Monday, June 27, 2016

What Our Father's Did: A Nazi Legacy (movie review)

This documentary consists of an extended conversation between three principals:  two sons of high ranking Nazi officials, and a lawyer, Philippe Sands, who's family was wiped out in the holocaust about seventy years prior to when the film was made.

The lawyer is professionally prosecutorial towards Horst, who believes his father did what little he could to resist the Final Solution, but "high ranking" doesn't mean "standing up to" (quite the opposite).  People in a military machine are "just following orders" (a standard defense).

Is responsibility the same as guilt?  What is responsibility?  In the est Training (no longer offered), each individual had an opportunity to accept responsibility for the Holocaust, but that includes people like me, not born yet, and the namespace was philosophical more than juridical.

Horst is not even close to a Holocaust denier.  He accepts what happened during World War Two.  However he had a good experience of his father and sees him as a decent man caught up in events beyond his control, and who did his best for the Ukrainians at least, but could really do nothing for the Jews, given wheels already set in motion by Hitler's killing machine.

The other son, Niklas Frank , thinks his dad Hanz Frank, the "butcher of Poland" got what he deserved, and despises the way Horst, who's father worked for the butcher, continues to defend his father's record as a Nazi functionary.

The film contains footage never before made public.  The girl in the red dress, in the Warsaw ghetto, or was that Krakow, connects us cinematically to Spielberg's Schindler's List.

Horst's dad, Otto von W├Ąchter, died under the protection of the Vatican and was never tried in Nuremburg, allowing Horst to take refuge in his longer view of history.

Horst is something close to Jewish himself given his own brand of scholarship.  He became an assistant to the famous Jewish artist, Hundertwasser, and captained that artist's ship Regentag to New Zealand.  Horst's own home was the secret meeting site of a former art colony focused on the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus as passed down through a Hebrew line.

"We tend to see people as victim or perpetrator" says the Philippe, but then the justice system is all about discovering who or what to blame.  "Command responsibility" has specific meaning in an international court of law.  The lawyer is sure Otto would have also been sentenced to death for his war crimes.  I have no reason to doubt his conclusion.

I learned a lot from this film and would recommend it to anyone studying World War Two or the Holocaust.  Also Shoah.  There's quality content here for art historians and architects as well.

I realize I take after grandma Esther, my dad's mom, in being eclectic in my reading and viewing habits.  She would likely have loved Movie Madness and its wide selection, of documentaries especially.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Learn Hex!

Yes, another media campaign.  Long time followers of my blogs know I'm likely to jump on and off various fast-moving media campaigns, some of which I help source, spin doctor that I be (highly paid?  Sliding scale).

Remember the Kite campaign?  How about the Mite campaign?

The former linked to "kites" by Alexander Graham Bell, but also to Penrose "kites and darts" (aperiodic tilers).  The Mite is a space-filling not-regular tetrahedron, so:  "Aristotle was right!  Remember the MITE!" (that was Bucky Fuller's name for a "MInimum TEtrahedron" consisting of A and B modules).

The new campaign is about countering the Common Core's mind-wasting "base 10 only" approach.  The curriculum outline suggests only base 10 is important and only base 10 algorithms will be tested, no conversion into and out of hex.  "Convert to Hex!" is a way to counter.

In Portland, our public schools serve mentally retarding lead in the water, like the HUD houses.  PPS has plans to offer more content online starting this September, for the average home schooler still interested in getting a public education.  Taxpayers have every right to this service, just write to the Governor if you don't believe me.

The impetus to stay home will increase with the knowledge that "base 10 only", just like "English only" (with punishment if you speak anything "more N8V or i18n"), are both linked to the "while we figure it out" mentality i.e. adults with a demonstrated inability to cope.  These are not your role model teachers, by any stretch of the imagination.  Your role model teachers are on your side, not theirs.

Fortunately, Oregon is being proactive and offering professional development courses to its rank and file teachers, especially its math teachers.  I don't think with Silicon Forest and ONAMI in the picture, we're a state that can afford any "base 10 only" brain-killer curriculum.  Common Core is a fine place to start, on paper, but if not transcended immediately, you're stuck in a mental slums.  Escape!  Seek freedom!  Learn Hex!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

War Planning

Watching documentaries about Egypt and Turkey, and the fate of Islam therein, has reminded me how much Islam suffers from oppression at the hands of so-called "secularists" who think their job is to oppose all religion, except maybe some state religion that cozies up to them.

Religions harbor pacifists and idealists, which need not be terrorists, but what's terrifying to militarists is a shortage of recruits.  How does one carry out Endless Wars in the face of a burgeoning civilian economy with attractive lifestyle opportunities for women as well as men?

Making civilian lifestyles untenable (unsustainable) is step one, and this is relatively easy when the atmosphere permits raining down bombs on civilians.  This has been the status quo since at least the Franco-Hitler alliance against Spain, in which many courageous Englishmen lost their lives, fighting for Spain.

FDR was warned, by Ernest Hemingway in particular, about the advance of military fascism.  The world was sick of Endless War by then.  Bertrand Russell, a pacifist, only reluctantly came out as pro fighting against Hitler.  The US was having none of it.  Until Pearl Harbor that is.

But the wave of military fascism was not stopped by WW2 and US Americans saw their civil liberties curtailed like no time since the Civil War, given the new fight against "Communism" in Korea and Vietnam.  "Fascism" was no longer the enemy it once was.  Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon his protege, had other enemies to prosecute.

Muhammad Ali defied the fascists and stood up for his rights as a civilian, converting to Islam in the process.  Islam was a source of pacifism during this period, providing meaning and hope to millions in America's racially divided cities.  The fascists would incite them to violence though, as radicals make easier targets in terms of PR.

We see the same phenomenon in Turkey and Egypt:  make Islam seem radical, a major threat.  The pacifists won't seem that way, but others will be lured into the limelight to make the case.  Focus on the radical elements within any group, in order to marginalize the ones making the most sense.

Indeed, some zealots will be already radicalized and won't need much encouragement to throw stones, at which point they may be shot, unless on the "right" side, in which case they're Freedom Fighters.

Endless Wars requires these "right" and "wrong" sides, endlessly, with little chance to debate as resorting to violence is the whole point, though often with prior lip-service to "diplomacy" which the endless warriors pray will fail.

Looking ahead to its superpower responsibilities with only a volunteer army, still largely based on the pressure of untenable civilian lifestyles, the Grunch war planners realized they'd need to tap women in much greater numbers.  Appealing to their sense of patriotism might work, despite the transparency of the thin disguise.

The "equal opportunity" to get drafted and sent to a base anywhere around the globe, perhaps to die doing onerous duty, is what feminism then became, in media campaigns designed by the military and shared on public radio.  Not only men should welcome this opportunity to serve their masters.

However the degradation of the biosphere, brought on in part by Endless Wars and wasteful ways, was making it obvious that the larger ecosystem (economy) was in jeopardy and principled pacifists, wanting instead to help heal the Earth, formed into vast networks of conscientious objectors.  Sufis and Quakers got together on this.

Faced with the prospect of growing pacifism, the military fascists needed ways to suspend the Bill of Rights and further erode the tenability of civilian lifestyles.  The prospect of firing up a full scale planetary war between the religions was starting to look unlikely, thanks to anticipatory networking.

Much time has been lost in the meantime, as cleanup and environmental projects get postponed.  The attack on civilians in Syria was maybe a tipping point, proving that those puppetting the nation-states were more into sponsoring Endless Wars than into caring about innocent civilians, seen as "collateral".

The tech sector, in the meantime, is into sharing banking services and the benefits of cryptography with an ever larger percentage of humanity, along with the ability to fact check misinformation and recognize media campaigns for what they are.  Misinformation, as a tool, is becoming harder to use, as it's getting easier to find inconsistencies in stories that don't hold water.

As women pour into tech and realize the elements of tenable (sustainable) civilian lifestyles are all present, their eagerness to capitulate to military fascists and their Endless Wars continues to wane.  The pacifist networks have already set these wheels turning in a big way.

So what will the fascists try next?  Demonizing Islam, as all about violently oppressing women, has worked well in the past, but is these days looking too predictable and socially engineered.  Fewer diplomats are falling for it.  However, the campaign seems to still work with a new group, the New Republicans (not quite the same as Neocons, though maybe not all that different?).

However, the pacifist networks are global in scope and get through on many channels with their message of hope and better prospects.  This religious message, of Peace on Earth, even has some Christians behind it.

The fascists face a globally active form of religious pacifism and their efforts to demonize Islam may not be enough to keep the Endless Wars going.  Is there a way to demonize pacifism itself?  Stay tuned.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Golden Rule (Part 2)


Part One of this story took place in the Quaker meetinghouse on Stark Street, however the seaworthy boat in question was around longer, per plan, and various scenarios intersected, as mentioned in my Facebook profile.  Lew Scholl got a ride thanks to conversations at the Solstice Party (Wanderers) that I missed.  Meliptus got involved.

Part Two was in Vancouver, Washington and featured several guest speakers, including my mom, for whom I served as chauffeur.  I hadn't realized the famous Leonard Peltier had a son named Chauncey, an Oregonian.  The Veterans for Peace organized and promoted this public-welcome event, in a room designed precisely for such public occasions in a Clark County public utility building.

I could give a lot more detail, however I took this opportunity to dive into Twitter more concertedly, part of my boot camp training, so I'll recommend poking around in @thekirbster at some point, scrolling back to this timeframe, if wanting to get more of a blow-by-blow as it were (more of the "as it happened" action).

Helen was a main presenter and mom gave us three reasons for hope:  the Ban Treaty (percolating); the city mayors of the world (good at saying no to would-be nukers); Marshall Islands taking a stand (as a victim of nuking wanting to see conditions of the NPT enforced).

Mom also links that wistfully-toned folk song, Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream to the Kellog-Briand Pact in a funny way, reminding us truth is stranger than fiction (it wasn't a dream at all).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Songs from the North (movie review)

I learned quite a bit from this documentary by a South Korean, doing a kind of anthropology that doesn't apply overbearing spin at every turn.  She takes very long camera shots, to the point where her subjects get uncomfortable, as may the viewer (the equivalent of staring, however she's getting permission, usually).  The opening shot, of some kind of circus act, prepares us for her style, which I'm not objecting to, only describing.

She's not without opinions or views, though when it comes to politics she turns it over to her dad to talk about his friends who went north out of idealism.  In her dad's view, whatever Communism means, mainly a society among equals, is not what's practiced by "the Kims" and the cult of personality developed around them by orphaned and existentially traumatized children, now adults with children of their own.

The filmmaker suggests North Korea's freakishness is due to a freakishness of another kind:  we all know what Americans are like.  We hear an American talking about wartime supply lines, and a goofball general wondering, like MacArthur, why his troops were held back in any way.  "We had the atomic weapons and could have done whatever we wanted to up there" he says, leaving us to wonder what "we" wanted to do, and about what exactly. General Westmoreland's Vietnam was still ahead, as was the hit movie and then TV show, MASH.

The Japanese oppressed the Koreans terribly, and then the Americans came in and sliced the country into two, along a parallel that North Korea's Kim Il Sung never accepted.  His efforts at reunification brought nothing but more retaliation from the Americans who had meanwhile become friendly with both Japan and Germany (vanquished foes make good friends).  Following world affairs has never been easy.

The North Koreans eye East Germany as prototypical.  How East Germany got incorporated into the EU might serve as a model for their own reunification as a peninsula.  Yoo's dad encourages the North to build up its economy, which, as Communist, should be its first priority, but he sees them mostly doing political calculations instead.  The North Korean geeks are worried, that if a merger backfires, they'll be blamed and treated as internal threats, simply for being most like their counterparts (geek culture is cross-cultural because the Internet is uber-permeable).

We're left with Yoo's strongest impression:  this is the loneliest country on earth, in a twilight zone of only a short history shrouded in myth.  Neither the underground test nor the satellite launch looked all that believable but I'll leave it to the experts on Wikipedia to argue whether these have anything to do with real phenomena.  Why should the rest of the world tease and taunt a lonely child?  Why be so childish?  Yoo's eye is compassionate, neither apologetic nor angry. She didn't start the fire.

:: flash forward to 2018 ::

Friday, June 17, 2016

Slowing Down?

I heard speculation today that the looming uncertainty around the Brexit vote helped stay the Fed's hand regarding hiking interest rates.  If that filtered through to me, I figure many are saying it.

I'd add there's an element of projection here though, in terms of the US pot calling the UK kettle black, in that there's looming uncertainty around the US presidential elections as well.

If one is running a business, making plans for the future, these known unknowns add up, on top of unknown unknowns that will always be there.

I hadn't realized to what extent Gibraltar was involved in the calculations, in terms of its staying in or leaving the EU as well.  I'd been focused on Scotland and sentiments there.

Effects of the Intel layoffs are noticeable locally.  I just heard about WalMart.  Unemployment figures may also have played a role in giving the Feds more reason for hesitation.

Merchants in wholesale and retail have to be looking ahead to the Christmas season around now, anticipating how things might go until then.  Pundits were saying the presumptive Republicans had a greater chance of winning the presidency if the nation were gripped by fear of terrorism.

That was before Orlando, which many presumptive Republicans blame on a foreign state that mostly lives in people's minds at the moment (no borders, no passports, no currency, no embassies...).  If there's a line between a mental state and a political state, I'm not seeing it at the moment.

Although the media are looking at gun control, which is no back burner issue, the matter of actually barring Muslims from entering the country will require suspending the Bill of Rights will it not?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  If practicing the Islamic religion is grounds for deportation, wouldn't that be a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof?

I'm not the only one who remembers General Hayden's remarks on Bill Maher, the big headline on February 26 of this year.  He suggested the military would need to disobey any orders that directly conflicted with their Constitutional responsibilities.

What will be the demand for teddy bears and security blankets, come Christmas, if we're looking at martial law and/or troops urged to protect the existing US Constitution?  The question has to be in the back of some minds, even high up at WalMart.

People in the US are not used to a situation like in Egypt, where the Constitution was in abeyance for many years.  The new Egyptian Constitution is only about two years old, not over two hundred.

Actually, Constitution Daily says only that the question of constitutionality is open to debate.  A political movement tried to ban anyone of Chinese heritage from entering, not a ban based on religious beliefs.  That gets cited as a precedent.
Despite the recital by both sides of competing court precedents, the Supreme Court has never decided specifically whether a religious preference could be a valid basis for exclusion of all of those who follow a given faith.
The Bill of Rights is not specifically mentioned.

Hysteria about martial law is coming from other corners.  Youtube has many shrill clips predicting a power grab to give president Obama a third term.  FEMA camps feature in many of these.  Combine the US election with Brexit, and there's a lot of fear in the air.  Many businesses slow down in such a climate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wanderers 2016.6.14


Peter Miller told the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, founded by his great-grandfather, circa 1871 to 1878.  Fisk University in Nashville was a post US Civil War institution that helped popularize a new sound, pre recording industry.

Peter has some memorabilia from the period, family heirlooms.

I watched the first half of CBS Evening News tonight, which was about the interweaving of the Orlando massacre with charged political talk.  There's no coherence only sorrow in this picture, circuitry gone haywire.

I've been active on Twitter of late, more than usual.  My "geek ethnicity" takes me into social media, such that when Microsoft bought LinkedIn recently, I got lots of tweets about it, from the geeks that I follow.

I tweeted about my taking public transport, to and from Flying Circus yesterday.

Somewhat as a joke: I invented (in my own mind at least) the recursive term "phobophobia", the fear of having phobias, or perhaps catching the more contagious ones.

"I'm phobophobic" I could say at a party.  Sounds funny.  But "parties" and "funny" are not a chief order of business around now, given the terror.  Sorrow songs, not Jubilee songs, fill the airwaves.

Watching Mason's Lost Girls last night, a re-enactment (not a documentary) adds to my sense of "crazy world" (Spaceship Earth = Hospital Ship).  Koyannisqatsi.

George White, Peter's great grandad, was born in Franklin, New York, 1838, the son of a blacksmith. He left home at sixteen and eventually found work as a teacher and choral director.

When the Civil War broke out he rushed to Cincinnati's defense. He then signed up with the Union Army and was in many battles, dwindling to only a hundred and forty pounds at six foot five.

He ended up in the orbit of Fisk University, an enterprise he could support and that eventually led to the Jubilee Singers.

Ella Shepherd became the heart of this enterprise, of Cherokee as well as Afro-slave heritage (her mother was sold away as a slave a couple times, though they were eventually reunited).

The choir went on many grueling road trips, and became a real money-maker for Fisk, as well as other institutions.

I'm tracking the Brexit referendum through Twitter too, and like many in my network, wonder if Scotland feels chained to a jumper.  What if Scottish folks prefer to stay in the EU, but maybe opt out of NATO?

Scots don't get much benefit from obeying the Trident submarine conqueror-invaders, as some see them.  The Nukehead Nations are on the wrong side of history these days.  Nations remaining innocent of nukes get more respect.  Those who cling to them seem stupid.

Of course suggesting "Scotland", an inanimate object, has "feelings" is venturing into the realm of corporate personhood.  What used to be a mere metaphor might today have legal implications.

Most people still understand nation-state talk as a shorthand, not a metaphysics, nor a theory about the sentience of AI monster-creatures.

We had a number of musicians in the audience tonight, who asked intelligent questions.  Jubilee Singers past and present, may be found on Youtube.

Here's Peter's preamble, circulated ahead of the presentation:
JUBILEE! In 1871 a bedraggled group of ten black students from Nashville'sFisk University, among the first black colleges founded after the Civil war,set out for Ohio to try to save Fisk from bankruptcy by giving concerts.when these Jubilee Singers disbanded, they were professional, world-travelled adults, having brought the Negro spiritual to the knowledge of the wider world, singing before American presidents and European monarchs. They had raised $150,000 to save Fisk and other black colleges from disbanding, and to build the Fisk campus. Illuminated by careful records and by letters and diaries of the singers, it is an improbable story of success over adversity and an illuminating saga of race in America. My great-grandfather, George White, was the Jubilees' founder and leader, and their story was an important part of my family heritage growing up in the Jim Crow south.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Putting a Lid on It

Imagine an operation with two vectors as input, called "close the lid".  Given v1, v2 as lengths with an included angle, the 3rd length is determined, meaning the area in question is unique, determinate.  Run the operation on v1 and v2, called "close the lid" and every time, v3 is the same length and A is the returned Area.  A triangle.

Now extend this operation to three vectors not in the same plane.  They "fan out" from the same starting point, a common origin, and point to three points in space (given the common origin, we have four points total, not forgetting the observing camera is a point as well, and whatever light sources...).  The tetrahedron is unique, with V the Volume.  "Closing the lid" makes sense here as well.

Given we already have a formula that returns a tetrahedron's volume, given six edge lengths, it's pretty easy to modify that to where three edges get determined by subtracting pairs of input vectors.  Given |v1|, |v2| and |v3| as inputs, the three lengths we need, in addition, to put a lid on it (on the tetrahedron) will be: |v1 - v2|, |v1 - v3| and |v2 - v3|.  In not forcing these lengths independently, but computing them as a consequence, we ensure the six edges are "legal" i.e. such a tetrahedron really exists (important for our algorithm to work right).

Consider three vectors from (0, 0, 0, 0), the origin of the Quadray Coordinate System (Chakovians), with vectors (1, 0, 0, 0), (0, 1, 0, 0) and (0, 0, 1, 0) pointing to three corners of a regular tetrahedron from its center.  Lets define the quadrant of said tetrahedron to be our 1/4 unit, where all six edges of the canonical home base are defined by edges D of the IVM ball packing.

That's a lot of jargon, so if this is a new-to-you namespace, follow some links for a stronger ability to tune in.  Basically, four quadrays divide space into four quadrants, just as the XYZ basis vectors and their reflections create the eight octants of the Cartesian scaffolding.

In some of the comics and cartoons I've been working on (manga and anime), we introduce "close the lid" triangular and tetrahedral treatments as how "Martians" learn math in some science fiction narrative (we're not requiring true belief in specific ET stories, which may get quite ornate, featuring many species).

The Martian Math narrative helps build a story line wherein more details get remembered, such as how the Martians and Earthlings agree to use a conversion constant between their respective models.  They need to pour concrete after all, given they're collaborating on a canyon dam.

The R-cube of the Earthlings (unit volume for them) and the D-tetrahedron for the Martians (unit volume for them) are within shouting distance of "same size" i.e. the 2nd root of 9/8, although not unity (about 1.06), obviously, is close enough for quick and dirty back-of-the-napkin type operations, as when sharing a booth in the company diner.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Exploding Diagram

Clearly when it comes to sharing the experience of a rhombic triacontahedron exploding into 120  E-modules (were they named something else before?), a JavaScript library such as three.js is a goldmine.

I'm awed by Ricardo Cabello's skill-set here.  He has picked a steep trail and climbed steadily, with a little help from collaborators.

The E-modules are so named within the canonical context of nested polyhedrons, with a focus on the Jitterbug Transformation, so named by R. Buckminster Fuller, and cited officially by some mathematicians.

The cuboctahedron (we can call it that, no problem (Fuller uses other names too)) "torques down" (rotate-contracts) into an icosahedron with the same edge-lengths, yet with more faces (20, not 14).  The VE (as Fuller calls it) has 24 radial and 24 circumferential edges (hence "vector equilibrium"), as the eight tetrahedrons comprising it are "hinge-bonded".

Let the aforesaid cuboctahedron (VE) be defined by 12 uni-radius balls (r=R) around a nuclear ball of diameter D (2R = D). In Synergetics this thing has volume 20 in being comprised of 8 tetrahedrons and 6 half-octahedrons, of volume 1 and 2 respectively (8 x 1 + 6 x 2 = 8 + 12 = 20).

By jitterbugging the cuboctahedron, making it torque, we get this icosahedron of volume ~18.51 (there's a phi-based expression) that still needs to be phi-reduced, meaning all edges multiplied by 0.618... to get us the rhombic triacontahedron (RT, 30-diamond-faced) of diameter, you guessed it, D.

The E-modules are R-deep to the center.  The aforementioned nuclear ball, and all the others, are "shrink wrapped" by the E-modules' rhombic triacontahedron (faces inter-tangent to contained ball).  Each of the 30 diamonds contributes four "pizza slices" or "wedges" pointing inward to a common center.

Inversely (in the sense of reciprocally), the E-module RT scales up by phi (1.618...) to give what Koski and I call the "super-RT" (because bigger), the long diagonals of which are this 18.51... volumed icosahedron (the short diagonals form its dual, the pentagonal dodecahedron).

Readers attempting to follow all this may be stuck back at the cuboctahedron of volume 20 and its constituent tetrahedrons of volume 1.  "All math is ethno-math" and in this neck of the woods, a cube of edges 2nd root of 2, diagonal two (2R), has a volume of exactly 3, not 2nd root of 2 to the 3rd power as from school we'd expect.  How could this be?

Choosing a cube as the model of 3rd powering was a choice and our mathematics today derives from making that choice.  However we know mathematics to be a branching tree-like structure, or maybe a graph, in that where there's a road not taken, we may sometimes go back and take it, exploring an alternative branch.

Our model of 3rd powering along this other road is not the cube, but the tetrahedron.

Picture starting with the corner of a regular tetrahedron, perhaps starting with XYZ's 90-90-90 and simply changing the angles to 60-60-60.  Instead of building out in a parallelepiped (such as a cube) when multiplying, just connect the tips of the three rods of lengths A, B, C directly ("close the lid") to trap the corresponding volume ABC (or A to the 3rd if all three lengths equal).

A regular tetrahedron of edges D has volume one.  Reduce edges to 0.5 (or R) and the volume drops by 0.5 to the 3rd power, to 1/8.

Likewise when starting with the icosahedron of volume ~18.51 and multiplying all edges by 0.618, volume goes down by 0.618 to the 3rd power.  So-called phi-scaling, of E-modules but also S-modules, other modules (U, V, W) is where David Koski's "playing with blocks" fits in.

For example, not directly mentioned in Synergetics (the original two volumes) is that the cuboctahedron to icosahedron volume ratio, is the same as the S:E module volume ratio.  How to morph an E into an S is another "Koski cartoon" or scenario.

Back to the cube of exactly volume three, edges 2nd root of two:  assume in XYZ the cube of edges R is the unit of volume (R=1; 1x1x1 = cube) whereas in the IVM (alternative scaffolding), the tetrahedron of edges D is the unit of volume (D=2R; 1x1x1 = tetrahedron).

We have a ratio then, between these two unit volumes, the 2nd root of 9/8.  That's how much bigger the R-edged cube is, in terms of volume. It'd take fewer XYZ cubes than IVM tetrahedrons to fill a cuboctahedron of edges D.  20 x (2nd root of 8/9) would be the answer.

T-mods and E-mods are angularly identical, and so one might think distinguishing by scale is immaterial, given the 4D sculpture under discussion is not pegged to any particular size or time.  However, given surface:volume is not a constant, T and E are indeed distinguishable.

As pointed out in the above video, not everyone relates to "pure geometry".  Starting the video with a sports car, maybe with a basket ball in the back seat, could kick things off.  Every so often, we could dissolve to something more "real".

Thursday, June 09, 2016


Decades of intervention (including but not limited to invasion) and hacking away with blunt tools, have left the infrastructure in a shambles, such that the illusion of governments providing protection and civil services, has gone away.

The illusion was not very persuasive in the first place for a lot of the affected peoples.  The national governments ignored them, much as the political machine in Chicago ignores southern Illinois.

The status quo today is armed gangs and warlords, some with NATO backing, others with other backing, all fighting one another and trampling on the human rights of civilians, the so-called collateral.

Blowing up hospitals, attacking medical vehicles, is considered routine.  There's no legality to these actions on any side.  No one has time to consult the lawyers anymore.  They take too long to think it through.  Many of these lawyers are unarmed and therefore of no account in the eyes of the warlord deciders.

The collateral has done its best to flee the scene with NATO's warlords not really lifting a finger to help them.  No evacuation convoys, or hospital ships, mostly just journalists and bloggers with their cameras, standing by observing and reporting on all the children attempting to swim, after their rubber rafts have overturned.

We see a lot of hand-wringing, a lot of people drowning, between adverts on television.  The ones who don't drown get to walk to Europe.  NATO calls this self-organized walkathon "destabilizing" and appears to blame Russia for all the bombing, like of Libya and so on.

Those helping the collateral escape the war zone (or escape detention for trying) are branded predatory, since no authorized charity is there to help.  The Red Cross doesn't know how to operate watercraft is my understanding.

Meanwhile the Grunch keeps spoon feeding its audience with baby food pabulum regarding all these ghostly unbelievable nations that only exist because National Geographic shows them on its globes.

We're supposed to keep believing in Iraq and Syria, but not Kurdistan, Israel but not Palestine.  It's too confusing, but as long as one has faith in the corporate media, we'll be rewarded.

Hardly anyone knows what "the Grunch" means anyway, as they believe as they're told, as good doobies are wont to do.  No one tells them about any "giants" making off with all the cash, and paying for all this storytelling they're believing.

"Let the dweeb journalists pander to their corporate masters while we consume the advertised goods.  That's our job as viewer-voyeurs" is the attitude.  "Tell us more unbelievable stories about these 'nations' we're meant to believe in.  We'll buy on faith."

We're already taught by organized religion that "blind faith in nonsense" is a religious virtue and we'll be rewarded in heaven for it.  The news media let us practice for life in heaven, by respecting their authority.

The collateral was largely left to fend for itself all this time, or was herded into detention camps.  These camps may prove to be dead ends, as although they're billed as temporary, there's only slow turnover, with some detainees getting stuck in the pipeline for years before they die, like at Gitmo.

Those with access to weapons are trouncing the unarmed.  Somehow it's considered heroic and brave to slaughter the innocents with precision weapons guided by satellite.  The voters like the spectacle.  Bread and circuses.

Welcome back to the Roman Empire.  Being a superpower is such fun ain't it?  You get to kill at will, sometimes for no other reason than out of boredom and low ratings.  Killing is thrilling and is all part of making America great again.

Washington DC is a special city in that it gets to order up bombings pretty much anywhere it likes.  The Pentagon is under tremendous pressure to use up its ordnance, as replenishment means job security for Iron Mountain companies, many of them nonprofits.

Distributing ordnance from the private sector, to the theater, is the job of many "heroic" individuals.  Raining down death on the unarmed is well-compensated work.

The audiences back home love the "mil porn" they get in exchange for their taxes.  The "violence voyeurs" buy bigger and brighter screens and cheer on their favorite gangs, sporting whatever decals.

The so-called Holy Land has always been a theater for gladiatorial Hunger Games and blood sport.  Nothing much has changed in over two thousand years, beyond the lethality of the weapons.

God signaled with a rainbow though, that He'd keep His temper under control next time, dim-witted though we be.  We've got only the one ark to place our stock in, and it's spherical.  Some are eyeing Mars as a next world to "conquer" (do a number on), however terraforming this one still takes most of our attention.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Naked (movie review)

Great voyeur camera, inviting us to judge, then challenging our judgments.  I stuck around for the comments track, or at least some of it.

The two best parts, dialog-wise:  the riff on the impending Apocalypse, to the security guard; and the encounter with the two Scots, maybe brother and sister?  Language barriers among Anglophones.

Both skits were hilarious.

Apparently the director has evolved a technique for working with actors, based on lots of improv and rehearsal, that keeps them in the dark about the big picture, helping them stay innocent of the corrupting omniscience of filmic consciousness.
The film is billed as a comedy, but then isn't Kill Bill likewise over the top?  Gothic funny.  Like Psychoville.

I got a strong Eleanor Rigby vibe, watching all these lonely people, their comings and goings.  The anti-hero is definitely a wanderer, and very British (like Eleanor).

As observer, I got into like an R. D. Lang mode.  He was the psychologist who moved in with his patients, the better to "get crazy" from the inside.

Lang was a boyhood hero of mine, back when I imagined growing up to become a psy something-or-other.

Rated NC-17 or thereabouts, for nudity and language.  Not a recent film.

Picked at random, because Movie Madness gives me the freedom to do so.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Thirsters 2016.6.2

Math through Programming

Given Peter Farrell's experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, it made plenty of sense to invite him to this Portland meetup started by Bob Textor and friends, Bob having been instrumental in getting said Peace Corps off the ground.  As a latecomer to Thirsters, another invitee, I was not close to Bob but his graph of friends has definitely overlapped mine quite a bit.  I'm a friend of the Peace Corps too, continuing our Urner family faith and practice over the years.

Although our family sometimes hosted Peace Corps folks still in the field, maybe coming or going somewhere else, none of us were ever actively enrolled.  My dad was an urban and regional planner by training, an interesting discipline which gained him entre to the inner workings of decision-making around the world.  I was going through the international school curriculum for much of that time, then visiting by myself, or with a new family from Portland, after four years in a fancy university.  My sister would also visit and sometimes we'd overlap.

Peter, in town for Pycon, brought along his Math through Programming book.  Like me, but with many more years experience at it, Peter is a classroom math teacher, as well as a private tutor.  I was full time with a private secondary school for two years, a great job I performed at well, however I was eager for wider experience and peeled off after that.

I've been in classrooms as a "gig meister" off and on ever since, and the O'Reilly job was very much full time, but not in "meat space" as it were, or rather the people around me, in the museum coffee shop, were not my students.  My students were in coffee shops or offices or work / study spaces of their own, who knows where (sometimes I'd come to know, as we exchanged communications).

For example, one of my students was in Afghanistan or maybe in Kyrgyzstan by then, which brings me back to the Thirsters, as Maria Beebe was eager to obtain Peter's content, both for her own family, and for the computer centers they'd set up throughout Afghanistan as well, with assistance from USAID.  Iranian contractors were also offering some competing free services, and I'm sure some opted to go with theirs instead, or with both, hard to know.

The more general topic was whether the three Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic) were overdue for replacement by the "three Cs" (Comprehending, Critiquing and Computing).  That's jargon I was using around Pycon, where we held another eduSummit.  Lots of changes are in the wind these days, what with the Microbit going out and so on.  I'm not saying we're in the concluding chapter of something.  The threads are ongoing.

Peter and I met and parted near Lloyd Center.  In just a couple days he's pretty much mastered the basics of Portland's transport system.  The opening keynote by Brandon was place-based, good at sharing some of the timeline, the history of the Lloyd District.  I was impressed that the PSF had really done some serious homework, which paid off in terms of Pycon being so well organized.

The sprints are continuing as I write this.  I'm back out on the pavement though, knocking on doors, shaking hands (figuratively speaking for the most part as all job and gig seeking seems to be Web based). 4D Solutions has always had a way of drumming up clients, usually by word of mouth.