system components, communication layers, data levels.  It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between them and this abstraction.


I have worked with the Empirical Process (Experiment) in the background my whole career. It is not really any different from the System Development Lifecycle (SDLC). However, I have never seen the process really stripped down. So here it is as minimal as I want to get it.

OSI Model : Yi Jing : Fusion

I have been working with the OSI Model for almost 25 years.  However, I was so busy attempting to tackle the technical concrete aspects of the model, I rarely had time to reflect on it abstractly.
Recently, while taking a sabbatical, it occurred to me that the OSI Model, with the infamous Layer 8 could be fitted into the Yi Jing using CONCRETE as the term for the broken lines and ABSTRACT as the term for the solid lines.  As the Yi Jing is a 3 bit binary system, there are 8 possible combinations.  Concrete could also be interpreted as Physical and Abstract could also be interpreted as Logical.
I still have to think more about the possible reasoning behind the structure below, but for right now I am just looking at it as two concepts that roughly fit together without significance.
  • L2 : DATA LINK
  • L3 : NETWORK
  • L5 : SESSION
  • L8 : USER

Graphics : Data Analysis

I am playing with some graphics from my data analysis career.