Friday, September 27, 2013

Polyhedrons at Play




These two videos stem from conversations between David Koski and myself.  There's a lot more to it, so let me not try to reveal all here.  Visual Python is a fine platform for outputting 3D animations as a result of running Python code.  They're interactive animations, meaning even as they play, you can change the viewing angle and distance.  Computer games may provide even more fluidity of motion but at least we've moved a step in that direction.

In the 2nd video I tell the listeners they might not agree with my volume figure and suggest they try with red edges = 2.  In XYZ, they should get a volume of 1, modeled likewise by a cube with edges half the reds, i.e. 1 x 1 x 1.  The shape is a reflected 1/6th corner of a rectangular brick where the brick is volume √3 x √3 x 1, so two of those is 2 x 1/6 of 3 = 1.

In Synergetics, the "prime vector" (PV) against which the others are scaled, is typically twice that of the unit-radius sphere's (540.14) four of which pack to create the regular tetrahedron of edges 2R, or D (Diameter = 2 x Radius).

That's the 2nd tetrahedron I pause at, with all edges D, and is the Synergetics unit of volume.  The geometric model of multiplication is different, even in Flatland, so 3rd powering is not cube-shaped at the end of the day.  I use the brand 'Martian Math' to share it sometimes, in contrast to 'Earthling Math' which is the XYZ stuff we both know.

Sometimes another edge, usually R, or even an edge of the T module, is so important to the discussion you consider it the prime vector instead (think of "__main__" in Python). Synergetics names (tools) tend to adapt to the namespace (problem area) you're working in (a kind of pneumatic flexibility built in to the language).

So the XYZ unit and IVM unit are both in the same animation, but with our volume numbers staying with IVM i.e. with "tetravolumes".  This would be a door to a "concentric hierarchy" of volumes, a somewhat familiar assortment of nested polys, but with more whole number volumes then you get from the XYZ namespace.

Making the cube your unit came at a cost and Synergetics helps us investigate the consequences by giving us workarounds.  Art courses (including in Cyberia) focusing on the concentric hierarchy have been a source of ideas for more straitlaced (as in straitjacketed) where experimental geometry is less well established.

What's this "IVM"?  Same as "octet truss" in architecture, on which for awhile Fuller held a patent (even though Alexander Graham Bell did the same constructions).

Here's the source code for the above videos.  Sorry about the word-wrapping, in the comments too.  You'll need to fix that on your end, a good way to start familiarizing yourself with the code.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Poly Families

You'll find the Xtian Right looking askance at gay marriage, and saying, "now that they've won their gay rights battle, the Xtian Left will be bringing back polygamy" (the idea being the Left is the source of all corruption, as backed by villainous atheist communists etc.).

You'll find more mixed feelings here as polygamy is a norm in the Bible and some Xtian sects have already practiced it, in its patriarchal mode at least, where one guy is responsible for a herd of women (he husbands them).

There's nostalgia for "Biblical marriage" and some Righties are torn, feeling it's actually their side that should now push "one guy, many women" as a form of revenge.  "If gays can get married then I should be able to marry both Connie and Cheryl" goes the reasoning.

Many Mormons are still resentful that a nation touting itself as a "land of the free, home of the brave" is still too religiously bigoted and cowardly, still too controlled by mainstream Xtians, to allow Mormonism its full spectrum of expression (like the Saudi version of Islam, which still disallows women their Quranic right to rule as equals).  Some still get away with it (Biblical marriage), but are subject to continual harassment, sexual and otherwise.

Buddhist subcultures that still practice polygamy are sometimes apologetic and think they have something to "get over" while being ashamed, like cannibalism.  Again, not the first time a traditional culture has "miss-underestimated" (to quote a president) their immanent "sexiness" as lifestyle role models.  Just when they're about to be "in" (in vogue, fashionable), they're trying to go "out" (as in "off the world stage").

In these Buddhist marriages, you don't necessarily have a head of household in one specific male or female figure.  Imagine the self help bookshelves on family dynamics wherein multiple partners work to get along and thrive as a family unit.  Sounds like a law firm.

Indeed I have long advocated that those seeking "nontraditional" partnerships of more than two, define themselves in business law and forsake "dom rel" (domestic relations), an area of the law wherein the concept of multiple partners is still shriveled and immature -- thanks a lot to Xtian influence (a "dumbing down" religion in many of its non-gnostic branches).

What the Right Wingers apparently haven't done yet is put 2 and 2 together and realized that "gay marriage + polygamy = same sex triples and quadruples" etc.  That hadn't occurred to them.  "Three gay guys walk into a bar, a family...".

But aren't we just talking about rock bands now?  Any combination of boy-girl gloms together and has succulent family time together, what's the problem?  Well, as you know, divorce is a problem, dividing up profits and property when a partnership separates.  Sometimes the whole group disperses.  More commonly, a new person joins and a veteran moves away.  There's turnover.

In industrial post-modern societies, each individual has the wherewithal, in theory, to take care of her or himself.  In reality, we're still quite a ways from fulfilling this prophecy, but the point is you might come into a relationship with a lot of stuff marked as yours, and not transfer it to the group.  People keep track of their stuff and keep their own credit ratings.

Selling things is also easier these days, on eBay and Craig's List and so on.   You don't need the group for personal survival.  There's no "dowry".  Households are simply less complicated in this future, as the individual humans are themselves more self contained and secure as economic units, as worker-scholars in the Global U.

So we may be getting to a point where those with enough social skills will be able to negotiate their arrangements without much expert assistance, except from bookshelves and websites.  unmarried.org is a good one to visit.  Many templates abound.  As for the rituals, marriage ceremonies have often been inventive.  The choice to call it "a marriage" will be up to the group.  If a couple from a larger family of five travels together, they may call themselves "married" without going into more detail.

Keeping it simple is a good idea.  The less complicated your relationship to property, the better, when it comes to keeping one's affairs in order.   That doesn't mean you can't own stuff.   You just need to run your life more like a business maybe.  Quakers might help with that.  Our "love makes a family" testimony is strongly rooted and our reputation for conducting our business with clearness is not without cause.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Versioning Membership (Faith and Practice)

Membership in a Meeting is ideally non-coercive, like a marriage, and is designed to form a public bond between an individual and a Quaker Meeting, such that the individual is publicly encouraged to say "I am a member of such-and-such a Meeting". 

This declaration signals to the wider world that people calling themselves members of the Religious Society of Friends are still among us, at work in the world, and feel led to publicly identify as such.  To proclaim one's membership in the Religious Society is a way of establishing one's identity in terms of one's ethics and practices.

Other Friends choose to advertise their affiliation with the Religious Society without obtaining or retaining formal membership in a particular Meeting.  If questioned about membership, such a Friend may say "I attend such-and-such a Meeting" and Quakers know that some of their attenders are "weighty" (influential) Friends, just as some of their members are.  Many Meetings treat members and attenders on an equal footing in regards to service on Committees, except for reasons the state may require in the corporation bylaws.

Those opting out of formal membership may include:

(a) those in transit, not ready to settle down and participate in the life of a specific Meeting

(b) those who grew up in Quaker families and felt accepted into Quakerism without needing to go through a Clearness process (some of whom later transfer their membership i.e. their Meeting acknowledges "birthright Friends" and a Meeting that doesn't accepts the transfer),

(c) on doctrinal grounds, that "membership" is "club language" whereas Friends of Jesus (John 15:15) can't be a "membership club" and

(d) those who feel their beliefs and practices, while maybe consistent with Friends somewhere, would place too much strain on a nearby Meeting e.g. they're a gay couple near Meetings which still do not recognize gay marriage i.e. the application for membership would be too upsetting.

Another example: the Langley Meeting in Virginia went through a prolonged process after someone with the CIA asked for membership.  My recollection is the request was declined, and so the officer continued with attender status.  "Why put them through all that in the first place?" a (d) person might think, "I can still be on Oversight."

Whether or not a Friend has obtained membership in a Meeting by the recognized Clearness process, overseen by overseers (the members of the Oversight Committee), a Friend is always open to being tested and queried by others about Quaker testimony and ministry.

Friends continually test one another, regarding integrity and clearness of purpose.  In joining with Friends, both members and attenders are signifying their openness to having their leadings investigated and sometimes challenged by peers.  Friends who keep journals on-line i.e. world-readable, are especially open, at least in principle, to peer review.

Grounds for dismissal from membership include taking membership in another church with incompatible beliefs (e.g. it participates in warmongering), and breaking important rules, such as refusing to stop talking multiple times in the same Meeting for Worship nor accepting feedback (eldering) when such transgressions are pointed out.

Friends may also freely lay down a membership in one Meeting and take it up in another, a process called transferring membership and described in other sections.  Sometimes Friends just drift off and are not heard from.  The Meeting has a process for contacting such individuals in writing and then proceeding with an amicable separation wherein both parties agree that a relationship with a particular Meeting is over for now, and there is no likely prospect of transfer.  To resign from membership does not preclude rejoining at a later date.

Historically, entire Meetings have disowned one another owing to various irreconcilable differences.  The many branches created through schism and divorce are sometimes diagrammed in a "Quaker guts" poster.

Quakers disowned any slaveowners in their midst rather early in US history, following the lead of London and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings.  Their resulting unpopularity in the south led them to migrate westward across North America as a part of the general drift of migrants of European heritage.  Earlham College in Indiana was one of the schools founded by Quaker refugees in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Westward migration was sometimes a way of escaping further persecution and establishing a fresh set of Meetings in the wake of a schism.  The North Pacific Yearly Meeting, for example, traces its history to a couple named Bean who fled Iowa Yearly Meeting, which had disowned them, to California, where they founded the College Park Association.  In retrospect, this branch of the Religious Society is recognized as important to Liberal Friends more generally.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

InterFaith Meetup


Hey, great reconnecting with Harold Long at this New Thought church. He hung out with me 'n Ed Applewhite that time.  Ed was always gaga for architecture and Long was / is Frank Lloyd Wright trained (as in personally) and an expert in religious architecture in particular.  He and Ed had lots to talk about, though I don't mean to peg Ed as "religious" in that statement.  Ed loved being a skeptic about such things.

Harold is Maureen's ex, for those who follow my Russian novel (these blogs are full of comings and goings of the interesting people in my life).  Applewhite was a close friend and associate of Bucky Fuller's, another architect you may have heard of, along with TC Howard (Seattle Expo Bubblator, Metallurgist Dome, many others).  Fuller and Sadao, their shop, was near to Noguchi's place in Long Island City, just across from Manhattan.  Apologies for the deluge of trivia.

Anyway, Lynne Taylor, a Wanderer, had organized an ambitious program, like a mini Parliament of World Religions but much shorter, just a half day.  Packed with content.  I have reams of thoughts.  I spent lots of time in the gift shop.

Carol, my mother, was representing Quakers.  She did a good job, making an abstruse historical allusion to Peter Waldo, one of the early heretics.  I could hear people thinking "Who's Waldo?".  The slide above and behind us (every religion had one) was of the Columbia Gorge I'm pretty sure, but mom wondered if it was Pendle Hill.  She talked about her deafness and loss of short term memory. She won the audience completely, good job mom.  I was in the pews snapping pictures.

Then we adjourned to a downstairs panel discussion, after more snacks.  The event was gracefully tiered such that people could leave, but diehards could go for more, even ask hard questions.  As the chauffeur, I was of course on the hook for the whole thing, though did manage to spend a good thirty minutes arguing vociferously with another director type (think Wanderers) in the privacy of a large empty lot.

Then it was back to fun and games.  We got to chant, sing, pray.  Many religions, Sikh, Navajo, Roman Catholic, Atheist, Scientologist, Essene, Baha'i, Jewish, Islam, Pagan, Hindu, and Quaker all up to bat. All comported themselves well.  The Scientology lady was into demurely celebrating her brand's being in the august company of world religions, already, and she shared a tasteful video (see below).

The Islamic woman was forceful during the panel discussion afterwards.  She was just back from Pakistan.  She's a business person, her own boss, and draws a line between Islam and the cultures in which it has so far been adopted.  She is very optimistic about North American brands of Islam because women start out with close to a full deck here, in contrast to other places.  Islam has a head start. Rarely has it been practiced in so pure a form.  She's on the highest committees in her congregation (sorry for mangling the terms).  There's nothing in pure Islam that dictates a Taliban interpretation of Islam, wherein women have few responsibilities.

The Atheist, who reminded me of Duane Ray, referred to himself as a secularist.  As I was explaining to the director on the cell phone, to me "secularist" means "believes in an equal opportunity to go to jail, no particular religious caste excepted" (dividing "church" from "state" one might call it).  I think of the late Reverend Moon (Unification Church) doing time for tax evasion.  She may have had a different meaning.  The Atheist quoted Carl Sagan from the pulpit, and cited Richard Dawkins as another hero, which I found almost too stereotypical, as if South Park Studios had had a hand in this script (I admire Carl by the way).

David Tver was sitting next to me and asked for a definition of an Atheist.  "Are Buddhists atheists?" I asked myself.  My advice to Atheists is this:  it's dangerous to define yourself by what you're anti. My dad was an atheist one could say, but "Quaker" was a more positive identity, as it came complete with role model pacifists (like Bayard Rustin) and a kind of "democracy in a box" (our way of doing business).  What do Atheists so far have, in terms of community?  Walden Two?  Just a question.  No need to get defensive.

Actually the Humanists have a community, and a thriving one around Portland, so I think that's an answer right there.  The goal, in any practice, is to prevent arrested development, be that "psychological" or whatever.  Some atheists accept a "psyche" or "ego" (normal me) but not a "soul" (paranormal me, a non-existent ghost) -- nomenclature matters.  An atheist might still embrace some form of depth psychology (e.g. Tantric Buddhism) to fight / counter / rebalance the various projected abnormal psychologies (some of them mob psychologies, collective).  Aberrations stalk us all and you don't need to believe in ghosts to feel haunted by memories, as in PTSD.

I'm the one at a disadvantage, I should just admit, in that I'm somewhat misanthropic and so outnumbered.  As a little kid, I tended to favor non-humans over humans in some dialectic, like I more empathized with dogs and horses, or whatever.

In religion, such "animism" (I call it Quaker animism) maps to an esoteric form of gnosticism wherein you identify with the sneering angels, who think humanity was a mistake and are jealous of God's love for them.  You probably haven't heard of us if a mainstream Christian, but the angel fanatics are familiar with the literature, of angels as the humans' competitors ("so how do you explain Guardian Angels?"... obviously there was some kind of war, and the so-called "good angels" sided with Yahweh, obviously).

Anyway, I wasn't doing the talking and got us home safely.  I uploaded a bunch of pictures (from the event, see above) then went over to Glenn's.  His brand of Neolithic Math re-galvanizes my vision of "fat farms" in the high desert, places to come to to shed metaphysical fat as well as adipose predisposing you to diabetes.  That doesn't have to mean vegan but for some it should.  You oughta try it religiously at some point in your life at least.  Experiment, don't get stuck in a rut and become a lifestyle bigot.  Your religion, Atheist or otherwise, is not your license to be a jerk.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Highlight from OSCON XV

Quoting my own review on Google+:

One of the more interesting keynotes at OSCON, starting with the cut of his suit, and right through Obama appearing on video asking "what the heck is an API".  Just right for OSCON, made our geeks happy and proud.  Good job White House.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Occupy Vigil: Episode 1



My blurb on Facebook:
An hour and ten minutes of really excellent, high definition footage. Homeless camping out in downtown Portland. Articulate, interesting, colorful interviews.
Congratulations to Jordan (neighbor) and Lindsey (housemate) for distilling this excellent update and sequel to Occupy Portland. Episode 1. A salute to Adam and Melody as well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Big Data

I'm all for swapping stories about which family had what, whether slaves were involved, midnight brewing, 'til the cows come home, on into the wee hours.  Having big data crunched together and visualized helps historians structure a layer, a layout, in the multi-layered timeline we're always building.  There's way too much to ever capture so we need to be smart about what we keep and just can't.  Yes, I'm guilty of speaking quite generally.

I guess I'm saying I'm not uncomfortable with family histories being out there.  I'm reading Royal Babylon at the moment (downloaded to Kindle), on advice from a friend, and I'm sure that's coloring my journaling.  I like demented cartoons too, what can I say.

Regarding Quakers for example, and the arguments around slavery leading up to and through the US's Civil War [tm] -- a terrible battle of wills, and fought against a Biblical backdrop, in terms of painting a long term destiny for one's self (those tended to be their images -- nothing radioactive yet) -- I'm fine with revisiting those.  Keep going over the texts, playing the old records, yes.  But they won't sound the same, as your own tastes continue changing.

The intersection of Friends and Native Americans post the Civil War is on my plate as a focus and I'm not even a paid historian or anything.  I just find myself wading in these waters and need to know more of the landscape.  It's not that I came to the planet pre-loaded with encyclopedic knowledge.

Getting a different version of history than the one you're getting.  That's always useful.  Patronizing people say it's not good for you, drives you crazy, too confusing.  I say better to get used to that: multiple tellings.  It's neither a crime nor a problem to be solved.

I said at my workshop I don't think we do nearly enough with timelines on the Internet.  We could be doing a lot more towards integrating chronologies.  Then you realize what you're up against:  people aren't necessarily ready for such and such to be known.   Crunching data too hard is like hiring too many Colombo's, detectives actually good at their jobs.  It's not like you're even looking for trouble, it just comes when you squeeze the sponge.

Nevertheless, historians have a job, which is to tell us a story that really helps us make sense of what happened in a way that serves going forward.  That sounds like a tall order, but I'm just trying to establish a rank.

Great storytelling reminds you of the generalized pattern integrities -- to lapse into Bucky-sounding. Historians, like investigative journalists, need to dig, and not believe the first version of events somebody feeds them.  Keep looking, keep digging.  Be skeptical.  I'm OK with that ethic.  I appreciate detectives and crime solving, or even just plot discovering (stories need not be of criminals to be interesting).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Haunting / A Planting


OPDX HQS
:: a spooky hqs :: 

I've been continuing Occupy Portland (OPDX) in a metaphysical way, by occupying Washington High School much the way Joyce occupied Dublin, with his imagination, in Finnegans Wake.  The goals were educational and in reality a movie and band celebrating our hero Buckminster Fuller did get staged in these digs, much to my delight.

OPDX had a headquarters, an abandoned, boarded up building, where Linus Pauling had gone to school, or so I'm told.  He was living on Hawthorne at the time, with his mom.  This was before his brilliant career at OSU, then Caltech.  Which is where Doug Strain got to know him.

However, as a visiting neighbor from Richmond (I didn't sign the clip board which went around the inner table), I learned Craig Kelly is completing his plans to buy it from the District and is moving ahead with commercial development.

St. Francis has sold its stake in the park for condos.  Portland is continuing with infill, the purpose of having an urban growth boundary, like a belt.  Suck it in, suck it in.  A lot of single story buildings are being replaced with three and four story, adding density.  The big controversy is should they provide their own parking.  The architects have already decided that the future Portlander is able to afford not owning a car, a luxury, as you can still rent them or share them, with such blueprints as Car 2 Go's.

So the "haunted castle" Halloween look of our HQS is soon to get a face lift.  You can imagine the bats leaving.  Kind of a Night on Bald Mountain sequence (allusion to Fantasia).  However, this is not a giving up so much as a seed planted.  The resulting work / shops will show our influence.  OPDX broke some new ground in the annals of education.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PPUG 2013.9.10

One could stay I'm still on the job, what with Python on the big screen in front of me.  Sam phoned, "a poster child for the 'underwater' economy".  He and Judy designed and built that dream home but it's not agricultural land and carpentry does not mix with arthritis.  People do not have the usual means and fantasize about Agenda 21, wishing something even better would happen.

My idea for high desert secluded schools, boarding schools, but with plenty of bandwidth, has been baking in these blogs for a long time.  Search on Project Earthala.  But that's in Alternative Universe (Other Tomorrow) wherein we're doing science fiction things, not that we aren't now.  You know what I mean.  Sam and Judy would be faculty, manage the radio station (students need experience as broadcasters).

I really enjoyed my tour of WEFT in Champaign, a cultural headquarters.  I can listen on-line through i-Tunes like the boss does (one of 'em).  Actually a couple of our mentors host radio shows, I think I've mentioned over the years.

What has any of this to do with Python User Group meetup of September 10, 2013?  Not much so far.  I'm enjoying the air conditioning in what used to be the Meier & Frank warehouse building, where they had the sales.  Now it's about wind power and Urban Airship.  I sure saw a lot of wind power fans ("windmills") across the prairies of Illinois.  Not everywhere, but in patches.  Perhaps there's a zoning map I could call up in ArcGIS or Google Earth or something.

Maureen phoned about some amazing film at the Hollywood tonight, Walking the Camino.  She'd sold me on going (by myself) but the whole time I was thinking it was Monday.  I've been thinking that all day.  No, doh!  It's a Tuesday, Python User Group, and/or Wanderers.  Not a movie night.  But I've got it blogged.  I'll be back.

As a Subgenius I'm supposed to be good at cutting myself slack, but what does that look like really?  If you talk yourself into thinking your work is what you might do in your spare time, then it can look like slack, but are you fooled?  Some of the selves, some of the time.  OK, I'll shut up now:  Python's starting.

Squawkathon, that looks interesting.  Software nerds collaborating with sea birds to help them stay alive.  Lots get caught in big nets.  Hard to believe the deadline for Pycon talks (2014) is this Sunday.  I should go more backwater, to the high desert schools, giving pep talks to the most committed.  Would there be an AFSC angle?  Quakers have a history of founding schools.  I'll let them database me as "Dr." through Earlham.  I'm getting lots of snailmail for Applewhites Visit Oregon from Comcast and such, don't ask me how that happened (they did visit Oregon).

Miguel Grinberg's presentation on Flask was stellar.  Very intelligible and cruft free, like Flask itself.  Students come in with their Immersive backpacks and upload the hike recordings to school servers.  A simple Flask application, student / faculty maintained, serves out the files.  Design Science.  More with less.  Read Miguel's tutorial -- many nods.  He's a great teacher.  He made a joke about his accent, which I found charming.

Steve was passing out though, still recovering from Chicago.  We trundled off for food and beverage before the Selenium talk.  This was a taxi night.  Parking is rough and who wants to be driving around then, if not professionally.  Sometimes the chauffeur gets driven, just as someone else cuts (and styles) the barber's hair. 

Michelle did the lion's share of the work on this one, as usual.  Steve and I did our part by wandering around the meetup room looking for how to shut off the ambient music, over which our speakers would have been talking.  Steve found the control panel.  This is a fine meeting room by the way.  Other groups use it too, which is why the upcoming hackathon will be somewhere else, perhaps in close quarters with the Ruby people.  At work we're talking about cross-training more.  The term "full stack engineer" is like new code for "Renaissance person".

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Failures in Logic

Assuming someone needs to be punished for A, it does not follow either that B should be the punishment nor that C should be the one doing the punishing.   C is not determined by B, nor B by A.

Should the punishment be military?  Should atrocities and war crimes be committed?  Those are questions about B.

Should Washington, D.C., hardly a moral high ground city, be the city to orchestrate said punishment? Hasn't that city done enough damage for several centuries?  Those are C questions.

People agonize on TV about the credibility of the US president.  He rattled his saber so now we have to back him up or what will the Russians think?

After Nixon they still do this.

It's a father-knows-best about how to impress knee-jerk psychology.  The North Koreans will think we have egg on our faces if we don't fire some cruise missiles into a crisis situation, taking a gamble that this gesture will send the right message and bring healing to the region.

Imagine Son of Uncle Sam in a hospital gown, somehow free from his quarters, walking into a hospital room down the hall where the patient is in a state of civil war schizophrenia, stuffing out cigarette butts in his arm, suicidal. "Let me help you with that" says Son of Sam... blam, blam, blam (he shoots to maim, not kill, and believes he's a highly skilled staff doctor).

Yes, the nut house from hell.  Welcome to Planet Earth folks.  Hollywood could not make this up, and make it seem this real.  Only truly out of control actors could come up with this shit.  And don't ask to see the director.  This is all improv honey, and the director has left the building.

How about compensation for victims' families?  How about reparations to the City of Fallujah (invaded why again?).

Sorry, but there's no gravitas left in those offices.  Insofar as the Oval Office means anything, it's just the scene of an ongoing struggle by the will of a people, to gain control of its own limbs.  Self government was off to a jerky start from the beginning.  Not pretty.  Not that jerky courts were any better.

"Self control":  that's tough to exercise as a nation, nations being basket case should-be-hospitalized creatures at most levels, with pomp and circumstance their way of coping (compensating).  

The US has been mentally unbalanced since Eisenhower, with a seriously impairing "military industrial complex". No one really knows how to cure such things.  Original Sin may play a role, as the angels jeer, at Man the perpetual fuck up.  God made a goof there, that's for sure.  Lucifer said so out loud and paid a high price, but a lot more were thinking it.

Mostly, nations project negative qualities on one another as a way of helping their own feel good about themselves.  Amnesia and self-lobotomy come with the territory.  It's not a physical operation, but a metaphysical one.

You probably do need to watch lots of television though, in specific genres, to stay infected for long. That's what Ernest Mann (below) concluded, one of the first to kill his television.  Speaking of which, now would be the time to really look at Fallujah more deeply, the white phosphorus, the children killed.  We'll find that at sports bars right?

The president is fond of saying "against children" as if chemical weapons were OK against the older children aka adults (like in Friends or in the Mary Tyler Moore Show).

He's actually moving the goal posts in the wrong direction with such rhetoric, caught trying to make more room for chemical attacks against "terrorists" (another step back from civilization, a scary light to these yet man-apes of 2013, their humanity as yet emergent, tenuous).

He's allowing his speech-writers to blunt whatever message about chemical weapons was supposed to be sent by those deaf-mute collateral damage causing cruise missiles.

I was reading Ernest Mann's stuff on the way back from Chicago, using my approved-for-inflight-use Kindle.

I used the seat pocket headset rather than scrounge my own and mostly listened to air traffic control talk on channel nine.  Female voices are creeping up the charts there too, I was happy to hear, both in the control room and in the cockpit.

Ernest Mann was this Minneapolis-based maverick, and was one of the first to vector a new ethics of "freedom" (living freely) well beyond "work ethic" Protestantism.  He believed in the principle of not accepting money for one's work, while yet doing good works.  He found a way to retire early by 1900s standards:  in his forties.

Then he wrote and published about what it was like, a kind of latter day Thoreau, classifiable as a transcendentalist perhaps, or at least someone with a view that history involves many behind-the-scenes players, call 'em the Illuminati or Great Pirates or whatever (ETs...).

A monarchist news guy from Yahoo! was saying on NPR or CNN the other day that even if the Congress went against the president's first impulse, and voted down B and C, he could still defy Congress.

A lot of narrativists (journalists) are monarchists, given how they talk about president Obama.  They have no clear sense of the difference between a chief presiding officer and a monarch.  And yet they presume to tell us our story, have serious jobs in the media.

The US media have little notion of a "UN Security Council" apparently.  That's where other countries have a say and since when did they really matter?  The idea is Obama is Superman and he should rain down righteous wrath upon the Assyrians just like he does in the Bible as the God of Israel.

That's your average American mind for ya, eggs scrambled for breakfast, lots of bacon.  "Joe Six Pack" they call him.  A guy with a bulging gut, ready to judge you between beers.  War is just HDTV entertainment for this guy.  Why not "let 'em have it!"?  They gassed children after all, can't ask for a better excuse.

"Yeah, we might hit a few hospitals and schools 'n such but collateral damage is a lot less these days than it used to be, what with smart bombs 'n all."  We all know him from campgrounds.

What did they say about how the world would end?  Not with a bang but a burp?

Lets galvanize the world to rid itself of chemical weapons by all means.

Not in a hasty stupid way that might endanger the environment, but in a planned and well-managed theatrical production.

Lets all kick back and watch some well made documentaries on these HDTVs of ours, about the history of chemical weapons, dirty bombs, biological weapons.  Nixon does get some credit for getting bioweapons off the table at least.

Tell us about Johnston Atoll and Hermiston please.  Lets talk about DU and a radiotoxic environment. Chemical warfare against people is one thing, but there's chemical warfare against other species, with lots of blowback effects.

We should transition to civilian topics as we help break the mood.  Lots to discuss, many tradeoffs.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Second City

Chicago / Djangocon / 2013

If you don't know your Chicago history, you may wonder at this name, but of course it refers to the great fire that burned down a lot of the city.  No one knows how the fire started, though a journalist for the Chicago Tribune did invent an urban legend about some Irish woman and her cow.  Blaming the Irish was the fashion those days.

Our architecture boat lady had it nicely broken down for us:  modern / international style buildings are the somewhat unimaginative rectilinear prisms that look like ice cubes, whereas post-modern buildings tend to be one-offs that reference their environment i.e. play off what's already there.  International style buildings fit in anywhere, as "standard skyscrapers".  Then were the older styles, such as Gothic and of course Art Deco.

The Hyatt seems somewhat postmodern in referencing the Art Deco buildings around it, but only vaguely.  As master of ceremonies, Steve is expected to host small gatherings.  Companies come to these conferences to have intimate talks that might lead to collaboration.  The Presidential Suite is an appropriate venue.  One takes this suite for the purpose of entertaining guests, not holing up in seclusion with one's computer.  Fortunately, Steve is a gregarious guy, or he wouldn't be in the conference producing business.

The NBC Building definitely looks Art Deco but was built long enough after that era to be categorized as post modern.  It alludes to Art Deco, and to Radio City Music Hall, in New York, in particular.

I took a workshop slot that had suffered a cancelation and filled the void with my usual brand of "crazy talk" (somewhat non-linear) featuring Tractor Art (an allusion to Turtle Art), Andragogy and Synergetics, with a somewhat tour guide approach.  You could say the architecture boat was an inspiration.  I had my pictures from that tour, from the previous night, fading in and out on screen as people awaited the talk.  I encouraged them all to join the conferences architecture boat tour on Thursday.  Patrick will have left by then and I'm now vectoring away from Chicago, so for Patrick and I, Sunday night was the best time for a boat tour.

Tall buildings are a way Egos communicate, but then there's a lot of discussion these days about what or who has an Ego.  The idea that a corporation is an Ego, or has one, is popular in some circles, whereas others are skeptical that something so institutional as a corporation could have an interior life, affections, emotions.

Or is it that human beings become the vehicle for Corporate Personhood?  The mystique of tall heavy buildings is that they outlast little humans, so if your identity manages to glom on to a tall building, then you're closer to immortality.  These identifications bring comfort to those with no other religion to fall back on.

During the workshop, a couple attendees worked on improving the installation options for Visual Python (which now includes wxPython) on Linux.  I was talking about what a great project that was, and they were giving me feedback:  if you want to be popular (1) installation needs to be easy and (2) the web site should not look ancient (even frequently updated web sites can look ancient).