Friday, November 16, 2018


Edgar Applewhite was a Fuller fan early on, as a teenager, and worked with Fuller full time off and on.  He also had a career in the CIA which took him to Berlin and Lebanon.

Ed and I got off on the wrong foot maybe, in that I considered him a fictional character at first.  Dr. Fuller had this famous mind / brain distinction wherein the brain was the filer and collator of special case experiences, which it ordered according to intuitions coming in from a higher source (mind).

Cosmic Fishing by this Applewhite guy seemed to capture this relationship, and I wondered if Applewhite was a pseudonym and metaphor for Fuller's brain.  Later, reading a Futurist magazine, I saw his picture and talked myself out of my little fantasy.

When Ed and I later got to be friends, I explained my misconception and I think it worried him more than offended him, as he was thinking I could be a key player -- but not if I was into harboring deep delusions.

Later he coined the term "techno-invective" for a genre of writing I was into.  Looking back, I'd say anyone defending Synergetics is bound to get caught up in technical arguments, but if it's a debate one also needs zing, hence the term.

Fuller and Ed had a somewhat rocky relationship at times.  Even if one is conscious of the underlying psychology, that doesn't always mean smooth sailing.  Rocky relationships are sometimes just the ticket anyway.  I'm not suggesting Ed and I were always in sync either.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Uncommon Core

You may or may not be familiar with "uncommon core" (meme), depending on if we've lowered a rope in your zip code area.  That's what we've done in Portland, regarding spatial geometry especially.  The skeptics say there's no future in Polyhedrons, ever since Bourbaki mainly.  The Canadians have overtaken their neighbors to the south, in both AI and extended Euclideanism (ala Coxeter).

New England Transcendentalism, so-called, later simply American Transcendentalism, hooked its star to this Canadian memeplex, in the sense that the Synergetics "bible" (numbered passages) is dedicated to University of Toronto guru "Dr. Donald" as some affectionately know him.  Formerly a student of Wittgenstein's at Cambridge.  AI (ML) took some leaps and bounds at the same academy.

The Uncommon Core needs you to learn more about coding.  We'll compare and contrast functional with object oriented, but we refuse to abandon either in some religious war.  World Domination made sense for FOSS (another meme, needs a different word in Arabic).  It doesn't make sense for some subsect in programming to stake that claim.  So yes, we keep using Python, along with myriad other languages with a Jupyter Notebook like shell (or use JN itself in the case of Python, Haskell...).

You might think I'm talking college here, and I am, as Uncommon Core excels at that level, however I talked about "lowering a rope" which means to the littler people, the kids.  Andragogy meets pedagogy.  You may have read my Pythonic Andragogy essay on LinkedIn.

I'm not trying to make stuff happen in every zip code.  Oregon Curriculum Network is named that for a reason.  Yes, I have meetups with people not from around here, and we compare notes, trade memes and artifacts, help stock our respective inventories with educational supplies.  But I know better than to dabble in zip codes (shorthand for "micro-regions") where I have no clue how things operate.  I'm not one to just parachute in and take charge.  I'm into organic growth and all that.

However, given the Coffee Shops Network as another vector, less parochial sounding than Oregon Curriculum Network, you can find a cyber-footprint from pretty much anywhere.  If you have an LCD, we have the animations or ideas for storyboards.  You'll bring your own ideas to the table.  Synergy happens.  I don't need to leave my zip code to make the magic happen.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Philosophy as Therapy


Adding to this medical theme, of therapy, is the fact that this photograph was taken in a hospital, in one of the cafeterias. This is actually in the adjoining medical offices building, adjacent the hospital proper.  Both Carol and I had appointments there.

Lacking any informative dialog with ETs in this chapter, we resorted to inventing them, or extending anthropology towards science fiction.  "Imagine a tribe..." is how Wittgenstein would start a scenario. "... that multiples differently" I'm adding.  Then I go into a riff on tetravolumes.

The point was to demonstrate "paradigm shift" in a simple way.  The duckrabbit type gestalt switches convey one aspect of meaning, central to Philosophical Investigations Part 2.  But not all language games come with such convenient Necker Cube type branding.  That's where an XYZ versus IVM set of coordinates comes in.

Why don't I just jump in to having ETs teach me this alien thinking?  Because I grew up reading Asimov and Heinlein wherein the author doesn't have to develop a relationship with the characters other than by creating them.  The Martians or ETs I create have a pedagogical (andragogical) purpose.  If it turns out actual ETs also use a tetrahedron for unit volume, we'll say humans were anticipatory in this chapter.

Or maybe we'll say ETs were actually among us.  I'm aware of schools of thought that would suggest a military interest in the outward technology, but with much less of an interest in a Vulcan mind meld, if you know your lore.  Some television has explored more the direction of meme exchange.

Martian Math, as a genre of science fiction with math in it, suggests at least a Platonic relationship with these alt-humans, i.e. a shared fascination with Platonic forms.

Lets use the IVM-to-XYZ conversion (switch) to (a) demonstrate the idea of a "paradigm shift" in microcosm and to (b) explore what might be considered an "alien" mindset.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Zoltar Before
:: before ::

Zoltar After
:: after ::

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Speaking of Hiking

Talk about steep.

Siraj is a coach, for those wanting a workout.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hiking Trail

I recommend the Ezra Pound Trail into this thicket, or wilderness, and not because I'm expert in that country.  I just did another saunter and realized how little I'd explored before.

In a nutshell, right when we're discovering another Unabomber (FBI doing what it does best), and cogitating on how mental illness warps politics, I'm looking at the case of Ezra Pound.

Ezra was amazingly active, including politically, and saw himself as a change agent, helping to free his home country from crass tastes dictated by money.  He would reach them by true craft.

However, his hatred of the bankers behind the US side in the World Wars (1900s), because of how he saw things, had gotten him added to Hoover's "most wanted fugitive" list.  He was living in Italy.  When they caught him, they caged him, which would drive anyone crazy.

When Ezra was shipped back to DC to stand trial, he got to avoid the noose by pleading insanity instead.  He spent the next ten years penned up in an institution.

Conservatives sided with Ezra, not because of his Fascism so much as his lifelong commitment to freely speaking his mind.  He was the hallmark individual in the showcase of Individualism, which casts itself against the Borg, the hivemind, the groupthink attendant upon any Cult of Personality (these are the dragons we individuals must fight).

Right when he's in the middle of being committed and/or executed (the case is hotly debated in the rabid press), the Library of Congress decides he's a true American genius.

Londoners thought so too (he'd been living there a lot).  Ezra was admired around the world and friend of many a literary figure, from Robert Frost to T.S. Eliot.

The literati of that day wished Ezra to be spared the DOJ's wrath, and even the dimmest of wits could appreciate the bad light the "freedom champions" might be in, if they inanely gave the death penalty to one of their most celebrated rock stars.

This epic saga resonates so well in the current political climate that I'm surprised we're not seeing the movie already.  Hey, Hollywood!  Over here!  Start with The Pound Era for more context?  Who might we cast as Ezra?  Gump?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Since my bumpy ride (recent post), and my sense of wandering into a "CPU" (as a lone electron), life has indeed become computation intensive.

Mom's right knee, given ad hoc repairs after the accident in 2000, is no longer functioning.  We don't know if this change is permanent.  She needs an X-ray.

Just getting her in and out of the car could prove impossible.  I'm planning a dry run for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm glad I'm not commuting to some office every day, as I need to be on hand, in my role of caretaker.  I've been a caretaker a lot.

My wife suffered a long decline with her cancer.

Nor do I forget my dog.

I don't think Dawn would mind sharing this paragraph with Sarah. She was afraid of dogs at first, but developed a bond with said mutt.

Today I headed over to Glencoe, where I'm shepherding kids through an after school program.  If you dig around in my blogs, you'll find more.

Friendly Care has been supportive.  Maye Thompson let me in to borrow a wheelchair from the medical equipment library, founded by Alberta Gerould.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Bumpy Ride

Carol's leg gave way as we were standing there in the kitchen.  I turned to grab some grapes off the counter and boom, she went down.

At first I thought the grape I'd dropped on the floor had scared her.  Was it a mouse?  It moved quickly.  But no, I don't think she even saw the grape.  When I turned back, she was on the floor.  She had hit her head on the door jam, or at least I think that's where she hit.

She squawked as she went down.

Since she was fully conscious and there was no bleeding, I urged her to scooch towards the basement steps, which is where she manages to stand, on the landing.  She's fallen before, but not because her leg gave way, nor had she hit her head like that.

As for me, the clock was ticking, as this was a lab period wherein students look at projects, do their own thing, for a specific amount of time.  I'm to resume the "broadcast" but here I am supervising Carol's attempt to get upright.  The timing was to the minute.

The next lab came soon, so I could resume assisting her more.  Indeed, she had a bump on her head, like in the cartoons.  She'll need to call the clinic tomorrow, standard procedure in case of a head bumping fall.  I found an ice pack in the freezer once class was finally over.

Carol and I went to Multnomah County Elections office several weeks ago to make sure her ballot came to her address here in Portland, not the one in California.  Today, I got ballots for myself, and for Tara (who has moved away), but nothing for Carol.

I'll call the elections office tomorrow if nothing shows up in tomorrow's post.  We vote by mail here in Oregon.  Before then, I plan to drive downtown for my colonoscopy kit, fun fun.  I might get to have breakfast with Alexia.

These were not the only bumps in the road today.  The assignment I'd been given said I'd have eight students and I went to all the work to create eight login envelopes.  However I only had three.  I found out later that the office had messed up and confused my class roster with another in Seattle.

However I'm saving the "best" for last.  Tonight was session ten of ten for my Introduction to Python class, and my usual practice is to reward those making it to the very end (we lose some along the way) with a camera view of the pet python sliding around on my arm and so on.

The python's name is Barry and he's well behaved, never gives me problems.  It wasn't his fault I left the lid off his aquarium (terrarium?) when I put him back.  After class was over, I watched a couple Youtubes, about the 3D CAD stuff I'm teaching, and when I looked up, he was gone.

I immediately closed the door to the room, hoping he hadn't made it out yet, and began a thorough search.  Fortunately, he was under the second chair I checked.  Good outcome.  He's safely back in his habitat.  Tomorrow I'll buy him his meal.

I've been under the weather myself.  I feel I'm back to 90%, but not 100%.  The head cold went to my lungs.  I don't think it's pneumonia this time, but I'll closely monitor (I have no choice).  Fortunately, I have no more classes for at least a week.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Virtual Expos

Grand stairway and lake front
Lewis & Clark Exhibition, 1905

The so-called World's Fair, sometimes called an Exposition or Expo, was a much higher profile event before the corporate donors decided they had nothing worth showcasing.  Expos were for sharing Big Dreams for the future.  Electricity.  Freeways.

Now that we're looking at Peak Oil and are facing the realities of atomic and plastic waste, a lot of it irretrievably mixed into the ecosystem, what's the Big Dream?  Universities may have degree programs in cleanup, but Earth Day and Expo were not originally planned to be the same.

The oil producing Arabians are among the most conscious of Peak Oil, given the oil boom happened only recently, to the whole planet of course, but especially to them.  Dr. Fuller referred to oil reserves as "starter fluid" somewhere.  We could use it to boot a sustainable global civilization, but not if we couldn't wean ourselves off the stuff in time.

Now that we have television, internet, phones as movie cameras, the idea of millions flying or driving to an Expo might be counterproductive.  We have Burning Man.

The idea of Virtual Expos might make some sense, and also ways to make global development scenarios more of an audience participation business.  Having people on street corners raising money is less imaginative than fielding roving crews of troubleshooters, with fans and contributors watching from home.  That's what Bizmo Diaries was a lot about:  fantasizing about those teams and the surrounding reality TV.

But don't business mobiles drink a lot of Peak Oil?  Are they part of the problem more than part of the solution?  I'm all for having that debate.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Stop on the Tour


I was just posting to Facebook that "bridging the gap" would be a great first tourist stop in the mathemagical theme park (we use Python __magic__ sometimes).

Here is where we familiarize ourselves with the concept of Zonohedra.

A zonohedron has faces with opposite-edges-parallel (picture a stop sign), minimally rhombi, as well as opposite parallel faces, like a cube has, or a rhombic dodecahedron.

The rhombic triacontahedron is likewise a zonohedron and our "gap" inheres here, between two of them.

Consider two RTs (thirty diamond faces each) of almost exactly the same volume, but the one is a little smaller, making for two sets of faces, one set slightly within the other.

Along each radial, from the body center, two diamond faced centers occur, towards the tip.  There's a tiny gap between the two.

Here's the ratio we go by:  the RT inside, the slightly smaller one, has a volume of exactly 5, relative to the reference tetrahedron of edges 2R.

The ball of radius R very slightly protrudes, at each face center, a small hump, a pitcher's mound.  The apex of each hump marks the center of a 5+ volumed RT's face.

Each RT has a "nice" property:  a volume of precisely 5, a radius of precisely R.  The latter, scaled up by Φ, becomes yet another RT of volume 20 * √(9/8).

When we scale the smaller volume five RT up by 1.5 or 3/2 as a scale factor, its volume turns into 7.5 (red), and its radius into Φ/√2.  It now shares a set of vertexes with the volume 6 RD (yellow).

Rhombic Triacontrahedron

The new face radius, of the 7.5 volumed RT, will be the 3rd root of 3/2 times whatever it was before (call it h), since to boost a volume by 3/2, the edges need to expand by the 3rd root of that number, or about 1.14471424255333.

The resulting face center to body center radius (believe it or not):  Φ/√2 where √ and sqrt mean the same thing, arithmetically.

In other words, the original h, for which the RT has a volume of exactly 5, is Φ/√2 multiplied by the reciprocal of the 3rd root of 3/2, or about 0.99948333226234344.

Another tad-bigger RT, has a radius of R precisely, just a tad larger than the volume 5 RT's of radius 0.9995, weighing in at about 5.00775803133283.

The tag-bigger RT's volume is granule greater than 5, of necessity, but look at how tiny the gap in radius:  0.000516667737 is pretty small, compared to 1 R, the reference length.

That's why we might pay you to pay some mind to this little difference.  Without concerted attention, it might be overlooked.  Attention means concentration means doing work (measured in iota perhaps).

Let's take stock of what juggling balls we get in the air with this exhibit:
  • 2nd and 3rd roots and powers
  • the golden ratio Φ
  • the power rule (relating linear to areal to volumetric growth)
  • two spheres (and a thin wall between them)
  • a pair of RTs (tiny difference in radius, volumes 5 & 5+)
  • an RT of volume 7.5 sharing vertexes with the RD of volume 6
  • an RT of ~21.21 embedding the Jitterbug icosahedron (as long diagonals)
  • five concentric zonohedra (six counting the cube of volume 3)...
  • one of which is the the space-filling RD of volume 6
  • the concept of tetravolumes
  • T & E modules (RT)
  • A & B modules (RD)
  • alternative powering models
  • scaling by Φ
For a first stop, that's not bad.

What schools have a mandate to teach this stuff?  Paw through Youtube?  I'm finding more researchers getting a clue.

We might call this exhibit Prying Open Synergetics as we're managing to suck some sense out of a hairline fracture that came to light only after Dr. Fuller already had put some years of concentration into his newly emerging discipline.