Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Okinawa: The Afterburn (movie review)

From Movie Madness

Males especially, as future breadwinners, need training in being fathers and fixers, flyers and foes (for self defense). The military is their school or institution for providing these things, free of charge but at a price similar to the one exacted by prison: a loss of freedom, and possible death by legal means (the state has pre-authorized you to die defending said state, just as prison guards may use lethal force).

Okinawa was such a training ground.  Lots of Japanese proto-wives to have and to hold, lots of children to share candy with, lots of B-52s to fly around and maintain.  They'd go home to Ohio and Alabama all the more ready to care for their families and communities in a civilian setting, having served, and therefore skilled and deserving of honor and respect, as veterans.

The reason one needs bases far away is to absorb the dominance culture and feel the might of one's homeland.  Soldiers impress other soldiers, by ordering locals, making them accept base after base, servant ranked jobs, and all the sex trafficking that entails.

Also, no one wants to be seen by one's friends and relatives, stumbling around in a drunken state, experimenting with sex and so on.  Best to go off and do that alone, with strangers, in a forgiving environment, then maybe straighten up and fly straight once home, grateful to not be dead yet.

The Okinawans did not take on this role without resistance.  Whole cave-fulls committed suicide or mercy-killed one another, having been trained since birth to equate hostile takeover with a death sentence, an instruction to self destruct.  That programming worked in many cases.  Parents euthanized their own children.

Others stumbled around in the Battle of Okinawa getting shot at, losing their people.  Many of them get interviewed for this movie.

After World War 2, Okinawa became a US military base, the Japanese military having been pushed out.  The Americanization process had started with Commander Perry, who sailed his fleet into harbor in the late 1800s and started bossing people around right away.

Japan to the north understood Americans were planning on having bases (not so much schools or resort hotels) all over and pushed back, as we know, with bases and prison camps, and comfort stations, of their own.  Korea, China and the Philippines bore the brunt of their counter-empire.

The option to have bases more like schools and resorts is always just beneath the surface.

The same Iron Mountain command structure that enslaved Okinawa has enslaved North America for many years, is striving to hold the world hostage more generally, with its nuke weapons and all that.  We're to obey, not question.  However some questioning still goes on, some reminding of the locals of our democratic values (similar to Okinawan values).

A lot of Okinawans misunderstood the Nixon Era and thought "reversion" i.e. "returning Okinawa to Japan" (like what the Brits did with Hong Kong) would mean an end to the US military bases.  They'd come to think that was what "reversion" meant.

So when Okinawa reverted, yet the bases stayed, even grew, some belief systems imploded.  Okinawans came to see themselves more as an ethnic minority people take advantage of and feel superior to.  The push back there has been more identity politics and island nationalism, not unlike in Puerto Rico.

Given all the inertia and the needs of males for dominance in situations, as expressed in their pressing need for these military bases, I'm not seeing any office in the USA that's powerful enough to command otherwise.

Figurehead presidents won't phase them out, whereas the Pentagon's fantasies of the future all depend on this network of bases, all interconnected in their own underworld.  Civilians have been stripped of any real power to stop the global dictatorship of a controlling military.  They just don't have the weapons. The whole planet seems like Okinawa in a nutshell, the prisoner of an evil genius, the Y chromosome.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Pizzagate Debate

Mississippi Pizza Club

I've been suggesting on Facebook that high school forensic (debate) teams pick up on Pizzagate as a topic to analyze for lessons in how to structure, or not structure, a case (argument).

For those unfamiliar, a conspiracy theory developed in social media, suggesting various politicos used a code language around setting up pizza parties to "secretly" plan for the molestation of the under-aged.

This code language had a double burden, as the double meanings apparently had to carry the full weight of both types of logistics, as actual pizza parties (of the innocent sort) did occur, wherein participants did eat pasta, in addition to pizza, and play dominoes while digesting lots of cheese.

So when were the orgies and other decadent practices planned?  Did the same emails serve to organize two vastly different types of event in parallel?  Exactly how did these parallel worlds arise from the same coded messages and wasn't there ever confusion about which type of "party" was meant?

Investigators into this conspiracy and/or those performing postmortem analysis have a splendid opportunity to dive into the underworld of pedophilia, sex trafficking, the sex industry, pornography and so on, with a noble purpose.  Lets sort out what our values are, our ethics.  That's not a waste of time.

For many new to the politics of Humans in Universe, this underworld is eye-opening, revelatory.  If you wish to fight some aspects of what you find, it pays to know the enemy's territory.  That's what any serious education must include, right -- at least the opportunities?

Going back to Roman times (cite Cicero), schooling has focused on Rhetoric and the notion of a logical argument.  Many Buddhist cultures have evolved in similar fashion (cite Nagarjuna et al).

In the Wild West, when one runs out of arguments, one simply reaches for one's gun (e.g. the American War in Indochina): debate is over now, we win because of our weapons.  That's called winning the battle, but losing the war for hearts and minds.

Romans were just as prone as their Anglo-Euro offspring, to use their battle-hardiness as an excuse to rape and plunder.  If one is strong, why not take advantage and seize the work of others?  Some find such logic hard to resist (they're strong in body, but short on brains maybe).

How else was an able-bodied man to earn a good enough salary, if not by serving a command structure that would absolve him from guilt while indulging in what civilians call "crimes"?

For purposes of building a sustainable empire however, Rome needed more reason, less brawn.  This is where Christianity came in, bringing with it a lot of the more mature Greek civilization.  Rape and pillage could now be justified as "converting the heathen" -- that breathed new life into New World conquest (the Roman emperor had become Pope by then).

We don't let minors vote in 2016 in the USA.  They're expected to slave away, unpaid, on whatever XYZ homework (IVM math is firmly censored). Abuse by adults is rampant.  Not a pretty picture.

So even if the Pizzagate conspiracy is a lot of thin ice, tough to defend in the full light of day, it's a hot topic of conversation among the abused and semi-defenseless.

So why squelch it?  Why bully the kids into silence about topics that obviously concern them (e.g. pizza)? Vector the energy in a positive direction why not?


Friday, December 02, 2016

Funny Joke

I got this from Brenda.  A New Yorker cartoon?  She might've made it up (she's one smart cookie), and in any case tells it better than I do.

German Philosophy

Spheres III

I've started with the third book in the trilogy, Foams, which author Peter Sloterdijk says in the introduction is OK.

I'm fortunate to live near a true scholar, Glenn Stockton.  He now owns all three in their English translations: Bubbles, Globes and Foams.

I've been blessed with friends who were also serious scholars in my life, Alex another (we had Szechuan food the other day, at John's Landing), and of course Lindsey, and my mom.  At Princeton, my contemporary Brian Karafin opened many doors for me.

Whereas Sloterjijk is generously inclusive of Bucky Fuller in his index, I'm not yet sure how much he makes of Synergetics as providing a toolbox of spherical metaphors, right down to the dyadic relationship of self-other and the kinds of twoness one finds in generalized concepts.

The arc of Peter's work starts with the household and village as the archetypal human collective and therefore psychological seed bed for much of our thinking.  Here is the micro-sphere or "bubble" of micro-economics, the "hearth".

Surrounding the village was its cosmos, the biggest containing sphere or context, a "globe" with mediation between micro and macro spheres perhaps through a castle (a residence for temporal powers) or a church and its priests (eternity based).

The cosmos was ontologically spherical and provided a celestial cast, of angels, demons, beings beyond human.  The microcosm was contained within the macrocosm.  Both architecture and alchemy sought to harmonize these relationships.

Any sense of shared consensus sustaining the aforementioned Old World Order, which Peter anchors in European history, has since broken down.  The old cosmologies have burst asunder and we experience ourselves in diaspora, more like a foam, with no parent globe to console or contextualize.

However, in his recent writings about orbiting space stations as likewise consciousness-altering, not just for their denizens, the metaphor of Spaceship Earth seems not far beneath the surface.  That's a globe, a promised land, we might still agree on.  He cites McLuhan a lot, tracing the latter's possible indebtedness to Toynbee for some of his ideas.  But does he fully appreciate Fuller?

The "kinds of twoness" to which I referred, as "in pure concepts", would be:
  • the inside-outside dichotomy, the state of being contained, which more negatively is one of being imprisoned, encaged, fenced in (the "buckyball" of 60 carbon atoms is likewise a "carbon cage" analogous to the "carbon- or nano-tubes" of the same graphene substrate).
  • the twoness of polarity and axial rotation: the globe spins, the record plays, great circles and hemispheres are formed.
With the sphere comes notions of convex/concave and of spin/polarity. Given the generic growth formula 2 * P*N*N + 2, where P are the shape-modulating primes, N a sequence of consecutive integers (linear growth vector), we associate the first term with radial exponential growth, and the +2 with the constant presence of any axial pair.

In Foams, Sloterdijk devotes a lot of attention to gas warfare, and also psychological warfare (atmospherics) and manipulation through propaganda.  Warfare turned from attacking combatants to undermining their environments.  The modern awareness of "climate change" owes a lot to the science of killing and/or "neutralizing" ourselves in large numbers.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

American Transcendentalism 101

Some literati and cogniscenti want a simple linear tale, nothing too parallel, with forking.

As a Quaker though, with "Beanite" a parent class, I'm used to forking and have no problem with Pragmatism and Transcendentalism running parallel, even unto this day and age.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fighting the Nukehead Nations

Friday, November 25, 2016

Web Components

Monica is way beyond me in her depth of knowledge regarding how we're now able to define custom HTML tags, meaning components, with their own encapsulated behaviors, state and styling.

I've done lots of GUI programming in my day and so "widgets" are not new to me, but how they're embedded in HTML + JavaScript desktop and mobile apps, using the Polymer library, is something I'm interested in learning more about.

In the new HTML, which structures the document per the Document Object Model (DOM), we have what's called a "Shadow-DOM" tightly coupled to specific HTML tags.  Defining web components involves stuffing little shadow DOM pockets with hidden functionality, though with the right developer tools you're free to crack in and read it.

If a website comes from a server it more than likely is talking to a server, that goes for phone apps as well. There's nothing open source about most websites other than the fact the tools to build them are open. Developers have made it easy to develop black boxes.  That was never going to go away.

However by training on a lot of the same tools, we learn to hop around among the boxes, contributing within each, bringing the lessons from one to another.

Monica is a fantastic teacher and speaker.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wanderers 2016.11.23

:: working through JavaScript challenges 
using a Nodeschool Workshopper script ::

Naming this group Wanderers owes much to a saying of Mandelbrot's, the fractal guy (I met him, gave an opening talk before an elite audience at PSU, before he came on as the main event).

Here's that quote we use for a tagline:
"Science would be ruined if it were to withdraw entirely into narrowly
defined specialties. The rare scholars who are Wanderers-by-choice are
essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines."

(Benoit Mandelbrot)
I'd say we're also name that because our conversation follows a pattern I first noticed from the backseat for a car of the floor of a living room:  none to speak of.  Or rather, themes may develop and cycled round to, but a lot of what goes on around a dinner table, say, is "rambling".

I rambled in late, having overslept.  Several topics had already been broached, obviously.  While I was there the conversation turned to airport security dogs, species of rat used to sniff out land mines, bomb and drug sniffing.

What occurred to me later is how we'd ventured into a mainline theme around Thanksgiving in the US, a national holiday associated with traveling.  Chinese have those too.  The trains, not just the planes or the buses, feel the added weight and responsibility, given so many travelers.

I'm fine with the hypothesis that group dynamics exhibit replicable phenomena. Nick Consoletti did his doctoral dissertation on "Bohmian dialog" and had hoped to attend a class led by Dr. Bohm himself at Schumacher College in England.  Nick did his thesis work in Eugene, starting a Bohmian dialog group himself and making recordings (with permission of the participants).

Bohm's theory was conversational fields could be established that wandered within constraints and actually produced useful results when no individual nor even faction could for long control the flow.  Think of a focus group without a focus.  That's what Wanderers sometimes achieves.

What I also hadn't realized, at least consciously, as Barbara had brought the dog she cares for sometimes, to the Linus Pauling House (our venue).  Our conversation centered on responsibly employed non-humans who serve us loyally, without our non-human guest saying a word.

Much of the rest of the day was code school business, talking with one about an offer, advising another taking a JavaScript-only (mostly) tack.  One needs to say "mostly" as all these languages negotiate within an ecosystem of other languages.

Thanks to Nathaniel Bobbitt I was able to learn about Nodeschools and their Workshopper technology.  I'm plowing through some of those.  Note how they've been done in many human languages.  i18n is one of my themes.

CBS News tonight was very much about the nation's transportation arteries, especially around WDC, site of many a monument, including the one to Lincoln, the last story's focus.  I'm likely to join the throng, hoping for a lull on Black Friday, when a family branch has strategically staged their Thanksgiving dinner meetup.  I've already made some pies, and dented one of them.

I'm running the Node modules, downloading through NPM, on my Raspberry Pi 3 in the basement.  I used to visit the basement to use the R-Pi 3, but now I just VPN into it, and use the UI in a window from anywhere in the school (a home school hybrid, as allowed by law).

Installing javascripting: a Workshopper module
:: R-Pi from Mac Air over school LAN ::

Saturday, November 19, 2016

ISEPP Lectures Kickoff (2016-2017)

The formal name for this lecture series is the Linus Pauling Memorial Lectures, organized by Terry Bristol's ISEPP (I used to serve on his board, and before that my partner Dawn was his bookkeeper). Tonight was the first lecture this season.  He's had an historic lineup of MVP (most valuable player) speakers, tonight's speaker being no exception.

Michael Shermer has made a name for himself around and as a columnist for Scientific American. Other Wanderers besides me have had him on radar more than I, especially Glenn and Christine (and of course Terry).  Dr. DiNucci was there as well, and the BuxtonsJoe Arnold.  I learned a great deal about the "Eclipse Economy" that's sweeping a sometimes reluctant-to-care central Oregon.  August 21.

The lecture was perfect for the occasion, relaunching the lecture series, and right after a contentious US presidential election.  His message is similar to Steven Pinker's:  objectively, many global trends are positive, in terms of less slavery, torture, outright war, more animal rights, more rational problem solving.  The lecture hall was comfortably full, with many in the balcony pews.

Saying yesteryear's kings and queens had low living standards compared to those of us with air conditioning, central heating, refrigerators, was like a direct quote from Bucky (music to my ears in other words).  "Accentuating the positive" remains a high calling, whereas evolution seems to predispose us to focus on the negative.

Given my recent immersion in Jungianism as filtered through Russian mysticism, in the form of the four volumes I purchased by Maurice Nicoll, I was quite open to hearing about how negative emotions tend to drive the action.  We're at the mercy of "monkey mind".  That's how science and rational design patterns help us grow and mature as a species: we overcome mere reflex-conditioning.

He's not worried about overpopulation.  The only terrorists he's really worried about are the ones who want to be dead, and think taking us all to kingdom come would be a best course of action.  He sees more hope for those wanting to make course corrections as democracies are on the rise and he has charts and statistics to argue that's a good thing.

Shermer was brave and bold with his content, mocking the ethics of ages past.  "What were they thinking?" is his implied caption to many a grim scene, from Medieval torture chambers to more recent lynchings.  Mom reminded me later, when I briefed her on the lecture, that Eleanor Roosevelt was dead set against lynchings but FDR was mindful of wanting to keep the southern Democrats in his camp, a balancing act.

Michael is not shy about reminding us that when it comes to committing atrocities, no one holds a candle to certain Christians. Lets remember the Hitler Holocaust for what it was, a culmination of long-running trends.  But then he shows that acts of genocide in general are going down.  Lets not pretend ISIS invented beheading.

Speaking of beheading, in keeping with his French Enlightenment spin, he advertised the guillotine as maybe the most humane of the capital punishment devices. At least it's fast and efficient. Certainly "old sparky" is not withstanding the test of time.  He thinks our ugliest practices are on the wane.  That's what his new book is about, The Moral Arc.

At the dinner afterward, to which I was cordially invited, Glenn and I had a whole table to ourselves.  I wandered around snapping pictures, discarding most of them (not the best light), and enjoying the catered repast, certainly world class.   The downstairs area of the First Congregationalist Church is perfect, as is the upstairs meeting space.

"How is this not a religion?" would have been the pithier version of my question, but meant inclusively, as Shermer was certainly seeing the great religions as masterful in their ability to adapt.  He expects most of them will survive the Darwinian process, and as I often put it, the best religions are yet to come. Dr. DiNucci had just attended a church that meets weekly for singing and sermons, but with no talk of the supernatural encouraged.

During dinner, a butter aficionado visited our table wondering if he could take some of the butter balls.  He returned for the rest of them later, saying his objective blood test data showed he could neutralize bad effects of carbs with plenty of butter.  He enjoyed fatty breakfasts based on similar reasoning.  We agreed this might be a personal quirk of his own biology.  We're not all created equal when it comes to the details of our metabolism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Downloaded (movie review)


Historians will appreciate this quality anthropology.  Two cultures clash:  hackers with Hollywood, with the Feds hauled in to mediate through their Congressional and Court system.  The executive branch was also involved, leading to FBI warnings next to all these copyrights.

As Bucky Fuller points out, making money means keeping supplies of something scarce. Sometimes the floodgates burst, as happened in the case of Napster.  The paywall broke down.

The hackers were young and assumed adults in charge would have an optimized response to their disruptive technology.  A positive synergy would be discovered in short order.  On the contrary, the generation aging out was defenseless and had no choice but to go on the offensive, to save its way of life.

Fast forward to 2016 and the infinite copiability of digital assets is akin to the power of DNA to reproduce.  Any reproductively active adults are capable or creating new billion dollar humans (applying a government published statistic).  Imagine having to buy your factory-made children and all the hoops they'd want to put you through.

Some musicians were overjoyed to see that, along with pornography, the new telecommunications technology was quickly harnessed to channel them.  People wanted their music, more than anything.  Facebook would come later.  Other musicians understood their incomes were in the hands of an unprepared music industry and joined in the battle to shut Napster down.

I'd just hosted an after-Wanderers party, pumpkin pie served, and had at least one after-party viewer crashing on the couch.  I may have misunderstood that I was seeing a lot of the same people over time, mistaking the older versions of X and Y, for new talking heads.

However, that mistake is in keeping with the moral of the tale, which is never mind how fast the technology is changing, humans are able to reprogram themselves at a relatively finite rate.  More than one generation is needed to implement the adaptations.  The pioneers get to hit the proverbial "brick wall" or whatever it is that cannot abide change.

The whole topic of file sharing is too big to handle except in the abstract, in principle, whereas in reality we have special cases, such as hackers versus Hollywood.  The makers of this documentary understand they're exploring some deeper issues with even wider ramifications than an overhaul of the Hollywood music industry.

I go back to Hillsboro Police Department, here in the Silicon Forest (this Hillsboro is a township west of Beaverton).  Chamber of Commerce types were prodding public schools into yoking police into coming into classrooms and scaring the kids about the anti-capitalist practice of "pirating" (you could go to jail, and bring disgrace to your family).

The police were not dummies though and understood a new Free and Open Source culture was inspiring hopeful hackers to share their talents freely, using GNU / GPL and other innovative legal licenses.  Instead of just scaring the kids and criminalizing their natural tendencies, why not show them a better way?  HPD actually started its own Linux Lab as an after school opportunity, myself one of the instructors.

Rage Against the Machine

Monday, November 14, 2016

More Lessons from the Cold War

seymour hersch: "vietnam junkie" and journalist-historian

US presidents tend to gauge their own power in terms of their ability to force "regime change" in other parts of the world.

The overthrow of Mosaddegh in the Eisenhower years and the re-installation of the puppet Shah of Iran gave Allen Dulles and cronies a sense of what's possible. Guatemala then too, with Chile to come later, under Nixon.

Cuba was a more intractable "problem" as we see in hindsight, and now also Syria.

The White House has already been used as a platform to insist "Assad must go" with little thought about the day after.

President Obama admits his most serious mistake might have been not thinking about "the day after" in Libya, where a similar "must go" posture was struck.

A major symptom of a government imagining itself to be a "superpower" (i.e. having superpowers) is this insistence on having both the right and the wherewithal to overturn ("topple") other governments.

Keeping the people in line and in favor of "regime change" likewise requires endless bombardment with propaganda.  Minions need to be perpetually persuaded they're following the right leaders.

"Assad uses barrel bombs"; so did the Pentagon, in great quantities, during Vietnam, they're less expensive.

"Assad gassed his own people"; the evidence suggests that famous sarin attack in Ghouta was engineered by Assad's enemies.

Yes the "civil war" in Syria is ugly.  So was the civil war in the US.  Adding cruise missiles and stealth bombers to the equation has so far not helped any.

Any except the weapons testers that is, who are having a field day with their criminal undeclared war on civilian guinea pigs, the pattern since WW1, and outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

"Saddam Hussein has a nuclear weapons program"; the allegations are designed to create fear in the general population and therefore support for more military action.

Or is popular support even a requirement anymore?

Opposition to the war against Iraq was huge, yet the WDC government went ahead anyway, bringing narratives about "democracy" to the brink of bankruptcy.  Are we back to monarchy then, or is it oligarchy?  Welcome to the Banana Republic of North America (BRNA).

Does there ever come a point when a population develops antibodies to all this fear and manipulation by those suffering from a "superpower" military-industrial complex?

Do we have any kind of antidote for this Fourth Reich mental illness?

Stay tuned.

As a footnote to the above interview:  my understanding is General Krulack's office in the Pentagon had arranged for Diem's transport to Europe but Diem was not yet ready to admit defeat and balked (sources: L. Fletcher Prouty, admittedly controversial; corroborating sources: intended arrest; CIA memo). The Kennedy brothers hoped he'd get out alive, understanding their position was high risk.