Monday, September 16, 2019

Gallery Time

I've been spending some hours in Lattice Gallery, as an apprentice to the maestro, Sam Lanahan, who is orchestrating a whole series of happenings and events.  Flextegrity is the focus.  My curriculum content has for some years capitalized on my having access to Flextegrity, in its various iterations, as an educational supply.  You'll find lots on Flickr, as well as Youtube.

Glenn has an amazing collection of books, many of them on matters mythological and archeological.  He's well versed in a lot of this material, and admires Sumeria especially.  Therefore I'm smart to consult him as I continue to explore specific stories, looking for raw material for contemporary storytelling.  These days I'm focused on the Pythians of Pytho (later Delphi).

New to Glenn's collection: an amazing science museum gift shop type tome, featuring a plastic tarantula presented in layers.  As one turns the pages, the central spider is built, plastic parts fitting ingeniously into place, held to the pages by plastic.  The whole thing is somewhat delicate.  A rowdy kid, prone to throwing things or stepping on them, might soon destroy this work of art.

Regarding tarantula anatomy, I don't want to call it "simple" exactly, but it's a fine on ramp to the human system in any case.  The heart is single chamber of that pushes blood by peristalsis (the way I think of it), whereas the lungs simply interleave hemolymph with surrounding air. The transport of oxygen is accomplished using a protein that's copper-based, instead of hemoglobin.

You may be wondering at my choice of topics here, a seeming blizzard of non-sequiturs.  But then that's what hyperlinks are all about: providing context, where it might be needed.  I've been looking at protein folding lately, rejoining the Linus Pauling generation in terms of my narrative.  J. D. Bernal was a focus across two Youtubes.  His lab was about using the techniques of crystallography to make headway on the problem of folded proteins (how does it work, what does it do?).

How I get to crystallography is through these "lattice meditations" (lattice in the sense of matrix and/or honeycomb) and all that somewhat Platonic geometry stuff I'm into.  My work with Flextegrity is symptomatic of these fascinations.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tech Talk (need coffee?)


I like that Wikipedia helped propagate the term "disambiguation" as indeed we have a need to disambiguated a lot of the time. From all the press given "machine learning", if you have that wired up with "AGI" (artificial general intelligence), you may be thinking we're on the brink of the Singularity.  Or you may think more as I do, that a radio hasn't a chance of inventing radio, no matter how sireny the songs.

The science fiction world we each live in, really matters, to each one. But as a fish to water, so we are, to this ocean of ours.  Expressing it is nigh impossible in some ways.  That sense of a bubble with limits is still valid, however much we've turned to foams (cite Sloterdijk).

Perhaps your world features immanent AI takeover of human affairs.  Or maybe it features old people suckering for expensive "we'll upload your intelligence" schemes.  We've seen all these plots in the movies.  I'm not suggesting either world is original in the sense of widely unshared.

I'm back to a full teaching load and want to give my Youtubes more time to just sit there and undergo fusion, or fission, or whatever metaphor.  Translation:  I'm not making one today.  I've been on a roll lately, churning them out.

Am I positing a mental process out in rackspace somewhere?  Not exactly.

I'm suggesting more stochastic energy patterns, thanks to random search engine activity, with researchers wanting to track down some supposed factoid.

That there's a stash of Youtubes on all that "Bucky stuff" already out there becomes known, whether watched or not.  Nor is mine the only stash.

In my science fiction, we feature "grid talk" a lot, which includes appreciating California's commitment to open source (peer review).

Once a secretive security state thinks it's in charge, and responsible for covering up all hint of scandal, we've lost public oversight of a public utility.  The open source liberal arts were not about altruism first and foremost, so much as omni-triangulation and integrity.

You don't want to put all your eggs in a no-bottom or weak-bottom basket.

I've been going over some of the Youtubes about the prospects for AGI in the future.  What I look for is honesty about where we're at today i.e. I have little patience for hush hush "secret labs".

Regardless of where you stand on whether electronic circuitry might support consciousness, implicit endorsement of deliberately misleading science fiction doesn't look good in the rear view mirror.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Sunday Morning

I was awake at 7 AM to catch CBS Sunday Morning, which I'm not saying is my routine. I teased myself with the prospect of bopping over to Quakers', hopping on the 8:30 "slow-moving" (like a train, figuratively), an "adult discussion" (free-wheeling, worship-sharing format usually?).

I'm not one of the regulars these days. Loyal conductors see it through.

Speaking of loyal conductors, I caught the "exit interview" by outgoing DoD boss Mattis, an interview spread over two segments (commercial chopping block).  He'd been a skeptic on invading Iraq but when you're part of the manpower, following orders is the rule.

He'd been at loggerheads with two "hat-shaped office" holders.

The "loyal conductors" of SMAD (Sunday Morning Adult Discussion) would include Marson and Wish for sure, and also our friend Richard.  As we're of the liberal, unprogrammed persuasion (Quaker jargon) there's not as much interest in belief-system wheel-spinning during actual worship.

SMAD is a place to exercise a more systematic approach.  We use Meeting to build strengths we'll need in civil society.

As things turned out, I caught the interview and then tuned out, turning to various other social media for continuity (and fewer commercial distractions).

A faction of the voting population plans on supporting Tulsi independently of CNN-DNC apparently, banking on her Wonder Woman appeal.  I'm sensing "Russian bots" in the area, meaning an intelligentsia into ersatz samizdat has developed a keen interest in so-called "progressives" (always a volatile term of fuzzy meaning).

Speaking of words with fuzzy meanings, I mean to search for websites telling us whether ancient Egypt was more socialist or capitalist.  Do we assume Rome was fascist then?  I sometimes say "neo-Roman" with reference to some of the Manifest Destiny memes.

As I've mentioned previously, conducting debates in terms unlikely to hold persistent meanings, because historically not well-established enough, may prove too time-wasting.  Risk assessment gurus keep testing the waters, regarding whether to brand as more socially responsible.  The character of the various corporate personhoods is being tested.

GST (decoded elsewhere) looks to engineering and design science a lot more, leaving political science to get more inventive if that's what it needs to do.  Customary namespaces have ways to provide continuity to their customers, while making room for noob discourses.  Or maybe not so noob, just a bit other-worldly.

Speaking of other-worldly, Glenn Stockton and I had an interesting conversation about abduction stories in the UFO literature, over a couple IPAs at the local supermarket oasis.

For those of you just joining us, "Abducted by Quakers" is one of my jokey bumper stickers, with a Spaghetti Monster icon (perhaps in silhouette) in the background, connoting a "friendly to atheists" vibe.  I'm also allowed to drink beer.

The "good without God" demographic is quite capable of Friendship we've found, including when it comes to the more ouija board parts (not a seance) wherein we allow for movements of the spirit.

Contemporary depth psychology has explained how "woo woo stuff" may still happen in a post Nietzschean world (i.e. strongly secular, with fewer fairies and angels).  Jungians presciently predicted "abduction by aliens" episodes might become symptomatic.  Today many abductees have their own Youtube channels.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Random CCP Tetrahedrons


These three videos form a series, and a rather simple trajectory. First, I show what a theorem about CCP tetrahedrons actually means in practice, by randomly generating CCP-vertexed tetrahedra and showing they have whole number tetravolumes, within the limits of floating point accuracy.

But why settle for the limited precision of floating point numbers?  In the 2nd part, I dive into using an extended precision number type from the 3rd party Python module called gmpy2.  We go from 100 bits to 200 bits in precision, confirming our tetrahedrons are ever more closely approaching whole number volumes.


The third video serves as a synopsis by bringing the first two Jupyter Notebooks side by side within JupyterLab.  I review how to make changes to the content, fixing a typo and changing an embedded Youtube in the derived copy.  I insert the above Youtube into the Notebook itself.

Also, during Part 3, I launch into a bit of a Quaker rant about how my curriculum is "more American" than that of the competition, in that I'm including, not censoring, the "Bucky stuff".

Buckminster Fuller was the USA's premier futurist until LAWCAP decided it wasn't quite ready for GRUNCH yet, and hit the brakes.  Those of us who were ready, kept moving forward and took the lead.



Sunday, August 25, 2019

Place Based Education


In place-based education, we typically frame lessons (teachings, dharmas) against the backdrop of a kind of tourism: exploring a geographical area, providing both timeline and trajectory.
Hyperlinks to focal topics, presuming we have some, may play off environmental features, such as architecture as a link to geometry (octet-truss) or Earth's rotation (pendulum) or literature (Narnia, C.S. Lewis).

Accessing entirely "other" worlds is often accomplished not by "zooming out" so much as by "zooming in": a specific detail (perhaps a flyer stapled to a phone pole, a restaurant menu, a free newspaper, a festival booth) takes us off on an instructive tangent.

Yet we have our place to which we return, thereby anchoring the narrative to a contextualizing (and increasingly familiar) context.  Sesame Street (a TV program for children), but also many other TV shows, are "place based" in design, although the "place" is often fictional.

Fictional places are OK too, however consider the possibility of leveraging whatever reality you actually live in.  Investing time in studying your own environment (for real) is a big part of what place-based education is all about.  Students will benefit by gaining traction within a non-fictional viewpoint, which may yet seem "otherworldly" or "alien".

Place-based education is both a way of learning, and a way of sharing or teaching. Learn the stories of your place, then weave those in, with your own spin and interpretation, as you share your place with others. I'm providing examples.

Note that place-based education does not require touring far afield. If your lifestyle features a lot of travel, the place may keep changing. However rooting yourself in a specific place (e.g. both these slide shows feature Portland, Oregon) is perfectly legit and will, over time, take your students deeper into the lore, while facilitating omni-triangulation (connecting the dots) regarding your locale.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Euler's Formula (Part Two)


 Would you like to see Part OnePart Three?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Self Updating


I play in the ML / DL playground sometimes, however I'm not the dedicated machine learner this guy is, on Medium.

From him, I learned about CatBoost, which I hadn't heard of.

Time to update my terminology.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Map Wars


This is a "back to school topic" brought to you by... The School of Tomorrow.


The Descartes stuff enters in because it's that difference between flat and curved that he's talking about. Now lets go back to what scares people away from the Dymaxion Map: grid talk.

Such talk was typical in World Game workshops, but went nowhere much after that...

... until the Paradise Fire in California, which helped motivate Cal Tech (and California more generally) to open source more of the thinking and planning process (I learned this at OSCON 2019).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Synergetics for English Majors


In having Synergetics be directed to English majors, I'm helping journalists see they don't have to sit around waiting for some verdict from STEM professionals.

The ripples in English are happening already.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

More Place Based Sharing


Does your place-based curriculum include sharing curated stories and exhibits with strangers who wish to orient themselves to your locale?  In recent videos, we've been exploring Hawthorne Boulevard between SE 39th and 50th.  In the humble episode above, we jump south to the next major thoroughfare:  SE Division.

Some communities have hosted museums about their own roots for a long time, having enjoyed an endless stream of tourists, assuming "enjoyed" is the word.  Others have no such experience and upon facing the challenge, are not sure where to begin.  Where is our common history archived?  With the newspapers?  With City Hall?

Sometimes the visitors (so-called tourists) are invaders, planning to deprive the locals of continued access to life support in their region, in which case momentos of the indigenous culture may be on the list of things to destroy.

History is a source of case studies.  I learned a lot from seeing life unfold in the Philippines.

The Oregon Curriculum Network doesn't have a budget for something like the Birmingham Civil Rights museum, an excellent example of a place based set of exhibits. 

However I'm more just into demonstrating the concept.  We have lots of local schools, each capable of hosting media in the process of sharing a place-based curriculum with the students.

As a local tourist, when you land in a new place, you might consider several institutions as sources of history.  They may actually have an agency geared precisely to the needs of tourists. 

However, to the extent that "place based curricula" catch on, one might expect the local schools to become sources of reference materials, in conjunction with libraries. 

A lot of these materials are online.  However physical galleries with exhibits may likewise be in the picture.  Check local listings.