Sunday, November 30, 2014


After watching a few motivational Youtubes about Neo4j, which I'd been playing with using the default Movies tutorial, py2neo just started working as advertised.

What I'm still not clear on is where this data persists, and will Tom Hanks come floating to the surface, some castaway, perhaps lost in our Quaker terminal?

The "4j" should be seen as meaning "for Java" i.e. Neo4j targets the JVM, as do Scala and Clojure.  No matter:  the C-family of Pythons have an API to the engine, just as they have the standard DB API for talking to SQL engines.

Neo4j, in being an open source graph database, is "not SQL" or "~SQL" per the graphic below, aimed at elucidating Model, View, Controller architecture in the form of a web application.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1 (movie review)

My daughter warned me as I entered one of Plato's many caves (The Bagdad) -- having just bought her his Republic, a new translation -- that this would not be a happy world, beer and pizza notwithstanding, nor one tied off with a bow (being a Part One).

Katniss, Tara noted (having seen it earlier), had broken through to a next meta-level of The Hunger Games when manipulating cat behavior in a bomb shelter (cave), suddenly seeing her own role (as Katniss) with new eyes (bingo, enlightenment strikes).

I'm somewhat in awe of this whole series which snuck up on me.  The pieces it fits together are pieces we've seen before, but the arrangement seems deftly done and that impresses me.  More to think about.  The Wag the Dog aspect is especially intriguing i.e. the PR dimension.

I've been writing about PR a lot on the Math Forum, sometimes in complement with a disillusioned "mad man" from Bangalore, soured on sloganeering from having pushed too many products he did not personally approve of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Onion Pie

Steve Holden is a pretty good chef and blogs have traditionally kept recipes.  I only have one so far, for a lentil dish.  Here's another:

Take six pounds of onions, and chop off tips, skin outer layer, halve, then slice with cross-section laying flat.

Add to large sauce pan with stick of butter and steam over medium heat until cooked down and flavorful, about 25 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425F.

Add to onions:  four slices (rashers) of sliced bacon, sauteed; pint of sour cream; two heaping tablespoons flour; salt; pepper, four eggs lightly whipped to blend yokes.

Fill pie shells and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown.

Extra filling may go in portion-sized bowls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NYPM IT Comm Business

I was cracking some jokes with the IT Committee about our retro, largely spreadsheet-based record keeping practices within NPYM.

We're not universally using such scatter-brained tech, as M3 uses Quickbooks, which is at least database based, what you need where monetary transactions are happening.  Keeping track of money on spreadsheets is not especially professional, though they're great for "what if" planning and doodling.

Imagine a futuristic NPYM wherein the Secretary, wanting a list of current M&O clerks throughout the region, simply runs a reporting routine that polls the MM servers behind the scenes.  These Meetings of Record, the Monthly Business Meetings, are where the real action is and their servers are on-line 24/7.

NPYM is just about gathering together a few summary reports and providing Directory Services, in addition to producing Annual Session, our roaming conference, like a circus.

In reality though, in 2014, we use only a few SQL engines, let alone NoSQL engines, for member tracking and there's no uniform API allowing the central office to send HTTP requests to any of them, for a list of current members.  They're not on-line in the first place.

Meetings do not host CMFs and/or depend on FGC Cloud Services, even though NPYM is technically not within FGC.  Friends tend to use Facebook instead, which I'm not saying is terrible, but the data then goes to Facebook, not to our offices.

I've set a target of 2016 for having at least two Monthly Meetings able to demonstrate an ability to let households maintain their own records on-line.  Our NPYM Directory would then practice polling them in answer to NPYM Secretary queries.  Worth a try anyway.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back to Teasing

We've got this character named Israeli Knight, seriously.  I call him IK for short (see below).

You can dig through math-teach yourself if interested, an acquired taste for sure.

Anyway, he's a racist of the classic sort, and Biblical to boot, so I asked him this question, as a way of spiraling back to a favorite video:
Say IK I've been wanting your take on this short operetta about a black King and a white woman who decide to collaborate on an oasis development project, thereby attracting attention from the natives. Do you think it's a good idea to form inter racial business partnerships of this kind?

Ongoing repartee: [1][2][3]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CitizenFour (movie review)

Big slow-moving bureaucracies that can't do their own thinking are easy targets for the faster thinkers, human individuals, brains with integrity, geeks or what have you.

The NSA is easy to crack and spy on, its mostly military-minded leaders none too bright and none too keen on protecting the Constitution, which they most likely know little to nothing about.

Google is easy to spy on as well, as is Verizon.  These companies have little to no ability to protect against serious investigative reporters, let alone geeks.

The table-turning of Wikileaks etc. is obvious:  the real intelligence community owns the unimaginative bureaucrats, the laughing stock victims of professional spying.

No, I'm not saying Snowden was a criminal, guilty of espionage.  Like Manning, he's a bright kid who wants to uphold and defend democracy.  He thinks for himself.  Unlike most generals.

So what do we learn from "spying" on the NSA: that most of its people are average Americans e.g. they get along to go along and aren't particularly principled.  So what else is new?   The technology is new.

I remember researching "PGP guy" (Zimmermann) versus Bobby Inman (then head of NSA).  Should ordinary citizens have a military-grade skill set?  The opportunity, the freedom to have that, is what counts.

Organized government, like organized religion, says no.  Who asked them though, right?

Anyway, PGP plays a role in this movie, as does encryption as a general theme.

This film could be shown in high schools to:

(a) inspire patriotism and respect for geeks and
(b) motivate more learning of maths, crypto in particular.

I saw it with Carol and Melody at Living Room Theater #6 in downtown Portland, a couple blocks from the main Powell's.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Martian Math

1 x 1 = 1

2 x 2 = 4

3 x 3 = 9

3 x 2 = 6

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Wanderers 2014.11.4

David Chandler was our speaker tonight.  He's made a name for himself in 911 circles by proving, fairly persuasively, that WTC-7 fell "at the speed of gravity" meaning "controlled" demolitions were happening, in addition to crashing airplanes (no airplane hit "WTF-7").

NIST in its final report agrees WTC-7 was in free fall for over two seconds.  The North and South Towers had their own pathologies.

The Twin Towers were certainly alluring as a symbol of cogitation, including to me, in nearby Jersey City for some years, a high school math teacher.  I was taken up with the plight of Tibet and seeing office towers as a place for "virtual nations", like corporations, to base themselves.

My fantasies tended toward offices of the Dalai and Panchen Lamas in respective towers, maybe goofy but I thought poetic, given the imposing nature of the towers.  This was before the family relocated its HQS to Bhutan.

Were one to dig up my crudely hand-drawn comic books of the day, the Twin Towers in silhouette would show up on various pages, and one might imagine I had nefarious designs.  The designs were benign however.

I'd ride the PATH train from Jersey City to WTC quite often, Manhattan's Penn Station even more often.  I had other designs as well, our family (dad in particular) having "planning" on its resume:  for a high definition Dymaxion Map billboard on the back of Loew's Theater (near my house); a rail spur to Newark Airport (like Portland's MAX to PDX); an IMAX in The Stanley.


:: big dreams for JCNJ ::

When 911 actually happened, Dawn and I, in Portland, Oregon, were expecting a wedding anniversary, which it was, but not one of the normal kind obviously.

As a matter of logic, one cannot conclude from evidence of an intentional demolition that hitting the button on the buildings was long planned for that day, even if there was such a button.  How many more would be saved versus burned alive?  So many were leaping to their deaths, would that be going on for several days then?

Would helicopters and long ladders have made it all better?  Viewers would have felt moody and blue watching all that dying day after day, not that they weren't moody and blue already.

The "mercy killing" theory is the antithesis of the "part of the same assault" theory.

In between is the "needed to do it there and then for insurance reasons" theory.  Only the "coordinated assault" scenario really requires pre-planning.  Other scenarios require quick judgement calls one may question in hindsight... and a button.

Depending on the theory, different groups get to push the button.  Bin Laden pushed it?  Yeah right. Not enough is made of Bin Laden being the construction company.

The idea a building of that size would need to come down someday, so would be pre-wired for self destruction -- seems like a good idea at least.  Nothing lasts forever.  I'm not sure you'd need to sneak around adding explosives later.  Paul Laffoley's story suggests otherwise.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

New World Order

Whereas the financial press may date the end of the US as we know it to the 1980s, when terminal bankruptcy was trumpeted as a sign of bogus immortality, the layperson on the ground is more likely to date the desovereignization process to the breakdown of borders in the Middle East.

As of 2014, no one really knows where the borders are among the former nations of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and so on.  Political maps survive, showing snap shots of various people's belief systems, however the credibility of such was draining away from the 1940s onward.

Ironically, a chief catalyst in the breakdown of the nation-state system was the Pentagon's "strategy" of bombing whomsoever it pleased in the No Man's Land around Afghanistan-Pakistan.  The cruise missile and later drone attacks were corrosive of the whole sovereignty concept and softened up that framework for eventual garbage collection.

Of course Romans did not really know Rome as an Empire had "fallen" on any given day.  Those narratives get invented later and only hold water through repetition and agreement, as stories are much more than necklaces of facts strung together.  The infrastructure of passports, customs, import / export taxes and so on remains, especially in areas where borders are enforced.

The end of the nation-state system happened first on paper in the back office, where those in the know were holding high cards or at least knew what a "high card" was.  Then "border rot" propagated by Pentagon policies, helped the world's "average joes" come to terms with the fragility of the entire nation-state framework.  Life would go on amidst the rubble of once proudly recognizable jurisdictions.