Sunday, April 29, 2018

Artificial Scarcity

One of my Medium stories takes us back to the Napster era, during which a nearby Silicon Forest police precinct, tired of always being the bad guy, set up Linux labs in the projects.  Brilliant idea.  South Africa was doing the same for its kids.

The police were asked to come into the schools to scare kids silly about FBI anti-piracy campaigns, while meanwhile a new creative commons was offering digital assets for free, and its technology was secretly powering capitalism already.  Why not tell kids about that instead?  Why were the schools keeping mum instead of joining in the revolution?

The engineering mindset probably grew a lot in those days, as young coders were confronted with many ethical dilemmas, around whether freely sharing copiable assets with one's peer humans was really as evil as some people said it was.

It's one thing when transferring a good means depriving the donor of continued access to that good, but another when the donor continues to have access.

Legal culture is all about protecting IP and forbidding its use by others.  The engineers heard relief workers say humans were starving for culture (education) yet because of IP, the true capability of engineering, the miracle of the loaves & fishes, had to be attacked.

Anyway, the police were seeing what the engineers were seeing and wanted to show kids a positive way forward wherein they would get to use computers without having to pay tolls at every turn, just to leverage what humans before them had left them as heritage.

This was a debate we had to have openly in engineering culture.  There's a layer in the archives where that's what a big part of the buzz is about.  That debate is in large degree behind us now, as we move to open sourcing lots more than software.  Humans are still starved for culture.

Looking at humans as "muscle mass" is not meant to say we should all go back to plowing with no assistance from tractors, however piloted.  I'm just taking the positive associations of body building and helping us appreciate humans more than we appear to.  Much of the economy is a deliberate attempt to deny people economic success.

Layers of conditioned reflexing define our respective cultures.  The many programs out there, sitting on shelves, ready for broadcasting, provide grist for the mill, as we go back and explore the different eras.  The Alvin Toffler meme, about accelerating acceleration, means our debates go a lot faster now, what with the new infrastructure.  We don't wait for whole generations, to come to some resolutions.

Impatience around humans demanding power over others based on threats of annihilation is not a new phenomenon.  The humans in Robin Hood's time were not that impressed by the social order either.  We have come some distance in the last few decades, lets admit.  Engineering has grown up a lot.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Quadrays Again


A vector field has group properties in that every vector has an inverse vector, the sum of which gives the zero vector, the identity element of the set.  The XYZ basis vector (1,0,0) has inverse (-1,0,0) and their sum is (0,0,0).

Indeed, without the inverse operation, or multiplication by -1, the original three basis vectors, i, j, k, would be helpless to reach 7/8ths of space.  Remember i,j,k define the edges of what looks to be the corner of a cube, or perhaps 1/8th of an octahedron.

If you are not allowed to rotate or invert these vectors, only scale them in the direction they're already pointing, then vector addition is confined to the positive octant, 1/8th of the total space.

In the quadray coordinate system, the four basis vectors, as we call them, are sufficient to span space without recourse to negation.  The concept of "linear independence" is recast.

In XYZ, inverting a vector is not considered a separate operation from scaling it.  Growing or shrinking a vector in the direction it's already pointing is no different from making it point in the opposite direction.  However, vector reversal, synonymous with vector negation, might be considered a form of rotation, a different operation from positive scaling.

Quadray basis vectors may be inverted, but only positive scaling is required to map all points (to span the space).

For example, in canonical form, the inverse of (1,0,0,0) is (0,1,1,1), the sum of (0,1,0,0), (0,0,1,0) and (0,0,0,1).  These point oppositely, and the group property still pertains in that (1,0,0,0) + (0,1,1,1) = (1,1,1,1) which in canonical form is (0,0,0,0).

It's not that quadrays are devoid of inverse vectors, only that "inverting" is unnecessary to reach 7/8ths of space.  The four basis vectors define four quadrants.  Any point is in one of those quadrants, or in a plane bordering any two.  At most, three basis vectors need to be positively scaled to reach any point through addition. 

{0, a, b, c} -- where { } means "any permutation of" -- with a, b, c also greater or equal to zero, is the canonical address of any point.  For example {2, 1, 1, 0} form the twelve corners of the cuboctahedron.

If the i,j,k basis vectors of XYZ were supplemented with one additional vector pointing into the void opposite the first octant, the resulting apparatus would look a lot like quadrays, sometimes known as IVM coordinates.  Adjusting the central angles for symmetry, making them all the same, would complete the transformation.

What is the practical value of quadrays?  Clearly there's a one-to-one mapping from the canonical representation (unique to each point) to the corresponding XYZ vector.  As with spherical coordinates (r, alpha, theta), we have a redundant addressing notation.  How could this be useful?

At this juncture, I'm thinking "comparing and contrasting" helps highlight core concepts.  In setting "caltrop coordinates" next to "jack coordinates" (XYZ), we're setting the stage to talk turkey, to develop fluency with the concepts, such as "space spanning" and "inverting".  Quadrays contribute to student understanding of the shoptalk.

Since the concepts of vector addition and vector negation are essentially the same in both systems, we have as much to compare as to contrast.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wanderers 2018.4.25


We adjourned to Linus Pauling House this morning with our various ongoing investigations. Dr. DiNucci had been doing anthropology, attending the public portion of an Intel board meeting, and listening to the works of a new and already famous composer in a nearby Christian church, of which I have pictures in my Photostream.  A really nice one.

Quakers have "meeting houses" in this neck of the woods, if of the Unprogrammed variety (as we call ourselves), with Quaker churches in other places.

We finally got around to one of our Yahoo list topics:  5G and its implications.  You'd think as software engineers we'd be talking smart house IoT, but our attenders were more from the chemistry side of things, cell biologists.  The effects of RF up and down the spectrum, on organisms up and down the scale, has been under study for some decades.

About two decades ago, much of the focus was on "cooking" and how very light cooking, lowest setting, could be OK for one's brain, gonads, DNA in general.  The concern was more therms than actual frequency, as the sophistication of cellular networks of the biological kind were only coming to be appreciated.

Work in sonar probably alerted some of the same scientists to the impact of high pitched beacons and so on, on the hearing of whales.  The nonhuman populations are not radio-silent lets put it that way. Ionized radiation, as well as not-ionized, has both health benefits and may be used as a weapon, perhaps of defense.

I might have started on the wrong foot in jumping to the Gateshead Conspiracy right away, a viral topic (trending).  The city council has acknowledged the network, but claims to know at exactly what operating frequencies it's being tested, in an effort to control lighting.  Smart meters use the same technology.  Back to the Internet of Things.

Steve was a platinum engineer and understands the curative powers of ionized platinum, in preventing cell division.  I don't know to what extent RF serves to catalyze these reactions.  Plain old AC current is what he talked about.  Think of gold plating.

This morning I wrote Conspiracy Theories Rock! to help some of these detectives keep their chins up. Science requires bravery as "coming up against established dogmas" is a perennial issue.  Keeping writings tucked away, yet world readable to those with the URL, is the job of a filer, clerk and curator. Archivists.  I know some of those.

Most of the morning meet-up was devoted to Glenn's Show & Tell.  He has quite a collection of Neolithic Tools.  I took some pictures.

Anyone want a free gazeebo?  I keep meaning to put that out on Freecycle.  It's for setting up in your backyard.  We used to have one from Costco, that gradually fell apart.  This one looks higher end and longer lasting, but was for an art project that took a different shape in the end.

Advertising free stuff in an old blog post is probably not the brightest move.  Check the date and time  of this posting, and presume I handed the thing off if it's more than a week later.  Or be in touch.  I'm requesting the recycler pick it up.  I had it strapped to the roof of my car at one point,  bringing it over from Vancouver, but that's not a trick I want to repeat.

Great hearing a bit about Barbara's adventures in Guyana. Jaguars, Anacondas and Vultures oh my!

Good having Jeff Godard, Dr. DiNucci present, with Glenn presenting on Neolithic Artifacts (Show & Tell items). I'm about to upload a few pix.

Bob! From faraway Washington!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Homework Requirements

I've been getting some push back regarding my contention that everyone in the intelligence community knows about Applewhite's retirement project to boost positive futurism, by teaming up with one of the best known, and most quirky, of futurists, Bucky Fuller.  His geodesic dome appeared in Kabul, Afghanistan and Khrushchev quickly recognized its utility going forward.

The domes also featured along the DEW line, which is how Fuller and the University of Toronto first connected, through their mathematics department.  That collaboration continued.

The CIA features throughout Fuller's later writings especially, at least attracting the eyeballs of the Russian services.  Whether DC political hacks, with pretensions to membership in the intelligence community, have actually done their homework is another question.

The shift in the center of gravity away from DC might have something to do with their missing the boat?  That trend started under Reagan-Casey.

Basically, if you don't know your American history well enough to understand about Fuller's contribution, you don't have enough perspective to serve in the CIA at any level.  That's how I'd translate my thesis into plain English.

A lot of diplomats and cultural attaches display Fuller tomes on their shelves, signalling to foreign counterparts that they're not dolts.  New England Transcendentalism is alive and well in diplomatic circles.

The symbols and signs used to exchange intelligence (SIGINT) make it fairly easy to identify the real deal versus wannabe IC types.  I've already indicated to RT what Americans such as myself are looking for, in terms of a pattern language or code.  You can dig that up in Medium if you like.

I feel these litmus tests are necessary given neocons have invaded DC and plunged it into disrepute.

The Russians have been friendly enough.  The intelligence community is of course global and gets along with itself better than in the old days, despite lies from corporate media.

Corporate persons (as in "corporate personhood") are not known for their smarts.  If "making money" is your only goal, then you stop making sense eventually, witness CNN.

I'm busy recruiting for the IC of tomorrow.  The Applewhites visited me in Oregon that time, helping to pass the torch to my generation.  Now a next generation is rising through the ranks.

Anyone reading my blogs and journals knows what that looks like.  Helping weed out the fraudulent wannabes is getting easier, as the reading public gradually wises up.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Banana Republic

Except for a very few brave hearts in the US Congress, the lawmakers caved, conceding their irrelevance to TV screenwriting.

The Reality TV people know how to take scripts through production and onto the world stage, without the slow unworkable process of churning out gigantic laws no one reads.

Gigantic laws are OK for budgets maybe, such as the latest wish list (please buy our bonds!), but when it comes to fast action, we don't want to think that hard.

The question is whether the military coup is complete.  Threats were issued, that more unauthorized actions might be necessary, to silence Congress once and for all.

Earlier presidents had expressed an interest in closing Gitmo.  The latest president, determined to appear strong, went along with the torture camp.  He also gave his mercenaries almost twice what they asked for. In exchange:  the right to dictate wars at will.

Of course "animal Assad" was literally true, not insulting.  Animals are cool, unless you're a yahoo (chuckle).  The missiles would be "smart" (i.e. dumb).  Indeed they were.  They helped cover up the Syrian chemical weapons program, or lack thereof, by destroying evidence.  Classic.

With Congress out of the picture (in terms of even rubber stamping attacks on nations), we've moved to a faster paced world.  Lawless warlords and nuclear weapons don't mix, so we'll need to get rid of lawless warlords, given the nukes will take a longer time to get rid of.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cowardly Congress

I've been enjoying the spectacle of the DC senators lashing out against Facebook.  Cambridge Analytica, which grew out of the UK psyops establishment, is exactly the kind of operation these senators sought to demonize and use to justify sanctions -- against Russians.

When it turns out the UK was being far more effective, something we already knew, there's no talk of sanctions.  On the contrary, it's now Zuckerberg's fault.  The UK, which burned the White House and helped with the assassination of Lincoln, is our friend.

The shrill rhetoric of these politicians, especially that joker-clown Lindsey Graham, the new Jesse Helms, is pretty disgusting.  I'm happy to heap scorn on their whole way of thinking.  Shoot first, ask questions later, and pretend that's somehow called leadership.

Speaking of disgusting, check out this horrible crap from the RAND corporation, by one of its shills.  More rushing to judgement.

The Winter Olympics was pretty scary to hawks in the US, as the two Koreas started acting more in unison.  The World Cup might be similarly disastrous.  The Pentagon jobs program, of supplying mercenaries to vultures feeding off the US corpse they failed to protect and defend, might be further jeopardized.

Speaking of the two Koreas, president Trump announced his interest in a meet up sometime in May.  With all these diversions, is that still on track?  I don't hear "journalists" asking that question.  Lets get on with that meet up.  Trump needs to meet with Putin again too, and he knows it.

I was encouraged when Trump called Assad an "animal" which is literally true.  I like animals, it's just humans I sometimes can't stand.  Such craven beasts.  Religion hasn't helped much.  They're bloodthirsty creeps and now can't wait for a next big fight, which somehow is supposed to solve something.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Rush to Judgement

What's become clear is the role of politicians in major media is to accelerate what look to be retaliatory measures against evildoers, but in a conditioned reflex kind of way.

Doing the Sherlock Holmes thing, where you investigate deeply, is a civilian police kind of response. One gets detectives on the case.  That's not the way to get wars started.  People need to be in an obedient mood, willing to have their judgements pre-digested.  Investigations are inconvenient, to say the least.

Rush to Judgement theater looks very scripted and the onlooker extras, the people in the stands, are just expected to cheer or boo.  They're not given time to really study the issues or evidence, or form an opinion.  Conversation and comparing notes is not important.

Ever since Hunger Games and other literacy campaigns, the spectators have become familiar with the fact that war depends on deception, as well as surprise.

A significant minority no longer thinks exactly as they're programmed to think.  When the media overplays its hand, they create another wave of thinkers who don't believe in immediate responses ala Pavlov.

I think the programmer war planners consider themselves very clever and put a lot of faith in their own ability to manipulate public opinion.  I'm not sure this hubris is justified, what with the credibility of warmongers already so exhausted, so stretched to the breaking point.

Their threats start to sound shrill and hysterical, as if they themselves don't believe them.

Anyone who thinks a massive bombing campaign is somehow the right response to any crime whatsoever is suffering from terminal ignorance.  But then we pay taxes to cover the paychecks of such people.  They get what amounts to welfare to hold their desk jobs.  Will they actually learn on the job and become less pathetic?  That's doubtful.

I'm going ahead with my Trucker Exchange Program as these devastated cities in the Middle East, if they're to recover at all, will do so thanks to lots of trucking.  I don't need to leave my post to spell out the concepts and widen the circle of readers.  Did I mention academic credit will be involved?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Accelerating Acceleration

If you go back a ways, as I do, in terms of being aware of Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (he wrote other books too), then you recognize "accelerating acceleration" as one of his memes.

Physics folks like the notion, of speeding up the rate at which we're speeding up.  Just plain old speeding up (acceleration) is what we call "forcing" in that we may feel "compelled".  So when the force becomes more forceful, we may feel that even more.  There's a certain gravity to the situation.

However "force" outside of physics has many negative connotations.  One breaks sensitive and expensive equipment by forcing. What's most valuable is often most fragile, which brings me to a bridge to the Bucky stuff (as I'm wont to call it):  ephemeralization.

In one of my Medium essays, I link Fuller's "ephemeralization" to Toynbee's "etherealization", the latter being a famous historian. However I think it's time we connect both of those to Ray Kurzweil and his Law of Accelerating Returns.

First of all, lets simplify and admit that "accelerating acceleration" is still acceleration, no matter how you cut it.

Kurzweil, like Fuller, has lots of honorary doctorates, and more to the point, he has a narrative that's upbeat, relatively, and willing to take in some promising trends.  He sounds "less myopic than average" by Fuller's criteria, in that Fuller, like Kurzweil, found a lot of pessimism to be based in fake news.

Kurzweil quotes or at least cites Pinker in the above interview.  Another positive futurist, we might say.

Comprehensivists with both a big picture view, and a hopeful one, tend to stand out, as few manage to stay sources of believable good news.  People get cynical about all the "forcing" going on.

Lets review what "ephemeralization" means.  In Fuller's accounting, there's a metaphysical aspect to stuff in that we get better at doing stuff in accordance to our more fully developed intuitions about the whole show.  Putting these intuitions into words is far from easy, and is what science is all about in its perennial search for "laws" or in Buckyspeak: "generalized principles".

U = MP was the Synergetics equation, where P is for all things physical.  There's a way you can aspect shift back and forth, Necker Cube like, where it's all physical or all a dream, but we don't have to go there to understand how "more with less" is a consequence of deeper understanding.

So... Kurzweil, Toynbee, Toffler and Fuller are all pretty much saying the same thing.  Many of the exponential curves are in our favor, and speeding up may be a beneficial phenomenon.  In and of itself, acceleration might be good or evil, or the more usual mixture.

Remember that in physics, even slowing down, slamming on the brakes, is acceleration.  They may say "sudden deceleration" when being kind to laymen though.  Coming to a dead standstill, in terms of change rate, would be as shocking as Future Shock is being.

Now that I've described this tight inner circle, of thinkers on the same page, I want to point out a few differences. Fuller did not suppose that major breakthroughs in AI were critical.  He talks a lot about energy grids, which are supposedly getting smarter.  But he's not expecting humans to succeed in creating their machine learning peers.

What I told my class tonight was to be on the lookout for scams and hoaxes.  I invoke the same spirit of skepticism people use against belief in witchcraft, to question illusions.  Getting someone to believe they conversation they're having is with a machine that's almost human is easy, with a properly trained human.

The Turing Test is not supposed to be conducted in suspect circumstances, but that's just it.  Suspect circumstances are precisely those which get you to let your guard down.  AI has always had a carnival side-show-like flavor, like illusionists do, as sensationalists more generally.  Showing hitherto thought-to-be physical laws being violated can be crazy-making, as was Sophia, the Talking Robot.

I told my students once again about The Turk.  That's the irony around AI:  it was booted with a hoax.  As Ada was the first computer programmer, The Turk was the first to pass the Turing Test (yes, I'm being anachronistic), in the same way humans pass it every day, but impersonating a robot (like Sophia).

Kurzweil sees Machine Learning (which I've been teaching) as a force for good.  We're leveling the playing field with free and open source stuff.  So did Fuller's "design science revolution" actually come about with the invention of Linux and all the rest of it?  Ray thinks Open Source plays a big role in driving us forward towards his Singularity.  His Singularity, or Big Crunch is not meant to be a bad thing.

Anyway, I think a lot of people have a warped sense of where the technology is at this moment.  I'm far from all-knowing, but I recognize most melodrama on TV is science fiction, and more fiction than science a lot of the time.  Watching law enforcement shows, you'd think the authorities had truly awesome surveillance powers, but do they really?

Hollywood and fiction writers more generally have a stake in driving the plot at a somewhat thrilling pace, and getting people to suspend disbelief around technology is often the cheapest and easiest way to get a thrill.

In other words, I do think we need to stay vigilant with regard to bogus claims, especially around anyone's claims to have established a "strong AI" machine that passes the Turing Test.

What I do think is within reach are new forms of banter in which we talk to our devices about news, weather and sports in a sort of superficial, non-linear way, punctuated with jokes and new tangents.  Machine Learning will give us that.  We may lower the bar for the Turing Test accordingly, as the people we meet learn to dumb it down.