Sunday, December 15, 2019

Ongoing Wanderers Conversations

Now that Yahoo! Groups is no longer archiving our Wanderers discussions, some of the same threads have meandered over to Facebook, where they gain a different audience.

Here's an example from recent weeks:

Kirby Urner Terry Bristol in this one I give the cosmologists the benefit of the doubt and accept a "heat death of the universe" scenario. Even so, after making that concession (for the sake of diplomacy if nothing else), there's still no justification in physics for the world "going downhill" in the near term. Using "heat death" scenarios to justify poor management is merely farcical, not tragic, and involves extrapolating a misbegotten Malthusianism, coupled with Social Darwinism. I bet Romer would agree.
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  • Terry Bristol The universe is NOT running down. The supposed low entropy beginning is 'impossible to explain – if all processes are entropy increasing. Suggest watching my summer talk in Russia: How the Elements came to be as they are, July 28th, 2019, Mendeleev 150, St. Petersburg

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  • Kirby Urner Only some processes are entropy increasing, not all, in everyday thermodynamics e.g. planet Earth considered as an open system could as easily be syntropic as entropic. To what extent is that difference up to responsible engineering? What difference do the humans make, if any?

    As to whether the universe is ultimately running down, even were we to concede that as a debating maneuver, I would still argue that this has nothing to do with the fate of our Earth for the next million years at least.
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Friday, December 06, 2019

Nobody for Education President

I'm not getting that anyone wants to be the "education president" this election year cycle.  That was a Bush Sr. thing, having come off serving as Reagan's veep.  He wanted to lead us towards the thousand dots of light.

I feel I've learned quite a bit about the veep position, thanks to revisiting Nixon's tenure under president Eisenhower.  That's where Nixon developed his friendship with the various bosses, including Howard Hughes if I'm not mistaken.

A lot of antipathy towards the Castro takeover of Cuba kept building momentum, to where JFK would get the ball.

Back to "education president": those of us in the open source movement (where I take "free software" to be a hard kernel) projected the new accessibility, thanks to lower price, of computing environments, would transform middle and high school mathematics teaching.

SQL would merge with vector graphics.  Polyhedrons would be stored in, and retrieved from, a database, as a routine class exercise.

None of that happened to the extent we expected, as computer science was expected to fend for itself in the harsh turf war jungle.

My idea to go with "lambda" (λ) versus "delta" (Δ) calculus, to stand for computer science versus the older calculus track (each a "calc" of a kind), hadn't yet gained much traction, maybe never would.

Case in point:  a Linux box such as FreeGeek was giving to volunteer recyclers, running Python... or lets say a Raspberry Pi... both already have a tiny SQL machine included, as a part of the "batteries included" Python Standard Library, in the form of sqlite3.

We've had a whole generation go by and maybe some elite prep schools reflecting the new realities. The world needs social engineering, long feared and/or satirized as a bugaboo, but how can we deny the engineering component of designing for a better society?

I'm not surprised the game in my region is keeping current with China | Asia as the trend setter.  True, the Pacific Rim has been like that for awhile.  Japanese culture has strong roots on my town of Portland (Oregon) as well.

Getting more "SQL tea" infusions going in the Silicon Forest is perhaps not the same uphill battle others might face, in less technophile-dominated areas.  We understand engineering has converged with the bureaucracy in the world of operating systems, networking, project management.  Government is not just for lawyers anymore (or perhaps what it means to "program" is changing).

I've not given up on the math-programming hybrid as you might discern from my Youtube channel.

However, I've been over on the PATH side more than STEM recently, working on our bridge over the C.P. Snow chasm (know the one?). Philosophy Anthropology Theater History.  Theater encompasses rhetoric and politics.  Anthropology encompasses architecture and art, and so of course appears likewise in STEAM.  A lot of you know of this wordplay.

Having a philosophy you're clear about, able to defend and explain, is often helpful when it comes to prioritizing STEM projects, either for oneself or others.  People may not share your priorities, but will nevertheless be glad to know what yours are.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gestalts Matter (School of Tomorrow)

"I've been meddling in the election, as a voter, as a citizen..."

We're looking back at April, 2018 as well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The IVM (a space frame) Meets Rust (a language)

Harkening back to OSCON 2019, I'm diving into Rust again, a new fast-growing state of the art computer language.  Or rather, the community of Rust-fluent is fast-growing, whereas Rust is showing signs of stabilizing, much as Python has.  I'm told it inherits from ML, a favorite in the compsci crowd.

I grew up doing non-commercial programming for nonprofits, mostly, though the doctor practice took some initiative in sharing our work with commercial developers.  A real heart surgeon, working closely with a talented programmer (ahem), using Visual FoxPro, could fly around the country showing something battle-tested in CVOR.  No one had anything like it.  People thought I might be standing to make a lot of money, but I was just a consultant for Sisters of Providence, one of Oregon's biggest employers.

This was all before Python even existed, at least in my consciousness, nor did Python come bundled with a core developer supported GUI toolkit.  Guido got some DARPA funding to make Tk/tcl the GUI default, thanks to the tkinter module.  Later DARPA funded the Anaconda team to mainstream Spyder, built not on tcl ("tickle") but Qt ("cute").

Anyway, Rust is coming over the horizon and I have a golden application in the form of quadrays, an alternative vector class that uses the same traits for an interface, in terms of addition, subtraction, scalar multiplication and so on as ordinary XYZ vectors.  You could think of (4, 3, 1, 0) as simply an alternative representation of a corresponding set of XYZ coordinates.  That's what I'm using Rust to figure out.

(base) Kirbys-MacBook-Pro:quadrays mac$ cargo run
   Compiling quadrays v0.1.0 (/Users/mac/rust/projects/quadrays)
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 10.22s
     Running `target/debug/quadrays`
q_a.a = 1
q_a.b = 0
q_sum.c = 1
q_sum.b = 1
xyz coords = [0.0, 0.0, 0.7071067811865475]

xyz coords for (4, 3, 1, 0)  = [0.0, 0.7071067811865475, 2.1213203435596424]

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Joker (movie review)

I've noticed the drop-off in the frequency of my movie reviews, and in my blog posts more generally. In part that's explained by my shifting a lot of weight to Youtube in the interim.  I'm developing skills in a different medium.  My first impulse, after seeing The Joker, was to talk to Youtube about it.

What to single out about Gotham is Gotham itself.  This is a living breathing archetype, so familiar, and so recent past.  Some middle aged might not be used to seeing their adulthood reality cast in such a steely, otherworldly light, as the flickering dream of some past, as seen from a dark ride (like boats floating by dioramas). VCRs, VHS, answering machines... a lot of us are still using that stuff.

The Joker is again all stereotypes and archetypes.  Yes, of course he works as a clown, where as a tragic figure he struggles to stay comic.  The viewer is meanwhile seeking to get the genre.  Is this even a batman film?  In my Youtube review, I keep saying it isn't, while referring to it as the batman film.  It's a film about how Gotham could only have a crazy core, given the despair of urban misery.

The Joker (Arthur) can't help but laugh.  He has a rare form of mental illness that makes him laugh uncontrollably, a kind of turrets.  Or so they say.  We see and hear an animal suffering, and he comes to realize too, that he is so much more a victim than he thought at first.

In Gotham, everything goes from bad to worse, if you're the clown people kick when they're down.

Didn't Salvador Dali report something similar?  He suffered from uncontrollable laughing fits for at least a week or two in his autobiography, which I recall studying in a coffee shop, over a sequence of visits.

The Joker's reality is likewise surreal, but not enjoyable (Dali seemed to be having some fun at least). The twists in this Oedipal Story are twisted, but that's the whole point with Oedipus (that it's twisted).  We're not really going against the grain of Western Culture; we're near its screwed up center.

Are we in the Matrix, or is this Zion?  Is there a difference?  The marriage of heaven and hell.

The class consciousness uprising that the Joker inadvertently sparks, is what brings the Joker himself to higher self awareness.  He does exist, after all.

He's going to break the fourth wall and burst onto the public stage he sees on television.  However it's likewise television that lures him in, Through the Looking Glass style.

In my Youtube I'm raising the dead, one might put it, in bringing up Marshall McLuhan.  What would he say about "hot" versus "cold"?  That Gotham is chill?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Quaker Alchemy

Yes, of course I'm watching to see if humans escalate the direness of their situation, by continuing to attack themselves.  In the Gnostic tradition, a lesser god makes a boo boo, and we're it.

More seriously, there's a chaos factor in play, wherein everyone tries to spin things their way, regardless of what might eventually emerge as the facts of the matter.  Extended forensic analysis is supposedly underway, regarding the origins of these latest attacks on Aramco.

The oil wars have been going on a long time, back burner for some, life destroying for many others.

The only weapons that matter are psychological, and the best ones of all have a healing purpose.

So how are they weapons then, if their intent is to heal?

Anything that presents itself as an obstacle to the will or agenda of some agent or actor in an altercation, is likely to be considered a weapon and/or "weaponized" (as we say today), even if it's rhetorical in nature.

Put another way, if the agenda is outward war (hot), then those aiming to keep it inward (cold) might be considered weapons-wielding, even if their instruments are metaphysical (psychological).

Women healers were accused of witchcraft, for undermining the authority of those with "authorized" status (high priests, church-ordained).  The old folkways would be stamped out, if at all possible.

Physical weapons matter in their physical plane, of blood and guts, bones and muscle.  Human bodies may die in this space, but not so much ideologies.  "You can't kill the devil with a gun or a sword" say the Quakers, paraphrasing their founder George Fox.

However that's not a level at which the most sense gets made. War that holds meaning -- if that's not an oxymoron -- has a psychological side.

Transmuting war from the meaningless physical to a more meaningful level, might be considered both a calling and a skill.  Quaker alchemy?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Graphing Out Loud

The one above is the wind up.

Then comes the pitch.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Islam in Oregon

She Made It Herself

By the end of the Oregon Trail, many had shown their true colors, out of necessity, which need not mean anything bad.

By WW2, the idea of women in the workplace, including in factories, was widely accepted, but not without assistance from a propaganda barrage, explaining why such gender bending was necessary.

However Oregon's colonial pioneers had in many cases already discovered the extent to which women could manage farms, run factories, govern towns.

One may counter that I exaggerate about the power of women in the early days of Oregon Territory -- the days of calling it that (before statehood) -- and one is correct for so doing.  I'm anticipating, with the benefit of hindsight.

Rolling forward, to 2019, yesterday I was in the company of a farm-owning, science-lab-running, manager woman, one of the Wanderers.

The seeds had been planted in the culture somewhat earlier.  I was feeling proud of our ability to adapt to grow.

I could branch out here, into anthropology around indigenous cultures, exploring stereotypes.  Gender bending is not a new theme.  The way in which genders relate to one another is indeed part of the tension-compression morphology that goes on, with respect to the many stresses and strains that challenge homeostasis at every turn.

However what's on my mind is the future of the manager woman, the farm owner and tractor driver, in the namespace we call Islam.

Many women come to Oregon to start a business and gain for themselves a level of autonomy taken for granted by business owning men.  Some of these women may speak Arabic, others do not.  Some may come from local families wherein Islam has been a practice.  Others have newly adopted the Muslim faith.  Skin color varies.

I've commented on these themes before.  I suppose what triggered me this time (in a good way) was riding around with a farm-owning science lab manager, listening to her talk about her plans to get a motorcycle.

She was driving a powerful new kind of Volkswagen, hardly a Dead Header micro-bus.  She has no fear of machines or hardware.  She makes big plans for the future.  Praise Allah.

Taking Pet for Walk (Star Wars)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Aristotle's Kiln

Per my comment to CJ today on Facebook, in response to a thread on Martin Heidegger, and bridges to the Bucky stuff, we could take Aristotle's four causes, and integrate MH's observation that they all stick together like a single glue-ball (or glass bead):  materials, design, maker, purpose.

Make that a Tetrahedron next time.

I then thought of calling this a "kiln" in the sense of an oven or cooker, the alchemist's crucible.  We're following the "silver chalice" theme to some extent.  What pops out of the oven is thereby unconcealed, a new truth of some kind.

With modern technology comes the possibility of mass production, or mass reproducibility, which becomes our way of optimizing distribution in the coming digital age (MH was prescient).

The open source free software world (terminology) already includes a lot of baking and cooking metaphors.  We also go through iterations or versions.  Our creations evolve.  The design may be somewhat fluid, and melt with new purpose, without sacrificing all the materials.

Recycling happens.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Futzing Around

I present this as a tribute to the MacBrook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009), on which I live install mplayer using Homebrew, and run a Python script to control it, all the while recording in Camtasia.

The work I'm doing is rather inconsequential we might say, but helps orient a School of Tomorrow student in the world of laptops, with their many surfaces (or "windows" as some call them).

While mplayer compiles from source, I pip install the Python package, Darwin M. Bautista's work (GPL) and tweek a script already tested on Windows.  Here we're on OSX.

Although it looks like the Calculator of Tomorrow (i.e. a laptop) is all about "programming" in the coding sense, this video goes out of its way to draw attention to the "programming" going on in the TV editing sense.  

The contemporary desktop features talking heads, both synchronous and asynchronous, thanks to video and audio recording and playback capabilities, and public repos (repositories).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Observing Multitasking

We'll see if I get to show Uncle Bill around the lattice works gallery, during one of his future trips to Union Station, which is really nearby.  I'm going to suggest a Sunday schedule next time he calls, for traffic reasons.  I think everything we'd want to do, is doing business on Sunday.

In one of my recent videos, I encourage watching oneself through task switching, which continues the observer pattern as "one who watches the attention span".  I'm not saying to judge or immediately set out to redesign.  I'm only saying that "scheduling" is an important responsibility of an operating system.

When I first got to Princeton, our role, as undergrads learning to program, was to submit batches of cards through a card reader, with some JCL (job control language) to start and end the deck.  We were queuing work to be done, not immediately, but whenever the computer had time of undergrad, and grad, projects.  Other jobs had priority.

That was an IBM 360 / 370 mainframe.  I watched it through glass in the basement of the computer center, where monitors also displayed the jobs queue.  We could read in our cards from one of several locations as I recall.  I usually frequented the Equad.  I was from the other side of the C.P. Snow chasm, some might say, however I didn't mind lurking and learning.  I'd always wanted to know about computers.

Nowadays a lot of us have personal computers meaning they're not shared with others in real time.  However, we still want to run numerous apps in the foreground and background, and switch between processes.  The OS (operating system) is just as busy as if a lot of people were using it, or might be.  Single users have the capacity to be resource hogs and max out memory and CPU cycles.

Accepting the finitude of throughput is akin to trusting others to also be interested in problem solving.  I go to use FORTRAN and other languages (APL interactively, at the terminal, more like Logo) on these mainframes, but by the time I arrived at the university, the machines were already well thought out and had been through several editions.

I accepted that world without a lot of benchmarks as to the speed with which it was changing.  Looking back, I have a somewhat better appreciation for how the technology is morphing, but I'd still say my window is limited, which is more accepting of finitude, likewise an innate curiosity to discover more.

Monday, August 05, 2019

About Town

Given my Quaker ethnicity, I keep up a brave talk about how we're able to get along well enough, at least as Quakers, to not let differences in nationality or language get to us (divide us).  How true this is has to connect to my experience, if I'm not to just spout empty statistics.

I'll say about my network in Portland that I'm pretty pleased with it, but like with electricity, the flow of current is a function of the network continuing to change.  I see new polyhedrons (graphs) drifting into view.  For example, yesterday I saw myself in relationship to a native Chinese population in a new way.

On the east side, I do a lot of shopping at El Mercado, which has its own politics.  I get into that source of short stories in some of my Youtubes.  I also show a lot of slides from that location.  In the movie of my life that I'm chronicling (and directing to some extent), I have some settings to which I frequently return.  Most movies are like this, inheriting from theater.

What's my relationship to the Russians?  Johan Maurer comes to mind.  I think of the Russian River near Sebastopol, the one near the Charles Schultz airport in Santa Rosa.  I'm wearing an O'Reilly School of Technology T-shirt right now.  I'm still in touch with some of my students.  One of them was in Afghanistan.  He learned some Python from me.  Fluent in Russian.

My point is any one of us can play these games, do these exercises.  Recast your image of your own network exploring for connections to some random ethnicity, take your pick.

In my postings about CUE (Center for Urban Education), I get more into my ties to Asian-Pacific and Latino communities.  However, as I say above, a static image from a past chapter is not a source of electricity so much as is reinventing (recasting) said image.  Reinvention is still invention.

I'm not saying to throw away the past, as if you could, just respect it has momentum going forward.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Deep Dive Into Racism

The Bellingham Museum of Civil Rights sets the stage for this scenario.

My usual banter about race is the annoying cleverism "a racist is anyone who believes in races". That doesn't get me very far on some dates (just kidding).

However in my two part lecture below, plus addendum, I go for some deeper history, and no, I don't mean the story of Noah again.

We've connected racism to some related concepts: eugenics (considered as pseudo-science); and labeling more generally. Edwin Black also wrote about the evolution of database technology in connection with denying people privileges.

My addendum gets into the specifics of the "bridge" we're using across the C.P. Snow chasm.

I wrote a companion Racism: A Study Guide, as a companion Medium story for these videos.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back from the Future

I'm taking the view, here at OSCON, that I'm visiting from the future, looking for signs that we might be choosing a smart way forward, and not choosing a dystopian future.

The movie 12 Monkeys follows this plot line.  They sent a guy into the past to figure out what went wrong.  The premise of that movie is we already knew the future, and it was dark indeed.

Currently, I'm learning about how the mega-fires in California last year were a result of grid failures.

A frequency control algorithm running on the edge (at the end user end i.e. on the client), as well as on the server side (generator) is supposed to deal with the spikes.  In short, the plan is to escape vendor lock in and go open source with the IoT smart grid.  California is allocating a lot of money to this plan.

The old grids are incapable of dealing with reverse flow energy coming from the DERs, or distributed energy resources (wind, solar...).  The challenge with these energy sources, of course, is they're highly variable, like the price of bitcoin.  The original distribution networks were never engineered to accept a lot of power from such sources.

CalTech is supposed to save us with calculus.  Open OPF, the visualizer, is going to help vectorize (spread the news of) these innovations.  You'll be able to simulate how your community would not have burned up, had this IoT smart grid been in place.

Thinking back to SimCity, I'm thinking how children and dabbler amateurs will not have easy access to these fancy tools, designed to be used by universities and national labs.  Even though Open OPF is open source, I don't expect to get it running on my laptop. Something simpler, showing how, when phase and frequency get out of whack, or whatever it is, you get heat instead of usable power, would make more of a simple game.

Simple videogames, about real world subjects, are like documentary films, a genre.  I'd say a somewhat rare genre, compared to all the fiction games we get.  Simulations are needed at every turn, such as when playing blockchain games.  That's what Ganache is all about (a tool featured in my second tutorial on Monday).

I didn't get to ask my question, which would have been whether DERs give us more opportunities to disintegrate and create self monitoring smaller grids that don't even attempt microsecond load balancing on such a huge scale.

The macro grid still exists in this scenario, but not everyone is a customer.

I was thinking back to my crude drawings of Asylum City.  I joined the lunch table where open source and cities were the focus.  I talked about my interest in the "cities from scratch" idea.  Two from our table were from Mexico City, where earthquake tremors were recently felt (same in southern California).

None of the geeks at this table had ever heard of Sophia, although once I described it they knew the topic area was "uncanny valley".

Back to the session... No one talked about how peak loads might be offset by a more global grid.  That would allow more transmission across time zones.  Of course that's a World Game meme of longstanding.

The speaker managed to suggest that Germany might be doing something wrong in piping in natural gas from Russia, but it wasn't clear to me in what sense that might be a mistake.  Some bold mayor took his town off the mega-grid, which was fragile.  Back to my question about going with smaller more easily managed grids (town sized?) in some circumstances.

Of course storage technology figures in to all this.  I think we all have the vision of a wind farm and solar panels, coupled with batteries, providing energy autonomy to a region.  If the macro grid still needed to tap in to buy power, or vice versa, this could happen, maybe.

An electric car is a battery on wheels.  Do we have the storage capacity to power a small town for several hours?  Are the batteries managed at the household level, at the town level, or both?

Some of the people after the talk went up front to talk more about the big picture.

I met Sheri Dover of PDX Code Guild.  We haven't crossed paths since OSCON 2018.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Random Post to Social Media

If we want serious change, we might want to revisit how the most positive futurist the USA once offered, through world’s fairs for starters (Afghanistan, Montreal…), commemorated by the Buckyball at EPCOT (“Spaceship Earth”), and for whom buckminsterfullerene was named, got written off as a kook and/or crackpot and/or failure by those with far fewer accomplishments or fans. How many other philosophers had that many patents to their name?

Might it have something to do with his declaring “the USA we have known” to be “bankrupt and extinct” way back in the 1980s (Grunch of Giants, St. Martins Press), and getting a Medal of Freedom around the same time (from Ronald Reagan)? He cited income inequality and the ascendancy of corporate power, talking about corporate personhood before that became popular. Covert ops and dirty wars were already replacing the constitutional authorities. What we call “the deep state” today is but the tip of the Grunch iceberg.

Does it matter he came up with new pedagogy around polyhedrons accessible to any 6th grader (and above)? No public or private school that I’m aware of deigns to share his primitive volumes table. So was he wrong then? Or was he a source of too many inconvenient truths? How about his focus on the global electrical grid, long before “we” made that be a Chinese idea (and therefore scary)? Former president Johnson was so popular in Texas precisely because he helped extend the electrical grid to rural areas.

From my point of view, we’ve let the soulless corporations he wrote so eloquently about write him out of history, or portray him as quaintly retro (e.g. The House of Tomorrow). Why was using our highest technology to mass produce something yurt-like and affordable (not talking about domes now, see Henry Ford Museum) considered less interesting than what we got instead: so-called mobile homes?

Is it too late to build cities from scratch, such as Old Man River? Was “lack of funds” ever the real problem? Doesn’t the Earth plug into the Sun?

As someone who studied philosophy at Princeton under Walter Kaufmann, who warned us of times to come (we’re in them now), I think the choice to expunge and/or besmirch one of America’s all time greatest philosophers was a huge mistake. Not a mistake; a willful desire to nip something in the bud. And “we the people” march ahead blindly, not questioning the theft of our heritage.

His message that we don’t have to make politicians be the ones in charge (check “design science revolution” in Wikipedia) is one you’re never going to hear from those who channel our frustration through all the usual circuits. When will independent journalists finally decide it’s time to connect the dots?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cosmic Computer

In this video, I take up Bucky Fuller's notion of a "cosmic computer".  What did he mean by that, and might we find a contextualizing literature?

I'm following up on some recent videos.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Did Hard Brexit Just Happen?

The seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, bound for a non-EU country, seems enormously egregious to a lot of people, Europeans especially.  People remember when England and the USA formed alliances to relive colonial dreams of empire, pretty recently, and resent being abused as a consequence.

The warmongers in Britain may have miscalculated however, as there's no momentum for war with Iran, given the mainstream media no longer has a grip on the North American psychology.

A tiny oligarchy of dim bulbs may entertain the fantasy that owning media is their ticket to glory, but that's far from clear at this point.

What was NATO's role in all this?  The "coalition" since the invasion of Iraq under Bush 2 has been steadily shrinking.  Invading Iraq was seen as momentous and Europe had to be on board.  Attacking Iran is more the senile fantasy of nursing home candidates and their moneyed friends.  There's little patience, including in the armed forces, for dunderhead bosses.

Where does the White House come out in the wash?  Trump seems to agree with Tucker about the tapeworm infestation.  He played his usual role in the speech-making, but when there's no last minute save-the-day diplomacy opportunity, as in the case of the DPRK, he tends to lose interest.

Iran has chosen the safest course for itself:  denounce nuclear weaponry, but make clear there's no deal if the EU can't live up to its side.  The EU is calculating furiously, wondering if it needs to stay on the far right, with the warmongers.  The unilateral seizure of the supertanker may have tipped the scales.  The Brits are no longer welcome members.  They're too into reckless spazing out.

People question Trump's sanity and he's able to take the brunt, by staying outrageous.  Bolton's sanity is more tender.  They say he's heartless, but is he also mindless?  That does seem likely at the moment.  I've done some more commentary on Youtube.

I realize "hard Brexit" means something else to most people.  My angle is psychological.  The EU is now sufficiently alienated to be glad of Britain's leaving.  But where will Britain go?  The island won't budge.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ongoing Debates

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Saturday, July 06, 2019

American History

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Monday, July 01, 2019

But It's Not on the SAT

When it comes to understanding American literature, such as how The Aquarian Conspiracy connects to The Whole Earth Catalog, and The Well, or how The Dome Handbook connects to ZomeTool, one needs to understand the Jitterbug Transformation.


Because Bucky's career is a switchboard and essential puzzle piece, and yes, his thinking was influential, even if not comprehended. 

People got the dome, and saw why buckminsterfullerene was an apt naming of the molecule.

Not that the Jitterbug is that obscure or hard to learn about.

Where would it be on the SAT?  Might it be more of a literature question?  ACT maybe?

The assumption, I suppose, is that any interesting high school level mathematics, especially geometry, has to be part of the math section of the SAT.

But then look at Synergetics.  Mostly prose.  The Omnidirectional Halo concept (in both Synergetics and No More Secondhand God) is more about heuristics, a way to think about thinking.

We need the "whole number volumes" (a meme) to understand the literature at least, and by extension the history. 

PATH (Philosophy, Anthropology e.g. art, Theater e.g. politics, History) has its own metaphysical tensegrities i.e. mental constructs that cohere, make sense.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Debate Night

I was too busy teaching class to watch any debates on TV last night. I caught up later.

Back to the present: Tulsi is the clear Russian favorite and I don't need some overpaid bureaucrats masking as "intel" to write some NYT published "report" on that phenom. It's not "red baiting" to say so though, as every audience is entitled to a preference, even if said audience is excluded from voting (as I am, in most primaries).

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Does the DCI Agree?

FB friend:

? Tulsi Gabbard ? Not sure who she is beyond Wikipedia. Had not heard of her before she declared. What have I missed?


I'm going around saying Tulsi is indeed favored by the Kremlin so don't you believe those dino DNC types who still insist the Russians are Trump supporters. The point of the Trump Tower meetup was to discuss Magnitsky Act, at which point WaPo / NYT immediately tune out, as the goal is to focus on collusion against Hillary, not behind the scenes oligarch wars ala Browder.

Anyway, Tulsi is the obvious favorite on RT, and there's no reason to hire troll farms to make that clear, not when you have your very own CNN (i.e. propaganda machine). But unlike Matt Taibbi, I don't scream "McCarthyism" when NYT points out the Russians are backing a Hindu Hawaiian with no chance to win.

Free Assange and Manning, support blockchain voting, legalize weed, stop regime change wars, stop letting CIA run foreign policy (that's her "stop funding terrorists" bill). Two times service in Iraq, active duty in Hawaiian national guard. Proud of her Hawaiian heritage, like Obama.

My view is she's way too good to waste on a forlorn sorry office like the US presidency (designed for sickos these days), but at least we can take away the DNC crutch, of making Trump out to be Putin's favorite. No way. And so why are we afraid of the Russians again, when they're clearly backing a candidate with no chance to win?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Differentiating My Brand

Since I'm competing in the same namespace, I need to make sure the public doesn't get confused.

My Asylum City planning team should not be confused with what these other "movie directors" are doing.

Just protecting my reputation.

I don't want our Cascadian businesses mixed up with some sorry east coaster adventure.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Watching from a Distance

I'm too busy prepping for class to really follow all the action, which is fast-paced.

So that wasn't nighttime footage, of the boat Trump phoned Fox about?

Or was it that the suspicious boat was rendering aid, in response to a distress call, by removing a mine put there by someone else? 

Clearly it was the right boat for the job (of mine removal, if that's what was happening). 

Maybe they acted boldly ("bizarrely brazen") because they imagined they were part of the rescue effort? 

If the mine is going to leave lots of evidence of itself anyway, then trying to grab it on camera is hardly a way to "cover one's tracks".  That's just leading someone back from the scene of "the crime".

Did the observers follow the suspicious boat? Where did it go when it left?  They know its name.  They say it met up with a tug boat.  And then?   That's one more boat in the story.

Someone on Facebook sent me this timeline.  At least one version of events is starting to gel.

Removing a mine from a ship is in itself an act of bravery. Coming back to retrieve a dud? How does the photographic evidence prove that theory?  What ties the removal crew to the placement crew?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Gay Pride 2019

The exercise was needed and Patrick & Quinn (the beautiful dog) were my perfect walking buddies, down to the waterfront, west side, over the Hawthorne bridge and back.  At 11:30 AM, the parade was already coming in.  We stood on SW Pine with the crowds, west side.  Leela joined us, arriving on the 14.

I wasn't in a frame of mind to party hearty myself, as, like many of my peers, I'm wondering if I need to be leaving the District's jurisdiction.  That's my name for DC ("the District"), shades of Hunger Games. I made out the $12.70 check owed to the IRS.  My loose end for 2018.

Would the Oregon Curriculum Network work better in some refugee camp?  The local economy's autoimmune system might need all this Bucky stuff to come from elsewhere. Github is in the cloud anyway, ditto Youtube.

So might this be a good time to leave the country?  Carol is thinking she might move back to California.  I used to talk Costa Rica, when expressing my disappointment to Applewhite (we'd talk on the phone sometimes, between in person visits -- he only came to Oregon that one time, that I know about).

This subculture was enjoying itself, having a good time, celebrating.  There's lots of wealth on display, both individual and corporate. This is the face of the current establishment. Very theme park, very carnival, very mainstream.

Parents with kids in strollers were everywhere.  The heteros are like just another letter in LGBTHQ...  -- and might white be a color too?  Full spectrum attained!

Not so fast.  If I zoom out to the surrounding culture, I find others running somewhat counter to this one, which I'm in principle fine with (the devil is in the details).  A lone preacher with a Fear God flag shared some ministry, but his was token protest, quickly countered.  "Love" is a fighting word.

For my part, I don't think unicorns and rainbows in some code language need to dominate around the world.  No one code language needs to rule them all, not Python, not even Pharo.

With that much power and influence already, lets remember to make space for true diversity.  Even where it's perfectly OK to be gay (whatever that means exactly), you might wish to speak in different codes, extending to different dress codes.  The permutations are endless.

The days of victimhood are over (oh I know, it never feels that way, for any of us really).  The peculiar way queerness (fades to weirdness) expresses itself in Portland does not need to be any kind of global template for Tehran or Kiev.  But then memes spread (two way streets).

I may be a globalist in some sense, but I'm not for steamrolling indigenous cultures.  As pretty much always, it's the missionaries I least the trust (the ones with an agenda to propagate some faith and practice), as distinct from citizen diplomats (with an agenda to reach agreements and get along).

For one thing, Portland ("Stump Town") at the end of the Oregon trail, was settled by pioneers escaping tyranny.  The club scene, cross-dressing, drag queens and so on, is so much a creature of history.  The Pacific Northwest has its own local stories.  Vaudeville.  Burlesque.

I didn't see a single sign against any war with Iran (anti Keystone pipeline, check, solidarity with native Americans, check).  That would have seemed out of place.  These happy summertime party animals don't watch much war theater.

They're not home watching the burning tankers on CNN, with all the customary telling us what really happened.  Not when we have Netflix.

What part of zero credibility do they not understand anyway?

Leela had that positive spin on things.  This is a vibrant, healthy culture and if you randomly query (heh) any of them (us), they (we) would have nary a word in support of a vanity war to showcase weapons.

It'd be madness to start a war with the population in this mood.

But that's the thing:  madness doesn't seem to be "a thing" (a barrier) when it comes to what's on DC TV these days (what it sometimes means to be mad: you don't know it).

My parents liked being out of the country because, yes, it's a militaristic place.  Wears on one's soul.  I feel an urge to detox.  Get to some breathable air.  Life in the Lower48 can be suffocating.

I don't have any simplistic view that we need to demonize any specific ethnicity.

There's something sick about this culture, true, but I don't pose as the answer man as to exactly what or why.

A symptom is Pompeo at the podium, already all-knowing as to whom to blame for the tanker attacks.  The attack on Syria, in retaliation for the White Helmet hoax, the attack on Libya, the attack on Iraq... with a track record like that?

However "diversity" is sometimes a slippery concept.  Are we saying no one has a right to be offended by our ways?  I'd say that's precisely not a right.

Defying cultures that seem to want to take you over is a natural response.  Taliban defend their turf, I get it.  No abortions in Alabama.  Mormons might have three wives.  Eradication need not be the name of the game.

Gun toters on horseback need their Wild West enclaves.  Don't we have enough geography to keep the different lifestyles going?  How has that worked out up until now?  Lots of bloodshed, but some successes.

Making travel and tourism easier, and not militarized (as in "tours of duty"), makes it more likely people will sort themselves into compatible groupings.  Catalyze the Global U curriculum by making work/study travel more commonplace?  Go by bus, train and ship too.  It's not always about airplanes.  Truckers for Peace.

The only reason I voted for Obama was to support his plan to cement a peace with Persia.  I've been working on that myself.  He kept his word so I even voted for Hillary, as a favor, despite Libya, because that's what he wanted us all to do.  But what have politicians to do with anything anyway?  They're the scapegoats the screenwriters put out there.  We all love a good Punch & Judy, right?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Asylum City

The Asylum City meme traces back to Wild West times, when the goal of a community of refugees, from the Atlantic side, was not to create a whole state in some union, but simply a town, which might grow into a city someday.  Some towns were based on one activity, such as farming or mining.  Those based on multiple activities were the more likely to stick around.

Anyway, Asylum City recaptures that spirit of wanting to start whole new cities from scratch.

We saw this again in Manhattan Project days, when warring camps of physicists established their own cities on several continents to pursue their experiments with the destructive potential of radioactive materials.

Hanford was one of those towns, based near the Columbia River, which to this day is more radioactive than other rivers its size.

Asylum City is about offering a new situation to refugees, yes, and it's also about showcasing prototypes of tomorrow and the Internet of Things (IoT).

If we build a really big one, I can see a quarter or various neighborhoods electing to test 5G technology (including Huawei's), and driverless cars.  Other areas are mostly about using bicycles and light electric motor conveyances, more like golf carts.

Companies showcase their latest wares.  We do have visitors, but we put them to work.  They come as volunteers, not as guests in some hotel.  Lots of Netflix get shown here, but also made.  Journalists have a field day in Asylum City, with some moving in for extended periods.

Where are we putting this city and have local authorities been consulted?  What planning agencies are involved?  Will my family be eligible to move there?

Good questions, however as I mentioned, Asylum City is a meme at this point (and perhaps a movie in the making), even though many existing cities, including Portland, Oregon, already take on the role of assimilating refugee populations.

What's important is to remind more people that constructing whole cities from scratch, trying out new designs, is something people do.  There's a lot of that going on in Asia at the moment, but North Americans are still wringing their hands over decaying infrastructure such as in Detroit, not seeing how they can afford upkeep, let alone whole new towns.  They're prisoners of their own Economics to some degree.  Engineers favor GST (general systems theory) as the more scientifically informed and technologically fluent discipline.  We see a lot of hybrids, of GST + Economics, especially of the Henry George variety.

One inspiration for Asylum City is the proposed mega-project known as Old Man River (OMR).  If you know anything about city planning whatsoever, you know what I'm talking about.

Another inspiration was EPCOT, Walt Disney's original idea for Epcot, which gradually fell by the wayside.  Capitalism put more eggs in the weaponry basket, versus the livingry basket, and these days we're reaping what got sowed, a giant crop of worthless weapons and product placement wars (e.g. Apache helicopters in Panama, remember that one?).

Clearly I'm eager to recruit a large conscientious objector crowd, given my AFSC background.  Asylum City has that connotation.  We're giving economic refugees (refugees from Economics) a chance to find purpose and meaning outside of a military chain of command.  We'll be experimenting with democracy, including blockchain voting.

Prototypes that work well will be incorporated into lifestyles "far and wide" (as flat earthers might put it).  Mistakes will be learned from (parody passive tense).  Tourism will be a major industry.

A lot of economists are planning vast new prisons, which are like Asylum City, but they're drawing more from other sources for inspiration, such as a concentration camp literature.

Asylum City has some real city planners behind it, and isn't just a sterile barracks or a honeycomb of prison cells.  We're not trying to perpetuate the least imaginative lifestyles.  Burning Man is more of an inspiration than the private for-profit prisons.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

A Learning Process

At our School of Tomorrow, we use tomorrow's learning methods today. One of those methods: create a new Python3 Jupyter Notebook from scratch and start filling in (a) Markdown cells and (b) code cells about a topic you want to know more about.

The premise is, if you're learning Python, here's a excuse to practice.  If you already know Python, might you still learn more matplotlib?  I certainly fall into this category.  I'm pretty deeply into Python, including metaclasses and asyncio, but the APIs for these data science objects are somewhat gargantuan, not to mention alien.  However I wade in, armed with my Python knowledge.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of data visualization, what do I really want to know about.  In The School of Tomorrow, we focus on syntropic versus entropic processes.  Syntropy is a local phenomenon, against a backdrop of Expanding Universe.

We might credit the sun for Planet Earth's yearly funding.  Give us this year our yearly solar gradient.  In this Youtube I look at making food last longer, even though it's in the process of decay.  I also look at irradiation as fomenting decay versus postponing it.  It's all about dose and effective dose (which we're at pains to distinguish).

Again, if you're a student with the school, think about creating that Github account or something similar and start getting those Jupyter Notebooks out there.  Or just serve them locally on localhost.  Either way, making them yourself is the process to engage in.  Treat my example as a model to imitate and improve upon.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Tracking Anglophobes

Russian Art Museum

Kind of like Chuck Fager, prolific publisher of materials relating to our Sociedade Religiosa dos Amigos, I track the Lyndon LaRouche affiliated organizations (and anti ones too, some of them).

To be fair, I track the Nader founded Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), such as OSPIRG (which I've supported).  Nader is an alum of the same university.  I've been at events with the guy.

In other words, I'm not saying I use "track" in a negative sense.  It means "pay attention to" or "is on my radar".  I admit to not tracking much more than I track, such is the finitude of one's radar. Omniscient are us, not.

Lyndon, of Quaker heritage (like US president Nixon), developed a sustained anti-British polemic centering around London's Venetian heritage, going back to Phoenicians (aka Puns).  He distrusts their way of banking.

Ergo, when I'm wanting to tap into anti-Brit sentiment, a check in with LaRouchePAC.  Indeed, they're out on the streets with signage, in some cases, telling some Youtube journalist with a camera what they're on about.

As is to be expected, they're all about Trump staying friendly with Putin, which on a personal level has not been a problem.

Those who would appear to wish to throw a monkey wrench into this relationship, get singled out for special invective.

Thursday, June 06, 2019


Monday, June 03, 2019

Queueing Theory

Oh boring, boring, what will they think of next?  Yes, it's a real thing, and here's a predictable link to Wikipedia. I got criticized in an academic context for being that mundane, however in my defense, I wrote the bulk of that encyclopedia entry (Synergetics, disambiguated to Fuller's version, as in Buckminster).

My aim though is to be motivational in the sense of offering content of relevance to your personal calendar and how you structure the time in your day.  Having unstructured time is a fine thing too. It's not like we all plan to the minute, and so on.  If you're planning on using a transportation system, sticking to their published schedule, after finding it, is a skill you might want.

With so many demands on your time, how should you juggle them?  For a moment, be that "soccer mom" even if you aren't one.  You'll have other people's kids under your supervision.  That's a heavy responsibility right there.  Not only commanding generals in a military theater have responsibility for their wards.  I'm just saying:  life gets stressful and if you're a soccer mom, you feel many demands on your time, and your vehicle (Subaru?  Volvo?).

In Uncle Sam Ville (USV), we're told the British are excellent queuers and in fact they're the primary architects of the queue.  In America, we "wait in line".  But think how it works:  sometimes the store has multiple checkers, or the bank has multiple tellers, but there's a single cue up to that point.  Have you ever checked in at a busy airport?  You'll be that person next in line waiting to hear any ticket counter up or down the line call "next!" (and you're it!).

To kick a task down the road, to schedule it some time from now, is not "procrastination" (a self punishing word) so much as "orchestration" (something Python does too).  You can't do everything at once, duh, and you have a sense of a story unfolding.  You're not the author by yourself, however you do have some choice when it comes to narrative.  What tense should you use?  Are we still together?  Did we really break up a year ago?  When do I make time for Y?

We could talk strategies, how much to write down, what to add to your calendar.  A lot of people use calendars quite habitually to get them through to a next week.  You have calls to return, bases to touch base with.  You're staying on the radar, filing flight plans.  In a busy airspace, people appreciate your being communicative.  They're into echo-location themselves and if everyone's in stealth mode, all you get is more bats colliding.

In a bigger drama, where the goal was to build a lot of seagoing vessels in a hurry, operations research stood to the task and of course people discovered "multi-tasking" in various forms, always a temptation to bleep over as a topic, given so much has been said about it.

Don't begrudge the Brits their "queues" even if you call them "lines" is my advice.  More soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Fire (movie review)

The religious studies student is visiting again, so when we visited Movie Madness, we each picked one consistent with our areas of investigation.  I'm into the Cult of Bucky (meant tongue-in-cheek) and so picked The House of Tomorrow.

She's into gender studies and gender fluidity, and she picked Fire, a film by Deepa Mehta, also anthropological in flavor.  We watched them as a double feature, Fire first.  One of her contacts in Nepal said this was an important movie.

The film is set in a modern India with lots of background traffic noises and smoggy skies. The Taj Mahal appears, in the new couple's honeymoon, against an uncharacteristically blue background, more of a postcard, and a metaphor for flawed relationships.

We're told a story about some deliberate blemish in the Taj structure, exacted by the slave architect, in retaliation for the master's excessive jealousy (he has the architect deliberately debilitated so he won't design a competing Taj down the road -- as if one couple's love was at the expense of all others).

The love story takes place against a backdrop of tradition and convention, which accepts a lot of cruelty, especially from males.  Women in tech encounter these attitudes when seeking self-sufficiency within the political economy.

The dependence of women, on the social networks of men, is an "in your face" aspect of some societies.  In others, there's more reciprocity.  Sometimes a system will stray from an equilibrium and enter a chaotic phase, which may result in a new equilibrium down the road, some kind of "plateau".

The elder granny character, still able to follow the action, but unable to articulate her thoughts publicly, has a front row seat on a lot of the rule breaking going on.

The younger wife and protagonist has to put up with a very reluctant husband whose primary love interest is Chinese.  The older wife is married to a guy trying to follow the teachings of his swami, but he suffers from overwhelm and occasionally needs mothering. 

Both wives see their relationships as emotional dead ends, and yet the two get a lot out of being together.

Unfortunately for the illicit couple, their relationship is occasion for blackmail and counter-threats.  A family servant is especially prone to resort to spy-and-tell as a ploy to preserve his situation, after his own illicit addictions have been found out.

My comment at the end was I'd been overwhelmed by the sound track, which did a lot to create atmosphere, pretty effectively I thought.  The music gets very ominous sometimes.

I'll bridge to the second movie through the Taj, as in Bucky lore, the Montreal 67 dome was a Taj of sorts, dedicated to his own wife, Anne Hewlett, and their relationship.  This second movie of the evening was more heteronormative as we say, and more lighthearted.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

DVD Reviews

I gradually wend my way through these "reviews" taking each as a broad license to talk about whatever. I stray into 911 territory quite a bit, and even fly over the JFK region, in the Land of Lore.

My Ex Machina review is especially cursory, as I'd not yet re-seen it. Last night I did and reiterate what I say in the Youtube. This is a remarkable movie, in terms of exploring what Deep AI would really mean.

The computer would have to know how to lie, for openers, as that's deeply characteristic of what humans do. I like "dissemble" as a synonym.

Then there's employing outright deception. Our usual idea of AI is less real (less like RI i.e. Real Intelligence). This movie points out our naivete.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Access Point

These relate to each other, through the Dymaxion House especially. Watch in any order.