Monday, February 06, 2023

Unobtanium

Flextegrity Garden


Sam confirmed my fear that C6XTY would soon be more impossible to come by. Unobtanium. 

He at one time had large amounts, cite Lattice Gallery.  Designed in the Silicon Forest, Made in China. 

But "the west" (if we want to call it that) proved uninterested. No time. No space. Other priorities. 

So now a lot of it is gone for good, as Sam was not about to shoulder the storage costs all by his lonesome.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Chatter Boxen

Something unkind to say about a person is that so-and-so is a chatter box.  This kind of put down may be less necessary in cultures where people are more glued to their devices and therefore more likely to delegate chattering to the professional chatterboxen who do it for a living.

Bringing up Hugh Kenner at this juncture is a kind of no-brainer.  He was writing about Eliza and such early in the computer revolution.  I have a distinct memory of him getting Eliza and Racter to talk with one another ("talk") in an article in Byte Magazine (McGraw-Hill) for which he wrote a column.

One needn't have a highly developed sense of irony to see everyone cranking out variations of the same article.  The writer does some "research" (reads other articles), then "digests", the puts it back out there in a grammatical form.  Does the chatter box do any less?  The game is to get the next word right.  Stick to beaten paths.

Naturally the chatter boxen trigger various insecurities.  The automated dolls, the miniature robots, made by the French, were unsettling back then (around the time of The Turk).

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Synergy

I’m listening to a recording of Peter Meisen and company on the 52 Living Ideas channel.  Bear Island, Maine, duh, not Massachusetts. 

He is talking about the emergency situation in Ukraine, in the context of introducing the idea of Synergy. His focus is the energy budget, and the mix of resources, renewables versus coal.  Shrikant wants to get those already steeped in the Bucky stuff to expound upon these words “synergy” and “emergence”.

My focus these days has been Grunch dashboards, enterprise level instrumentation developed with tools such as dash and plotly, perhaps in tandem with pandas DataFrames.  We’re talking real time monitoring in many cases, of oil rigs for example.  I’m remembering a EuroPython talk.  The technology is a moving target.  I meandered over to Google Earth in one of my tabs, to talk about data visualization as seamless with these satellite painted global data displays.

Long time readers of this blog may know about my Global Data Corporation, which one might call science fictional.  The murky origins were not in Delaware, in “whiteman law” as I called it, but in native peoples (“tribes” is OK, I’m not at Stanford) learning the language of supranationalism, and hearing much of our nation-state talk as holdover Anglo imperialism.  I didn’t want Global Data in the lineage of the treaty breakers.

Thanks to the DSR (design science revolution), the core ideas and algorithms tend to percolate outward to the periphery.  Global Data is fringe in that way, over the horizon, outside the everyday jurisdiction of most business paradigms.  

Through computer science, linear algebra, machine learning and other STEM language games, we make a bridge to this alternative commercial sector shoptalk.  The language of open source interweaves.  As I was telling my students, there’s still plenty of room for private enterprise in the context of communally shared tools.  PayPal calls it “Inner Source” (bringing the communal way of doing things in-house and making it proprietary).  Cynics will cry “co-optation” but what’s free and open poses a non-trivial challenge, a form of competition that tends to cow the more cowardly capitalists.

The Anglos are used to exercising their right to contradict where foundational metaphysics is concerned.  To what extent is the “3Dness” of space a mere dogma?  Heresy.  

I talk about “hypercross dogmatics” and a quasi-religious streak in establishment science, in its embrace of Abbott’s Flatland and the mysteries of the tesseract (hyper cube). We boot a belief in the transcendent with the perpetuation of a priesthood, an elite, with a few from the laity, when we speak in hushed tones of multi-dimensionality.

Speaking of my confusion, regarding the timeline, the location of Bear Island, I'd also managed to scramble the order of the books we all talk about.  Tetrascroll came well before Critical Path, not after.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

More Echo Chambers

Water Works

We should revisit the image of "echo chamber", which I think is a good one, yet even more powerful if paired with other words such as "groupthink" and "choir", even "silo".  I'd make a great machine learner, or am one already, as Chelsea Manning suggested in Berlin that time.

Yes, I've been exploring the world (planet) of NLP, natural language processing.  The specialists have carved out a nifty niche, with a smooth vocab, kudos to University of Toronto.  

When I tell the story, I let Regular Polytopes hitch a ride on the ML bandwagon, because Graph Theory, because Linear Algebra.  I'm linking Regular Polytopes to Coxeter of course, also University of Toronto, and practitioner of hyper-dimensional Euclidean language games.

Did you know Coxeter lent his suite at Cambridge to the Wittgenstein posse, even after deciding what passed for hot philo was not his cup of tea.  Ludwig (LW) had entered his "second phase" by then ("language games"), if I'm not mistaken.  My source is the Siobhan Roberts Donald Coxeter bio:  The King of Infinite Space.  She did a later bio of Conway.

I'm not the expert in the room when it comes to NLP.  I do rub up against Machine Learning in my contemporary role on faculty, but more the way a high school teacher rubs against higher math, as an admirer and fan.  I'll lurk in on Andrius talking Sheffer Polynomials and even get deeper into his slides, but I'm not venturing as an equal into the ring.  I'm an apprentice at best in so many arenas.

My understanding is a breakthrough in the concepts of Attention and Self Attention (operationally defined) has enabled "next word predictors" to take more context into account, in addition to word order.  Would it be right to say a weighted semantic network develops internally, connecting higher attention words to their most frequent associates?  "Michelin" goes with "guide" "travel" and "tourist" as well as "tire".

Speaking of tourism and travel, at one point I was told, while gazing over the maze-like pattern of walls and chambers in the Colosseum in Rome, that I was seeing the ruins of a medieval castle that occupied the Roman stadium in a later century.  I believed that, but was recently talked into accepting these walls and chambers date to Roman times, while the castle story is also true (they're not mutually exclusive). 

Actually, my family, mother in particular, knows more about that castle than most, having taken an interest in Jacopa Frangipani, a luminary protagonist in her The Lions and The Lamb, an historical fiction novel, unpublished.  The Frangipanis owned the castle.  Jacopa was a friend and admirer of St. Francis.

You may have picked up on what I'm doing here:  showing off what "real intelligence" (vs the phony stuff) is still capable of, in contrast.  Everything may appear strung together haphazardly, but on deeper digging, everything checks out.  Eat your heart out GPT-3.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Of Sex and Gender

UN Systems

I've been delving into the various echo chambers (choirs) regarding sex 'n gender recently.  I haven't seen What is a Woman? yet, the documentary style talking points maker, but I've watched several reviews, which feature excerpts.  I catch Tucker Carlson from time to time, who rants on these and other issues.  I tune in channels by trans, feminist and academic content creators.  The internet makes it easy.

Beyond the internet, I've also had my share of life experiences, and welcome my continuing education.  I'm not done developing my views, but do have habits of mind, or call them ruts, or grooves.  I'll lay some tracks, to give a sense of where I'm at.

When I say "rants" coming from a Quaker background, I mean "as a ranter would do" which, in Friendly parlance, is in contrast to the "quietest" who mostly says nothing at all in Meeting for Worship.  Call me a "ranter" too then, as I'm outspoken in my Quaker journals (aka blogs).  Expect some polemics in other words, some invective.

What I'm patting myself on the back for these days, is noticing how "race versus ethnicity" parallels "sex versus gender".  In both cases, the former is something they inform you of, tell you about.  You don't get to contradict them.  "You're Black" says the world, and you'd better believe that, or else.

In the case of race, there's no surgery or hormonal pathway for transitioning, say to Red or Yellow (that's how the game goes) and it wouldn't matter anyway as the whole point with racial categories is people are stuck with what they are, even if they try to "disguise the truth" and "pass" for something else.

Before you attack me, the messenger, for this news about "race", its indelibility and immutability, let me assure you I'm no believer in "races".  I am not a lawyer for this concept.  It has too many holes.  They were already practicing racism when I got here, never asking me what I thought.

Too many perfect humans fall through the cracks as "mixed race" and the pure archetypes (how many? how many pure races are there really?), the primary colors (from which others derive), are hard to come by and agree upon (does "white" really have to be one of them, only to then be treated as "special" as in "white is not a color"? -- seems corrupt and/or bad design). 

I've traced a lot of racial thinking to the story of Noah and family in the Bible.  Since humanity had been "pinched off" by the Great Flood, racial diversity could only be explained in terms of Noah's descendants.  It took the Tower of Babel to get them to spread around.

Speaking of humans spreading around the planet, the social construct they call "the system of nation states" isn't working out all that well either (nice try?).  Too many have had to live their whole lives as "undocumented" and/or as nationless refugees, while in the meantime the whole concept of "sovereignty" is routinely violated.  

I've been a lifelong fan of the United Nations, yet its credibility has diminished over time, thanks to all the flagrant violations of international norms by member states.  I see a broken bureaucracy.

Do we have some alternative?  Not really.  Citizen diplomacy maybe, i.e. human-to-human relating.  

Diplomacy is everyone's business, not just of those with diplomas.  

The Truckers for Peace Program fits in here.

The "race meme" is inextricably mixed with the "breed meme" of animal husbandry.  Humans can, in principle, be bred into breeds, with various traits deliberately inbred to define the brand.  I'm not saying I'm in favor of such eugenic practices.  I'm saying the practice of animal husbandry provides a conceptual foundation for racial concepts.  

Most of us qualify as mongrels, or commoners.  The purebreds count as royalty.  It's an archaic system, a blend of many mental habits, including the arithmetic of fractions (as when one is 1/8th or 1/32nd some specific race or races).

In any case, I'm no eugenicist, nor even a dog breeder (not that I'm against breeding dogs, or cats, or horses...).  

I'm for humans having babies with whomever others consent and commit to such a project.  

I'm also fine with humans choosing not to have any babies at all.  

We get lots of babies, and don't care for them sufficiently, as it is.  We abort a lot of them in theater, on life's battlefields, and a lot of others before birth.  Adoption makes sense.  I'm not proposing anything new in making these remarks, nor telling you how to live your life.

Ethnicity, on the other hand, is more fluid, like gender.  

You may be born into a cult, and not even see it as a cult into you grow out of it later (perhaps with no hard feelings, as growing is not always "escaping" -- perhaps this cult was benign).  Looking back, you see a lineage of "former yous" (the yous you used to be).  

That's like a movie synopsis of your individual journey, in the course of which you may take on the traits of many ethnicities, from language to eating habits to political outlook and so on.  

Your ethnicity is akin to your personality, of which your gender forms a part, and attaches to your psychic life more than to your physicality.  Ethnicity is more epigenetic (transmitted outside the chromosomal mechanism).  Buddhist priests come in all shapes and sizes (makes and models).

Race wants to be genetic but has an insecure foothold in contemporary science (no race genes) and could better be ditched all together, to our collective advantage, as "man's most dangerous myth" to quote Dr. Ashley Montagu.

How might we apply the word "trans" in anthropology and philosophy, in connection with changing one's ethnicity?   If an aspiring Jesuit decides to abandon that path and marry a Korean partner instead, isn't that a kind of transitioning?  No plastic and/or cosmetic surgery may be involved.  

Might the more gender fluid trans from gender to gender on a moment by moment basis?  People are allowed to have chimerical, enigmatic and/or mercurial personalities.  How might "gender" figure in?  What's the upper limit on "rate of change"?

Having pride is on the healthier side, feeling ashamed less so, would be my rule of thumb.  But then, as a reproach, we may ask a stranger, with some moral outrage "have you no shame?".   Those incapable of embarrassment (let alone shame) seem lower on the ladder of moral righteousness.  Is that a problem with the ladder?

As teachers, as conveyors of cultural values, we may be enlisted into, cast and tasked with, making clear what shame is all about and when one should have some. 

To this day I recall Mrs. Cunningham in my third grade Junior English School describing the shameful behavior of these strapping young boys on the public bus, too thoughtless, too unaware, to consider offering a seat to frail elders around them.  What were the other passengers thinking of them?  I road the bus a lot as a kid.  I'd always offer my seat to the old people.

We should investigate "guilt" in this same context.  I'd say in all cases there's pressure to develop self awareness, which is the flip side of seeing oneself from many points of view.  "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic" is a good one.  

Nags of guilt suggest new camera angles, perhaps previously unconsidered, and corrective action.  The stimuli feed an "OODA loop" to use some jargon.  Guilt is worthless if not eventually turned into consciously considered cues, to be dealt with.  To be consciously ignored (dismissed) in some cases, wisely heeded in others.

Talking about these surgeries as "cosmetic" gets people riled, as when you call it all "world game" and they say "it's not a game" i.e. to seemingly trivialize and make shallow is insulting and offensive in their estimation and they fight back, feeling provoked.  Perhaps the speaker was being provocative?  I don't know, I wasn't there.

I'm one of those who think growing a thicker skin is usually a better and more practical strategy than socially protecting fragility by means of covert hostility, threats of canceling and deplatforming (what hanging by the neck also entailed). 

Railing against those engaged in "hate speech" is too often itself a form of unreflective "hate speech".  At least it's speech, lets give it that.  If someone claims a speech inspired one to commit violence, does blame automatically adhere to the speaker?  Is the speech itself the crime, or the violence committed?

The contest is forever politeness (polity) and civility versus what's rude and crude.  What does it take to maintain equilibrium in psychologically buffeting weather.  Sometimes what's cruder also adds more intelligibility.  Electric storms have a way of clearing the air.  Sometimes a civil synopsis and summary restores equanimity and further processing capacity.

The Bible gets away with "all is vanity" and that's definitely a way of looking.  What's psychologically healthy is when God is proud of His creation (in patriarchy), not so much when the individual is bursting with self pride in some zero sum game against the balance (i.e. "the other people").  

"Me against the World" pride is at least a tad demonic, but in a divine, angelic kind of way that God Himself loves and forgives (as He does the Miltonian devil).  The only sin is in not being proud of all of it, which we mortals are incapable of being in the first place, hence the original fall.  In the minimal mirror of all Creation, God is eternally regenerative, to summarize Synergetics.

Having seen Avatar 2 recently, I do wonder if a combination of "cosmetic surgery" and "breeding" will move some of humanity towards under ocean living.  We wouldn't be the first big brained mammal to choose this environment.  I've used an "aqua lung" in my day (scuba diving equipment).  

I've sometimes joked I foresee a three pronged future for humans:  those that stay as we are, those that adapt to life underwater, and those that adapt to life in outer space.  

Am I talking about three wholly separate species eventually, that no longer biologically interbreed?  

Hey, it's science fiction.  Lets explore the possibilities.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Blockchain for Fiat Currencies?

save_crypto

I'm in student mode here (as I am at least 80% of the time let's presume), sitting in Econ class (or is it GST?).  I'm learning about the blockchain in the context of Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining.  I get the elegance of the scheme, and yes, its limitations.

So my question is:  can't we play this with dollars too?   Or any specific currency for that matter?

What the blockchain solves, is any hanky-panky based on writing checks before others clear, thereby engaging in money creation, which only banks are allowed to do, supposedly under regulator scrutiny.

The blockchain or shared ledger provides a set of uncookable books, if implemented correctly

The different block-makers learn of transactions over a time period, and box them up in a tetrahedral block (just to get that tetrahelix image going).  

A contest is held, and the winner gets to add their block to the veridical strand of "what really happened", and gets paid in the process.

When prototyping, I tend to think in terms of "theme parks" (don't we all?), but also "refugee camps" and other overlays.  On this campus, whatever dollars you like get committed to an electronic wallet that you now get to spend.  Maybe you're paid through your wallet? 

They're dollars, not Bitcoin.  Fiat can play this game too, with the same incentives (i.e. "no cheating").  Am I wrong?

What are the advantages of using your dollars electronically?  It's up to the theme park to make that clear.  The experiment may not be about anonymity.  On the contrary, everyone has access to everyone else's expenditures.  That just happens to be the game here.

Maybe instead of "theme park" we should introduce our mixed use skyscraper, the one with work, home and play, shopping, medical care, and funereal services, a columbarium, all in the one tower or campus complex ("all under one dome" might be the expression).

My other observation, about "blockchain" as a meme, is that it represents "omni-triangulation" i.e. our power to squeeze lies (misinformation) out of the system is increasing exponentially in light of increasing fluency and monitoring.  

Getting away with fraud is getting harder in principle, thanks to techno-integration.

A lot of what's happening is those accustomed to relying on deception are encountering new learning curves, some of which are proving too steep, breaking the banks as it were.

When you're done at the theme park, whatever you have left in your electronic wallet, that you didn't spend, is still usable.  Withdraw it for cash at the ATM if you like.  There's no "currency conversion".  Everything stays M1.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Winter Solstice 2022

Winter Solstice 2022

Untitled

Untitled

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Slides Again

Today I dive back into data science world, with a new cohort.  This curriculum is primarily not by me; I add some wrinkles.  I'm happy with the content though, and don't mind using the canned slide decks.

In the embedded video I make it sound like people using decks by others is either a no-no or has never been thought of before I came along.  On the contrary, many a corporate training, say an onboarding, was canned long ago as a PowerPoint.  Every day, people sit through presentations of slides done by people other than the presenter.

That being said, in wanting to inject my own contribution into the mix, I get to stand back and take a look at current and/or best practices, regarding slide decks and the protocols around sharing them.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Advice Column

Perhaps the hallmark of the "modern European nation" in terms of liberalism is it doesn't conceive of itself as being in orbit around (controlled by) any one ethnicity (whatever the one). 

Israel stands out as the hallmark ethnic state, and as such is the envy of many. But then Israel is not in Europe and Saudi Arabia is just as ethnocentric in its own way (we should talk about Britain more). 

The American ideal is closest to having "race creed" etc. not matter on paper, even if in practice people are jerks. 

This is why any talk of "Ukraine for Ukrainians, make us be in Europe now!" sounds so oxymoronic. The Europeans think: "you must be civilized first, and treat the Russians as equals" to which the Ukrainians reply "wait, don't you hate the Russians too?" which to many is the clinching argument. 

What we need is more agreement on "totalitarianism is bad" (dystopian) without all the old branding. We've outgrown the old comic books.

What I'd remind Ukrainians of is that we're ethnically Russian over here too, in America. 

Not only Russian, obviously. 

Lots of Ukes. Lots of Ruskies. 

We've learned to live together. 

Sometimes I think Euros falsely conclude, based on clown shows in DC and recycled NATO propaganda, that America is foundationally Russophobic. To those with such a shallow understanding I'd say: keep digging. History is more complicated than good versus bad. 

If you moralize a lot (or too quickly?), consider you might be a dummy.

XREF:  

Statecraft: the Crafting of States
Rebuilding Ukraine
Breakaway Republics
Ethnocentrism

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Synchronous Vs Asynchronous

Sy

Today I had a wealth of education programs to choose from, some synchronous, some asynchronous.  One should always prioritize the now or never synchronous opportunities, as a rule of thumb.  However "opportunity" means "affordably passed up" i.e. if it feels mandatory maybe they shouldn't pretend you had a choice.

You know the law has you pinned down when your only button is Accept, in the face of endlessly scrolling legalize.  What they know about you is you might sue if you find a loophole.  "Accept that we have our defenses arrayed against you" says the button.  You press it, if you want to continue with the installation and boot up experience.

As you can tell, I'm in favor of the shorter open source user end licenses, which boil down to "without warranty, go for it".  Then you learn to trust the various scouts as to what's malware or irkware or nagware.  People have different levels of tolerance, with some motivated by sheer curiosity to visit the dark side of the dark side.

Open source is more than that though and I don't mean to short circuit or take lightly the long hours of philosophizing distilled in discussions of the GPL and so on.  I've attended live Richard Stallman talks on more than one occasion, with Portland once billed as a capital of open source, back when that meant a lot to the computer literate.

What I ended up doing with my morning was engaging in telecommunications about pending business regarding acquiring a dog.  I was reminded of ducking out of a meeting at SNEC's founding, in DC, at a house hosted by R. Chu.  E.J. Applewhite followed me out to the sidewalk, curious to overhear what conversation might be important enough to take me out of this synchronous opportunity.  

Overhearing my side, he assumed my wife and I were talking about a servant.  We were actually talking about a dog.  My wife was in an awkward situation, having taken Sarah (our mutt) to a Quaker gathering, a camp, where said dog was not on her best behavior, or such is my recollection.  

I was amused Ed was thinking that (that I had a servant), or pretended to, and that he got me telling the truth in short order.  SNEC = Synergeticists of the Northeast Corridor, an acronym since jettisoned.

Next, I'm going to hop on Protonmail and write about Dark Horse comics (not as a know-it-all mind you, more as a know-nothing).  I'll be overlapping with the TrimTabbers, who were meeting about Applewhite's Cosmic Fishing this morning.  

That was one of my synchronous opportunities.  This will be another way of jumping in on that thread, asynchronously.