Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tomorrowland (movie review)

There's precedent in these blogs for me breaking a review into two or having another review come to me later, more analysis or whatever, and that's the approach I wanna take here.

Willamette Week, a witty paper, had me all prepared to not like this, for the right reasons, but I ended up admiring it a lot, for all the archetypes and love knots it takes on.

Remember I go by Chief Marketing Officer for some Coffee Shops Network that has Athena very much in its heraldry, and this film has an Athena.  The dad-daughter relationship there is encoded in Greek mythology as well:  she sprang from his head directly.  There's some Gnostic potential there.

So yeah, lots to think about and really well made.  Good work.  I will follow up at a later date with more thoughts.  Hey, I'm still thinking about Mad Max.  These movies are like time release pills.  They're not over when they're over, if you're like me.

Alexia, sorry if we'd planned to see this together, I was just pretty sure it was a dud going in and my evening was geared to Starlight Parade.  You and I would have others to choose from.  As it happens, not a dud in my case, and I missed the parade this year, hope to catch it next time.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Body Art

 I have a lot on my plate to write about, including the closing ISEPP lecture for this season, Terry summing up engineering as a moral enterprise (up to some good, one always hopes).

Let me mention the Gift Shop idea and where that went:  Body Art.

That'd be quite consistent with Third Eye across the street and is completely compatible with the decal-based art already in the mix.

So that's a win.

Yes, I'm talking about Peace Sign (or even Peace Corps sign) tattoos, for many significant, including among the Laughing Horse reading and viewing circles.

With most taboos removed and stereotypes crumbling, there's a niche somewhere on Hawthorne no doubt.

Glenn is repainting.


WQM Mens Group:  Group Settings
:: working with WQM Men's Group ::

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day


People were out in droves in my neighborhood, enjoying those establishments choosing not to close for the holiday, but stay open.

I'm reminded of my quick visit to London Knowledge Lab on a bank holiday when no one sane would be at work.  But a kind Lab guy, knowing my itinerary (guest of Shuttleworth Foundation, hot off a jet from Pacific Northwest), realized it was now or never.  I gave a presentation.  The gig was recorded and for many years made the rounds, plus I got to brag to the Foundation folk I'd already briefed LKL, sounded important.

This year, 2015, I drove Deke, a fine fellow, on an errand to Dr. Bolton's hood, out Tryon way.  We stopped in to visit with Sir Charles, an emeritus sociology department chairman and contemporary of my dad's.  The Boltons started to tune in Urners at University of Chicago, but then went their separate ways.  Not until they got together again in Portland did the conviviality really develop, such that when we moved to Rome, we made the trip to Positano, to hang with the Boltons, on sabbatical.

The intersection top of Boones Ferry, where Stephenson T's in:  that's been a rough corner and a lot of redesign has gone into it recently, I think for the better.  This was my landing quad i.e. my starting sector in the World Game of Portland I started playing, off the plane from Bangladesh.  Mom & Dad were pulling up stakes there, I'd gone to help them pack up, take another look around Dhaka, and then I stayed with the Boltons rather than resume an East Coast existence.  Time to get back to my Portland roots.

The Nissan has a fuel system issue that I'll trace to poor maintenance on my part, casting no aspersions on Nissan for this one.  The Altima I drove to and from, on my recent mid-west tour (St. Louis MO etc.), was a world class motor vehicle.  I like how rental car scenarios let us try before we buy, or rent again, or whatever.   Anyway, the Maxima bucks like a bronco sometimes, even shutting off.  Good thing it's OK to restart in neutral.  But hey, Deke and I both remarked how overall smooth the whole trip was.

Funny part:  Charles was just showing us a postcard from Maureen, in dense handwriting, and saying he thought she might still be in Europe when, knock knock, there she was at the door, pretty funny.  I alerted them to Carol's immanent arrival and suggested we all get together again soon, Deke included (he liked our energy, think he might join).

Maureen was at the WILPF Centennial like mom was, with her son Erin in a supportive role.

Mom did a lot of her five weeks solo, also tackling NYC YMCA on her own (for visits with UN people) and DC.  She routed herself back to LAX via JFK and fortunately made standby on JetBlue, shortening her stay in JFK by a good six hours, way to go Carol!  She said she'd gladly take JetBlue again.

The day before, I got together with my friends the Gunnells, new in Portland.  I took pictures at the wedding, my former co-worker Eddy's daughter the bride.  Eddy and I were high school teachers at St. Dominic Academy, for girls (young women) in Jersey City, New Jersey.  That was back in the 1980s, great gig!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bravo Michigan on Bold Experiments

I may have gotten the story a little wrong and will apply corrections in future blog posts, allowing misapprehensions to continue registering here, but my current understanding being that high schoolers in Michigan are guaranteed by law at least one distance education class as a part of their public schooling experience.

Public Act 205, passed in 2009, allowed the formation of full-time online schools for the first time in fall 2010. In 2006, the Michigan Legislature was the first in the nation to pass a requirement that students have an “online learning experience” before graduating. [ source

Is that opt in or opt out and what if one wishes more than one?

In any case, the Nexus Academy solution looks promising in that it solves the need to authenticate identity.  Those of us in distance learning know a weak spot is what if the student lets her dog do the homework instead.

Most realize they cannot fake it for long on the job, so why fake it now, but adults are more likely to realize this than children maybe?  Not that teenagers are children exactly.

In any case, certified testing centers are a need at all levels for all ages.  The science wants control and supervision, not some going overboard on some "honor system".  Authentication is required, perhaps with biometrics.

One might imagine a combination of experiences, inside one of these centers for some activities, outside for others.  You need not imagine yourself cooped up for days on end, as for academic credit you're required all over the map.

What is distance learning anyway?  Thirty feet away can be pretty far, in human terms, in a room of five hundred.

A lecture hall is distance learning?  Might as well be.

Actually no, there's an audience / speaker rapport that makes live talks a bonus, same with music.

Anyway, it would be up to Michigan whether an obstacle course in cyber-space such as mine, or some other DL activity, would count for credit per the State of Michigan.  That's not my decision, as an online teacher, and besides who want's to learn lambda calculus anyway?

But the very idea of a Nexus Academy wherein I might have students, even if I'm in faraway Oregon or St. Louis, does inspire me, whether it's really practical in the short haul or not.  Thank you USDLA for opening my eyes to the possibilities (that's a conference my school sent me to, and a membership organization).

Raining in Portland, did yard work today.

Decision-making is by many methods, and who has access to all that many boardrooms?  We have our finite experiences.  Democracy does not just mean once a year elections, or once every three or four.  People learn to vote when going out on a group date and picking a restaurant.

But then if you're Quaker and use consensus, maybe you never choose?  "Let someone else program it" might be how the unprogrammed would do it, but presumably "expectant waiting" is more intelligent than that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wanderers 2015.5.19


Tonight was my turn to give a Wanderers presentation.  I decided to spice it up by saying I was acting a part, not really being my ordinary self.

I wore shiny shoes and my Quaker hat (a Stetson).  I was the "Quaker futurist", like a gig, or act.

Trevor (depicted below), being the Egoist presenter recently, was an inspiration.  "If someone says I'm egotistical, I correct them, saying it's really egoistical that I'm being" (bada boom -- one of my jokes).

Shades of Portland Center Stage...

Anyway, I was a bit gruff and abrupt, and people warmed to that as I'd warned 'em.  I practiced by telling Don to "shut up" a couple times, like I thought I was Bill O'Reilly.

The idea was my Martian-tinged cult had some future in the pipeline and here was a Saturday Academy class, already delivered, that had already passed the torch.  The future just passed you by, did you even notice?

1, 12, 42, 92... I kept harping on that, like a mantra.

I was touting the standard Garden of Eden in a Climatron stuff, a kind of utopianism associated with Whole Earth Catalog if anyone remembers those.  The Bucky stuff, I call it.

Stewart Brand had a hand in this stuff, and so did J. Baldwin.  Stewart pushed to get pictures of the whole Earth, as in "from-space photography" into the public domain.

Shots from space (ET PoVs) were entirely new in those early days of the first orbiting satellites, ala Sputnik et al.

I started my hour-long presentation with two misanthropic cartoons, pulled from my Facebook profile, then flipped through slides from the Martian Math class.

The Martian Math stuff was portrayed as 10-20 years ahead of the pack.  I was purposely somewhat Cabalistic or cliquish one might say, in implying Silicon Forest was moving ZomeTool, as implied by a picture from our field trip to ONAMI, as a part of some cultic process.  We talked about Grunch a lot (Fuller's coin), and Ed Applewhite's Cosmic Fishing.

But I digress.

People were quite engaged and full of insights and questions, as I'd hoped.  We talked about dedicated freeways with self-driving trucks -- but don't we have those already?  They're called trains and only one of the cars, called the engine, needs to drive (the trucks would need some kind of supervision too).

Although I was walking them through some slides, the idea was to inspire conversation.  We were there to think about Futurism as a discipline, and about how Science Fiction works, as distopian-to-utopian.  I mentioned the Paul Allen museum on the subject, in nearby Seattle.

The ratio of science to fiction matters.  That's on one of the slides.

And also:  is it about humans expanding elsewhere, or being expanded upon, as in invaded?  A little of both maybe?  I talked about "angels and devils" as the old days ETs.

Regrets poured in from some of the people Don had invited (that's his role) but who couldn't make it and maybe wanted to be polite and all, but as you can see from the picture (above), it's a small room.

Thanks for thinking of me, and lets get together soon!  Life is short.

Trevor in character at Mother Foucault's

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Voting Machines

Project Vote

Those of you US people without amnesia (Gore Vidal said this was the United States of Amnesia we live in, if you'll recall), may remember the voting machine fiasco.

We all lost confidence in the machines because they would not share the algorithms or submit to auditing by students of computer science, who might be high school aged.

One of the nonprofits I work with is experimenting with state of the art e-voting software that not even an election administrator can rig.

It's a vote-by-email type of system, with one ballot going out to each eligible person.  I'm not saying it's either fool proof or applicable in its present form to just any election for whatever office.

DemocrayLab is the NGO I've written about most in connection with providing "democracy in a box" ideas, i.e. turn-key software that's democracy-enabling.

However eVote and Helios are already open source, not saying you need to bother Mark just because you're interested in either of these two packages.

Every high school needs voting machines as a part of its civics curriculum, with votes counted often, on myriad topics, experimenting with different modes.

In some systems, even the voters are secret e.g. you don't know who in the audience is really the critic for the New York Times.

With Quakers, we tend to move by consensus but that only works in a non-trivial way when the players are communicative.

When people stay strangers, you lose a lot of the inertia that comes from shared access to organizational memes.

That's why companies do team building and such, even encounter groups in some walks of life, to break down the barriers to speedy / timely / efficient communications.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Conference Call

Foreground:  Linus Pauling House

In case my Gift Shop proposal flies, I've talked to Glenn about a tour.  Area Program Committee is considering a proposal to fill in for the missing Laughing Horse Book Store and Video Collective ("nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky" -- Kansas).

There's a hole in this town that Friends could help fill, both programmed and unprogrammed.

501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations are allowed to sell swag.

But this would be more than a swag shop.  We'd have vintage Peace buttons, educational materials. Proceeds fund our non-profit programs.

We get around needing to provide ADA compliance to this rickety old building (the one we're touring) by having the organizing meetups elsewhere.

We can do sales outside on summer days, so if you're on crutches you'll still get access.

The competition wants a strictly back office low profile in a little trafficked part of town (comparatively).

Their building is for sale and unstable in that sense but the back office people don't seem to worry as they have few responsibilities and no programs.

Our program people are in the field.

Why a small city like Portland should get Philadelphia-type jobs is a bit of a mystery.

"Back office" is what Friends Center is for, is what we thought, not West Region where we need to be public-facing and engaged.


Saturday, May 09, 2015

PR for Earlham College

:: thanks! ::

Sunday, May 03, 2015

May Day 2015

May Day 2015

I haven't been to the postmortem / analysis meeting yet, and I missed the last several before the event itself, having participated in the fundraising phase more than the route planning phase.  I was in favor of a counter-clockwise route, but the fact that it ended up going clockwise was perhaps unintentional.  The newspapers are saying we were off the planned route.  That's credible.

However, walking against traffic in the bus mall, all professional drivers with union sympathies, right passed the Apple Store and other centers for the more privileged work-study players, highlighted the contrasts, as we made it to our R2DToo campus.  I took the pedestrian crossing to traverse the west-traveling lanes and revisited the Door Project, per storyboard.  Other than that, I was free to cross paths with the march haphazardly and took breaks at both Rogue Hall and Melting Pot.

Our plan was to keep moving and not assemble on the steps of the Justice Center in quite that way, but then all these plans were before Baltimore and continued escalation in tensions through the media.  Given all these storms, our relatively festive and orderly mobilization was not the unruly mob portrayed by the children writing for The Oregonian and such, i.e. journalists of low stature ready to react without much thought or reflection. 

The operation was both professional and to the point, criticisms to the contrary notwithstanding.