Thursday, December 29, 2016

Countermeasures

some USers remain skeptical...

The Obama White House did not need to wait until the requested analysis was completed, before showing it means business when it comes to punishing perpetrators.

Like when we first heard reports from Syria, of chemical weapons being used: the White House knew immediately who was behind the attack, and barreled ahead big time, UN investigation be damned.

What Russian spies helped uncover, about the Democratic Party, apparently proved so heinous and repulsive, that the public recoiled en masse and joined the Trump train to drain the swamp.

So the question now is whether the Russians did us a favor.  That remains to be seen.  USers have at least learned an important lesson:  we're a Banana Republic like everyone else, not immune from foreign meddling.

This historic revelation, that Russia forever changed the course of American history, using tricks well known to Nigerian bankers, is going to have repercussions around the world.

Some surveys suggest USers themselves remain skeptical of the seventeen intelligence agency consensus, the same "intelligence community" that made both Colin Powell and George Tenet, and eventually the US president, seem so like idiots on the world stage.

I understand why the president-elect is reluctant to sign his name to this narrative.  Anyone hoping to "make America great again" would think twice about surrendering to this tail of defeat.  Russia is more of a world power than we realized maybe.

Given what we now know about the DNC, might that be a good thing?  Time will tell. Obama himself, judging from a last press conference, seems to think a new grass roots movement will help rebuild its image, in the wake of the latest rout.

Trump has been saying all along the Obama administration was being outplayed by Putin.  He's been hankering for a fresh start, without the baggage of so many botched opportunities.  With the US losing momentum with its "regime change" agenda, this might be a time to figure out a new strategy?

Me? I voted for Hillary because I supported the plan with Iran to create thousands of new American jobs in transportation.  The Iran Deal is good for American workers.

As we learned from Susan Lindauer (a CIA asset in the lead-up to 9-11), Iraq was prepared to buy millions of Made in the USA automobiles before Colin Powell messed up and persuaded us to attack the wrong country. The weapons testers were not happy with that Iraqi offer and railroaded us into war without telling us about it.

Lets not keep making the same mistake in thinking DC really has our best interests at heart.  If that were true, we wouldn't be where we are today.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

More Core



Three cheers for MIT Scratch, a great learning environment for young coders.

This project provides a quick recap of some of our core concepts.

Remember, the canonical Martian tetrahedron has edges of a full diameter, whereas the Earthling cube has edges = radius, so only half the length.  Even so, the cube holds more concrete.

Most of this core content should be review by now, if you're in middle or high school.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Conspiracy Theories


As we all know, the network of shopping mall and department store Santas is primarily an intelligence gathering tool of the retailers, who pay top dollar to find out what's hot and what's not in the minds of children each year.  Is Minecraft still mentioned as often?  With what frequency does a kid somewhere on a Santa say "Lego" (Ogel wants to know).

Not mentioned are the more specialized Santas, able to predict US foreign policy months in advance, simply by resonating with the parents, through their kids.  The tallies get fed to machine learning algorithms back in the homeland, code named Ogel, and out pops some highly refined anticipatory policy analysis.  As you might imagine, these more sensitive Santas sometimes make enough to live on the entire rest of the year!

The next new wrinkle, already under development at MIT, will be the AI Santas, marketed as OK for adults to sit on and confess to (picture Eliza on steroids).  An electronic brain the size of Watson's will dispense therapeutic advice while meanwhile telling Big Pharma where to hit a goldmine this year.  Is it uppers or downers that most adults crave?  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Ask your doctor!

On a related topic, count me a skeptic when it comes to Winnie-the-Pooh's secret identity as a KGB agent. That he would secretly blackmail Christopher Robin while keeping up the "silly bear" act as a front, seems beyond ridiculous.  The notion that Christopher had deep insecurities around gender that could be exploited by Pooh to turn him against the GCHQ (let alone MI6) is the projection of American FBI investigators, still mostly male, and as usual unable to see passed their own homophobia (their pet "issue" since Hoover).

However, if requests for "Pooh Bears" sees some unexplained resurgence, i.e. even in the absence of a new Disney film, I'm prepared to look again at the evidence.  Even if it turned out to be true (stranger things have happened) this intel would be on the stale side in any case, Christopher having long ago reached an age when he could overpower Pooh in any inevitable fight to the death.  Even Piglet (supposedly Pooh's handler) would have had a hard time intervening, once Robin decided to exact his revenge.

Coming full circle, and while we're naming names, I expect the Santas Network has already been tasked with keeping a lookout for any resurgence of interest in Eeyore.  Pooh may have supplied the muscle, but Eeyore was rumored to be the real brains of the operation, and second to none when it came to sapping morale.

The life insurance industry pays a premium for tracking such indicators, even if Langley is more interested in Barbies (that's their prerogative), or if the UK, the more mature culture, cares more about lamp posts and wardrobes.  There's no accounting for taste sometimes.

I checked Snopes before sharing these rumors on Facebook, just to let my friends know that I'm aware of the False News aspects to this story.  Like I said, I'm a skeptic myself.  However, some of you out there may know more than I do, and when it comes to fighting to defend freedom, better safe than sorry, right?

Checking for False News

SIGINT

Monday, December 19, 2016

Blue House Tour

Lets focus on the office spaces in this one.  I'm not showing the Raspberry Pi 3 workstation in the basement because it's accessed through the local network.  No one needs to go down there to see its screen, which I may just unplug and use elsewhere.  Or not.  It's usable as a temporary office as is.

The Winter Office might sound like it's for winter use, and that would make sense, but I'm thinking it more as the cold office that has links to the outside world.  It's under the upper deck we restored.

Winter Altar

Because the Winter Office may run at freezing temperatures, I keep it behind a closed door, running a space heater to heat the Downstairs Office (there's a whole-house furnace but in this day and age I consider running that an unnecessary luxury).

A fish tank right outside has only a small heating device, so I abet that with warmer ambient air, though on a fluctuating schedule.

Downstairs Office + Fish Tank

Finally, the Upstairs Office: also with a cold blooded creature, the pet snake.  This is where I do a lot of my work.

I'm able to sleep there on a futon if I need to, turning my bedroom into more of a guestroom if that's desirable.  I've had a few guests, from Brazil and Indonesia.  The upstairs has its own restroom.

Snake Habitat

Under the guest room (the Downstairs Office also doubles as a guest room), I have a large workspace equipped to share media.  People come over to watch DVDs sometimes.

When the temperature is suitable, I may quit my office and work there instead.

When others come over to work on projects, a question is whether they need a computer.  In that case, the Winter Office might be a best bet, as it has a guest account already set up.

Mostly I'm just supplying fast Wifi, including 5G in the Upstairs and Winter Offices.  We share a smaller bandwidth channel elsewhere.  People bring their own devices (BYOD), like at a coffee shop.

Gotta Have Coffee

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Back on that Python Train

Pythonic Vista

By "Python Train" I mean the succession of versions, fine to come in from the top i.e. no reason to go back and learn older ones, unless you inherit responsibility for older code.  I've got quite a bit of 2.x on the web, at Oregon Curriculum Network.

However 3.6 is out, final release candidate, with the first official non-candidate set for release on the 23rd.  I've learned about formatting strings from Chris, CTO at PDX Code Guild.

But only recently, in coming late to various debates, did I get a longer run-down of new features, which inevitably include many other less new ones I'd been overlooking.

Since I'm in the teaching biz and like any professional have to keep doing homework, working on updating skills with latest new wrinkles, I'm taking advantage of snow days, with power, to bone up and stay with it.

There's a sense of being on a moving train here.  Time to move along.  Inertia.

We always do a Hanukkah party this time of year, though we're Quakers and all that. Great traditions. good times, great peeps. My family is all spread out.  White Christmas in Portland (actually not yet, this is in the lead up to), snow and ice both.

Of course I'm thinking of Lindsey's "...get on that train" lyrics (and melody).  She later moved it to Spanish.  I caught a version for Youtube some years ago.  Merry Christmas Lindsey wherever you are. I hope we cross paths sometime in 2017.

For those of you squinting at the code above (click picture for original, bigger), yes, all "clerks" (what I'm calling them) named "sentinel" or "nigel" or whatever, will file to the same key.

Before you throw up your hands and yell "bug!" or "security risk!" or whatever, remember a use case where we have freeway cams all along the highway.  All cams file to "see it!" and all users of "last_seen" have it in them already, no need to "subscribe" (you did that by naming the clerk as the others did).

The version below assumes we need to keep each value stored with its specific instance, including across types (instances serve as unique keys regardless of type).  What you need from your clerk type varies with use case; Python gives you the "hooks" (the places to fill in the script).  For consenting adults (one of the tag lines).  Batteries included.  Fits your brain.

The takeaway is one does need a clear head, to keep track of what "self" means when several classes have instanced the clerk as a class-level name.

The clerk has a window orthogonal to the type structure, or "the committees" one might say, is privy to what goes on across instances.  Must it keep all those instances straight?  Or is the goal to share information?  Or both?  The language is more about allowing than dictating your designs.

So just remember to document clearly and tell a compelling story to future maintainers, or they'll end up rewriting it just to keep track of what's going on.  Don't just assume the code "will speak for itself" — to you it might, but remember the other people in the room.

Clerk Objects

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Tale of Two Tunnels

Max on the Move
:: Max line ::

When boring from both ends under the Tualitin Hills, under the the cemetery (some bodies moved), the zoo, and the Rose Garden, the engineers used a combination of explosives and a tunnel-digging machine, custom designed, big and expensive.

The tunnelers from east and west would need to meet somewhere in between, for the Robertson Tunnel to take track, then trains, and they did, not without some delays, three cheers for getting the math right.

The Max trains (in Portland, Oregon) use those tubes (one each way) day in and day out.

I get a similar vibe, of two tunnels needing to meet, when I read the papers (understood to be "pixelated papers" more often than not, with moving bits — ads mostly — like in Fantastic Beasts).

The tunnel from the left is looking for Russian spies, the ones capable of steering the offended egos of proud hackers and libertarians.  The tunnel from the right is maybe looking for high rolling internationalist bankers in the long run, but in the short term is hot on the trail of a ring of pedophiles.

Where these stories meet is probably where Russian spies hack in to their victims' computers and plant incriminating evidence.  Didn't we hear something like that on the Alex Jones channel? He was blaming John Podesta as I recall.

I think the PizzaGaters have a point though:  if this is the topic that really most interests that many readers and viewers, then the so-called mainstream media needs to go beyond Snopes and really show the PizzaGaters where they'll need to defend their worldview, even as they advance it.

Saying "pedophilia is real" is no defense, as we just went through over a decade, more like two, of talking about the reality of pedophilia among some professional Catholics. Those stories were and are the focus of any number of mainstream stories, talk shows, documentaries, exposes.

We can't say the "corporate media" (and/or NPR) turns a blind eye to the whole phenomenon.

We grownups are expected to love children, just not in a twisted sexually exploitative way.  Freud revealed (made OK to talk about) child sexuality.

The so-called "unconscious" is having a harder time finding places to hide in the 21st Century, given all the open secrets.

Lets not forget so-called honor killings, genital mutilation, and forced sterilization as concomitant causes of outrage.

Is it that the mainstream media is hoping to keep its more genteel profile and appeal to tea-cuppy Victorians by remaining aloof from the tabloid world, more lurid and sensational?

Journalists are groomed to see such "entertainment news" as the opposite of professional.  Academics write in knowing tones about the post-truth world, but without themselves participating in the mudslinging, getting down and dirty debating "what's a proved fact and what's mere hearsay".

PizzaGaters want to know:  does Comet Ping Pong really have a basement or not, and if it does, are there tunnels? A tour on camera with owner's consent, might've forestalled the lone gunman showing up to "self investigate" on his own.  Snopes claims it's hard to find claims concrete enough to debunk, though it does keep updating its page on the topic.

But then the hero lone gunman, there to rescue the kids, was reviled as a crisis actor (just look at IMDB right? — he'd done some dabbling in acting, then must've gotten really committed). The gunman was roundly dismissed as a paid actor, by the very mob he claimed to represent (that's irony for ya). Crisis actor theories permeate the 9-11 literature as well.

In my view, if the US president is willing to dignify the Russian spy story with a full report, due in January, then we might as well dive in to the specific allegations and collect whatever debunkings more publicly and officially, while finding what truth is to be found.

What's real and what's Photoshop?  We only get this in dribs and drabs.  Partly how conspiracies gain momentum is they fill with meme viruses of questionable factoids never flagged by the true believers' immune systems. They have no antibodies.

What's just a picture out of the blue, with an incriminating caption?  What's innuendo?  A lot of noobs won't know what that means.

Don't we have a calling to educate the young?  For that reason I've referred PizzaGate to the forensic societies, as more grist for the mill.  What constitutes a compelling argument?  Constant repetition?

The sleights of hand used to fill the echo chamber with "common knowledge" need to come to the light of day. Yes the Nazis used such trickery, but so does just about everybody else with a knack for PR.

Lets not pretend only one fighter in this ring knows how to use psychological techniques.  Wrestlers trash talk and self-promote as a part of their job description.  So do chess masters, in more subtle ways (thinking of Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky).

If the mainstream press doesn't role up its sleeves and tackle the allegations more directly, beyond saying they're False News, then we're going to have to credit Russian intelligence for doing all the heavy lifting for us, in bringing corruption to light. Accusing them of causing the leaks, without refuting what the leaks are used to purportedly prove, only gives them more power.

The PizzaGate people already look up to Wikileaks for all the emails, which they insist are Google-verified and so on.  The technology gets respect.  Should President Donald Trump pardon Julian Assange then?  Otherwise won't it look like he's afraid to help a hero in battle (the presidential campaign) because he's hiding something about the Russians helping? The debate rages.

The Russians are coming out heroes in this chapter, in having apparently put pedophiles on the radar of a once unaware US public, now out for blood.  Stories about pedophile priests on NPR were not enough.

I'm not saying this is the outcome that's fated.  I am saying that going after Russian spies while failing to pander to the mostly younger generation of "investigator and researcher" is going to self-fulfill a lot of prophesies.

Give PizzaGate the respect it deserves, as a phenomenon, for exercise.  Then maybe we'll be ready to revisit 9-11, long overdue for a more public re-examining.

Me? I voted for Hillary, mostly as a favor to President Obama, who asked me to (me and everybody eligible).  I'd asked him to not start a foolish, endless war with Iran.  He obliged, attacking Libya and then Syria instead.

But just about anyone running for president except maybe Bernie is seen as a warmonger out here in Cascadia.  That's just DC's culture, going back a couple hundred years (through Taft, McKinley and Andrew Jackson to name a few Manifest Destiny heads).

DC as a City (of Morons, with a Beltway) is the province of arms dealers in the business of showcasing and selling WMDs, and not much else they do serves to compensate.  Make peace or go down to defeat.  Right now, DC is choosing defeat, as making peace is much harder.

I see Iran as sanely anti-nuke weapon (not power) while I see nuke-heads as drunk with a phony sense of their supposed "superpowers".  I'm sure that makes me some kind of globalist, and it's true, I believe Planet Earth is a globe (spherical) and that we have only our science fiction (which includes science) and PR (tools of persuasion) to keep our various civilizations thriving thereon, God help us.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yesterday...

Storm Consequence

Yesterday was post snow storm, meaning frosty winds had turned the flurries to ice, over-burdening trees, many of which dropped their branches, to the street, to the ground.

Given I had no fixed plans for Saturday, and have a long-standing interest, through AFSC etc., in how Washington (District of Columbia) imposes European-style colonial powers in the territories, I wandered by public transit to the church, ate a bagel, took some pictures, apologized to Pedro on the way out for causing a stir.

One of the agreements was no photography, but I came late and no sign was posted so blithely broke the rule. Someone had the presence to interrupt proceedings and call me out on it, and I acknowledged up front I'd come late and was clueless.

Anyway, I put the camera away and made my exit, using the same bus ticket.

Indigenous migration flows of humans, somewhat mediated by weather patterns, have mixed with the waves of immigration to create a migrant farm worker ecology, with many social ills, hardly a utopia.  Now a stronger sense of nationalism is encouraging all nations to wall themselves off.

Some professors of nationalism may think going to wall systems is a return to normalcy, but they're thinking more of castle ramparts, Hadrian's wall at the most.  We've never really tried fences.  Human migration patterns have always been at odds with political storytellers, or at least often have been.

The commitment to wallify becomes a new test of humanity's patience for this latest invention of some 200 nation-states, many more if we count the virtual and not-UN recognized.  The nation-state memeplex has been swept up by marketing, creating Rogue Nation this (beer brand) and Cyber Nation that (Cyberia).

Twilight zone states, such as Palestine, Tibet, Kurdistan and maybe Cascadia, all cast long shadows in the quantum foam.

Anyway, that Louisiana Purchase was really a good deal.  President Jefferson was conflicted in how he might make the nation grow like magic, on paper.  Where does the rubber meet the road?  Creating more of the USA territory was akin to creating a national bank:  smoke and mirrors.

In this case, a war in Europe led to bookkeepers sliding Louisiana Territories from Spain to France, and France being really hard up for cash, given Napoleonic Wars (right?).  Selling spoils of war with Spain to immediate cash advantage, in a war against the rest of Western Europe (including Russia), seemed a shrewd move at the time.

Why not sell all that land to the Americans?  France would still get a piece of the action in New World business (as would Spain).

Humans had learned to think globally and were divvying it mentally into what was theirs and their king's, with not much long term agreement, lots of bookkeeping, narrative accounts.  The time zones had not been figured out yet, nor the grid of airports with three-letter codes.  Latitude-longitude was getting a stronger grip, with the hexa-pentagon tilings of today (in computer games mostly) still esoteric.

Speaking of narrative accounts, I'm looking forward to a lecture on Homer Davenport, an influential political cartoonist of his day, and horse raiser.  His imported Arabians somehow account for Mr. Ed on television.  Maybe I'll get that story straight this time.

How happy are humans about wallification and fencification?  Travel and migration has always been about more than tourism.  Getting away from weapons testers is another strong motivation.  Drug wars crash lives.  Slavers seem to capitalize on owning you in exchange for getting you through some gate.

The USA is caught in the middle of this questioning as West Region especially has been known for its wilderness and wildness.  Walling in the nations will feel more like one global government than ever, but then where will all the rebels go?

Dictates of biology beget rebels, dissidents, divergents, geniuses and so on.  The nations, with the cushion of virtual nations, need to not be too brittle, which sometimes happens when the logic gets overly calcified (as in skeletal).  Credibility is strained.  Look what happened to the Soviet Union.

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?

pizzagate

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.

DSCF1704

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

nodeschool2
:: 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 Skeptic.com 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)

DSCF1323

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.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cold War Stories

Talks about the "U2 Incident"

Long time readers of my blogs will maybe have seen how I bring up the "U2 incident" from time to time. This is another one of those times.

David Talbot cites L. Fletcher Prouty, or "Man X" — played by Donald Sutherland in Oliver Stone's JFK — as especially knowledgeable about the U2 incident.

However David sticks with the conventional narrative, that missiles hit this supersonic spy plane at high altitude, whereas Prouty himself calls that story line into question.

Prouty sounds a lot like a prototypical "9-11 truther" in calling the basic physics into question, wondering aloud in several passages, how Gary Powers could have survived.  Did he eject before the missiles hit?  Why did he have all that incriminating ID on him?  Might he have simply landed the plane instead?

The operation certainly cost Allen Dulles some respect and judging from Prouty, that may have been a principal aim. Not everyone was suffering from blind hatred for Communist Russia, certainly not Lee Harvey Oswald, who'd also worked in the U2 program in Japan. A smart Marine, he was curious about what life might be like in the USSR.

Allen had only partial or limited control over operations but had promised the moon, having seen regime change in Iran as proof of his superpowers.

The former OSS was never altogether sold on the idea of dominoes in Vietnam either, witness Daniel Ellsberg of RAND, a strong patriot who simply didn't buy the old guard's fading worldview.  Ditto Ralph McGeehee.

Trying to bully or intimidate these people, already skilled, doesn't always produce the intended results.

Eisenhower was under a lot of pressure after WWII to use the "nuclear advantage" for something meaningful.  The Devil's Chessboard chronicles how irresponsibly John Foster Dulles, as Secretary of State, blundered about on the world stage, confusing Tunisia with Indonesia while threatening everyone with nukes.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Armistice Day 2016


The theory or model put forward by the Armistice Day speakers today is pretty well spelled out in Addicted to War, a tome mom likes to distribute, used in some schools.

Outward war is obsolete given our present day technology, however many industrialists depend on heavy war spending to stay in business and adjudge the victims of war expendable collateral.

Madeline Albright is one of the champions of the "expendable collateral" view, having famously expressed her opinion that the mounting death toll in Mesopotamia had been "worth it" in terms of her own bottom line.  Whether infant mortality rates were really as high as she was told is a separate question.

Weapons systems need to be tested, and sometimes there's just no good substitute for real human subjects. Panama provided tests for the Apache helicopter.  Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan have become a playground for those who murder by bomb, drone and cruise missile.

One of our speakers invoked Einstein, known for his anti-nationalism.  Albert was asked to be Israel's first president however he wisely saw this as a trap in terms of his own personal integrity, even if his vanity was given a boost by the invite.  Besides, what would a theoretical physicist know about governing a country?

At the end of WWI, people were sick of war and agreed to end them. The Kellog-Briand Pact, ratified by the US, became the law of the land, as well as a basis for the Nuremberg Trials and the UN itself.  Quoting from Wikipedia:
As a practical matter, the Kellogg–Briand Pact did not live up to its aim of ending war, and in this sense it made no immediate contribution to international peace and proved to be ineffective in the years to come. Moreover, the pact erased the legal distinction between war and peace because the signatories, having renounced the use of war, began to wage wars without declaring them...
True enough, but why blame the treaty?

The signatories, in refusing to declare wars while continuing to engage in them, merely exhibited their lack of moral fiber.  It's not the fault of the treaty that its signatories are so inept and lacking in integrity.

The Power of Nightmares was a fine documentary in charting how wars could be kindled based on tensions between cultures. Politicians, as well as journalists, have learned that getting wars going may be a part of their job description, if they want continuing support from the munitions makers.

Whether a war is illegal or not is secondary to its ability to serve certain economic interests.

Smedley Butler, a decorated US soldier who defended FDR against the Business Plot, expressed his disgust with what I call Cowardly Capitalism in his short essay War is a Racket, oft quoted by the denizens of OPDX.

DSCF1261

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wanderers 2016.11.9

DSCF1029

We're convened at the Linus Pauling house. I came in late and found the discussion was about municipal restrooms, public infrastructure, its state in our city.  That was something we looked at during OPDX as well, an ongoing issue.

Glenn bravely agreed to do a presentation, the morning after election night.  I expect we would have rehashed the electoral results had we not preprogrammed the discussion.  Glenn had a bag of books he's been reading and did a "reading rainbow" kind of thing.  The focus was public policy.

We're also talking about drugs and drug pushing.  The legals don't call their hype or advertising "pushing," a term used to differentiate themselves from the black or grey market competition, which they marginalize through criminalization.

Speaking of which, Proposition 64 passed in California.  Law enforcement doesn't see criminalization i.e. locking people up, as having anything to do with public health, because of course punishment for crimes is unrelated to providing remedies for social ills.

The military is a big user of drugs as well, with government approval and encouragement, also as a source of funds for "black ops" (unaccounted for, off the books). Warlords & Ganglands is a hot seller game in supermarkets this Christmas.  No wait, I made that up.

Glenn's commentary is somewhat along the lines of Michael Moore's Where To Invade Next? in that he's circling relatively more enlightened approaches in other countries that it might pay to adopt, Finland's in particular.

Direct A-to-B action, which always looks so rational and right, turns to unobtainium rather often, doesn't it? "Precession" is not big in most vocabularies (not even in my spellchecker -- now it is), along with "deliberately non-straight lines" -- two Buckyisms we pick up reading Synergetics (not a popularization of anything, so not really that popular).

The psychological commentaries by Maurice Nicoll seem pretty clear on a "second force" which is not equal and opposite (as then nothing would happen) but almost, with a resultant payoff or outcome. The payoff may not be what one expected though -- alluding to last night's election.  Nature tends to be surprising, the future unpredictable.

Nicoll's system is psychological though, not counter-posed to Newton's laws.  Synergetics actually paints action - reaction - resultant vectors into its low level event physics, somewhat a break with the past, and therefore more of an uphill project.  Anyway, something to think about.

I was thinking of heading to Th'underground today.  Measure 97 went down to defeat, despite our best efforts, but I haven't given up on #CodeCastle, a project relating to teacher training.  However Wednesdays feature a special schedule with shortened hours as I recall, given the space doubles as a food distribution site. Th'underground is a coffee shop in the #CodeCastle basement.

kirby_comics
:: political cartoon ::

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

A Next Project

Background Context

A next medium project I need to take up, but I'm not sure in what medium (so many media to choose from) will be directed towards Philosophy Space (also known as "Philosophy World").

Ludwig Wittgenstein's Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (RFM) are annoying to many practicing mathematicians, because the tenor of his remarks do not reflect how they tend look at "foundations". Ludwig seems to turn them to slurry in some cases, undermining their eternal validity.

Similar annoyance is expressed towards another rank outsider businessman industrialist of the 20th Century, the guy who helped bring us the DEW line (see Cold War relics).  He purported to have a novel way of modeling multiplication in higher dimensions (like > 0).  What does that even mean?

Those who've familiarized themselves with LW's writings (sorry, I'm fine with initials, no hagiography need apply), come to see he's got some good points, worth sharing.  These days I'm coming to learn how much he mined the William James corpus for good examples of a philosopher really doing some thinking.

Likewise, the "Bucky stuff" is not just fluff, as the tetrahedron is indeed a topological simplex, so trying it on for size as a volume unit is hardly a radical idea in the rear view mirror.  What's radical is a vista wherein so few have thought to try said experiment, but then who's had the time or the inclination?  Now we've got it, and can kick it around.

Piling on these two annoyances, Wittgenstein's remarks and Fuller's fork in geometry, come the makers of "caltrop math" (non-violent despite associations twixt caltrops and acts of war).  The XYZ coordinate system has a new buddy, not saying I know the gender (of either really).  The IVM made by Bucky easily accommodates said "quadray coordinates" (pioneered after Synergetics was published).

Stay tuned as to medium.  In just getting this outline out there, I'm hoping to spark some more interest in the background materials.  Check Wikipedia and like that.

Think of it this way:  what would it be like to inject Quadray coordinates into Wittgenstein's remarks? The Bucky stuff is certainly like a Renaissance Neoplatonism.  These are science fiction moves, contrary to historical fact, designed to kindle new fires in some imaginations.  Not everyone is into philosophy obviously.  A positive outcome I would expect is a growing familiarity with some innovative ideas with practical applications.

Transcendentalist Readings

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Bagdad Meetup

I enjoyed a productive meetup with Nathaniel Bobbit at The Bagdad last night.  He's widely read, and in more than one language, having studied Heidegger in Spanish, Husserl too maybe.  He'd been married to a Spanish non-English speaker at one point.  He's looking at tackling Russian these days, an admirable challenge for a man in his early sixties (we're close to the same age, as I'm in my late fifties).

We talked about whether Bucky Fuller could be categorized as a "transcendentalist" or not.  The common wisdom is that school of thought was tied off a long time ago, to be succeeded by "pragmatism".  He clued me about The Metaphysical Club, a Pulitzer Prize winning book on the latter, by Louis Menand which I can get for my Kindle for under $10.

Actually, it's hard to get Fuller squeezed into any camp of philosopher, despite his mind-brain distinction and frequent used of "metaphysical" within his corpus, I think largely because he patented and built artifacts. Philosophers don't putter about with cars or domes, right?

Nat hadn't known about Fuller's meetup with Ezra Pound towards the end of the latter's long life, when he'd mostly given up making public appearances and was living in Italy.  Ezra first met Fuller in Spoleto and then attended his talks near Venice.  Some of these details appear in The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner, and in Humans in Universe by Anwar Dil.

Mr. Bobbit also clued me about the work of Patrick Hanks in corpus pattern analysis, wherein one uses computers to tease out how words are actually being used (usage patterns).  I recall a talk on Python's being used for that.  The "semantic web" was a different, though I'd argue related project.

I hadn't known of Edgar Allen Poe's invective against the transcendentalists of his day and understand how that'd lead to raised eyebrows around his Eureka: A Prose Poem — was he being satirical?  I'm guessing it was more a case of feeling he could do a better job.

E.J. Applewhite saw it as in the same ballpark as Fuller's Synergetics in two volumes (Macmillan) which had also threatened to become a prose poem if not properly shepherded.  Applewhite also compiled the four volume Synergetics Dictionary, a kind of corpus pattern analysis vis-à-vis the Fuller namespace.

Speaking of Python, I met someone at the Quaker meetinghouse who uses the teaching of science to teach English as a Second Language (ESL), and I asked her if computer programming were ever used in that way.  Object oriented thinking requires a kind of generic precision, a kind of grammar, based around the new punctuation of "dot notation".  We have these noun.verb() and noun.adjective forms, where nouns will have types, even ancestries.

ESL students tend to like the level playing field aspect, of all learning something new together.  The namespace keeps the English from wandering off into a tangle.  We have our attributes, properties, behavior, inner state.  We even have a 'self' in Python.  Of course other languages besides English could piggy-back on computer science, as a way to introduce themselves coherently.

I clued Nat about the Bubbles, Globes and Foam volumes, relatively new in English (translated from German).  Fuller is in the proper names index.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Identity Politics


How one deploys an identity makes a difference.  In identifying as Quaker, I go back to when Philadelphian Friends were somewhat upbeat about a utopia to come.

In the heady 1790s, some of the avatars of industrialization actually thought they could see light at the end of the tunnel, a way out of some Dickensian hell based in class warfare or whatever.

A company town really could be idyllic, not some battle ground twixt management and emergent unions.  Or maybe it's not a "company town" just a town where companies and its universities share a lot of values and resources.  They wouldn't be munitions makers.

Fast forward, and the Quakers' AFSC, like President Hoover (a Quaker), was resisting the allied blockade against Germany, pursued by Britain in 1915-1919.

Likewise, the Quakers resisted the economic sanctions against Iraq imposed by US State Department secretaries Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

The Nixon-Kissinger policies versus the Vietnamese were likewise cast as morally bankrupt and illegitimate.  Those of us in the liberal wing at least, welcomed Jane Fonda's visit to Hanoi.

But then US intelligencia has long decried Manifest Destiny syndrome and its craven craving for imperial powers.  Such craving is both the weak spot and the blind spot in the American psyche, as many historians will aver.

Any modeling of the USG on ancient Rome's imperial chapters, has never sat well with many who'd supported the American Revolution in principle, George Washington included.

A core goal of the latter was to get free of monarchs and their imperial designs.

Of course calling US policies "imperialist" always sounded kinda corny, the way those Commies talked.  That's until we got to reading the more serious histories and journalism and understood better how the shoe fit.

Anyway, I don't find it surprising that I think a lot like Mark Twain and William James when it comes to the Philippine-American war.  I lived in the Philippines long enough myself to do some thinking on this relationship.

These days I look at Puerto Rico, the lawsuit by the Marshall Islands against the nuclear powers (which the World Court decided not to hear), and the Ban Treaty, working its way through the UN General Assembly, and think this sort of non-violent defiance against nuke heads is very sane.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Surveying Pedagogy


Long time readers of my writings, such as any remain (of my writings, as well as of long time readers), may have come across my use of "andragogy" a lot, in contrast to "pedagogy".

In 2016, "andragogy" is a recognized word, in Wikipedia and so on, however spellcheckers generally won't have it, out of the box.

Andragogy means "the teaching of adults" whereas "pedagogy" is about teaching children.

Yes, "child" and "adult" ("peda" and "andra") are cultural categories and vary depending on how much childhood is even recognized, or how.

As Eugene Khutoryansky points out in one of his rants (Why Children Should Rebel):
Our current concept of childhood is a relatively recent invention. Throughout most cultures throughout most of human history, individuals today referred to as "children" had the right to marry, serve in the army, and even act as the head of state.
I bring up Eugene on purpose as really his work is what I'm surveying today, having just come across it this morning.  He has produced and published some interesting physics and mathematics teaching movies.  Check them out!

As I wrote to PhysLrnr-L, which I joined on invitation of Dr. Bob Fuller, whom I collaborated with on a First Person Physics project:
Is the surreality of Eugene's world extraneous?  A cat watches the action in the Quantum Mechanics video, while the Maxwell's Equations one is inhabited by two angels in a somewhat Gothic setting.

Given "Maxwell's Demon" is already in the literature, and that we've all heard of Schrodinger's Cat, I didn't see the imagery as entirely extraneous.  He's alluding to known memes.
In the mnemonic arts since Cicero and earlier, the idea of using exaggerated-because-more- memorable imagery has been encouraged.
I've got a slide show and maybe a recorded talk called Pythonic Andragogy out there somewhere (once as a Lightning Talk in Santa Clara, at a Pycon).

I taught Python, the computer language, to adults a lot.  But then weren't Saturday Academy students pretty adult-like in some cases?

Again, culture and ethnicity mean many parameters stay in play, as we investigate whether andragogy deserves a long term future.