Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Place Based Education

Decals

I've been suggesting we try the Philippines for mom's elective surgery, not covered by Uncle Sam but the medics think it oughta be dealt with, could maybe go with Victoria, still have the total come out less. Of course if we could get one of those new Swedish policies... or maybe those are illegal if you're a USAer, can't remember all the details right now. A pipe dream at the moment.

It's too late for spring cleaning, yet that work proceeds apace, albeit slowly. I did the Edward Scissorhands thing a few times around the yard, making it all a tad less gothic, though in Portland that tends to be an accepted style (Pied Cow a good example). We had an all clear dining room table last night, less like Great Expectations than usual (no mice skittering, no pythons chasing 'em (Barry lives in a snake aquarium)): catfish for Carol and I and yes, corn on the cob for all of us, now that Tara has a Dr. Joe brand smile, an excellent outcome.

July 4 plans are somewhat up in the air, as to details (not in broad outline), plus this week is already being busy. Portland doesn't really slow down much in summer, though it "shifts gears" I would say. We're happy about our Blues Festival coming around again, a signature aspect of our American heritage, just the right notes for an Independence Day bash. Maybe NSK will send us a card or something. USIA could respond.

I've been talking up "place based education" again, all the rage among charters, has to do with customizing curriculum content to reflect local time and place, for example who are your neighborhood association presidents, your school board members, what voting districts do we have, who represents each one and so on. This might cycle by on an LCD somewhere, along with student placed ads to buy/sell/trade bicycles. Additionally, we want to show about infrastructure, such as Bull Run and the tank system it feeds, but that could be more an OMSI experience and might involve actually going to the place, e.g. Joe Miller's, overlooking said reservoir (lots of history attaching).

Another thing we'd do is spend a lot of time flying over the earth using one of those KH-derived Virtual Earth services, especially locally, as young teens are interested in getting around, should know north from south, east from west, west from north... and so on. It's embarrassing when tourists come around going "where's Atwaters?" and the guy at the bar goes "no such animal" and yet it's right in the neighborhood. That's because news of change needs to propagate, and the schools don't engage in that enough, thinking "the local scene" is for somebody else to teach about, and then they complain when the kids tune out. Go figure.

Place Based Education

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Facebook Quotes

Posted to Facebook regarding infidelity, in the wake of more news cycles involving yet another politician caught cheating, followed by calls for resignation etc. (hyperlinks added):
I hope we have a single woman as USA president someday, and more singles in office generally, as we waste waaaaay too much time on this infidelity business, not just talking about Clintons. If you're not married then no scandals we need to care about right? Keep 'em private and we'll shut up too if you're not breaking the law. Go ahead and sleep with your secret service guy/gal who the fuck cares, you're the prez!

They've probably already made the movie, but I don't remember what it's called. Whoopi Goldberg as prez maybe, doesn't make it a comedy, could be a touching summer romance. I might go with the Ralph Bakshi cartoon version though, given my tastes (into cartoons, even if they're political).
Speaking of cartoons, I forked out $18 in overdue fees at Movie Madness, partly for those Duckman episodes (no time to watch 'em all), although also for Six Feet Under.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lobbying Again


Cyberspace has made political lobbying a whole lot easier. The last time I was in Salem for something official, it was to help "Captain Haddock" renew his boat license, and no, I don't see myself as a "Tin Tin" (too much a bwana type), enjoyed his adventures though, had a crush on Snowy maybe (takes some years on the couch to get to those).

Patrick zapped me just the right geochemistry info to crystallize a mini-lesson on Avogadro's Number, easy to "crunchify" -- love that nutty goodness. Lindsey, another drinking buddy, is headed to Gay Pride in SF, a fun event for any WV refugee I'd suppose. Daniel posted this great Pythonic math link to a resource on Ulam's Spiral, one of Trevor's fascinations, good deal. And last but not least, the father-son Sandes team delivered a primetime performance regarding their new "how to program" book. Most excellent (and yummy AVP ammo).

When I worked for Associated Oregon Industries it was different, as the VPN wasn't reliable and besides, there'd be complicated requests, too hard to do over the phone, though yes, minor fixes to a VFP project, followed by a build, means simply shipping a binary, none of this "open source" nonsense (AOI was "no nonsense" about open source, and I do my best to uphold the standards of my client, not my place to proselytize, although within such a broad spectrum organization, you'd expect a healthy variety of views -- mirroring those in the legislature across the street).

The asynchronous nature of cybermedia is highly convenient, like a Library of Congress on steroids. She checks in, I check out right away. I check in, they each grab a copy. And so on, like Mercurial (hg) in a nutshell (talking about the Python platform). I'll get this little cabal looking over my shoulder, no need to reveal itself, then the next thing you know, at some cocktail party, this slinky XX will sidle up to me and say she's been reading my blog. I have to be careful if on chauffeur duty for some MVP out-of-towner. It's unprofessional to succumb to flattery at the drop of a hat. I'm working on my "beefeater catatonia" reflex, a sort of grin and bear it aspect, while secretly enjoying the attention.

I started filling out a Lewis & Clark application today, can't live on lobbying or chauffeuring alone (other clients all satisfied at the moment). EuroPython is happening without me in Birmingham, which is OK, as I'm pretty sure the UK has already studied my open source briefings, reached its own conclusions. It's not like I've made a big secret of our world domination plans or anything. What's UniBasic I wonder? Live and learn. No bizmo in time for the Missoula, Montana (NPYM meeting) looks like, PKL needing more of a posse I'm thinking. Woulda had to fit mom and her walker, but that's hardly a big deal.

:: recent promotion ::

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Gathering

We had a great family gathering with mom and my dad's side, Bill Lightfoot cruising through in his Aztek, having driven across continent in his friend's jeep recently.

I explained about open source again, our operating philosophy. Private silos suck down libraries, make them better, spit them back. We're not trying to "put each other out of business". If you're an oil company, like ConocoPhillips, you need a thriving restaurant business like Bridgeport's, for times off rig.

I've been mixing it up with the math teachers again. On the one hand, you have the obliviously retarded NCTM, a disgrace and laughing stock. On the other, the MAA, not much better, though Keith Devlin has a good column.

Fortunately
, we have the IEEE and ACM, not to mention the ACC (American College of Cardiology), all way more steeped in the real needs of civilization and therefore more in a position to steer.

We'll not be expecting the NCTM to ever recover its position of status, as a 1900s bandwagoneer. That's a lost cause I think. Don't pick losers, if planning to win, is my motto.

I've started salivating over the latest Ubuntu Dells, even though the sale prices come courtesy of Vista (I'll pay extra to not have that). Tara wisely counsels just replacing the monitor, as KTU3 running WinXP is a fine device (HP Pavilion), not its fault the nVidia blew, and the Toshiba Satellite (also XP), though it has a loud fan, is perfectly acceptable in for CSN work.

Given I just found the VFP9 disk (thank you Glenn!), I'm back in the money on that score as well.

Here's a remix Tara and I both like (Buffy stakes creepy Twilight guy).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prisoners for Pelau

This weeks Asian Reporter (June 23, 2009 Vol. 19 #24) has an interesting article by Tomoko A. Hosaka, about Palauans maybe agreeing to accept some prisoners from Gitmo, Chinese Uighurs in particular, although it's not explained where this terrifying subspecies fits in to the confusing 911 debacle, with fogs of war still swirling.

For those not familiar with Palau, it's considered a US Protectorate, something like a tribal sovereignty, where an imperial patriarchy is assumed "in control", an historical fait accompli accomplished through generous payments for civic works. The AP article uses the transparent "nod nod wink wink" style of international diplomacy via journalism. Monty Python should feel proud.

Hammering out the Compact of Free Association took like seven plebiscites to get right (the women kept voting for more independence, tired of colonial patterns). As senior analyst for AFSC, succeeding Paulette Wittwer at Asian-Pacific Issues News, I spent quite a lot of time researching the place and its history. I actually got to Truk, Kwajalein, Ponape and the Marshall Islands (and Guam), but never to Palau itself, I'm sorry to say.

The pattern goes back to the Indian Wars in that the subjugated party is assumed to be slow and unworldly ("stupid Indians"), while Uncle Sam goes "tsk tsk" about all the mismanged funds:
Koshiba acknowledged Palau's financial missteps, saying, "with so much economic aid (the U.S.) gave us, I guess we were not that good at implementing them right."

"We did spend the money, but we spent [it] on things that were not essential to the growth of the economy, " he said, citing the construction of traditional meeting houses -- or abais -- that boosted cultural pride but are not used.
Of course you have to say they're "not used", as the thought of Palauans actually meeting behind their masters' backs would make the bwanas uncomfortable (sounds almost undemocratic somehow, to be excluded from any meetings), and we all know Banana Republicans like their comfort. So why rock the boat and risk sounding defiant?

The Gitmo prisoners won't go off radar though. Many a university is chomping at the bit to send field workers, to get their story in academically rigorous detail, properly translated. Better access for oral history takers is an integral part of the new agreement I understand.

Palau will likely insist on humane treatment for any Gitmo survivors, with Amnesty International, Red Cross etc. given full visiting rights, lest world tourists, important financially, incorrectly suppose the assholiness of the DC mainlanders has spoiled yet another Pacific oasis.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Music Scene

Blurry Singer

Not being a veteran of the Portland music scene, I write more as the on duty chauffeur, restricting my intake to the one bottle of Sierra Nevada in this BYOB music bar on Belmont named Duke's, with Duke being a friendly large canine, a kind of FOSS boss ("free" as in "liberal").

The performers were mostly XXs this evening, with XYs on guitars and drums for the third set, a peppy punk band anchored by a "serious girl" in leotards -- and I say that with respect (this is clearly a professional operation, even I could see that).

This was where dancers from the audience started "moshing", which means crashing into one another in a controlled way, a style which takes practice if you don't want bodily injuries. Our groupies, though XXL in some cases, were kind to one another and no one got hurt.

Gem, star of the second set, sang soulful guitar songs, a mix of hers and well-known favorites, including Mad World, a song Tara and I consider one of the more melancholy. Also Halleluja, which took me back to my young Friends in Camp Myrtlewood (land for sale in that area, XRL anyone? Joe is our banker).

Indie Anna Joan, first set, has excellent stage presence mixed with plenty of raw youthful energy of the kind people turn out for. Her lyrics are "naughty" by folk music standards, but those aren't the standards. This is Portland, not the Deep South. "Everyone is stupid!" was one refrain this audience could relate to (a guitar decal later: "America eats its young" -- a Funkadelic allusion).

On the other hand, she brought a West Virginia folksiness and friendliness to her gig that set the house at ease. She set Duke's chew toy, a buckyball, on her Yamaha and started bantering with me when I finally arrived, cursing me out (in a friendly tone) for missing her R2D2 song, which I was indeed sorry to miss.

I'd been geeking out, posting to Math Forum, assuming musicians always start late, didn't yet know about the 11 PM curfew. This was after a productive three day open source un/conference representing 4D Studios, a DWA spin-off (hypertoons etc.).

Given my status as "body guard", Indie could play "Savannah style" (drinking while playing, later slam dance) without worrying about driving home with her equipment. Some of her other fans, including one from Germany, left right after her gig. She already has a following, after just a few weeks in town.

We had another Quaker in the audience, much younger than I (we know each other from Multnomah Friends), good to catch up a little.

I'd recommend all three of these gigs: Cuntagious, Gem, and Indie Anna Joan, to people looking to sample the Portland music scene. I also recommend Duke's on Belmont (around SE 27th) as an intimate setting that's nevertheless pleasing to performers, as they've put some real thought into the stage and sound system. It reminds me somewhat of Someday Lounge, next to Back Space in NW (one of our Esozone venues).

Today I walked five kilometers for St. Andrew's Legal Clinic, a charity Matt favors. I'll link some pictures from the Coffee Shops Network blog where I'm currently chief of marketing (another one of my hats). Then I took a nap with my dog, before heading out to a Quaker gathering at one of the clerks' houses, taking the 75 bus (Razz deserves a rest too).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Winding Down

Josh Cronemeyer
touring Pauling House

Josh Cronemeyer and I hung out yesterday, following up on our attempts to find each other at Pycon. I introduced him to McMenamins, not far from the Hacker Lounge at the top of the Hilton.

Josh works for ThoughtWorks in Chicago, which reminds me of Patrick's company in some ways.

His talk, on the Hack track, which I'm attending, is about hooking to the bash and/or zsh shell and archiving one's command line history to the cloud via shell-sync (the tool Josh created) implemented with Google App Engine. We're talking about a Python application, in other words.

Josh studied Italian and art history for awhile, lived in Rome, Italy for six months, not far from Termini (the train station downtown). We enjoyed comparing notes. There's also a Quaker connection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Faculty Lounge

OS Bridge is chugging along great. I caught the end of the fonts talk (typography), again continuing an ISEPP conversation. Amber is here, Gabrielle was here earlier (I told her I'd written up her talk), plus I was pleased to follow up with Sara Ford before she took off. Maybe Redmond keeps her on a short leash? I might -- running CodePlex takes a lotta web wrangling I'd think, gotta stay agile.

I should mention to Steve that Oregon Convention Center does a good job of making a small conference feel cozy. I'd been hyping the Marriott after Pycon, for the upcoming Django conference in the fall, mainly based on fond memories of early OSCONs in that venue, close to RiverPlace. Anyway, I'm not on the arrangements committee -- hard to go wrong in Portland if working with pros, lots of ways to play your cards.

There's this geek, Dave Rauchwerk, telling hilarious stories, about making a fool of himself in all these cool ways. He knows a lot of lore, and lore is important. Richard Feynman is a hero, not just Richard Stallman or that Oracle guy. Other speakers brought in boxes full of stuffed dragons, a lava lamp, other swag. I obviously missed a good talk. I also missed Assholes are Killing Your Project (so true, why that backspace button is so important (alluding to Amber's keynote)).

Now I'm in Open Source: the Dark Side, about our tribes, cults, dictatorships, fiefdoms, other anthropology. Jennifer Redmond is taking on the word "objectify", in particular with regard to women ("or even men as well", she adds). "Has anyone here read The Second Sex?" she wants to know. Not seeing a lot of hands.

CouchDB: Perform like a pr0n star
(Golden Gate Ruby Conference)

There's this R-rated mentality etc., which feels like a loss of professionalism to our speaker. She took off for Africa (e.g. Madagascar) after the dot com bust, returning during the web framework bonanza (PHP, Python...) run by these "rock star" script kiddies who were/are actually somewhat immature, more amateurs really, doing a lot of non-scalable stuff, somewhat selfishly self-enamored. They've not been mentored in pro shops, come straight from hacking on some Linux box in the basement. How to address this?

Her answer is, appropriately, anthropological: we need more taboos. "Smack talk" on mailing lists turns people off, mostly guys being rude and crude in tiresome ways. Lots of corporate cultures just aren't that fun, kinda screwy, lotsa jerks. Language communities might get this way too, what to do?

Professionalism: dealing with people in a way that's not personal in a lot of ways, thinking more in a macro way, realizing you don't know everything, learning the basics, understanding your silo isn't the only one, has a half life. Respecting elders might be a part of it, understanding that experience counts for something.

If you ask a silly question, and get a nasty answer, that might scar you for life. This seems a lot like the same dark side we get in the closed source world -- not surprising I suppose.

Let's agree that FOSS has definitely lowered barriers to entry, so you'll get this "bratfinks with power tools" syndrome (could be in suits). True, we may have disproportionately fewer professionals as a result, but that's a welcome cost of democratization, plus cultures have their ways of adapting (this conference is a sign of that).

I think the personal tutoring model is maybe making a comeback, and this might help raise standards and/or keep standards high. Different subcultures will handle the challenges differently, so mono-culture and/or "one size fits all" isn't the answer either. The FOSS covens will have their own ways of mentoring new practitioners.

I was glad to meetup with Audrey's mom between talks, turns out we were coworkers for the ESD (Portland Public), working with TAG kids at that place on Marine Drive. Some of those grade school students are now the adults at this conference, so we should feel some sense of pride in passing the torch, was her thinking.

Open Source is old enough to be experiencing generational transitions, is part of what's going on. Geeks are learning, fairly self-consciously, what that means (means I'm an "ancestor" already, with lots of gray to prove it).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Garden Party

I was glad to have some time away from projects for Tara's birthday dinner tonight, sorry Carol wasn't able to join, though in spirit she might have, from Pendle Hill (a Quaker HQS). Dawn's ring turned out big time for Tara's coming of age two years ago, me just returned from Lithuania. This year, just me and the two sisters, with Laurie & Terri.

We ate out in the rain, the apple tree doing plenty to keep the drops to a minimum, excellent vegan and carnivore options, with me supplying the garlic and olive oil bread dip (bread included). We chatted pleasantly, me lapsing into geek sometimes, yakking up world domination, with or without our XOs.

I also mentioned my Princeton thesis quoting Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, one of Terri's favorites as well (she's a geek too). Some Thoughts on the Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein (mine) should be at the Mudd Library in Princeton.

I was glad FixMyDeadPC could turn it around quickly, brought them a fresh terabyte drive yesterday (a Seagate Barracuda from Office Depot, greetings Clint). Tara will have her Sims 3 running soon, my thanks to the Lott family for treating her so kindly. Best wishes to Elise and Ruth at the horse contest (I know it's not called that). We are blessed with dear friends.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Glitz 'n Glamour



:: red bull meets bfi ::

Monday, June 08, 2009

Favela Rising (movie review)

You could screen this as a double feature with Burma VJ and get a lot out of it, expect activists in both camps will compare notes by this means, as oppression has a similar face, as does fear, across human cultures.

I'm guessing Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs (Woody Woo we call it) has this DVD in the docket, required viewing in some courses. This isn't Marxism or Christianity so much as a clear eyed indigenous movement borne of pain and suffering, and therefore brilliant, perfect for its time and place. The film makers do a magnificent job with this, another political film that's likewise an art film.

A chief characteristic of the AfroRegge political analysis is not waiting for external authorities to solve the problem, although international investment certainly helps big time. The biggest temptation, leading to the longest detour, is to give in to revenge as a primary motive. You'll find people on all sides ready to stop and reconsider, and that's what's most hopeful.

People living in dire poverty can't be blamed for needing and wanting to self medicate, just like Iraqi troops and civilians alike are heavy into Prozac, plus those Rio police obviously get stoked (the guns themselves are an addictive drug, a symbol of power where people feel powerless -- druglords and cops form a seamless business, is one of the ecological facts on the ground).

Poetically, the medical profession steps in at a very high level to apply a fix, pulls a miracle out of the hat, great when that happens. The DVD itself is destined to fuel our Music Millennium going forward, which is something to celebrate. AfroRegge is highly reputable and professional, another group to win games for when our Coffee Shops Network hits the ground running.

Shortly after viewing this film, I found myself with Carol (my mom) interviewing Keiko regarding her personal experiences with favelas in Brazil. That fear of getting lost between the airport and downtown Rio was palpable through her story, even though she's fluent and a veteran of São Paolo and LA. Many USA zip codes inspire similar feelings of dread, confront pretty much the same issues.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Saving Trees

Forest-loving Portlanders have a problem with wasting trees, even if we recognize legitimate uses for lumber. We have more intra-urban forest park than any other Lower48 city I'm pretty sure.

Take those big dummy textbooks for example (BDTs), the ones that make little kids fall over backwards, cause back injuries.

How much worthy geometry or geography will you find in one of those? Was it worth a whole forest?

We call these "gutless wonders" (a synonym) and know to look in the index for "what's missing" from their dogmas.

We feel superior in knowing some of the "math heresies" -- called "being literate" in my neck of the woods, same as in New York I'd suppose.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Out Riding

Had you been availing of the perfect cycling weather today, not too hot, nor yet these wind gusts of later afternoon, you might have spotted me along Spring Water Corridor, hobnobbing with Darl, our cycles at a temporary stand still.

Yesterday, you'd have seen me in Movie Madness with a gnu math teacher from West Virginia, running on parallel tracks. Sometimes these are Wanderers, other times, who knows.

Hyzy and I walked down to that coffee shop and back in Ladd's, without Josie this time. That'd be typical, with no Mr. Spocks going "fascinating captain" (OK, maybe sotto voce they do that i.e. in a voice imagined "in the head" (the approved metaphoric location for "hearing voices" in western civ -- as long is it's your own, plus you're supposed to have just the one, by convention (plus an "indoor voice" for speaking quietly))).

What many Portlanders take for granted, not having lived in other cities, is that adults are free to go about their business without almost every movement considered potentially scandalous and incendiary.

You're not answerable to busybodies, whose business is to know your business. We don't employ those types of people. We're each seen in the company of others, in all kinds of social and business situations, ethnically diverse, monoculture, whatever.

But then, this is just "life in the big city" to some, i.e. we get more privacy, not less, and like it that way. Dawn and I took this mostly for granted as well. I never had to worry about reports she'd been "seen with strange men" (like duh, what other kind is there?).

This doesn't mean there's no gossip, but that the various "scenes" stay somewhat isolated, as no one outside the circle really knows "what to make of it". This cuts down on "mob psychology", the kind you get in batman's Gotham, where everyone goes crazy in the same way at the same time. Here, we spread it out a lot more, plus pace ourselves seasonally (this is Rose Festival and graduation season, looking forward to some festivities).

All that being said, celebrities still make a business out being seen together or apart, estranged and/or with someone else i.e. it's not like we don't have our entertainment pages. I'm just happy there's no criminalization of consenting adult relationships, despite remaining conventions against public nudity except in appropriately labeled venues (we share Hollywood's rating system, even though we have our own Hollywood and might invent our own rating system someday, if bored or needing a new growth industry).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ISEPP Thread...

This refers to the fragment below (previous post), snipped from a longer set of conversations, including with Allen Taylor of SQL for Dummies fame. This first appeared at the Math Forum, immediately following a post against centralizing math standards to protect lazy publishers from biodiversity.



The threads I'm pursuing with the ISEPP list, a private archive, involve unfolding this map I was explaining to Richard, about some states wanting to try a "digital math track" in parallel to the standard one. You don't want to switch everyone all at once, may want to achieve a hybrid down the road, but for PowerPoint purposes, making sense to the state lobbyists, we just have to keep it simple and talk about two tracks.

Once you have two tracks side by side, there's the question of how to jump across, like if you're teaching "analog math" (featuring real numbers, perfect continuity, all that ghostly greek metaphysics about infinite planes, infinitesimal points) and want to test the waters on our side for a change, how would you do it? You could read Karl Menger on his "geometry of lumps" as prep for class, but the hands on would be more about ray tracing than clay, as we sculpt with light and pure geometry (not forgetting about textures).

We talk a lot about "the observer" in digital math, more like artists than traditional scientists, who think (0,0,0) is the only important position, i.e. one's "point of view" is less often discussed (called "objective", otherwise known as "pretend there's no subject"). We advertise this approach as both more engineer and female friendly, bleeping over how that works for right now (trying to stay on topic: recruiting from the rank and file). We have a (0,0,0,0) to tell some stories about as well, with links to some of the Lakota lore (again, I wander off topic).

This is where the practice of pair teaching comes in. We'll pair you up with a geek, maybe an engineer from one of our companies (Silicon Forest, formed in my very neighborhood), and you'll co-teach a few segments. That'll get you entre into one of our math labs. You might have different students. But you won't be alone. Training will happen, and you'll be one step closer to maybe getting a merit pay position in the math teaching vanguard.

Those digging through my detailed posts find out there's an international component, which I could explain if someone cares to know. Contrary to this hypothesis of 46 states agreeing to standardize on some non-existent "global standard", I would suggest that other countries will be implementing a digital math track, even if we don't, so think about that, next time you want to speak with authority about Singapore or the Philippines.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Jackalope Down

The workhorse laptop wouldn't boot this morning, I have a number of theories, mostly revolving around hardware.

This is a blow, a set back, and partly accounts for my rant this morning, yakking with my friend Barbara, a Wanderer in California, looking after her mom. This is a slightly edited version, compared to the one that went out to subscribers. Sounds like I'm giving up, but more I'm just venting, cop to feeling demoralized after a lot of uphill. Daddy bear (see below) needs a walrus (not!).

I haven't tried booting off the CD yet, other tricks I should try. Right now, I'm supposed to be driving people around though, don't have time to obsess.

Barbara:

I agree with all you said, totally. Not sure why desert is your choice of teaching environment, except that few distractions and great sense of space. Make it desert in winter, not high summer, though. I assume you mean high Oregon desert, but it still gets scorching there.

And, of course, solids, shapes, graphic, geometric play. And always look to nature for elegant solutions to questions of form and function.

Me:

Yeah the desert part is maybe not required, just thinking about the XRL (extreme remote livingry) I want to see developed, lots in my blogs, with a focus on the Crooked River (dramatic site).

Probably the storyboard should be some private sector contractors collaborating with the feds on building something futuristic, the idea being that the feds still do futuristic stuff that's civilian i.e. this isn't a pork barrel project for Blackwater or other mindless thugs who just want to run the USA into the ground as a mercenary state, which is close to all its become of late, nothing admirable, can't even think about torture coherently (embarrassing to watch pundits, hard to stomach any TV with Washington DC thinking behind it, so pukey and awful).

The goal is to get some freedom to develop a different way of educating our young that's more generous with technology, explaining how things work, and more positive about where we might be going, i.e. isn't just global warming or war on terror 24/7, i.e. isn't so devoutly fear-based or pessimism-driven.

That's partly my motivation for having a large international component, sharing the desert facilities, other places, with overseas students. It'd be good PR for the USA, show we still have a brain of some kind.

Of course the fact that it's all in storyboard and I'm this single dad in Portland trying to lobby a new education system that pays at least some attention to my Medal of Freedom winning hero's approach to spatial geometry is more what's true on the ground, i.e. it's more last ditch and hopeless-seeming at the moment, given Washington DC still monopolizes TV with its drivel, making Americans look foolish and stupid for all the world to see (not talking about Obama, just about all the pundits who use that characteristic "know it all" authoritative TV voice but actually don't even know what A&B modules are, ergo don't know shit from my perspective, so shouldn't be speaking for anyone but themselves -- but of course that's just my bias against other think tanks that suck, dime a dozen, spoiled brats from hell etc.).

Mostly who gets the cool retreat centers in exotic remote locations are these fanatical religious groups, who collect private donations and then have a place to send their kids for higher level brainwashing. Then they go out and proselytize overseas. Or they go to mercenary camp and learn how to defend and offend against heathen who probably won't convert -- so OK to kill 'em then, the American way.

It's an ugly civilization and probably too late to turn it around, but I thought Oregon might make a last stand of some kind, before we sink into the slime of this dark ages forever. We had a fighting chance. I just want to leave that on the record, in case anyone thinks our fate was inevitable. We chose it, whatever it was. Looking back, we'll see what we chose. Unlike Brian, I don't think failure is foredoomed, just somewhat likely, given no 9th grader in Portland is learning anything about the geometry I care about (and a lot of other people too).