Saturday, January 27, 2018

Number Stuff

Wow, or "wuf" ("woof"?) as Arnie would say (that's Dr. Arnold Mindell, PWI PDX) regarding the fast turnaround between David's and my experience, between asking a question and David's finding just the right Youtube, only recently published (like two days ago).

The question was this: we know regarding Phi, the Golden Ratio of 1.1618..., that its reciprocal is equal to itself minus 1. So: for what other numbers is it the case that |1/N - N| == {1, 2, 3...} i.e. some integer.

Did I get that right?  Yeah that seems so: check 3.16 above.

David had stumbled on √10±3.  Switch to Python:

>>> from math import sqrt
>>> N = sqrt(10) + 3
>>> N
6.16227766016838
>>> 1/N
0.16227766016837933
>>> N-6
0.16227766016837997

You'll see some floating point inaccuracies here, but the idea is clear.  Looking at the other number:

>>> N = sqrt(10) - 3
>>> N
0.16227766016837952
>>> 1/N
6.162277660168372

Again, the absolute distance on some number line, between N and its reciprocal 1/N, is precisely 6.  We're calling these the Metallic Ratios, punning of Golden.

Each sigma (Metallic Number) is equal to the negative of its own reciprocal. That's true if we go with 3±√10, as -(3-√10) = √10 - 3.

>>> from decimal import Decimal
>>> Decimal(10).sqrt() + Decimal('3')
Decimal('6.162277660168379331998893544')
>>> N = Decimal(10).sqrt() + Decimal('3')
>>> N
Decimal('6.162277660168379331998893544')
>>> 1/N
Decimal('0.1622776601683793319988935444')
>>> 1/N - N
Decimal('-6.000000000000000000000000000')

Here I'm showing off the option to use a standard library decimal type instead.  There's a gmpy2 out there as well, that will perform similarly, in terms of extending the realm of precision using base 10 representations.

How many decimal points you need is something you can specify, the default being 28, quite a bit more precision than faster floating point provides.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Buddhist Heritage

I posted another essay to Medium, a sprawling network of interlinking self-published writings, with an easy interface.  I've posted quite a few "stories" over the last several months.

Hey, just got a call from a Friend in the Meeting, wondering how I was doing.  Thanks guy!

My essay plays up the Buddhist heritage in my neighborhood as a prelude to discussing Bucky Fuller's critique of the "three dimensions," the holy trinity of elementary school math.  "Co-dependent origination" suggests neither height, width, nor even depth come to the table alone, independently. They need each other too much to ever come apart, even conceptually.

This ain't the first time I've practiced tilting at the "3D windmill" and indeed I've squandered many hours investigating "dimension talk" under different lighting.  This was the first time I fashioned a link to a core Buddhist concept perhaps.  I'm wondering what the consequences will be.

I told the Meeting guy that I'd dutifully appeared for a follow-up doc appointment today, only to discover I was a week early.  There's nothing especially urgent about my medical condition at this point, so I'm content to wait.  "Expectant waiting" Quakers say, as they sit in stillness, waiting for the future to be revealed.  We know it will be.

Last night I taught my Python class for four hours, then stayed up reading more Dahlstrom (English professor, WW1 memoirs) and Sloterdijk (German philosopher).  Today I teach another Python class, only for an hour, to some eager middle schoolers.  I need to drive to that one.

Weeks ago, I'd notice huffing and puffing a lot more, walking from my parked car, up the hill to the public school.  Shortness of breath had become an issue.  I was monitoring, but not making the requisite appointments for a professional diagnosis.

Delay is want landed me in the ER. The upside of that strategy is I got a lot of state of the art treatment in one fell swoop.  At this point, shortness of breath is not an issue.  I even ran a few blocks, not a problem, trying not to be late to my non-existent appointment.

Today I spent a lot of time listening to Marshall McLuhan related tapes, or watching videos of the man.  He talked a lot about television and its impact, in an age before the Internet, which latter is a synergy of TV and telephone.  Telephone is point-to-point whereas TV was at first broadcast.  Nowadays we "dial in" to get our media "on demand".

Co-dependent origination is a broad concept, saying basically nothing has "self nature" in terms of existing wholly self-sufficiently, independently of all else.

Our accepted orthodoxy in mathematics is that height, width and depth are independent dimensions that may be conceived of in isolation.  No one seriously questions this dogma, including me, as I recognize the utility of XYZ.  That doesn't mean we're prevented from conceiving alternatives.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What is Socialism?

The short answer is: I have no idea. My fancy Princeton education only served to sensitize my ear to the "meaning as use" paradigm, meaning I need to study a given language game rather extensively before I have a sense of its meanings, should I ever develop an ear for said language.

Any randomly chosen pair of people, asked to talk about "socialism" will likely talk past one another, and neither may realize it.

Consider a sibling question: what is capitalism? I have a wildly divergent meaning up my sleeve, a use in contrast with nationalism.  Nationalists see the world in terms of various nations, vying for world domination.  Capitalists see capitals instead, city-states, like Tokyo and Madrid.  Capitalism is the world game of world capitals, some of them sister cities.  No one but me has that meaning for that word.

I'll define socialism like this:  I work for the public half the year, and for myself the other half.  People talk that way about taxes:  given the government took X% of my total gross, I worked for the government Y% of the fiscal year.  Fine, let's say it that way.

What makes this system "progressive" is that we all chip in for the common good only 50% of the time.  Whether you're a neurosurgeon or bartender or stand-up comic, you get half your life to do whatever you like whereas the rest of the time you're engaged in community service.

Now I'll get theological on ya and suggest that God is a socialist.  Ideally, you're acting in accordance with God's will half the time, whereas the other half you're given over to tempting alternatives, working in ways that might prove purely selfish, but from your point of view were worth a try.

Working for God feels a tad totalitarian, a little bit Big Brotherish. Subduing your own will to serve the all-powerful is like that.  Exercising your own ego feels rebellious in contrast.  You're going out on some limb, by choice.  Half the time.

Standard theology says God has forgiven us our Free Will in that without it, we couldn't choose to obey, so our coupling our will to God's would be an empty gesture. Thanks to our ability to stray from God's path, we partake of the divinity of Angels.

This must be a kind of Religious Socialism, not necessarily Christian but neither anti-Christian either.  That's fortuitous as one way people like to attack socialism is by calling it godless, meaning they consider it to have no ethical compass.  Somehow capitalism is supposed to have one.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Network Theories

Sorry for the dry title folks.  I tire of the journalistic headline, today known as click bait. Lets keep it low key, yet warm to the topic, as network theories (lots of math) are both interesting in themselves, and have real world applications.

Jeff Goddard shared with Wanderers about his work for LittleBird, at one time a free-standing company, but with a tool that makes sense more as one in a suite, if you're a big company seeking to maximize the potential of social media.

The Twitter API has many powerful and unique attributes and is a great place to start.  We might think of LittleBird as living at the headwaters.

Suppose I want to find the top most influential people around the topic of Climate Change.  Jeff ran that search for us, also Beer, Python, and a few others.  Terry Bristol, author of Give Space My Love, wondered how these search tools might help with book sales.  Jeff had some suggestions.

@DekeBridges was there, asking good questions.  He's also the man behind @LeadersBest.  Deke is our most influential Wanderer by far, from the standpoint of Twitterverse.

So what is LittleBird? Jeff has poured in the hours, using Clojure and ClojureScript, to implement those network theories, or shall we say algorithms, to query Twitter through its API in high volume (more than a single developer account would afford, times ten thousand).

The information one obtains through the API is the same info tweeters agree to share by virtue of establishing a Twitter account.

It's not like those using this "back door" have any special access to otherwise hidden data.  Rather, they have the ability to aggregate the data more successively (at higher volume), as a "front door" individual user, using human eyeballs, is like a 300 baud modem compared to a T1, relatively speaking, and using tech terms most will have forgotten by now.

LittleBird was acquired by Sprinklr, adding to the tools brought to bear on behalf of clients seeking to manage their cyber-presence and/or media campaigns through this company.

We did a test run using "Python" as our topic and, sure enough, the tweeters percolating to the top were mostly people I recognized.  I showed up as influential regarding Python when we ran @thekirbster individually, but that doesn't mean I'd make it to the top thousand.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Jane (movie review)

Jane is showing only on weekends at 4:10 at this neighborhood theater.  Several families with young girls were in the line ahead of us.  The theater serves alcohol after 5:30, so there's not much of a window for a kid-friendly movie.

I say "kid friendly" but then it's a classic nature film in many ways, following the career of Jane Goodall, piecing together footage lovingly taken by her former husband and co-worker, one of the great nature photographers.  That means lots of death and sickness, as well as birth and cute creatures.

The best way to show how humans and other animals have much in common is to intertwine their stories.  Jane learns about motherhood from observing the chimps, then becomes a mother herself. We watch her boy grow through the same lens.

Jane herself anchors the narrative with her retrospective accounts, responding to an off-camera interviewer.  We also spend time in the Serengeti, away from the chimps in Tanzania.

A sense of destiny pervades, in that Jane always dreamed of working with animals in the heart of Africa, and never let go of this driving fantasy.  Her dreams literally came true.  The animals needed her as their advocate among the humans.  She devoted herself to public speaking on their behalf.

Music by Philip Glass and an ongoing montage of exotic insects reminds us of our alien planet and our special responsibility, as aware humans, for the creatures it harbors.

Jane came to Portland a couple times, as a part of the ISEPP lectures.  She's made a difference in many lives, mine included.