Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reconnecting

Deke, aka Lawn Mower Man, with 50K+ Twitter followers, very kindly called me up and followed through on an offer to let me use his digital broadcast receiving equipment.

For the first time in like years, I'm getting the channels in real time.  I'd ditched those for satellite, but then in the great downturn cut all my expenses, while living on credit and the generosity of others.

Since then, I've regained an income and (a) restored the gym membership and (b) started treating myself a little more.

I'm still at the frugal end of the spectrum, for a Hawthornite, but not complaining.  Quakers are supposed to cultivate "plain and simple" as virtues.  The house (aka Blue House) is fully mine, thanks greatly to Dawn's planning.

So I'll be watching more CBS Evening News, just like old times.

In other upgrades:  fitted purple sheets, found in storage, and new speaker wire for the two dad bought me many Xmases ago.  He got us the TV then too.  I'm in no hurry to go flat screen.  I get LCDs and HDTVs everywhere I go, so don't mind sticking with my antiques.

I need to return the audio cable though as the phonograph comes with a fixed length white and red.  I don't know what I was thinking buying the six foot cabling.  Fortunately, I still have the receipt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Summer Camp

I was back to my "boot camps for teachers" meme today, this time including their families.  Glenn and I had been talking about publicly funded boarding schools, pre-college, of which there are very few.  However teachers are not "pre-college" in that sense, so the topics were loosely connected.  The bridge or glue language was Quakers, and public-private collaborations, more like in the old days.

Of course I'm back to my Project Earthala imagery, those elusive Fly's Eye Domes and other gear, perhaps deployed only for the semester, then packed up and returned to the giant warehouse somewhere.  Humans getting better at not leaving that much of a footprint.  OK to stake something for the GIS record but we're not wanting to harm the pre-existing ecosystem.  The eco-village comes and goes.

Although I mentioned helicopters, something of a cliche in Fuller School circles, Glenn emphasized their danger.  If the property in question is accessible by container truck... I'm just not into building lots of roads (defeats the purpose), more into making do and/or letting roads go back to nature (some counties over-built, lets face it).  Anyway it's not up to me to make the site-specific recommendations, not when summarizing the network.

Some of these might be closer to "call centers" as in "places of employment" than training centers or schools.  People have already trained in order to get here.  I'm not insisting on pegging the stereotypes, and draw on the variety / diversity in summer camp experiences already, including reminding myself that cold weather conditions may obtain, as I've not specified a hemisphere (above or below the equator).

Speaking of which, we're coming up on Winter Solstice.  Best wishes to travelers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seven Year Itch (movie review)


A friend who especially enjoys older films, with less swoopy computer effects, recommended this 1955 classic, directed by Billy Wilder and co-starring Marilyn Monroe.

The backdrop premise is the married men bid their families adieu in the heat of the summer, this being a privileged class with summer digs.  Yet even the janitor has manged to send his next of kin off Manhattan.

Which reminds me, the film opens in a light-hearted parody of the annual ritual to set the tone, set 500 years ago, using stock / stereotype Hollywood imagery.

Our anti-hero, Richard Sherman by Tom Ewell, free of his family, and enjoying air conditioning, has an eerie habit you'd think he'd lose, of talking out loud at the top of his voice, committing his thoughts to the air waves (literal air in this case, not the "air" waves of radio).

You'd think a family man of some maturity would not be in the habit of voicing his thoughts like that, a first step down the slippery slope.  No doubt the director chose to ignore the "inner voice" option for comic effect, and it works.

Probably the best moments are in the office when our star, having accosted Marilyn Monroe outside the boundaries of fantasy, suffers a paranoid backlash right when the psychiatrist walks in, to talk about the slenderized (sensationalized) version of his book.  This film is it (dry psychoanalysis compressed for mass public consumption), one could say, appropriately slapstick (almost), with Marilyn upholding the "dumb blond" stereotype.

The protagonist is not just afraid his wife will barge in and want a divorce, or that his reputation will be sullied.  He's concerned about his own evident lack of will power and by his wife's infidelity as an echo of his own.

He makes the mistake of misidentifying fantasy with reality more than once, as the audience is given to know.  As onlookers privy to intimate fantasy, through the "miracle" of film, we know our guinea pig gets lost in the maze, not knowing what's real.  We see ourselves in his woes.

One of the funniest lines is when he defensively asks "who do you think I've got in there, Marilyn Monroe?"  The film reaches out to engulf itself here, like an Escher print containing its own canvas.

As I'm reading some books about the infusion of quantum mechanics through metaphors, I'll say Richard Sherman is a probability wave with fantasies tilting him this way and that, to where he intersects consensus reality in comical ways.

He's often dizzy with all the self-particle ("me ball") spinning he does, a symptom of having an active imagination.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Hotel Room Tableu

:: from Pycon 2009 ::
[ posting on math-teach ]
On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM, Robert Hansen wrote:

> We analyzed math circles here several years ago, including Kaplan's?
>
> http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7030630
>
> Bob Hansen
>

I don't know about "analyzed" but in this Hotel Room Tableau from Pycon 2009 Chicago you'll see Kaplans' 'Out of the Labyrinth' in the upper right, a gift from Steve Holden, then chairman of the Python Software Foundation.

https://flic.kr/p/6bgS5e
(I miss that hat, had my name in it, a Paul Kaufman original)

If you zoom out and check the full Album, you'll see the "Bucky stuff"
figures prominently:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirbyurner/sets/72157616066135225/
(who's the first to spot Guido, our benevolent dictator in Pythonia?).

Kirby
X-ref:
Kitchen Tableau
More Developments

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Global Warming Commercial

Commercials back from the future...

:: reads bottom to top in time ::

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Extended Precision

:: world order ::

... some writing on extended precision in another context.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Wanderers 2014.12.2

One of our topics tonight:  where does "hippie" come from?
In Greenwich Village, New York City by the end of the 1950s, young counterculture advocates were widely called hips because they were considered "in the know" or "cool", as opposed to being square. One of the earliest attestations of the term hippy is found in the "Dictionary of Hip Words and Phrases" included in the liner notes for the 1959 comedy album How to Speak Hip, a parody based on the burgeoning Greenwich Village scene. As opposed to the hipster, defined as "A fully paid-up member of Hip society", a hippy is "A junior member of Hip society, who may know the words, but hasn't fully assimilated the proper attitude." It also defines hippie-dip as "Derogatory word for hippy." [ source ]
Also: was Thomas Edison really trying to invent a device to communicate with the dead?
Regardless of Thomas Edison’s misinformed understanding of biology, he was inventive genius who was astoundingly capable of developing devices to serve a purpose. During the last decade of his life, he turned to inventing a device that would be capable of communicating with any sentience that existed beyond the grave. In “Spiritualism,” written in 1920, Edison postulated that, “For my part, I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved, or manipulated – whichever term you want to use – by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.” Edison continued an attempt to develop this device. He continued in this essay: “I have been at work for sometime building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us.” [ source ]
Yeah, sometimes we sit there looking up stuff on our computers, comparing notes. Why not? It's called "studying".



Monday, December 01, 2014

A PhD in Truckology


Of course truckology is not a real discipline, though you wouldn't know that visiting my Uncle Howard's place.  One could swear a truckologist worked here.

Then there's routing the trucks, assigning them lanes, a software-intensive endeavor.

I met a master craftsman in that business and know a PhD in Truckology, were Teamsters U to have one, would be no joke and command a good income.

I'd been thinking Harvard Business School might work on scholarships for truckers already plying the Tehran to Istanbul highways, on westward into Europe and eastward to Kabul, the old spice routes, newly paved.

It'd be a treat to drive that, were it safe enough, but for now the academic credit is due to those currently braving these wilds.

Making it safer, recruiting more students, would be the hard work of some dean.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wanderers 2014.11.26


We had one of our best turnouts ever today, with people we practically never see.  Coffee was in high demand.  I said I'd be more like a photographer at a wedding and move about, then fade away as my day job is peaking.  Just getting to join was a privilege, with family and friends.

Our topic was Matriarchy, beginning with concerns about definition and semantics.  Matriarchy is not "just the opposite" of Patriarchy, but then what's the latter?  Matrilineal is easier to define.  In Patriarchy, the fathers have a stronger "need to know" regarding the paternity of children, as property passes father to sons, or any offspring per King Lear.  In Matriarchy, paternity doesn't matter as much and the mother's brother may be head of household, with her husband the head of another household.

Constance Tippett Chandler was our presenter.  She's an artist who shapes a concept of history as from clay, with attention to detail and scholarship.  Matriarchy is less concerned about gender, though patterns around gender may well develop.  "Whoever is most fit for the job" was her response to division of labor questions.  Creating the ethics in the moment as a way of unearthing a distant culture in the past may seem like undue editorializing, but as performance-based conceptual art, it makes sense.

Given circumstances, looming work-related tasks, I took my leave somewhat early and missed a lot of the discussion.  Do we really find evidence of a Matriarchal layer in Old Europe circa 7500 BC?  We do find a lot of sophistication about time and cycles back then, astounding pottery, evidence of successful civilization.  But what do we know about the social order?

In Connie's telling, that layer of history, or prehistory, is buried with the invasion of the Kurgans, after which the archeological record shows plentiful weapons cluttering up the landfill, up until our day.  We're still the war-prone heirs of the horse-mounted bullies who imposed far stricter rules to the point of enslavement.  Patriarchy is a lot about asceticism, rank, policing others.  More fascist.

Obviously much discussion could flow from such a storytelling.  The Confederated Tribes of the Iroquois, by some accounts a model for the Federation of States branding as "USA" in later chapters, was Matriarchal.  In Connie's telling, the patriarchy reached a corrupt phase and downward spiral out of which the matriarchy then emerged.  Could this happen again?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Recapping a Story


When Lindsey Walker was with IT for CSC for GulfStream, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, she had the savings to (a) follow the band Weezer to Japan and (b) scope out Portland for its reputed Portlandia scene (this was before the TV show).  She ended her IT lifestyle in Savannah and made a bee line in her Nissan, with Titty the cat, to Asylum District (Hawthorne) there to start a new life as a rock star and revolutionary.

In the meantime Tara and I had done some desert driving lessons that ended when Razz the Subaru bumped over some floor-piercing rocks.  Walker had forsaken driving as something less ethical folks do and become more ascetic, a cyclist and pedestrian.  Result:  given I had a spare space and she had a spare car, tit for tat:  she got the space, I got the Nissan.

I'd also been experiencing dire straits in the wartime economy (fewer good options for civilians) and welcomed Lindsey's exciting foray into pioneering an ascetic lifestyle.  She got us into the FNB network at a critical time when free food in exchange for labor and logistics, was a welcome opportunity.

Fast forward:  Lindsey discovered Newar Buddhism through the one temple in that tradition anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, and it just happens to be around the corner from the Linus Pauling House, through which Lindsey and I first met, thanks to Patrick.

Lindsey is now interested in becoming a serious student of the Newar Buddhist tradition, with another year of training in Nepal to follow her recent three-month sojourn there.