Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Glenn and Steve are hold forth on their gemology studies. Glenn is a hard worker and makes stuff. His turquoise may take about three hours to buff. Now they're talking about welding. Jeff and Bill have done this with electronics a lot. Jon Bunce is here as well, the musician. He's the coffee beans keeper, one of the few official roles we've designed into this institution (Wanderers).
We've had a suggestion from "off camera" (from someone not here, using the Internet) to watch a particular TED talk, dunno if we'll get to it. Glenn is back with some welded jewelry, other finery. We're moved to a discussion of taboos, inter-breeding, and hemophilia within the British royal family (Queen Victoria a carrier).
I'm more in the "too narrow" camp (re weapons inspector PhD). The environmental sciences department is seeing the need for sensors, lots of IP numbers, DNS coverage of hydrofracture sites, hundreds of thousands of "bubble villages" (the cleanup crews). Radio-toxins such as crews grapple with at Hanford need not be the sole focus of a given Global U student. Deploying sensors, taking readings, designing visualizations, is simply GIS in action and applies equally to theme park planning (like a roller coaster theme park, Six Flags near LA for example, a First Person Physics project, open to physics majors). When you transfer to the bubbles around Subic Bay, you may or may not have Johnston Atoll on your "to visit" list (maybe you just came from there?). Routing through the Manas Transit Center? You may or may not be in field dress.
What am I reading these days? Lots of stuff, but this one hardcover in particular is worth yakking about. I passed it around the table. The first chapter is about a group not unlike Heaven's Gate in some ways, of Hale-Bopp fame. "They got the wrong Applewhite" quipped Ed on the phone, me at Russ & Deb's for the PNW Synergetics Confab (with other confabs since). Here's the book: Apocalypse Pretty Soon: Travels in End-Time America by Alex Heard (W.W. Norton Company, 1999). The Unarians weren't into abducting themselves in quite that way.
We're immersed in dinosaur imagery here, literally. Craigmore Creations operates in many of the chambers throughout this Center, turning out quality graphic novels about science, mostly set in the geological (prehistorical) past. Although human observers may be present, which gets a plot line going, you need some pseudo-science to get them there (a time machine perhaps, like in Idiocracy). Per Dr. Fuller (recent meeting), Karplus invented Mr. O, a little observer character with one palm painted (to define left-right orientation), the Observer (or "first person") of any physical vista.
Bill found us this amazing video stream, very fractal. Sharing links is part of the "groupthink" (usually a "bad word", right up there with "hive mind"). For example, David Tver has a text sample in image format, in a language as yet unrecognized, discovered in a Genizah in Cairo. Pat was off to see her friend Kitty, age 98.
Jeff is showing me Pivotal Tracker, which we can use for our storyboard planning (he's already using it at work). I could invite faculty from New Mexico Tech to join me here vs. using Facebook or one of those. Bill: what's atan2? (used in the "3D Mandelbrot" he's studying). We found it on Wikipedia.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
--- In Synergeo "coyote_starship"
> Another meme that makes the rounds is that "conspiracies are bad" i.e.
> you'd never want to throw a surprise party, or be in league with some
> friends and work to steer the company in a positive direction. No,
> those'd be collegial networks among peers, whereas a "conspiracy" is
> by definition nefarious. This FBI guy doesn't seem to have much
> immunity to the "conspiracies are bad" meme.
This is where I'd go back to the memeplex I was hammering on with an influential McLuhanite (newmedia) with Church of Bob connections. Synergetics Dictionary -> M -> Marshall McLuhan gives us a scene wherein Marshall shows up on Bucky's radar going "I've read your books, and I want to join your conspiracy". Said in a cheerful, affable style no doubt, with a tinge of mischief.
The word "conspiracy", meaning "to breathe with", also has that "piracy" meme embedded (there it is, right in the spelling -- aren't memes fun? not unlike numerology, a sub-branch of memetics). Pirates conspire. Or Pyrates.
Now here in Portland, we like Pirates, think they're cool, might dress and talk like pirates on some days. So we might like conspiracies too then? Let's say we do.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
We used to throw a big Solstice Party.
Dawn didn't proclaim herself Christian, though she was cleared as a Quaker, was a member of the Religious Society of Friends through Multnomah Meeting.
We enjoy schmoozing with those doing the tree thing in their living rooms, even if we don't do one ourselves. More ornaments should be polyhedrons. A virtual tree would do (on the LCD). The scene would keep changing. A reverie.
I'm somewhat predatory, though appropriately diplomatic when it comes to nuts, eggnog, other winter cheer. I got a ride in a Cadillac today, to the supermarket. Our kitchen was somewhat bare again. Last night I tried boiling vegetables, including some greens and marinated tofu. Not half bad. But I do like a box of Coca Krispies now and then, and lots of coffee.
The hanukkah gifts were generous. Soaps and chocolate, socks, stuff we really do use.
I grabbed an Advent Calendar out of the garage awhile back, a wooden one that Dawn hoped we'd use -- she was raised Catholic and recognized the power of rituals. I set it atop the upright piano, a gift from the Braithwaite family years ago.
This time of year, I tend to truck out my "Fourth King" myth, but I haven't thought of anything new to add. Maybe others will take it on (they weren't Christians either, those kings -- no one was back then).
Speaking of Christmas, Sam Lanahan his been like Santa Claus lately, mailing out his beautiful book to a long list of people (Dave Koski was pleased to find his, under a pile of snow on his doorstep, in the midst of a blizzard).
Sam is also giving away free samples of the prototype materials. Customers need only pay shipping.
FNB was also distributing some hanukkah "geld" (chocolate money) thanks to Satya. He offered the bag to me but we agreed it was for younger children than mine.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Today I'm regretting not taking you up on some summer time offer to pour trailer park slop on my upper deck, which needs a new sealant. I just went up and relaid the tarp, in the faint hope that'll help. The ceiling in my office, in the meantime, is cracking along seams (latex paint layer). The electrical tape solution was ugly and pointless (the glue melts when damp). This surgical tape solution, porous to let the blood through, might be just the ticket for now...The bookkeeper's computer is rebooting at will. I took it outside for a dusting, but there may be deeper damage. It reboots even from within BIOS. Maybe a hard disk transplant into another skeleton computer would solve the problem. I'd have to dig one up somewhere. That's also the network printer controller...
My equipment is out of date, as is my domicile more generally (1905). In some experimental prototype community of tomorrow, a leading buckaneer wouldn't be some Wall-e in a junkyard, all intelligent life on vacation (Orlando?).
I'm glad mom is doing OK in average 70 degree weather (Whittier). Tara was gung ho to hit the debate circuit again this weekend, but her team (and coach) need their rest.
I'd gladly upgrade the Blue House to meet Global U codes (and help define them), but that'd require some planning and organization, both of which are in short supply in this day and age, at least where radical math teaching is concerned.
Walker took off after dark for a remote tool shop on the outskirts of town. Why do everything nocturnally? My senses reel.
The Dead Mathematicians Society (DMS) has been suggesting I give a talk. I just submitted a proposal.
My attempt to do multi-threaded COM was successful, but the code is quite "mickey mouse" as my scuba instructor Gill Gilleland was wont to say -- exMarine, professional recovery diver.
Mark Hammond himself dropped by on comp.lang.python on response to my query, wow.
I made some baby steps forward with OST as well.
Writing to Nirel:
As individuals we're brilliant. As teams working together, you'd think we could do more. Anyway, that's how it seems tonight -- thinking about teams.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
I held out an olive branch to the functional programmers today. They've been registering their distaste for what some have called the "object oriented paradigm" (OOP), saying it's not really a "paradigm".
Friday, November 26, 2010
We already have lots of utility vehicles on the road, including some that provide health care.
This trip north have provided some more opportunities to discuss the idea. I just filed another brain dump to Synergeo on the topic.
I've got a lot of interesting science fiction going, way better than most IMO, in the sense of realizable. So much dilly-dallying goes on. Where's the beef?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Dr. Nick came in later, and we screened A Necessary Ruin against the classroom wall (same arrangement I'm using to teach Python).
We also talked about girl scout math, which LW is pioneering -- a kind of bridge between Supermarket Math and Neolithic Math per my Heuristics for Teachers. One needs to shop wisely, meaning a lot of homework goes into the BE phase (GST). One simulates, plays "what if" in one's head. Then you jump out of a helicopter or whatever (perhaps as a rescuer, perhaps as an occupier, perhaps as a company shill... many language games might apply).
I also shared this little cartoon that's good for learning Wittgenstein's philosophy. I used it in my last Python class as well, given the nominalist (name -> object) model it well illustrates, antithetical to pragmatic operationalism but in an edifying way.
Given Barton's connections to Hollywood, I'm always left thinking about documentaries when he leaves. There's a lot of retarded slowness in getting those S3 cartoons imported. We're coming up on another NFL that'll just show off how "left behind" is the Lower 48, or so I'm anticipating. The USA is now the basket case of the world, refusing to upgrade, putting future shock off onto everyone else. That's a theme of Idiocracy and deserves to be played up.
Blaming King Obama for not waving his magic wand fast enough might give rise to a Harry Potter for president movement. Lets watch for tell tale signs of that happening. Without proper civics training in the schools, USAers fall back on monarchy and the claptrap of the Ivory Tower and its royal societies. We're back to courtly models, socialites buzzing around a throne. The socialism of the celebrity class, bejeweled and tawdry, is just more Lord of the Flies.
I'm no Anglophobe ala LaRouche, but then I'm not into kowtowing to Hogwarts when it comes to ethics, faith and practice. That's one school among many. We've got better witches, and more "right stuff" free software, a better meme pool overall.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Now I'm back at the meetinghouse, juggling logistics. It's a crazy wet day and I forgot my bike lock again (Lindsey brought it). My flashlight is underpowered. I'm not appropriately equipped. Call out the National Guard right? When the absent minded professor decides he does wanna be president (thinking of Albert again), stand back everyone, maybe lend an umbrella.
I went back to my yak of the morning, which is that (a) an aphoristic style ala both Nietzsche and Norman O. Brown is apropos and (b) it's more up to self-professed humanities experts to grapple with Synergetics. Leaving it to physicists and mathematicians is quite the opposite of stepping up to the plate. You've got your philosophy of mathematics if you need to blend into the woodwork on occasion. Wittgenstein's stuff is almost custom made, for talking about cubing versus not-cubing, where 3rd powering is concerned.
That's something to look at between your readings of Emerson and Thoreau, maybe Logicomix. Don't push it off on those "engineers" you need to vilify. This is common heritage, a contribution to the vernacular, obtuse as it may seem.
We talked about Bonnie DeVarco, at Bioneers (way overpriced for depressing times, Nick thought), in the early days of BFI's founding. We share a number of names in common. You could call that a "namespace" if so inclined.
Yes, I heard about the Medal of Freedom. Sounds like there's more of a story there than most people know to tell. How might we encourage future curriculum writers to delve more deeply?
We also talked about the Coffee Shops Network, a way to get faster geometry to the public without needing a visa from the gulag. Sit sipping your espresso, and see some of those memes you might have encountered in prose. Maybe you've been a loyal reader of these blogs? If so, you'll probably know it when you see it.
I'm drenched and there's no one here (here's Justin). I should get to work, washing those pots and pans.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Kathy Bergen has a long history working in that area of the planet commonly associated with stories in the Bible, Koran, Torah. She's been with AFSC and now helps out with other Quaker assets in the region. The prophetic or "book" religions, as some call them, each have many denominations or branches, all of which want floorspace in this intensively trafficked region. Lots of tourists coming through, along with pilgrims, airline pilots, people with hidden agendas, as well as open ones.
We learned about Ramallah and the water situation. There's running water only a few days a week. Makes me wonder what Philadelphia Inquirer was crowing about, saying that city was doing well, but then I didn't see the article (just heard it reported on). The nearby gated community suburbs are like these Neocon flats, where people live more like squanderous Portlanders in their opulent palaces (water 24/7), shopping at New Seasons and driving around in their Priuses, feeling proud to be so green.
Not that I'm against running water 24/7 mind you. I'd like that for Ramallah too, but do engineers have the competence? Getting "smart grids" to actually be smart, requires intelligent consumers, not mindless ones. Software can't do everything.
Waste and inefficiency is a problem all over. Introducing some realistic simulations as games one might enjoy playing, is a time-tested way to develop skills.
They say religion has something to do with all this, but I'm not sure what exactly (so many conflicting stories). Those "book people" never made a whole lot of sense to me, even though I'm one of 'em. Been there done that etc.
Jesus was definitely a great Bodhisattva, I think many Asians would agree. Let's see how much "Peace on Earth" rhetoric we get this time through Santa's tunnel, how much "Good Will to all Men" that's not hollow. Or has Christianity finally gone belly up? Maybe Quakers got out just in time? Jesus was Jewish, a great rabbi.
When I was in Ramallah in the 1970s, you could still be an Arabic-speaking local with family going way back, and get permission to use dynamite from the authorities. There's lots of rock in that area and building just about anything requires blasting and pneumatic drills. The attitude was relatively laid back. By most measures, the world IQ has been plummeting since the 1970s, at least in some subcultures.
The distopian hell hole this region has become for so many does not reflect well on the programming, a point Bishop Tutu was making at the University of Portland the other day. It's hard to be proudly a Christian, and besides, there are many preachings against vanity. Wasn't it Sir Francis Bacon who wrote: "life is a tale told by an idiot?" Idiocracy R Us right? They oughta do more on South Park.
Kathy showed lots of interesting slides and the event was well attended, at least by oldsters such as myself. Younger people tend to read more manga (comics) and are maybe not as infatuated with this part of the world, hard to say.
Geographic literacy is down across the board. You'd think with Google Earth and all... but then many schools aren't using that, because it's new, and schools don't do "new" -- too busy letting adults relive their childhoods, which keeps them kinda retro.
They say the second half of life is all about nostalgia for the first half. The future is something we back into inadvertently, as we make other plans.
Some schools are maybe not as like that, teach more "listening to Abba" (however translated), i.e. "attending to Spirit" (as some Quakers say). One might hope.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
In trying to jump start a more literate mathematics, more informed by philosophy, I've been flitting about, conversing with characters. Asynchronous meetings. Who else is doing it, and does it need to be done?
What is mathematical literacy?
What about the C.P. Snow chasm?
How do words mean?
Girl Scout Math
Hey, wonderful I'm able to write so much, which also entails reading. There's a sense of urgency though, which may be unfortunate given how back burner is Urner. I keep hoping for Project Renaissance to take off, or something similar.
I recommended Obama's Wars to Steve, suggesting clues to decode, such as WTF, some stuff about torture. He's off to new adventures, following a busy schedule. I hope to hold the fort for Holden Web's new Portland office.
Hillary came by today just as Lindsey was sorting her bike trailer full of organic vegetables, doing Get Out the Vote. I gave her my secret ballot to deposit on my behalf. Good timing.
I voted with Native Americans on the casino issue (no). I'd still like to see those new kinds of games though, where you build an on-line portfolio reflecting your commitments and values. The USG could develop and test some open source prototypes to seed the market, in collaboration with various non-governmental entities.
I wrote more about simulation and recruiting games on Halloween. Go fish?
Your friend in the Silicon Forest.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I woke up with the sense of gentle tendrils pulling me downtown. I'd need to go on my bicycle, in the rain, to keep it a pure experience. I blundered about the house, scarcely believing I was going to an event I'd only just tuned in the night before. What better time though? Better than staying home and being sick.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Never before in all history have the inequities and the momentums of unthinking money-power been more glaringly evident to so vastly large a number of now literate, competent, and constructively thinking all-around-the-world humans. There’s a soon-to-occur critical-mass moment when the intuition of the responsibly inspired majority of humanity, in contradistinction to the angered Luddites and avenging Robin Hoods, faced with comprehensive functional discontinuity of nationally contained techno-economic systems, will call for and accomplish a world-around reorientation of our planetary affairs.
R. Buckminster Fuller
“Can’t Fool Cosmic Computer”
Grunch of Giants (St. Martin’s Press, 1983), pg. 89
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Fantasies aside, I picked up that Food Not Bombs box the wrong way, in that walk-in refrigerator, and sprained my lower back pretty good. At "college night" last night at Cleveland High, I hobbled around like I needed a cain, looking somewhat pathetic (because I didn't have one).
Before that misadventure, I'd tackled some plumbing upstairs in the 105 year old Blue House, placing a bucket beneath a sink full of corrosive toxins before unscrewing the curved piece of pipe ("the trap"). The pipe piece went plunk into the overflowing bucket and splashed some of the toxins in my eye. Coulda been worse, a lot worse. Why wasn't I wearing my glasses? Events conspire sometimes...
A lotta civilians would like a kind of boot camp experience, a way to get in shape, learn some skills, without other grownups being super mean and sending them off to kill or be killed. They'd like to be part of a solution in some way, welcomed as world game players. Movie stars work hard for such treatment, and such roles. In my Project Earthala communities, we have a lot of "off your duff" stuff to do, if you have a young body needing to stay trim, or an older one, likewise predisposed.
Wanna work on a railroad, even literally?
You may do so, for academic credit, while learning history and general systems. Might be in Russia someplace.
But you're not here as a prisoner.
The work / study people flit about. You'll meet some of them again... and again.
Our discussion this morning (while cleaning) was about so many office buildings zoned to where you can't legally sleep in them. The night time janitorial service doesn't want to be stumbling upon snoozing personnel. No, you'll need to drive 50 miles to get to a bed from your cube farm, or ride some bullet train. Those are the zoning rules.
Gazillions of people slosh in and out, because home is not suitable for working and work is not suitable for taking time off work.
Work is a place that you "go", as in "go go go" (all that fossil fuel, sluicing down the drain -- welcome to Planet of the Apes).
Anyway, the fantasy was of small firms, wandering bands, troupes, with banners (logos, coats of arms -- such as I just returned to Djangocon sponsors), coming into a city and setting up shop, perhaps only for six months. They have live-and-work style offices, more like lofts, more like studios.
Perhaps the job is to teach urban farming techniques, help set up another plantagon, get the software tuned, train some friends, get some training, share some music... and move on, to another city with floorspace.
You don't buy a cube farm in a sky tower and a hotel room by the airport.
Or maybe you work in a home, outfitted as a workplace.
The Blue House is all futuristic by then, lots of monitors (including on-board energy use), lots of two-way communicating, routing, both in real time and asynchronously (like today).
New toons are getting made, XRL (a kind of livingry) is being field tested. We're a management hub, like CUE used to be for "refugee resettlement" in some other war against terrorism, another chapter in fighting fear.
Should this be Reality TV? The Pauling House people talk a lot about streaming.
Given I'm embedded in this old school urban grid, I'm only somewhat able to walk my own Global U talk. I've done my best to conflate the commute, to have my studio and sleeping quarters be ship shape, not spread all across town. The torture taxi stays in the driveway a lot.
In doing Food Not Bombs today, I rode a bicycle to the Quaker meetinghouse, towing a trailer full of sustenance. Marian Rhys is here, helping Cera (Sara) and some new kids in town, part of a cross-continent cycling team.
Their plan is to ride both ways, to start back by looping south (as far as New Mexico? -- I haven't asked 'em).
Working in the kitchen, pealing potatoes, washing pots and pans, is somewhat close to my Ecovillage fantasy.
Sure, Lockheed-Martin has failed us, Boeing has let us down. EPCOT was a disappointment (sad for Disney). The "best toys" are uncool. The engineers built us a railroad we don't want or need (remember MX missiles?), at great expense in shared living standards. Welcome to our self-inflicted slums then, a sad memorial to Bombs Not Food. I hope our progeny have compassion and forgive us our many tresspasses against them.
This unpleasant reality doesn't keep us from dreaming some American dream however. The power of nightmares is only finite after all.
We may be a conquered people, slaves to an alien ideology, a kind of "complex" (as the Jungians say), but one day we may again breath free, having tossed off the sorrowful yoke of empire.
Friday, September 24, 2010
> In my opinion, arithmetic is essentially the literacy equivalent
The ability to read is not just one skill. What if graphs are involved, statistics? The science you might want to tune in, to follow debates about genetically modified foods, requires some mathematical background perhaps.
It's not just what math Obama might need. You also want your Supreme Court and Congress to have a fairly strong grasp of the technical issues.
You've generally been dismissive of "math appreciation" as not the real deal, just like "physics for philosphers" can't really amount to a hill of beans in your book.
Calendars and navigation, architecture, surveying, map making... each one of these topics comes with skills you might learn, surrounded by stories of other civilizations. To fully understand history, one needs to be able to follow the math and science (e.g. the role of cryptography in ww2).
If we dont' consider "math appreciation" as part of mathematics proper, then we should at least allow it to surface under the heading of literature.
Dr. Susan Haack, a contemporary philosopher, is quite explicit about this: in her view, a distopian society we do not want to have, consists of docile non-scientists who can't follow the debates and
leave all the decision-making to the supposedly most qualified, the credentialed experts.
You want informed voters.
You also want people not easily manipulated or hoodwinked.
I say "you" in a general sense, realizing that informed and intelligent voters is maybe *not* what some people want. They'd rather have a lot of docile broom pushers who just smile and nod when told what to do by the ruling class digerati.
Any educated high schooler should be able to read and write about how the Internet works, yes or no?
Any educated high schooler should have read a lot of civics, know about the history of the world, including recent history.
E.g. books by Edwin Black are appropriate for an American History class, or at least lengthy excerpts, along with related documentaries.
There's a difference between knowing how to read, recognizing the words, and being literate, being given the time, encouragement, guidance and freedom to read widely in many subjects.
Does a society afford people that freedom, people of all ages?
Or does it simply give them rudimentary reading skills and then push them out the door after 6th grade, handing them a mop if they don't prove sufficiently compliant or worthy in the minds of corporate eugenicists?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Monday, September 06, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Tonight we are listening to Maria A. Beebe, PhD, talking about E-Learning in Afghanistan. She's with Afghan eQuality Alliances.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I was roused from my pile of mattresses by Glenn, late getting started this morning, so an opportunity to partially overlap on a walk. The New Seasons is really coming along. We visited Mt. Tabor.
Glenn has been checking with sources. Exodus gets tagged for having discovered the cone:cylinder 1:3 relationship, where they both share the same base and height. Then Archimedes got that a sphere in a cylinder occupies 2/3rds its volume. He wanted that on his grave stone, and according to stories this is how a Roman scholar later found it, in want of repair, and had the grave site restored. We should have more monuments to the guy and this discovery, why not? Plus math-geometry needs its tomb of the unknown, from which many a discovery has derived.
In recent discussions with David Koski, he's focused on the analogy twixt the cone, half-cylinder, sphere and full cylinder and the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron and rhombic dodecahedron, by focusing on the common ratios 1:3:4:6. In this case, the cone in question shares a base with a hemisphere 2/3rds the half-cylinder's volume (Glenn and I called this half-cylinder a "tuna can" with height = sphere radius, not diameter). If the cone is 1/3, the half-sphere is 2/3, and the sphere is then 4/3, a fraction familiar from (4/3)( pi )( r )( r )( r ). The "tuna can" itself is volume 3, if the cone is 1, hence the ratios 1:3:4:6.
For the first part of our walk, Glenn's sources and the Koski conversations were a jumble and I was confused. The cone Glenn's sources talked about was 1/3rd the double-cylinder (two tuna cans), so already half the volume of the cylinder-contained sphere. I'd only just awakened. Actually I'd been tossing and turning, but about other issues. The night before, I was up late watching a disturbing documentary.
Once atop Mt. Tabor, we met an intelligent Protestant (no, not an oxymoron) who wondered if we'd give him two minutes of our time, not to end with a request for money. He had a stop watch. I said "two minutes is not a long time, so sure" and he launched into a debate he'd been working on.
According to his "Wanderers presentation" there's a school of thought that says Jesus was a great teacher and all, but he couldn't have performed miracles, the counter to which is that early Christianity, with all its travails, would not have gotten going based around some "nice guy" or "decent human" action figure (plus the teachings were quite radical for their day).
Glenn responded with some perennial philosophy notions of avatars, descendants of deities, who periodically show up to save humans. I mentioned a polarity, with a spectrum in between: on the one hand, the "miracles never happen" group denies any supernatural phenomena as a matter of principle, while on the other hand you have a group that assumes miracles happen all the time, as a matter of course. At either extreme, Jesus would not prove an exception to the rule.
I enjoyed the "lightning talk" and mused how Portlanders could do "philosophy in the park" more often, just show up with the intent to have these debates and discussions, perhaps using these recognized templates (e.g. the two minute presentation). We wouldn't need to have official sponsors, though I could see where some brands might want to become associated with civilized intercourse of this nature. Beats television in some ways. Like, we got some real exercise (Mt. Tabor isn't very high, but every calorie counts).