A quick note on the whole "truth maintenance" business:
In yesterday's post I looked at the festering sewer of doublespeak that is the IAO vision statement. As you might recall I was particularly disturbed by the phrase "story telling, change detection, and truth maintenance." Well, apparently I was displaying my computer-science knowledge deficiency (there goes my backup career as a science fiction writer!). Reader Pat Moeller clarifies:
"Truth maintenance, storytelling, and change detection" are considerably less sinister than they sound- they're AI terms for being able to discriminate between real and false information, deciding which conclusions to throw out due to conflicting information, being able to create a coherent narrative from incomplete information, etc. It was kinda dumb of them to use them in a forum where non-AI or computer science types would be looking at them.
I appreciate the explanation and I agree--it was dumb. But if the IAO wanted people to understand their web site, they (a) wouldn't use such specific jargon and (b) would reread The Elements of Style.