Monday, September 26, 2016

Tesla Coil Show!

Quarterworld

Much of the "general public" is involved in at least stratagems, to sell soap, real estate, used cars, health insurance... you name it. Some of the stuff you need, some you don't, and some you really don't (but they manage to sell it anyway). I wouldn't undersell the general public as all that unsophisticated. They feign contempt, but then they do it for a living.

Quarterworld has been on my radar, but I've been slow in going there.  Once I'd settled in for a long stay, I discovered entombed Facebook messages going back to 2010, under "Filtered".  I included some apologies.  One guy said he was really into Quadray Coordinates.  I sent him a link to my most recent mention of same, earlier that very day.

The marquee said something like Tesla Show, 4 - 9, meaning at 4, and then another show, at 9 PM.  However given my propensity for misreading stuff, I was picturing some five hour display of a Tesla's powers.  "What could that even mean?" I joked in an email.  I'd read the marquee wrong.  Each show lasts about 15 minutes, with lightning bolts synchronized to music.

I'm at the code school this Monday night, per usual, opting not to glue myself to what most USers are watching:  the Hilladon talking to itself, like Sesame Street, but a lot scarier.

Tesla Beer

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cybersecurity

 san diego zoo

People are funny about security sometimes.

They claim to want "end to end encryption" to protect their privacy in coffee shops.  The technology is indeed ingenious.

But then they shout into their cell phones at the tops of their lungs on the bus, or have intimate conversations we all overhear, unless using ear buds.

Sometimes the "stage whispers" are almost deafening.  But then sometimes an audience isn't used to hearing them.

People clamor for privacy, then publish selfies in the shower.  How are we able to have it all ways?

Do we get to have the cake, eat it, sell it, and do other unmentionable things with it, all at the same time?  Wow, right?

Look for the HTTPS icon in your browser's address spot, if security is a real concern.

A lot of web content is like rock formations in the desert.  Do you really need encryption to look at that gila monster?  Don't freak out if TLS is not engaged.  You're not always in ATM mode, right?

pellegrino + turkish coffee @ marino's on division

Friday, September 16, 2016

Art Car

IVM FM

Glenn had called ahead and we knew the staff was likely engaged in workshops.  Tomorrow is the open house.  We decided to visit in any case, having blocked it out, taking the art car.

For those new to my blogs, the "art car" is an old Nissan sedan I let a pregnant couple spray paint in a parking lot for some dollars.  The guy was right I was just letting it rust and some auto products on the market could seal in resale value, then leaking away.

The art car, also known as "maxi taxi" came after Razz, the raspberry-colored Subaru wagon, who's final resting place before junkyard we drove by on the way out.  Razz was driveable to the end, just suffered a mishap in the high desert, a story recounted somewhere in here I'm sure.

Not like I'm rich or anything (I'm a teacher), more a case of the poor helping the poor, which published journals say goes on a lot in this world.  Community is more than just socializing.  Pet care, community gardening, creating new Biosphere type places:  humans engage in all that.  Even around here.  I'm fine with having an art car, though I may keep fine tuning the look.

Hedron is a maker space we found out about at Maker Faire (see previous post), an exhibitor in the 3D printer section (at OMSI, indoors).  I've been suggesting math teachers go against their own textbooks, somewhat the way some stronger history teachers do, using state mandated texts as examples or specimens, artifacts, not just regurgitating what's in them, not merely taking them at face value as it were.

So what if they never talk about the MITE ("minimum tetrahedron" cite Aristotle) in your geometry textbook? That doesn't mean you, a math teacher, can't go to Hedron and 3D print your own kits for classroom sharing.  Point out what's missing, as well as what's included.  The new generations are here to go beyond what earlier generations have accomplished, not parrot or ape them, duh.

Anyway, a had my Pergamon Press bag (like a tote bag) full of plastic MITEs (some a present from D. Koski years ago) and left them a few, along with the poster from the Synergetics Folio as included in the 2nd volume by Macmillan as well. That poster is the basis for a 3D printable kit the math teachers in project #CodeCastle will get to share about.

That color plate or poster is where the MITE is broken down into A & B modules -- the kind of stuff I've taken to tweeting about.  I got this Pergamon Press swag bag at the First International Conference on Buckminsterfullerene in Santa Barbara, as a part of an ISEPP fellowship, BFI also supportive.


We went to Atlas later for pizza.  I grabbed a Mercury, the issue with the Newcomers Guide, somewhat tongue in cheek per Mercury's style.  They're reviewing the parks and saying Colonel Summers is a good one, but the editors take issue with the presumed reviewer's comment about "hipsters" plaguing the park, observing these are outright "hippies", a different species.

The joke is insiders writing for outsiders is another way of insiders showing off to other insiders.  I could go on and on about Colonel Summers park and my adventures there with Food Not Bombs.  Not far from the Barley Mill, the McMenamins' first, on Hawthorne & SE 17th.  Of course in reality the hipsters er hippies are integral to Portland's color and charm.

FNB Picnic

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maker Faire at OMSI


Glenn and I headed for Maker Faire, a mini version by some standards, with a known purpose, which I summarize as HP4E:  hexapents for everyone.

For those just joining us, the "hexapent" is a way of subdividing the surface of a sphere with mostly hexagons, a few pentagons, the soccer ball pattern being a first instance.  You might call that a truncated icosahedron, or even a buckminsterfullerene molecule, relative of nanotubes, graphene, other carbon allotropes.

In recent blog posts, and tweets, I've been cranking out some hexapent examples (see below) using Adrian Rossiter's Antiprism software, compiled for the Raspberry Pi and rendered on same using POV-ray from povray.org.  These are simply still pictures, more for the exterior of the shrink-wrapped box, were the games we're planning actually sold that way anymore (in plastic-wrapped boxes).

We found the gamer community, showcasing indoors (where we started), ahead of the curve, as predicted by Civilization, a classic hexagonaly-tiled god's eye view program.  Veterans of Civilization are quite well-versed in the hexapent lore.

We asked about the state of the game engine economy, specifically whether anything open source could serve as a basis for Glenn's many game theme ideas.  Given his years of scholarship, he's brimming with fantasy simulations, some of which connect to known science.

In Game World, it's fine to indulge in fantasies of lost sciences also.  Those who despise mixing genres, such as "illusionist" with "real magician" (an oxymoron for them), will welcome the same content provided genre rules are obeyed.  We don't have to insist that only true believers play, whatever it is, that sniggering skeptics back off.  On the contrary, anyone is welcome to judge these games how they will, plus roll their own.

Using hexagonal tiles is a standard already, no worries that I'm barging in and claiming ownership of ideas as old as the hills.  #CodeCastle philosophy isn't like that.  Speaking of which, this community center model I've been promoting under the hashtag #CodeCastle would resemble a Maker Fair in many ways, just as the Maker Fair resembles OMSI.  Indeed, in touring the Maker Fair, we found ourselves wandering through OMSI's own exhibit construction space -- more of the same, really.  Great stuff.

Given I've been strutting Raspbian artifacts around town, I made a special point of visiting the Intel booth to learn for about the Edison and Minnow.  The latter is closer to the Pi in what it's for, a platform for operating systems and applications. The booth guy said the Minnow was "more powerful" that the Pi, which is likely true as the ARM chip is low power by design.

A side benefit of starting in the gamer room is we met up with Don and Tim, in charge of the Tesla coil exhibit and stage presentation.  Their largest coil is not easily accommodated by OMSI, though they managed last year.  A half million volts would be sufficient.  We went back for the light show later, by way of 3D Printer-ville, where Skip and his son were hard at work.  Skip already knows about the "hedron stuff", speaking of which, I need to visit Hedron, near Bull's Eye Glass.

I had another goal aside from the global data game hexapent motif hunt (the OSMI Gift Shop had that too, if you looked for it), which was to lookup the PDX Code Guild booth and find WorkingIT.com staff if I could.

The code school's booth was easy to find, and Sheri mentioned seeing Margaux hard at work doing interviews.  I watched Neil expertly assisting curious visitors with the Scratch-controlled robot, Sheri too.  I'm admiring of Scratch and would gladly sit behind someone else more expert and more into showing off.  I'm rather low on the Raspbian totem pole, one might say.

Glenn and I stopped at Beermongers on the way back, getting some interesting IPAs not on tap in our neighborhood.  I rarely get to this watering hole, Irish in flavor.  Speaking of which, great getting to walk up Mt. Tabor with Eddy Gunnell the other day.  He's a quick-learning Celt, and former co-worker at St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City, now settled in Portland.

hexapent2

Friday, September 09, 2016

War and Christmas

I recently learned the mantra that some unnamed nation is into "War and Christmas" as its two major products and themes.  To modern ears that sounds Dark Ages, like the Crusades.  However some schools promote the Crusaders, as well as the Conquistadors, as "the good guys" even to this day, and even the non-violent will speak of "the Lamb's War" as a metaphysical jihad.  Santa actually loves giving out guns, as we learn from many believable Google Images.

Muslims and Christians came together in the civil rights movement, back when Malcolm X and MLK were contemporaries. They didn't agree, but in striving for greater equality and more respect for human rights, they brought two traditions into close proximity, and put them on the same side.  A fusion of Islam with Christianity along some branches, such as Sufi, has already occurred.  The Parliament of World Religions events have offered previews.  Muhammad Ali followed his conscience in ways Christians around the world openly respected.

For my part, I'm not going to blame Americans for not being in the mood to shop until they drop, given all the news they're getting is to the effect they'll be dragged through wars for their rest of their lives, even as the planet continues to overheat.  Humans appear to be an incompetent species, for all their advantages.  Why blame people for wishing (even praying) the world were otherwise?  Maybe novels and escapist fiction movies will do well.  The November - December lineup of movies promises brief respite from World at War, at least for a couple hours.  Cartoons will be big.

Board games and computer games, a few of them serious enough to be "simulations" will likely sell well.  However I think it's unrealistic to expect civilians to stay completely mindless, even if that's their supposed economic role.  Minus much spark of hope or optimism, objectively measurable, I'm expecting showy Affluenza will be about as popular as Zika as a "look".  Ostentation in trying times has a way of appearing ridiculous, to the point of tasteless.  Extravagance and war as a combo, just seems garish.  War means frugality and thrift.

I'm not suggesting the malls will be ghost towns.  Lloyd Center, one of the first such shopping malls in the country, is working hard on the latest remodel, hoping to recruit more loyal shoppers. However macro-economics matters more than micro-economics sometimes.  The world has committed a lot of resources, both physical and metaphysical, for the exclusive use of those into military theatrics.  I expect sales of booze and mind-altering substances to remain high, as they do in the battle zones.  People seek to mitigate their pain by whatever means possible.

Some have suggested boycotting the shopping aspect of Christmas, withdrawing consumer support for the economy to the extent civilians get excluded from solving world problems more amicably.  This is hardly a new idea. "I'll do it because I want to and not because you tell me to" (take vows of poverty). Christmas used to come around with the slogan "peace on Earth", which we're hearing less and less of late.  Minus the meaningfulness of the occasion, shopping "just for the hell of it" starts to lose steam.  Civilians become refugees in their own economy. Some sign up for war duty, minus other options.

Will some of the new branches (Quaker?) result in new intentional communities?  We might be able to get some interesting Reality TV from some of these, and more reasons for hope.  I've already brought up the product placement opportunities a million times.  I wouldn't call myself anti-advertising.  On the contrary, I'm eager to support a more robust civilian economy.  These could be high tech camps (campuses) with ample bandwidth.  What companies would sponsor those?  REI?  North Face?  Boeing?  Many Jewish faithful are ready to experiment with more promising forms of settlement.

Having everything Iron Mountain is simply not conducive to celebrating Christmas.  War has a Grinch-like effect.  The "War and Christmas" business model doesn't look all that sustainable, but from what I read, many Economists think it's a given or the best we've got, or something along those lines.  I'm more into GST than Economics, so sometimes have trouble following their logic to its bitter conclusions.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings (movie review)


Laika is an Oregon brand, so this film was made in Oregon.  The look is quite different from the previewed animations, Glenn and I agreed.  We had The Bagdad almost to ourselves (two other people), as it's "back to school" and the summer matinee audience has dissipated.

Given the 100% Asian motif, one might consider this a "Japanese" story (which it is), however the stuff of Euro fairy tales fits in fine, from the Sword in the Stone to Pinocchio, both childhood favorites to ponder over, in my case, in several versions.  I liked to read and movies were harder to come by in those days.

The magical powers of Origami, the paper squares, allude to frames of film and the dreams we bring to life using our powers of animation, film magic.  The appreciative crowd is the audience, and it's great to see this movie with one's grandmother.  The extended family matrix, the ancestral tree, is strongly present throughout this "soap opera" involving a jealous grandfather and a disapproved marriage, Kubo the illegitimate offspring (the way grandad sees it).

The protagonist, Kubo, goes from outward storyteller to inward hero, helped by the archetypes to encounter the others he must face.  Even the ghost of grandfather helps him along, to confront his own jealousies.  The forced march to adulthood requires facing death in many forms.

That all sounds rather serious and double-plus un-fun perhaps, but then animations rendered to text, like fairly tales, will tend to sound grim.  The artistry and care taken make up for my dismal retelling, many details left out.  These stories serve a healing function by cushioning hard lessons in cartoons. Or call it cryptography -- whatever myth-making is.

When the villagers put lamps in the river, in celebration of the ancestors, I was reminded of our first ceremonies at Oaks Park, along the Willamette, setting afloat such paper lanterns, commemorating souls lost to war, to atom bombs, to all manner of outward violence.  My mom had been to Japan in the aftermath of WW2 and was eager for me and my sister to have a less crazy and dangerous world.  She's been at it ever since.

Death comes soon enough anyway, why not let nature take its own slower course?  Humans seem to always go for the gas peddle in some rush to get to some Mad Max end times.  Relax and enjoy the roses?  Why go for Planet of the Apes every time the trigger-happy go off half cocked.  Do they need their own island?  I pondered Lord of the Flies a lot too.

Glenn and I had walked around Laurelhurst earlier, discussing his Global Matrix in the context of forward-thinking PR. The world's gamer community, with the leisure to model civilization using Civilization, seems eager for a whole planet tiled with hexagons. 

Where should the twelve pentagons go?  Of course at the poles in some layers but that's the thing, we have any number of overlays (layers), and not all are about the same things.  ESRI's ArcGIS works the same way, as does Photoshop.

I suggested a game of Pentagon Go, with one of the twelve pentagons snug around the US one, with geocaching games around the consequent other eleven, some of which might be in the high seas (I haven't figured it out yet).

Monday, September 05, 2016

New Circuit Designs...

I'm recycling an old 1995 essay on QQ (Q2, QuakerQuaker) this Labor Day.

Other plans for today:

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Sky Pi Channel


Given I'm tracking Raspbian affairs, my plate is starting to heap up with Pi lore.  Yay.

I'm not sure why people keep freaking out about powerful families having something to do with establishing nation-states.

That's the stuff of world history, more old world order than anything new, right up there with rigging elections.

Yes, Masons had a lot to do with founding the US of A too, we all know that right?   What's to freak out about?  Free country.

Although a Quaker, I'm probably more into JRR's worlds, and his friend's Narnia than the Book of Revelation per se.  I'm not an End Timer at least.

Anyway, I'm led to one of my faves by Weird Al at this juncture:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Code School Evening

DSCF8358
minecraft-based demo of on-board GPU

The new bike has a nifty pump, which I used tonight, to get back over Tillikum.  Then I walked it home, slanting through to Palio in Ladd's, up Harrison passed St. David of Wales, and the LDS campus.  Home before 9:30 PM, with a bright red rear light the whole way, even when walking.

Ladd sisters, of the family for which this Addition is named, before my time, used to have a photography school way up the Gorge on a houseboat.  The Columbia Gorge had only recently opened to a new form of tourism involving scenic photography as a hobby.

At the code school tonight I fired up the Pi again, on the HDTV. I had my 4D stills.  Ray traced.  I say 4D as a kind of branding, not referring to Time.  Ben had a new Pi too, same make and model, and he and another guy helped me catch up on Minecraft a little, at least in create mode.  Peter Farrell is still ahead of me there.

These 4D shapes are ordinary convex polys, generated using the geodesic program in Antiprism, a suite of tools by Adrian Rossiter.

I've been working on getting his C++ to compile on the ARM chip in a small Raspberry Pi 3, Model B. The thing boots off its GPU which doubles as a sort of BIOS.  The Pi3D module, imported within Python, seems to be getting full value from said Graphics Processing Unit.  Farrell's Hacking Math Class, uses Pi3D quite a bit, also the turtle module.  Wifi is also built in.

I also compiled Povray, a program I used in Windows a lot, way back in the days of CompuServ.

Now that this tool chain is working, I can do something like this...

geodesic -c 1 -f 6 > output.off
off2pov render_me.pov output.off
povray -Irender_me.pov

That's roughly how it goes, minus some switches. I get a PNG file out the end, suitable for tweeting.  Some of the STEM teachers already have a stack of Pis and are looking for worthy projects.  I've been filing my reports.

I introduced myself quickly as "a lobbyist" as we went around the circle, mentioning my work with the teachers, especially high school math teachers.

I had Peter Farrell's book in my briefcase, strapped to the bicycle.  It sits next to my Pi Station in the CodeCastle as well (I've also used CodeCastle with reference to a certain neighborhood "ghost church", but that's still speculative fiction at this point).

Someone brand new to Portland, just moved here, expressed his intent to dive into Natural Language Processing more. We talked about Elisa, Racter (another "convo-bot"), the Tom Sawyer corpus, and setting up a measuring protocol of some kind.  The algorithm could measure negativity in some way, for example.

This wish for a protocol is characteristic of Nat's project as well, relating to motion and profiling autistic features. Nat and I have followed up a bit since our meeting, regarding the recently proved Kepler Conjecture, seeing as how the proof bridges mathematics and computer science, a theme in my lobbying for Measure 97.

(Art + Code + High) * School = 
Art School + Code School + High School

Here's a way for teachers to generate more synergy amongst themselves, from which their students might benefit.

I'm back in the world of bicycle tubes and tires, not a bad world to be in.  It got me there just fine, even with the slow leak.  Coming back, I needed the walk anyway.

Regarding Antiprism, I don't currently use antiview, the included highly capable viewer, because the flavor of OpenGL used on the Pi was not Antiprism's target OpenGL or development platform.  Antiview compiles, just isn't displaying content correctly. That's OK.  Having povray working gets me where I want to go.

DSCF8350
antiprism + povray on a Pi 3

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Geeking Out



Down in the basement, in the VML, I've got the Raspberry Pi cranking on installing a free GLUT. That's a library Adrian Rossiter depends on for his antiprism, or at least the antiviewer component thereof.  He thinks it might work.  I promised to update him on my progress.

So far the installation is going well, thanks to these clues for installing freeglut3-dev, after which ./config, with no other switches, reported "good to go" on antiviewer.

2016-08-24-155017_1824x984_scrot

Carol (WILPF) is out with Barbara (WILFP), at Denny's, "the America I believe in" as Carol put it, going out the door.  She doesn't believe in this "other America" they're outing by snailmail.

She's getting around more slowly, I think still quite strong.  She needs another checkup tomorrow.

I met with Friend Leslie last night to sort out health care issues, and then Nat, an expert on autism.  I suggested he check this Youtube by EBN for all the characteristic movements it invokes, through the magic of video editing.

I held court at The Bagdad, these two appointments back to back.  Leslie connects to FCNL, the Quakers' lobby.

Although I've found ways to install gcc 6.1 or one of those, the gcc version on standard Jessie (the Raspian distro) should be OK, says Adrian.  I'll go downstairs and resume operations in a sec.

Carol and Barbara work with WILPF (Womens International League for Peace and Freedom), over a century old by now.  Mom went to their Centennial in The Hague.  They're mailing around the poster shown below.

Funny how what used to be treasonously cynical criticisms of the Pentagon have now become marketing memes.  "Animosity towards Russia is good for business".  Yeah right.  "Yes it's a jobs program."  "Yes it's 1984, did you have any better ideas?"

I see a lot more promise in the space program, where we continue in the tradition of Apollo-Soyuz.

I'm surprised the DoD still finds many scientists willing to sacrifice their reputations for what's empirically speaking a dumb campaign.

Around the Beltway you'll find anything for a price I suppose.  Maybe that's why more think tanks have moved west (e.g. Stanford)?

Leave the legalized / sanitized media to practice their pseudo-science and witch doctor rattling (no offense to real witch doctors).

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Veteran's Administration hospital and got the above pictures.  My friend served in Vietnam, but he's not disabled but for the dental problems.  He's therefore only eligible for tooth extractions at above market rates.

If Americans don't want as many refugees to seek refuge here, there's always being more up front about how we're poor. Uncle Sam is broke and it shows.  Why come here of all places?  I think many refugees know that, and are staying put or walking elsewhere.

This morning I worked with NPYM's cloud provider to get to the bottom of an email glitch that's been driving our Secretary wild.  We may have gotten to the bottom of it finally, a faulty Mx record on their end.  Time will tell.  I was on the phone for some time, bouncing around in tech support world.

World news:  attack on the American University in Kabul, where one of our Thirsters is on the faculty; big earthquake in Burma; another in Italy; teenage girl in a cross walk hit by driver with suspended license doing like 50 mph on Hawthorne Blvd.

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WILPF PR

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