Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meetinghouse Event

Melody told me about this event, some presentation about the Zapatistas.  What's up in Chiapas, Mexico?  I was curious, so I wandered over, hopping the 75 for a few blocks to save time.

The replacement camera (Nikon Coolpix S8300) had just arrived so I dropped by Freddy's for an SD card (none included).  Kingston 16 GB SDs were on sale for only $13 or something.

As it turns out, it was fortunate for the event leaders that I showed up, as their A/V solution wasn't working out.  The projector stayed blurry no matter how close or far from the screen so reading the menus was impossible, plus they hadn't brought any speakers.  

The Meeting rents out space but tends to not rent A/V equipment, however since I was there, I could access the meeting's projector and speakers and wheel them out.  After some futzing, we got everything working.

Portland has its own relationship with Chiapas and the Zapatistas.  Our presenters, not native Spanish speakers (many Zapatistas aren't either), had been eyewitnesses fairly recently (though not with PBI).

The indigenous people of Chiapas are trying to develop their locale independently of the central government and that's hard for many nationalists to stomach.  The fact that Zapatistas want to run their own school system is hard for the control freaks to accept.

The Zapatistas are routinely bullied, their crops burned, their assets stolen, by rival political parties (read "rival gangs").  The expectation is the new Mexican president, a PRI member, will turn a blind eye to the PRI's persecution of the Zapatista minority.  Other parties also engage in systematic harassment and terrorization against this unwanted (by them) upstart party.

Thanks to video campaigns, knowledge of this kind of harassment and displacement (ethnic cleansing etc.) is widely publicized.  New Yorkers know about it too.

The conversation then turned to the Drug Wars, which rage more in the north of Mexico, not in Chiapas.  One of the Mexican nationals in our group made a speech about how USAers only needed to educate their children to not want drugs, and all would be well.  

The impact of ending Prohibition was not discussed, although that's the direction many states in the North American Federation have been taking, slowly but surely.  Another Mexican national pointed out that we had strayed from the core topic, as the war on the Zapatistas was distinct, politically and sociologically, from the Drug Wars (aka Prohibition).

The primary group leader was in a hurry to catch a plane.  She went through a few more slides, after showing two videos and going over the history.  She put the meetinghouse doors on self locking, and returned the key to the mailbox (standard procedure).  I helped with cleanup, and locked the projector away, but then left the other group leader in charge.

I joined Patrick and Steve at The Bagdad, staying on until Happy Hour.

Tomorrow I have an AFSC meeting and will mention attending this event.  Melody was aware of it thanks to her AFSC connections I'm pretty sure.  She used to work with AFSC more concertedly back in Austin.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Study Hall

Even in Windows XP I was able to get VPython working on Python 3.2 in a virtualenv, editing through PyCharm.  Then I pip installed redis just to prove I could do it, having spent much of the morning reading up on that.  Looks like interprocess JSON with persistence.  I didn't understand about messaging as my client seemed to block on listening, so how was that gonna help?  WinXP has both server and client, though not recommended for production use.

A blooming buzzing garden of such tools and toys, running in ensemble, with simple demo code, pared down, for teaching purposes, is what Free Geek might help staff, if not host.  OSDL?  There needs to be something more contemporary than a museum, although there's no rule against museums being contemporary, so maybe that's not right.  Portland Knowledge Lab was how I used to refer to it, copying London's (where I'd given a presentation on my way to a meeting), but I let that go out of focus when the Active Space experiment ended, in disillusionment with Metro Wifi.

My audience or client base, updating from CUE days, are still those do-gooder nonprofits and idealists.  But we're not in Kansas anymore, using WordPerfect + dBase (my "good old days").  Today, it's more about mod_wsgi (still) and Tornado and noSQL.  The clay, the source, is all out there.  "Use the source Luke" is the new commandment.  But are we getting anywhere?  Is STEM gaining in traction?

Redis has you talking through a port, I gather through sockets.  Surely those aren't HTTP requests.  No, it has its own protocol.  Like JSON in that respect.  The guarantee is transactions are atomic, as this is one thread (each redis instance).  You could probably sell seats with this thing, and not promise the same one to any more than one.

Before that, I was boning up on gevent + gunicorn, a hot new way to serve processes.  I couldn't tell if I'd use Celery in addition to or in lieu of, but I get the idea:  lots of event loops running in user space, context switching there, rather than kernel space (the mod_wsgi solution).  I watched a talk on Blip.TV comparing that dynamic duo with more traditional solutions.  Where high availability is concerned, gevent + gunicorn is looking pretty good, a plus for Python.

I've got DjangoCon on my radar.  Should I duplicate this WinXP configuration on Lion?  Yes, that would seem prudent.  The PyCharm product is something I might get an academic discount on, once we've completed a work process, but for now I'm just using on free 30 day trial.  Will it use Akbar font if I like, is a next question.  I'll get back to y'all when I figure that out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Design Science 2.0

Yes, that's a somewhat tongue in cheek allusion to Tim O'Reilly's invention, Web 2.0.  Actually he was just captioning an important plot twist (AJAX), thereby catalyzing it (by naming it).

Might DS2 be up for designing new religions?  The question is rhetorical, per Triumph of the Moon, in the Wicca is one of several "designer religions" of recent vintage. Or call it "social engineering", or call it Disney World (another example).

YouTubes of Mecca are interesting, even for people that go there.

Lots of Iranian kids are feeling drawn to their older-than-Islam heritage.  No different here, w/r to Xtianity.  The best religions are still ahead of us?  I don't think it's necessary to defend that claim.  There've been some good ones.

To add more religions is not to destroy existing ones, or if they're that fragile... there's always room for another tribe.  I was discussing these matters over cider, beer and cigars this evening, contemplating choices.

I mentioned appreciating a positive spin on "witches" as well as "wizards" and keeping the links with geekery, tools use, health sciences, technology.  Witches were / are STEM teachers, role models for girl and boy scouts both (one needs models across genders).

I don't know if putting a lot of attention on geometry makes it sacred, but from Synergetics I'd inherit its relevance to a grammar (in Wittgenstein's sense of a logic or language game).  The U = MP idea still looks pretty usable.  "Metaphysical" in the sense of what's not "physical" in the sense of wiggling needles.

But then polygraphs consist of wiggling needles, lets remember.  Neuroscience is building its inventory of instruments.  Lying or tainted truth takes its physical toll sometimes.  We pay a physical price for trafficking in misinformation, as propagators of meme viruses.  On the other hand, nature has many ways to divert attention.  She's a master of disguises.  Masks.

These are hardly new planks for a religious platform., but then we'd expect plenty of continuity.  Eternal / perennial philosophy is what it is, with an institutional framework.  I've been thinking in terms of coffee shops and didactic game playing, a casino for channeling surplus while building both brand and cause loyalty.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Faster Forward


I've continued to agitate, per usual, on behalf of STEM, contra the over-specializers.  I think feedback loops groom singularities and I'm one of them, but so are a lot of people.

Calling me a "spin doctor" is quite accurate though.  The term usually has derogatory connotations, so I'm not being boastful that much, except to acknowledge I'm pretty good at it.  I had good teachers.

The "Happy Camper Brigade" (HCB) as I call it took off for Patrick's place, thence to the coast.  They phoned HQS for an update about the detour.  They'll be going out of range.  I just texted a reminder to turn off cell phone power or the battery will drain.  I know Melody has a charger but they won't always be in a place to use that.

Have a great trip Alex, if I don't see you again before you go.

I tried to get another basement involved as back up, which we'd use today, given Lindsey is out of town.  We'll see if that works, where food storage is concerned.  In the meantime, I'm sure we can handle it (don't pass that back, if you read this in my blog).

Does thinking in nationalistic terms destroy an analysis to the point of unreadability?  Not usually.  You can still read the things, just they're not very smart.  Accounting for nationalism, on the other hand, is something else, and should always be done, if relevant.

I'm reviewing a lot of history these days, and not just through print media by a long shot.  Tara is in final count down.  Betsey from our Meeting will be visiting her in October.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fast Forward

"Accelerating acceleration" seems to be the name of the game, shades of Alvin Toffler.  One's own life is its own succession of "future shocks".

I'm working with Saturday Academy again, to bring some of the latest technology into classrooms for young teens.  Mostly people don't provide that as a service.  I'm talking about Python 2.7 with Visual Python.  The computer lab is at a local university.

Tonight Tara and I hopped a bus to see for ourselves what this vigil around City Hall is all about.  A corner of the park where Occupy was based last October serves as a compact little picnic area.  Many of those present are homeless.  Cities do not always tolerate gatherings of this kind.

Zucchini with Pesto

This particular initiative has been going on for awhile.  I've been reading up on the twists and turns in Willamette Week and Mercury.  Negotiating the status of R2D2 (Right To Dream Too), a long-running occupation of a privately owned property -- with owner permission -- has been a part of it.

Monday night I hauled food to Colonel Summers from St. David of Wales, and then headed over to Barley Mill to catch up on reading.  Then I returned to the park to chat with some of the people I know there, such as the Jennings, Melody and others.

There's too much going on to capture all the details, either for myself or these blogs.  I'm sure it's no different for others.  Lots just flows through the nets.

Tara and I took the 14 back towards the neighborhood though she alighted early to catch some comedy at Helium across from Lucky Lab.

I went on to Pauling House where Bob McGown was holding forth, but decided I needed to work instead so wandered over to Powell's Books on Hawthorne and jacked in.

Hours later, I'm still working, though I've shifted the venue.

I did find some time to post to the Wittgenstein list, thinking about thoughts some more.

A Day Job
:: franz hall ::