Monday, July 24, 2017

Does Your School Have a Charter?

[first posted to Forum 206]

I just waded through a few Youtubes on the charter versus non-charter school debate.

There's a sloppiness to it all in that everyone starts by saying charter schools are public schools and then a sentence later it's back to "public versus charter". Silly right?

The mainstream discourse seems to have settled on "traditional versus charter schools" or "district versus charter schools".

What an amazingly narrow and ill-fitting vocabulary, is my thought.
Charter Schools Are Overrated, IntelligenceSquared Debates

was interesting, a hosted debate between two teams, an ongoing show that seems to think "IQ" is something real and therefore square-able.[1]

What many debaters miss, in my view, is the passion some have, in every generation, to create new schools, not just join existing schools. Any healthy society has its pioneers and reformists.

We should accept that as a built in feature of human nature, and so the debate should begin with that premise: that the public sector, however designed, needs to facilitate (not stifle) turnover at the institutional level, meaning public schools, charter or no charter, will continue to come and go.

Speaking of schools going, I think it's more than obvious we need to physically close a lot of schools that are simply beyond repair [2]. Trying to coast on clearly broken buildings, full of lead or whatever, is just lazy, the opposite of innovation, and proof we have little imagination.

I'm one who thinks a central government (of any nation), if there's one in the picture, should have the where with all to create its own flagship schools. These could be boarding schools for future diplomats, deliberately open to students from other countries. We might also see more experiments with same-sex schooling, for those wishing that option (choice). Let NASA do more than just summer camps, NSA too for that matter.

But then I'm one who thinks any government worth its salt should run a number of showcase institutions designed to provide work to a nation's citizens, including roadside lodging (motels), an airline, maybe a rental car company.[3]

What better way to stay in touch with the people than to run and manage some example enterprises.

Something other than war machines (and a few camp grounds), which is currently the main endeavor for which the weakest governments (e.g. the US) are allowed a sandbox (the war machine includes government labs such as Sandia and Los Alamos -- not much research on how to help with refugee camps -- just on how to create them in the first place i.e. by turning cities to rubble, per the 1900s, a century of barbarism).

Governments are permitted / coerced into serving as clients to a weapons-oriented private sector (Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin...). That's their major role (subsidizing the most sociopathic). Greece, broke, buys submarines from Siemens. [4]

How we tax and spend today is income redistribution, like they say, from the defenseless and over-taxed to oligarchs with off-shore investments (Russian or otherwise, what does it matter at that level?).

A truly American run boarding school might even teach some of the heritage I'm most interested in, namely this "geometry of lumps" I keep talking about (Karl Menger et al) wherein we experiment with axioms other than those inherited from ancient Greek metaphysics.

The way things are going, with Uncle Sam broke, and more a hired gun than anyone's idea of an emperor, I don't think it's a given that these dreams will pan out. We appear to have drifted into oligarchy and plutocracy with democracies fading. The politicians have the job of telling us something different i.e. they comfort us with their fairy tales.


[1] (dig way back in the math-teach archives if you can figure out how, takes IQ, and you'll see we discussed the "g factor" for like forever that time).

[2] Beyond repair... or not (in some cases):


Spain has a chain of state-run luxury hotels:

(similar to the scandal in Greece)

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Ban Treaty

Per Carol Urner's presentation to Wanderers at the Linus Pauling House, the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty has passed the General Assembly, by a wide margin, as expected.

The loser nations know the ban need not apply to them. Why? Because they have nuclear weapons and no one tells Nuke Head Nations what to do.

Nevertheless, we patriots who care about reputation have some cause for celebration this July 4th, and Tillamook butterscotch ice cream is being consumed in the Urner household.  The draft was actually adopted on the 7th, but we knew it was a done deal so were already waving the flag.

Good job Iran in helping to steer the process.  DC's mythology desperately requires Iran to be desperately seeking nuclear weapons.  Here's another nail in that narrative's coffin.  No one I know expects DC (not a US state) to ever reform its thinking. We expect it to remain a backwater.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Rajneeshpuram (movie review)

Rajneeshpuram was an attempt to found a new town in Oregon, in land zoned for farming.  Oregon has some strictly enforced land use laws.  That said township was so religious, and not Christian, didn't help.  Not that Rajneesh professed a religion exactly.  For years he wisely kept his mouth shut, went for a ride, then he gradually took control back, wresting more steering power to a point where Madam Sheila felt obliged to get away.

The folks of Antelope went to heroic lengths to not lose their cool, and played with Oregon State by the only rule book they could think to follow:  Oregon's.  That starting a Puram in the heart of Oregon by aggressive tactics ends up backfiring is hardly a surprise in retrospect.

I borrowed this OPB Oregon Experience episode from the Multnomah County Library system and today will return it, along with some books on CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and another on SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics, another front end Web technology).

A man who fascinates me even more than the Baghwan here, is/was Father Divine, the short African American king of His jungle, as a God in his own way.  Lavish feasts were provided by the disciples, the fans, and the gatherings were by many accounts convivial and of "melting pot" ethnicity (an all-kinds stew), and all back when MLK was still a young man.

My overlap with the Father Divine community was when I scored a job teaching high school at St. Dom's (Catholic), exactly what I'd been looking for, within walking distance. The circumstances of my hiring were tragic in that Sisters had died in a car crash.  My willingness to dive in under those circumstances was appreciated.

An old Father Divine hotel was just kitty corner and offered a good breakfast served by Sister Grace.  I studied the literature and grew intrigued.  Other faculty would join me from time to time, or go there on their own.  Why not?  Great place.

Maureen (Methodist) and I got to talking on the phone through some of this film, which I screened while folding laundry, pacing about.  But then I've been through the story before, in other media.  I never got to visit said Puram myself, even though I'd returned to Oregon in 1985, having left in the 1960s at the end of 2nd grade (my 3rd grade would be first forum in the Junior English School of Rome).

As someone with a long term interest in student exchange programs, organizing opportunities for faraway urban kids to experience some ranch living, I'm sensitive to locals not wanting to feel invaded.  Our placements will have advance training in sensitivity to community values.

In terms of setting up campuses, the ecovillages (picture boarding schools), I'm interested in what Props has to offer, thinking lower barriers to entry (to year around camping and village building) has everything to do with technology, from transportation networks to radio stations and runways (landing pads or whatever).

I'd like to see more train re-development, for the express purpose of bringing students in to their remote bases, which may not stay put for long in some cases.  Exploring ecosystems means leaving them as they were by default.  However, where railways are concerned, we're talking about a longer term commitment.  Railway work is maybe for college credit, trucking too. That's how it works in the Global U.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Catching Up

We've been over the mountain (Mt. Hood), my two daughters and I.  Alexia went earlier in her dad's late mom's Buick.  Sam, Tara's uncle, was in hospice, at Partners in Care in Bend, Oregon.

Last night, back in Portland, we visited Atlas Pizza, Tara and I, Patrick joining us.  Patrick has been contracted to dig down into command line Python minus any IDE.  A paying client likes it that way. He's using Wing's debugger in another class, a habit I'm likewise gradually acquiring.

I've completed a first Arduino course, a Coursera MOOC, and now I'm wading more deeply into that world of programmable circuits.  Tonight I'm teaching Python to adults, and next week to kids as well.  Mark me as firmly planted in tech.

However, American Literature (we might call it that) is on my mind, and I wonder about standards.  How much are able to build immune systems, as we might call them, if following a more German philosophy of bubbles, globes, foams.  To what extent will we stay prey, to "false news" in whatever guises?

Judy and I visited the funeral director while Alexia and Tara went on ahead. They ended up test driving a Ford Fiesta in Madras.  No memorial service has been scheduled yet; a way will open. This journey has been a part of it.  Remembering Sam is a new theme now, one I'll treasure.

Carol has done her share of road trips recently, both east and west, and flew the Blue House solo while we were gone.  Temperatures soared to record highs this weekend.  We're glad for the break in the heat wave, with overcast skies, now coasting in the seventies (Fahrenheit).

I've been showing Tara the latest PR around C6XTY, including my 4D logo in the mix, next to the link to Synchronofile.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Building Fractions

The code below shows a way of teaching operator overloading in Python.

Even though the standard library includes a Fraction type, it can't hurt to recreate it in a lesson, drawing on our knowledge of how fractions should behave.

Notice the embedded _gcd() method employs Euclid's Method to reduce fractions to lowest terms on initialization.  Since multiply and add operations, and their inverses, all end up creating new Q type instances (fractions), no attempt at reducing is made until then.

Hit the Run button to run the script.  Output appears at the bottom.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Circuit Rider

Uncle Lightfoot

Bill Lightfoot in 2010

At age 92, my uncle (dad's mom's sister's son) Bill Lightfoot has the baud rate to negotiate Amtrak on his own.  He escapes his comfy quarters in Seattle to be with his grand nephew.  He's eager for pictures of Jack, my dad.  They weren't much together after their chance meetup in Alaska, in the summer of 1947 I think it was.

Jack studied International Relations in DC, then went into regional planning under Dick Meier at the University of Chicago. After a strong on ramp performance, stateside, practicing planning in Portland, he went to nation-state scale, where you're looking at zoning and freeways, big picture infrastructure, less at individual housing or office complexes.  The latter is architecture and city planning, and more detailed.

I brought along some C6XTY as I'm timing myself to build a tetrahedron with four of them.  By "them" I mean soccer ball looking things, each assembled from six identical plastic parts, hence the name. The hexapent C60 is a meme, and a chemical (a carbon allotrope, a family of cages, then come the tubes and of course graphene, full circle, graphite, diamond and plain old soot -- carbon powder -- being the earlier discoveries).

Carol was also routing through downtown this same afternoon, and it worked to drop her at 10th and Taylor, park in a garage, observe some Flag Day childrens performance (a traveling troupe), then retrieve the car and head to Union Station, where the Coast Starlight has just arrived.  Bill and I headed over to Ringlers, where we enjoyed the usual great food and service (I'm a loyal customer). Thank you Bill, for making these forays.  I'll get you some more pictures, of dad.

This was the "short format" visit where we cut it pretty close.  The Coast Starlight is often late, getting here from California, but today was right on time.  I had Bill back at the station with only minutes to spare, whereas on another occasion we waited some hours.

On his previous visit he did "long format", coming a train earlier and leaving a train later.  That gave us time for Pittock Mansion, Kell's for lunch, visiting with Carol at Bagdad out my way, with time to spare getting back.  That was pretty exhausting though, for a ninety-two year old.  Did we get many pictures of Bill with his Aztecs (those were cars many considered rather funny looking, Bill loved 'em)?

Howard and Wilma came with Bill on one of these outings.  Bill and Barbara Hancock on another.  Amtrak:  keeping families together.  Bill wore his Northern Pacific hat.

Monday, June 12, 2017

OR Welcomes PR

Some will say it's a bit preemptive for a former territory, Oregon, to welcome Puerto Rico to the Union, as 51st state.

After some hundred years, I'm glad we have that sorted out.


Friday, June 09, 2017

Fundraising Dinner

Carol (mom) and I are about to drive across the river, against traffic (meaning with a faster trip time), for a dinner with Physicians for Social Responsibility.  As a veteran WILPFer, she's worked with the Oregon PSR rather closely, most especially on the Hiroshima - Nagasaki commemoration event, a time to pledge never again to indulge in nuclear war.

Since WW2, the planet has endured several nuclear catastrophes, beginning with so-called "testing", which irreparably harmed the ecosystem, followed by nuclear meltdowns. The meltdown in Chernobyl was such that brave and selfless human intervention was possible.

A tunnel was dug in record time to intercept the melting mass before it reached the water table.  In the case of Fukushima, human bravery is irrelevant and the Pacific Ocean is becoming increasingly contaminated, and by extension the planet.

The responsible jobs, going forward, have to do with cleanup and disaster mitigation. Humans floating around on military ships, threatening each other, saber rattling, is a lot of toy story nonsense wherein humans refuse to grow out of their kindergarten stage.

We'll have to leave them to play those war games, as they insist, and have the weapons to stop us from stopping them, but we don't have to treat them as mature adults.

I think a lot of the slowness to respond is about theater (the T in PATH).  People used to think Kings (a few Queens) had divine powers. Even when that illusion exploded, politicians managed to keep up an illusion of being in control.

That these people actually do any real work is becoming less apparent.  But then "work" in its physics meaning simply means "to expend energy" which we all do, of necessity, just to breath.  Any meaning beyond that tends to be tinged by moralizing, with Protestants (Christians known for their protesting attitude) among the first to chime in.

I need a haircut.  My gray hair is bushy and I'm wearing a maroon turtle neck with not such fancy pants. I'm in the ballpark of "frumpy academic" I suppose, though I'm closer to a Quaker crime boss (it's considered traitorous to laugh at politicians is it not?).  I've been posting to Forum 206 quite a bit. Does that make me a math teacher?

Sam Lanahan was by today with a truck load of C6XTY.  I'll be able to organize workflows for kids, having them construct soccer ball looking things from six curved pieces held together with eight screws. Then come the arms, suitable for interconnecting them in a lattice.

What's all this for?  Do you know what the isotropic vector matrix (IVM) is?  Octet truss?  CCP?  FCC (no not the government acronym).  Maybe we're just sharing some memes at first, basic STEM.

It'll be awhile longer before humanity grows up.  We're a work in progress.

Some of us don't think we need to learn about hard stuff, like science and math, as long as we have our politician parents to take care of us.  They'll protect us from the laws of physics, right?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wanderers 2017.5.30

A Peter Bechtold Briefing

I spent some of the morning listening to the Seymour Hersh telling of the Zero Dark Thirty story, based on actual events. Prying apart fiction from non-fiction is not always as easy as some pretend.  He provides missing puzzle pieces.

My sense of not needing to pry these apart at every turn, carried me into Peter Bechtold's talk, giving the history of Syria, the heartland of the Holy Land, as they called it in President Wilson's day.

Sure, Wilson sounds racist by today's standards but that doesn't make him a complete idiot. Peter sees Wilson relegated to the sidelines as French and British create their own narrative around what happened in the Middle East, subsequent to the end of the Ottoman Era.

The kinds of maps Peter showed of Syria, showing patchworks by micro-climate, language, religion (ethnicity) could be used with North America as well. However as Peter restated several times, these were static snapshots from an earlier time.  Much has transpired.

Given we're in Portland, how the District of Columbia sees the world remains influential.  Peter knows a lot of people and has great respect for many of them.  He's no fan of the New American Century PR or what the neocons have accomplished, using perhaps dated terminology.  Richard Perle and like that.

Dr. Bechtold volunteered that he had no inside information on events in Idlib, site of the chemical attack in early April, 2017.  The relevant international bodies have not confirmed the Assad government still has any chemical weapons, nor was there clear motivation to use them.  I share his skepticism.

Anyway, Wilson probably had the right idea, about providing peoples in the region with more apparatus for self determination.  The arbitrary boundaries and agreements made by English and French social engineers have not withstood the test of time.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Control Room

Coding with Kids

See the Pen Sine Wave Experiment by Kirby Urner (@pdx4d) on CodePen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I see refugees from Chef World (aka "the kitchen") trying their hand at coding, and thinking they're making a big leap. Yes, they are, in a way, but in other ways a short order cook is a study in workflows, and an algorithm is a semi-numerical recipe.

The key to cooperative concurrency is the wisely chosen yield keyword in Python, which is two way, and a way of handing back control to the caller, voluntarily we might say, before all business is completed.  Queue up a number of such yielding tasks, as promising to deliver in the future, and roll through them, round robin or when the timer dings (ready!) and you've got yourself an event loop.

In a seeming change of subject, I had the C6XTY "buckyball" made of six units, screwed together with eight disks, as a "booth magnet" conversation piece.

Even after understanding our proposal, for a smart router that keeps students on task, schools approved by model families, a Pythonista maybe wanted to linger, chat on other topics.  Hexapents for everyone (HP4E) meets CP4E (Guido himself sauntered by, but chose neither to engage nor inhibit, per Pycon's code).

The connection is this concept of "payload" or "something valuable inside".  When a Python generator returns, raising a StopIteration, a payload might go inside at that point.  Likewise a Future, or class of Task, this this "cooking" or "baking" internal state, which the event loop keeps checking, not blocking for more than a moment if the task is clearly undone.

Once an egg "hatches" and releases the payload, then other design patterns kick in.  Cooked meals get delivered to tables. A waiter / waitress is optimizing in many ways too.

The chef or chefs may be amazing in their seeming ability to multi-task, but lets not forget:  the whole restaurant is made from coroutines.

Nor is such an ecosystem incompatible with the pre-emptive multitasking going on at a deeper level.  The OS knows the CPU is a resource to share.

There's nothing wrong with running "blocking code" or "being a CPU hog" when you've been scheduled for useful work, and when the OS retains the channel changer (the "remote").

That's how CERN and Hubble both work, with a jobs queue.  It's up to the researchers to manage a workflow once their fun in the sun comes around.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Haim's Challenge

In chapters passed, I tried to dispute Haim's Challenge, which he re-introduced on math-teach again recently:
Thank you for the opportunity to re-introduce "Haim's Challenge",
"There are no important open questions in math pedagogy."

(The Challenge is to prove the premise wrong by pointing to even one long-term, ongoing examination of open questions in math pedagogy, by any group of people, anywhere. The context is K-12 mathematics.)
I'd bring up A&B modules, T&E modules, clearly referencing Synergetics for its pedagogical implications.  Of course the K-12 curriculum should be adjusted, here and there!
Of course I do not discuss math pedagogy, for the simple reason that there is nothing to discuss. Or, so I believe.

I believe:
(1) We know everything there is to know about school mathematics (i.e., K-12 math), and
(2) We know everything there is to know about how to teach it.

So, the only really important question is why don't the schools do what we know they should do to most effectively teach math to the most students?

The answer can only be found by exploring the politics of education, not the mechanics of long division or anything like that. We know the mechanics of long division. What is less clear is why the schools don't teach it well, if at all.
I realize now that actions speak louder than words, and Haim well explains many phenomena I observe in the ambient culture.

Whether I agree with Haim's challenge (more like a claim) or not is immaterial.  My sphere of influence is definitely limited.

People treat mathematics as a static aspect of their environment.

Hell would freeze over before "tetravolumes" would rise to the level of attracting the attention of grade school math teachers, let alone prove share-worthy, with coming generations.

I get it.  That's certainly not a decision I'm comfortable with, which accounts for my somewhat non-mainstream ethnicity.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

On Projection

In dime store psychology books for the dummy dumbfuckistanis, you'll learn that "projection" is something you shouldn't do, like picking your nose in public.

With a little training and vigilance, one grows out of this immature practice, and then just sees others doing it, so blind to their own failings.

More upscale psychology, closer to worth the money, will tell you "projection" is all you've got (in the more Plato's Cave sense) and so the game is one of "fine tuning" (presuming you're even grossly in the right ballpark).

If you make projection be your friend, and then spend the time, do the homework, to learn it as a skill, an intentional art, you might wind up with something more like a crystal ball in your own estimation.

Why we diss projection is it leads us astray. We believe our beliefs and that's rarely a good idea.  Were projection to be trusted, like corrected vision, then that'd be a new chapter.

I do like Maurice Nicoll, the intrepid Scotsman, on this topic.  He warns us to not identify with every thought or feeling posing as "one's own".

Many never even get to that first rung of the ladder: of realizing they have a choice, in terms of what inner voices to identify with.

How fast they climb from there, is anyone's guess.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Public Policy: Finding Farm Workers

Although Glenn grew up in a union family, amidst other union families, he came to see the downside of unions as well.  I learned more of his story this afternoon.

His decision to quit the electricians union in Phoenix is what ultimately led to his joining the Navy and enrolling in the Defense Language Institute in Monterey.

The theme of our discussion: the looming agricultural crisis as states scramble to find farm workers.

The clamp down on itinerant field workers is endangering vast resources, from vineyards to asparagus patches.  Picture acres and acres of rotting onions, potatoes, you name it.

Might states start up their own Guest Worker programs independently of the Feds?  What unions might get involved, if any?

Could we use smartphone apps to help workers find opportunities?  The same apps might help farm managers find help.

Given we live near Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, the newer name for SE 39th, it makes some sense we'd be wondering about United Farm Workers and so on.  What's the history at least?

Glenn dove into Wikipedia as a start.

The Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy provided the impetus, and meeting place, for Wanderers in the first place.

That some of us would be focused on the impending farm worker shortage certainly stands to reason.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Screen Time


We spend a lot of time with our screens don't we?  Internet or TV, consuming and/or creating.  Our level of media output has been rising exponentially I'd hazard, along with our ability to store it all.

Will the collective nervous system get too nervous?  We balance on a tightrope, afraid of falling, with so many clamoring for the more violent alternatives.  They want to see it in their lifetimes, whatever it is.

During our meetup tonight, over the wire, like a closed circuit TV show with chat window, I explained more about my own workflows, rendering out graphics that start out with Python code. A lot of my friends will use C and/or C++.

I wasn't a software engineer so much as a philosopher by training, and as a consequence I was on the lookout for patterns we could affordably capture with technology of that day, including data from heart procedures, feeding the medical research.  Statistics matter.

Shifting gears, I've been archiving "Gnome" Chomsky Youtubes to my Facebook profile.  Not a lot of them all at once, just a few. [1][2][3]
Not news: Gnome doesn't think 43 was in the loop on Nine Eleven. Not something I've ever claimed either and in fact I don't think continuing to read the Goat Book was a bad reaction. Stay calm, don't rush around like an idiot, which is what they seem good at in DC, lots of pin-balling betwixt one office and another in some panic. Caveat: this was awhile ago; I have no idea what Gnome's saying today exactly.
I was working through Pan's Labyrinth, on DVD, while taking a break from teacher prep.  That's a dark tale that got me catching up on the Spanish Civil War again.  One thing led to another and it was the Chechen Wars that got my attention.  We didn't start the fire, but nor have we succeeded in putting it out.

A theme in these blogs is the Bucky stuff could make a difference, but probably in back office philosophy and management at this point, the more outward forms coming from more recent generations, sometimes motivated by the American enlightenment, if we want to call it that.

Imperialism long ago alienated Samuel Clemens and William James.  These repeated wars against Asians were avoidable it seems, but for that sense of manifest destiny that drives many ethnicities.  Everyone seems to consider themselves chosen.

On a micro speck of a planet, ethnic differences seem somewhat trivial, to say the least. But upon zooming in, that tale told by an idiot gets taller and taller, becoming a giant soap opera at the other extreme. People need to be heroes. The vanity of the Captain in Pan's Labyrinth only makes him seem more of a monster.

The animations in that movie are pretty good, the faun, the fairies. I've not been able to directly produce anything of that quality. I was reminded of eXistenZ.

Synergetics could be an influence in some future animations.  I laid some groundwork with the "hypertoons" concept.  Check my Synergetics 101 playlist in my Youtube channel maybe?  They link to each other, gradually building up a memeplex worth sharing.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017

Portland's Earth Day celebrations combined with a national March for Science. "You know it's severe when even nerds appear" was one of the signs. These were not your usual assortment of activists. Some came in lab coats.  "Dieticians against Twinkies" read another sign.

The organizers had rented a fairly high powered sound stage and were able to project speeches to the gathering thousands, after which followed a march, permitted, peaceful. One black-block-looking guy seemed out of place, furtively glancing about from behind his mask for at least one other anarchists in his tribe.  Police kept a low profile, with no riot cops in gear that we could see.

Glenn and I took the bus downtown and joined in the march but also stood on the sidelines, the better to take pictures and enjoy the exotic assortment of science advocates.

We adjourned to the Yard House where we were soon joined by Dr. DiNucci, an expert in parallelism and operations research.  He'd been marching with the Humanists' banner.

I saw several people I know in the crowd today, including a few Quakers.

The perception among many is that politicians, a lower ranking form of social engineer, may have lost their grasp on reality, in an effort to govern through make-believe.  Their policies seem increasingly irrational to the point of crazy.

Washington DC, a distant city, run more by lawyers than engineers, seems to have dwindling relevance around the Pacific Rim.  All those bellicose threats against our way of life add up to a big turn off.

Those avidly seeking greater political power inadvertently advertise their sense of not having much.  The End of Power comes to mind, a book in the Blue House collection.

Rising Literacy

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

Some weeks ago, Multnomah Friends considered moving the traditional third Sunday business meeting off of Easter in favor of doing business another day.  Why?  The consensus was to barrel on ahead.  Business on Easter might be especially propitious even?

As the cookie crumbled, I got an opportunity to chauffeur an MVP out to PDX.  He's off to a world meetup, not in Zurich this time.

Then I met my Shanghai friend at the Bagdad.  He's much more serious about containing NK than I am, a diffuser and disperser of nation-states (in my own thinking).

Chinese, Japanese and SKers are closer to the situation than I am.  A lot of political capital gets spent on making Americans care enough to watch the old M.A.S.H. episodes.

Cleveland High School was more a business school in the early days, grooming people to have basic office skills, both interpersonal and technical.  Typing at some number of words per minute, error free, was a technical skill.

Then typing became word processing which became desktop publishing. With the invention of the Web came HTML + CSS + JS.  That's the business school triad of today, throwing in SVG, SQL and Regular Expressions (regexes) for a skill set even more rounded.

I'm working along that "pipeline" (K-12) much of my week, grappling with older students (adults) some evenings.  Pedagogue by day, andragogue by night.

HTML = hypertext markup language, the paradigm markup language and direct relative of XML. These tags define a document's "object model" meaning the DOM, or Document Object Model.

CSS = Cascading Style Sheets, more and more capable, used for styling and describing the look of things, to the point of providing transitions and animations.

SVG = Scalar Vector Graphics.  Similar to Postscript in providing "zoom-able" characteristics.

SQL = Structured Query Language, used to store, update and filter-select records from sets of interlocking tables called Relational Database Systems.

JS = Javascript, an emerging computer language, not at all the same language as Java, and customized to work with the DOM and Shadow DOM.  Lookup React and Angular for examples of frameworks in this language.  Also Babel, which allows future features today.

I think of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.  The typewriter seemed like a big advance in its time.  I remember shopping with mom for an Olivetti in Rome, one of the newer electric kind.  Those machines already felt futuristic to the folks living that dream, however they gave one less control over presentation, with the disadvantage of storing as hardcopy, in devices still known as "file cabinets".

The future is here in terms of instant real time communications with friends and family, in addition to asynchronous.  Fun.

Why NK would wanna to join the loser states I'm not sure.  Having nuke weapons is a sign of mental illness and moral decadence in today's world.  Why NK'd wanna join the club of nukehead nations is anyone's guess. Time warp?  Throwback?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Worldly Affairs

Derek (aka "Deke the Geek") received a welcome donation of fresh Chinese food, thanks to restaurateur neighbors, and called me at the right time to share some.  I was in a funk, having Youtube issues, however by the time we'd finished, those issues had resolved.

Today I start two new gigs, a third this Wednesday, plus there's the MOOC, also starting, so I have a full plate to say the least.  However, unless I pace myself, I'm sure to burn out, so let's see how smoothly I'm able to time-share.  Yes, multi-tasking may be an illusion, but task-switching is not, and may be more or less "interrupt driven".

The MOOC is on IoT ("Internet of Things") and promises to get me into Arduino country, so I hope I'm up to it. My skills are only so-so in so many areas.  I wouldn't take myself skiing for example. Let's hope I'm not a total clod on the bicycle again, like that time with Suzanne (I wiped out twice).

So far so good, with the Cannondale from Sam (the two previous bikes were stolen, Tinkerbell from my own backyard, and the one Lindsey worked on from Jay when on Food Not Bombs duty. I'm not keeping up any gym memberships.

SourceTree by Atlassian, the makers of JIRA, may be my solution when it comes to Git. My coding career reached its peak, in the medical research area, before Github was even a gleam in some Youtuber's reflecting glasses. I'm wanting to branch my Python5 repo but am unclear on the sequence.

Patrick is in the batters' box as opening hitter on my evening gig, in case traffic delays me today. I'm dreading the drive from Beaverton back to Blue House, given bridge repairs. In theory I have plenty of time, but that's only theory.

The opportunity to learn new skills is welcome and I'm grateful, and our theme in Meeting on Sunday, yesterday, amidst many concerns. My work is to orchestrate my learning experience in such a way as to not overtax my limited capabilities.  Stress is a positive in a gymnasium sense, because it's well-managed. Stress in the wild, i.e. life during wartime, takes its toll on us all.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Bad Theater


Unabomber City, built by Beltway Bandits, is at it again with the unilateral reprisals, for a crime no one had time to investigate (by design), shades of 2013.

No one believes the ranting and raving anymore. Clearly this plan was up some sleeve, funded by petrodollars. Some triggering event would be needed.

The charade at the UN was the thinnest yet.  The UK and US role players read from their same script, per usual.  The diplomatic gestures were pro forma. The attack was already getting a green light from somewhere.

I don't think anyone serious will be talking about North Korea, really a non-issue in comparison.

No one wants to hear how the Unabomber "feels threatened" as it suffers yet another psychotic breakdown.

Trump's base appears to be fracking over his sudden course reversal, which he wants us to see as evidence of "flexibility".  Is that it, or did some straw just break the back of some camel?

Unabomber City is feeling desperate and weak, its grip on power slipping away.  Will this rerun of the attack on Iraq help rally the people?  I doubt it.  But then many livelihoods depend on keeping these wars going.

Addressing domestic issues just looks too scary I guess, especially to the chicken hawks.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Projects and Complications

The Portland Peace Program is ramping up around developments in Syria. Youtube is predictably skeptical that 2017 is super different from 2013. They showed Trump the DC version and he's rightly pissed. Hollywood is maybe not finished with its version. I know DC has dismissed Russia's take, of an exploded Jihadist munitions factory, but then here in Portland we routinely dismiss DC.  So it's complicated.

When at Princeton, I had Firestone library and world newspapers coming in every day, but hardly in real time. My access to information has improved considerably since the 1970s, as I hoped it would. As the idea of hypertext gained traction, thanks to Ted Nelson and his Computer Lib / Dream Machines (hearkening back to the MEMEX, which Ted knew about), and as CERN put real muscle behind the dream, the shape of things to come became clear.

In GM's heyday, they were introducing the Freeways of Tomorrow at World Expos. The age of the motor car, internal combustion, of abundant oil, was upon us.  In my generation, the "information superhighway" was the dream, freeways (the "I-system") now taken for granted.  Actually, with more roads than we can really afford to repave, "taken for granted" is by now an overstatement; those days are gone too.

On Facebook, I'm looking at China's plans for the Silk Road, an ancient set of overland routes connecting the Far East to points west, on into Europe.  Istanbul has been a gateway city in that regard.  I'm glad to see the Trucker Exchange Program taking shape.  The Chinese Peace Corps (akin to Capitalism's Invisible Army in serving to tell a story) is getting the job done.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Spring Appears!

Four Freedoms

We got this message in Meeting this morning, from someone usually reluctant to channel (we don't usually use that word, it's not a seance): spring has sprung, rejoice (paraphrase). I've certainly noticed a burst of activity, including in terms of my own megabytes per hour upload rate.  Meaning: in the last forty-eight hours or so, I've added about eight Youtubes comprising much of the new playlist: Synergetics 101.

Glenn and I took the maxi taxi to Silverton yesterday, April Fool's Day, "maxi taxi" being a nickname for Razz's successor in my driveway, good story.

Gus Frederick was leading a workshop on digital scanning at Seven Brides Brewery, a place I'd gladly visit again.

The Norman Rockwell display of Four Freedoms, gigantic wall posters, was worth the price of admission, a figure of speech, as there was no admission charge, nor even a fee for Gus's fantastic workshop, a presentation by Northwest History Network (NHN).

Gus knows his stuff and makes it all look so easy. He was using Photoshop with an Epson scanner, high end enough for a from-above light source, for scanning slides or negatives, either color or monochrome.  He demonstrated using other technologies too.  That's a workshop worthy of its own journal entry.

At Quakers this morning, we celebrated April birthdays. I stood to wish my mother Happy Birthday, in keeping with what others were doing, celebrating birthdays of folks not actually in the room. Many people here know her.  She hopes to be in Portland by May.  Joe Snyder has a new grandchild, born on the March-April cusp.

Diane Hollister was in Iran forty years ago, as a Lewis & Clark student. That's one of our local colleges, considered top notch. She stayed with a non-English-speaking family for nine months. When her Farsi failed, they'd resort to French.

She was just back from a second trip, with a lot of perspective, from having been away for a couple generations (lets say generation = twenty years). A large gathering of curious Friends assembled, after social hour.

Bob Barker, a meeting member, whom Diane knew from as long ago as the first trip, was a part of her group this time. The Barkers, like the Urners, have spent a lot of time outside the US.

Towards the end, we talked a lot about traffic in Tehran and driving habits. Diane had a fun video, POV the front seat of a van in the downtown, with people walking every which way. That's a standard topic when cultures discuss one another.  Driving customs vary widely around the world.

I wasn't expecting this presentation, having missed it in the bulletin, and didn't say anything from my back row position.  I'm sometimes quite talkative about the Trucker Exchange Program that would put Americans in the Stans on a civilian basis, earning credit from a (reconstructed?) university.

Something along those lines.  I want experienced truckers to see more of the world if they want to.  The program could take off within a global company perhaps, or several.  I'd think more universities might get involved.

Long ago, as a teenager, I went through Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan with my parents, on home leave from the Philippines (dad was with USAID and entitled to this family trip back home).  That was not the same year we went through Kabul in route to Tashkent.

I was later in Cairo (my parents had moved) when the Shah was kicked out and taken in by Egyptian president Sadat as an asylum seeker.  I wandered the streets of Cairo freely.

The next time I visited, I'd make more friends, assuming I've got my timeline straight.

I've been doing some Facebook messaging with David Koski through a lot of this (not during Meeting for Worship of course, I always silence my phone or turn it off). Given the volume of Synergetics-related Youtubes going out from my PWS (personal workspace, or studio), I sometimes need to do some quick fact checking.

I did get up Mt. Tabor (a local hill, a butte) once or twice in the last week.  That's what I should do next.  Walking is a form of meditation after all, or can be. There's a flight of steps I go up and down, one with a non-zero second derivative, meaning the steps get steeper as one gets towards the top.

Diane's Presentation on Iran

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FEMA Loves You

From my angle, this was a short-lived media campaign on Facebook with a thought-provoking premise: that both the heroin epidemic sweeping the nation, and the purge of voter rolls, ala Florida but bigger, might constitute national emergencies to which a response was in order.

We saw what actually happened when New Orleans went under: a lot of disbelief in DC that anything was expected of them right away, as these were mostly poor folks with homes underwater, literally, and therefore of little net worth.

FEMA had some trailers built in a hurry, with formaldehyde issues, and moved on to Rita, a little better organized (learn by doing). Food Not Bombs was on the scene as well, managing logistics from a van (I wasn't there, Melody went later).

The idea that Uncle Sam (US) might develop public programs for drug abusers is just distopian science fiction from the point of view of those hoping to lower the population. We have schools of thought, tracing back through Eugenics (the movement), to Galton and so on, always looking for excuses to dispose of people, accelerating their downfall.

These schools have a lot of hands on a lot of controls and should not be dismissed as fringe cults or sociopaths-in-treatment.

Admittedly, the Euro concept of Sanatorium has gone through many iterations. We also have strong grooves around sending people to camps to either punish them or have them brainwashed (rehabilitated) most likely both, so "FEMA camp" is already a nightmarish meme in distopian scenarios.  That's two strikes against the whole idea:

(1) government should let more people die faster and

(2) we're afraid of government because of how we've been treated in the past.

In other words, we don't have a lot of precedent for a secular institution successfully bettering the lives of people in need.  That's not something we know a lot about.  We know a lot more about enslavement and control, getting people to do stuff, so-called work.  Healing people of their drug addiction is not really a part of our repertoire.

Anyway, back to earth, I was glad to see CBS News taking up the subject and zippering together the debate about insured healthcare, the many plans, and the hitherto missing detail about whether any provision for rehabilitation and drug treatment might be in the works, for the nation's most desperate.

That was last week sometime.  Mostly I've given up on the media as incapable of connecting the dots.

As for the voter purge, I find it beyond believable that such jiggering occurred, given Florida. Also, given tightening control over the media and less diversity in coverage, I could see why something just barely making the radar in Bush vs. Gore would fail to register all together in Trump vs. Clinton.

The Amy Goodman cartoon makes a lot of sense:  those in control of the narrative are not about to surrender it to outsiders who steer the conversation in different directions.

"A discussion of voter suppression right when we're having outbreaks of ethnic violence, heightened awareness of the legacy of a sorry past, just feels like it might get unmanageable so let's keep that on the shelf for now." Not sure to whom I should attribute that quote.

Anyway, FEMA is not about to take over the voting process and put it through extreme vetting, with help from the NSA.

If we want it to be super-secure, we all need to be more educated about encryption.  That means appreciating Edgar Allen Poe more, in my book.

His detective novels helped us all learn about "bread crumbs" though we'd had "treasure maps" before.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pacific Pivot

Cascadian Concept

William Irwin Thompson, mentioned on the above (not glossy) magazine cover, has written extensively on the Pacific Shift.

In our Silicon Forest region, that means more connections within the Pacific Rim economy, which includes parts of Russia, as well as Japan, China and Southeast Asia. The increasing political closeness of Russia, much in the news, has its benefits.

I know some of the billionaire cabals are hoping to increase tensions between the two hemispheres, as that's where the money is from their angle (endless war).

Out here on the Pacific Rim, we have different billionaire cabals with their own agendas.

The "commemorative ruble" below is of course a joke (see latest issue of Mercury), and is a measure of how not concerned we are about the emerging pacifist economy.

Commemorative Ruble

Sunday, March 26, 2017

N8V American

Ghost Church

The Indian Wars are cranking up again, with the Yanqui drive to nail down the borders once and for all. Reclassifying Latinos, from Hispanic to Native American, is not exactly what's going on, as many Pueblo are happy with "Pueblo" and don't need to care what's put on the check boxes.

The US president's visit to the tomb of Andrew Jackson was a signal to the General Custer types to become more militant about reporting when indigenous folk might be migrating in violation of Ranger rules. Incarceration is the big industry, next to human trafficking.  Bounty hunters keep queuing at Information, asking when and where to saddle up.

I've been suggesting our Third Party (we could call it that) get advisers among the Born Free (or Free Born) of South Africa, those emerging from a post-Apartheid zone. A spirit of "not waiting for the government to do it" should warm the hearts of church-going citizens, eager to return social services to the pastor class.  Does your Meeting get hip hop yet?

Quakers were never fans of the Indian Wars, preferring to do business among equals and profit all around. They were already heavy into negotiations with the locals when the Indian Wars were declared, and briefly pressed into service afterwards, as minions in charge of Boarding Schools. AFSC got an earful that year in Philadelphia, when I was a corporate delegate from NPYM.

I just got off the phone with Maureen Long. She's a part of the extended Methodist community around Portland and so of course knows Pat, who thought I'd be female when we met, based on my name Kirby (she's a she). I'll join one of their Wednesday feedings at Ghost Church (what I call it) in Sunnyside, when Maureen gets over her "case of the time zones" (she's recently back from west Thailand, visiting a son).

My Third Party, just revving its engines (no candidates yet, more like a record label) cares a lot about voting technology, wants a lot more openness, a lot like the California's Pirate Party, a natural ally.

We care all year around about polling and voting infrastructure and agitate to let US public schools feature said technology as a part of what students learn about and understand. Where are the museums about Vote Tech?

All the more reason to keep it open source.

Quakers tend to use consensus in Business Meeting however that only works when clerks have done sufficient homework ahead of time to smooth a path ahead for whatever minutes.  The process is time-consuming and we call ourselves Friends for a reason. Come role play and discover your own talents.

That being said, among strangers or ships in the night, one expects a different system. Voting has its place, as does polling, and the infrastructure is progressing with leaps and bounds, given WiFi and encryption. Universities don't need to wait for governments to give their student bodies more practice.

Closed source elections with no audit trails have far less legitimacy, and contribute to the Banana Republic quotient, now skyrocketing in North America.

Our Third Party gains an edge simply by pointing to the sullied reputations of the colluding parties, which have aided and abetted, not to mention covered up, the dirty tricks in some cases.  With nothing to lose, we have everything to gain.

Sure, universities here in North America might have some stake in more transparent elections, but don't they depend on the largess of Congress in many districts? How eager is Congress to invite more transparency in the electoral process I wonder?  Do we see any signs of dawning awareness yet?

South Africa, home of Chappie and Die Antwoord is more liberal about sharing the bash shell with more ethnic groups, through Shuttleworth Foundation tuXLabs and so on. North Americans still suffer under the tyranny of TI.

I focus on these more liberal policies in my recent Is Code School the New High School?, which looks at all these connections in more detail.

On another topic, just to clarify: "Project Truckistan" is about more open borders for truck drivers, not just in terms of fewer mandatory check stops along the lanes, but in terms of getting to exchange truck routes more readily.

Get good in Ukraine and South Africa both. Give labor (work-study people) the freedom to move, not just their pseudo-human corporate employers. Cross-trained truckers might also serve as tour guides, two revolving door careers.

True, not everyone drives on the same side of the road, nor in all weather conditions. I was not suggesting dispatching drivers purely randomly was I?  Transcripts matter.

The trucking issue comes up around truck routes in the Americas as well.  How long must trucks sit in line waiting at borders or weigh stations?  People tend to favor a policy of keeping the borders open between states in Lower48.  Other regions of the world would like more of that freedom too.

We may need big data to help us on the metrics, and universities like MIT, or that one in Austin. I've not put any Jupyter Notebooks out on that myself, with or without Bokeh. Perhaps the Google Earth team will show some leadership in this area?  We shall see.

Friday, March 24, 2017

No Immune System?

Excerpts from my postings to Facebook:

People expect so much from politicians. The institutions are what's broken though, starting with voting itself.

A federal contest to come up with the best open source not black box voting system with auditable / analyzable results, which the government would then adopt and own, not outsource, might help resurrect that "democracy" idea.

In the meantime, states need their own foreign policies and workarounds. DC is an obnoxious capital with no legitimacy at this point. Too many irregularities in the voting, per Palast etc.

Not talking about "fraudulent voters", talking about purging voter roles by the millions, Rove-style, thanks to deliberately sloppy matches.

Neither mainstream party wants to look at that (except Black Caucus) ergo USA is dead, long live USSA, the Imposter State.

I don't think it makes much sense to have a healthcare debate and exclude public health / CDC type epidemics such as Zika and Oxy.

Or the quality of food in government facilities, be those schools, prisons, hospitals or military.

Focusing purely on the nuclear family and how family physician type medicine will be provided is letting politicians off the hook in too many dimensions.

We need to see if there's any interest in public health.

My impression is the FDA is like in Idiocracy, helpless to protect Americans against the merchants of bad health.

Uncle Sam has no immune system?

Probably a 3rd party would do well if it focused very concertedly on the infrastructure of voting itself. Why don't public schools at least, have voting machines 24/7 that they get to work out with, come to understand?

Or is it that the public should not understand the vital infrastructure of democracy (exactly right, but our party could change that).

As campaign manager, I'd widely show the new Palast film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, about the Rove-style purge of some millions of voters in the build-up to the most recent presidential election, on the pretense that the algorithms were protecting against "double voting", somehow a common practice in a population hard pressed to vote once in most cases. 

This magic trick, like the one in Florida in Bush vs Gore, likely swung the election, but no the Russians are to blame (we'd mock that "look the other way" campaign, to distinguish ourselves from Dems).

We'd probably also talk about Apartheid a lot and advertise our friendly ties with South Africa, home of Die Antwoord (a campaign needs music).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Note to Translators

Syte of Two Rites (or Two Bites)

Translators might feel OK with simply adopting the simple Synergetics words for them, while supplying various synonyms and equivalents: the Mite, Rite, Bite and Lite. Also Kite, Syte (see below).  Each is one syllable and therefore easily pronounced.

We're in the ballpark of space-filling and tiling, figurate numbers.

Earlier threads trace the convergence of Bridges type art-math content with the mosque patterns, already converged with geodesic architecture in the 1900s.  We might say Humans in Universe by Anwar Dil was a precursor to the Iranian SpaceX, in hindsight.

The TetraBook "job" (Montessori meaning) pays the bills when it comes to adding insightful software to your PWS (a GST term). A page wags back and forth, its altitude the radius of some circle, symmetric "book covers" lying open on XY (Z is "up" except in POV-Ray in most Oregon Curriculum Network chapters, with quadrays more relative and zero-gravity).

The Mite, remember is Aristotle's space-filling tetrahedron. He didn't call it that, nor did Coxeter, which is why translators need to study the source documentation (Synergetics) more directly, if in doubt. The full text, with diagrams, has been online since W3 (WWW) got started, more or less, as many of you well know.

Two Mites face bond in various (not many) ways, one way yielding the Rite, another the Bite, using this namespace of Martian Math.  The Rite explodes into four sections ala quadray quadrants, to give additional not-handed (outwardly identical) space-fillers, identified by Sommerville (1920s). Our K-16 has all that in the pipeline, where and when subject to local jiggering.

I've got the magnetic Mites in my Pergamon Press bag, the kit I carry to local schools sometimes, when yakking up 3D printers.

So far, that mostly happens through the Linus Pauling House, a birthplace of organic chemistry (alpha helix...) in that I meet with teachers and retired teachers at that venue, through weekly meetups going back some years.

During the latest election cycle, I was hoping to expand the number of teachers I get to work with, but the anticipated costs for professional development would have needed Measure 97 funding, so that plan got scrapped, and I went back to working more directly with the students, more like on the Saturday Academy model, some of whom are ESL (not native English speakers).

Given Synergetics and Python are not native English either, but different languages, we have more of that "even playing field" that keeps English from over-dominating.

I did over a year of Python work in California (over the wire, declared as income in Portland), and that included at least showing some of the Jupyter Notebooks at my repo in this area.

The Business Accelerator building has an IVM outside (an octet truss), inviting students to remember about A & B modules. The international school is blocks away.

Sytes (2 Mites): Rite*, Bite*, Lite
Kites (2 Sytes): Kate*, Kat*, Kit*

* space-filler (1/4 Rite also a space-filler, not-handed) -- note that only some of these are tetrahedrons (Rite, Bite and 1/4 Rite).

Kates, Kats and Kits build the Coupler of tetra-volume 1 (space-filler). Mite volume is 1/8, A & B both 1/24 (same as T). Typically we'll show ESL classes how Mites make not just Rites, but a Rhombic Dodecahedron (RD) of volume 6, a transition to the "NCLB Polyhedron" (RT) for those into parochial jargon. Montessori Schools are not guaranteed to have 3D printers.  Look on-line for teaching supplies? Koski is supplying the name Kit, for the Syte made of two face-bonded Lites.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pedagogical Artifacts

:: Mites make Rites, space-filling Sytes ::

Ethnographers use fancy words for "educational toys" sometimes, Lux Blox for example. Once a toy becomes a model of something serious, it's no longer a mere toy. Skeletons hanging in the medical school, even if made of plastic, are serious tools of science.  I've used "toyz" to cross that line, as in "toyz for the adult-minded" (but then that has its own connotations).

The TetraBook is my standard example at this juncture. Consider the rhomb (diamond) as two triangular book covers laying flat. A diamond has long and short diagonals, corner to corner, and either could be the book's spine. Then we have a single page that flaps back and forth, a gizmo not unlike the unit circle in that the page tip traces out a circle, but of variable radius.

Getting to build these gizmos in a shop and/or 3D print them is a privilege many of us do not have. I checked out Hedron as a possible studio but 4D Solutions is mom & pop scale-wise, not really NASA or a government lab, in terms of budget.  However one doesn't actually require anything that fancy to construct a Rite, a space-filling tetrahedron.  You may follow the links through to Sommerville (a mathematician).

Another pedagogical artifact is the Adidas soccer ball, the pattern, which in chordal form is called a truncated icosahedron, well known to Leonardo da Vinci.  We're at the heart of so-called Western culture here, the realm of the Platonics, all duals of one another. A rich genesis for geometry begins here, with or without Euclidean definitions. Menger's "geometry of lumps" has equal access, for something more like claymation (what distinguishes points, lines and planes is topological but not dimensional).

Dawn Wicca was the mom in this mom & pop operation and the family is missing her today (and always). We had a family business doing programming and bookkeeping: Dawn Wicca and Associates, with 4D Solutions a DBA (business alias). She kept herself alive through a vicious cancer, pulling her community together for a healing process, wise woman that she was.

Even back when we had DWA as a partnership, I was investing a lot of time/energy into my Oregon Curriculum Network website, as well as Synergetics on the Web. The Wikieducator stuff came later, along with Martian Math (one of four components of a Digital Mathematics curriculum, more developed in my various pilots).

David Koski is working on the TetraBook project. He envisions some of the shop course options, such as motor-controlled, with the cover tip to page tip strings stretched between counter-weights hanging beneath the book's plane.

I've kept it more screen-based, given my skill set, thinking of segments for hypertoons (a Portland Knowledge Lab project, back when Dawn had the annexed office at ActiveSpace).  Making Portland a "toontown" and source of claymations, other technical animations, was and is my goal as a curriculum developer.

These days most "toyz" in the US are for authorized personnel in the military, where most have no clue about the heritage denied, unless a privileged officer from West Point perhaps.  That's where people learn about radomes and the DEW line (Cold War history). I imagine few below the rank of general on active duty have had much time for Grunch of Giants (St. Martins Press).  Don't ask an enlisted US army soldier about A or B modules, or whether MITEs make a RITE.  Standards for K-16 vary.  I don't know any public school math teachers who aren't free to teach this stuff.

Half Coupler

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wanderers 2017.3.15

Jefferson Public School 1928

Wanderers was what I hoped it would be about: public schooling. Barbara, an experienced retired public school teacher, had already started the ball rolling. Dick Pugh was there as well, likewise a high school science teacher from way back, including at Cleveland PPS, where my younger daughter went. Alexia went to Grant PPS.

I didn't bring up anything about the Gulen Schools, not necessarily called that except informally, until towards the end of our meeting, as our discussion was not specifically focused on that particular controversy and I wasn't trying to commandeer the thread.

I'm on that physics listserv, provided a seat by Dr. Bob Fuller, I'm explaining how the 95% conventional XYZ approach, with the added spice of the "IVM", might be more effective at imparting core STEM concepts than convention alone. I call this "thinking outside the box" in my longer essay on Medium.

I've been suggesting that Quaker private schools might be the most influenced by American Transcendentalism ala Margaret Fuller and her grandnephew Bucky Fuller. However the Islamic tradition comes to tiling a plane and filling space as topics, and so could as easily start sharing about Mite, Rite and Kite as we Quakers could.

The best way to think of a Mite might be as a 1/8th Coupler, the latter a key shape in the game of filling space with Archimedean Honeycomb Duals. Guy Inchbald maps it out for us, minus any use of said nomenclature, which traces, as I've mentioned, to Transcendentalists in American literature (not just Quakers).

In today's political climate, the Gulen Schools are feeling stigmatized for their Turkish roots. In Turkey itself they're branded as part of a terrorist organization, much as people in Germany and the Netherlands are today considered Nazis by the Ergodan government.

Ergodon sounds a lot like Trump when sounding off about what are supposedly CIA plans to undermine their respective administrations (the failed coup of 2016 is laid at the door of Gulen and his Falun Gong like movement, as well as the CIA's, whom he casts as "working in cahoots with").  The lingua franca of paranoia is becoming more global, thanks to Alex Jones and friends; thanks to Youtube.

What may be paradoxical, too early to tell, is Uncle Sam's ongoing friendliness towards these newfangled public schools (so-called "charter schools") that supposedly introduce much-needed innovation without crossing various fine lines in the sand. Crossing those lines makes you private, no longer qualified for public funding.

The challenges to public schools are somewhat new now that TV has taken much of the burden of providing social cohesion.

I asked the group: could the USG set up thousands of boarding schools with admissions criteria, of course not at all based on race (a dubious concept to say the least)?

They might not take all comers, just as NASA doesn't admit just anyone into astronaut training.  If there's political support for these academies, they could spring into operation overnight.

The military is already such a network, run on the public dime (and borrowed currencies).

Those who see schooling as a way to eradicate niche ethnicities and quake with missionary zeal about doing so, have become niche ethnicities themselves.

Most of us are content to offer choice and be generous with the freedom to create and operate public school facilities. Sure those might have an ethnic focus, by design. In Portland, we enjoy Japanese immersion as one of the magnet school options.

As I wrote on Facebook:
So what you want is choice right? Including the right to home school. Or perhaps they get the Judaism at home but your family purposely chooses something more alien, like Japanese immersion, because of long range ideas about role / career opportunities that open to those with hybrid skills and capabilities.
My parents were quite willing to immerse me in an Italian school when we moved to Italy, to make me bilingual, but I rebelled against the smock and bow kids my age were expected to wear, so they immersed me in an English school instead, where I had to wear blazer and tie.
To be a fully public school, one needs to meet certain criteria, but what criteria? That's a discussion we never have in much depth owing to more superficial topics co-opting all channels.
How Jewish might a school / curriculum be and still count as public? The answer would interest the Catholics as well. Given religion is a huge aspect of the human experience, why not allow any student to go deeply into a religion of her or his choice from an academic perspective. Public schools should not shy away from allowing students to study anthropology (the A in STEAM, if you ask me and not an artist).

I'm fine with a public school offering safe gun use as an elective. No way should it be required. It's like taking a safe driving class. Owning a gun and a car are similar concepts as both are lethal in the hands of an unskilled operator.

I'd keep the guns, skis, snow shoes, snowmobiles, ham radio, tents, stoves, other equipment under lock and key, to be distributed during course work, which may include outdoor survival skills, scouting style.
More outdoor options is what the public boarding schools are about. Many thousand of those. Lets see if the local folks are smart enough to create those opportunities for themselves (lots of good jobs) and their children. Of course we're all skeptics as if they had the smarts they'd be enjoying these already.
Again, I'm simply describing the military, our number one public education facility, by far.

The country wants to have a debate about education, not just health care.  We understand the military, with its six billion a year budget, is the Education King, dwarfing all others. The military has campuses around the world, many of them floating.

However one may serve in the military and still be a Sufi.  Fuller himself was in the USN and distinguished himself as a Cold Warrior during what he called WW3.

Jefferson, Oregon

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Back on the Grid

The above Youtube is sooo cute, these little orange guys with one eyeball.

I was just getting ready to post on Facebook | Quakers, that we should hire this crew of thespians to act out some anti-patterns we get in Quakers. Then I thought, why not blog that thought instead.

But lets not brand every pattern an anti-pattern. When oldster grandparents collude with the youngest to help them wrest power from their middle aged parents, what's that? One could say: evolution doing its job.

Notice the ruling cast has a big mouth but no eyes or ears, while the passivists are just one-eye with ears, have nothing to speak with.

Above the ruling cast (caste) are the controllers, the corporate personhoods, with eyes and multiple arms, very polytheistic. Talk about division of labor!

I bet H.G. Wells would applaud this cartoon, likewise Orwell. Anyway, I do.

Good work Amy Goodman, always love having your voice. She's another Sigourney Weaver type in how she stands up to those Aliens (corporate persons). She's not a cowardly capitalist always picking on the little guy, the defenseless, like True Korea.

I'm eating lots of potatoes today. I bought a whole bag of 'em then let 'em sit in the cupboard, getting all sprouty. I'm trained not to waste.  Waste not, want not, right?

Fried potatoes for breakfast, mashed potatoes for lunch.

We're coming up on St. Patrick's Day and I'm pretending I'm Irish. Time for another Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (true, not Guinness, but then we're pretty mulatto about our beer).

Speaking of ethnic heritage, I've gone to battle for the Turks at some level, defending the right of trained Sufis to help Americans better like math and science. I consider that a wise investment in our collective future as a planet, don't you?  Apparently some do not.

Turkish people seem rather polarized about these folks. I'm reminded of Chinese and their Falun Gong. 

We have a suspicious public that doesn't understand why some Chinese Peace Corps would want to help raise living standards for the people of Flint, Michigan.

Their thinking is more like Lesley Stahl's in the linked 60 Minutes. Why would Americans be getting science from Sufis in this day and age?  She found that counter-intuitive.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Work + Study Space

As we move around in the work place, we may get a private office, a cubicle, or some position on a Star Trek bridge with lots of people doing their jobs.  More of a situation room.

Finding places to concentrate and study becomes a first order of business when landing in a new place.  Where do I charge my devices?  Do we have WiFi?

I understand the need to go off the grid, so to speak, and do that myself.  I'm not always connected. However I do my best to take advantage of certain opportunities.

Twitter is more a message in a bottle in a lot of ways.  Big data farms that sift for a living, might return a string of breadcrumbs.  I seek such trails left by others.

We don't know, in putting ourselves out there, precisely what difference we'll be making. However it's less a matter of humility and more one of shirking responsibility to suggest we're making no difference.  I make a difference.  You do too.

If all you get is a locker and crowded classrooms, TVs blaring, then you're not getting much time to really think on your own.  Some lifestyles afford precious little privacy, if any.

In designing an education system, ask yourself:  if "learning to code" is what I say I encourage, how am I structuring the curriculum to permit plenty of alone time?

Yes, I know, coding is not always done solo.  However one does need that sense of a workbench, of tools.  You'll need your editor, your interpreters... you don't need me to tell you what you need, in most cases.

Does your school help you amass a wealth of tools you know how to use?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017


Clinton Street Crossing

Today was day two of two in my annual pilgrimage to my auditor. Jody Francis used to be my ideal CFO, still is, though we were never in business together. She ran Fine Grind around the corner from me, and was a source of a religious experience that time at a Quaker retreat (just me, and AAA, left my lights on in a camp ground). She appeared to me as a bright star, probably Venus.

In this life, Dawn Wicca ran our partnership, from the ground up. We later married, keeping separate checking, which the business paid into, 50-50. She was a skilled and honest bookkeeper and I kept up my end of the bargain working for myriad non-profits, towards the end a large Catholic hospital system. After she died, I tried to keep the partnership going, an oxymoron I found out. The IRS saw double when I claimed personal income to the partnership as well. Nikki helped me sort it out.

Nikki is my H&R Block accountant. She works with many, which keeps her in shape. Every aspect of the tax code gets exercised. What an amazing pile of code that is, one could spend a lifetime, a career, looking into it. Nikki has done that. I have not. To file a Schedule C, take advantage of this or that, even get a refund by itemizing, is a daunting process. Even the 1040 EZ is quite a chore.  So yes, I ate my costs as a very legitimate business expense, and will claim them next year, if I survive.

4D Solutions is what remains of Dawn Wicca and Associates. I resurrected it in the wake of losing my full time job as a code school mentor at OST.  Since 1980, Dawn and I had been a partnership, then after she died of cancer, I went solo.  I had my eye on a next partner but was too confused.  Then Lindsey Walker moved in, a political refugee from Savannah, Georgia seeking asylum in Asylum District. I actually claimed her as a dependent one year, as more family member than renter (I was never interested in being a landlord per se). She traded digs for a car she no longer believed in driving, so that worked out.  DMV has the records on "torture taxi" (the Nissan).

Even as O'Reilly was closing its code school (OST), I was picking up work with California. A forward-thinking professional development program found me through LinkedIn and picked me up as a Python mentor.  I'm still doing that kind of thing in 2017. I also work with kids, having been certified to do so by the local archdiocese.

I claimed the Buddha Room and Snake Cave as office space, though I think of the Blue House as some moored ship of the line and all business in that sense, even the galley and heads. Those rooms account for about 20% of the floor space and barely paid the fee for the form, but at least I've carved out some self employment space. I did not claim Carol's WILPF office given it doubles as sleeping quarters at least some months of the year.

Perhaps 4D Solutions will be taken seriously, as the Oregon Curriculum Network fountainhead or whatever, you never know.  The 4D story is mostly told in esoteric art history books. I've been proposing to offer more teacher training, other services.  I'm more into a math + code hybrid, something of an exotic butterfly, even in the Silicon Forest context.

Speaking of esoterica, I don't try to reflect Food Not Bombs work on the books. Food slated for the dumpster is not usually accounted as "income". Americans are allowed to have guests, and entertain them, without registering as a BnB. I don't need to claim "movie nights" as a business expense either, as I'm not charging money.

Buddha Room

:: Buddha Room ::