Thursday, May 31, 2018

Captain's Log...


I am mindful that some products have taken in Python for internal scripting purposes, which I think is a good choice, as that leverages an existing fluency in many cases, and also leads those new to Python into something they may already know well:  CAD drawing and rendering.

My background is more raytracing and VRML, meaning I would usually build my scenes programmatically, but in a tight feedback loop with the renderings, a process of gradual approximation.  My subjects were usually pretty stark and austere, involving simple polyhedrons with a minimum of texture and shadowing.  I'd use anti-aliasing and might dial up reflectivity.  I'm proud of some of what I did, but more awed by what others have accomplished, with POV-Ray and other tools.

I remember Kenneth Snelson wondering if he would be able to move to Maya, after all those years mastering his SGI workstation.  I'm certainly no Maya user and am finding the Rhino learning curve fairly steep, even coming from a Python background.

There's a huge vocabulary (namespace) of directives, allowing me to build whatever scenery or artifacts I please, in principle.  In practice, I've cannibalized an old example, in vbscript, from Rhino 4, to make an icosahedron, and written other code in Python 3 (externally to Rhino 5 for OS X) to figure out the centers of a CCP (= IVM = FCC).

Today I at least figured out what object I could use in place of rectangles, which disappear upon rendering, too ghostly to merit texturing.  A planar surface is something else again.  It behaves almost the same way a rectangle does, but I had to rewrite and add code to accommodate the differences.  The obvious advantage is that it renders and allows materials to be applied to it.  That's progress, for me at least.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

We learn from Geoffrey West of Santa Fe Institute and others, that universities have greater staying power than businesses, thanks to a more robust institutional structure. That may not be the best way to look at it though. There's nothing necessarily shameful or unfortunate about a business having a short half-life.

 For bookkeeping purposes, one might form a company for the express purpose of making a Netflix movie or Youtube channel production. Once the body of work is complete and published, the company disbands, not with a sense of failure, but with a sense of completion. Those who worked in this company remain proud to have it on their resumes.

A university has more of a commitment to reinvent itself, in order to meet wave after wave of incoming generation, each already benefitting from the experiences of the previous one. A business need not adapt in precisely this manner.

The more apt analogy might be the nation-state, some of which have longer histories than others, some of which have changed character and boundaries rather drastically. Think of Austria. Think of Pakistan. Companies also beget child companies, or spin-offs.

In other words, although we maybe have some cause to feel pride when human institutions last a long time, lets not stigmatize the short-lived ones just because they're short lived. Even religions might be gems of sheer genius yet only last a generation or two. That they're so fleeting is not a mark of failure, necessarily. Sure, it may be, depending on the stated goals of the founders. In the case of 2 Dickinson Street, we have to recognize it's an old Victorian made of wood.

The institution of "nation-state" may not be "for the ages" either, and that wouldn't be a Great Tragedy necessarily.  "One planet, one people" does not necessarily mean some tyrannical One World Government pyramiding (bottle-necking) to a few people.  We don't need some singular cabal to boss us around.  I learned that at Princeton.

Complex systems have self-organizing potential.  Regional bodies and overlapping steering and oversight committees (to use some Quaker jargon) may be sufficient to keep the public in a willing mood, sufficiently participatory to keep a public sector alive and well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Dream State

"Dream State" is a bit of a pun, as I was dreaming (this is a write-up of a dream I was having about an hour ago), plus the theme of the dream was the dream-nature of States.

I was in this institutional building with a large training room, but U-shaped, so I couldn't see all the students. I assumed I was the instructor, as I was on my feet, everyone else sitting in front of a computer.  I'm reminded of when I taught WordPerfect in Salem.

One of the students started talking about Zionism and Judaism in a loud voice.  He was pretty coherent but weren't we here to learn Python? As the trainer, I felt obligated to politely interrupt and change the topic, but then another voice around the corner picked up on the same theme.

I looked around the U and another guy, tall and thin, was holding forth on the same topic and showed no signs of surrendering the floor.  I did a double take and realized I didn't know any of these students, so apparently I wasn't the instructor.  I must have arrived early.  My class would be later that afternoon.

For the rest of the dream, I followed the tall guy around the building, to a gift shop (or something), up and down some stairs.  I just wanted to apologize and explain my mistake, why I'd interrupted.  But he paid me no heed, wouldn't listen.  He kept going on about Judaism versus Zionism (he saw them as opposed).

Finally I woke up and realized the sound track for the dream was courtesy of Youtube, still on auto-play and going through videos.  I've been watching this genre of videos, even in a more conscious state, though some might aver we're always dreaming at some level.  No need to wax philosophical at the moment.

"As French are to France, as Italians are to Italy, so are Jewish people NOT the people of Israel" is the message.  This is an old debate (if one can call it that -- a clash of viewpoints) going back to the creating of Zionism in the 1900s.

What's new is a slob in Portland, half asleep (or fully asleep) can take in these viewpoints as video recordings.  I don't have to just read about them in obscure magazines or whatever.  When I want more, I get more.  That's called becoming informed and given my academic background, I get to pat myself on the back for doing homework.

OK, now it's back to prepping for Python class.  Or maybe I'll blog some more. Actually, what happened is I posted comments on Facebook.
This whole discussion relates to my summary view that we're in a "globalist versus nationalist" chapter. Nationalists such as Bannon have been very clear that globalism is their enemy. As a product of the Aquarian "think globally act locally" school of thought, a long time expat (now in Oregon) and alumnus of international schools, my mental DNA is more globalist. I see nation-states as past their pull date, keeping people penned in and pent up (which is the point -- keep 'em governed). Better engineering is desperately needed, however narrow political agendas based on "my nation against the world" keep us from wholistic thinking. It's not like I advocate some revolution to overthrow all governments, or to create one world government. Rather I see an evolutionary process at work whereby we at least psychologically free ourselves from the nationalists' political sphere and learn to collaborate with one another more successfully. I want to keep it hopeful of course. 
I think world religions, including humanism, as well as science, are inherently more supranational in their perspective and help us dampen the damaging effects of the rampant nationalism that seems the dominant paradigm of our day.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Harboring Activists

I retrieved my 89 year old mother from PDX last night.  She flew in from LAX on Alaska Airlines, her favorite as she tells everyone.

Carol is a long time activist.  She attended the centennial celebrations for Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and talks about the signing of the Kellog-Briand Pact is if it were yesterday.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Addams are her biggest heroes, though I remember when Gandhi and St. Francis were the top two she'd talk about.

We all get to build a pantheon, an altar if you will.  Robert Thurman has Walter Cronkite in his, as I recall from a dharma talk he recorded in Bhutan.

I wondered aloud on Facebook if anyone with serious peace activist credentials wants to camp out down the hall from her.  But such sponsored positions are hard to come by and I haven't succeeded in joining the ranks of non-profits.

Blue House hosts a tiny business, mine, and I paid self-employment tax in 2017.  I have no employees and live on the edge.  Melody helped score some food from charitable sources.  She lives in an abandoned vehicle (in a beautiful forest).

I stayed up late composing my cover letter to Oregon State, documenting my eligibility for OHP, a health plan for the bottom bracket.  My taxable income on my Oregon return was under $10K.

Our Urner family has a long history of tax avoidance.  One way is by staying poor.  Another way is by not living inside any of the fifty states.  We're pacifist Quakers and dislike paying the war machine to do its dirty business.

Yesterday one of my most loyal detractors on Youtube decided to attack the Bucky stuff I'm known for touting.  That's Bucky Fuller, at one time a respected and recognized maverick architect and philosopher, definitely in my pantheon of Bodhisattvas.

I'm glad we had it out, to the tune of about 150 posts in some buried thread.  David Koski joined in, adding some colorful metaphors.

That all happened on Facebook, which I've continued using through all the hoopla about how it's to blame for helping the UK meddle in US elections.   So many cabals.

As someone with a global perspective, I think it's a given that social media will become a tool for political campaigns, many of which roil beneath the surface.  The whole world has a stake in what happens everywhere.

Creating hermetically sealed bubbles, impermeable to outside influences sounds anti-biological, though immune systems are not.

Speaking of cabals, you may read about mine in an old encyclopedia of conspiracies, so-called, by Robert Anton Wilson.  Look up Grunch in Everything is Under Control.

It points to my old website, long ago discontinued as Teleport was sold.  I have the newer domain name these days, set to renew in June.

Marshal McLuhan to Bucky:  "I have read your books and am ready to join your conspiracy."  Fuller argued that "to conspire" meant "to breath together" and didn't put a negative spin on the word, as many are reflexively wont to do.  Same here.  I always say:  "if you haven't joined at least two conspiracies, you haven't lived".  Something to that effect.

Yes, I put my period outside the quote marks sometimes, where most grammarians say I shouldn't.  An old Quaker named Thatcher wrote a manifesto on that topic, which I've misplaced, but I agreed with his reasoning.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Judgement Day

Judging from the non-starter screenwriting, some cabal wanted us to link a domestic case of poisoning to a war theater gas attack, and use this as some kind of excuse to start a major gamble, which this cabal was thinking might help get them ahead.  Desperate outsiders, these cabalists.

The police are getting better at working in concert, as are the militaries.  They know politicians have the dubious job of inciting violence, and that the people supposedly enthralled by political soap operas are chomping at the bit for social cues.  But that's not working, and insofar as "mainstream media" plays along, it becomes ever more phony-sounding.

We're wise to the fact that tiny minorities are trying to start something.  If not in Mesopotamia, then in Korea.  If not in Korea then somewhere else.  Jobs depend on keeping a war time economy in high gear.  Other jobs depend on having that war economy business make room for a next generation of weapons inspectors and cleanup gurus.

The intelligence community, such as there is one (pretty tenuous), is engaged in counter-intelligence against war-hungry cabalists.  They'd have you believe otherwise, as a way cabalists (members of a cabal) impress others with their power is to pretend overwhelming forces are on their side, including God if that's at all credible.

We don't need horrible violence to sustain a good life for the tiny few.  I know many still believe that's the case and get anxious when the horrible violence abates even a little.  If any religions feel like playing a role, it might be to disown the nukes.

If you're at all God fearing, don't coddle your ego with fantasies of owning and controlling weapons of mass destruction.  Grow beyond needing that junkyard.  Heal from being an outward weapons junkie.

Not that we want Armageddon to start at the hands of unbelievers either.  Our belief is God wills us not to make a mockery of Judgement Day, by staging it ourselves.  Or call it teleological pressure, some Fury of Being.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Quaker Affairs

Stetson + C6XTY

I might bring this up informally with Oversight Committee, like I did with my "Gun Club" Stetson.  "Is this OK?"

By "this" I mean my tendency to refer to nations in the past tense, as a matter of plain speaking, of telling the truth.  I know they're currently still fervently believed in by many people:  nationalism is a global religion, with many adherents.

However, as a New England Transcendentalist of sorts, influenced by Bucky Fuller, I've come to see supranational entities as running the show.  This nation-state stuff is shallow theater.  I don't usually say "deep state" for that reason.

I've already broken with the mainstream in declaring that I have no nuclear weapons and no plans to acquire them.  That sounds obvious but then people often say "we" meaning "we the citizens of a superpower who possess such and such".  As a Quaker, I don't want to use my "we" in that way and would rather conscientiously object.

Nuclear weapons, in my estimation, belong to a supranational Grunch of Giants that then tries to puppet the nation-states into maybe using them.  Think of a Punch and Judy show.

The point of consistency I want to establish is around my pledge of allegiance to the flag and to the country for which it stands.  Giving a once proud nation a decent burial, rather than ghoulishly trucking its corpse around, pretending Uncle Sam is still alive, seems an act of loyalty.

Not that I'm equipped to offer the official last rites.  July 4th could become a kind of commemoration.

What I'm protecting is the USA's reputation, in the wake of subsequent highly illegal acts, most recently a gratuitous bombing of random targets in Syria.

That military-mercenary campaign was undertaken as a high profile "presidential" act, in order to legitimize ongoing Grunch campaigns and symbolize the shocking and awesome power of some exceptional nation, God's gift some tell us.

I'm showing allegiance by saying "this isn't the USA at all, behaving like a monster, as the USA died awhile back, RIP".

No one really cares if some individual Friend wears a Gun Club Stetson and thinks of nation-states in the past tense (the better to use a Dymaxion Projection).

I just want to state for the record that I do not consider myself to be betraying the United States, the Union, in honoring it for its noble rhetoric and values, its bold spread across North America, its Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  Great stuff!

Even from the perspective of Mark Twain's day, one could predict the moral arc, under president McKinley, then Teddy Roosevelt.  The USA would eventually succumb to the temptation of becoming an oppressive empire, with colonies, on the model of the UK of old.

Imperialism was in the DNA, as Manifest Destiny, later bolstered by Social Darwinism (the flip side of Marxism).  By the time I was born, the US was already pretty far gone, given the progress of this illness.  The imperial presidency had become much more of a tyranny, insisting on more adventures in conquest versus actually governing an already ample-sized territory.

However, the particular story of the USA, with all its twists and turns, need not take on the entire burden of explaining one of the consequences of "future shock" (a term coined by Alvin Toffler) i.e. the evaporation of the nation-state political data layer.

The swift integration of planetary infrastructure, and the realistic need to "think globally" as a matter of doing competent engineering, made the shallow theater of nation-states increasingly less possible to believe in.

Many people certainly wanted to suspend their disbelief, and many still could.  For others, it became psychologically impossible to go along with all the make believe, perhaps as a result of religious training.

As an early adopter of the post nation-state mindset, I'm perhaps helping other Friends find a way forward, as the spirit moves them.

I'm not proclaiming a dystopian outcome either.  Spaceship Earth (the Global U) is what we make of it.  Thy Kingdom Come.

Design Science Tableau

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Philosophy of Mathematics

Bertrand Russell (source):
The limitation of the dimensions to three, though it is empirical, is not liable to the uncertainty and inaccuracy which usually belong, to empirical knowledge. For the alternatives which logic leaves to sense are discrete – if the dimensions are not three, they must be two or four, or some other integer – so that small errors are impossible. Hence the certainty of the axiom of three dimensions, though in part due to experience, is of quite a different order from that of (say) the law of gravitation. In the latter, a small inaccuracy might exist and remain undetected; in the former an error would have to be so large as to be utterly impossible to overlook. Hence the certainty of our whole axiom is almost as great as that of its a priori element.
 Compare with D'Arcy Thompson, writing to Whitehead:
Now suppose, on the other hand, that we were of so minute a size (or lived in a medium so dense) that gravity would have no sensible hold upon us; and suppose, owing to our minute size, that we were mainly under the influence of other, say molecular, forces. Then, to begin with, we should know nothing about a vertical, and care nothing about a right angle. And suppose, in the next place, that we lived in some sort of ‘close-packed’ or crystalline medium, say a tetrahedral one, we should never dream of three-dimensional space (unless perhaps after long mathematical investigation), but we should automatically refer everything to tetrahedral coordinates. In short, we should solemnly believe that we lived in a four-dimensional space.
So what about "space is 4D"?  That's a link to some Google slides.

Here's a segue to Synergetics, no ifs ands or buts about it.  Just in case you imagined philosophers had been denied access at some point.  Was the draw bridge raised?  No, the philosophers simply chose not to cross it, wary of what the consequences might be.

Might they become prisoners of the Ayatollah of the Tetrahedron then?

Of course choosing not to do something may prove just as consequential as doing it, whatever it was.  Sometimes the risk of inaction is the greater risk.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

New World Order

We seem to be in a world a lot of people were praying for. Hallelujah.

Sorry, I'm into comedy tonight.  Super Deluxe is a pretty funny channel.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

End of an Era

Lots of despair in the air.

We knew it was coming:  DC is unilaterally trashing its sacred, signed agreements, going back on its word, with no real evidence that others were acting in bad faith.  Nation-states depend on such agreements for their legitimacy.

We've already seen how "evidence" doesn't mean anything to this post constitutional military junta.  Attacking Syria on false pretenses with no congressional approval, let alone UN approval, was the name of the game, with full backing from the cheerleader media.

Similar to the "evidence" that Iraq had WMDs etc. etc.  Lots of lying.  Once the lies have become deep enough, there's no way to back out of them.  The phoniness of the discourse is readily apparent.  This isn't "good television".

Exactly what happens next is probably less important than what this lack of integrity forebodes more generally, regarding global perceptions of the old world order.  What will we put in the rear view mirror?  What died?  What got run over?

The End of Power was an interesting book.  Individual cities are starting to emerge as the logical unit, taking us back to olden times.  Geoffrey West talks about this in his book Scale. DC is one of those cities, but not nearly as important as it used to be, like when FDR was in office.  Nice museums though.

I had a good time teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders today, just five of them.  We explored the pen blocks in MIT Scratch, having sprites bounce around, leaving a trace, or not.  Scratch is satisfying.

The car seems a bit skittish on the road.  I had new tires put on the back before driving to the memorial service for Howard.  His brother Bill Lightfoot is likely to come down on the train for a visit this Friday.  He's in his 90s.  I'm turning 60 in a few days.

We have all the elements of a think tank around Linus Pauling House but no budget, except for coffee.  I've been pushing hard for the Bucky stuff, the concentric hierarchy of polyhedrons in particular.  But that's philosophy and philosophers have morphed into something else entirely, it now seems.

During my data science class we learned about placing pictures in Jupyter Notebooks and I had them choose from an album with some bus pictures.

One bus was of recent vintage and on its way to Pycon shortly, in Cleveland, Ohio.  The other was a picture of Further, the famous Ken Kesey bus that went back and forth across North America, in an earlier chapter.  It may be in a museum by now.

Speaking of life on the road, I'd like to get more funding for Truckers for Peace.  I'll keep hanging out a shingle.  Not that I'm a trucker or anything, just a Friend.


Friday, May 04, 2018

Authentic Scarcity

I've continued my conversations with ISEPP about World Game, which I use in its original sense of working to make sense of the world and to strategize accordingly.  War Game is similar, with the overhead of trashing infrastructure, destroying muscle mass, deliberately making things worse and weaker, in order to improve matters.  Yes, that's counter-intuitive I fully realize.

Dr. Charles Hall is typical of a trending cast of professionals trained in the natural sciences willing to raise their voices against conventional economics.  He's an emeritus who doesn't need to worry about ruffling feathers.  Those still striving for tenure or simply wishing for a modicum of job security, maybe can't afford to be so outspoken.

"Biophysical Economics" means taking science seriously and thinking more realistically about energy budgets and the thermodynamics of it all.

My focus on the PWS (personal workspace) anticipates when the "daily commute" (a sloshing back and forth of a billion vehicles) will give way to people tightening their radius and watching more Netflix.  Families will have more together time.  Can that be all bad?  Telecommuting beats clogging the freeways.  Or look at how we bus kids to school when the best teachers are on Youtube, better viewed from one's PWS.

How many humans might we support via theme parks?  Or call them EPCOTs.  They want their driverless cars and HDTVs.  They want novelty, family life, fresh produce.  What if your greenhouse and your house were part of the same climate controlled structure?  Remember the argon gas and Tefzel pillows?  Has Silicon Valley improved on the Whole Earth Catalog?

Suppose you had a warehouse with a pile of Soylent delivered by dump truck every few months.  Just add water.  No it's not made from people.  It's not like eating in a French restaurant, but at least you won't starve.  They're basically paying you to stay healthy.  You cost more when you're sick.  Breathing takes work.  That's physics.

People work their whole lives to afford spacious homes and then leave them empty, to sit in offices and cubicles all day, playing the game of who's boss.  Don't tell me this isn't crazy, in light of the precious fossil fuels we're squandering for the privilege.  I'm not defending this species as rational.  Like any dumb animal, they're not likely to change their ways until they come up against an electric fence.

Some folks believe in morphogenetic fields, or lets just talk about the Zeitgeist, or Holy Ghost in Catholic spheres.  Princeton was full of talk about the noosphere when I was there in the 1970s.  We put some faith in our collective wisdom, and intuition.  New England Transcendentalism went that route, more Aquarian Conspiracy.  But putting faith in something doesn't keep Planet of the Apes from dominating the programming.