Sunday, March 29, 2020

FNB World (Food Not Bombs)

You'll find lots about FNB in these Quaker journals of mine, as I participated as a food hauler, with bicycle and one or two trailers, and as a cook. Later, as a vet, I'd just show up and eat, chatting with some from the old cast (e.g. Satya) while meeting newcomers.

Now that we're practicing new distancing rules and so on, I'm guessing the online manuals, the basis for the organization, are out of date.  Whether the continuing momentum (inertia) goes forward with the same name or not is a matter of semantics I suppose.  Perhaps some manuals have been updated.

I just unfroze some tofu from my last FNB meet up, pre isolation protocol, and although I was skeptical of its texture, Leela (aka Lindsey in former chapters) texted it was pretty OK this way.  I just fried some up and added like some soy sauce (I think that's what it is, unlabeled), and hey, it soaks stuff up nicely, like bread.

I'll be done with my frozen burritos shortly.  I munched on one of those on camera (see Youtube channel) awhile back, sounding a little sorry for myself because no one wanted to join me in my Geometry World (like Minecraft in some ways).

But these are actually pretty good burritos, even if unfrozen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Rescuing the Concentric Hierarchy


A question from a reader was "what good is the concentric hierarchy beyond being like a pretty picture?" referring of course to the Bucky Fuller geometry I yak about a lot.

What if it is just a "pretty picture" meaning a sub-language featuring Platonics, their combinations and duals, with translated "volume" and "area" concepts to equivalents computed slightly differently?

By "sub-language" I mean a subclass of language semi-intelligible to other non-native speakers. Mathematics would be a set of many such sub-languages, but so would be various shoptalks and philosophies that may contain maths, but aren't themselves purely maths.

Synergetics is one such sub-class language, one of those philosophies that contains a geometric framework, namely said concentric hierarchy with a rhombic dodecahedron of volume six and so forth.  The pretty picture.

Should we teach a philosophy containing a pretty picture?  Is that a question about moral imperatives?  Is this an "ought" question?

Perhaps it's more like a question to tour guides.  We discover this abandoned old section of the museum and wonder if we should open it to the public.

The incentive to open might be to bring in more foot traffic, but what if that's not really a goal?  One assumes a museum has a sense of self preservation, but "museum" might not be the right model.

I suppose the counter-question is:  what have we got to lose in teaching it, given it goes down smoothly for the most part and needn't take a huge amount of time?  Why not swallow the pill, if it does no harm?

That's probably the question then.  We're still trying to judge harm.  Or is it that we've swallowed the pill already, and now are finding some of our practices coming under a different kind of scrutiny?  The ordeal of morphing to adapt to the cosmos is not one Synergetics begets, so much as anticipates.

I think if we'd swallowed the pill already, we'd see more symptoms, such as more Youtube clips featuring said concentric hierarchy.  The evidence is more that a tiny subculture keeps the sub-language alive, like one of those native or indigenous languages on the verge of extinction.

Be that as it may, the question remains:  should the anthropology or sociology museum allow or encourage tourism in this area?  Or maybe it's an art museum?  Does the concentric hierarchy constitute art?  We asked the same questions around Flextegrity.  That Tensegrity is art, and widely excepted as such, is encouraging.

I'm thinking Synergetics, and the pretty picture it contains, "hangs by a thread" and that thread is Tensegrity.

Given the art world has accepted the latter, there's a good chance it will accept the former, in due time.  In fact we've seen signs of that already, in exhibits subsequent to the publication of Synergetics, including notably Lattice Gallery in Portland, Oregon, October - December on SE Broadway.

But also at the Whitney in New York, and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (2009).

Pycon 2009

Friday, March 20, 2020

Citizen Diplomacy

I suppose the idea of "global citizen" sounds hokey as it never had any legal meaning, even if the UN Declaration of Human Rights underlined the self evident:  that human beings matter above and beyond the hokey melodramas they're made to star in.  They're a phenomenon of Nature, it sounds silly to point out, I realize.  We trash Nature, and are taught to laugh about it.

Anyway, enough moralizing. The point here is that of course a diplomatic crew, by job description, is acquiring and communicating intelligence about the terrain it traverses, in service of T4P and whatever sponsoring commercial carrier.  Nothing to stigmatize here, or get upset about.  There's no point screaming "espionage" when you're simply doing what everyone expects of you.

Gathering intelligence is a part of your business and way of adding value, which doesn't mean you just wander off over private property trying to ferret out secrets.  You become privy by being invited, and by proving trustworthy with the information (which sometimes means sharing it, perhaps without attribution to an original source, per the journalistic code of ethics).

Prowling around in the ambassador's office after hours, with a flashlight, is more private detective work than diplomatic. We need not confuse roles.  Not that diplomats can't be sneaky, or good at prying loose clues.  However our truckers have to get on to the next check point or place of business.  The analytical picture will develop from multiple reports.

The diplomat is familiar with "official channels" which is where the official truck stops come in. You'll have approved ways to be on panels, give talks.  If you've got a pet peeve, expect a track for that, if only the hallway track and ad hoc interest rooms.  Geeks bring their "unconferencing skills" to the table (thinking Barcamps, OS Bridge and so on).

Yes, there is government presence.  Why wouldn't there be?

Consistency and safety checks happen.

These are not "anything goes" hubs (these rucker havens, these asylum cities) of no discipline.  On the contrary, keeping a busy world hub going, with truckers coming and going, requires a tight ship to some extent. Think of a well run airport (PDX comes to mind).

That's not to say R&R is out of bounds either.  Even tight ships may have their cinemas and swimming pools.  Counter-culture cultures abound.  Diversity happens.  The cosmos is cosmopolitan. Truck stops may have dance and theater, in many languages.

For those just joining us, the year is 2030, lets say, and truckers have become accustomed to freelancing on a global basis, which doesn't mean without loyalties.  You may be your own business and still have a preferred list of customers, or a list of "goods" you would like to not be complicit in handling, plus you're not for being deceived.

Some drivers, let's say the better ones, won't transport poached animal products on principle and even advertise this fact.

At the core of our Global Trucking Network (GTN) is the network of Truck Stop Hubs (TSHs), which have evolved quite a bit from their early days along the Federal freeways (the I-system) of North America.

Those freeways still require a lot of maintenance, even with the "zombie truck" fleets (what we've also called "driverless") but then so are trains (e.g. subways) often robotic and just as intermodal.

Global University talk is a jargon and paints us all as students and faculty, we know that.  Long ago, specialization took specific forms, such as in Victorian England.  Some people were aristocratic and tea-cuppy, while others did so-called "dirty jobs" that needed doing, amidst many that were largely unnecessary.

Trucking stayed necessary, even unto the Era of Extreme Automation (people argue on when that started).  The class associations that used to set off university people as distinct from truckers, didn't survive the transition to a next century.

In addition to performing as students and faculty, we engage in maintenance, admin, janitorial and security.  Thanks to work-study, all jobs are part of some academic program or other.  You may certify as a black belt in some, a newbie in others.

The Quakers thought a lot in terms of nominations and rotating duties.  Your community would provide you with opportunities to become well-rounded, an investment in pooled abilities.

In that spirit, I've been focusing on trucking as a citizen diplomat activity.   You'll find some of my writings on Medium.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Yakking About Curriculum Matters

My impression is IB math (EU curriculum) is more likely to feature 3D vectors with rotation matrices i.e. stays geometric longer.

The YouEssIans (USians) go for that "geometry sandwich" with two slices of Algebra for bread. David DiNucci showed me an article about that.

The meat (10th grade geometry it's often called) is very thin, in the sense of planar. Mr. Euclid is milked for his proof of the proof concept, and meanwhile we're not "wasting time" with 3D printing or CAD renderings.

A lot of people are getting nervous about Shop and real tool use. Weren't schools supposed to teach about trades too? That's where a more hands-on geometry with SQL practice, in storing and retrieving the vectors, face topology, might help.

Milo Gardner suggests the big chunk of Euclid traces to political agendas to suppress all things German. Gauss and Number Theory needed less airtime. However along this same "lambda calc" track that'd feature SQL and real tool use, we'd put more about crypto. Number Theory is back on the front burner, along with Fermat's Little Theorem and Carmichael Numbers.