Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK Day (2018)


Apropos of MLK Day, I was much impressed by Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute, a study center and archive, as well as an excellent museum. I was impressed by "the ham" (Birmingham) over all, nice to be there for a few days.

Birmingham had some utopian aspirations and to some extent dreams came true, just we learn to take the future for granted, and what at one time might have been a stunning vision of a promised land, is just another day on Planet Earth:  great freeways sprawling every which way;  a proud university at the center of town; people from all walks of life expressing the human genome, without forced segregation; TrimTab beer.

The American Experiment, so-called, was a bold one: to forge a civilization from all the world's peoples.  E Pluribus Unum:  from plurality, unity.  The whole world came to know of this experiment and now we're all American in some sense, indivisibly planetary on our affairs and outlook.  People understand the ideals, even if skeptical personally, about their attainability or worthiness.

Some commentators brand so-called "globalism" as unAmerican, whereas in my view America was always about accepting our manifest destiny, as work-study student-faculty within a spherical Global U.  Our promised land, or Israel, is ball-shaped.  Lets accept what's self-evident, shall we?

Speaking of student-faculty, the scholarly Sam Lanahan came by this morning and gifted me with a really robust, top-ranked juicer, an appliance for turning fruits and vegetables into beverages.  I'm excited.  2018 is about focusing on health.

That's what we all need our freedom to focus upon.  Some of us don't have that privilege.  We're asked to sacrifice health for the greater good sometimes.

Design Science Revolution

Friday, January 12, 2018

Curating Credits

As a kid, one of my hobbies was using the parental tape recording unit to capture my favorite opening credit sequences on tape.  Cassette tape.

By "opening credit sequence" I mean where they get you with imagery, theme music, names of actors, directors, producers... all that.

I recognized the talent that goes into establishing the atmospherics for a program in but seconds.  In computer terms, we're talking about a boot loader, or a context switch.

Anyway, along those lines, I'd like to give my own award to WestWorld (HBO), for really fine stage setting.  The technology suggestion is way higher than we haves, and answers questions that might nag like:  can you do a human eye?

We can, say the credits, and so much more.  That's the premise, however fantastic.  Science fiction is characterized by wild sets of premises, is it not?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Codes of Conduct (again)

A lot of cultural misunderstanding persists, or shall we say culture clashes?

How could these women be against sexual harassment when dressing in a "provocative" fashion, the skeptics want to know.

The Pycon Code of Conduct is specific about discouraging "booth babes" (of whatever gender) from mixing technology with erotica.  One is expected to dress in a more demure manner, which is what makes a Pycon not a Comicon, wherein cosplay is encouraged.

The same conversation goes on at work.  What dress style is appropriate?  Most of us have never really lived in a democracy as that question was never put to a vote.  We're told, not asked.  The job comes with a uniform.

College students may perceive an ideal world wherein dressing is not a "code" such that what one wears may not be construed as "signalling" or "suggesting" anything in particular.  Garb is not for signifying.  The Portland State campus has been a site for Slutwalk, wherein speakers eloquently sketch their utopia, then parade in costume.

A lot of the misunderstanding traces to English and the locution "she made me feel..." meaning we're able to use the "victim tense" rather easily.  If a guy feels consumed by lust, it's her fault.  We call it the blame game.  "She made me do it".  Projection.

As a student of Peter Sloterdijk, I feel like saying the most we might hope for are spheres of agreement.  We'll give up on Pycon being like Comicon as we're free as individuals to attend one or the other, both or neither.  Not every domain need abide by the same rules.

Humans hunger to establish villages, manageable communities, wherein their sense of taste gets expressed.  Vindication and satisfaction is in the realization, or at least it was a worthy experiment.

The Design Science Revolution was about lowering barriers to entry such that more might afford their brand of theater.  Find your like-minded and try it out.  The technology is within range, even if the ideals turn out not to be.  Find that out.  Live your dream.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Geometry of Nature

So where were we, before I was so rudely interrupted by the reality of my mortality?

What gets under the skin of many professionals is that Synergetics dares to be polemical about topics no one usually gets polemical about, prompting by turns defensiveness or simply dismissal.

How dare Bucky assert he's giving us a "geometry of nature" that (A) is not what we're used to in schools and (B) does make some modicum of sense, meaning it's hard to dismiss as "simply crazy"?

As someone trained to read philosophy, I'm used to giving an author the floor and letting her or him construct a "private language" of sorts, meaning the author does some work to "draw us in" and make us privy to special meanings of this or that key term.

Synergetics started with a "deliberately remote vocabulary" but then, in Fuller's experience, over a lifetime, it seemed to be in a "merging traffic pattern" with what contemporaries were up to, in nearby namespaces.

No one specifically claims that the XYZ coordinate system is "the" geometry of nature.  We have many coordinate systems.  I introduce Quadray coordinates the same way, as just one coordinate system among many, one that uses 4-tuples instead of 3-tuples vis-a-vis 4 instead of 3 "basis vectors".

However, our culture does take for granted, without ongoing debate, that "space is three dimensional" because "height, width and depth" are represented by three mutually orthogonal sticks (the "jack").

Synergetics begins with the same "res extensa" -- a lump -- but doesn't claim to disintegrate it into conceptually separable aspects that could exist "independently".  Instead, height-width-depth is a single mutually co-dependent phenomenon, and its avatar, if symbolized as a polyhedron, is more economically represented by the tetrahedron, not the cube.

That's a different beginning, outside our culture, a different set of language games.  We're not accustomed to anyone "questioning authority" in quite this way.

Fuller had given up such lines of questioning and was doing his best to fit in, but tragedy and sorrow jarred him into reassessing whether he could afford to "fit in".  His life plan of the day was not working out.

The rest of us tend to be grateful that he re-committed to his intuitions as, even if we don't buy into Synergetics, we credit his inventiveness and positive futurism as a boon to society.

As a philosophy, Synergetics is committed to finding unity in complementary aspects, such as concavity versus convexity, tension versus compression, one could say two sides of the same coin.  Radiation and Gravity...

Again, with the Synergetics concept of Gravity, we're moving away from established usage patterns in the direction of logical coherence.

What holds a system together logically such that it continues to make sense to us?  A kind of connecting around in all directions.  There's a sense of containment, but then we also sense when "bubbles burst" meaning systems fly apart thanks to internal and external forces.

Radiation is divergence from a common center.  Gravity is convergence thanks to everyone holding hands and pulling together.

Thanks to the computer science notion of namespaces, we're able to relegate different usage patterns for such key terms, to their respective language games. There's not a requirement that we all be on the same page at all times.  Partially overlapping scenarios are both necessary and sufficient.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hermit Chapter

Morning Walk

This chapter, following Alabama Adventure, is soon to end, as I plot a next trip.

However, I'm glad for this heated cave with WiFi.  I'm working on some new course-ware, written in Sphinx, and wrote an essay on Medium about my latest thoughts on teaching Python.

I did get out this afternoon, to visit The Good Bye Party family, out towards Gresham.  I took the Max. Great homemade pear wine!  I learned so much, hanging out with this younger bunch.

Tonight I'm listening to A Man of Letters reading from Undercover Mormon by Th. Metzger. I do this as I blog, upload pictures, and make a long overdue backup.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Got SQLite?

Screen Shot: Using Sphinx

Does you office pass around .db files as a convenient way to share data? Of course many file extensions are overloaded, so yes, to be clear, I'm talking about SQLite files, which require only the sqlite client, or many programming languages, to reveal their contents or accept new data.

In my courseware for IT workers, I tend to emphasize the efficacy with which SQLite might be used, as a simple way of keeping data organized. 

A database much more difficult to either tamper with or change inadvertently than a database, plus the format preserves the structure of a relational database, meaning the query engine is at your fingertips, if you just remember enough of the language (SQL).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Supply Chain Logistics


The world has lots of plastic junk already, and what with 3D printers now widely affordable, a different way to shape the plastic, we have a tsunami on our hands.  Recyclable plastic, actively reused in the space of an average human lifetime, might be a goal.

I'm back to those A & B modules again, so-named in Synergetics, which aims to capitalize on a Unit Volume Tetrahedron (UVM) in a corner (remote) of Universe somewhere.  A rebel planet.  However in a Diverse Universe (DU), we can afford renegades and mavericks, some of which become tourist destinations.  Rebels needn't be averse to tourism as such voluntary traffic gives more vectors for disseminating a more sympathetic version of history throughout the galaxy.

Then we have the two flavors of E module.  I put it that way because whereas A & B are equi-volumed but differently shaped, the T & E have all the same angles and differ only in surface-to-volume ratio.  The E-mod is phi-down from E3, i.e. 1/120th of the RT3 (another name for "SuperRT"), the rhombic triacontahedron embedding the edge-2R (1D) icosa of volume ~18.51, and its edges crisscrossing dual Pentagonal Dodecahedron (the two five-fold symmetric Platonics).

RT = Icosa + Icosa.dual(), where the dualing method sizes to cross edges by default, and the plus operation has been overloaded to mean combining two polyhedrons into one, a visually pleasing special effect.  Cube = Tetra + Tetra.dual().  RD = Octa + Octa.dual(), where RD is the Rhombic Dodecahedron, not a Platonic, but a space-filler nonetheless (and a Kepler favorite).  Its dual is the CO (cuboctahedron).

Finally, bridging the volume 4 Octahedron (1D edges) and inscribed Icosahedron (two S-factor applications up from the relatively askew Cuboctahedron of volume 2.5, faces flush), are the 24 S-modules, with a strong relationship to the E.  S:E :: VE:Icosa in volumetric terms, where VE labels the canonical CO of volume 20, edges 2R.  That's the S-factor of about ~1.08.  We also have S3 (about ~1.066), the constant by which we do IVM:XYZ volume conversions, but also: VE * S3 = RT3 (in terms of volume).

Getting 3D printed, face-gluable A, B, T, E and S modules, and phi-sizes thereof, is a supply chain issue.  Just In Time principles apply, i.e. why generate more than we need just to build inventory?  Have the specific use case already planned for and scheduled.  I'm thinking of my Saturday Academy class.  Others have their other scenarios to plan for.  A lot of us have access to workspaces like Hedron, which specialize in custom order manufacturing.

Finally, AAB = Mite, or Minimum Tetrahedron.  I already have a Pergamon Press bag full of these guys, a souvenir from a First International Conference on Fullerenes in Santa Barbara (1993).  I met Harold Kroto there and corresponded with him a bit much later.  I'd rented a convertible.  Nick Consoletti rode south with me part of the way.  I drove a German guy around, his first time in North America as I recall.  I'll link to another blog entry mentioning that adventure.  Ed Applewhite and Terry Bristol both had roles in helping me pull that one off.

Nick Consoletti
:: Nick Consoletti with Sarah-dog ::

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Codes of Conduct

Twilight in Birmingham

Given my focus on Anthropology, the A in STEAM (not Art, as some falsely proclaim -- chuckle) I'm keen to see "Codes of Conduct" become more of a focus.  We're maybe done with tourism's first chapter, recreational travel post WW2.  That chapter was followed by "tourism" in the "tour of duty" sense, wherein adventurists donned camo and fanned out across the globe in some effort to "fight terrorism".  A lot of these adventurists were of the scaredy-cat variety, only willing to venture forth if heavily armed.  The consequences of disobedience could be severe.  Lets not pretend their code was democratic in any way.

These days, in brainstorming a Trucker Exchange Program, I'm thinking of the various briefings we'd need.  You don't insert personnel into alien cultures with no preparation.  Tourists would do that of course, and complain of "culture shock" as a result.  What works better is to prep, to train, to do some homework.  Remember it's just a tour, and you get to come home.  You're not a missionary.  Your job is not to impose your code of conduct upon others, although you're certainly welcome to share about your ways, as tourism is a two-way street.

The right to drive a truck anywhere and everywhere, given suitable training, is not a recognized "human right" or anything.  Driving is a privilege.  Having a mentor, or mentors is key.  We all start out as apprentices, in one way or another.  Perhaps our driving skills are fantastic, but what about language skills?

Gender relations are especially touchy.  How are people to treat one another?  A lot of tourists have somewhat Westworld-like expectations of their hosts.  "If we pay you enough, you'll do what we say" is their attitude.  Sex tourists, some wearing camo on duty, are "looking for a good time".  Some aren't even expecting to pay, as they assume they have the privileges of a dominant culture.  This pattern goes way back, with "rape and pillage" but the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Launch Pad

The house next door held an album release party last night. I believe Peach Pit is the name of the band. One of our regulars found a wallet on the sidewalk and mentioned to several partiers we had it. Stopping the band for a sec to make an announcement proved impractical.  She came and collected it later. I never saw the lass as I was engulfed in the Steve Holden Chair of Computer Science, now with a large log in the back to compensate for lost screws.

These were the days, at the conclusion of 2017, when DC was relinquishing relevance left and right, butting out of businesses it no longer has the capacity to either regulate or understand.  Like the military, DC depends entirely on the private sector for any remaining smarts.  I'm not saying the public sector can't or won't make a comeback, however that needn't happen in DC in particular.  OSCON is returning to Portland after all.

Melody and Alexia each took a guest room as we switch tracks through this hub.  Blue House experiences turnover.  I've finished my most recent cycle of ten meetups, netting more LinkedIn connections.  That's an over-the-wire closed circuit TV show, built atop Internet technologies (or should we write "internet" -- the Buzzfeed copy editor shared some views on that at Powell's recently).

The idea of a global oligarchy / kleptocracy is not new and the concentration of capitalism in fewer hands, amidst a rising financial literacy index, has helped it once again gain foreground status. The notion of a "grunch" of giants pulling the strings is ingrained in the folklore, as expressed in various narratives.  The demise of nation-state politics, or shall we call it an eclipse, was never an overnight phenomenon.  We'll have true believers clinging to their true beliefs long into some future.

Tom's, a favorite breakfast nook, was not quite up to snuff this morning; too busy? The PSU student I was with required one fried egg over hard, but got two, soupy.  For a hard egg person, soupy is not appetizing.  Have you notice the "hard over" types also trend towards crispy bacon?  Lets see a scatter plot right?  Big Data where are you?  I posted a semi-favorable review on Yelp!.  No place is perfect.  They recooked the egg part then still billed for two (neither eaten), a sixty cent difference, but the bookkeeper trainee stood on principle, bless her heart.

Coming back to Blue House we encountered a small murder of crows, nothing like what we see (and hear!) in the PSU park blocks.  I mention that "group word" for crows in explication of my "grunch" (of giants) above.  Haim and I used to joke on math-teach about how I got it wrong in Desovereignization (a web page):  I said "gander" instead of "gaggle" (of geese). I still get those two confused.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

School Planning On Facebook

On Facebook, we're looking at the XQ Super Schools Project, a priority of Emerson Collective. This was after I brought up the generic idea of charter networks latching on to at least some of the New England / New Scotland (Nova Scotia) stuff, transcendentalism if you will.  Alexander Graham Bell and family were the New Scotland residents. His interests had turned to aeronautics after the big invention for which he was most known: the telephone.

You may have seen me on Youtube in my obscure (esoteric) channel, telling the story of Bell and his kites, based on this book I'm reading, having mined it for pictures.  Bucky Fuller is mentioned throughout, as another genius who came upon the same discovery by a different route.  I'm talking about the octet-truss of course.  What charters teach that?

Not that one needs a charter or that you have no right to experiment even if you've been stereotyped as a "traditional" school.

Friday, I was out of my usual ruts in North Portland, finally visiting the latest digs used by Saturday Academy, by now the thirty five year old institution.  You'll find I go way back regarding Saturday Academy in these blogs.  We talked about Martian Math some more.  I showed up with what's left of those cardboard polyhedrons made by Russell Chu and Trevor Blake and myself.  Some of those didn't survive to the end of 2017. Plus I took some C6XTY to the meeting.

Bell's Octet Truss

Where we stand today in Python World, is Visual Python, a flagship spatial geometry add-on, is starting to work well with Jupyter Notebooks, a core technology in my virtual classroom.  We might be able to give high and middle school age students some experience with these tools.  The Martian Math stuff is very polyhedron focused.

C6XTY consists of plastic soccer-ball like spheres held in a semi-rigid lattice per the octet-truss arrangement, ditto Alexander Graham Bell's design for kites, towers, other structures.  Is it that he didn't patent the thing?  One might think that Fuller's gaining a patent on it later might have necessitated bringing their contributions together, and making Bell's work known to Fuller.  Apparently these connections got made only later.

Will a "super school" teach me anything about A, B, T, E and S modules?  In this flavor of spatial geometry, we employ the octet-truss as our home base conceptual scaffolding, not the XYZ all-cubes lattice of Descartes and Fermat.  It's not like we can't use both.  Indeed, in converting between the unit volume of the "IVM" (the octet-truss skeleton) and the unit volume of the XYZ coordinate system, we encounter S3, a specific scale factor, or "currency converter".

Quakers (Friends) have their history as school makers.  Schools have to be more than brick and mortar buildings, a physical campus, to survive the exigencies of time.  They need "schools of thought" to inhabit them, give them life.  What ghosts might we attract over time?  What frequencies?  Obviously, I'm reaching back to reach forward.

Vpython in Jupyter