Friday, October 19, 2018

Bumpy Ride

Carol's leg gave way as we were standing there in the kitchen.  I turned to grab some grapes off the counter and boom, she went down.

At first I thought the grape I'd dropped on the floor had scared her.  Was it a mouse?  It moved quickly.  But no, I don't think she even saw the grape.  When I turned back, she was on the floor.  She had hit her head on the door jam, or at least I think that's where she hit.

She squawked as she went down.

Since she was fully conscious and there was no bleeding, I urged her to scooch towards the basement steps, which is where she manages to stand, on the landing.  She's fallen before, but not because her leg gave way, nor had she hit her head like that.

As for me, the clock was ticking, as this was a lab period wherein students look at projects, do their own thing, for a specific amount of time.  I'm to resume the "broadcast" but here I am supervising Carol's attempt to get upright.  The timing was to the minute.

The next lab came soon, so I could resume assisting her more.  Indeed, she had a bump on her head, like in the cartoons.  She'll need to call the clinic tomorrow, standard procedure in case of a head bumping fall.  I found an ice pack in the freezer once class was finally over.

Carol and I went to Multnomah County Elections office several weeks ago to make sure her ballot came to her address here in Portland, not the one in California.  Today, I got ballots for myself, and for Tara (who has moved away), but nothing for Carol.

I'll call the elections office tomorrow if nothing shows up in tomorrow's post.  We vote by mail here in Oregon.  Before then, I plan to drive downtown for my colonoscopy kit, fun fun.  I might get to have breakfast with Alexia.

These were not the only bumps in the road today.  The assignment I'd been given said I'd have eight students and I went to all the work to create eight login envelopes.  However I only had three.  I found out later that the office had messed up and confused my class roster with another in Seattle.

However I'm saving the "best" for last.  Tonight was session ten of ten for my Introduction to Python class, and my usual practice is to reward those making it to the very end (we lose some along the way) with a camera view of the pet python sliding around on my arm and so on.

The python's name is Barry and he's well behaved, never gives me problems.  It wasn't his fault I left the lid off his aquarium (terrarium?) when I put him back.  After class was over, I watched a couple Youtubes, about the 3D CAD stuff I'm teaching, and when I looked up, he was gone.

I immediately closed the door to the room, hoping he hadn't made it out yet, and began a thorough search.  Fortunately, he was under the second chair I checked.  Good outcome.  He's safely back in his habitat.  Tomorrow I'll buy him his meal.

I've been under the weather myself.  I feel I'm back to 90%, but not 100%.  The head cold went to my lungs.  I don't think it's pneumonia this time, but I'll closely monitor (I have no choice).  Fortunately, I have no more classes for at least a week.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Virtual Expos

Grand stairway and lake front
Lewis & Clark Exhibition, 1905

The so-called World's Fair, sometimes called an Exposition or Expo, was a much higher profile event before the corporate donors decided they had nothing worth showcasing.  Expos were for sharing Big Dreams for the future.  Electricity.  Freeways.

Now that we're looking at Peak Oil and are facing the realities of atomic and plastic waste, a lot of it irretrievably mixed into the ecosystem, what's the Big Dream?  Universities may have degree programs in cleanup, but Earth Day and Expo were not originally planned to be the same.

The oil producing Arabians are among the most conscious of Peak Oil, given the oil boom happened only recently, to the whole planet of course, but especially to them.  Dr. Fuller referred to oil reserves as "starter fluid" somewhere.  We could use it to boot a sustainable global civilization, but not if we couldn't wean ourselves off the stuff in time.

Now that we have television, internet, phones as movie cameras, the idea of millions flying or driving to an Expo might be counterproductive.  We have Burning Man.

The idea of Virtual Expos might make some sense, and also ways to make global development scenarios more of an audience participation business.  Having people on street corners raising money is less imaginative than fielding roving crews of troubleshooters, with fans and contributors watching from home.  That's what Bizmo Diaries was a lot about:  fantasizing about those teams and the surrounding reality TV.

But don't business mobiles drink a lot of Peak Oil?  Are they part of the problem more than part of the solution?  I'm all for having that debate.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Stop on the Tour


I was just posting to Facebook that "bridging the gap" would be a great first tourist stop in the mathemagical theme park (we use Python __magic__ sometimes).

Here is where we familiarize ourselves with the concept of Zonohedra.

A zonohedron has faces with opposite-edges-parallel (picture a stop sign), minimally rhombi, as well as opposite parallel faces, like a cube has, or a rhombic dodecahedron.

The rhombic triacontahedron is likewise a zonohedron and our "gap" inheres here, between two of them.

Consider two RTs (thirty diamond faces each) of almost exactly the same volume, but the one is a little smaller, making for two sets of faces, one set slightly within the other.

Along each radial, from the body center, two diamond faced centers occur, towards the tip.  There's a tiny gap between the two.

Here's the ratio we go by:  the RT inside, the slightly smaller one, has a volume of exactly 5, relative to the reference tetrahedron of edges 2R.

The ball of radius R very slightly protrudes, at each face center, a small hump, a pitcher's mound.  The apex of each hump marks the center of a 5+ volumed RT's face.

Each RT has a "nice" property:  a volume of precisely 5, a radius of precisely R.  The latter, scaled up by Φ, becomes yet another RT of volume 20 * √(9/8).

When we scale the smaller volume five RT up by 1.5 or 3/2 as a scale factor, its volume turns into 7.5 (red), and its radius into Φ/√2.  It now shares a set of vertexes with the volume 6 RD (yellow).

Rhombic Triacontrahedron

The new face radius, of the 7.5 volumed RT, will be the 3rd root of 3/2 times whatever it was before (call it h), since to boost a volume by 3/2, the edges need to expand by the 3rd root of that number, or about 1.14471424255333.

The resulting face center to body center radius (believe it or not):  Φ/√2 where √ and sqrt mean the same thing, arithmetically.

In other words, the original h, for which the RT has a volume of exactly 5, is Φ/√2 multiplied by the reciprocal of the 3rd root of 3/2, or about 0.99948333226234344.

Another tad-bigger RT, has a radius of R precisely, just a tad larger than the volume 5 RT's of radius 0.9995, weighing in at about 5.00775803133283.

The tag-bigger RT's volume is granule greater than 5, of necessity, but look at how tiny the gap in radius:  0.000516667737 is pretty small, compared to 1 R, the reference length.

That's why we might pay you to pay some mind to this little difference.  Without concerted attention, it might be overlooked.  Attention means concentration means doing work (measured in iota perhaps).

Let's take stock of what juggling balls we get in the air with this exhibit:
  • 2nd and 3rd roots and powers
  • the golden ratio Φ
  • the power rule (relating linear to areal to volumetric growth)
  • two spheres (and a thin wall between them)
  • a pair of RTs (tiny difference in radius, volumes 5 & 5+)
  • an RT of volume 7.5 sharing vertexes with the RD of volume 6
  • an RT of ~21.21 embedding the Jitterbug icosahedron (as long diagonals)
  • five concentric zonohedra (six counting the cube of volume 3)...
  • one of which is the the space-filling RD of volume 6
  • the concept of tetravolumes
  • T & E modules (RT)
  • A & B modules (RD)
  • alternative powering models
  • scaling by Φ
For a first stop, that's not bad.

What schools have a mandate to teach this stuff?  Paw through Youtube?  I'm finding more researchers getting a clue.

We might call this exhibit Prying Open Synergetics as we're managing to suck some sense out of a hairline fracture that came to light only after Dr. Fuller already had put some years of concentration into his newly emerging discipline.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bridging the Gap

Mind the Gap

What the humanities came up with, by way of anthropology, was a device for probing their sister STEM, regarding her meaning for "dimension" and "paradigm".

"Could you have a different number of dimensions for space, in a different paradigm?"

Rather than wait for an answer, the New English sprung upon us a new system, asking "there, is that the kind of thing you mean?".

By New English I mean anglophones in North America with their various nationalisms and other dreams, not to be confused with New Englanders, which more formally refers to a few of their "states".

Their English was different enough to permit publishing a positive futurism that was neither racist nor classist in conception.  This wasn't socialist realism.  Tractors were not core.

I've taken a different tack, having learned of these old schoolers in my early twenties, with four years of university behind me already.  I gradually worked my way into their network, attempting to find out more about their operations.  Where do the dome companies fit in?

However life is fairly quantum mechanical and one brings strong interpretations to whatever findings.  Facts under-determine what we believe to be the case.

The fun we're having branding "the gap" might be of relevance.  We're referring to a crack, a thin fracture line in the mathematics, between two volumes, relating to a perfect sphere which we may or may not require to "exist" in some namespace.

My "mind the gap" writings and videos give the flavor.  Of course we know about the London tube and the gap they mind therein.  These aren't so far apart.

The pun "GNU English" comes to mind and refers to "geek-speak" and especially all that computer science stuff as we call it today.

Computerizing the new paradigm had some number crunching aspects, especially around vectors and simple linear algebra, but mostly we're talking hypertext and what that added to the equations.

In hindsight, I'd say links to Canada stay important, and the University of Toronto in particular.  This is in no way a new development, I'm just saying it hasn't been fading.  Dr. Arthur Loeb was in New England proper, but the Eschers were and are Canadian, as was H.S.M Coxeter.  Today, we think of Hinton and ML and how Canada has embraced its heritage as a major contributor to Deep Learning.

I'm thinking Truckers for Peace, variously branded ("without borders" etc.), will continue gaining ground in Canada.  Opportunities to swap routes on a global basis are more likely to open intra-parent sometimes, meaning subsidiaries of the same directorship are more likely to collude with their own employees than are government agencies with bureaucrats, few of whom have any experience driving trucks.

What ties these threads together is of course the various brands and logos that allude to the shared "design science" ethos.  You see these in both hemispheres, and once you know what to look for, a whole ecosystem emerges.  Like when you first learn of the "octet truss" when learning about architecture; suddenly it's everywhere.  It was there all along, but it takes awareness to distill meaning from apparently irrelevant details.

For example, TrimTab Beer in Birmingham, Alabama, is definitely on the Meme Train when it comes to New English.  I've got the T-shirt at least.  I'm still not drinking beer, not because I'm off alcohol but because the Pacific Northwest has some of the best IPAs imaginable and I was turning into a real addict, flooding my system with unneeded calories.  I may get back to sipping, but have some goals to reach first.  I'm reconnecting with Wine World.

For my part, I went back to socialist realism and the tractors, finding them another type of "turtle" for moving around on a computer screen, in response to whatever instructions.  The tractor may plow back and forth, planting ASCII or Unicode, or follow a more CRT-like raster pattern, more of a spiral if you connect east with west.  Some of my Python students know what I'm talking about, or check my Github site.

Many Flavors of Trimtab

Thursday, October 11, 2018


The concept of "tweening" comes from ToonTown, the animation industry, to which Portland plays host.  Comics too, witness Dark Horse.  Manga and anime, for those used to a more Japanese spin.

The "in between" frames connect the "key frames" -- in hypertoons too.  I claim hypertoons to be my invention, where scenarios intersect through switch-point nodes.  With no break in continuity, your playheads travel through a "spaghetti ball" of toons (edges, segments, clips).

Where physics comes in:  are we able to connect key frames A and B with a set number of "tween" frames without breaking any physical "laws".  Physics is under pressure to provide guaranteed, deterministic results, provided one follows instructions.  No miracles required.

Calculus is all about expressing rules in terms of neighboring frames.  Some scientists flirt with the notion that each frame determines the next in some ironclad fashion, such that all the unfolding action is like clockwork, deterministic, including our own thoughts and feelings.

Believe it or not, such a notion is actually a comfort to some, as "it could not have turned out differently" is a kind of reassurance people sometimes offer.

In practice, the meaning of "determined" breaks down if the trajectory stays unpredictable, even with the benefit of hindsight.  "Given what we know now, we still could not have predicted what would happen, back then" is not that unusual to hear.

Sans any closed form formula letting us crystal ball the future, our only way to find out is to get there.  However, statistics still tells us about likelihoods, and that death, if not taxes, is certain.  Taxes remain highly probable.

All questions of determinism aside, marrying the language of animation to scenario planning and calculus is not a stupid idea.  We're always making recordings these days, to various media, of what goes on around us.  The study of trajectories, of particles in cloud chambers, is at the heart of quantum physics.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Lonely Lives

Some days I kick back and delve into Youtube.  Given what I pay monthly for optical fiber, to CenturyLink, I think of such R&R as getting my money's worth.

Besides, I'm not just goofing off.  Youtube is not a porn site after all.  Yesterday I was immersed in MIT's 8.04 Quantum Mechanics.  Today, I'm back to freakish humans and the lonely lives some of them have.

That I would go back to watching about Pi Guy, who recites some 20K digits flawlessly, is apropos given what I've been up to in Jupyter Notebooks.  You'll find a link to the above video in the For Further Reading section.  I'll take you there by way of edu-sig.

Brain science sometimes struggles to explain these phenomena.  Reality stays humbling.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Sputnik Day

I watched this documentary about the Apollo Era yesterday evening, without having consciously tuned in, until somewhere in the middle, that this was Sputnik Day, October 4. The movie started sharing about October 4, with a Sputnik 2 in November, and I'm thinking "hey, isn't that today?" Sure enough.

A big Our Backyard newspaper large format thing, color pictures, came from Metro addressed to Dawn Wicca.  I might not have given it a second look, but Carol plowed into it, spending the better part of the day with it. 

To her, it's a newspaper about the legacy of Dr. Jack Urner, who she say worked for Metro in the 1950s and 1960s.  I was only a toddler and grade schooler, so who am I to dispute.  I know he worked for the Portland Planning Bureau, I just don't know when Metro (a tri-cities thing) got going.

Jack went on to work for Libya, Egypt, Bangladesh and some others (I'm not ranking them), but Portland, in Carol's mind, still bears the imprint of his greenway and park oriented thinking.  When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you're automatically some kind of landscaper and gardener. 

He was not a Robert Moses type, looking for where to ram through a next freeway.  Indeed, he probably left the States partly to get away from the Robert Moses types.  But again, kid brain speculation maybe doesn't count for much.

Gamification:  I was thinking about board games and how we played them as a family.  Geeks stack them at home and sometimes get them down.  All adults.  Computer companies hope you'll play there.  Why go home when you can socialize in a state of the art rec area?  Then get back to work. 

You can say that's exploitative.  You can say that's how some people prefer to work.  The only downside is the dorm isn't right in the same building.

Board games:  I don't want to hear if it's capitalism or socialism or whatever ism, just run the simulation and show me the script.  Let me see the movie. 

Taxonomy can come during the postmortem.  An ism is what you die of.  In the meantime, lets play.

"Lots of little experiments, very few big ones" was my MTOD.  GST > Econ.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Me Too

I was falsely accused of sexual assault once.  We were stopped at a busy train signal, lots of cars waiting, in SE Portland near OMSI.

I was driving her back to her car, or thought that's what was happening.  All of a sudden she jumps out of my passenger side seat and jumps in the car behind us.  The gate goes up and I go on by myself.  Gee, I thought we were just friends.  She had a boyfriend in India.  I knew we weren't dating. She'd been a guest at Wanderers that time, which is how we met.

The next day I get a call from some policewoman saying so-and-so was registering a complaint or something like that.  I told the officer I was clueless and incredulous and had my hands on the wheel at all times.  She'd said nothing to warn me she was about to jump ship.

Why would I try making unwanted advances in the middle of a packed street while waiting for a train?  Headlights were shining through my rear window.

The officer advised me to think twice next time before driving a younger female around unaccompanied.  Meanwhile, my accuser texted me that any time we were in a public place together, such as a public meetup, she reserved the right to scream about it, stage major theater.

We'd been at a pro Jeff Merkley party (he was running for office) and she worked for Novick (likewise running, and competing), or she claimed to, so I always assumed her motivations were political.

She thought I might be influential and wanted to show me how quickly she could tarnish my reputation, spread rumors, and keep me away from venues she might attend.

She later moved away and changed her name (I found a public blog post where she talked about doing that).  I don't try to follow what happened after that. I posted something to my blog closer to the time.  This all happened over a decade ago.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bizmos Meet T4P

Some of you may have realized that a fleet of bizmos (business mobiles) and a fleet of trucks, might serve in complementary capacities.  The bizmos need to pave the way for our citizen diplomats by visiting truck stops and talking up the program.

Soon:  drivers and their apprentices will be coming through here, from faraway lands.  Some will be homesick.  We're not trying to make them suffer unnecessarily.  Perhaps we have movies in their native language?

Remember, the standard bizmo comes with an ability to download an image from the cloud, your image, such that, as a driver or crew, you get to pick up where you left off, with customization.  Your favorite music, language tapes, even screen savers, are all on tap.  A lot of trucks work the same way.

Sometimes we'll be using bizmos to transport drivers from one route to another.  You've finished your segment from that Chinese city to Pakistan.  Now we'll let your relax and talk with others while we take you to a next assignment.  Yes, like a taxi, but sometimes we need more bells and whistles.

As a bizmo fleet training supervisor, I might help orient new crews to their vehicles, in the process of sketching the program.  We could train up and down I-5, or I-95, before sending more seasoned crews to more challenging assignments in Asia or Africa.  Likewise, we're receiving drivers from those faraway locations and want to show them the lay of the land.

Orientation is the name of the game in a lot of contexts.  Do that right, and you have happy campers, up to the challenge.  Skip that step, or do it incorrectly, and you're inviting a lot of frustration, on the part of the insufficiently oriented.

I've enjoyed committing to the "boot track" for this program i.e. crafting some blueprints.

T4P == Truckers for Peace.  You can read more about that in my blogs and on Medium.  Or visit a truck stop near you.  Look for us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Integral Design


I showed up early today in hopes of crossing paths with Jon Bunce.  Don said on the phone he comes early sometimes, makes coffee.  No dice.

Being early has other advantages, in that I get to overhear the three ladies to my right chat with each other.  Nirel is here too, busy setting up two cameras to make a video.  We're waiting for the coffee to be ready.  It's ready.

Glenn is talking about what he's been reading.  He has lots of stories.  He enlisted in the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army.  Thanks to really high test scores, he got sent to the long program in Vietnamese, almost a year, at Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey.  He excelled at learning Vietnamese.  That's the only school he's graduated from, aside from high school.  That's when he learned he'd be serving in the NSA.  He received a top secret cryptographic clearance.

I was teaching Python last night, until 10:30 PM or so, then switched to watching more 911 videos on Youtube, this time through the LaRouche PAC.  I've tracked him for a long time, all of 96 years old by now. I checked Wikipedia.

Like many Americans, I've spent quite a few hours considering the events of those hours on September 11, 2001.  You'll find a smattering of posts in my blogs about it.

Back to Glenn:  he was studying the PT boat fleet and working on cracking the Vietnamese code matrix, which had changed right around when he got there.  As the new guy on night duty, he got out his colored pencils and managed to crack the code.  As the lowest ranking guy with an attitude, he got no credit for his feat.  He was also never asked how he broke the code.

In Vietnam they'd been under attack quite routinely (not from PT boats; they were on a base on land).  The guys were not in a good mood, this being an ill-conceived war.  Higher ups were actually thinking of sequestering the ammunition, not a popular proposal among the enlisted.

Rotating vets out ASAP was the better solution, the Pentagon had learned, so their anti-war sentiments would not affect the new recruits.  For the next year and a half, he was back at Fort Mead, at NSA headquarters. 

Upon completing his military service, Glenn managed to secure a scholarship position at Antioch College, which, given its work / study approach, lost a lot of its students to full time employment.  His far western background and military service made him a good diversity candidate.

He'd tried formal schooling before, before enlisting, and after leaving the electricians union, much to his dad's distress.  He worked 8 hour shifts in a commercial laundry, dealing with restaurant, hotel and hospital linens, in order to pay bills and sit in huge lecture halls listening to grad students with microphones.

Dropping out, yet continuing to go to school, was not an unusual pattern in those days, and Glenn followed it in the case of Antioch.  One could still learn, but without the overhead of a big tuition.  Attend class, keep the student card, just don't expect a degree at the end of the tunnel.

Through Antioch, Glenn encountered Helen and Scott Nearing who preached radical simplicity as a lifestyle.  Glenn absorbed these values and became more yet autonomous and self sufficient.  He learned to live off the grid.  He'd become one of those back-to-the-land anti-war hippies.

In a later chapter, he joined a Jerome, Arizona manufacturing outfit.  The company made some of the best mercury vapor detection devices anywhere, important in mining especially.  Thin gold mesh filters.  Better than most of the competition by at least an order of magnitude.

He learned to build clean rooms, wire networks (computer, electrical), do plumbing, while working at this remodeled high school.  With rent going up, they moved to another high school (this time buying it outright), and Glenn took on refurbishing it from the ground up, outfitting it to be the next factory facility.

A five day intensive workshop on integrative facility design, which he took in San Francisco, in preparation for the factory's move, proved pivotal.  Having already had years of hands-on experience, he was in prime condition to take advantage of the course, and see the value in its teachings.

Those with only college coursework behind them lived in a different world.  Glenn was coming more from a construction background.  The workshop instructors actually invited Glenn to join their traveling road show in the end, a high compliment.  However he went back to his dream job in Jerome, where he had a family and friends.

The Jerome instrument company was eventually bought up by a competitor, its people fired.  Glenn and his wife divorced, with Glenn retaining custody of the two kids.  His son was precocious with computers and already had a computer business before finishing high school.

Through his son, Glenn was introduced to the internet, which inspired him to unify a lot of his thinking, using a set of heuristics he calls "the Global Matrix".

By a global matrix he means what I tend to call a "hexapent" (not in the Oxford Dictionary -- at least not the shorter edition) as in HP4E ("hexapents for everyone"). His spherical matrix has layers, say 256 of them.

If the word "layer" gets you thinking of "data layer" or "drawing layer" in like Photoshop, you're on the right track.  GIS systems typically superimpose data layers to give us relevant visualizations.

The Global Matrix inherits from memes like Macroscope, also Geoscope.  These are animated globes, ways of displaying global data.

Glenn is inspired by the I-Ching's ancient octal matrix to think in terms of bits and bytes.

The global matrix is more like a computer, and octaves stay important.  This wasn't the technical talk.

My own path took me to "Global Data" as the name of a science fiction supranational, one hatched outside the whiteman jurisdiction in some N8V context (e.g. Warm Springs), managed by wise elders.

GDC, which I've often blogged about, was all about sharing global data as a service (DaaS), not unlike Google Earth does. When Glenn and I met, we found we had much in common, in terms of goals and aspirations.  We both think in terms of a public service.

I'd compare my relationship to Glenn with my connection to David Koski, who likewise was highly committed to a certain path that converged with mine in many ways.  I'd glomed on to Synergetics, not knowing some guy in Santa Monica with blissing out on recursive E-modules.

Glenn has written a synoptic outline of a book, with clever chapter titles.  He's passing that around now. He thinks a lot about history, ancient civilizations, logic.

The operations 'and', 'or', and 'invert' make more sense to him then 'and', 'or' and 'not'.  Negation and inversion have different connotations.  He got into triangles.  His two hour meeting with Stuart Kaufmann at Sante Fe Institute was another milestone.  Stu has been an ISEPP speaker here in Portland.

Sam Lanahan, another "blog character", has entered the story at this point.  He's been supportive, including by providing some color copies of Glenn's book, which has text on left pages, pictures on the right.  Two were passed around. Glenn and Nirel are working on a website.

You'll find a lot more about Glenn in my blogs.  I've told his story before, however today he's been doing a good job distilling it.  He's planning to do more technical talks as a follow-up. 


Monday, September 24, 2018


I thought I was delaying my trip, on foot, to the local market, in order to catch the CBS Evening News at 6:30 PM.

However I got caught up reminiscing about my Quaker ethnicity on edu-sig, and looking up at the clock, realized it was almost over.

I caught where Hasbro says Bizjet is now OK in Scrabble, but not Bizmo yet.  Then came a story about a loyal all American national anthem singer.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Next Peace Corps

We might take this opportunity to empathize with an emigre (immigrant) still proud of her or his homeland.

The reason for the change in citizenship had nothing to do with disloyalty or dislike, and now comes the age of national service (in this science fiction, it exists).  Besides, many have dual citizenship.  Triple?

In which nation's service does one serve?  Wouldn't this be an excellent time to go back and tie off loose ends by serving the old country?

Fast forward and we're in a world where you're welcome to commit your years of national service to the nation of your choice.

How is this different from the US Peace Corps for example?

Woah, that was pretty fast!  How do we get there from here?

Individual families won't agree with some policy-making body -- such as the US Congress -- on who the enemy is.  The Trumps don't hate Russia enough, a big problem for some in Hicktown, USA (not for others) and their elected representatives.

That's but one of many examples.

The bottom line is junior wants to serve in the military of an avowed enemy of the United States.  That's how it looks to the president.

New this Fall, on the TBD network i.e. what a soap opera.

Right, I get the point:  if the "service" is pointing guns at one's fellow human beings and threatening to pull the trigger, or even pulling it, that's not really the kind of service we mean.

The youth wishing to serve in Japan might be a dog lover, but she's not there to hurt Japanese, much the contrary.

And how do we know?  Because Japan manages the service wherein foreigners serve Japan.

This isn't outsiders reaching in with their institutions, so much as families allowing their loved ones to make a difference on the planet under the auspices of cooperating services.

Will this ever happen?  That's a matter of translation.

Foreigners flock to US based universities, as students, faculty, administrators, technicians, janitors, health and food service workers, the list of roles goes on and on.

The technicalities of paperwork, whether these be people on visa, green card, citizens, obscure what is consistent across many psychologies:  a loyalty to the US and/or a subculture therein, and the values thereof.

Perhaps it's really Harvard they care about?

It's all in how we apply filters, as to who shows up in our samples.  Which is kind of my point:  the patterns I'm suggesting are already evident, just under the guise of other namespaces (they're described in other terms).

The context required for such programs to make sense is one of mutual advantage and symbiosis.  We all benefit to the extent humans are prospering in a sustainable manner, not at the expense of an exploited group (i.e. of one another).

Trading young people around, of their own volition, and not only young people, in a context of their committing to national service, is a shared investment in greater mutual understanding and compatibility down the road.

That's a pretty-enough sounding political speech (the stuff & fluff of world diplomacy); usually a good sign when it comes to bridging the bright light of actual day, with movie theater science fiction aesthetics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Front Door

Anaconda3 Submenu on Win 10

In this day and age, if operating in compatibility mode with USA OS (more elsewhere), there's a way to do it in Windows.  You need a friendly front door in the Citizens' Desktop (not its real name), which is part of Homeland.

Jungle-ware (multi-species), such as Anaconda/Python, need to obey rules of the road, starting with Start Menu aesthetics.  The above screen shot shows that happening, with Spyder also along for the ride.  Spyder is another IDE (interactive development environment) for Python.  Python is a computer language.

One of my pillar tenants is both pedagogy and andragogy benefit when the needle wavers between two extremes, we might call them left and right brained, but don't have to.  I waver between (1) storytelling, lore, and (2) deep dives into the details of syntax, getting technical.

Contrary to stereotypes, computer programming does not require shutting down one's imagination, draining one's fantasy life, fighting one's propensity to daydream.  On the contrary, keeping story lines in mind and visualizing theatrically, like a movie director, helps glue together what one is reading and writing.  Programs have a plot.

Stepping back from any specific drama and considering one's possibilities in the abstract, is what it's like to focus on the language itself.  We might want to code up a Supermarket, a Casino, an Observatory, a Spaceship.  What these have in common, in Python, or in any computer language, is their grammar.

In mathematics we face something similar:  a need to keep the imagination fired, and abstract at the same time.  Here is where polyhedrons enter the picture, in the form of one's own visual and tactile environment.  We're in a scenario already, with furniture, with sets.  Lights, camera, action.  "Camera" means "room".

Virus Story

Unifying computer programming and polyhedrons is another pillar aspect of my curriculum writing. The stereotype around polyhedrons is they're a topic in computer graphics, first and foremost.  However consider leaving visualization to the imagination and coding only numeric changes in surface area and volume as a function of changes in radius.  Using @property, we may inter-relate all three.

Yes, I'm talking about scale, which is turning out to be an important source of generalizations.

Through Windows, I provide a front door into PATH and STEM.  Anaconda creates a space, after which Jupyter Notebooks kick in.  We learn Python in connection with its ability to sort polyhedrons in order by volume.  The focus is on grammar, however in a way that fires the imagination rather than damps it down.
Unicode on Windows

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Groundhog Day

Today's Ground Hog Day (film allusion) ascent of Mt. Tabor was a wide departure from the norm, statistically speaking: I took the bicycle.

I've been riding this sturdy metal beast to one of my meetups, some miles away, not too challenging terrain.  The route up Tabor is far less distance yet a lot more of a climb, and I decided "walk mode" would be permitted once inside the park.

I have a hard time writing "park" without Westworld resonating, having just plowed through Season One start to finish, special features included, a Warner Bros. DVD. I'm between gigs.

On my way to returning it, I stopped over at Glenn's and shared the first two episodes, which he enjoyed.  He knows where to rent it:  where I returned it.  We have one of those hard to find video rental places in our neighborhood.  I got it back before the deadline.

That was yesterday.  Today, having made it to the mid-level reservoir, I stood overlooking the city and marveled at the small birds frolicking in the foreground.

As fortune would have it, Glenn was on his way down so we walked and talked our way to Chavez, me wheeling the bicycle. Once across Chavez, Glenn staying east, I locked the bicycle to a rack and carried the helmet, doing a full bag's worth of supermarket shopping.   I lashed the bag to the back with tight bungies and managed to mount and ride back.

My day since then has been less of a physical workout, unless growing out my beard counts.  I'll shave that today, and spend a few calories.  I do appear to be slowly losing pounds as I continue the No Beer Diet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reciprocal Base Agreements

From Facebook profile:
Is it time to talk about inviting some foreign military bases to North America, in the name of reciprocity? So many US in Okinawa and Guantanamo. Oregon might be OK with a couple bases. They're mostly used for joint marching band exercises, sports, practice using crowded airways. We'll bring back the cavalry and make movies.
Chögyam Trungpa had an army going as I recall. They'd drill and stuff. Oregon could host a Tibetan military base, except the weapons would be metaphysical (like incense).

Monday, September 10, 2018

Who Gets to Be a Mathematician?

Responding to an essay on Medium:

Given trends in AI (machine learning), humans are coming to appreciate that in constructing and internalizing any Reality Model (the process starts before birth) one is performing intensely mathematical operations, updating new “priors” (synthetic a priori judgements) in some Bayesian feedback loop, complete with cybernetic back propagation though many layers of perceptron.

As Kraftwerk so eloquently put it: “we are the [mathematicians]”.

Dr. Keith Devlin showed biological life is at bottom a form of mathematical computation. Humans claim to do it consciously, as a brain activity, on top of a 99% automated metabolism.

Sure, universities want their name on the bottle, when the math smells and tastes like the real deal. They’re like wine merchants. However I’m always willing to accredit the mathematical abilities, properties and practices I encounter in so many walks of life. Fine wines come with many labels.

English majors studying New England Transcendentalism come up against a lot of architecture and geometry these days. Their PhD may be in American Literature of the 1900s, but that means knowing what the “isotropic vector matrix” is all about (1970s metaphysics), and of course “tetravolumes”. No, this isn’t mathematics necessarily, but when it comes to Reality Modeling, such concepts have utility.

Friday, September 07, 2018

On Saying More with Less


I hiked up Mt. Tabor this morning, which sounds impressive, however I might have used the word "stroll".  Some steep parts.  I almost turned around at the Narnia Lamp Post, but then decided to press on.

Coming down, I came across some interesting construction site activities involving a crane lifting heavy objects onto a flatbed truck.  I paused to take pictures.

What was going through my mind a lot was how I could write some new essay on Medium about Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics and quadrays, a coordinate system apparatus I've been yakking about since the 1990s.

However, around noon, before beginning said essay, I did a quick search and found these two postings, both with hyperlinks of their own:

On Ludwig Wittgenstein's Contribution to a Pragmatic Philosophy (April 3, 1997)

Investigations into the Linear Algebra Concepts used in the XYZ and Quadray Language Games (November 20, 1997 Last updated: October 1, 2005)

Wow, that's a lot of what I'd planned to write today.  Do I really need to write it all again?  Probably not.

A better use of my time might be to hack in to those ancient web pages and add some new hyperlinks to them, to more recent writings.

I found my materials using Google, just searching on Synergetics Wittgenstein as my two keywords.

Ravasio writes in her autobiography about finding out these high tuition schools for which loans are needed, not bothering to share New England Transcendentalism in the form of the Fuller corpus.  The math goes there too.

Academia will learn to "get off it" with the Bucky stuff, or it won't.  I'm thinking I won't lift a finger, as I want to see wheels turn without my input.  My goal is to publish less, not more.  Time to wrap it up.

Sure, I'd help as a consultant on the 3D movies about the Concentric Hierarchy etc., but for those to happen, the Global U would need to strengthen its curriculum.  There's a chicken and egg vicious circle here, or maybe a "down the drain" vortex? Time will tell.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Discussing a Documentary

In case you don't have time to watch the movie, or can't get your hands on a copy, the National Geographic documentary about the Gospel of Judas is pretty interesting.

Yes, National Geographic was a sponsor of the project, as if it turned out this was an authentic document, then kudos would accrue to the documentary makers.  For sure this whole operation would need to be memorialized using state of the art film techniques.  One doesn't mess with such heritage without making highly detailed records of the enterprise or project.

The two main puzzles were:  to decipher the badly decayed content of the recovered papyrus book, written in Coptic; to figure out where it came from exactly and how old it was.  Carbon dating was applied and an expedition to Egypt ended in caves with many traces of Coptic culture.  The dating put it around 280 A.D. with some decades plus or minus, suggesting it be treated much as the other so-called "Gnostic Gospels".

The film explains that "gnostic" was a put-down, a lot like "truther" and not a label self-applied, and that it was already a term of opprobrium by around 200 AD by which time Christianity had started to solidify, after taking many turns.

Bishop Irenaeus had railed against some Gospel of Judas way back then, but no one since had been able to snag a copy.  Leave it to some treasure hunter to get it on the black market, where it languished and almost turned to dust.

Judas was thoroughly demonized, yes, but more generally the Bible was being whittled down to Four Gospels with the others best forgotten.  But most especially oxymoronic would be any twisted "Gospel of Judas".  Revelation would be less confusing, in terms of making the Bible cohere.

Two often made points were echoed in this film.  (A) Jesus and his disciples were of course Jews and weren't really into questioning that and likewise (B) the Romans administered "justice" in that region so the irony of Rome's Christians later demonizing Jews for being Jesus killers seemed somewhat like a pot calling the kettle black (an English idiom meaning "who are you to call me that?").

I'd say "Mahayana Christianity" sees that humanity as a whole killed its own God when He came among them, a display of poor judgment which well explains why God, on previous occasions, took some pretty severe actions towards His creation.

Gnostics were to be disrespected for teaching the local God had indeed messed up, but that Jesus was pointing back to a greater God away from these unworthy humans, or something along those lines (considered heresy even today).

The narrower form of Christianity has taken on the mantle of "Chosen People" (us versus them) characteristic of those not thinking in terms of "humans on Planet Earth" (an Astrological conception).  Jewish shepherds were not schooled in esoterica with its cosmic vocabulary.  The older forms of Christianity also have less Greek metaphysics, or so I've been told.  The Coptic people I've hung out with were in Cairo.  But then Alexandria had the works of Euclid.  I guess my point is it took Christians a few centuries to get super educated, especially in light of their early persecution, by the Romans especially.

These last two paragraphs were me rambling.  The movie itself doesn't self indulge having bitten off a huge chunk. In addition to piecing the document together and determining its history, the film gets some character actors to tackle some really challenging plot lines that will be heavily scrutinized.  Agreeing to star in these sequences took some courage in case the film attracted the ire of some offended orthodoxy.

Fortunately, the seminaries have already done a good job of disseminating the historical and archeological approach.  The Gnostic Gospels had already carved out a space in consciousness, thanks in part to Carl Jung, who worked on saving this literary heritage.  I'm not a super expert on all the details but have done enough homework to feel some gratitude to all involved in salvaging such remnants from our human past.  So much ransacking goes on, or sometimes deliberate defacing on ideological grounds.  We want to respect new findings and update our narratives as creation continues to reveal itself, a process some might call God while others would prefer not to.

The two points I mentioned above were to counter the anti-Jew sentiments that were cultivated by those casting themselves as victims of Jewish globalism and/or loyalty to only themselves.  These patterns of thought already had Judas epitomizing Judaism, but in a bad way.  According to this rediscovered gospel, Jesus relied on Judas to turn him in and maybe save the others.  One may debate whether we're talking actual history, but it seems well established that the story of Jesus was taught with this plot twist at least in that one lineage.  Several other gospels were floating about, including those of Timothy, Phillip, Mary Magdalen and so on.  Again, the existence and intelligibility of said texts does not constitute a proof of facts.  These stories don't actually require fact checking to go global, we know that from many other storytelling traditions.

Anyway, I assume a lot of this stuff is old news to the Bible hounds among us, and to the archeologists, some anthropologists.  The literature since this movie must have grown considerably in the meantime.  We have also enjoyed many breakthroughs in getting to know the ancient Mayans.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Wanderers 2018.8.21

I haven't been chronicling Wanderers meetups at all frequently, in contrast to ages past. They're always datelined in that same titular format, so feel free to search, should you find intact infrastructure.

Our practice as Wanderers is to practice "open session" wherein the conversation wanders and no one is obligated to stick to the topic, as there's no topic per se.  We sometimes take a vacation and turn the evening over to a leader, a presenter, thinking of ourselves as good guinea pigs, but then we go back to earning our name and reputation, as those with no fixed agenda, just a coffee fund.

The more formal story of our beginning is Terry Bristol, President of ISEPP, needed a stable of trusted conversationalists should a big wig come to town, meaning a top science & engineering practitioner and/or writer-journalist on the book selling circuit.  The cast was eclectic to say the least, with the guest often staying at the Heathman, then lecturing in one of Portland's swankest venues, either at the Schnitzer (old school theater palace) or the Christian church one door down (pews, gallery, organ), on the Park Blocks.

So say Jane Goodall shows up.  Everyone would like to meet her, but rather than mob the poor creature (actually quite self possessed), Terry could have a party, serve refreshments, and the Wanderers could instantly create the suave / sophisticated surroundings such a celebrity would have come to expect.  We were the proverbial intelligent laypeople, not peers perhaps, but from neighboring walks of life.

Tonight we practiced yammering about (a) the big bang (did it have a center) (b) whether any good could come of our grave circumstances (c) near death experiences, such as almost-drownings (d) paranormal phenomena (e) the non-existence, or existence, of extraterrestrials and why we haven't detected them yet (no one present argued that we had, but each meeting is a random function of who happens to show up).  We had some jokes and puns.  We were a sampling of genders and generations, I won't claim random.

I want to mention in particular that Peter Sloterdijk came up and we debated the pronunciation of his name.  Francher has been delving into his most recent writings whereas I'm still stuck in the trilogy, Bubbles, Globes and Foams.  We are not of any special religious denomination and I would say we're mostly a haven for those who don't espouse any mainstream religion, or religion at all, but with numerous exceptions of course (we're riddled with true believers of one kind or another). 

Francher and I are especially fans of Buckminster Fuller, whom Sloterdijk writes about quite a bit.  I'm also into the Wittgenstein stuff.  Larry knew the Trimtab meme. Later I posted to Facebook, in the spirit of what I'd said then:
When I look back in history it's like Alexander Bell (telephone, "kites"), container shipping, the internet (more than just Al Gore)... i.e. I don't place my hopes & dreams [tm] in the hands of prima donna actor-lawyers who claim DC as their Hollywood-like universal studios (many well-known backdrops). They're entertainment, at best a simulation, but these days sing off key. My focus is on the artifacts, like the cars and trucks. Highways. Bridges.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bizmos in 2018

By this time in our narrative, the "bizmo" (business mobile) is a well-established genre of van or bus, mostly peddled as a luxury item.

I'm not saying I'm yet able to head for the garage and download my favorite dashboards and stuff, but we're getting there.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Red Books

I've gone from Alan Watts (influential in my early reading career) to James Hillman (likewise influential), talking about Youtube. Great to get audio trax from these guys. I'd been doing silent reading.

The Hillman kick got me to this lecture by Becca S. Tarnas, Ph.D. (a self-confessed Elvynchyk).  She's talking about similarities between J.R.R. Tolkien's imagery and that of Carl Jung, in their respective books with red covers.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Delta versus Lambda Calc: Weighing Options

What's Next?

I stumbled on this old fragment of storyboard this morning and decided to explain it again, adding a link to a related Youtube (8 mins). The picture corresponds to a high school student looking at the math tracks branching out ahead of her or him, and wondering whether to slant to the delta side, or to the lambda side.

The delta side stands for Calculus and is the only pre-college track as far as many are concerned. You may have some stubs, like statistics and business math, that point in some other direction, but the college admin folks are pre-geared to like calculus. Professors don't want to do all the heavy lifting and you need calculus to prove yourself educated, further up the line. I have another calculus book on order from Amazon as we speak. I used to teach it myself, at the high school level.

The lambda side stands for Functional Programming (Scheme, Clojure...) but underneath that, for Lambda Calc in particular, as distinct from Delta Calc i.e. delta calculus (the one we learn in high school).  Lambda Calc, one might say, is the basis of computer science. We have instructions, or functions, and inputs, or arguments.  We think a lot about getting our syntax fine-tuned to actually "run" (execute operationally).  Lambda Calc is pretty much synonymous with Computer Science.

What happened in the late 1900s, after the rise of computing and computer power, kicked off by Alan Turing and others, was a greater need for Lambda Calculus and a requirement that Delta Calculus share the road more.  That's why high schoolers would later have more choices, as to how to proceed with their math education.  They could choose to emphasize computer science over delta calc, and still get a lot of delta calc in the process.  Operational mathematics is not devoid of Newton's Method for example.  Computers do calculus all the time, even as discrete math devices.

In some ways, the whole dichotomy is an illusion, much like wave versus particle.  You have different tools for different needs.  It's not either / or.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Green Screen

The "green screen" bizmo is one that drives around doing interviews, podcasts, other reconnoissance. Sometimes it's more convenient to actually go to a place and visit interlocutors close to home -- their home -- versus flying them to Burbank or whatever.

A green screener may do solo-casting from the mobile studio as well.  The bus or van is well stocked with video editing equipment.  The nearest truck stop may provide the uplink station.  Not every such van is like a TV news van with live satellite back to headquarters.

The connotation around bizmos is they're not passive observer speculator journalist mobiles, who "get the story" and then move on.  Some bizmos may be of that type, but their tendency is to network and followup.

Not that any specific community is obligated to host any given caravan.  That's where the dispatchers come in, and the control rooms (see other blogs).  Today we see a lot of interventionist control rooms thinking they know how to "cure" various global ailments.  They're way ahead of the science, acting on pure superstition a lot of the time.

My recent trip through the Warm Springs reservation and to the Madras area (Cascadia), to one of the "spy camp" XRL spots, was by Torture Taxi (the Nissan), and was not a green screen adventure.  Smith Rock was really behind me, and I really did feed the alpacas.

If you're going fully for the illusion, then you don't really need a bizmo at all, do everything in studio.

The caravans plus innocent bystanders with cell cameras, create more points to omni-triangulate, meaning the believability of the operation will get a boost.  Spoofers won't be as good at authentication, most of the time.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Central Oregon

Metolius Headwaters

Thanks to my having family in this neck of the woods, I get one of those inside track experiences where I don't have to spend a lot to enjoy a wealth of experiences.

Eagle Crossing on the Warms Springs reservation is a great intersection of cultures.  The TV is tuned to news and the CBS morning show, with the N8V cook owner the main audience. His wife took our order and their daughter cashed us out.

Today we visited the place where the Metolius river emerges from underground.  No one really knows its route under the Cascades.  Once it emerges, it runs for about twelve miles to a lake, through forest populated by camp grounds and "summer cabins" (many have been turned into more than just cabins).  We picnicked along the shore, then drove into Sisters for music by Tony Lompa, who remembered me from last time.

Tomorrow we'll be listening to Steve's radio show on KPOV, and probably talking to Steve himself. 

I drove the girls to the alpaca farm just a mile down the road on highway 97.  Then we visited Smith Rock.  These are ritual stops for us.

I'll be adding pictures when home in Portland.

I'm meditating on how people seem to want it both ways:  we acknowledge a deeply non-rational side the motivates human affairs, and then try to give a role to rationality.

Clearly engineering based on awareness of generalized principles gives us more ways to act out our collective craziness, for better and/or for worse.

In the media, crazy meets crazy and tries to sort itself out.  That's called history or culture or something along those lines.

Tony Lompa

Thursday, August 02, 2018

World Game

Carol and I are thankful to have granddaughter / daughter Tara in Portland for a week's visit.  I picked her up at PDX last night.  We met at the baggage carousel.

I'm taking a breather after an arduous week teaching class.  Tomorrow we have plans to leave town for a bit (some of us do).

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Speed of C


I was noting in class the other day that it's somewhat fortuitous, from a mnemonic standpoint (helps us remember), that C as in "the C language" (runs fast when optimized) shares its letter with lowercase 'c', typically used for "the speed of light".

The concept of "frequency" is well-developed with regard to CPUs and GPUs.  Those with faster clocks crunch through more computations per time interval, accomplishing some "least action" (say a bit flip, taking us into teraflops) more often (right, more frequently).

That means more energy spent in a given time interval (E/t) which relates to the Power (P) of the chip in question.

Energy itself, lets remember, is like a wound up toy, or a battery, all prepped to do work if allowed to, like a runner before the starting gun.  The energy is "stored", in the form of chemical stockpiles in the runner's case.  Bullets depend on a reservoir of gunpowder.

E = Mcc might get us saying "c squared" but we're also allowed to view an expanding equilateral triangle in place of an expanding square, if we're from a different subculture.  The mathematics itself is the same.  Cubism is cultural.

E = hf is another statement of how we wind up the toy, by turning the key at some frequency, where a key turn is mass for a distance at some speed (mass times velocity times distance).

In Newtonian units:  f = 1/t; E = (mvd)/t = mvv, which is where our mcc comes from, unit-wise.  The units of mvd are referred to as "action" and we use h for Planck's minimal action, a discrete minimal delta or change.  Those happen over time, and add up in terms of Energy.

When you have a complicated multi-dimensional program to run, just because the CPUs are going at full throttle doesn't mean your program finishes quickly.  Some computations take many epochs, even eons, to finish, even if running at the speed of C.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

B2 Party

Atlantic Monthly not long ago shared an argument that the DC idea of a "president" is broken.  The same magazine likes to share PR for what I call the "B2 Party", which is behind the B2 bomber and its forays.  Atlantic Monthly likes to shill for the B2 Party sometimes.

Am I saying every major weapons system deserves its own party?  Something like that.  The names "Democrat" and "Republican" have outlived their usefulness.  We have Beltway Bandits and... ?  Oh yeah, Wall Street.  Political discourse would make so much more sense if we could get our analysis more in those terms, versus always reading about zombies (DNC and GOP).

A lot of Americans are really into war porn and crave it.  Stroking the weapons, making them shiny, glistening, on camera is a part of it.  We're taught this is an OK perversion, and indeed we're encouraged, as viewer voyeurs, to get sick in the head in this way, between shopping trips.  Shop, then go home and bliss out on B2s, is the reduced instruction set.  Many of us comply.

Lets combine the fact that the presidency is a joke (an undoable job, mostly a scapegoat position, designed for soaking up blame), with the fact that the war porn is a kind of mental illness (DSM anyone?).  No wonder a lot of folks are casting about for a more meaningful discourse.  Intuitively, they understand the political diet they're being fed is pretty hopeless.

However, getting a weak ghost of a government to do the bidding of war profiteers is pretty easy.  Just harness its lingering claims to legitimacy and piggy-back on its PR values, and you have a decent chance of getting a war going.  That's the big payoff and many are working overtime on it, doing their best to build tensions with "America's enemies" (not seeing themselves as the ultimate killers of a once proud sovereign state).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Back to School

I've been hard at work teaching code school stuff all summer, so it's not "back to school" for me.  I never left.  However, that's part of the summer retail cycle:  back to school stuff appears on the shelves in late July.  Some kids get nervous, as the mortality of their summertime carefree self begins to see shadows.

That documentary about John James Audobon I saw at Glenn's made a lasting impression.  Back in the day I was casting Portland as "Toon Town" where we'd lap up screen content, produce it, critique it.  That happened for me.  The documentaries have been pouring in.  Lindsey used to snag them at Laughing Horse, but even then I was already into them.

Audobon shot tons of birds (literally) to get them just right in his giant colored etching recordings.  He was reminding us of what was about to go away in many cases.  People ask if the climate has been changed by humans, when it used to feature hours-long migrations of billions of passenger pigeons.  All gone.

I was planning to yak about Emoji, now included within Unicode.  When back in school, will you be learning about ASCII and UTF-8?  Is this a code school?  Or might this be a school about music?  Or both?  Computing and music have an intimate relationship.

I'm thinking of a numpy array of emoji in some Google Colab notebook, or maybe on a Github Jupyter Notebook.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Imperative versus Declarative

A theme in machine learning these days is "imperative versus declarative".  Tensorflow versus Pytorch instantiated this difference.  Do we draw a graph of the computation and then compile it?  Or do we just write the script?  The latter style is "imperative".

She (Sarah Bird) just now said "Just Use It" with respect to the Python ecosystem.  The "ad campaign" is going well, even if I do say so myself.

That's Google versus Facebook in terms of teeth (FANG). However with Tensorflow 1.9 we're seeing more emphasis on imperative.  The differences are less obvious by OSCON 2018, among the AI research labs.

All very geeky, right?

The tools are free so people (social engineers especially) might get in on the ground floor tooling up around those tools.

I know some readers will be concerned regarding my use of "social engineer" as somehow a role, as for many that hearkens back to a much vilified system called "centrally planned" meaning the genius of cybernetics was stifled.

Bureaucrats would try to second guess what could much better be handled by "market forces".  However, given "social media" and "programming" are already neighboring nodes in some word-oriented vector space, I don't see much hope in fighting "social engineers" as a consequent.

Lets just make sure they know about cybernetics.  As in previous ages, we need our engineers to have people skills.  We're simply too dependent on technology, while being people, to overlook this aspect of their training.

Yes, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells does merit a segue here.  Morlocks were anti-social from the Eloi point of view.  The engineering species had gone its own way (underground) on the "not humanities" side of the chasm (C. P. Snow's) and were eating the Eloi for lunch (literally).

That's the dystopian outcome we hope to avoid, and so the Eloi of today are contributing to Morlock sensitivity.

On that note, our current speaker is trans, goes by she, and speaks boldly to the issue of bias, a theme of our show.  She swears and speaks way more frankly than many in polite society (a characteristic of engineers per the movie Titanic), and has a through the roof IQ.  This is all a part of our training.  We're unphased.  Beam, Tensorflow, Spark, Apache Flink...  DL w/ Big Data is our topic.

Helping people around me jack in (to the power strip) meant losing my own link for a short period. This ancient Mac Air has been known to shut down in these circumstances, not because of its battery. Yay for not going down this time.

So Python and Go are developing their ability to talk to Apache Beam.  Beam seems to ship containers around, containing Tensorflow, serving as worker bees against big data.  We're looking at the Chicago Taxi data set.  Python is doing some preprocessing.  We're talking about a demo of parallel stuff happening in the cloud.  A lot of this stuff only works well inside the Google Cloud (she's from Google).

With all these geeks so highly trained in following codes of conduct, and thinking about their biases, a question may arise:  will they help us win wars?  Were you talking cyber-wars then?  Most of us haven't had any time for firearms stuff.

Pyspark talks to Apache Spark... the TensorFlowOnSpark demo runs slowly, given all the pickles and JSON involved.  Lets try it with Apache Arrow instead.  I understand a lot of this stuff given my own meager background in machine learning with little data.  I'm not much a cloud guy at this point.

The Go wordcount demo didn't work, but we were impressed with the command line skills, and the people skills.

Monday, July 16, 2018

OSCON 2018

Name Badge

I'm with my flock (geekonius) having strong coffee in the convention center, badge around my neck, awaiting a tutorial.  Open Source Convention is a no nonsense affair, a well oiled machine, thanks to California showbiz, meaning the event logistics business, Sebastopol a hallmark.  I refer of course to O'Reilly, a former company of employment, though I wasn't working in the home office.  That was some years back, when an experimental code school tested the waters, toe in the pool.  Quite the shark tank, we found out (long story).

O'Reilly was prescient, even when we closed (not for lack of business, let me tell you), in seeing Jupyter Notebooks would be big, which they are.  However I don't think any of us were envisioning the hype around DL / ML would take off the way it did.  That's Deep Learning / Machine Learning. In fact, my upcoming tutorial is on TensorFlow, with which I'm a white belt.  I've been working out over in scikit-learn and feel ready to set foot in this Dojo.

The school was originally established to teach calculus, spinning off from Dr. Jerry Uhl's operation, University of Illinois. However that turned out to be a rather esoteric business in the midwest and the dream of California induced a morphification into the new code school, with calculus still in the picture, and indeed a whole university.  However establishing a new ee-dee-yu (edu) from scratch is way harder than creating a dot com.  Try creating a new dot gov for a sense of what it's like.  Speaking of which, O'Reilly did inspire memes in government.  I went to a GOSCON right here in Portland in fact.  You'll still find Ignite Syllabus and such, based on our Lightning Talk format.

I joined the school after all this change was well under way.  Although I never got to meet Jerry Uhl, I felt initiated into the world of Champaign-Urbana, home office for Wolfram, with which the school had at first been intimately connected (during the calculus chapter, with Mathematica the workout bench).

My registration came with a bus pass.  I live in Portland, so this is one of the conferences I hope to get to, as a way of upgrading / updating my state of the art.  Pycon was here for two years, a blessing as well.  Pycon roves around whereas OSCON moves far less frequently, in terms of venue.  In the meantime, Portland has been changing a lot itself, becoming more a jewel of the Pacific Rim. We have a cable car now, an overhead tram.  Compared to the ones in Switzerland, its trajectory is approximately horizontal.  However that's still a legitimate use of the technology.  We have a hospital complex on the upper end.  Portland is about health care, as well as free software (free as in freedom).

Speaking of Pycon, I shared the headline news in my other blog about the transition in power within the PSF, the intellectual property owner for Python and its trademarks.   Guido announced he was taking a vacation from his role as BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life), deliberately creating a power vacuum.  He's feeling pretty confidant about the future of the Python language and wants to spark more creative ferment in governance.  Dictators rarely have an exit strategy.  We're grateful to Guido for having one (part of his being benevolent).  He's not giving up being influential.  He has the juice, or what we Quakers call "weightiness" (a metaphysical attribute not connected to literal poundage).

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bizmo Sighting

:: on SE Hawthorne, turning north onto Chavez ::

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Parallel Processing


I got some flak on Facebook from one of my friends, wondering why I bother to curate Youtubes like that, using one social medium to access another.  Think of stamp collecting.  The latest series had to do with rebuilding Aleppo, the grand mosque there.

Chalk it up to cyber tourism and wanting to "go there" with my friends.  This blog or journal was designed as the log book for a crew on the road, doing useful stuff like helping rebuild Aleppo.  Crews want to look back and tell their kids what they helped rebuild.

Bizmos have their fans, some of whom channel them funding to catalog order this or that artifact.  We see the transactions in the bright of day a lot of the time (bizmos leave audit trails).  Electrons move from here to there.  The crew will return in a future episode to help the locals install this pump.  Hospitals get stocked this way too.  Schools.

At the other end:  people in coffee shops, but maybe not that into coffee.  I'm borrowing from romanticized Paris, where we posit existentialism was born in meme form, only to percolate through coffee shops to show up on bookshelves, further catalyzing osmosis.

CSN doesn't assume "existentialism" is the philo du jour, yet draws in those scholarly fumes, mixed with Borges, Arabia, Alexandria.  There's a look and feel conducive to study.  In that atmosphere, you also have arcade games (we call them that for a reason) whereby becoming a champion may be of service to one's favorite crews in the field.

A team of three is cruising from Kabul to Istanbul and stops off in Shiraz.  Here we find some drawings by a street kid that lead us to this clutch of artists making some highly interesting models.  This crew specializes in mathy art, ala M. C. Escher and many more.  Think of that conference Bridges, which said "my" A & B modules were for the birds.  And tweeting I did:  let's 3D print these things, Makers!

Actually my art work was called Holding It Together in a Cyrillic language, and features six beveled faces of a cube pulled inward and held by tension on six cables to a smaller tetrahedron inside.  No glue.  If the faces are closed, there's a ship in a bottle feel to it.  Tension compression.


Anyway, that's the science fiction backdrop against which this journal is written.  Then we need Control Rooms to help dispatch and coordinate the bizmos.  This would not be efficient without the caravans and convergences.  Health care teams can't all squeeze in one vehicle.

Control Room is a sister blog, suggesting the role.  I worked for Clackamas County in dispatching driver fleets, an early template for the Uber model.  People bring different experiences to the table.

A lot of Africans are asking for borderless driving.  I was negotiating with some nationalists the other day, suggesting we could have a balance of Berlin Walls and lengthy queues, versus wide open areas in which distance driving was a given, a freedom.  No road blocks with checkers.

The thing about Africans is most were never consulted regarding the map of nations to begin with, so they're freer to start fresh with an unmarked globe, only to mark it up with other markup.  Substance control check points, like freeway weigh stations, need not be barriers across a road.

Picture a cargo container with QR-code and RFID getting off loaded in North Africa and making its way inland.  The sensors it drives by register its progress and GPS is involved.  People know the contents and blockchains know how to move tokens around.

Keeping a cargo container on schedule factors in ample time for the driver to find this a doable lifestyle (citizen diplomats need to compare notes at truck stops, sharing news and views, for the health of the economy and Pareto optimizing).

Remember drivers might hand off trucks.  Sometimes the drivers linger, enjoying coffee shops, taking classes for credit.  Sometimes its the truck that stays behind, on a charging station.  No one said a driver has to drive more than five hours a day.  Maybe some do but the rule books is flexible.

If you wanted to do some substance control, this might be the place, at the stopover, where electric tractor truck A switches its pulled container to electric tractor B.   Batteries may not support the long hauls characteristic of peak oil.  Tractors queue longer as well.  Drivers jump from rig to rig.

Some Bizmo fleets work the same way.  A lot of the customization (e.g. favorite tunes, dashboard instruments) get stored in the cloud.  I tool around town in this mobile office charged near the airport, only to turn it in three days later.  I'll be continuing my work in another city, taking meetings where I need them.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Choreography and Computer Science

In some documentary I'm forgetting the title of at the moment, a solar dish technology, maybe just a solar oven, gets introduced not as a finished good, but as a manufacturing process.  The female choreographers take it on and make up a song with a rhythm that helps govern an efficient concurrent process.  Solar ovens roll off the "assembly line".

Operations research goes back to complicated manufacturing and PERT analysis, finding the critical path.  Shorten this process, and the overall rate of submarine production holds constant, whereas if these two threads join perfectly, as when a body lowers down over a chassis, there's less waiting along an eigen-process and submarines appear more quickly.  Or Teslas.  Or...

Along came concurrency in computer programming, which by now needs attention from the get go. The question is will mathematicians deign to wade into the seas of time and join the engineers in spatial-temporal considerations. Of course they will, or at least the polymaths will. STEAM is STEAM.

However, lets not pretend parallel processing was just invented in the 1900s, as Universe has been running in parallel all along.  The human body is a miracle of process management, replacing blood, skin, muscle and nerve cells from cannibalizing chemistry labs (the body's internals).  I'm not saying humans eat humans (a few do, according to anthropologists), just that chemicals self-harvest along many simultaneous supply chains in the human body.  Octopus bodies do this do.  Life processes embody concurrency, even as they spawn progeny.

Likewise, ordinary living requires engaging in many tasks, some of which need to run in parallel.  "A watched pot never boils" was a reminder to kitchen amateurs to not block on a process when there's so much work to be done.  Efficient choreography is a highlight of cooking shows, especially where teams are involved.  The clock is ticking.  Submarine sandwiches head out to the crew.

The all this time pressure, the response being organizational skills (scheduling, prioritizing), we see where schools miss being efficiently parallel themselves, if looking solely at computer science and not understanding the need for practice in team playing.  Links to sports and dance are not just "nice to have" as the skills we're talking about are essential in later life.

"Math is an Outdoor Sport" is one of my old slogans.  The idea was to get outdoors, perhaps with GPS, doing geocaching like activities, exploring a terrain, graphing a topology, making maps of many kinds.  Scoring well on a test might involve exerting oneself physically.  Of course that's nothing like the rows and columns math class of today.  However now that computer science is becoming involved...

Theater and Choreography go together here.  Think of a Broadway musical and all the singers needing to change costumes backstage as the show continues center stage.  The exits and entrances, the meetups, the duets, the solos... the cuckoo clock of computer science, Newtonian and later quantum mechanics.  Life is a turning of gears, even if these be only metaphorical and therefore "softer" (more "nerf") than real gears in some way.  Real gears play too.  Life encompasses mechanical processes, even if we sometimes use dance to rebel against too much predictability.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Refugee Science in NYT

Refugee Science

The New York Times has been giving column inches to an important branch of planning in our world today. Given mass migration patterns, humans are settling in camps.  Sometimes these camps become the most salient features of a given geographical region.  However, well before then, the signs and trends deserve and require concerted attention.

When does Health and Human Services work with United Nations agencies on various camps?  Asking Mexico to fund a wall was pretty stupid, but having an international community work on camps is not.  Before risking any HR process devised by DC's Beltway defense contractors, sometimes of limited imagination, you might want to find a Rehab Campus on friendlier turf.

I'm no expert on Drug Wars politics, where Drug Wars stretch back in time to Opium Wars and British mercantile enterprises versus Mandarins.

The idea of "customs" implies some shared ethic regarding substance controls, and a lot of the earlier consensus reality has broken down, with a new one yet to emerge.  I've looked to the Thirteen Grandmothers for guidance, and instructed my Coffee Shops Network baristas (a front line) to keep an open mind.

For those just tuning in, CSN is about risk-taking for charity, and channeling cyber-currencies towards worthy causes.  Perhaps conventional currencies will likewise have a role?

Think of Video Poker as sponsored by Oregon State.  Your losings are the State's winnings.  Imagine instead that were you to win, you would have philanthropic powers to channel the winnings.  Psychologically, this model introduces far less cognitive dissonance, which may explain all the "likes" we're getting on Facebook.

Suppose you're really great in video game X, written in Rust, and want to commit your winnings to Refugee Science.  You understand these families need educations and want to see scholarship rewarded with redeemable coupons.

Study microbe biology, get a microscope.  Become skilled in some way, in response to positive reinforcement.  Educators around the world already understand this model, and therefore appreciate the positive role of blockchain technology.  Kids earning high grades have the potential to help their families.  Kids earning low grades still get to eat.

Some of our prototype circuitry, in particular Netdispenser, failed to gain the blessings of EFF.  On the other hand, Freedom Toasters and TuxLabs have already made the grade, at least in an African context.

Game developers who help refugee kids get some traction, through One Laptop per Child or whatever, are in themselves a worthy cause.  CSN supports their valiant efforts.