Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Skin Color

Struggle

When I was little, I'd hear my maternal grandmother sometimes refer to "colored people" which to her ears was not a slur.  America, in those days, consisted of "whites" and "coloreds".

However my generation was already being schooled that "colored people" was not acceptable.  "Skin colored" in a box of crayons was also biased, obviously, because off-pink (not white really) is only the color of a sampling.  Lots of skin colors out there.  That much, at least, is clear.

What's not clear is whether "white" is really not a color, given few people are actually that.  Off-white is a paint color, a whole variety of them.  Singling out "white" as a one non-color seems a similar form of discrimination.

If "people of color" (POC) is OK to say, is it OK if off-whites and even true albinos, be considered people of color as well?  That would seem the more uniform basket we're looking for, where any skin tone has its associated RGB value.

A problem though, is we use appearances for a kind of code, as in dress code, but also as in "code of veiled meanings".  Choice of font might be part of a code, or a flag, or other symbol.

Perhaps the better word is "brand" as in "look and feel".

Like when we go to high school or later college, we might have these various stereotypes, these templates, that people follow, more or less consciously.  Out of such raw material, identities get carved and tested, torn down and recast.

Is obsession with nuanced codes the way we operate as egos?

A lot of meanings can't or won't survive a bright light, but as implication and innuendo, they have a shadowy persistence.

The need to have or be a "personality" might have a lot to do with our color coding.  We get to play roles then, even pick up the mantle of this or that group and become as though mouthpieces of historical lineages, simply on the basis of a few genes in charge of skin, melanin content etc. 

As we grow older, and closer to death, some of us become the disembodied voices of these imagined "races" or "ethnic groups".  We might get our DNA tested, and build an identity based on what Ancestry.com has to say.

Lots of theories and superstitions, or call them "day dreams" help the ego glue it all together.  Everyone needs to be somebody, right?  Why not start with skin color, daft as that may sound?

Might there be a way to champion humans, or even more than that, humanity itself?

We have this word humane, and use it with respect to other animals.  In what ways might we train to be humane?  Would we need to identify as a person of any specific color to be humane?

Perhaps these code languages, not of our own choosing, nor making, could be left by the roadside?  I'm tempted to disrupt them.  I frequently question the reality of "races" and the relevance of DNA to one's mental makeup.  The power of stereotypes, templates, role models is real though.  I admit there's theater.

I suppose if your daydream is working well for you, adding insights and happiness, productivity, then it might be worth keeping.  I've been inventive regarding my own persona, crafting some specific guy.  Realizing one's ability to be inventive is perhaps the most one might hope for.  Doesn't "human" mean "made from clay"?  I read that somewhere.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Foam


Balls in Backyard

C6XTY

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Summer Camp Fun


Summer Camp is primarily focussed on MIT Scratch.

The "block language" projects have continued to evolve though. Today we took a look at Blockly and Berkeley Snap.

Snap in Arabic

Friday, August 04, 2017

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

International School

I'm hardly The Martian (Matt Damon) in the degree of XRL (extreme remote livingry) I'm using. For one thing, I'm still on Planet Earth.  For another, I'm not far from Hwy 97, running north-south through Central Oregon.

I've envisioned my international school headquarters somewhere in this area, thanks to Barbara and Ed Janoe, some Friends living right along Crooked River canyon.  Here was the dramatic landscape my school needed, along with the horses, alpacas, and obsidian flows.  Smith Rock is a world class rock climbers' destination.  We could also teach bungee jumping.

Lew Frederick, Oregon State senator, was by the Linus Pauling House recently, on Hawthorne.  I shared with him my fear that Rajneesh Puram might have poisoned the well (pun intended -- the group used to poison people) in terms of Oregonians accepting an international cast with a footprint in this rural paradise, outside Portland.  Xenophobia is sometimes born not of ignorance, but of real contact with an aggressor.

Another vision I shared with Lew, spelled out more in these blogs, is the whole concept of off the grid camps, harvesting their own energy and food, ala New Alchemy Institute and Whole Earth Catalog.

We've come a long way since the 1960s, tech-wise if not in political maturity, and engineering firms need venues to showcase that inspire the public imagination, if seeking markets for their civilian lines.  They have war theater to showcase killingry and do so routinely.

"EPCOT West" (a meme) was born out of Dignity Village, near PDX International.  Do you want to experience XRL for real?  Instead of another make-shift shanty town, Portland would show off the new products and offer tours.   

MercyCorps has headquarters here.  Refugee camps around the world are looking to the Pacific Northwest to innovate.  The international school students will feed into our deployment crews, having trained with the equipment and taken in the bigger picture, of a world that works for everyone.

I didn't come out here in a recruiting van, or bizmo.  The art car made it over the mountain.  I've got my gear.  At the moment, I've got WiFi.

Another Friend, Aimeé Ford Conner, helped me come up with a name for this project:  Project Earthala.  That could also be the name of an eco-village established by the project, and featuring the latest in XRL.

I'm looking ahead to a kind of international tourism that doubles as a kind of work-study.   However tourism has been taken over by military touring in large degree, in tandem with the rise of idiocracy, and that's tainting many brands, and frustrating the civilian markets.  We continue to experience high levels of squalor on Ghetto Planet.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Food Fight

Mobsters accusing mobsters of harboring a criminal element is a sight to behold.  We're supposed to find a deep moral difference between "Russian 1%" and the others, whereas Occupy looked much the same in Moscow (a confrontation).

A criminal sphere embraces a more game-like lawful world, sometimes with crushing effectiveness, other times more divided and self recriminatory.  The latter phase is what we're in.  The mobsters are all outing each other as the onlookers grow more financially literate by the week.

Trampled underfoot is an old world order, somewhat forgotten, wherein the cyber-sphere seemed less tabloid. The action needed to be dumbed down a lot as we democratized more.  I sound elitist for saying that, but it's more esoterica that I'm into.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Investments

Ritzy

I've been chatting with investment fund types about what Quakers will or won't invest in.  Given a push towards improving infrastructure, ala China, there are moves afoot to contract with companies that build infrastructure.

The lunch meetup today, at a Chinese place, connected me back to the Hunger Project and Lynne Twist.  I'm listening to her CDs: Unleashing the Soul of Money.

She's a Bucky Fuller fan, like I am.  Bucky made a big difference throughout the est network.

Has she read Graeber's Debt: the First 5000 Years I wonder? She tells the myth that money was invented to rescue us from a "barter economy", a thesis this debt book questions.

Quoting a review by Charles Eisenstein:
Graeber ably and thoroughly debunks the commodity theory of money that holds sway in neo-classical economics, which says that money originated from early barter economies. This, as Graeber points out, is an imaginary history with no historical or anthropological evidence. Instead, it projects our own market-conditioned behavior onto primitive people, assuming that they, like we, were calculating maximizers of their own self-interest. A universe of competing, separate selves, interacting according to impersonal economic “forces”, is the economic analog of the Newtonian physics that was so spectacularly successfully up until the 20th century. It is obsolete today, as quantum mechanics reveals the dubiousness of the subject-object distinction.  
Do Quakers invest in Hollywood?  The military-infotainment complex depends a lot on turning theater into theater, i.e. the military saga into the blockbuster epic, or computer game.  Many Quakers do invest in Hollywood.  Whittier is close by.

Anyway, lots to think about.  I added this comment to QuakerQuaker this morning, copied here:
Comment by Kirby Urner 4 hours ago

One reason Quakers are no longer strong in business, compared to late 1700s (a time of peak influence in the private sector), is it's hard to work in the US without being a part of its military-infotainment complex.

Developing sprawling businesses that pointedly do not invest or contract with sociopathic institutions would be a huge challenge.  Meetings themselves, though businesses (if you believe the shoptalk), are not public enough to make a difference.  Schools, hotel chains, hospitals... if only.
Speaking of fundraising, Multnomah Meeting was successful in getting enough donations and pledges to install the new temperature control system. Thanks to our ad hoc committee for getting that organized.

A 1980s family picture, Dawn's side: Sam (Dawn's brother), Glenys (mom), Carla (sister), Dawn. This was taken before Dawn and I met, she the new bookkeeper at Center for Urban Education, me just back from Bhutan.

Dawn and Family

I driving over the mountains to Sam's memorial service next week. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rocky Horror Picture Show (movie review)


I've seen very little mention of the geodesic dome, featured as a part of the spooky castle above.  Much could be made of this link to another counter-cultural icon, from a domain of sexual mores breaking out of their bounding box, thanks to ETs.

The point was to visit Clinton Street Theater where teens, mas o meno, have been doing the audience participatory version of this cult film for some twenty odd years, starting midnight on Saturdays.  The torch gets passed, one generation to the next.

Getting picked as a cast member means knowing the right people, in addition to exhibiting some talent to entertain. Participating in a RHPS is something of a rite of passage.

I went with a professor of gender studies and international development who'd never seen the film, turned off by the word "horror", a genre she doesn't enjoy.  The raucousness of the audience overwhelmed the soundtrack and she came away with a garbled version of the plot, but that's easily rectifiable with later study.

I like pointing out that Tim Curry has a later role in the movie Kinsey, where I plays an ironically prudish professor. One of the best ways to study a culture is by delving in to its sex ed, but then don't make the mistake of thinking education == academia.  All media have an educational role.

My first induction into this cult came way back in my Princeton years, in the late 1970s, much closer to the time when this film, originally a stage play in England, where that castle is, first came out.

Audience Participation

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Coursera Homework


The on-line course I'm taking asked us to build a circuit of two push button switches, both of which need to be pressed for the LED to come on. The Arduino motherboard is used only to power the breadboard, very not fancy.

Note that a yellow LED on the motherboard itself, distinct from the always-on power light (green), is flashing intermittently. This would have to do with some earlier-loaded blinking light program, unrelated to the current project. The Arduino does retain the last loaded program, even when powered down.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Retro Coding

:: talks about CGI in the client / server context ::

Retro Coding is where one deliberately dials back to an earlier point in time and uses tools at that time considered cutting edge, but since abandoned.

A case in point:  "Common Gateway Interface" or "CGI" programming. "Computer-generated Imagery" is the more common decoding; a name collision (just get clear on the namespace, for less cognitive dissonance).

In Python, we import the cgi module primarily for access to FieldStorage, an object that plays the role of sys.argv in some ways, the latter being a list object intermediary between "__main__" (the running namespace) and the shell command used to start a script.

For example: 

$ ./get_chem.py Au 

passes Au as a string string element to the running get_chem.py, which finds it in sys.argv[1].  'get_chem.py' itself, the name of the running script, is what's in sys.argv[0].
 
Here's an example lookup operating, running the above lookup about gold ("Au"):

Server and Client 

That's Python's standard library CGI server in the background, plain vanilla.  The going rate is not included. This pared down database lists he abbreviation and longer name, number of protons, and atomic mass.  The long integer and KTU track when a user last touched the record, me in this case.

>>> num
1493462392
>>> datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(num)
datetime.datetime(2017, 4, 29, 3, 39, 52)


The invocation in the foreground triggers a little script to send an HTTP request to said server, with a chemical element symbol (e.g. Au for Gold), which, if all goes well, returns a JSON string which the little script converts, to a list. Print to console. We're done:

looking up an element through localhost

Taking a look at that script, we see the Python DBI in action. That could have been Oracle we were talking to, like in the good old days (mythological allusion).

Serving Data

I've changed the shebang line to /usr/bin/env python, which is fine if you're running Python3 or greater, and shared the two scripts via Github, for educational use.  Thanks to WorkingIt!

The database table, periodic_table.db, is likewise available.  I'm continuing to evolve this little project, adding AJAX to the mix.

Friday, June 30, 2017

On the Banks of the Tigris (movie review)


The Portland Blues Festival kicked off today and our Hawthorne bus 14 moved slowly across the bridge, stuck in traffic.

I was on my way to Rogue Hall to meet up with Dr. Tagrid Khuri of Portland State University.  Our plan: to see this award winning movie at the Clinton Street Theater (Tag was expecting outdoor live Arabic music, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but never mind).

The film is a work in ethnography, more specifically ethnomusicology. A lot of the folk music of Iraq traces to Iraqi Arab Jews, who knew?  They fled Iraq en masse, after some two thousand years by the Tigris, starting in the early 1950s, some looking for a new life in the newly established state of Israel.

The Ba'athists seemed keen on erasing cultural memory, but music and memes are more powerful than mere politics.  Enforced ignorance doesn't last.

The film is the result of a collaboration between a Muslim Iraqi refugee, Majid Shokor, living in Australia, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and an Ashkenazi Jewish woman, Marsha Emerman, with experience making documentary films.

The project took about ten years to complete.  This was not a first screening by any means, but was a strategic one, with Emerman joining by Skype from Victoria, British Columbia, fielding questions.

The film succeeds in conveying the respect musicians have for their music, in ways that transcend ethnicity.

The opportunity to share memories, life stories, in a relatively safe environment, comforted by familiar tunes, brings out the best in people.  The film is uplifting, as well as informative.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smith Rock

One of the great joys in getting married is the merging of families that occurs.  In Dawn's case, I lucked out big time, with her brother Sam and partner Judy, musically minded creators of a new scene in Sisters, Camp Sherman more specifically, in the Metolius watershed.  I also met Elise and then Les, that wonderful family. 

Dawn's extended family went to Indiana, Pennsylvania (a town).  We spread her ashes there in 2009, following a Chicago Pycon.  Tara and Alexia were with me then too.

Compared to our city rat lifestyle, as non-profit hub managers (CUE and so on), Sam & Judy were the rustic true pioneers, living off the grid as year round caretakers of the lovely Dahl Ranch, in a time when the surrounding forest was lush.  They hewed their own firewood, kept the swimming pool operational.

Later, Sam, a skilled indoor finish carpenter, built a house for the two of them.  Judy's mother joined them later.  She died in the same Partners in Care facility Sam did, same room.  That was on Gold Coach road, in a gorgeous patch of country.

Just an hour ago I headed over to Smith Rock for some memories.  The two sisters (Tara and Alexia) are exploring somewhere in the area.

Radio is important here, and music.  I'm listening to Psychedelic Protest on KPOV FM, a show sometimes hosted by the Smith's friend Steven.  Mad Dog is hosting today.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Decorating a Circle

When I teach about Python decorators, I often use the extended metaphor of "being abducted by a UFO".

In science fiction, the abductee is subtly or not so subtly transformed by the abduction experience. What's important is they come back as still themselves, which parallels decorated callables retaining their original names.

In the video below I'm using the @property decorator to show how a Circle type might update its inter-related attributes through setter method calls behind the scenes.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Woman (movie review)

A Visitor

I wasn't planning on seeing this today. I'd RSVPed on the Flying Circus meetup downtown. Then came a knock at the door and there was Lindsey Walker, whom I'd not seen since last year.

We had tea on Division at our usual spot where she showed me pictures of her new place, austere and functional, in Kathmandu. Turned out she was curious about Wonder Woman also.

Probably the Bible families won't be too bent out of shape as the somewhat Bollywood style Greek mythology reiterates the Paradise Lost theme of Lucifer, jealous of God's love for his homely creature, Man.

Aries (lets call him Mars) is a died-in-the-wool misanthropist, and what is War (a favorite form of theater) if not misanthropic?

Wonder Woman is on the side of good as we slide back in time to the World War One era.

Mars is having a field day and the job of these Amazon women is to defend humans, innately good, from his manipulating.  Or so the children are told.

As Wonder Woman grows wiser she realizes Mars is a pretty good prosecuting attorney and humans somewhat deserve the fate they choose for themselves, and indeed they're somewhat loathsome.

Lindsey and I agreed it was all on the corny side, but then we're talking about a comic book after all.  Serious-minded theologians are not a primary audience.

We're more into learning about puberty and putting our childhood toy stories to bed.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

From Forum 206

I haven't posted much about factoring quadratics, but would for one take a group theory approach if following the forking-off Lambda Calc track after Algebra, more vocational than Delta Calc (Calculus), in the sense of straight-to-job, minus college, for more trainees.

You've got the JS + HTML + CSS, what more could you need? Of course plenty, and many will head back to college or code school or whatever, but the meaning of "vocational" still pertains. You get some paid work as a front and back end developer, applying your high school degree, and afford college later, where you go into Physics, say.

Where I'd go with quadratics is full bore into History as I think it's a travesty how we try to tease apart maths from any cultural context. Enough with the "universal language" already, if that means Greek metaphysics about infinite planes "existing". That's philosophy, so any PhD will be able to defend these theses of plane geometry (Euclidean), but lets not pretend that they're not cultural, and that mathematics is not as multi-cultural as Manhattan.

The fierce "game show" competitions on the Italian peninsula, to factor polynomials in contest, complete with pro wrestler style champions and death bed secrets (algorithms) is all too much to pass up. Then we roll forward to Galois, who scribbles some final words on Galois Theory before defending his honor in some dark ages duel to the death. Bleep over all that? Not unless you're into "history avoidance" which math geeks are often guilty of, but not in my course, no way.

I like showing a Polynomial class in Python, complete with some Newton's Method type convergence algorithm for finding roots even when factoring is nigh impossible. I've got this in my archive somewhere. [0]

At least lets tell them about the limits to factoring. And don't wait until some bitter end to share the quadratic equation, making it some punch line after slogging through months of seeking roots by other means.

I'm into spending a lot more time with primes versus composites, Euclid's Method, because I'm heading to RSA (public key crypto), like they do in Mathematics for the Digital Age (Bob and I both like it, although I do class-oriented coding much earlier in the deck, see my Fraction [1]). RSA is a capstone "thing to get" in the aforementioned text, used at Phillips / Andover. I teach crypto too, had for years before I saw that book. [2]

Why Euclid's Method to get the GCD over factoring into primes? Because factoring fizzles long before EM. Then there's the extended version (EEM). Check Knuth. These are the algorithms they're gonna need. As a mammal to other mammals: don't let them write that off as "just computer science" in their snobby mathy way.

Kirby

[0] http://4dsolutions.net/ocn/python/

[1] https://repl.it/H7VF/12

[2] http://4dsolutions.net/ocn/crypto0.html

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Radar Blips

In case you're a long time reader of this blog, or a relative newcomer with a Sherlock Holmes bent, wanting to piece it all together like a Russian novel of interweaving scenarios, let me look at some loose ends.

The pristine wood hull motor boat that featured often in blog posts and pictures, especially in warmer weather, is still with us, but under repair.  A boat seeing as much use as that one, way above average, incurs wear and tear. The only real question is whether anyone around is skilled enough and has the time. Don and Barry have been on it.

Also speaking of Barry, his big project to keep himself in shape and amused was to convert a legacy motorcycle, a big one, into something two-wheeled yet enclosed.  The prototype has been test driven, however the loose end is I've not been present to photo-document anything.  It's front-heavy on steering and a next iteration is planned.

Former housemates have been meeting among themselves, crossing paths at different times. Jen has moved to California with Yarrow, growing up.  Melody drove down there and visited.  Maybe Lindsey got there later?  I'm not in her loop.

Speaking of Lindsey, a looped through her music on Facebook again, spiraling through some of her showtime posters.  She was a keyboardist / singer with a big love for her drum machine.  With me as chauffeur, she could pull off real gigs.  Archive.org has her at the Egyptian Room in Portland (long gone).

My two daughters are both working hard in their respective roles.  We've been sharing developments on email with Carol (mom) and my sister Julie.

Today we had some tense times downtown thanks to various rallies and counter-rallies.  We seem to be forgetting the past and dooming ourselves to its repetition but then history doesn't repeat, not really.  OK somewhat it does.

Patrick bounced down there on foot, busing back.  We're both yammering about Python this week, in a code school setting.  I'm studying his textbook, to which I contributed, plus we both learned from Steve Holden, author of an earlier curriculum we both used, when mentoring for O'Reilly School (since closed).

Speaking of Steve Holden, you'll find where he bounced out to the West Coast for meetups and business, but he's a citizen of the UK and has lived there for some time.  We see each other on Facebook and like that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dress Rehearsal

Relax into Knowing

Speaking of a dropping Portland IQ, lets focus on mine.

What does it say that I was fully cognizant up to some point, that I would not be needed in Lake Oswego today (because the course ended last week) but that I nevertheless dutifully drove to Laurelhurst, as if today were tomorrow.

I got all dressed up, in my collar shirt, smarty pants, and badge.  Fought traffic (was traffic). Finally figured it out.  The booby prize goes to me.

Hey, we all make mistakes.  Today was the day.  Actually it's already tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dropping IQ in Portland?

They say the creatives are leaving, force out by higher rents, as the narrow thinkers take over to pursue ever narrower lives.

But is that true?

One sign of a dropping collective IQ is the water system.  Portland had a variance exempting it from having to treat for a specific parasite, one that hadn't been a problem, until now.

The city decided to take its working reservoir system and replace it with an underground one, following instructions from The District, the lowest IQ zone in the nation.

The parasite has since been detected, the variance lost.

The Lloyd Center gutted itself of movie theaters at the Food Court level.  Concessions have left blank holes.  I guess the whole food court thing isn't making sense to people?

How can they shop until they drop?

Let's hope I'm wrong.

Carol spent the day at Lloyd Center, getting new glasses at Lenscrafters.  The moment she got home, without dropping them, the lens fell out.  Then she noticed the frame was cracked, who knows for how long.

We're driving back there now.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pycon: Looking Back


Pycon was very sciency this time, and I'm plenty glad about that. We're up to developing 3.7 around now, with a lot of emphasis on asynchronous capabilities.  That's event loop programming, not unlike event-driven GUI programming, indeed it's the same (to some degree).

Most the examples seem to focus on network probes, and how those might take forever.  An await state keeps something trying, working to fulfill some promise, complete some task, even while other coroutines get on with their business.

The paradigm of multi-threading is germane, it's just Python takes responsibility for expressing how the players should share, leaving the operating system to think in terms of a single process.

One of the keynotes was an astronomer, another a nuclear physicist engineer, studying the complete fuel cycle, from cradle to grave.  We flashed on pictures of space telescopes, like the Hubble, the Hubble itself (still operational in 2017), and considered how Python is a boon to the scientific community.

I got to meet with the SciPy / Cuba guy, Olemis Lang.  He's facing some of the same logistics encountered by Steve Holden, former PSF chairman and conference organizer (starting with Pycon itself). I'd be his sidekick through some of these events, taking in the business in a more backseat driver role.

Ed Leaf and I reminisced about FoxPro quite a bit, another coding language community that went through phases.  "Every language has its story" I remind my "Python radio" audience (really more like TV).

Jeff Elkner of edu-sig came through as well.  This was during booth and poster time.  CS is now well-established throughout the states, lets assume, at the level of standards (what Jeff has been helping with, in Virginia especially), but on-the-ground implementation is another story.  Urban versus rural: it makes a difference.

Bridging to the agricultural sector(s) is a big part of what open source is all about these days, because agriculture, bar none, is a science, from population genetics to pathology (we also compared notes with Sheri Dover, also a scientist by training, and code school insider), to business management.

If interested in the Cuba stuff specifically, remember python-cuba is an open archive, as is edu-sig. Some years ago, Pythonistas came to the realization the Cuba could be another Python hub, given proper care and nurturing by the various users already there.

Python use is skyrocketing thanks to a vibrant ecosystem and ways of making science journal articles come alive with Jupyter Notebook versions. Share the data, share the process, with your peers.

Mostly I served as sidekick to Dr. Charles Crosse, a physicist by training, adventurous and risk-taking by temperament, with experiences as far off the beaten trail in Guyana as it's possible to get (a world of river rapids, crocodiles, anacondas...).  He'd served in the Peace Corps in Kenya before that.

His infrastructure for governing access to elective cyberspace, based on fulfilling requirements (buying time), was completely working as a prototype.  He'd ported some puzzles from SugarLabs. Reading assignments complete with fill in the blank follow-up / recalls could be generated on the fly. We did one on Isaac Newton, as a test.

The gist:  a server in France provided "bird feeder" credits towards keeping the router open for other purposes. Developers, supported by consciously allocated subscriptions or purchases, build these life-giving games (we're talking about cyber-lives, time on the Internet, not miracle cures, not snake oil), whereby students net metered credits, the currency of "staying on-line through this particular router".

Of course it's easy to bypass a router, a Raspberry Pi in this case, but that's all family politics. Once a given router is accepted as a valid player, according to whatever rules, one has incentive to rack up higher scores.  I see plenty of applications to Coffee Shops Network, which features charitable giving games, a casino to benefit the deserving recipients of winners' winnings.

The job fair booth people have to answer whether their place of work allows remoting in from places like San Antonio.  Do they have telecommuters?  I was tied to the poster, complete with working Pi and slaved tablets (representing metered clients), so took my job booth pictures mostly during setup, when I was free to roam.  I fetched Charles a couple turkey sandwiches before they all disappeared.

My transition to post conference mode involved taking the Max downtown with Charles for a hand off to Luciano outside the Apple Store, after which I Maxed it back to maxi taxi and headed for the FredMeyer rooftop parking slots.  David Koski was there on Hawthorne at Fresh Pot, embedded in Powells, across from Bagdad.  He was touring in the area.  We walked backed to the car through Freddies, purchasing coffee and shaving cream.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As the World Turns


Coming back to a certain soap opera, yes, I remember when the president elect said he was completely in support of Flynn talking to Russians. As incoming National Security dude, that was his role, and he was ramping up in a conscientious fashion, as a key player on the transition team.

Pizzagate got in the way, and Flynn came across as less than fully candid to the Veep, and Trump needed Pence, even more than Flynn, to stay on board. However Trump was forthcoming with the media, which he loathes as we know, that he didn't think Flynn's sin arose from his interaction with Russian counterparts.  That part was just a future National Security advisor doing his job.

Now Trump is accused of being like Flynn, doing what Flynn himself was accused of.  The difference: Trump is president.  He gets to exercise his own judgement, and that's precisely where everyone wants to rein him in.  As president, he gets a national security team to defend the office. Flynn didn't have the home court advantage.

As the plot continues to thicken, everyone needs to second guess this rich uncle who has stumbled into the White House, to everyone's surprise, and now gets to pull the levers of power.

Democracy means you get a lot of back seat drivers.

However now that we're an oligarchy (according to many studies), mirroring Russia's (kleptocratic), those busybody back seaters may be safely ignored, at least for longer.

So now, in that light, with such history now remembered, we're hearing from the ex FBI Director that Trump really hoped this was not going to be a witch burning of his friend Flynn.

This was right after the sacking.  Flynn had already paid a high price, and forfeited a job to which he had been much looking forward.  Had he sounded reassuring, even conciliatory on the phone?  We wanted more saber rattling?  And who are the "we" in this picture?

Everything had turned to ashes for the guy already, so why make it worse?

A president is allowed to express (confess?) his loyalty and hopeful feelings, as if to a confidant. Maybe Comey would be that?  Too early to know, in those days.  He didn't want to pursue Hillary any further either, despite the large number of jackals in his own camp, happy to do just that.

And now, lo these many months later, everyone is looking back at those episodes and thinking, aha, more proof of sneaky connivance, colluding or whatever.

The media hates Trump for all the insults he's heaped upon them.  He's not at all polite, like Obama was, except we call that being "politically correct" i.e. "civil" which to many ears sounds too insincere to pass muster.

Hence Trump's win in the Electoral College (maybe with a little help from voter roll purges, the FBI is still looking into that right?).

CNN especially has been the lap dog of monster GRUNCH, according to these anonymous sources. However we can't blame that on Ted Turner, an American oligarch, as he's a founder, not a daily operations guy by 2017.

Nor does it make sense to blame Time-Warner, a literally soulless corporation, even if metaphorically "a person" in anthropological literature (aka "voodoo economics").

The soap opera is one of aggrieved parties seeking vengeance, each hoping to do the neighbor in.

There's a certain awkwardness about fighting dinosaurs.  The ground trembles and it's all very dramatic.  That sells product, especially soap (politics feels so unclean sometimes).

The economy cranks ahead, one day at a time, as the world turns.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Coffee Shop Networking

Arduino Environment

The clouds really let loose while I sat looking out the window of Common Grounds, here on Hawthorne Boulevard, Asylum District, Portland, Oregon.

Lightning flashed, and the power went out, twice. Thanks to some electrical issue in my Mac Air — not the battery — a power out entails a reboot.

I was productive anyway though: I plowed through several lectures on Arduino programming, continuing with the MOOC I'm taking through Coursera; submitted an invoice for recent work; edited Wikipedia, adding how Python implements partial application of arguments to functions, resulting in new functions.

Fellow Wanderer Dr. DiNucci is here. I invited him to dinner at Szechuan Chef, I'm hoping with Alex. We're always looking for excuses for Szechuan cuisine, and miss Lucky Strike being so close by.

Alex confirms that was Yangsi Rinpoche I got to meet at Dwaraka briefly, back in April.  He's like the headmaster at Maitripa College, which I visited a week ago tomorrow.

What I need to get clearer on is how the Arduino IDE uses something like Processing to end up with C.  We tend to call Arduino programs "sketches", the same word Shiffman uses when teaching about vectors, acceleration and forces in his Coding Train videos.

I've been sharing my enthusiasm for the Shiffman syllabus on math-teach, and also on The Physics Learning Research List. He's one of several Youtube math teachers I consider talented. Eugene Khutoryansky is another.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Philosophizing


I'm likely offending some of the more idolatrous, with this Pastafarian sermon, one might call it, on Synergetics no less. Cinco de Mayo was a productive day for me, in terms of getting out three videos for the Synergetics 200 playlist (on Youtube).

In Western Civ at least, the sciences purposely developed a certain edginess with respect to religion, as a matter of asserting a human freedom to speculate.  Thinking outside the box may seem a threat to in-the-box thinkers, though more likely they'll take no notice.  I make reference to Descartes' apparent worries, that his discoveries outside the recognized canon of authorities might get him in trouble.

Dr. William Martin, whom I also mention in my talk, had just given a cogent lecture the night before, about how cell-based autonomous programmable life forms could have developed on the sea floor and in the crust.  He sees the chemistry as hardwired to move in that direction, given the right preconditions.

The black smoker type vents were maybe not as prototypical of the earliest RNA World apartment as the undersea vents later discovered and named Lost City by the community.

Sulfur, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen all play a serious role, with catalyzing metals helping organic reactions flow towards life forms.

On the other hand, scientists would likely find Fuller's U = MP too much the transcendentalist fantasy, regarding some aspect of being that's weightless, non-energetic.  We've been pretty strict of late about keeping "meta" away from "physical" -- although "metadata" has not been a problem.

Any talk of some "metaphysical" aspect of Universe sounds too ghostly to be a science, to postmodernist ears.  All the more reason to usher philosophy back into the picture.

In addition, Synergetics seems atavistic for its fascination with polyhedrons.  Didn't philosophy outgrow such toys long ago?  Many grownups seem to think so.  Polyhedrons feature at best in recreational mathematics, as hobbyist devices.

The basic process in Dr. Martin's view is for cells to break free of their towering infernos, or incubators more accurately, they'd need to incorporate the catalyzing metal function, which is to maintain voltage pressure across a membrane.

Protons (hydrogen ions) want in, driving the ATP generator, ATP Synthase.  Those ATP pathways may seem too complex to be that old, but are really no more elaborate than RNA itself.

Anyway, complexity arises more spontaneously than earlier mathematics seemed to permit.  Positive synergy is better understood.

Yes, these narratives are speculative theories, incomplete, and may be wrong, Dr. Martin was up front about that possibility.  We cobble together the most credible story we can, given what we have to work with, is the attitude.

What repels these scientists most are those closed, irrefutable dogmatic stories that harbor no self critical counter-intelligence to speak of.  Such stories seem too brain dead to be trusted really. 

It's the freedom to keep saying "we're not sure yet, lets not pretend we are" that scientists fight for, whereas such "not knowing" may leave others uncomfortable.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Gadding About

DSCF5409

Portlandia loses a great Creative with the departure of Melody.  She shot away from my place, her last base and former residence, perhaps to wind up in India we don't know yet.  She wouldn't drive all that way.

My next expected house guest texted me from seat 20-D what his alternative arrangements were, which make sense  (loose ends to attend to -- he used to live in Beaverton), just as the cabin door closed on his flight to Costa Rica was it?

Anyway, Pycon-related. That's coming right up, and I'll get to most of it I expect.

Speaking of the Python.org "nation" (some people don't like me calling it that, something to think about before having a "dictator"?), edu-sig is ramping up again, in terms of activity.

I'm by far the most active poster, and I'm happy to have my few haunts, my bat caves.

Yes, generous individuals have saved us rekeying the Periodic Table data, by saving it for us, in JSON format, workable license (as in free).  I've already updated periodic_table.db on my Github and live Flask application, my forty hour Python course a top concern.

I also have SQLite tables named glossary.db and maybe polyhedrons.db.

I'm signed up to give another lecture next week, outside my virtual classroom. I think that will help me speed think my way through some material.  I often get a boost out of such performances.

Not that I think "speed thinking" is always the way to go.  Makes my blog posts less readable, some might insist.

Melody has a plan and is self sufficient in many admirable ways.

I know North Koreans are skeptical that USers are anything but brainwashed, given the craziness they buy into.

My working hypothesis is neural networks still outperform the machine learning ones in many critical-to-us dimensions.  I'm not against pushing work off onto machines though, where applicable.

On Facebook I'm looking at whether college as an institution combined with the loan industry is really viable.  We don't have enough GST going.  Still too much Econ, garden variety.

That's an analysis many don't share, but then I never claimed my blogs were anything other than esoteric.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Denial of Service

I'm assuming this "switch" means all my posts to this site to date will be lost, breaking many links. 

If and when that happens, I'll plan to stop my monthly contribution and never post again to the QuakerQuaker site (nor read it either).


From the webmaster:
It's time to move QuakerQuakerEverything's not quite ready, but it's time to move QuakerQuaker over to the new server. It will be powered by BuddyPress, a variation on WordPress blogging platform. It's still very much an experiment in progress, but that's fitting in with the history of QuakerQuaker. I've announced some of the changes on a blog post there:

Time to switch QuakerQuaker

When the switch happens that site will become QuakerQuaker.org and this will be temporarily Ning.com/quakerquaker until I close it down. Please send all feedback as comments on the new site. I'll be traveling on a family vacation soon and not as available on email. Having everything at one spot will help!

Also, as I say there, the Paypal account is currently about $30 short (and the vacation means I can't front any myself this month). You can use the PaypalMe account to help out. Thanks in advance.

—Martin for QuakerQuaker.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Factory Girl (movie review)


Andy Warhol fans and detractors already know this story. I was only glancingly familiar with most of his work until recently, when Portland Art Museum unveiled a major retrospective.  That helped me tune in more of his scene, though I didn't catch the name Edie Sedgwick until last night, when I finally saw the dramatization.

My thoughts flashed to Patty Hearst a few times, and her relationship with her own family. I'm not a know-it-all on these families, just we have a lot of windows and telling remarks in the public record, which facilitates discussion of celebrities.  Orson Welles comes to mind.

Edie was an heiress from a Santa Barbara ranch family, transplants from Boston, East Coasters on the Pacific. Hearst Castle is on the same coast.  When I think of Hearst, I often flash on Homer Davenport, his lead political cartoonist in some chapters, and native of Silverton, Oregon.  I have quite a bit about Homer in my blogs owing to my friendship with Gus Frederick, an expert on Homer's life and to some extent times.

Edie's big dream was to find herself in New York and to pioneer a freer way of being alive in a city big enough hearted to support such experiments.  She was by all accounts bold, but in falling victim to drug abuse, got derailed.  This was the story of a generation and has not ceased being the core plot of many scenarios.

Folks in my cohort have their own generational window in that I was old enough to have Warhol on my radar, but not adult enough to track the soap operas.  I uncover the history of my own time in my later years, having lived through it in my own day dreamy way, as some kid in Italy or whatever.

A lot of work went into making this a real telling. The filmmakers undertake their task seriously. I'm reminded of Mishima.  In being a dramatization, the script takes many liberties with the facts, many of which remain unknown. This movie is but one possible assembly of an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Naga Returns

I'm eating my own dog food with the codepen.io, doing some of the most basic pens, based on Youtubes, some of which are quite good.  Making a green box slide back and forth with some button interaction, is all doable in this interesting environment.

My two students will get some overview about how it all fits together.  Here's what I have in Movement:

codepen

Yes, JavaScript (ES, JS), a moving target of a language. A front line. I'm impressed by the many troopers who march into Angular, React and all that. The tutorials look fun.  Yet I'm still busy boning up on Python.  JS is back burner for me, so not the front end developer in that sense.

"Eating my own dogfood" is a geek expression which, loosely translated, means walking one's talk. If I'm out there talking code schools, Silk Road or otherwise, I need to be putting in my hours, though not completely at the expense of exercise.  I did make it up Mt. Tabor today.  Rain was threatening, so I had my hat.  David DiNucci (computer scientist) happened to be walking in the same direction and joined us.

Melody was by today, in part to return Naga, the stuffed snake Steve Holden brought into circulation around the time toy animal mascots were seen as cool, a sign of not taking ourselves too seriously. Perl started it with the Camel, and then O'Reilly gave us the animal books.

Naga @ Home

Friday, April 07, 2017

Women as Kings


I've chosen this title precisely because it's a gender bender, as we normally translate "King" to mean "of the male gender" and so "women as Kings" is an oxymoron, a grammatical error?  Why so though? Kara Cooney was interested in precisely that question.  In ancient Egypt, a woman would occasionally become Pharaoh.  How and why?

The timing of the talk was ironic in that pyramid-hierarchies run by men were clearly wreaking havoc, cranking up military invasion plans long in the making, and triggered by magic trick (not good magic, evildoers at work).  Women are not really represented in world affairs and are expected to go along as cheerleaders and care-providers, but why so?

Kara's hypotheses are in the direction of raw biological facts of life. Bearing a child puts huge stress on a woman, and that's just the beginning of her caretaker role.  Men, unencumbered by pregnancy or nursing offspring, range far from the camp, in hunter-gatherer tribes, and fetch the hard to find, treasured meat protein.  They literally bring home the bacon, which serves as a currency, cementing inter-family relationships.

In societies were getting the valued protein is something both sexes engage in, such as by fishing in the American southwest, women are more likely to sit on councils of elders and weigh in on the big decisions.  Where all the whale meat comes from men, women have little leverage and are treated more like livestock.

Once we're into an agricultural society, women still do most of the clothes-making and janitorial work. They're expected to have even more kids per year than in hunter-gatherer societies. Again, biology is against their achieving leadership roles.  Men are more likely to survive, in not undergoing childbirth, though they may fall in war.  Life spans weren't as long across the board.

Now let's turn to Egypt and what made her special:  an ocean for a northern border, desert on three sides, and granite boulders in the upper Nile.  Large scale military invasions were pretty much out of the question, and the fertile river valley produced just about everything a civilization might need.  By dint of geography, Egypt was both abundant and well-protected.  In such a society, patterns could settle, through thirty dynasties, until she became more of an annex to Rome.

The main focus of Kara's talk was Hatshepsut. Dr. Cooney (UCLA) is an expert in Egyptian sarcophagi and knows her Egyptology really well. Her book, Women Who Would Be King, is on what allowed women to rise to the highest, most divine position in the land, beginning with explanations for why the occurrence was nevertheless uncommon, and still is to this day (not that we have pharaohs anymore).

Hatshepsut had a perfect pedigree, as a king's daughter who married a king.  When the king she was married to died, without leaving a son, succession switched to her nephew. She was permitted to act as regent as the nephew grew into adulthood, and even then, she served as co-king.

Some decades after she died and was given a king's tomb, the nephew went to some lengths to have her memory expunged.  Archeologists are still putting the story together, understanding how temporal powers, even more than acts of nature, tend to mess with the record.

Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and some other female pharaohs made her list.  She was respectful of all of them, but pointed out the pattern:  none of them ruled solo, all were apparently tolerated in order to provide a placeholder and smooth a transition to some new lineage.

Given the brute facts of biology, Kara thinks women are perceived as loyal within a narrower, smaller sphere, the family or tribe, whereas men get to be the power brokers in the greater games. The public is more suspicious, almost instinctively, of a woman's loyalties and motives.  Men get more benefit of the doubt.

The Q&A was lively, and at the dinner downstairs, Kara kept the conversation going well through the dinner hour.  People gathered from all tables and shared viewpoints late into the night.  That was evidence of Kara's power and leadership right there.  She's a powerful presenter, and charming as well, in being so forthright.

What I wonder, as a Quaker, is if women come into their own in power structures that have no obvious hierarchy, are less pyramidal and more networked.  I think of switchboard operators, a passing profession.

I'm glad Christine got her truck back.  She drove me home, telling me the story.  The truck had been stolen right out from under her.  Except for the smell, it was undamaged, even came with some extra tools.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Yakking About Synergetics


I'm deliberately not setting some super high bar, in terms of production values, keeping my focus on the story. People tolerate a crude stage and hand puppets if they have some respect for the content, and I don't even have hand puppets in these.

In terms of content, my work is easy: I'm presenting the work of an established genius. The respect factor is already high, the relevant work already published, its authors already highly decorated (Applewhite in his own way). We've got the Wikipedia entry. Britannica will need to catch up.

Random high schoolers, especially numberphiles, will stumble across these and a few will watch the whole series, Synergetics 101.  As of this writing, that's the only playlist I'm done with.

Having taught Python live, on-line quite a bit, I'm able to get these out in single takes, but not without complete do-overs. I've also caught some mistakes, which I rectify with annotations rather than overdub or rerecord. Mistakes happen.

As of March-April 2017, I'm pretty much the only Youtuber presenting straight Synergetics, although even here I'm sneaking in some results and discoveries that came after the publication of the two volumes, as the field has not been dormant since Fuller died in 1983.

Lets see if others realize this material is accessible, especially with colorful models and constructions, animations. Higher production values are well within range of teachers better endowed than myself, in many ways.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Digital Scanning


Gus's workshop in Silverton this Saturday, on digital scanning, got me thinking more about the Business Mobile ("biz-mo"), and what might be its business. We already own a cultural stereotype, of nondescript vans used for spying and monitoring. Why not mark them?  To chronicle and curate, to survey, is hardly in and of itself evil.  On the contrary, that's what National Geographic does. We get great pictures, intelligent writing.

Gus showed us how objects of some thickness, thicker than paper or film, might to effectively scanned. He brought his Mao watch. When it worked, the Chinese leader waved his hand, against a colorful backdrop. The watch scanned at 4800 dpi no problem, with adequate depth of field. Applying some adjustment layers in Photoshop, leaving the original untouched, reduced some of the glints, where red, green and blue had separated on a shiny surface.

My bizmo could have a scanner. Pulling into a place, say near Fossil, Oregon, or somewhere in Utah, means getting ready to curate and chronicle. Why? That depends on the business. This isn't the FBI looking for criminals, yet representatives in any form of representative government need to study and investigate their own districts, any Chinese emperor could tell you that.  Perhaps the bizmo is connected to someone in Congress, and it says so right on the vehicle.  That doesn't mean that someone is piloting the vehicle.  FEMA needs bizmos to coordinate and communicate, no doubt has them.

Gus talked about the invention of scanning devices, which grew up alongside photography. Until recently "to scan" meant something we did with poetry, an a par with "to parse". Some of the earliest scanners placed their target document on a drum, a cylinder, still a favored design.  Digitizing fragile documents, as a way of preserving them, is an integral part of preservation and scholarship these days. The technology has only gotten better.

A high point of Gus's workshop was when he unveiled a Homer Davenport original, purchased on eBay. The paper was way to big for his flatbed scanner, so his solution was to protect the original with clear plastic and then use a hand scanner to digitize in swaths.  Satellites in orbit around planets or moons used exactly the same technique, gradually building a complete picture of the target surface through stitching algorithms.

When it comes to stitching though, lets not neglect the skills of a human operator.  Gus adjusted the swaths expertly, applying minute adjustments, such as rotation, as necessary. The result was a very high resolution digitization of the original.  Sometimes bringing the equipment to the site, be it contemporary or archeological, is the most practical approach to intelligence gathering.  Hand scanners can be a lot less hard on books, then pressing them on the flatbeds when at the library.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Playing with Blocks


I'm fortunate to have so many magnetic MITEs, enough for a rhombic dodecahedron, maybe two. Most people don't have those, even math teachers in Finland, so I guess I should stop waiting for the high production values and just get it out there with the terminology.

In these videos I'm introducing some of the tetrahedral space-fillers, such as Mite, Bite and Rite. The Lite is a space-filler, and a Syte, but not a tetrahedron.  The quarter Rite, i.e. with a point at the center exploding it into four, is also a space-filler, meaning no left or right handed (very strict).

Then I go on to show how Sytes face-bond to form volume 1/2 shapes. Koski and I added the Kit to the Kate and Kat. Kit = Lite + Lite. 

Do I imagine proud geometricians abandoning their tetragonal disphenoids in favor of these definitions?  Not really.  We're more into building our own culture than into trying to invade and take over the others. Ethnicities do rub off on one another, thanks to tourism, so some percolation of this terminology, by osmosis, is expected.  The A & B modules were original with Synergetics and take us into new territory in terms of polyhedron dissections. Then come the T, E & S modules.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Media Bias


Here's from my Facebook timeline, posted recently:
Al Jazeera was eventually accepted, after Rumsfeld singled it out and some of its journalists were murdered in cold blood. The documentary Control Room is all about that episode.

RT right off the bat featured a lot of Americans, some of them familiar, such as Thom Hartmann, a veteran of Air America, author of Unequal Protection, about how the 14th Amendment was used to finagle Corporate Personhood (if blacks aren't real people, but might become so, then so may our artificial persons become real as well, only fair (whitey is so forked tongue it's hilarious)). Jesse Ventura. Interesting characters.

Instead of giving Russia credit for adding in a positive way to our media culture, the six corporate media companies decided to circle the wagons and say "we define American culture, not Russians, no way" after which we entered into a Gangland Spy World episode of oligarchs against oligarchs, nation-states trampled under foot. Hard to go back now. We see it's all billionaire cabals with their politico puppets, so now what? Are we still supposed to hate RT?

Forgive me for hating CNN so much but all that build-up to inevitable shock and awe against Baghdad was just so nerve-grating. I've hated that network ever since, and will continue to do so. Remember, Jon Stewart was disappointed in CNN too. Then the Dems got all cozy with 'em. Because RT is so much better?
Clearly that's a rant, and likely some CNN of the future might be the bee's knees in my book. What got me going were these massive protests in Yemen, regarding the ongoing attacks and blockade, and the helplessness of civilians to do anything about weapons sales to all factions (one of the older stories on this planet).
Not finding any CNN coverage yet. I think RT is waaay more informative than CNN. So much more intelligent debate & dialog. US corporate media is just not edgy or cool anymore. The less of it I watch, the smarter I get.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Silicon Forest Curriculum


I like to boast about regional differences, in the sense that Cascadia, home to the Silicon Forest, is pioneering a more useful STEAM curriculum than you'll find in most parts of the world, including in the UK, which sets the pace for many US east coasters, in the form of standardized testing.

But does this regional curriculum actually exist and what does it look like?  Simply to remain true to its roots, it'll need to focus on "chips" meaning logic gates, boolean algebra, ALUs, CPUs, GPUs and all that. Plus 'learning to code' will be integral with learning mathematics.


The above MIT Scratch application, very simple, suggests how we bridge lexical and graphical.  The coding environment itself is a mix of lexical and graphical elements, with the language defined in terms of "blocks" looking like jigsaw puzzle pieces.

By taking the XY and XYZ Cartesian apparatus of, building on what we learned earlier with figurate and polyhedral numbers ala The Book of Numbers (Conway & Guy) and Gnomon (Gazale), we bridge from mathematics to architecture and visualizations more generally.

Mere calculators won't get us there. We need real computers to learn our maths.

We need to embrace 3D printing and CAD skills, and what used to be called "mechanical drawing" (making blueprints).


Fig. 988.13C S Quanta Module

For example, tetrahedron EFGH above is called an S-module and 24 of them applied to the faces of the internal icosahedron, build this octahedron of 4 tetravolumes.

Starting with a smaller cuboctahedron of volume 2.5 and applying the S-factor twice, we get this icosahedron's volume.

Subtracting this icosahedron's volume from 4, and dividing the difference by 24, gives the S-module's tetravolume of (ø^-5)/2.

That's right, unlike the east coast curriculum, the Silicon Forest is friendly to the Bucky stuff.

Learning Synergetics

MIT was somewhat friendly, at least when Dr. Loeb was alive, but Boston's public schools recently chose to go from the Mercator to the Peters Projection, without mentioning Fuller's.

Maybe New England no longer appreciates American Transcendentalism (Fuller being the grandnephew of Margaret Fuller, early editor of Dial), but we do.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Student Reading


At the university level, we might introduce tetravolumes in a philosophy of mathematics class, as a good example of how different language games suggest different axioms.

Imagine a tribe in which multiplication were presented differently. That's hard to "imagine" without some concrete example. This Tropical Math YT is the precursor to using three poles, say X, Y and Z. but no longer mutually perpendicular.

Non-Euclidean geometries have already legitimized branching away from Mother Goose Math into alternative territory. This might also be an Art History class where we look at Non-Euclidean geometry in Modern Art.

Remember, the meaning of '4D' depends on the namespace:
  • 4D as Time: time machine physics ala Einstein / Minkowski
  • 4D as Spatial in nD Euclidean Geometry: polytope math ala H.S.M. Coxeter
  • 4D as primitively Four Directional (tetrahedron = 4 arrow heads) in pre-Frequency a priori res extensa (American Transcendentalist with Lakota influence) 
On a plane (plain), we divide the unit circle into four quadrants with reference to the four compass directions.

In zero-G space (an ideal conceptualization) we have four directions of the tetrahedron and the four quadrants of space, per IVM "caltrop" coordinate system (so "4D" in the Lakota medicine wheel sense).

For hexahedronists, it's the three-also-six directions of the cube that make the six-spoked XYZ "jack" (so in the XYZ namespace we say space is "3D").

Storing Liquid

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lucky Lab / Hawthorne

DSCF4085

I consider Lucky Lab a gateway to Asylum District, named for the mental hospital Dr. Hawthorne helped establish here, under contract from Salem, before the bigger one was built, a star in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.  The actors actually checked in and mixed with the patients, to get it right. That building is gone now too, is my understanding.  However those seeking asylum still remain.

I was back to working with Iranian polytechnic academies on Facebook again. We go from tiling (of a plane) to space-filling (of volume) and best Harvard (except for Dr. Loeb) in going with the A & B modules, with lots of links to the relevant literature (Aristotle etc.).  Iranians appreciate American Transcendentalism by and large. They're reminded of Sufis and not all Sufis are terrorists, despite Turkish PR these days.

Closer to home, I've been finishing up Winter Term with the Catholic flagship archdiocese school in Lake Oswego, and Bridgeport Elementary, more likely to have families needing Food Bank assistance.

I'm closer to Bridgeport in my socio-economic status, having assiduously avoided the outward weapons trade. As a Quaker, I'd have to shoot myself before buying shares in Lockheed, or put another way, owning any shares in Lockheed would be political suicide for an authentic Quaker like me. Or in Raytheon. Or in Halliburton. We have our standards, our code of conduct.

I've steered clear of Alphabet and Apple too (in terms of shareholding, not products or services), as not transparent enough about their back room dealings. I want nothing to do with Beltway Bandits, the scourge of Planet Earth, even if that means eating out of a dumpster (Food Not Bombs rarely resorts to that around here, and if it does, it's with good cause).

Although my Codesters applications cover prime numbers and closest packing of spheres, those are maybe not 2nd to 5th grade topics in these parts. I was more previewing what we're learning in Russia and Iran.  MIT Scratch is a brilliant platform.  Codesters, a partial implementation of Python 3, is more austere, and a bridge to life on Cloud9 (c9.io) in our curriculum.  That's when the JavaScript comes in, using Codepen.

I had a diagram on the whiteboard in both schools for the parents / guardians, explaining the progression.  Kids were feeling somewhat guilty playing games, but I encouraged it, as what better way to harvest ideas and develop motor skills than by game-playing.  The two diving boards, low and high, give them opportunities to risk their egos, and make a splash.  Some of them did that today, with parents watching.

Comments on Boston's Disloyalty

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bicameral Mind (Wanderers Presentation)

DSCF4106

Karja has put together a complex theory on the rise of order, fitting right in to Wanderers as an "out there" coven of space case cosmologists. Can you say "multi-dimensional"?

We have a packed house. Lake Coffee developed in micro-time. I recognize Karja as a non-linearist (we've met before) so didn't mind cleaning it up, using a forest of paper towels. Paul Bunyan R Us.

That Lake Coffee was in the tiny kitchen with no cooking surfaces (microwave).  I'm told the original design featured a dumb waiter (like an elevator) to the larger kitchen in the basement.

The Steve Crouch coffee maker is a really good one, maybe the best we've had (grinds its own) but has more moving parts than we're used to, plus other idiosyncrasies.  A learning curve.

After dealing with coffee station cleanup, I took a far back chair, to blog in real time on my Android. I added polishing touches from the home office later on.

I spoke with Patrick about my Code School the New High School posting, a sleeper for now. I was at PDX Code Guild again last night, for Flying Circus.

Karja's theory is strongly into a vocabulary around gender, and how that maps to brain wiring in the human form. That's where the bicameral mind fits in, per Julian Jaynes -- saw him at Princeton -- which I take more as a generic acknowledgement of plasticity in brain wiring over geological time. The details may never be known.

Certainly the software changes a lot, and now is abetted by literal software, which I meant metaphorically in the first clause.

Rhett Savage is here. That's exotic.  Great to have all these engaged "sovereign individuals" (another theme of the talk).

Battery is getting low on the cell phone, as I blog the talk live.

Don is talking about keyboards, echoing some code school themes. Karja is refocusing on the bigger picture.

New people keep arriving.

She's pretty cogent I think in her critique of Borg Planet. Wanderers are not polite necessarily, rude Americans. On the other hand we're here to discuss. She handles herself well in shark-infested waters, so I wasn't in cringe mode watching some ego get eaten.

Masculinity is the ordering principle... sounds like Apollo (or was it Mars?).

I won't be doing full justice to Karja's theory here. Maybe a studio around town will make us a Youtube.

She has an interesting take on Instagram; I'm tempted to add it to my inventory of active apps.

I'd say she's in the same "final exam" ballpark as R. B. Fuller, and likewise looks to "the computer" with hope more than dread.

She has an interesting take on corporate personhood, if we wanna call it that. #piyemor. Karja sees evidence of active sentience in the cell-silicon whole, distinct from humans. New pattern integrities, more like angels. Digital sentiences. Very Kurzweil in some ways.

We're all thinking about Buzz a lot.  We miss his soothing radio voice.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Members Only?

Winter in Portland

What saves the institution of membership from degenerating into run-of-the-mill cronyism and cliquishness (the common lot of your average black box church) is transparency to non-members, i.e. no "members only" rituals and initiations.

This guiding design principle puts the non-member in a position to fully "try before buying" while placing workflows under permanent "outsider" scrutiny. Members feel publicly audited 24/7, and that's actually what public companies (non-profits) are supposed to provide, in exchange for their not having to pay taxes the same way an ordinary business does.  We're more like governments, of, by and for the people. Religious institutions take that "nothing to hide" route, and then often hide plenty. However Quakers pride themselves on conducting their business openly, as a part of their truth testimony.

During my most recent tenure on Oversight, I pioneered having a clear policy of inviting non-members to join clearness committees for those wishing to become members, even to convene same. I must say some members found this highly counter-intuitive. We did always have at least one member on said committees, as for purposes of clearness, the candidate member should have worship discussion with Friends of both persuasion.

In my view there's no other way, outside of transparency, that has much integrity. Otherwise you get "members only" signs and symbols and before you know it ruling clique mafioso with rank and gradations, handing out favors to the most sycophantic, and the whole anti-egalitarian hierarchy of an illiberal church, blech (some pastor-led churches may be quite liberal in the sense of open source, not saying only unprogrammed have a shot at salvation).

You want your convinced Friend / new member to have had the opportunity, at least in principle, to have served in any capacity asked of her or him, which may include sensitive positions that fully exercise a person's talents (e.g. AFSC liaison).  Nominating is free to overlook membership in seeking to bless people with opportunities for growth that serve the meeting (win-win). Non-members on Finance, Property, Oversight & Communications, Ministry and Worship, is more the rule than the exception. I know I've shared all this before, but I think it bears repeating.

That being said, because we have to map to Oregon state legal templates at some level, as a 501(c)(3), we reserve some of the fiduciary / corporate roles for recorded members, with maybe some rare exceptions.

That's in keeping with the institution of membership's main purpose: to draw attention to those publicly identifying as Quakers in some recorded / authorized way.

In theory (I've heard this often) the recorded members are presumably taking more risk, like if Quakers get in trouble with the authorities or people start spray-painting Quaker stars (red and black) on peoples houses. Members get credit for bravery and going to jail first. This sense of "going first" traces to olden times when Friends were deemed politically incorrect and extremist.

But then we need to remember all the not-members and un-propertied, all the slaves and indentured servants, who were also brave in lending our Society their integrity, in whatever ways open to them.

The not-public Quakers comprise a kind of Wall of Stars, of anonymous benefactors who never outed themselves (how could they? Maybe I'm a general in some army somewhere, yearning for peace, whereas outing myself would be political suicide in my position) but supported us behind the scenes nonetheless. 

The theme here is respect, earned or by entitlement, and I'm suggesting members and non-members are flip sides of the same coin (and I understand meetings not wanting to bother with the overhead -- I'm thinking more of how to cope with inertia from the past, vs. trying to impose an unwanted institution on newer, membership-free brands of Friend like Howard's).

[ copied over from QuakerQuaker ]