Sunday, December 15, 2019

Ongoing Wanderers Conversations

Now that Yahoo! Groups is no longer archiving our Wanderers discussions, some of the same threads have meandered over to Facebook, where they gain a different audience.

Here's an example from recent weeks:

Kirby Urner Terry Bristol in this one I give the cosmologists the benefit of the doubt and accept a "heat death of the universe" scenario. Even so, after making that concession (for the sake of diplomacy if nothing else), there's still no justification in physics for the world "going downhill" in the near term. Using "heat death" scenarios to justify poor management is merely farcical, not tragic, and involves extrapolating a misbegotten Malthusianism, coupled with Social Darwinism. I bet Romer would agree.
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  • Terry Bristol The universe is NOT running down. The supposed low entropy beginning is 'impossible to explain – if all processes are entropy increasing. Suggest watching my summer talk in Russia: How the Elements came to be as they are, July 28th, 2019, Mendeleev 150, St. Petersburg

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  • Kirby Urner Only some processes are entropy increasing, not all, in everyday thermodynamics e.g. planet Earth considered as an open system could as easily be syntropic as entropic. To what extent is that difference up to responsible engineering? What difference do the humans make, if any?

    As to whether the universe is ultimately running down, even were we to concede that as a debating maneuver, I would still argue that this has nothing to do with the fate of our Earth for the next million years at least.
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Friday, December 06, 2019

Nobody for Education President

I'm not getting that anyone wants to be the "education president" this election year cycle.  That was a Bush Sr. thing, having come off serving as Reagan's veep.  He wanted to lead us towards the thousand dots of light.

I feel I've learned quite a bit about the veep position, thanks to revisiting Nixon's tenure under president Eisenhower.  That's where Nixon developed his friendship with the various bosses, including Howard Hughes if I'm not mistaken.

A lot of antipathy towards the Castro takeover of Cuba kept building momentum, to where JFK would get the ball.

Back to "education president": those of us in the open source movement (where I take "free software" to be a hard kernel) projected the new accessibility, thanks to lower price, of computing environments, would transform middle and high school mathematics teaching.

SQL would merge with vector graphics.  Polyhedrons would be stored in, and retrieved from, a database, as a routine class exercise.

None of that happened to the extent we expected, as computer science was expected to fend for itself in the harsh turf war jungle.

My idea to go with "lambda" (λ) versus "delta" (Δ) calculus, to stand for computer science versus the older calculus track (each a "calc" of a kind), hadn't yet gained much traction, maybe never would.

Case in point:  a Linux box such as FreeGeek was giving to volunteer recyclers, running Python... or lets say a Raspberry Pi... both already have a tiny SQL machine included, as a part of the "batteries included" Python Standard Library, in the form of sqlite3.

We've had a whole generation go by and maybe some elite prep schools reflecting the new realities. The world needs social engineering, long feared and/or satirized as a bugaboo, but how can we deny the engineering component of designing for a better society?

I'm not surprised the game in my region is keeping current with China | Asia as the trend setter.  True, the Pacific Rim has been like that for awhile.  Japanese culture has strong roots on my town of Portland (Oregon) as well.

Getting more "SQL tea" infusions going in the Silicon Forest is perhaps not the same uphill battle others might face, in less technophile-dominated areas.  We understand engineering has converged with the bureaucracy in the world of operating systems, networking, project management.  Government is not just for lawyers anymore (or perhaps what it means to "program" is changing).

I've not given up on the math-programming hybrid as you might discern from my Youtube channel.

However, I've been over on the PATH side more than STEM recently, working on our bridge over the C.P. Snow chasm (know the one?). Philosophy Anthropology Theater History.  Theater encompasses rhetoric and politics.  Anthropology encompasses architecture and art, and so of course appears likewise in STEAM.  A lot of you know of this wordplay.

Having a philosophy you're clear about, able to defend and explain, is often helpful when it comes to prioritizing STEM projects, either for oneself or others.  People may not share your priorities, but will nevertheless be glad to know what yours are.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gestalts Matter (School of Tomorrow)

"I've been meddling in the election, as a voter, as a citizen..."

We're looking back at April, 2018 as well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The IVM (a space frame) Meets Rust (a language)

Harkening back to OSCON 2019, I'm diving into Rust again, a new fast-growing state of the art computer language.  Or rather, the community of Rust-fluent is fast-growing, whereas Rust is showing signs of stabilizing, much as Python has.  I'm told it inherits from ML, a favorite in the compsci crowd.

I grew up doing non-commercial programming for nonprofits, mostly, though the doctor practice took some initiative in sharing our work with commercial developers.  A real heart surgeon, working closely with a talented programmer (ahem), using Visual FoxPro, could fly around the country showing something battle-tested in CVOR.  No one had anything like it.  People thought I might be standing to make a lot of money, but I was just a consultant for Sisters of Providence, one of Oregon's biggest employers.

This was all before Python even existed, at least in my consciousness, nor did Python come bundled with a core developer supported GUI toolkit.  Guido got some DARPA funding to make Tk/tcl the GUI default, thanks to the tkinter module.  Later DARPA funded the Anaconda team to mainstream Spyder, built not on tcl ("tickle") but Qt ("cute").

Anyway, Rust is coming over the horizon and I have a golden application in the form of quadrays, an alternative vector class that uses the same traits for an interface, in terms of addition, subtraction, scalar multiplication and so on as ordinary XYZ vectors.  You could think of (4, 3, 1, 0) as simply an alternative representation of a corresponding set of XYZ coordinates.  That's what I'm using Rust to figure out.

(base) Kirbys-MacBook-Pro:quadrays mac$ cargo run
   Compiling quadrays v0.1.0 (/Users/mac/rust/projects/quadrays)
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 10.22s
     Running `target/debug/quadrays`
q_a.a = 1
q_a.b = 0
q_sum.c = 1
q_sum.b = 1
xyz coords = [0.0, 0.0, 0.7071067811865475]

xyz coords for (4, 3, 1, 0)  = [0.0, 0.7071067811865475, 2.1213203435596424]

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Joker (movie review)

I've noticed the drop-off in the frequency of my movie reviews, and in my blog posts more generally. In part that's explained by my shifting a lot of weight to Youtube in the interim.  I'm developing skills in a different medium.  My first impulse, after seeing The Joker, was to talk to Youtube about it.

What to single out about Gotham is Gotham itself.  This is a living breathing archetype, so familiar, and so recent past.  Some middle aged might not be used to seeing their adulthood reality cast in such a steely, otherworldly light, as the flickering dream of some past, as seen from a dark ride (like boats floating by dioramas). VCRs, VHS, answering machines... a lot of us are still using that stuff.

The Joker is again all stereotypes and archetypes.  Yes, of course he works as a clown, where as a tragic figure he struggles to stay comic.  The viewer is meanwhile seeking to get the genre.  Is this even a batman film?  In my Youtube review, I keep saying it isn't, while referring to it as the batman film.  It's a film about how Gotham could only have a crazy core, given the despair of urban misery.

The Joker (Arthur) can't help but laugh.  He has a rare form of mental illness that makes him laugh uncontrollably, a kind of turrets.  Or so they say.  We see and hear an animal suffering, and he comes to realize too, that he is so much more a victim than he thought at first.

In Gotham, everything goes from bad to worse, if you're the clown people kick when they're down.

Didn't Salvador Dali report something similar?  He suffered from uncontrollable laughing fits for at least a week or two in his autobiography, which I recall studying in a coffee shop, over a sequence of visits.

The Joker's reality is likewise surreal, but not enjoyable (Dali seemed to be having some fun at least). The twists in this Oedipal Story are twisted, but that's the whole point with Oedipus (that it's twisted).  We're not really going against the grain of Western Culture; we're near its screwed up center.

Are we in the Matrix, or is this Zion?  Is there a difference?  The marriage of heaven and hell.

The class consciousness uprising that the Joker inadvertently sparks, is what brings the Joker himself to higher self awareness.  He does exist, after all.

He's going to break the fourth wall and burst onto the public stage he sees on television.  However it's likewise television that lures him in, Through the Looking Glass style.

In my Youtube I'm raising the dead, one might put it, in bringing up Marshall McLuhan.  What would he say about "hot" versus "cold"?  That Gotham is chill?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Quaker Alchemy

Yes, of course I'm watching to see if humans escalate the direness of their situation, by continuing to attack themselves.  In the Gnostic tradition, a lesser god makes a boo boo, and we're it.

More seriously, there's a chaos factor in play, wherein everyone tries to spin things their way, regardless of what might eventually emerge as the facts of the matter.  Extended forensic analysis is supposedly underway, regarding the origins of these latest attacks on Aramco.

The oil wars have been going on a long time, back burner for some, life destroying for many others.

The only weapons that matter are psychological, and the best ones of all have a healing purpose.

So how are they weapons then, if their intent is to heal?

Anything that presents itself as an obstacle to the will or agenda of some agent or actor in an altercation, is likely to be considered a weapon and/or "weaponized" (as we say today), even if it's rhetorical in nature.

Put another way, if the agenda is outward war (hot), then those aiming to keep it inward (cold) might be considered weapons-wielding, even if their instruments are metaphysical (psychological).

Women healers were accused of witchcraft, for undermining the authority of those with "authorized" status (high priests, church-ordained).  The old folkways would be stamped out, if at all possible.

Physical weapons matter in their physical plane, of blood and guts, bones and muscle.  Human bodies may die in this space, but not so much ideologies.  "You can't kill the devil with a gun or a sword" say the Quakers, paraphrasing their founder George Fox.

However that's not a level at which the most sense gets made. War that holds meaning -- if that's not an oxymoron -- has a psychological side.

Transmuting war from the meaningless physical to a more meaningful level, might be considered both a calling and a skill.  Quaker alchemy?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Graphing Out Loud

The one above is the wind up.

Then comes the pitch.