Thursday, June 21, 2018

Isle of the Dogs (movie review)

I got to see this with Alexia, my late wife's first daughter, nowadays living with her dad and in the process of a career change.  She rarely gets any days off.  I haven't seen her since our trip to visit her younger sister in December of last year.

Isle of the Dogs is a puppet-based animation.  I've watched at least one movie critic's Youtube and agree with his observation:  the timing and rhythm are notable and interesting.  When I found out the director was the same guy who did Budapest Hotel, I thought that made perfect sense.

Isle of the Dogs is billed as a comedy.  I'd call it dark comedy.  The movie critic said the Megacity of the future was dystopian, but it didn't seem all that terrible to me.  People were enjoying life and we saw some semblance of democracy, though it was mostly for show.  I didn't see any homeless or tent cities.

A dynasty of dog-haters was in control and used the office to push an agenda that would obliterate all dogs, first by exiling them to like a concentration camp, followed by plans for genocide.

The Science Party is against genocide and has already found a cure for what ails these dogs in the first place.  The dynasty suppresses this knowledge and continues feeding pubic terror of dogs.  One sees the cats have a subtle role in this program, though it's not spelled out.  The cats never say a word.

What's interesting is how languages are dealt with.  The dogs, such as Harvey Keitel, speak their English perfectly complete with accents and dialects, while the humans speak Japanese, without subtitles.  The little boy who goes to rescues Spots, his guardian, is unintelligible to the dogs.  However he and Spots are connected by short range Blue Tooth and do understand each other.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chaotic Times

I'll wade into the swamp a little and talk about the recent meetups twixt top politicos in their respective nations, namely the G7 in Canada, and Singapore events.

The World Cup is going on now as well.  Rosalie tells me the USA team didn't make the cut, no not a boycott, just didn't qualify.  The sports bars around here are still crowded with soccer fans however.

In summary, that's my own picture of what's going on.  The picture of some superpower moralizing about bad guys and imposing sanctions is getting old, with systems needing to inter-gear and get on with keeping wheels turning.

There's no time to play these games.  India needs its oil from Iran.  South Korea is tired of war games against the northern half of the same peninsula.  The 1900s status quo all seems too silly.

However, to bolster the public perception that political leaders are indeed the leaders, and not the chaotic forces of general systems, there's an instinct to go along to get along.  The politicos need to ride the horse in the direction it's going, as that way they're seen to lead.

The Americans have elected someone allowed to be crazy and unpredictable, which is what the recipe calls for in chaotic times.

World events in the internet age do not bottleneck through customary "halls of power" and yet people in nice suits with lots of accessories need to strut their stuff anyway.  The public figureheads do a kind of dance, put on a show, that helps the rest of us answer a perennial question:  "what time is it, really?"  The politicos (professional scapegoats) help close the loop in various feedback cycles.

"Chaos" used to mean something bad, back in the days before we learned about dynamical systems.  Now we know that rigid rhythms mean rigor mortis.  The politicos show signs of life now and then, to keep from seeming too scripted, too programmed.  I get it.  Celebrities do the same.

We have lots of work to do, around refugees especially (I use the term broadly, to encompass the domestic unsheltered).  Eugene, Oregon is investing in tiny houses.  I don't know if Micheal Sunanda got one.  He and I have lost touch.

My plan to work with MercyCorps to showcase the latest and greatest in emergency housing, somewhere near PDX, a tourist attraction, may be showing signs of gaining traction.  EPCOT West we call it.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Fire Starters

A theme in these blogs lately, has been global IC work (IC = integrated circuits) aimed at keeping violence contained, even as weapons makers stoke the fires.  Keeping old resentments alive is Satan's chief occupation, we all know that.

However, the futurists of the 1900s did a pretty good job sketching out a world Beyond War, like on Star Trek.  Humanity still faces existential threats, like the Borg, but seems far less hell bent on self destruction.  All the shiny new technology has cheered the humans, past the point where they wanna "press the button".  They'd rather live to see the 24th Century and onward.

However, a lot of humans, some with means, are not persuaded that the End Times should be further postponed.  They've put a lot of eggs in their End Times baskets, and are now wanting to see all those efforts pay off.  Before it's too late.

I'm thinking it's getting to be too late, but the fire starters are still at it, getting more brazen and visible in proportion to their sense of panic.  Of course it's oxymoronic to be panicking because the world is not ending, but that's a corner the End Timers paint themselves into.

What feels like a loss of power to many a political leader, is actually the gradual abandonment of various circuits that have carried significant voltage until now.  Attempts to galvanize large populations with a war fighting spirit is what's proving increasingly unlikely to pan out.

I'm guessing the "world domination" meme used by Geekdom is worth inserting at this point.  The "new world order" (NWO) was expected to be political and to have something to do with banking. For certain Christians, we would also be meeting some Antichrist pseudo-hero, a false leader of sorts.

However, with the emergence of cloud services, crypto-currencies, and social media, we're facing a NWO of a different flavor, sponsored by FANG and Microsoft, Chinese giants, Russian research firms.  They code and promulgate coding.  Is this the Borg?  There's lots of engineering.  The culture is global, because the internet is global, and because world problems are world problems.  "Thinking globally" is not a "nice thing to do" (or is it evil?), it's just what makes sense.

The way I'd put it is:  desovereignization is already far advanced, something I believed in the 1990s, but it's not resulting in any great showdown or political climax, more just a lot of vacuous hyperbole.  The atmospherics are not one of End Times.  The sense is more business as usual and Tower of Babelish.  We're not all on the same page (so what else is new?).  We're acting out in different theaters, following different scripts.  We're OK with that.  Multiple namespaces co-exist.

Those who focused more on "context" than "content" had the right idea I think.  We're still struggling with deep misery, hellish conditions, but our impulse is not to give up and blow it all up.

Ushering in some nuclear apocalypse, perpetrated by the Nuke Nations against the others, is not that easy when the IC is quick to learn of any secret plans.  How were you planning to trick us again?  We learn from your mistakes.

Monday, June 04, 2018


Voodoo Economics

I'm making a pun in the title.  OCEAN is / was one of those personality test thingies.  Dime store psychology books (thinking of Lucy, the Doctor is In) traffic extensively in these "discover yourself" batteries of questions, so-called surveys.

Answer thirty questions, and voila, the Machine Learning model lets you know all kinds of stuff about your category.  Better than horoscopes!

I'm not saying personality profiling is sheer bunk, quite the opposite.  Over time, the analysts learn to recognize patterns.  Lets assume those surveyed are taking the test in good faith.

In some fairly convenient on-line venue, such as Facebook, between games of Farmville and that other one I actually played, one fills out some intriguing survey, an OCEAN test.  One's answers go out the back door to a paying Facebook customer.

What especially pissed people off is the customer also discovered who your Facebook friends were.  How embarrassing.  Now they'll target everyone I know.  Pretty soon, we'll all be talking about the Kardashians.

Those of you up on your political layer gossip already know I'm talking about Cambridge Analytica and its supposedly awesome powers to tip an election.

The Russians were flattered they got 2nd prize, but the UK was not about to take a back seat in the psyops department.  When push came to shove, they wanted the world to know of their prowess.

Getting the press accounts out there, the social media, is a big part of the game.  Consider Sophia, the AI bot who got to address the UN and make Saudis proud of their government.  Sophia would not have had nearly such a successful career without all that clever PR.  Yet she's nothing but an audio-animatronic puppet, nothing like the breakthrough Deep Mind game changer.

Supposing the UK or the Russians have such an established social science that they're able to engineer an election almost legally, but for loopholes that Facebook may have closed in retrospect, is supposing a lot, but Hollywood movies have paved the way, for movie-goers to have a hard time assessing the true state of the art.

In an age when even Cubans are able to target diplomats with frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, sewing seeds of suspicion right when the technocrats wanted to dial back to making "America" a bigger bully, who knows what is truly possible?  Time travel is just around the corner, and those in the know harness UFO-derived technologies to... fill in the blank.

Yes, I'm saying I consider the public very gullible, for buying that psychometrics has advanced so far so quickly.  Advertising works, I don't deny it, but then advertising, media campaigns, are more than just a few TV spots.  You need a narrative.

Start with the side show Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg, its Fancy Bear staffers barely able to speak English (like Guccifer, but unlike Guccifer 2.0), then cycle back to center ring and realize true English speakers, like Cambridge Analytica and CrowdStrike still dominate the world cyber-game.

Russians can't hold a candle to the truly tech-savvy, such as Dmitri Alperovitch (Crowdstrike CTO). How reassuring, right?  But wait, don't The Americans (deep cover spies in a fiction TV series) speak like perfect American?   Maybe we're not out of the woods yet!

On the positive side, we have evil Russians (connected to the cyber-caliphate and ISIS) maybe tilting Superman's election without firing a shot.

They promised us we'd be entering a world wherein cyber war and cyber weapons would be the new big thing.  As a Quaker, that sounded like a step away from doofus muggle outward weapons, so I haven't necessarily put up a lot of resistance.

Lets make the endless wars all cyber for a change, more like the computer games we grow up on.  Given the hell hole in which we started, that'd definitely be big progress!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

After Reading About Graphs...

From random guesses to feedback-informed weightings: we learn to crumble the cookie (so many readings!) back into correctly labeled movements (archetypal gestures).  The cookie uncrumbles.

The distance between "bullseye and arrow hit point" generalizes to all crumbs (crumbs in all dimensions) as does the computation to minimize this distance (e.g. "gradient descent"  -- one of the methods).  

The crumbs look more and more like the original cookie, as the weightings get shifted, epoch after epoch on screamingly fast chips. We need already judged and labeled originals so the feedback keeps happening.  Supervised learning continues.

From randomly guessing focus group committees (new enrollees) to finely refined teams with proved track records (weighted and ranked accordingly), do we mitigate this metaphysical distance, twixt our predictions and what is.  

I picture a whole skyscraper of committees, as floors of (levels of) "perceptron neural nodes" each signaling to the next floor above it and, and so on (deep neural net), with a broadcast tower atop the building (some KPOJ) sharing its newly synthesized view of the world (its brand of enlightenment programming, its model).

[ with thanks to Nathaniel Bobbit ]