Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pseudoscience, Forgeries, and Faking It for Real

tech support

California lawmaker wants teens to learn to spot fake news
Jan 2017, Associated Press

Science publisher fooled by gibberish papers, Feb 2014

Publisher of science journals Springer said Thursday it would scrap 16 papers from its archives after they were revealed to be computer-generated gibberish.

Sokal's Pseudoscientific Hoax
The Sokal affair, also called the Sokal hoax, was a publishing hoax perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the journal's intellectual rigor and, specifically, to investigate whether "a leading North American journal of cultural studies – whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross – [would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions".

The article, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", was published in the Social Text Spring/Summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue. It proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review and it did not submit the article for outside expert review by a physicist. On its date of publication (May 1996), Sokal revealed in Lingua Franca that the article was a hoax, identifying it as "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense...structured around the silliest quotations [by postmodernist academics] he could find about mathematics and physics".

"Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" proposed that quantum gravity has progressive political implications, and that the "morphogenetic field" could be a cutting-edge theory of quantum gravity (a morphogenetic field is a concept proposed by Rupert Sheldrake that Sokal characterized in the affair's aftermath as "a bizarre New Age idea"). Sokal wrote that the concept of "an external world whose properties are independent of any individual human being" was "dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook". ... footnotes conflate academic terms with sociopolitical rhetoric...
[Sheldrake is himself known in the scientific community as a pseudo-scienctist.]
Sokal, Alan D. (May 1996). "A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies". Lingua Franca. Retrieved April 3, 2007.

In the second paragraph I declare without the slightest evidence or argument, that "physical 'reality' (note the scare quotes)... is at bottom a social and linguistic construct." Not our theories of physical reality, mind you, but the reality itself. Fair enough. Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor.
Gross, John, The Oxford Book of Parodies, Oxford University Press, 2010, pg. 307

The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to scientific humor, in the form of a satirical take on the standard academic journal. AIR, published six times a year since 1995, usually showcases at least one piece of scientific research being done on a strange or unexpected topic, but most of their articles concern real or fictional absurd experiments, such as a comparison of apples and oranges using infrared spectroscopy.

Naked Came the Stranger is a 1969 novel written as a literary hoax poking fun at contemporary American culture. Though credited to "Penelope Ashe", it was in fact written by a group of twenty-four journalists led by Newsday columnist Mike McGrady. McGrady's intention was to write a deliberately terrible book with a lot of sex, to illustrate the point that popular American literary culture had become mindlessly vulgar. The book fulfilled the authors' expectations and became a bestseller in 1969; they revealed the hoax later that year, further spurring the book's popularity.

Fictitious entries, also known as fake entries, Mountweazels, ghost words and nihil articles, are deliberately incorrect entries or articles in reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and directories. Entries in reference works normally originate from a reliable external source, but no such source exists for a fictitious entry. Copyright trap is a specific case where the motivation for the entry is to detect plagiarism or copyright infringement.

Fictitious entries on maps may be called phantom settlements, trap streets, paper towns, cartographer's follies, or other names. They are intended to serve as traps for identifying copyright infringements.

The fictional town of Agloe, New York, was invented by map makers, but eventually became identified as a real place by its county administration because a building, the Agloe General Store, was erected at its fictional location. The "town" is featured in the novel Paper Towns by John Green.

Google, alleging its search results for a misspelling of tarsorrhaphy started appearing in Bing results partway through the summer of 2010, created fabricated search results where a hundred query terms like "hiybbprqag", "delhipublicschool40 chdjob" and "juegosdeben1ogrande" each returned a link to a single unrelated webpage. Nine of the hundred fraudulent results planted by Google were later observed as the first result for the bogus term on Bing.
[wtf does this even mean?]

Disumbrationism was a hoax masquerading as an art movement that was launched in 1924 by Paul Jordan-Smith, a novelist, Latin scholar, and authority on Robert Burton from Los Angeles, California.

Annoyed at the cold reception his wife's realistic still lifes had received from an art exhibition jury, Jordan-Smith sought revenge by styling himself as "Pavel Jerdanowitch", a variation on his own name, and entering a blurry, badly painted picture of a Pacific islander woman brandishing a banana skin, under the title "Exaltation". He made a suitably dark and brooding photograph of himself as Jerdanowitch, and submitted the work to the same group of critics as representative of the new school, "Disumbrationism". He explained "Exaltation" as a symbol of "breaking the shackles of womanhood."[1] To his dismay, if not to his surprise, the Disumbrationist daub won praise from the critics who had belittled his wife's realistic painting.

loser of one of the competitions 

Since 2006 there has been held a yearly painting contest in memory of Paul Jordan-Smith and the disumbrationist school of arts: the "International Pavel Jerdanowitch Painting contest".

[how in the world do you make a fake painting for a contest about fake paintings where all the judges know that all the paintings are meant to be fake? furthermore, how do you spoof THIS contest? by making real paintings?]

Entrants do not strive to "win"; they want to lose: "Badness is the fraction of the voters which selected the painting as the worst. Each voter was shown five randomly selected paintings. Therefore the average badness is 0.2. The maximum possible badness is one and the minimum possible badness is zero."

see some samples here

spot the forgeries, take the quiz!
Vermeer or Meegeren?

On Hindsight and Blindness, 12-2012
background on the Vermeer forgeries, the most famous story of forgeries in art, which spawned the science of art forgery forensics

The Postmodernism Generator is a computer program that automatically produces imitations of postmodernist writing. It was written in 1996 by Andrew C. Bulhak of Monash University using the Dada Engine, a system for generating random text from recursive grammars. A free version is also hosted online. The essays are produced from a formal grammar defined by a recursive transition network [graph theoretical schematic used to represent the rules of a context-free grammar].

Racter: Writing Robots, 03-2012
linking to a book written by a computer - The Policeman's Beard Is Half-Constructed (1984)

[suggested reading]
List of topics characterized as pseudoscience

[news on forgeries]
Belgrade researchers view art as self-organization process, Jun 2015

"Our approach is based on the premise that the creativity is a process of artist's self-organization on the mental level reflected in the self-organization of forms, patterns, textures and brush strokes of the painting which determine the aesthetic quality of the artwork."

They wrote that "complexity and self-organization are numerical quantities which could be used to differentiate between an original, creative, artistic intension and realization from the technical process which produces a copy of the work of art."

No comments:

Post a Comment