Saturday, August 18, 2018

Intellectual Property

Corporations have made it harder, not easier, to share.  Geeks had to fight back by inventing copyleft, which in various derivative forms kept the economy going in spite of itself.  But the FBI still put warnings all over the DVDs saying "no sharing, or else!".

What if you're ideologically opposed to content A, but A is being pumped out to the world by Obnoxico and to counter it, you need to see it.  Are you obligated to give money to those pumping out said content?  That's more of an ethical question than a legal one.

On the legal front, of course you can't show Disney cartoons to Syrian refugees or to Mexican families camped along the border, because the UN and/or USG has no budget for entering the tightly controlled movie business.  Moving digital content around is under the control of LAWCAP, we all know that.  The FBI tells us so.

As engineers, some of us feel leery about artificially creating scarcity where none exists.  It's like Jesus doing the miracle of loaves and fishes, but then the loaf and fish people come in and fine everyone because miracles are not allowed.  The electronic revolution has created a number of miracles, such as perfect, low-cost copying, that are an anathema to those growing up using "private property" as their metaphor for anything intellectual.

My general sense is Anglophone law, i.e. law cast in the English language, has a half life, which could be a lot shorter than predicted given how slowly LAWCAP has been able to adjust in the face of GRUNCH.  That's code language, obviously.  If you've done any homework at all, you know what I'm talking about.  If not, get an education?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Village Lore

38-coupler

The GST PWS (personal workspace) is typified by researchers comparing notes on telemedia, with Youtube providing the early sandbox for many, who then move on to more virtual environments. I've followed essentially this same path, uploading to Google early (Alphabet) and later giving my Synergetics lectures.

In researcher mode, we go back to Greenwich Village.  My core question is whether Bucky's term there had anything to do with Bohemians using "square" to insult other social classes. Philosophically, that would make sense, while journalistically it's somewhat too good to be true, which is why I'm compelled to play the skeptic.

Lets be clear that I'm not operating entirely outside the realm of possibility, as Fuller was a one of the "village idiots" (meant affectionately) along with "Will and Ariel Durant, e.e. cummings, Theodore Dreiser, John Sloan, Burl Ives, Zero Mostel, Edgar Varese, Brancusi, Isamu Noguchi, Diego Rivera and hundreds of other shining lights of literature, art, theater and academia" (I'm quoting from a blurb on Amazon).  He and Isamu got along famously.  I would later visit the Best of Friends exhibit, set up to memorialize their relationship. We also visited Kenneth Snelson on that trip.

But what about the Ginsberg crowd i.e. William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Patti Smith and like that? Neal Cassady definitely talked about "squares" but where had that started?

Romany Marie, the Queen, established her centers, one might say prototypical of Centers Network (for which I volunteered, later in New York's history), which influenced my marketing around Coffee Shops Network (CSN).  How these centers served more than one generation of "beatnik" is the documentary focus of my research this morning.  I'm not making a podcast out of it, but others might. The radio audience is especially receptive to Village Lore given how much of the output was audio to begin with.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Cracking Down on Civil Rights

Freedom of assembly, for the purpose of making views public, by carrying signs, making speeches and so on, is protected by precedent, by the Bill of Rights (US) and so on.  However, the political climate in North America is such that xenophobes get everyone nodding in agreement that a political event is somehow "fake" or "inauthentic" if organized in collaboration with groups not based inside North America.

For example, we Quakers have a close-knit set of relationships connecting the Federated States meetings with those in the United Kingdom.  We might get support from English Friends to divest of our slaves for example.  This happened before the Civil War. 

Many Quakers felt uncomfortable in areas where slavery was still legal in the eyes of the Supreme Court.  They were coached not to tell neighbors what to do, but the neighbors couldn't help but feel some "holier than thou" attitude emanating from Friends in their midst.

By today's standards, if English Friends wanted to help organize an anti-slavery rally in Boston, and set up a Facebook account to help bring that about, the heavy hand of a censor might come along and report the transgression to authorities, and to the media.  Listeners and viewers would learn to vilify anyone colluding on a global basis, rather than on a more narrowly constrained geographic basis. 

Somehow it was to be made illegal for Ukrainians to fund protests in DC regarding their treatment, despite large numbers of Ukrainians enjoying Federation citizenship.

None of this made any sense, as the USG itself was highly leveraged and in debt, needing to collaborate and collude daily just to stay afloat.  Trying to keep its citizens from using social media to organize public protests, while meanwhile engaging in international intrigue itself, was too much of a double standard for brave Americans to take seriously. 

If Facebook wasn't going to champion our rights, we had other options.

We also knew it was our business to protect our right to collude.  The dimwits in DC had picked the wrong friends and enemies too many times to exert much leadership in that regard.  Telling Americans what to do and whom to trade with, was no longer the business of the bankrupt bosses with their obsolete forms of organized gangsterism.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

GST for Truckers

How many long haul truckers listen to podcasts?  I imagine myself chugging along I-whatever listening to satellite radio, but maybe also to some Russian classics, maybe Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. Having some literary criticism, philosophy, biography, history, mixed in, would count towards my PhD.  Driverless trucks don't support learning in this way.  My fleet is dual purpose, in providing truckers with personal workspaces (PWSs).

What is GST again?  That depends whom you ask.  Out there in the wild, these three letters match a lot of strings.  However, I'm following my Quaker heritage to some degree and connecting with Kenneth Boulding, the economist, and the general systems theory he wrote about.  My spin:  lets compete with economics as a discipline, since economics itself suggests that monopolies give rise to lots of inefficiencies.  Why give economics as a discourse any monopoly say over any aspect of planetary affairs?

Of course my detractors point out that inside economics we have Georgists, Marxists, the Chicago School and so on.  If you're driving right now, maybe punch up a podcast on Henry George after awhile?  OK, we're talking semantics at this point.  If you want to inject GST into the economic sphere as another competing economics, that's fine.  As long as you stay competitive.

What happened next in my story, is Buckminster Fuller came along with his Spaceship Earth meme, and his practice of thinking globally while acting locally.  His idea of "systems" was very structural and geometric, as demonstrated by his elaborations on the octet-truss, a fascination for Alexander Graham Bell as well.  He got his truss to curve and make the triangular panels of a geodesic dome.

At the heart of Fuller's thinking was a shape we all probably recognize when we see it, but might not have its name handy: the tetrahedron.  Fuller went so far as to imagine a civilization which had shifted its weight from the cube to the tetrahedron to such an extent that it often measured units of volume using tetrahedral shapes (four faces, six points, six edges).  He wrote two whole volumes (Synergetics and Synergetics 2) exploring this alternative Universe.

The "Sesame Street" of Synergetics, meaning the core neighborhood wherein we might revisit a lot of partially overlapping topics (much as Children's Television Workshop explored the letters and numbers necessary for cultural literacy) is known as the Concentric Hierarchy, a nesting of well-known polyhedrons.  As a former high school teacher, and computer language teacher to this day, I've devoted a lot of resources towards communicating about this Concentric Hierarchy.  The topic lends itself to sculpture and modeling.  When sharing about it with kids, I'll sometimes use C6XTY, Sam Lanahan's flextegrity construction kit.  I have other kits as well, which I truck out during workshops.

What got me interested in trucking?  Not so long ago, I used a computer language called Visual FoxPro to make my way in the world.  I programmed for hospitals, nonprofits, various clients.  However, that work dried up, partly because FoxPro was shelved by Microsoft and taken off the market.  Meanwhile, thanks to my interest in geometry and Synergetics, I'd been building up my Python skills.  What happened next is I met a transportation engineer whose whole business was about using Visual FoxPro to support scheduling and routing in Trucker World.  He had a thriving business.  He was also interested in using more Python in complement with his Visual FoxPro.  He started contracting with me on the side for some apprentice level coding, and giving me insights into the trucking industry from an applications developer viewpoint.

Another aspect of my childhood and young adulthood, was growing up in areas where Peace Corps volunteers might serve, the Philippines especially.  The whole idea of going to distant lands not as a tourist, but as a worker seeking to develop one's skills, was attractive to me.  I recall my friend Hugh Thomford going to Fiji to help establish growing pearls as an industry.  That might not have been with the Peace Corps, but the idea was similar.  Our family was engaged in a similar business.  My dad was a planner, urban and regional, who worked with various sovereignties on their long term development plans.  These sovereignties included Libya, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Egypt, Bhutan, Lesotho.

What if truckers had a way to swap routes.  As a driver, I could apprentice in someone else's rig until I got the hang of it.  We might have more team driving.  You get to know the other person in your cab.  You're a diplomat, bringing your ideas and viewpoints into the situation.  You're learning about another culture, and another system of roads.  Such work wouldn't be for everyone.  However, I could see where it might be attractive to some.  What better test of GST as a discipline than to apply it to something concrete like this?

That gives you some background on the various Medium writings, podcasts and whatever, that you may stumble across as a trucker, whether in the Trucker Exchange or not.  We also call it Truckers for Peace sometimes.

As I mentioned above, I'm extending a Quaker lineage in my writings about GST and the Quakers are always looking to remove the causes of war before things get out of hand.  Having truckers become more empowered and adept at diplomacy and job sharing is a way of building our shared planetary immune system against meme viruses that lead to outward wars.

We still suffer from inward wars, psychological battles, so in terms of being a warrior and a hero, that's still a calling.  We could use your skills and services.  We just hope you'll not have to fall back on using obsolete outward weapons that have nothing to do with improving your psychological health. Many still make a career out of outward weapons but would prefer to do something more creative.  My advice:  study GST.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Martian Math @ OSCON

Caltrop

During the hallway track (what we call people milling about, randomly engaging one another), I had a couple of opportunities to chat up Martian Math.

I was wearing my 4D Solutions name tag.  One guy asked what additional dimension I brought to the table, clearly thinking in terms of "3D + what?".  We're of course trained to answer "time" and that's legit, however my readers know I go in another direction.

My other discussion was with Peter Scott who wrote the Perl curriculum for O'Reilly School (which exists no longer).  Perl 6 is finally available for download, and is a whole different language.  This year's OSCON was not a catapult for specific languages, except maybe Rust.

Sponsors wanted to talk about what they're doing (often collaboratively) around blockchains and such.  IBM has been working on several flavors of hyperledger.

I told both my first inquisitor, and Peter, about Caltrop Coordinates.  Rays emanate from a common origin, with unit vectors being of definite length i.e. like rays but short.  We have a way to reach points by cloning, scaling and adding unit vectors, sticking them end to end.

In XYZ, the three basis vectors i, j, k define like an eighth octahedron, a volume, and through cloning, scaling and concatenation, they span much of space.  I think of any three non-coplanar edges of a tetrahedron, a zig-zag:  that's 3D too, with the complementary zig-zag implicit.

Just looking at a tetrahedron (of two complementary 3-vector zig-zags), do we want to call that 3D or 4D?

The four tips and four faces suggest "four directional" but then all these directions are codependent if we think of the tetrahedron is a symbol for "any containment".  In the philosophical language of Synergetics, height, width and depth only coexist as contained within an a priori 4D space.  That's before we add time (frequency, subdivisions).

Best practice within the XYZ language game is to admit a kind of rotation called negation which begets 180 degree mirror vectors -i, -j, -k.  Now we have the customary eight octants of XYZ space.

XYZ is more like a jack, with six vectors emanating from a common origin.

Quadrays are similar to XYZ except instead of admitting rotation (negation) so soon, we add one more basis vector to the initial three and adjust their respective directions to define four quadrants (versus XYZ's eight octants).

Instead of a jack, we get the caltrop.  The basis vectors go from (0,0,0,0) to the four corners of a tetrahedron: (1,0,0,0), (0,1,0,0), (0, 0,1,0) and (0,0,0,1).  Space is 4D in this sense.

Linear combinations (cloning and scaling) now reach all the same points XYZ does, but with positive 4-tuples e.g. (2,1,1,0) (1,2,1,0) (1,1,2,0)... all twelve permutations of those numbers define the twelve corners of a cuboctahedon.

Because we're using four basis vectors instead of three, we tend to say space is 4D.  We might say 3D too though, as XYZ language is not out of bounds. We may rely on context, using customary locutions to convey our meanings.

In XYZ language, we would not say all four quadrays are "basis vectors" because one of them (any one) is a linear combination of the the other three.  If, that is, we allow negation as a part of our cloning, scaling and tip-to-tail addition process.

Add any three quadrays and flip the result to get the fourth.  In other words:

(1,0,0,0) +
(0,1,0,0) +
(0,0,1,0) =
(1,1,1,0)

and

-(1,1,1,0) =
(-1,-1,-1,0) =
(0,0,0,1). 

In the shoptalk of Quadrays, negation (flipping direction) is certainly defined and allowed, but is not required to span space (by means of cloning, scaling, adding) nor to augment the basis vector set.

Scaling without negation just means adjusting a length, making it longer or shorter but with no change in direction.  Negation adds the directional flip.

We can flip Quadrays, however the four basis rays are independent of one another in the sense that no three create the fourth without flipping i.e. through scaling and adding alone.

On the other hand, we may say four quadrays are "codependent" in that the tetrahedron is our primitive conceptual beginning, a first otherness begetting awareness.  Conceptualization begins with containment, a sense of being "within" or "without" (cite Plato's Cave).  XYZ uses a cube as its corresponding hallmark.

"That's a really geeky answer" said the geek by the food truck, awaiting his burrito (as I was).  I nodded.  We were there to geek out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Codes of Conduct

I'd say a lot of energy is going into socializing geeks, and lets not pretend that's a new thing.  Engineers tend to have awesome responsibilities and our justified fears of bad engineering encourage society to put them through rigorous training in people skills, starting with the handicap that they don't have any (that's the stereotype to begin with).

In actuality, engineers end up with lots of people skills, rivaling lawyers, which accounts for some of the contention in the area of licenses.  How do we collaborate on the basis of a clear understanding of the intellectual property rules.  The NSA was at OSCON this year to tell us about it, and to specifically solicit the input of "big companies" whose province our little Portland Hub has become.  This talk, which I attended, was more reflective of Washington, DC's ways of thinking than anything else.  We at OSCON maybe didn't appreciate the growing pains, when it comes to USG mandates (plans to run on 20% open source code is commendable, if maybe an awkward codification of the principle).

More worrisome than the social skills of GRUNCH workers, are the hard coded biases that may sneak into conditioned reflexes we have little control over, always the Terminator Scenario.  Lets step back from nuclear war (the debate team favorite) and just talk about simple face recognition, accepting you're human.  On Planet of the Apes, our AI bots may have a hard time treating us as human, Global U students though we be.

IBM is encouraging us to focus on natural disasters, if not their prevention, the management of their consequences.  China has some cities waiting for transplants, were the infrastructure in place for population upheavals.  But they're not.  Rubber boats.  Uncooled trucks.  Refugees are not accustomed to much appropriate technology in their camp.  The technology is so far ahead of its deployment potential, and therefore languishes for lack of use.  Prophecies are self-fulfilling.

Translating human language using state of the art deep (or not so deep) neural nets is helping scrub some forms of bias from the stack, versus hard-wiring it in.  That's the good news.  As humans get better at thinking "cross platform", they'll block less on differences that don't make a difference.  That's a kind of "freezing" in thinking we want to root out.  The Narnia book Ice Queen was such an inducer of semi-paralysis.  You'd stop improving your thinking and get lazy relying on what always worked in the past.  Learning is life long now.

The icosahedron is big this year.  I see it in Onnx, Cognitive Toolkit, and I believe HyperLedger, a reference blockchain.  That's good news for Synergetics (an outgrowth of New England Transcendentalism) wherein the Icosahedron symbolizes a kind of Apollonian braininess associated with geeks, software engineers.

"AI Should be Open" is the theme of the talk I'm in.  Blogging while taking in a talk is not considered rude in this culture.  Lots of geeks have their laptops open besides me.  ONNX version 1 would be my slide of the moment, but I've got the camera packed away, having pigged out on photo ops in the booth crawl this morning.

Data sets that pretend to know what "people of color" means without the services of a translator, are pushing it, in terms of thinking they know what the bias is.  One of our keynotes was by a speaker identifying with her female black student labels, and she eldered our group to improve our social skills, not just as individuals, but as managers of data sets.

Don't go home to your insurance company or Capital One (or Home Depot) thinking that just because you're an engineer, you have no standards when it comes to social engineering.  On the contrary, engineers have their guilds with reputations.  If you have unwanted biases, you will need to look at them first.

Left at the WWC booth

Monday, July 16, 2018

Greek Mythology

My standard rap when it comes to marketing and Python, is the Monty Python angle is certainly edgy, a stroke of brilliance on Guido's part, to go with something both snarky, contemporary, and with longevity, as even without the troupe of comedians in the foreground, we have an informative and entertaining backdrop in Greek mythology, with its Python.

I speak, of course, of Mt. Parnassus and the story of the Delphic Oracle.  She and her Cult of Athena temple nymphs were able to prophesy thanks to Python running inside their Virtual Machine (how I think of whatever VM their Python is running on -- a kind of mountain).  Apollo sought to impose rationality on the beast (meant kindly), to slay in the sense of dominate, not render useless (closer to "harness" in English).

People will take it in different directions.  I'm at OSCON again, which I've linked to Gibson Guitar (actually Gibson sent a bizmo some years back, so I'm not saying I acted alone) and the Nashville music scene, noting the proud Temple to Athena in that city, her Python curled in her shield, Nike in hand.

"Just Use It" is one of our slogans, testing reader understanding of the allusions.  I've posted about a sign or poster in the Iceland airport, or somewhere else along a moving sidewalk.  PSF would need to sign off in this use of the logo.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Friday the 13th

Maxi Taxi

I've been working a lot lately, which is good, because I needed money to repair my car.  Some will think I'm crazy to sink way more money into a car than I'll be able to recoup in selling it, but I'm not looking to sell, I'm looking to drive.

Presumably I'll get some more years from this 1997 sedan.  I'm not in the mood to switch horses right now.  I use the car for my business so some percentage of this repair should count as a business expense.  Chassis stuff, not engine stuff.

So today, Friday the 13th, was the big revelation that the FBI has some serious spying powers vis-a-vis Russians after all, perhaps thanks to 3rd party contractors, but what does it matter.  Either that, or we're continuing to read a lot of interesting science fiction (the stuff of spy novels).

Either way, people are much more aware of how the Internet is still a Wild West.  Some degree of paranoia is warranted.  Geeks know that.

The indictment seeks property damages, not extradition.  I'm not sure what amounts would be acceptable, or whom to pay, and whether bitcoin would be accepted, however these are minor details that will come out in the wash.  Perhaps GRU employees are covered by insurance?

The story goes back to the Guccifer 2.0 and APT28 threads (Fancybear etc.), and provides a lot more details. The indictment talks about a server in Arizona for example ("AMS"), a way station between keylogging and screen capturing malware, and those seeking to provide Americans with a much deeper look into their own political underbelly.

Showing "sausage being made" to the lay public is definitely an undermining tactic which left people older but wiser about their dysfunctional so-called democracy (reputable academics have suggested more of an oligarchy by now, more like the Roman Empire).

No one is alleging that the leaked and/or hacked communications were forged, only that they were never meant for the American public.  The DNC's secrets sparked a lot of outrage.  The special counsel is not saying whether the election went the other way because of that.  How could they know?  Maybe voters were just sick of family dynasties?

An earlier special counsel indictment goes back to the "troll factory" story, which alleges it was illegal for Facebook to allow Russians to use its platform for political purposes.

Only Americans are allowed to play politics with Facebook and Twitter, and perhaps the British, owing to a special relationship.  True, Cambridge Analytica had to face the consequences of its own hype regarding its alleged election-swaying powers, however no indictments were forthcoming. 

Mark Zuckerberg had to promise the politicians in DC that social media would stop rocking their boat. However promises extracted under duress may not be all that binding.  Software engineers, Russian or otherwise, cannot stop social media from affecting political careers.

How exactly the Russian troll factory affected the national election remains unclear, as the published memes don't seem to stand out as especially mood-altering.  If there's a secret to election-swaying with psychometrics, its apparently subtle.

What I remember from November 2016 was a lot of Pizzagate hysteria, which I blogged about here.  Many bloggers and tweeters were up in arms about the Clinton Foundation.  Was that the Russians again?

President Obama kicked a bunch of Russians out of their villa (dacha), after Homeland Security and the DNI fingered RT as a foreign agent (much like the BBC in that capacity, on PBS every night).  This was after his party lost in the electoral college.

However the Russian troll farm was not accused of working the Pizzagate vein in particular.  The example posts I saw had more to do with whether war veterans were being sufficiently cared for.

The GU (aka GRU) is accused of spear phishing and then sharing DNC chairman John Podesta's emails, perhaps with Wikileaks, perhaps with others.  Certainly those emails got out, by hook or by crook.  Whether the Russians played a role (as alleged) or not, the content was upsetting to many.

Earlier versions of this election story suggested that Guccifer 2.0 was not actually responsible for these leaks (although he tried to take credit) but the current story makes the case that the DNC was:

(A) certainly vulnerable to cyber-attack (that's clear, from the leaks themselves) and

(B) that Guccifer 2.0 was actually a fictitious persona designed to deflect attention from specific Russian military personnel, the ones who planted the keylogging malware.

The actual indictment tends to bleep over how omniscience was finally achieved vs-a-vs the Russian operation regarding the inner workings of its spy machine.  Skeptics point out that the 3rd parties are partisan.

The Office of Information Awareness, as envisioned by Admiral Poindexter, or some semblance thereof, may have been involved.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Blockchain Memes

I'm suggesting those tasked with evangelizing for Blockchain, take some time tuning in the memes around Rust, the computer language.

The financial industry works to correct mistakes and remove ambiguity from transactions, while those hoping to game the system kick up a lot of ink, to obfuscate their wheelings and dealings.

In writing C++, geeks may corrupt memory, leading to crashes, because the compiler is insufficiently strict.  Rust enforces the disciplines a strong C++ coder would bring to the table, through its compiler.  That's closer to what a blockchain does, when it comes to preventing ambiguities that cover for impossibilities.

Bankers may be reluctant to talk about all the double-spending schemes by which people try to auto-boot their fortunes.  Going into nit-picky detail about scams is counterproductive, as to describe exploits is to encourage them.

The cyber-security industry is already hip to this problem, of announcing a weakness in time for the white hats to apply the patch, before the black hats get wind of a new Achilles heel.

Thanks to the miracle of metaphor, akin to transposing to a different key in music, we can talk about "corruption" in the C++ context until the cows come home, thinking how writing systems that don't crash is a similar challenge to that confronting the banking industry.  The original bank is a memory bank or bank of memory cells.

What a blockchain does is impose strict auditing such that multiple observers agree, but also may contend for the right to record.  The global network learns of transactions in different orders, thanks to non-simultaneity of information transfer.  So which chronology should become canonical?

The Bitcoin answer is to hold a contest, and may the best bitcoin miner win.  This contention for control over write access is what some in-house blockchains may surrender.  The metaphor here might be unsafe mode.  Insider Rustaceans are allowed to break the rules when creating the means to enforce safety.

In sum, a C++ code base may be crash prone if open to ambiguity, which malware may then exploit.  Browsers live on the front lines in many use cases, in accepting content through their ports.  IE had to be abandoned for Edge for such problems.

Banks, which lend out and take ownership, as in Rust, may find their bookkeeping turning to garbage if the pointers turn out to not point to anything.  You've promised savings to borrowers, and interest on borrowings to savers, what could go wrong?

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Platonic Five


The curriculum we're working on restores polyhedrons to their rightful place, which does not mean we're confined to only Euclidean approaches.

Debate teams understand that mathematics evolves as a dialectic.  It's not all there already, to be chiseled out from stone.  We need those communications.

An issue facing some curriculum writers is where and what to censor.  Do we need the Real Numbers as currently defined?  A computational thinking course spends less time on those, given numbers have discrete digital representations, with symbols like the Greek letter pi suggesting algorithms we might set running indefinitely.

We do want the Platonic Five, that much is obvious, starting early.  V + F == E + 2.  The concept of Duality.  The Platonics are closed under this operation of taking the dual.  However we may also combine duals by criss-crossing edges, begetting new polyhedrons by this process.

Cube + Dual(Cube) == Cube + Octahedron = Rhombic Dodecahedron (RD).

Dual(RD) = Cuboctahedron (1, 12, 42, 92...)

Icosahedron + Dual(Icosahedron) = Icosa + Pentagonal Dodeca = Rhombic Triacontahedron (RT).

These transformations, along with the Jitterbug, are familiar to all our young pretty early.  We'll be sharing these animations in kindergarten in the form of wallpaper and screen savers.

What says Shiraz?

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Schools That Pay

Booth Magnet

Some code schools will offer free training and job search coaching in exchange for a percent of a student's income if and when they get employed.  That's a step in the right direction.

In Education Automation, published in the 1960s, Bucky Fuller suggested scholarships go to create a learning environment, out of which would emerge the geniuses such as himself who more than paid for the whole setup, in terms of making contributions as faculty.

The school gets the scholarship endowment and helps you learn in exchange for access to room and board, or however the campus is designed.  Is this a refugee camp?  Do students live in tents?

You're getting what acts like a cross between a gift card, such as we buy in the supermarket, and a debit card, such as we get from a bank.

The gift card restricts what inventory you're drawing from, perhaps a bookstore or clothing store.  The debit card restricts it to the authenticated cardholder to make the payment.  Your rewards card might give you access to more classes.  Prove you can do X and get a chance to do Y.

Programmable money (cryptocurrencies) could make the bookkeeping easy and verifiable.  Everyone talks about blockchains these days.

I'm in a refugee camp and I study biology several hours a day.  I'm passing various tests, plus learning a new language, and my account gets me access to more time in the microscope lab, which some refugee camps feature.  There's a short cut to becoming a lab technician and studying water specimens.

My hard work as a student is what entitles me to access this or that inventory.  Not every reward is transferable.  I may given the clothes I get to my younger brother, but it's still my account that gets debited.

Some of this circuitry was spelled and under the heading of NetDispenser and showcased at Pycon 2017.  I was an assistant to the main guy, C. Cossé . However, the FSF has not seen fit to give its endorsement.  They may have a problem with Github.
So I've exchanged more than 50 emails with the FSF over the past year, imploring them to help make this project better, or publicly endorse it, or something.  Anything.  After all, a solid 50% of my goal with the project has been to make FS4E development appealing and viable by creating incentive.  (FS4E = Free Software For Education).  Last month Richard Stallman told me that FSF could support the project IF we found an alternative to the Raspberry Pi and didn't use Debian.  Uhh.  Of course that side of the project is not the part that encourages FS4E, exactly, so that feels like overstepping their position just a little.  However, why not keep trying? I asked myself, and so I offered to oblige them on those points as best I could.  Yesterday I got a new transmission from FSF and it turns out that the promotional video I put up last month cannot be on YouTube in order for FSF to support the project.  But that's not all!  They also object to having the project on GitHub!  They advised me to fix all these things and then get back to them and "convince them to support the project".  
I believe this puts the project back on "hold" until further notice.  
NetDispenser is not exactly the same model as described above. It's about students earning more discretionary time on the internet in exchange for passing various tests, running various obstacle courses, designed to be fun and educational by game developers.

The router actually restricts access to only a few websites once the student's account has been depleted. Visit a dispenser site for more credits.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Iran Forum


Portlanders met in Elliot Chapel at the same time as OS Bridge was going on, in the came Elliot Center complex, part of the Unitarian Universalist campus downtown.  We had a panel of speakers and celebrated the lives of commitment of the Huntworks to bettering Cascadia's relationships with Persians.  Here's what I posted to Facebook:
Portlanders gather in a church with Peace Corps vets to strategize regarding Citizen Diplomacy twixt Cascadians and Iranians. The Huntworks, a local couple now deceased, spent a career building connections. Their memory is being honored at this event. Shiraz and Portland have ties. The relationships are strengthening as political leadership is increasingly seen as subservient to tiny psychopath minorities with wars in mind.

OS Bridge (a geek fest) is happening in the same building. Geeks and Peace Corps vets have some commonalities. We know how to collaborate outside of political channels. Engineering is about longer term plans than those concocted by next-term-seeking vote getters who must pander to peoples' basest fears and most negative emotions.

Truckers for Peace has no brochures here. That's like Peace Corps for truckers who wanna get into the Citizen Diplomacy game. Chinese Peace Corps might provide more details regarding opportunities in the Iranian context. OBOR is about infrastructure improvements, including in human relationships (necessary for collaboration).
Swamp City (WDC) is these days quite hostile to the idea of improved relations between itself and just about anyone who doesn't want its weapons.

Swamp City's Banana Republic, a holdover relic, is pretty good at alienating Cascadians these days.

Those of us more interested in people skills have to learned to count on continued clod-like opposition from the Swamp.

Fortunately, the clod-like are pretty awkward.  The more adept find ways to counter the warlord mentality.  Should Portland and Shiraz become sister cities?  We'd need something from our Mayor's Office to make that official, and from Shiraz naturally.

OS Bridge, some might recall, was organized in the wake of OSCON's leaving Portland for San Jose. OSCON later returned, then went to Austin.  This year:  back in PDX.  OS = Open Source (or Operating System in some lexicons).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Isle of the Dogs (movie review)

I got to see this with Alexia, my late wife's first daughter, nowadays living with her dad and in the process of a career change.  She rarely gets any days off.  I haven't seen her since our trip to visit her younger sister in December of last year.

Isle of the Dogs is a puppet-based animation.  I've watched at least one movie critic's Youtube and agree with his observation:  the timing and rhythm are notable and interesting.  When I found out the director was the same guy who did Budapest Hotel, I thought that made perfect sense.

Isle of the Dogs is billed as a comedy.  I'd call it dark comedy.  The movie critic said the Megacity of the future was dystopian, but it didn't seem all that terrible to me.  People were enjoying life and we saw some semblance of democracy, though it was mostly for show.  I didn't see any homeless or tent cities.

A dynasty of dog-haters was in control and used the office to push an agenda that would obliterate all dogs, first by exiling them to like a concentration camp, followed by plans for genocide.

The Science Party is against genocide and has already found a cure for what ails these dogs in the first place.  The dynasty suppresses this knowledge and continues feeding pubic terror of dogs.  One sees the cats have a subtle role in this program, though it's not spelled out.  The cats never say a word.

What's interesting is how languages are dealt with.  The dogs, such as Harvey Keitel, speak their English perfectly complete with accents and dialects, while the humans speak Japanese, without subtitles.  The little boy who goes to rescues Spots, his guardian, is unintelligible to the dogs.  However he and Spots are connected by short range Blue Tooth and do understand each other.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chaotic Times

I'll wade into the swamp a little and talk about the recent meetups twixt top politicos in their respective nations, namely the G7 in Canada, and Singapore events.

The World Cup is going on now as well.  Rosalie tells me the USA team didn't make the cut, no not a boycott, just didn't qualify.  The sports bars around here are still crowded with soccer fans however.

In summary, that's my own picture of what's going on.  The picture of some superpower moralizing about bad guys and imposing sanctions is getting old, with systems needing to inter-gear and get on with keeping wheels turning.

There's no time to play these games.  India needs its oil from Iran.  South Korea is tired of war games against the northern half of the same peninsula.  The 1900s status quo all seems too silly.

However, to bolster the public perception that political leaders are indeed the leaders, and not the chaotic forces of general systems, there's an instinct to go along to get along.  The politicos need to ride the horse in the direction it's going, as that way they're seen to lead.

The Americans have elected someone allowed to be crazy and unpredictable, which is what the recipe calls for in chaotic times.

World events in the internet age do not bottleneck through customary "halls of power" and yet people in nice suits with lots of accessories need to strut their stuff anyway.  The public figureheads do a kind of dance, put on a show, that helps the rest of us answer a perennial question:  "what time is it, really?"  The politicos (professional scapegoats) help close the loop in various feedback cycles.

"Chaos" used to mean something bad, back in the days before we learned about dynamical systems.  Now we know that rigid rhythms mean rigor mortis.  The politicos show signs of life now and then, to keep from seeming too scripted, too programmed.  I get it.  Celebrities do the same.

We have lots of work to do, around refugees especially (I use the term broadly, to encompass the domestic unsheltered).  Eugene, Oregon is investing in tiny houses.  I don't know if Micheal Sunanda got one.  He and I have lost touch.

My plan to work with MercyCorps to showcase the latest and greatest in emergency housing, somewhere near PDX, a tourist attraction, may be showing signs of gaining traction.  EPCOT West we call it.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Fire Starters

A theme in these blogs lately, has been global IC work (IC = integrated circuits) aimed at keeping violence contained, even as weapons makers stoke the fires.  Keeping old resentments alive is Satan's chief occupation, we all know that.

However, the futurists of the 1900s did a pretty good job sketching out a world Beyond War, like on Star Trek.  Humanity still faces existential threats, like the Borg, but seems far less hell bent on self destruction.  All the shiny new technology has cheered the humans, past the point where they wanna "press the button".  They'd rather live to see the 24th Century and onward.

However, a lot of humans, some with means, are not persuaded that the End Times should be further postponed.  They've put a lot of eggs in their End Times baskets, and are now wanting to see all those efforts pay off.  Before it's too late.

I'm thinking it's getting to be too late, but the fire starters are still at it, getting more brazen and visible in proportion to their sense of panic.  Of course it's oxymoronic to be panicking because the world is not ending, but that's a corner the End Timers paint themselves into.

What feels like a loss of power to many a political leader, is actually the gradual abandonment of various circuits that have carried significant voltage until now.  Attempts to galvanize large populations with a war fighting spirit is what's proving increasingly unlikely to pan out.

I'm guessing the "world domination" meme used by Geekdom is worth inserting at this point.  The "new world order" (NWO) was expected to be political and to have something to do with banking. For certain Christians, we would also be meeting some Antichrist pseudo-hero, a false leader of sorts.

However, with the emergence of cloud services, crypto-currencies, and social media, we're facing a NWO of a different flavor, sponsored by FANG and Microsoft, Chinese giants, Russian research firms.  They code and promulgate coding.  Is this the Borg?  There's lots of engineering.  The culture is global, because the internet is global, and because world problems are world problems.  "Thinking globally" is not a "nice thing to do" (or is it evil?), it's just what makes sense.

The way I'd put it is:  desovereignization is already far advanced, something I believed in the 1990s, but it's not resulting in any great showdown or political climax, more just a lot of vacuous hyperbole.  The atmospherics are not one of End Times.  The sense is more business as usual and Tower of Babelish.  We're not all on the same page (so what else is new?).  We're acting out in different theaters, following different scripts.  We're OK with that.  Multiple namespaces co-exist.

Those who focused more on "context" than "content" had the right idea I think.  We're still struggling with deep misery, hellish conditions, but our impulse is not to give up and blow it all up.

Ushering in some nuclear apocalypse, perpetrated by the Nuke Nations against the others, is not that easy when the IC is quick to learn of any secret plans.  How were you planning to trick us again?  We learn from your mistakes.

Monday, June 04, 2018

An OCEAN of BS

Voodoo Economics

I'm making a pun in the title.  OCEAN is / was one of those personality test thingies.  Dime store psychology books (thinking of Lucy, the Doctor is In) traffic extensively in these "discover yourself" batteries of questions, so-called surveys.

Answer thirty questions, and voila, the Machine Learning model lets you know all kinds of stuff about your category.  Better than horoscopes!

I'm not saying personality profiling is sheer bunk, quite the opposite.  Over time, the analysts learn to recognize patterns.  Lets assume those surveyed are taking the test in good faith.

In some fairly convenient on-line venue, such as Facebook, between games of Farmville and that other one I actually played, one fills out some intriguing survey, an OCEAN test.  One's answers go out the back door to a paying Facebook customer.

What especially pissed people off is the customer also discovered who your Facebook friends were.  How embarrassing.  Now they'll target everyone I know.  Pretty soon, we'll all be talking about the Kardashians.

Those of you up on your political layer gossip already know I'm talking about Cambridge Analytica and its supposedly awesome powers to tip an election.

The Russians were flattered they got 2nd prize, but the UK was not about to take a back seat in the psyops department.  When push came to shove, they wanted the world to know of their prowess.

Getting the press accounts out there, the social media, is a big part of the game.  Consider Sophia, the AI bot who got to address the UN and make Saudis proud of their government.  Sophia would not have had nearly such a successful career without all that clever PR.  Yet she's nothing but an audio-animatronic puppet, nothing like the breakthrough Deep Mind game changer.

Supposing the UK or the Russians have such an established social science that they're able to engineer an election almost legally, but for loopholes that Facebook may have closed in retrospect, is supposing a lot, but Hollywood movies have paved the way, for movie-goers to have a hard time assessing the true state of the art.

In an age when even Cubans are able to target diplomats with frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, sewing seeds of suspicion right when the technocrats wanted to dial back to making "America" a bigger bully, who knows what is truly possible?  Time travel is just around the corner, and those in the know harness UFO-derived technologies to... fill in the blank.

Yes, I'm saying I consider the public very gullible, for buying that psychometrics has advanced so far so quickly.  Advertising works, I don't deny it, but then advertising, media campaigns, are more than just a few TV spots.  You need a narrative.

Start with the side show Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg, its Fancy Bear staffers barely able to speak English (like Guccifer, but unlike Guccifer 2.0), then cycle back to center ring and realize true English speakers, like Cambridge Analytica and CrowdStrike still dominate the world cyber-game.

Russians can't hold a candle to the truly tech-savvy, such as Dmitri Alperovitch (Crowdstrike CTO). How reassuring, right?  But wait, don't The Americans (deep cover spies in a fiction TV series) speak like perfect American?   Maybe we're not out of the woods yet!

On the positive side, we have evil Russians (connected to the cyber-caliphate and ISIS) maybe tilting Superman's election without firing a shot.

They promised us we'd be entering a world wherein cyber war and cyber weapons would be the new big thing.  As a Quaker, that sounded like a step away from doofus muggle outward weapons, so I haven't necessarily put up a lot of resistance.

Lets make the endless wars all cyber for a change, more like the computer games we grow up on.  Given the hell hole in which we started, that'd definitely be big progress!


Saturday, June 02, 2018

After Reading About Graphs...

From random guesses to feedback-informed weightings: we learn to crumble the cookie (so many readings!) back into correctly labeled movements (archetypal gestures).  The cookie uncrumbles.

The distance between "bullseye and arrow hit point" generalizes to all crumbs (crumbs in all dimensions) as does the computation to minimize this distance (e.g. "gradient descent"  -- one of the methods).  

The crumbs look more and more like the original cookie, as the weightings get shifted, epoch after epoch on screamingly fast chips. We need already judged and labeled originals so the feedback keeps happening.  Supervised learning continues.

From randomly guessing focus group committees (new enrollees) to finely refined teams with proved track records (weighted and ranked accordingly), do we mitigate this metaphysical distance, twixt our predictions and what is.  

I picture a whole skyscraper of committees, as floors of (levels of) "perceptron neural nodes" each signaling to the next floor above it and, and so on (deep neural net), with a broadcast tower atop the building (some KPOJ) sharing its newly synthesized view of the world (its brand of enlightenment programming, its model).

[ with thanks to Nathaniel Bobbit ]

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Captain's Log...

rhino

I am mindful that some products have taken in Python for internal scripting purposes, which I think is a good choice, as that leverages an existing fluency in many cases, and also leads those new to Python into something they may already know well:  CAD drawing and rendering.

My background is more raytracing and VRML, meaning I would usually build my scenes programmatically, but in a tight feedback loop with the renderings, a process of gradual approximation.  My subjects were usually pretty stark and austere, involving simple polyhedrons with a minimum of texture and shadowing.  I'd use anti-aliasing and might dial up reflectivity.  I'm proud of some of what I did, but more awed by what others have accomplished, with POV-Ray and other tools.

I remember Kenneth Snelson wondering if he would be able to move to Maya, after all those years mastering his SGI workstation.  I'm certainly no Maya user and am finding the Rhino learning curve fairly steep, even coming from a Python background.

There's a huge vocabulary (namespace) of directives, allowing me to build whatever scenery or artifacts I please, in principle.  In practice, I've cannibalized an old example, in vbscript, from Rhino 4, to make an icosahedron, and written other code in Python 3 (externally to Rhino 5 for OS X) to figure out the centers of a CCP (= IVM = FCC).

Today I at least figured out what object I could use in place of rectangles, which disappear upon rendering, too ghostly to merit texturing.  A planar surface is something else again.  It behaves almost the same way a rectangle does, but I had to rewrite and add code to accommodate the differences.  The obvious advantage is that it renders and allows materials to be applied to it.  That's progress, for me at least.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

We learn from Geoffrey West of Santa Fe Institute and others, that universities have greater staying power than businesses, thanks to a more robust institutional structure. That may not be the best way to look at it though. There's nothing necessarily shameful or unfortunate about a business having a short half-life.

 For bookkeeping purposes, one might form a company for the express purpose of making a Netflix movie or Youtube channel production. Once the body of work is complete and published, the company disbands, not with a sense of failure, but with a sense of completion. Those who worked in this company remain proud to have it on their resumes.

A university has more of a commitment to reinvent itself, in order to meet wave after wave of incoming generation, each already benefitting from the experiences of the previous one. A business need not adapt in precisely this manner.

The more apt analogy might be the nation-state, some of which have longer histories than others, some of which have changed character and boundaries rather drastically. Think of Austria. Think of Pakistan. Companies also beget child companies, or spin-offs.

In other words, although we maybe have some cause to feel pride when human institutions last a long time, lets not stigmatize the short-lived ones just because they're short lived. Even religions might be gems of sheer genius yet only last a generation or two. That they're so fleeting is not a mark of failure, necessarily. Sure, it may be, depending on the stated goals of the founders. In the case of 2 Dickinson Street, we have to recognize it's an old Victorian made of wood.

The institution of "nation-state" may not be "for the ages" either, and that wouldn't be a Great Tragedy necessarily.  "One planet, one people" does not necessarily mean some tyrannical One World Government pyramiding (bottle-necking) to a few people.  We don't need some singular cabal to boss us around.  I learned that at Princeton.

Complex systems have self-organizing potential.  Regional bodies and overlapping steering and oversight committees (to use some Quaker jargon) may be sufficient to keep the public in a willing mood, sufficiently participatory to keep a public sector alive and well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Dream State


"Dream State" is a bit of a pun, as I was dreaming (this is a write-up of a dream I was having about an hour ago), plus the theme of the dream was the dream-nature of States.

I was in this institutional building with a large training room, but U-shaped, so I couldn't see all the students. I assumed I was the instructor, as I was on my feet, everyone else sitting in front of a computer.  I'm reminded of when I taught WordPerfect in Salem.

One of the students started talking about Zionism and Judaism in a loud voice.  He was pretty coherent but weren't we here to learn Python? As the trainer, I felt obligated to politely interrupt and change the topic, but then another voice around the corner picked up on the same theme.

I looked around the U and another guy, tall and thin, was holding forth on the same topic and showed no signs of surrendering the floor.  I did a double take and realized I didn't know any of these students, so apparently I wasn't the instructor.  I must have arrived early.  My class would be later that afternoon.

For the rest of the dream, I followed the tall guy around the building, to a gift shop (or something), up and down some stairs.  I just wanted to apologize and explain my mistake, why I'd interrupted.  But he paid me no heed, wouldn't listen.  He kept going on about Judaism versus Zionism (he saw them as opposed).

Finally I woke up and realized the sound track for the dream was courtesy of Youtube, still on auto-play and going through videos.  I've been watching this genre of videos, even in a more conscious state, though some might aver we're always dreaming at some level.  No need to wax philosophical at the moment.

"As French are to France, as Italians are to Italy, so are Jewish people NOT the people of Israel" is the message.  This is an old debate (if one can call it that -- a clash of viewpoints) going back to the creating of Zionism in the 1900s.

What's new is a slob in Portland, half asleep (or fully asleep) can take in these viewpoints as video recordings.  I don't have to just read about them in obscure magazines or whatever.  When I want more, I get more.  That's called becoming informed and given my academic background, I get to pat myself on the back for doing homework.

OK, now it's back to prepping for Python class.  Or maybe I'll blog some more. Actually, what happened is I posted comments on Facebook.
This whole discussion relates to my summary view that we're in a "globalist versus nationalist" chapter. Nationalists such as Bannon have been very clear that globalism is their enemy. As a product of the Aquarian "think globally act locally" school of thought, a long time expat (now in Oregon) and alumnus of international schools, my mental DNA is more globalist. I see nation-states as past their pull date, keeping people penned in and pent up (which is the point -- keep 'em governed). Better engineering is desperately needed, however narrow political agendas based on "my nation against the world" keep us from wholistic thinking. It's not like I advocate some revolution to overthrow all governments, or to create one world government. Rather I see an evolutionary process at work whereby we at least psychologically free ourselves from the nationalists' political sphere and learn to collaborate with one another more successfully. I want to keep it hopeful of course. 
I think world religions, including humanism, as well as science, are inherently more supranational in their perspective and help us dampen the damaging effects of the rampant nationalism that seems the dominant paradigm of our day.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Harboring Activists



I retrieved my 89 year old mother from PDX last night.  She flew in from LAX on Alaska Airlines, her favorite as she tells everyone.

Carol is a long time activist.  She attended the centennial celebrations for Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and talks about the signing of the Kellog-Briand Pact is if it were yesterday.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Addams are her biggest heroes, though I remember when Gandhi and St. Francis were the top two she'd talk about.

We all get to build a pantheon, an altar if you will.  Robert Thurman has Walter Cronkite in his, as I recall from a dharma talk he recorded in Bhutan.

I wondered aloud on Facebook if anyone with serious peace activist credentials wants to camp out down the hall from her.  But such sponsored positions are hard to come by and I haven't succeeded in joining the ranks of non-profits.

Blue House hosts a tiny business, mine, and I paid self-employment tax in 2017.  I have no employees and live on the edge.  Melody helped score some food from charitable sources.  She lives in an abandoned vehicle (in a beautiful forest).

I stayed up late composing my cover letter to Oregon State, documenting my eligibility for OHP, a health plan for the bottom bracket.  My taxable income on my Oregon return was under $10K.

Our Urner family has a long history of tax avoidance.  One way is by staying poor.  Another way is by not living inside any of the fifty states.  We're pacifist Quakers and dislike paying the war machine to do its dirty business.

Yesterday one of my most loyal detractors on Youtube decided to attack the Bucky stuff I'm known for touting.  That's Bucky Fuller, at one time a respected and recognized maverick architect and philosopher, definitely in my pantheon of Bodhisattvas.

I'm glad we had it out, to the tune of about 150 posts in some buried thread.  David Koski joined in, adding some colorful metaphors.

That all happened on Facebook, which I've continued using through all the hoopla about how it's to blame for helping the UK meddle in US elections.   So many cabals.

As someone with a global perspective, I think it's a given that social media will become a tool for political campaigns, many of which roil beneath the surface.  The whole world has a stake in what happens everywhere.

Creating hermetically sealed bubbles, impermeable to outside influences sounds anti-biological, though immune systems are not.

Speaking of cabals, you may read about mine in an old encyclopedia of conspiracies, so-called, by Robert Anton Wilson.  Look up Grunch in Everything is Under Control.

It points to my old website, long ago discontinued as Teleport was sold.  I have the newer Grunch.net domain name these days, set to renew in June.

Marshal McLuhan to Bucky:  "I have read your books and am ready to join your conspiracy."  Fuller argued that "to conspire" meant "to breath together" and didn't put a negative spin on the word, as many are reflexively wont to do.  Same here.  I always say:  "if you haven't joined at least two conspiracies, you haven't lived".  Something to that effect.

Yes, I put my period outside the quote marks sometimes, where most grammarians say I shouldn't.  An old Quaker named Thatcher wrote a manifesto on that topic, which I've misplaced, but I agreed with his reasoning.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Judgement Day

Judging from the non-starter screenwriting, some cabal wanted us to link a domestic case of poisoning to a war theater gas attack, and use this as some kind of excuse to start a major gamble, which this cabal was thinking might help get them ahead.  Desperate outsiders, these cabalists.

The police are getting better at working in concert, as are the militaries.  They know politicians have the dubious job of inciting violence, and that the people supposedly enthralled by political soap operas are chomping at the bit for social cues.  But that's not working, and insofar as "mainstream media" plays along, it becomes ever more phony-sounding.

We're wise to the fact that tiny minorities are trying to start something.  If not in Mesopotamia, then in Korea.  If not in Korea then somewhere else.  Jobs depend on keeping a war time economy in high gear.  Other jobs depend on having that war economy business make room for a next generation of weapons inspectors and cleanup gurus.

The intelligence community, such as there is one (pretty tenuous), is engaged in counter-intelligence against war-hungry cabalists.  They'd have you believe otherwise, as a way cabalists (members of a cabal) impress others with their power is to pretend overwhelming forces are on their side, including God if that's at all credible.

We don't need horrible violence to sustain a good life for the tiny few.  I know many still believe that's the case and get anxious when the horrible violence abates even a little.  If any religions feel like playing a role, it might be to disown the nukes.

If you're at all God fearing, don't coddle your ego with fantasies of owning and controlling weapons of mass destruction.  Grow beyond needing that junkyard.  Heal from being an outward weapons junkie.

Not that we want Armageddon to start at the hands of unbelievers either.  Our belief is God wills us not to make a mockery of Judgement Day, by staging it ourselves.  Or call it teleological pressure, some Fury of Being.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Quaker Affairs

Stetson + C6XTY

I might bring this up informally with Oversight Committee, like I did with my "Gun Club" Stetson.  "Is this OK?"

By "this" I mean my tendency to refer to nations in the past tense, as a matter of plain speaking, of telling the truth.  I know they're currently still fervently believed in by many people:  nationalism is a global religion, with many adherents.

However, as a New England Transcendentalist of sorts, influenced by Bucky Fuller, I've come to see supranational entities as running the show.  This nation-state stuff is shallow theater.  I don't usually say "deep state" for that reason.

I've already broken with the mainstream in declaring that I have no nuclear weapons and no plans to acquire them.  That sounds obvious but then people often say "we" meaning "we the citizens of a superpower who possess such and such".  As a Quaker, I don't want to use my "we" in that way and would rather conscientiously object.

Nuclear weapons, in my estimation, belong to a supranational Grunch of Giants that then tries to puppet the nation-states into maybe using them.  Think of a Punch and Judy show.

The point of consistency I want to establish is around my pledge of allegiance to the flag and to the country for which it stands.  Giving a once proud nation a decent burial, rather than ghoulishly trucking its corpse around, pretending Uncle Sam is still alive, seems an act of loyalty.

Not that I'm equipped to offer the official last rites.  July 4th could become a kind of commemoration.

What I'm protecting is the USA's reputation, in the wake of subsequent highly illegal acts, most recently a gratuitous bombing of random targets in Syria.

That military-mercenary campaign was undertaken as a high profile "presidential" act, in order to legitimize ongoing Grunch campaigns and symbolize the shocking and awesome power of some exceptional nation, God's gift some tell us.

I'm showing allegiance by saying "this isn't the USA at all, behaving like a monster, as the USA died awhile back, RIP".

No one really cares if some individual Friend wears a Gun Club Stetson and thinks of nation-states in the past tense (the better to use a Dymaxion Projection).

I just want to state for the record that I do not consider myself to be betraying the United States, the Union, in honoring it for its noble rhetoric and values, its bold spread across North America, its Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  Great stuff!

Even from the perspective of Mark Twain's day, one could predict the moral arc, under president McKinley, then Teddy Roosevelt.  The USA would eventually succumb to the temptation of becoming an oppressive empire, with colonies, on the model of the UK of old.

Imperialism was in the DNA, as Manifest Destiny, later bolstered by Social Darwinism (the flip side of Marxism).  By the time I was born, the US was already pretty far gone, given the progress of this illness.  The imperial presidency had become much more of a tyranny, insisting on more adventures in conquest versus actually governing an already ample-sized territory.

However, the particular story of the USA, with all its twists and turns, need not take on the entire burden of explaining one of the consequences of "future shock" (a term coined by Alvin Toffler) i.e. the evaporation of the nation-state political data layer.

The swift integration of planetary infrastructure, and the realistic need to "think globally" as a matter of doing competent engineering, made the shallow theater of nation-states increasingly less possible to believe in.

Many people certainly wanted to suspend their disbelief, and many still could.  For others, it became psychologically impossible to go along with all the make believe, perhaps as a result of religious training.

As an early adopter of the post nation-state mindset, I'm perhaps helping other Friends find a way forward, as the spirit moves them.

I'm not proclaiming a dystopian outcome either.  Spaceship Earth (the Global U) is what we make of it.  Thy Kingdom Come.

Design Science Tableau

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Philosophy of Mathematics

Bertrand Russell (source):
The limitation of the dimensions to three, though it is empirical, is not liable to the uncertainty and inaccuracy which usually belong, to empirical knowledge. For the alternatives which logic leaves to sense are discrete – if the dimensions are not three, they must be two or four, or some other integer – so that small errors are impossible. Hence the certainty of the axiom of three dimensions, though in part due to experience, is of quite a different order from that of (say) the law of gravitation. In the latter, a small inaccuracy might exist and remain undetected; in the former an error would have to be so large as to be utterly impossible to overlook. Hence the certainty of our whole axiom is almost as great as that of its a priori element.
 Compare with D'Arcy Thompson, writing to Whitehead:
Now suppose, on the other hand, that we were of so minute a size (or lived in a medium so dense) that gravity would have no sensible hold upon us; and suppose, owing to our minute size, that we were mainly under the influence of other, say molecular, forces. Then, to begin with, we should know nothing about a vertical, and care nothing about a right angle. And suppose, in the next place, that we lived in some sort of ‘close-packed’ or crystalline medium, say a tetrahedral one, we should never dream of three-dimensional space (unless perhaps after long mathematical investigation), but we should automatically refer everything to tetrahedral coordinates. In short, we should solemnly believe that we lived in a four-dimensional space.
So what about "space is 4D"?  That's a link to some Google slides.

Here's a segue to Synergetics, no ifs ands or buts about it.  Just in case you imagined philosophers had been denied access at some point.  Was the draw bridge raised?  No, the philosophers simply chose not to cross it, wary of what the consequences might be.

Might they become prisoners of the Ayatollah of the Tetrahedron then?

Of course choosing not to do something may prove just as consequential as doing it, whatever it was.  Sometimes the risk of inaction is the greater risk.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

New World Order


We seem to be in a world a lot of people were praying for. Hallelujah.

Sorry, I'm into comedy tonight.  Super Deluxe is a pretty funny channel.


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

End of an Era

Lots of despair in the air.

We knew it was coming:  DC is unilaterally trashing its sacred, signed agreements, going back on its word, with no real evidence that others were acting in bad faith.  Nation-states depend on such agreements for their legitimacy.

We've already seen how "evidence" doesn't mean anything to this post constitutional military junta.  Attacking Syria on false pretenses with no congressional approval, let alone UN approval, was the name of the game, with full backing from the cheerleader media.

Similar to the "evidence" that Iraq had WMDs etc. etc.  Lots of lying.  Once the lies have become deep enough, there's no way to back out of them.  The phoniness of the discourse is readily apparent.  This isn't "good television".

Exactly what happens next is probably less important than what this lack of integrity forebodes more generally, regarding global perceptions of the old world order.  What will we put in the rear view mirror?  What died?  What got run over?

The End of Power was an interesting book.  Individual cities are starting to emerge as the logical unit, taking us back to olden times.  Geoffrey West talks about this in his book Scale. DC is one of those cities, but not nearly as important as it used to be, like when FDR was in office.  Nice museums though.

I had a good time teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders today, just five of them.  We explored the pen blocks in MIT Scratch, having sprites bounce around, leaving a trace, or not.  Scratch is satisfying.

The car seems a bit skittish on the road.  I had new tires put on the back before driving to the memorial service for Howard.  His brother Bill Lightfoot is likely to come down on the train for a visit this Friday.  He's in his 90s.  I'm turning 60 in a few days.

We have all the elements of a think tank around Linus Pauling House but no budget, except for coffee.  I've been pushing hard for the Bucky stuff, the concentric hierarchy of polyhedrons in particular.  But that's philosophy and philosophers have morphed into something else entirely, it now seems.

During my data science class we learned about placing pictures in Jupyter Notebooks and I had them choose from an album with some bus pictures.

One bus was of recent vintage and on its way to Pycon shortly, in Cleveland, Ohio.  The other was a picture of Further, the famous Ken Kesey bus that went back and forth across North America, in an earlier chapter.  It may be in a museum by now.

Speaking of life on the road, I'd like to get more funding for Truckers for Peace.  I'll keep hanging out a shingle.  Not that I'm a trucker or anything, just a Friend.


P1040900

Friday, May 04, 2018

Authentic Scarcity


I've continued my conversations with ISEPP about World Game, which I use in its original sense of working to make sense of the world and to strategize accordingly.  War Game is similar, with the overhead of trashing infrastructure, destroying muscle mass, deliberately making things worse and weaker, in order to improve matters.  Yes, that's counter-intuitive I fully realize.

Dr. Charles Hall is typical of a trending cast of professionals trained in the natural sciences willing to raise their voices against conventional economics.  He's an emeritus who doesn't need to worry about ruffling feathers.  Those still striving for tenure or simply wishing for a modicum of job security, maybe can't afford to be so outspoken.

"Biophysical Economics" means taking science seriously and thinking more realistically about energy budgets and the thermodynamics of it all.

My focus on the PWS (personal workspace) anticipates when the "daily commute" (a sloshing back and forth of a billion vehicles) will give way to people tightening their radius and watching more Netflix.  Families will have more together time.  Can that be all bad?  Telecommuting beats clogging the freeways.  Or look at how we bus kids to school when the best teachers are on Youtube, better viewed from one's PWS.

How many humans might we support via theme parks?  Or call them EPCOTs.  They want their driverless cars and HDTVs.  They want novelty, family life, fresh produce.  What if your greenhouse and your house were part of the same climate controlled structure?  Remember the argon gas and Tefzel pillows?  Has Silicon Valley improved on the Whole Earth Catalog?

Suppose you had a warehouse with a pile of Soylent delivered by dump truck every few months.  Just add water.  No it's not made from people.  It's not like eating in a French restaurant, but at least you won't starve.  They're basically paying you to stay healthy.  You cost more when you're sick.  Breathing takes work.  That's physics.

People work their whole lives to afford spacious homes and then leave them empty, to sit in offices and cubicles all day, playing the game of who's boss.  Don't tell me this isn't crazy, in light of the precious fossil fuels we're squandering for the privilege.  I'm not defending this species as rational.  Like any dumb animal, they're not likely to change their ways until they come up against an electric fence.

Some folks believe in morphogenetic fields, or lets just talk about the Zeitgeist, or Holy Ghost in Catholic spheres.  Princeton was full of talk about the noosphere when I was there in the 1970s.  We put some faith in our collective wisdom, and intuition.  New England Transcendentalism went that route, more Aquarian Conspiracy.  But putting faith in something doesn't keep Planet of the Apes from dominating the programming.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Artificial Scarcity

One of my Medium stories takes us back to the Napster era, during which a nearby Silicon Forest police precinct, tired of always being the bad guy, set up Linux labs in the projects.  Brilliant idea.  South Africa was doing the same for its kids.

The police were asked to come into the schools to scare kids silly about FBI anti-piracy campaigns, while meanwhile a new creative commons was offering digital assets for free, and its technology was secretly powering capitalism already.  Why not tell kids about that instead?  Why were the schools keeping mum instead of joining in the revolution?

The engineering mindset probably grew a lot in those days, as young coders were confronted with many ethical dilemmas, around whether freely sharing copiable assets with one's peer humans was really as evil as some people said it was.

It's one thing when transferring a good means depriving the donor of continued access to that good, but another when the donor continues to have access.

Legal culture is all about protecting IP and forbidding its use by others.  The engineers heard relief workers say humans were starving for culture (education) yet because of IP, the true capability of engineering, the miracle of the loaves & fishes, had to be attacked.

Anyway, the police were seeing what the engineers were seeing and wanted to show kids a positive way forward wherein they would get to use computers without having to pay tolls at every turn, just to leverage what humans before them had left them as heritage.

This was a debate we had to have openly in engineering culture.  There's a layer in the archives where that's what a big part of the buzz is about.  That debate is in large degree behind us now, as we move to open sourcing lots more than software.  Humans are still starved for culture.

Looking at humans as "muscle mass" is not meant to say we should all go back to plowing with no assistance from tractors, however piloted.  I'm just taking the positive associations of body building and helping us appreciate humans more than we appear to.  Much of the economy is a deliberate attempt to deny people economic success.

Layers of conditioned reflexing define our respective cultures.  The many programs out there, sitting on shelves, ready for broadcasting, provide grist for the mill, as we go back and explore the different eras.  The Alvin Toffler meme, about accelerating acceleration, means our debates go a lot faster now, what with the new infrastructure.  We don't wait for whole generations, to come to some resolutions.

Impatience around humans demanding power over others based on threats of annihilation is not a new phenomenon.  The humans in Robin Hood's time were not that impressed by the social order either.  We have come some distance in the last few decades, lets admit.  Engineering has grown up a lot.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Quadrays Again

Quadrays

A vector field has group properties in that every vector has an inverse vector, the sum of which gives the zero vector, the identity element of the set.  The XYZ basis vector (1,0,0) has inverse (-1,0,0) and their sum is (0,0,0).

Indeed, without the inverse operation, or multiplication by -1, the original three basis vectors, i, j, k, would be helpless to reach 7/8ths of space.  Remember i,j,k define the edges of what looks to be the corner of a cube, or perhaps 1/8th of an octahedron.

If you are not allowed to rotate or invert these vectors, only scale them in the direction they're already pointing, then vector addition is confined to the positive octant, 1/8th of the total space.

In the quadray coordinate system, the four basis vectors, as we call them, are sufficient to span space without recourse to negation.  The concept of "linear independence" is recast.

In XYZ, inverting a vector is not considered a separate operation from scaling it.  Growing or shrinking a vector in the direction it's already pointing is no different from making it point in the opposite direction.  However, vector reversal, synonymous with vector negation, might be considered a form of rotation, a different operation from positive scaling.

Quadray basis vectors may be inverted, but only positive scaling is required to map all points (to span the space).

For example, in canonical form, the inverse of (1,0,0,0) is (0,1,1,1), the sum of (0,1,0,0), (0,0,1,0) and (0,0,0,1).  These point oppositely, and the group property still pertains in that (1,0,0,0) + (0,1,1,1) = (1,1,1,1) which in canonical form is (0,0,0,0).

It's not that quadrays are devoid of inverse vectors, only that "inverting" is unnecessary to reach 7/8ths of space.  The four basis vectors define four quadrants.  Any point is in one of those quadrants, or in a plane bordering any two.  At most, three basis vectors need to be positively scaled to reach any point through addition. 

{0, a, b, c} -- where { } means "any permutation of" -- with a, b, c also greater or equal to zero, is the canonical address of any point.  For example {2, 1, 1, 0} form the twelve corners of the cuboctahedron.

If the i,j,k basis vectors of XYZ were supplemented with one additional vector pointing into the void opposite the first octant, the resulting apparatus would look a lot like quadrays, sometimes known as IVM coordinates.  Adjusting the central angles for symmetry, making them all the same, would complete the transformation.

What is the practical value of quadrays?  Clearly there's a one-to-one mapping from the canonical representation (unique to each point) to the corresponding XYZ vector.  As with spherical coordinates (r, alpha, theta), we have a redundant addressing notation.  How could this be useful?

At this juncture, I'm thinking "comparing and contrasting" helps highlight core concepts.  In setting "caltrop coordinates" next to "jack coordinates" (XYZ), we're setting the stage to talk turkey, to develop fluency with the concepts, such as "space spanning" and "inverting".  Quadrays contribute to student understanding of the shoptalk.

Since the concepts of vector addition and vector negation are essentially the same in both systems, we have as much to compare as to contrast.