Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is "Work" in GST?

I was blessed with a visit from Sam Lanahan today.  He was fresh from a concrete convention, which had worn him out.

Turns out Flextegrity has applications as a replacement for rebar.  Asian markets may understand it best, given they're in surge mode while a wartime economy (what the US enjoys) of necessity involves throttling back (applying the brakes, in other words). By Flextegrity I mean to include C6XTY. See the newest version of Sam's book.

Mostly I'm cramming on statistics, going back to high school days and relearning about how sample variance and population variance each need their own formula.  I'm moving into linear equations territory (y = wx + b and back propagation by means of gradient descent i.e. multi-variable calculus and machine learning) not because I expect to become a data scientist, but because I'm a Python instructor.  Like a piano teacher, these are the pieces I'm expected to play and relay.

Remember, statistical (stochastic) algorithms were developed in the social sciences and ported over to thermodynamics.  If "entropy" still has the flavor of "political chaos" there may be reasons why.  Sometimes "entropy" is a positive, as in cryptography, as true randomness proves problematic in a deterministic universe.  A legitimate source of chaos proves a godsend.  By God's grace alone are we liberated from our own robot-hood.  Automaticity rules, a sin which can and will be used against us.

The many jargons (shop talks) bleed in both directions across their bordering membrane barriers, I can hear Peter Sloterdijk intoning, in native German.

For example: energy the way the physicists mean it, as work, has to mean something in terms of economics (having a job, or jobs) as well.  Take the Latin word "tractatus", a root for "traction" "tractor" and even "tract" as in "opera" or "opus" i.e. a dramatic "work" (Gilbert & Sullivan).

People work hard to star in soap operas (an expression of their wish to remain clean?).  The meaning of "work" is not a constant, in that "joules and calories" vie with "dollars and yen" to express work's value.  "To keep up this rate of energy expenditure (horse power), I'll need to be fed" -- that's just physics.  Capitalism fantasizes not being responsible for human welfare thanks to robots.  But what can robots really do?  That's an ongoing exploration.

As general systems theory (GST) authors (Kenneth Boulding etc.) would sometimes talk about:  current and currency have much in common, in terms of the cyber metaphors applied.  Both dollars and electrons "flow" and without a steady flow of dollars (US, Canadian...), or other denomination, the "machinery" grinds to a standstill.  Cash liquidity is like oil:  grease the wheels.  We have our ways of repaying favors.

A big problem (challenge) around World Game is ivory tower types devise the ground rules and spin out these board games, theoretically playable. However, given still emerging facts about human psychology, animal psychology, physics, other sciences, it turns out these games aren't always that playable as envisioned.   The ivory tower, full of know-it-alls, turns out to be not so all-knowing after all, an old story.

In practice, the rules need to be tweaked, if not overhauled, and pretty soon we're in some unknown territory where in people draw upon their own moral compasses regarding what's ethical.  They're disobedient.

This state of affairs is associated with higher entropy and "corruption".

People are not following the edicts properly.  They're in violation.  A scandal.  History then turns into a procession of scandals, as the game architects continue to spin out one unplayable game after another.

Friday, February 09, 2018


MAGA zines

MAGA = Make America Great Again.  I've always admired how this admission of un-greatness became a patriotic slogan.  Quite a spin.

A question is, how would a globalist such as myself seek to rekindle nationalist pride in these United States of America?  Why not take it on as a challenge, even if only as a hypothetical?

I'd go back to the 1980s and focus on the great American Buckminster Fuller's prescient take on corporate personhood in Grunch of Giants. As a futurist, he was pretty good at anticipating memes.  He also proclaimed the innocence of the American people while consigning an obsolete version of the USG to the ash heap of history.

Skeptics will point to Fuller's big mistake: he anticipated a "design science revolution" that would rescue us from immanent catastrophe and put the world on a better track, one involving engineering over politics, General Systems Theory (GST) over LAWCAP (i.e. lawyer-capitalist) economics.

I'd counter that the design science revolution indeed occurred, and is continuing, but was branded as the Open Source Revolution, with Portland, Oregon a capital.  OSCON (O'Reilly's Open Source Convention) is coming back this year, after twice trying to get away from the Oregon vortex.

A lot of journalists maybe think said open source revolution was a bust, judging from how the Dot Com Bubble left so many investors in the lurch.  A few made out like bandits, but the narrative, about Linux and free software dominating the world, seemed to have fizzled.  The documentary Revolution OS provides good background.

I'd disagree with this analysis.  So-called capitalism runs atop these design science layers, even if LAWCAP's bookkeeping fails to properly value their worth.  Where would we be without Python or NodeJS?  That's a rhetorical question.

The new USA operating system (USG prototype) that's emerging in our midst already contains a hard reset in the 1980s and hasn't been on board with the Grunch in more recent pre-emptive, unilateral invasions and naked attacks.  Imperialism is for the birds.

The transparently mercenary activities of those abandoning the US Constitution is making history for sure.

I'm not claiming this story-line is going to be popular or well-known. That was more of an exercise in consistency.

The new USA is not at war with Iran and seeks nuclear disarmament.  Let the LAWCAP puppets say otherwise.  Their credibility is already shot in my book.

They lied about Vietnam.  They lied about Iraq and Afghanistan.


Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Post (movie review)

I waited until Superbowl Sunday (LII i.e. 52) to think back on this movie. My main takeaway was "well crafted" in terms of summarizing the issues and relationships and adding to CR (consensus reality) in the form of a Spielberg movie, with big name stars.

The release of the Pentagon Papers, as they came to be called, is important to tackle and retell.  I'm glad to see the movie industry rising to the occasion.

McNamara tells Graham, the publisher, that the Pentagon Papers are not for the present, but for posterity. We're explaining in retrospect how the American War came to be lost by its losers.  Those living in the Nixon Era should keep fighting to win, as that was their patriotic duty at the time.  McNamara wanted to keep his top secrets for the present.

Confusing, to have time machines bumping into each other like this.  Are we allowed to seize the day?  Lots of young people were dying, or evading the draft, or being held as political prisoners.  The hypocrisy of fighting for something called "freedom" overseas made for plenty of cognitive dissonance.

How does one consciously choose to "live in the past".  It's something one does out of habit.  When awareness expands, there's no going back by simply willing it.  The cognoscenti in the District of Columbia now knew too much to just sit on it.  They had a role in the immediate present.  Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, has to break with McNamara and do her job.

The women have to explain to the men that they're not just taking orders or accepting the status quo they've been handed.  A sense of women pursuing their trajectories, building on past gains, pervades the storytelling.

In our day and age, we have another president embroiled in melodrama around secrets. Should they be published and what do they mean?

Humans have been becoming increasingly skeptical that they're but extras in power games engaged in by various insider cabals. Transparency in the courts, and in government, was a way of countering the willful opacity of oligarchs. 

Democracy was to be our leap forward.  People remember that and bring it up a lot during these important years, in this script at least.  The Cold War was being fought in the same vein, with the USA an ethical champion.  The other side, the enemy, might be deceptive and manipulative, but "our side" was definitely about serving the people. FDR helped inspire such sentiments.

Daniel Ellsberg and company decided their higher duty was to shed light on the hidden "secondary process" rather than remain complicit in a cover up.  This movie clearly shows his motivations, and underlines how widely they were shared.  Nixon's cabal was beginning to unravel.

Dr. Tag, my Palestinian friend, invited me to take in this film with her.  She accomplished the impossible: finding a parking space near the theater, that time of night.  I'd more or less given up and was thinking about how we might reschedule for another day. 

Then we went to Henry's Tavern, the Weinhard brewery's flagship establishment, to discuss the film and its present context.