Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK Day (2018)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Design Science Revolution

Friday, January 12, 2018

Curating Credits

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Codes of Conduct (again)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Geometry of Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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