Friday, November 16, 2007

Two More Advance Copies of Papers on Visualization of Evidence and Inference

Please go here for advance copies of the following two papers on graphic and visual representations of evidence and inference in legal settings (but the gratis links to these papers will expire in a few weeks, when the hard copy of the special issue[s] on visualization appears):

David Tait, Rethinking the role of the image in justice: visual evidence and science in the trial process, Law, Probability and Risk Advance Access, published on November 13, 2007. doi:10.1093/lpr/mgm040

Burkhard Schafer, Can you have too much of a good thing? A comment on Bart Verheij's legal argumentation support software, Law, Probability and Risk Advance Access, published on November 13, 2007. doi:10.1093/lpr/mgm038

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Comment Pertinent to Visualization of Evidence and Inference

Consider these propositions:
Ideas and diagrams are higher abstractions than words and fonts. The Idea Processor depicts ideas as graphical objects and its relationship as links. You get the Big Picture at all times, and details can be hidden from view. A diagram helps to organize cognitive activities and select approaches to problem solving. A diagram need not be a precise representation of all aspects of the real world. Vagueness helps to distill the generic attributes of the ideas and encourages exploration. A sketch is often not so much vague as it is something that stands for a family of precise models.
Axon Concepts

Note the comment about the possible occasional value of vagueness in diagrams.

Unconscious - and Remarkably Complex! - Inference

Although described as a master computer, the brain is fundamentally more complex and its processes far more subtle than those of any current computer design. With the advantage of parallel operation of neuronal populations, the brain manages and controls a wide variety of tasks simultaneously, reliably, and with rapid precision. Indeed, much of the brain's work proceeds even in the absence of an individual's conscious awareness.

All brain activity results from electrical and chemical communication among neurons (the primary signaling cells of the brain), each of which can communicate with other neurons using signals at rates of up to 1,000 events (impulses) per second. To understand the brain, neuroscientists must measure and analyze the rapid changes in neuronal signaling activity that occur over the vast networks of cells and connections. The scope of this endeavor is immense. It is estimated that the human brain contains more than 100 billion neurons, and each neuron maintains an average of about 1,000 connections, called synapses, with other neurons. Some neurons have as many as 200,000 synapses. During each moment of daily life, neural signals may be transmitted across any of approximately 100 trillion synapses.

Constance M. Pechura and Joseph B. Martin, eds., Mapping the Brain and Its Functions (National Academies Press, 1991)