Thursday, June 21, 2018

Occupy Portland (a flashback)

The day after watching Isle of the Dogs, I found myself cycling down to a kind of Occupy in south Portland, where a group of campers was protesting against the concentration camps, organized by the Federales, for undocumented immigrants not going through proper bureaucratic channels, a rather hopeless labyrinth.

We see multiple languages in operation in that context as well, plus an agenda to close borders that were never closed, historically speaking.  The logic of the purchase of this territory from Napoleon requires a stronger literalness.

Winning some battle with Mexico in another era never including Mexico's agreeing to foot the bill for a literal wall between the two jurisdictions.  That battle was only recently lost, and not by Mexico.

Nationalism (a memeplex) is working overtime to solidify itself, even as governments themselves are hollowed out by globalist networks working in concert.

Shoring up the nation-state system is the only way some supranationals see their way clear to keeping a hold on their own legitimacy.  How would they stay in business without strongly patriotic sentiments and a terror of possibly diseased invaders, infected with alien ideologies and religions?

Melody and I visited the camp by bicycle, reminding me I need better nighttime lights, as we came back in the dark, stopping at Dots on Clinton Street for a single beer each.

The camp is at the base of the ICE detention center tucked away in a new area of town featuring high rise apartments and the cable car up to OHSU.  Getting there by bicycle is really easy, thanks to Tillikum Crossing.  I took lots of pictures.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Turning Tables

I see a lot of people in Congress hoping to build their careers by making political hay out of Facebook's indiscretions around sharing personal data.

The EU is pushing back using legislation, written by lawyers more engineeringly informed.  Having to read patent after patent is a way lawyers continue to be Einsteins.  They don't just capitulate to the emerging cast of engineers.

However, some breeds of lawyer may not be sufficiently sensitive to the hypocrisy involved in pursuing private companies for amassing data that the government itself has seen fit to harvest, with equally base business motives in mind.

The national security surveillance state is sometimes portrayed as being "behind" Google, and of course there's lots of continuity around In-Q-tel and all that.  However, we may also tell the story as one of self reinvention, or even rebirth.  It's not like the old intelligence apparatus is still running things.  Rather, the IC of yesteryear gave up the ghost, which now inhabits a new body.

The District of Columbia still has a lot of pride in being cutting edge, maybe years ahead in terms of scenario planning.  Lets distinguish between WDC as a geographical area, where anyone might live, and as an icon or symbol in journalistic accounts.  There's a difference between map and territory.

In my view, DC is of diminishing relevance vis-a-vis other capitals as a result of changes in political circuitry.  Decentralization is more efficient unless we're going to re-polarize and fight some wars.  DC is venturing into trade wars as a theme, and appears eager to foment more violent outward wars as well, which somewhat accounts for its waning influence.  People would prefer a less gloomy future.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Princeton Chatter

VNC to 2D

I set myself up for a battery of medical office visits and tests, all the same day.  What better time to catch up on Princeton Alumni Weekly? PAW we call it.  Clever.  Tigers...

The cover story of the June 6 issue features Olga Russakovsky, a professor looking at the issue of bias in Machine Learning.  If those gathering the data were racists (believed in races), chances are the machines will find those patterns all over again, thanks to the labeling.

The article Why America Stumbles... on page 19, seemed an example of how bias equals inertia.  Rick Barton looks at Syria, but not from an existential point of view.  "Does Syria exist?" is not in question, even though its sovereignty is violated daily.

"Does the USA exist?" would be another question to ask, regarding this post Constitutional Banana Republic that took upon itself to bomb Syria recently, with great fanfare, in an effort to prove itself the Final Authority, complete with Nikki Haley's "dead baby" performance in the UN.

From recent revelations about how Netanyahu of Israel (so-called) has been trying hard to start a war with Iran (Persia), the US (i.e. DC) complicit, we see that a certain cabal is eager to set that tinderbox called Mesopotamia alight, and by extension the world.

Apparently the feigned chemical weapons attack in Britain was intended as part of the same war plan.  Get everyone hating the Russians, accuse Assad of chemical weapons use in April, and then go on the offensive, with the public eager for a big show.  That almost happened.

Fortunately cooler heads prevailed.  We know the hotheads are busily at work on their next subterfuge.

Announcing the end of the Nation State Era has become an exercise in self and species preservation at this point.  Clearly the puppet masters are eager to pull whatever strings they believe they have.  Telling uncomfortable truths is better than sounding phony all the time.

However Princeton Alumni Weekly is not prepared to be on the cutting edge, except insofar as its president reminds us on page 2 that universities often outlive nations.  That much is true.

So do they read Grunch of Giants in the Woodrow Wilson School?

I agree with Chelsea Manning's recent remark in Berlin, that we're all machine learners.  We modify our existing belief systems in light of new data coming in -- or we don't.  We're all implicitly Bayesians, with brains reprogrammable by mind.

Continuing revelation is a reality, the most sobering reality we know.

Sometimes belief systems freeze up and become specimens in some World Game museum. PAW is like that in some ways.  Stick to belief systems the alumni are comfortable with.

It's not that I expect the peoples of Spaceship Earth to spontaneously start up a new chapter by all gravitating to the same page all of a sudden.  There's some eternal truth in that Tower of Babel myth.  We never all had a chance to agree on those Nations in the first place.

It's just that it's a Small World After All, at the end of the day.  Universities know that better than most sometimes.  Congratulations to Maya Lin on the new installation.  I look forward to visiting it, maybe for my fiftieth reunion in 2030? 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Process Work

[ if the picture isn't embedded that's because your browser is being strict about blocking 3rd party URLs from unfurling, which is your choice if you know how to toggle browser settings (otherwise it's their choice) ]

One of my presents, for my sixtieth birthday, was some workshops at the Process Work Institute in northwest Portland.  The details of what goes on in some of the sessions is confidential, but I think it's safe to say that citizen diplomacy is a theme, even if we don't call it that.  Arny (Arnold Mindell) calls his process Deep Democracy.  Students connect from all over the world.

I tweeted up a storm as I was riding buses 75 and 15 to the venue.  The Global Matrix meeting at Glenn's pad had featured beer and pizza (Nirel was doing watermelon), and with some minutes to spare I dropped into a very local yokel joint on W Burnside, the opposite of upscale fancy, for a low cost Rainier, tallboy can. 

The upshot is I was somewhat relaxed and sleepy at the workshop, which is not all together inappropriate given the emphasis on staying in a day dreamy state even while navigating in CR (consensus reality).

Tourism gets a rep for being purely recreational, even though travel is a form of work.  People come to Portland from all over the world to pursue their careers, but that may count as "tourism" if there's no obvious business paying expenses. 

When soldiers do their tours, in the line of duty, that's not considered tourism either.  How about when our family went to the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, and my wife did a workshop with the Dalai Lama in Durban?  Was that tourism then?

Someone from Cape Town was in our car going back to Asylum District.  This was her first time at PWI, but she wasn't new to process work.

The reason I ask is because citizen diplomacy is exponentially more doable given telecommuting and given businesses have as a part of their agenda a commitment to team building and staffers getting along.  The "melting pot" may not be a zip code so much as a virtual space in Cyberia.

Choreography matters.  People want to see big organized dances, be those military parades or the Olympics.  We become persuaded of our ability to synchronize, as a species.  That's political capital for other ventures.  Or psychological energy, depending on your shoptalk (vocabulary, namespace).

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jamming Scammers


Another signal we cell phone users get daily, regarding the demise of FDR style socialism, is that cowardly capitalism is able to bombard us with robocalls unfettered and unregulated by any Big Brother.  I'm sure the Business Plot Congress (named in honor of the Business Plot) is pleased with this outcome, as it means scammers (their sponsors) have free rein to attack their constituents (their victims).

As someone relatively tech savvy, I downloaded an app from Sweden that says "insurance scam" every time a robocall tries to sell me Blue Cross.  The reputation of Blue Cross, like that of the White Helmets, is tainted and diminished by this degrading format.  We in Cyberia simply associate "health insurance" with "scam" after a few hundred such robocalls.  They still fill my inbox with their robot messages.  I have to go in and clean it out. Added drudgery.  Thanks Congress!  Thanks FBI!  Do I sound sarcastic?  Maybe not, as here's a fast way to signal the diminishing power and influence of already broken institutions.  "Too big to fail"?  What about "too late to fix"?

Saturday, May 26, 2018


:: success! ::

I discovered the hard way today that blithely installing geopandas from the conda-forge repo, atop a default repo version, is not a tastey recipe. I had to toss my original default Anaconda out the window and do a clean install, good exercise, but not how I'd anticipated events flowing.

Following best practice, I'm now installing a geopandas in its own environment.  But do I have the repo issue sorted out?  After this fresh install from the Anaconda website, I went [Warning:  don't do this, read on!]:

$ conda create --name geopandas python=3.6 geopandas

leaving it entirely up to conda to decide which repo I meant.  Even I don't know, but there's Fiona and all the rest, so I know I'm getting some gigabytes.

Upgrading the Anaconda navigator (in process) will give it a chance to see the new environment I just created.  Will geopandas import successfully this time, or crap out in Fiona?  That is the question.

We're going from Anaconda 1.7.0 to 1.8.5 -- OK, done, lets see if we have a new environment, yes I do, and I don't even have Spyder 3.2.8 yet, in the new one.  I'll go out to the command line, activate the new environment, boot python, and see if the import works, take a screenshot...

Not so fast, say the conda gods. I still have PATH issues.  Fight, fight, fight!  "Fighting Quakers" is a meme, cite Earlham College, also Franklin High School here in Portland, just blocks away.

Caution: Fighting Quakers Ahead

However Franklin High School recently dropped the Fighting Quaker mascot recently using the rationale of not wanting to offend Friends.

Friends I know were forgiving as it's true Ben Franklin never overtly tied himself through membership to any Meeting, that we're able to find the record of.

So no, even with a clean environment, without a force to conda-forge as the repo, don't expect a working geopandas.  Fortunately, there's a one liner to wipe an Environment.  I'll do that, after some coffee (looks like a late nighter), then do a conda install of geopandas with conda-forge the forced repo.  Can one set a default repo per each Environment?

Skipped the coffee, bashed on.  Then took a break.

Good thing I did as the pinto beans were done, just in time to turn off the crockpot.  Reheat some coffee in the microwave.  So where are we?

Navigator sees its environment is gone.  I'll recreate geopandas and then install with a -c conda-forge, meaning I specify the channel and don't leave it up to conda to decide.  Will that go any better?  Lets find out:

conda create -n geopandas python=3.6 geopandas -c conda-forge

That gets me:

That's looking promising.  Will fiona slay me again?  Lets proceed.

Thanks to the way operating systems facilitate multitasking, I'm able to turn my attention to other matters.

Earlier today, the FBI was asking small business owners in the USSA (inside joke) to at least reboot their routers if not install actual firmware.  The Disney Parental Circle option has been added for the Netgear R7000, I discovered, upon fully complying.

Don't question Big Brother, right?  I'm sure many Russians will be equally interested in obeying, as no one wants malware on their routers, whatever the source.  Here's a screen shot.

That's after hacking in to the Netgear on I think it was, which is actually the router behind the router facing the public internet.

This all came after my exploring the geopandas possibility earlier this Saturday.  Yes I often work on the weekends, entrepreneur that I am.  Do I keep the sabbath?  I'd welcome a conversation with rabbis about that sometime.  Netiquette has a lot in common with Jewish law?  I'm not the authority.

I'm still installing in another process.  We've put a lot of hours into spatial data management today, what with the summit meeting in Cedarhurst.  I should update the CTO.  Damn, too much on my plate!

I'm gonna get another bowl of beans and salsa and write to the NetDispenser group.  That's open source and uses the Raspberry Pi as a router, which is what I want to ask about.  I'll check on my geopandas experiment in awhile.

All right!  I document my success with the top screen shot.  A -c conda-forge on the end kept the Environment integral.  Compatibility was achieved!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Global Grid

Surprising how little discussion of a global grid we've seen in the 21st Century, in light of Peak Oil. 

"Historians will write:  The building of a global grid at the beginning of the 21st Century was one of the key elements in the rise of the prosperity of the civilization that we know today."

The video below pointedly skips showing the most lobbied-for grid I'm aware of: Alaska to Siberia, for inter-hemispheric transmission.  I left a comment.

The main cause for skepticism?  That humans are unable to get along.  That's kind of the point.  Global grid talk is for grownups, not for TV viewers trapped in their mostly-fiction media bubbles.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Putin Files

I watched the whole thing, after a rather grueling data science class. Like I'd developed my Jupyter Notebooks using pandas 0.23 but left the teaching computer at 0.22 -- that was part of it.  The differences were subtle but when a demo doesn't work, I have to flounder and find out later what went wrong.

We were done by 10:30 PM and I started into Youtubes.  Now it's almost 4 AM.

PBS has a huge number of hours on Putin I see.  I'm never going to have time for them all, but I'm glad I watched this one.  I've sampled others as well.

It's a little bit self-contradictory, not what I'd call unbiased, but this is Frontline, so we know it's leaving it to viewers like me to draw our own conclusions, which may be different from those of Frontline.  Free country.

As a veteran of Portland Occupy, I know these youthful movements to take over squares were indeed somewhat organic (I wasn't paid) and they occurred in North America as well.  The entrenched political sphere does not go unchallenged.  Oligarchs are everywhere.

One of the contradictions is she accuses the Kremlin of paranoia regarding paid protestors, then tells a story of protestors getting paid.

Julia confesses she goes cross-eyed when it comes to cyber stuff, but a few minutes later turns out to be something of an authority on Russian hacking.  As of today, there's still a lot of speculation about the Fancy Bear stuff.  I see no reason to speak with such certainty.  Yes, we all have theories.

What's illegal about Russians using Facebook anyway?  But that's a different story from what's in the DNI report, which is not about Cambridge Analytica and UK meddling either.  Pretty selective.

The Kremlin doesn't believe in organic protests, Julia says, but then the protests against fracking in the west show all the signs of the conveyor belt turning the other way, i.e. the invisible hand of Moscow is behind the anti-fracking astroturf.  So we agree there's astroturf.  What happened to "organic"?

Thanks to Oliver Stone for contributing as much to any "Putin files" as Frontline's lineup.

Americans love revolutions Julia tells us, because theirs was a success.  And democracy.  The line that all these wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya (undermining Allende, imposing the Shah...) and so on are motivated by purely "good guy" ideals makes for an ideological simplification and rather one dimensional storyline.

But here's Frontline sitting at her feet, lapping it up, no tough questions, as that's not what this is about.  The interviewers are mainly there as fans.

Lets hope they're doing at least as many hours on someone domestic. Taking shots at foreign leaders is fun, but there's more to being PBS than that we hope.

But wait, Congress is always threatening to pull funding.  PBS is more like RT than CNN in that regard, an arm of the government.  Youtube says so right under the video, with a link to Wikipedia.

The Putin Files is more likely to endear PBS to Congress, which needs its old enemies to stay sane.  Not much GENI talk around DC these days, quite the backwater (aka swamp).

What's fun about this interview is Julia actually mentions The Americans, which I've been watching recently.  Where science fiction ends and reality begins is always hazy in this world.

Me on Facebook: 
Interesting interview, long. Frontline has hours and hours in its Putin Files. Her dad grew up in Moscow. Julia has a somewhat simplistic good versus evil worldview. Americans are idealistic and just want to spread democracy, making the world a better place. Putin will never understand will he?
We can project on Putin all we like, claiming he's influenced by his background in spydom, but how are we not all in that world at this point?  "Intelligence" is a very generic term and it's not all about being a next Einstein (who was spied on).

Paranoia is not something specifically Russian, duh.

Welcome to the noosphere then.

When do we get to talk about telepathy?  Not on this show.  Switch to Esalen?  Tell us more about how the hippies helped save physics maybe?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Looking Back

From Facebook Profile


Time passes more quickly now, and not just because I'm getting older.

Accelerating acceleration is what Alvin Toffler warned us about.

Events of just a few years ago are already vintage, like old black & white pictures from ages gone by.

That scruffy looking box in the back, leaning up against the fence (behind the C6XTY) contained a gazebo, coated steel frame, 10 by 10 feet when assembled (how tall?). 

I finally passed in on to a young couple with kids.  The mom came and got in her pickup truck.  Freecycle works.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Turning Sixty


A milestone for sure.  I almost didn't make it given how the year began, with a sudden hospitalization. We tend to meditate on such things, as the odometer turns.

I'm a working dude, not a big income.  Python teachers like me operate in the "gig economy" meaning without health insurance but for Oregon's.  Plus I do a lot more than teach this computer language.  I get to be one of the Wanderers and so on.

Glenn Stockton was by this morning, starting work on his Global Matrix website (think "hexapents"), having gained a new sponsor. I've been typing up his letter of introduction, for a packet he's mailing, to a new contact.  The sponsor is someone he already knows.

Right now I'm cooking with wonderful leftovers that Melody prepared during her all too brief recent stint here in Portland.  She left Carol's room in great shape.  That's my mom, 89.  Dad died in 2000 in a car accident in South Africa.  Carol was with him and gravely injured, but stayed with us and bounced back.  We had a great time as a family, living all over the world.

Some hours from now, I'll be launching into one of my night school gigs, bringing another cohort of Python programmers up to speed.  I'm also working on a Rhino project.  The Mac version of Rhino is quite a ways behind the Windows version, and I've never heard talk of a Linux version.  For what I'm doing these days, this version of OSX is sufficient.

I'm blessed with friends (also Friends) and family.  The planet is still a nightmare, in the human realm at least.  The idea that Engineers, not only Priests, Nuns or Psychologists, or Philosophers, might have a big role to play, in improving matters, is one of those themes the Wanderers are into.

I suppose I'm more a Philosopher than an Engineer, but I do see the relevance of artifacts, logistics, workflows, to the whole business.  Economics is becoming more engineering-minded, and I think that's a good thing.

A stronger science is not "at the expense" of mature religion.  That being said, not all religious sub-denominations have much of a half-life, unless they keep morphing in response to continuing revelation.

OK, back to eating and getting on with my work.  I'll visit Rosalie and whomever shows up at El Mercado [ he wrote after the fact ].  Thanks for the TrimTab T-shirt!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Martian Multiplication

5 x 2 = 10

Earthians (Earthlings) start with a square, subdivided into a grid, and show multiplication as a matter of slicing out rectangles, n x m.  Martians, in contrast, start with an equilateral triangle, subdivided into a grid, and show multiplication as a matter of slicing out triangles, also n x m.

The above triangle, in two shades of green, represents 2 x 6 = 12 i.e. the area of the triangle under the red line is equal to that of 12 grid triangles, shown in tan with green borders.  If you mentally swivel the lighter green obtuse triangle about a vertex shared in common with a second such area, you may see how the result fills exactly 4 unit triangles.  Light green (4) + dark green (8) = 12.

Now lets add another edge from the common origin and multiply three numbers instead of two.  Below we see what a volume of 2 x 2 x 5 = 20 might look like.  Of course any number of tetrahedrons may have the same volume.

Multiplying inside the IVM, the way Martians do it,  provides a canonical OABC for any OA x OB x OC.  ABC is "the lid" and simply "closing the lid" is all it takes to define the corresponding volume.

Martian Multiplication

Friday, May 11, 2018

Go By Train

Bill @ Union Station, Portland Oregon

Uncle Bill, 93, bopped down on Amtrak again today.  He only left himself two hours, which sounds like plenty of time to "bend an elbow" as he puts it (have a beer with his grand nephew), but when you subtract all the driving to and from... too ambitious.  He missed his Coast Starlight going back and took a Cascades instead.

The former (Coast Starlight) is the double-decker that goes from Vancouver BC all the way to San Diego.  As a younger family, we got to ride in the sleeper once, from Union Station (Portland) to San Diego and back.  A gift from my mom.

The latter (Cascades) is a different design, built to go faster, but Americans are having trouble with their infrastructure, as they exhaust their resources on adventures abroad.

Americans could have an amazingly fun set of tourist routes, where the point is the trip as much as the destination.  But infrastructure takes money and the public sector doesn't have any.  Private enterprise backs the war effort, filling the void.

A lot of us miss the old USA of course.  RIP Uncle Sam.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Nukes Suck

As my long time blog readers know, I don't believe the Persians are hellbent on getting nuclear weapons.  On the contrary, the political rhetoric coming from these religious leaders as that holding such WMDs is highly immoral and unethical.

The US Christians don't usually say that.  Evangelicals tend to be pro atom bomb, as an expression of God's love for them.

Protestants are especially bomb crazed and explosive ordnance, along with horror films, are principal exports of those infecting the urban areas, District of Columbia especially.

Loving the bomb is right up there with meth and heroine addiction, or addiction to an especially reprobate form of kinky porn.  It's not in the DSM, but it should be, as a possibly treatable mental illness.

A typical symptom of severe mental illness is uncontrolled projection.  If you secretly lust after so-and-so, then it may seem everyone around you is driven by similar secrets.  The lust for nuclear weapons becomes universal, in the mind of one who's been taken over by the meme virus.

That's what I see happening vis-a-vis the Persians (I don't say Iran because I'm not a big believer in UK imperial globes and their hastily drawn districts, silly anthems and flags, and nutty alliances between their "royal" spoiled families).  The nuke heads can't imagine losing the moral high ground, and compensate by playing king of the hill as they wallow in their addiction.

I don't have nuclear weapons, never have.  I came to Nuthouse Earth in 1958 and found it to be a place of great potential, but fearful idiot warmongers have been making this place a hell the whole time I've been here.  I get it.  The species is deeply flawed.  Great religions have worked to address these flaws, with some success, but there's a ways to go.

Actually, human nature may not be the core problem.  Growing pains entail many changes and that's why we need finite life spans, so that humans replace themselves with humans able to come to grips with the new realities, whatever these may be.  Even if there's reincarnation, we get to shed a lot of the debilitating beliefs we build up over the course of a lifetime.  There's that reset button, for back to factory settings, with true learnings collectively preserved.

In our time, the UN General Assembly has bypassed the UN Security Council and come up with its own treaty banning nuclear weapons.  Of course the nuke heads are against this treaty, but they're dying of aging and making last gasps.  The youth are more realistic and understand their careers as weapons inspectors and environmental cleanup agents are beaconing.  Dealing with messes the nuke heads made is already full time work for many people.

Iran (there, I said it, when in Rome...) has much more to gain than to lose by choosing the moral high ground and helping the world rid itself of weapons of mass suicide.  The Iranian religious leaders have embraced the UN Ban Treaty and proposed the whole region be nuclear free.  The whole globe, one would hope, would move in that direction, as a matter of religious faith and respect for whatever deity or deities.

Given the religious nature of Iran's anti-nuke weapon position, discovering a secret program such as others, suffering from their horrendous addiction, have no choice but to imagine, would be especially devastating psychologically.  Such hypocrisy would be hard to fathom.  That's like when gay bashing pulpit imams are found guilty of gay affairs.

A much more promising approach is for Iran to continue growing its alliances within the anti nuke weapon network, which includes the mayors of most cities.  Portland and Tehran are on the same page for example.  Oregon likewise suffers under sanctions from the dinosaur Federales and their military junta dictatorship.  We're friends with Iran.

What we want to stop is all the ethnic warring, deliberately inflamed by so-called special operators who make it their business to sew discord and distribute outward weapons.  Some of these operators pretend to be working on behalf of some "intelligence" agency but we've exposed that form of corruption many times.  Any drug dealer and half-wit criminal can come on TV or Youtube saying they work for the CIA.  Some of these people then get paying jobs working in media.

Remember, anyone who says "our nuclear weapons" or "when we bombed Japan" is likely an arm of some "we" that no longer has integrity or legitimacy.  These people need treatment, medical care, and are not ready for responsible offices or important duties.

Lastly, I don't want to promote ageism by saying older people can't continue to upgrade their thinking.  That's what American Transcendentalism is all about, what with its mind / brain distinction and focus on divine grace (intuition, Holy Spirit, zeitgeist).

Your heritage as a human is to have access to continuing revelation.  So if you're already older than thirty, hang in there and remember to pray for wisdom.  Don't end up like the walking dead.  Become reborn, over and over.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Data Science

Basic Skills

I get these analysts hinting I should see them as part of Capitalism's Invisible Army, but then I have my own litmus tests.  "Are you familiar with Grunch of Giants?"  Thom Hartmann uses an epigram from that book in his Unequal Protection.  He's had a show on RT off and on, lives in Portland.

Also "do you know how to use Jupyter Notebooks?"  As an analyst, I'd expect at least that much literacy.  Especially among the new hires.

We've got a lot of old farts running around pretending to be "intelligence professionals" but in many cases I see no tell tale sign this is the case.  I point out to my peers what to look for.

From Facebook:

We might come away with different conclusions based on whether we watch RT or MSNBC, but a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma in April either happened or it didn't right? That can't be left as open ended. What I've seen, based on several sources, is that it didn't. We see the video showing where and when the victims were supposedly treated, then go back to the exact same location, same room, same hoses, and interview some of the very same people we saw in the original video. They're fine. They say the White Helmet people were shouting "chemical attack" and spraying cold water on people. I'm not so relativistic about reality as to think "it happened" and "it didn't happen" at the same time, as if we were talking about Schrödinger's Cat.

Where I come down in my investigation of the concept of "gaslighting" is it's important that a "perpetrator" has to be knowingly deceiving e.g. if RT hired crisis actors and meticulously recreated the original scene, all to give us these fake interviews that made us question our reality, doubt our sanity, that would be gaslighting. 

Those who believe the Moon Landings were a hoax think that some core people, such as Stanley Kubrick, were gaslighting, i.e. knowingly participating in a ruse. On the other hand, someone who naively believes in the hoax (a whole-hearted dupe, such as myself), is not gaslighting. 

If you sincerely believe X and seek to persuade others of X, that's by definition NOT gaslighting. You have to know that you're lying and deceiving. Like if you've committed murder and want to hide your crime.

I've been watching postmortems of the invasion of Iraq trying to figure out if Dick Cheney was gaslighting or if he was simply inexperienced in intelligence matters and couldn't fathom that documents such as the yellow cake from Niger memo might be forged, or that exile expats might lie. 

My current hypothesis is he was dangerously naive and inexperienced and actually believed the misinformation he was being fed. I think most analysts believe he was knowingly lying i.e. gaslighting. 

Either way, the lesson learned, it seems, by those eager to prosecute their war, was that pausing to discover the real facts of the case are an impediment and could end up derailing the war plan, so the new technique is to respond without pause, because waiting to discover facts is considered weak. To me, that sounds like a form of insanity and/or like a case of gaslighting (intentional deception).

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Horror Stories

Friday, May 04, 2018

Back to Work


I returned the balance of The Americans unwatched.

"It was getting too addictive" I told the librarian, who empathized.  I've got school work to keep up with, and a job to teach what I've learned.

Anyway, I got the idea.  My respects to the entire cast.  I hope to get back to it sometime.  Maybe on an airplane flight somewhere.

No more time for any binge-watching of clever screenwriter fantasies.

Speaking of which, a film crew was out in force half way up Mt. Tabor.  Glenn knew immediately which house I meant and said crews have been there on numerous occasions.

Why do I doubt it's just a commercial then, like that guy said?  They pointedly don't have any signs out telling us what they're filming.

I was reading The Economist this morning at Common Ground.  Sounds like DC is at it again, the rogue city with a grandiosity complex.

That gross attack against Syria reminded me of Clinton's cruise missile attack on the veterinary medicine plant, but on a much huger scale, in terms of folly.  Too Cuban Missile crisis.

Havana and Puerto Rico should talk more about trade.  DC imposes sanctions everywhere it looks of course, on its colonies especially (Guantanamo, Okinawa, Kwajalein ...).

The macroscope is a lot about gases in the atmosphere and their sources.  Methane tends to be a mystery these days.  It's rising, but why?  Quadrays look like methane, but I don't think that's it.

The satellites are on it.  Detective work needed.

To those saying the "secret" Michael Pompeo meetup with Kim Jong Un is DeepFaked, I say what does it matter?  Saves on jet fuel to use avatars.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Phi Spiral

Koski & Forscutt


Monday, April 30, 2018

The Americans (movie review)

The Americans is not actually a movie, but a TV series, like Breaking Bad or Dexter.

The premise is we're following the lives of "illegals" in the KGB.  The suspense mechanism is similar in all of the above:  people with secrets play in close contact with originally unsuspecting others with growing suspicions.

I mention this series in a recent story about Spy Camp, as I try to extract positives from this memeplex.

What I do enjoy about this series is it's a throwback to the Reagan days, which from the perspective of 2018 is long enough ago to seem a "period" in terms of cars, telephones, and the est Training.  Lots of excerpts from TV news.

True enough, est was big around DC for awhile.  That's where dad did it, whereas I was busy getting in trouble with one of Erhard's lawyers.  Nothing too special.  I had my own ideas about where the training might go.

The historical backdrop is this:  DC, a determined player given its command over weaponry and trained personnel, was ramping up in Afghanistan and Pakistan in ways designed to make trouble for Russians.

What concerns me though, is how Cowardly Capitalism leaves it to screenwriters to ooze history through the pores of science fiction.  Every "real world" TV show conjures up some form of imaginary reality.  As FBI agent Beeman makes clear:  it was through comic strips about the FBI that he first became interested in becoming an agent.

People express skepticism about how much emphasis psychology puts on dreams, fantasy, folktales, theater.  Or do they?  Once you think about all the hours we subject ourselves to fictional television, the word "programming" takes on new meaning.

The portrayal of est is pretty good but not perfect.  The est Trainer was not alone with the trainees. We had mic runners, logistics supervisor, trainer assistant.  The agreement was to do both weekends (keeping one's word was a big part of it). The screenwriters didn't have room to get into it.

The fact that one of the FBI agents is John Boy from The Waltons is a further loop-back through earlier archeological layers of memes.

Oops, I'm wrong:  they're back for their second weekend (est).  Hard to believe all that happened in just five days, but then life is a roller coaster (soap opera, whatever).

I took in Covert Affairs awhile back.  They have a lot in common, however I find the screenwriting deeper on The Americans.  I guess I'm a sucker for this est stuff.  I bit of a nostalgia trip.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vehicular Autonomy

I think we've all been impressed by the theme park ride, if we've had the pleasure.  I'm talking less about the rollercoasters than what I called "noisy doors" in remote childhood.  The car rides on a track, with passengers not responsible for steering.  Sometimes the track veers unexpectedly, part of the fun, and a reminder of helplessness (these rides can be scary).

We understand that a swarm of vehicles, controlled by the same software, could fly down the freeway, not touching.  A small town might implement the "Disney" system.  I think of it that way because of the rides, the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad in particular.

So where are the EPCOTs for testing these technologies?  We see the Hyperloop experiments.  Prototypes are important, nor must they stay under wraps.  We're doing science here.  Science evolves through "many eyeballs".  We're a Bazaar, not a Cathedral.

From Al Gore to Donald Trump, the rhetoric has been similar:  infrastructure needs upgrades.  With president Obama, we got the surge, the economic stimulus package, a shot in the arm.  But the public sector is locked out.  Investors want to keep it all proprietary.

The Grunch, in the meantime (a word we use, for "supranationals as a group"), needs human subjects. I know that sounds evil.  Now I'm thinking of Guinea Pig B, another insider reference.

Bernie Sanders:  give everyone a job.  Reality TV might have a more serious purpose, to show life in an EPCOT.  Let people decide for themselves if this is a future to favor.  Product placement might happen even sans commercials.  We see the artifacts in action.  We talk about the brands we use.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Troll Farms

Adrenalin Peak, Oak's Park, Sellwood, Oregon

I perused that Atlantic Monthly article, about the old US president's job being impractical, and listened to the follow-up interview on NPR. I sat in my car in the driveway to get the whole thing, having returned from the elementary school in the blog post below.

A strong president needed input from Intelligence Chiefs, with the word "chief" clearly resonating with N8V American tribes and their chiefdoms ("fire chief" is in there also).  Lots of them.

Today was warm and Spring-like (because it's Spring). Glenn knocked on my door, arousing me from REM sleep.  He was on his way to Willamette Week on his bicycle, upset that Oregon Theater on Division was littering sidewalks with flyers, not even bothering to staple them to phone poles.

Upper Hawthorne was awash with these things.  He picked them up, which took some hours.  I discovered the same littering phenomenon along Foster, and took some pictures.

I also photographed the spanking new rollercoaster at Oak's Park.  I'd read about it, and now got to see it for myself.  It's brand new and in pristine condition.  The park was not open, but pedestrians are welcome to mill about.  I walked the bike closer for a better view.

My meet-up on Foster was in part about Australian history, today being Battle of Gallipoli Day.  Or maybe that was yesterday.  I'm doing some research on it now, and thinking of the movie Churchill and his reluctance, per that narrative, to sign on to the Normandy campaign.

We talked about the actor George C. Scott.  I was right that he starred in Day of the Dolphin ("man is bad").

Most interesting was my discussion with an expert in Icelandic culture in medieval times, the educational institutions in particular.  I queried him about the Scandinavian spin on this word "troll" which is much in the news lately.

Internet Research Agency out of St. Petersburg was deemed a "troll farm" by the FBI, but I didn't see Cambridge Analytica getting cast as a "troll farm" despite its openly bragging about its meddling in the 2016 election via Facebook.  Why the double standard?  Are Russians more troll-like than Brits?  Evidently.

As it turns out, trolls were badass anti-heroes that added spice to a family tree.  If you were a weighty House in Norway, you might proudly proclaim some troll blood in your veins.

I'm reminded of how Neanderthals are in vogue today.  Good news if your genetic profile suggests you're not just a plain vanilla Cro-Magnon.  How bland.

Of course I'm aware the term "troll" has developed its own meaning in the context of the Internet.  There's also the verb form "to troll" which roughly means "to bait" or even "to tease".

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Learning to Code

I'm about to head out to a distant section of Greater Portland, actually outside the city limits I'm pretty sure, to work with elementary school students on learning to code.

Working in this wartime economy is difficult.  You might think I'm far away from any wars, living in some American Dream, so what am I talking about?

In truth, North Americans have become psychologically damaged by Endless Wars with no end in sight.  The Weapons of Mass Suicide are singing a siren song to a lot of people.

This morning I galvanized the Wanderers discussion list to pick up some controversial topic for debate, something with science and engineering angles.  We'll be looking at so-called 5G and the topic of microwave radiation.

There's a sense that we're drowning in false reports and propaganda.  The narratives have not grown up sufficiently to sound realistic, so we get these little nightmare scenarios.  We know they have a short half life. I think that's because we've already outgrown the nation-state system, such as it was, but so what if that's what I think.  What people feel are the constraints of the straitjacket.

People take refuge in what's slower moving, the more cosmic, the wheel of life itself.  The political narratives of the wartime economy are a source of brain damage.  Lets just call it "wrong frequency" and seek protection.

I'm all for increasing tourism to replace terrorism.  That's stereotypically a leisure class activity and a lot of people are being expelled from the leisure class.  Another way to tour is in uniform, not as a guest necessarily, but as an armed combatant.  That's how many get to see the world today, as terrorists.

However, we also see that many of those engaged in the fighting cannot afford uniforms.  They're civilians defending a piece of turf, turned into combatants by circumstance.  North Americans see how this phenomenon is spreading and cling to their own weapons just in case.  They see Aleppo and realize that cities are not safe.

That's what happens in wartime.  Planning for the future tends to low ebb.  People just don't see a shared vision.  Only positive science fiction is in any way unifying.  Dystopian science fiction is more ubiquitous, but then people can't agree on it as easily.  The narrative fragments even as it demoralizes.

I don't bother my students with world affairs.  We're focused on learning skills and concepts.  I do my best to exit the wartime economy and create a small oasis of peacetime for them.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cerebral Sunday

Our breakfast meeting was about GST, in particular the question of how best to teach thermodynamics in conjunction with the global economy.

Now, I'm not talking about global warming or climate change, so much as what we call the Earth's energy budget.  How much energy comes in, and how much goes out?  Terry emphasizes that it's close to net zero, otherwise the global temperature would be increasing or cooling much faster than it is.

OK, I take it back, there's a global warming aspect to the equations.  Just to be clear though, we're looking at how hydrocarbons impound solar energy to create vegetation, forests and so on.  Then there's the rain cycle:  evaporation feeds rivers and an endless supply of water flowing downhill.

Humans stick their water wheels into these rivers and thereby get more horsepower than ever.  The same strategy gets us hydroelectric power today.

Malthus appreciated that life increased at geometric rates (exponentially) in the right conditions. That includes vegetation, however since surface area is a constraint on arable land, he forecast a human population outstripping food supplies in the near future.

Terry, whom I was meeting with, also Glenn, went to the same London School of Economics, ages later.  The population was pushing towards ten billion but growth rates were slowing according to some metrics.  He's interested in the history of thermodynamics going back especially to French language thinkers Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis and the Carnots (Lazare and Sadi).

GST does factor in solar power as the major ecosystem driver of life on Earth, but of course it takes more than power to make a system go.  One needs components, complexity, organisms.

How the build-up in complexity affects any global entropy measure, if that makes any sense, is still an open question in my book.  I'm looking for more authors to address it.

After breakfast, Glenn and I walked to the Friends Meeting on Stark, by way of Movie Madness, and met with several Friends.  We were heading up Mt. Tabor.

Then I had a 2 PM appointment with an earnest student of what I might call psychological physics, also known by the label Deep Democracy as championed by Arnold Mindell and associates based here in Portland.  I've been to a few of Arnie's workshops and studied his writings.

Physics, in proposing to offer "theories of everything" tends to get drawn in to talking about such memes as "consciousness" which of course connects them to what "unconscious" might mean.  Typically, an "unconscious being" is simply unaware of some otherness, insofar as it has any awareness.  I realize that's a circular definition.

I took a lot of pictures of book covers and book contents throughout the day, given the veritable blizzard of information coming at me.  What better way to make a record?

However, I went through my camera battery doing that, such that when it came time to attend my friend Matthew's sixtieth birthday (we're about the same age), I had to grab a backup camera, the one that was starting to jam (it gets paralyzed). The backup camera jammed every time this time, so I feel back on my Android for any pictures.  This was out in Tualitin-Sherwood, at the Century Hotel.

D'Arcy Thompson was a main figure in the morning meeting, so when I got back I started reading his On Growth and Form again.  I've never read it cover to cover.  Then I found some Youtubes about the guy, including the one linked above. D'Arcy was a big inspiration behind this new book Scale by Geoffrey West which I've been reading, and recommending.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Death of Journalism

The US and UK no longer have a functioning mainstream media when it comes to reporting "news". The independent voices have access to the internet. RT has helped a smarter group stay in public consciousness.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hectic Day

Although I made a token appearance at Wanderers tonight, I didn't have much energy for conversation, and left early, seeking cheap caffeine, which I have at my place.

This was marathon psychotherapy day with H&R Block, only to find out that the USPO had changed pickup times at Fred Meyers.  Only yesterday, April 16, the day before the tax rush.

Fortunately, I had an afternoon gig in Clackamas County.  Unfortunately, the detour to Fred Meyers cost me valuable minutes and a few kids gave up on me and went home as usual.  I'll be there extra early next time.  One of those schools where if you show up when the bell rings, you have no way of parking.  My first day in Happy Valley (that's not the name of the school).

After an hour with the kids sharing MIT Scratch, a favorite of Portland Public Schools (I'm private sector), I used the maps app to find the nearest post office.  The thing is:  these were amended returns and it's especially true that the State of Oregon freezes whatever you claimed on this date.  I had a few dollars in savings, which, to me, actually means something.

I sent checks with both returns and have Trimet queued.  I just need to wait for a couple invoices to clear.  In the meantime, I have overdraft protection.

It's all going through the motions for me, as it hurts to face extortion by organized crime, which is how it feels when an executive at some far off desk job chooses the most reckless course possible, thinking people buy the farcical "reality TV" they're pumping out to us.

You know how it is.  My family tried to live overseas as much as possible to avoid propping up the military junta, as we might as well say in the open now. The facts are on the table.  I've lived under martial law before.

You don't need to declare war to have war.  That's a lesson these latter day executives have taken to heart.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Loving Sophia

I've been mounting an old soap box and calling for a recall of the PhD degree, a defective product.  How could "lovers of knowledge" prop up such a corrupt academic establishment?  Letting Pearson get away with not sharing our polyhedrons is a travesty.  The UK is not our friend.

Look at what happened in Saudi Arabia.  A hoax puppet, made to seem smart, got to be a Saudi citizen and address the UN, making a mockery of the curriculum everywhere.  Who needs Yes Men anymore, when supposedly bright people are this gullible?

I take the high fear levels around AI, traceable to Terminator movies, as a projection of what we most fear:  that our own conditioned reflexes, our robotic side, will end civilization.  That's a real danger.  We're 99% robot, with only 1% "that of God" (intuitively minded). Our robotic side is very useful in a pinch, but may also get us killed.

The real danger of AI is that we, the really intelligent (RI) will become dumber and dumber, turning into robots.  The army of PhDs, so-called "doctors of philosophy" aren't fighting back it seems.  They're surrendering to their own artificialness, turning phony to their cores.  AI = PI (phony intelligence).  It's everywhere.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Queen of the Desert (movie review)

I took in this masterful piece of storytelling at Glenn's place.  He had it checked out of Multnomah County Library.  Nicole Kidman plays Gertrude Bell, and creates a haunting tale of a big soul, another Tara in her world (this one of camels and pyramids, and Lawrence of Arabia -- set somewhat the same time as Wonder Woman, the big movie).

Gertrude felt horribly penned in by British domestic society and begged her dad for more adventure. Good patriarch that he was, he found her a situation in Tehran, where she fell in love with the culture, and the third ranking secretary (male persuasion). Her dad was not about to give his property to that gambling house (they wished to marry) and the situation deteriorated (neither was fully a master of their own destiny, but then who is?).

Flash forward, and Gertrude is amongst the Bedouin.  She has the truly healthy and in no way twisted ethic of the anthropologist just hoping to understand her / his fellow man.  She knows at some level that she's helping to stabilize the situation simply through the force of her own integrity.  The men respect that and understand she's playing as they do, for high stakes and respect.

Werner Herzog employs either cranes or drones we don't know, perhaps all mysteries were revealed in The Making Of, but on this date and time, I needed to withdraw and continue with my overall mission.  That includes another rendezvous, and then more thinking about Machine Learning in tandem with Synergetics.  Glenn was all about Bayesian geostatistics this evening, flipping through the latest Nature.

I think of my mom and her sojourning with Coptics, south of Cairo.  Women with big souls often are first over the walls, you could say riding broomsticks, but why not also with respect.  Women are not some lesser species, after all.  Not that this needs reiterating in polite company.  Feel free to resume enjoying your desserts.  Coffee anyone?  I think I'll have one.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Colonialism 2018

The Colony of Puerto Rico, called a Commonwealth as that sounds better, is not free to accept ships from just anywhere. The hurricane was a jobs program for many maritime workers, not to mention pilots, if only for evacuation purposes.

The Jones Act is what I'm urging AFSC to keep studying.  Lots of analysis slowly brews and gets untapped at a later date. Just like with the HVDC lines, and all that research (GENI etc.), and with the refugee issues studied by UNHCR, the learning phase takes time.  Detective work is sometimes painstaking.

The above connects to the Chinese Peace Corps meme, which is somewhat esoteric.  The idea for free eyeglasses for all who need them, as a bare minimum living standard expectation, sounded like something Chinese would think of, and then encourage by means of inexpensive aid programs, in Walmart parking lots perhaps, in Michigan.

North Americans sometimes don't see themselves in need of care and assistance.  Yet the rest of the world sees a lot of sickness on their screens, and lots of acting out around the world. 

Having Chinese help provide eyeglasses might seem demeaning, as if "the richest nation on earth" couldn't organize such a thing.  But it couldn't.  More likely it would punch you in the face and break the glasses you already have.

I think the struggling people of North America are more aware of their pain and therefore more likely to assist others, whereas those enjoying insulated lives want to control how much the dispossessed try to help one another.  That's a long way of saying we won't be angry if other countries ignore the embargo against Puerto Rico.

Targeting Puerto Rico for sanctions was never fair in the first place.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

No Macroscope?

Globe & Map

We have the telescope and microscope, have for decades (though both keep morphing), yet no "macroscope" is a household word.  Why?  What's a "macroscope" anyway?

Google Earth has come about as close as anyone to declassifying a Big Earth animated globe thingy, but not in real time, as people aren't ready for "everyone seeing everything" through satellites.

Some of us want to guard against poachers.

That was my big push with drones, and not as shooters.  Inform the authorities and set up whatever road blocks or check stations. If there's a way to save more animals, consider the options.  I digress.

I never supported their use in warfare, though of course war is not about "fair" and no one asked my permission, one way or the other. I never called for their use against Julian either, even in jest.

Buckminster Fuller suggested "geoscope" for the same thing, and got close in 1967, when the original US State Department proposal was for an unfolding geoscope that formed a Dymaxion Projection (same Gaussian as a Snyder pretty much but in a unique arrangement ideally suited to keeping contiguous landmasses contiguous).

Those adjoined only by oceans get spread apart.

The Expo people decided that might be too cerebral and why not go with a giant geodesic dome instead, a smaller version memorialized at EPCOT in Orlando, decades latter?

Montreal 67 was the Taj Mahal of geodesic structures.  No nation has had more self respect than Canada, when it comes to hosting such a bold architecture.  Makes sense:  Donald Coxeter.

Later blueprints anchored a Geoscope in East River opposite the UN building, a convenience for those inside, and a tourist attraction.  The tensegrity moorings would have competed for attention with the tensegrity radio tower atop New York's newest trade center, had either project been completed.

Kenneth Snelson of Needle Tower fame (Washington DC) and many other tensegrity structures, had been approached about providing one as a finishing touch to the new skyscraper.

Actually, macroscopes do exist, for precisely the purpose intended, the display of global data.  They just don't enjoy the courtesy of an instrument name, such as "telescope" and "microscope" enjoy.  We're to get by with "globe" or "planetary data display" or some generic.

That's as of 2018 BCE in my specific locale (OR 97214), where I monitor only a subsample of how the world population speaks (by "world population" I mean to include those in low orbit aboard staffed machines).

Glenn Stockton of Global Matrix fame keeps tabs on such literature and is well aware of the many authors and authorities involved in macroscope development.  Again, Google Earth is representative of the state of the art.

But in what ways has this asset been incorporated into the elementary, middle and high school grades?  The vector towards becoming a "household word" is through percolation within a curriculum.  Who looks at Earth?

More schools may be screening macroscopes soon.  The LCDs might not be interactive, but are instead preprogrammed to hop around, like a programmed Planetarium projector might do.

These are related devices (Planetariums and Macroscopes), as Christian Science Mapparium (Boston, MA) clearly demonstrates.  Observers stand inside the planet in question, with global data appearing as stained glass. Might pixels be referred to as "stained" when containing RGB "dyes"?

Look for macroscopes in Dubai?

The Lower48 keeps telling itself it's the richest "nation" on Earth -- which is touching -- and we want these folks to succeed.  But lets be honest:  their budget for education is far outclassed by those working harder for their children.  End Timers have reason to be lazy, in proportion to the certainty with which they cling to those beliefs.

I'm not claiming all North Americans are End Timers, let alone all in Lower48.  But those who are ready to see it all come to a full stop probably won't see the need for planners or futurists.  What's the point, right?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Drama Queens

Yes, this one is hilarious. It hits so many movie-maker cliches right on the nose, the chords of melodrama.

I think a lot of the Boomer generation thinks the world suddenly got a lot more tabloid at some point, as if the supermarket checkout lane world just took over one day and won't ever let go.

The above trailer captures that sense of claustrophobia, wherein a mundane nuisance becomes an existential threat of gun blaster proportions.  Such a psyche tends to feed on itself.  From merely dramatic, we move to melodramatic, then off the scale (the so-called deep end) to surreal. 

However surreal could be fun with a Dali throwing the party, so I'm not saying all our reality TV shows must be nightmarish, even if surreal sometimes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Paradigm Shift

Library Book

This is the one to read after Cryptonomicon, which is historical science fiction. This newer one, The Theory that Would Not Die, is availing itself of a lot of the same information.  As author Sharon Bertsch McGrayne points out:  a lot of this wartime business didn't start to trickle out until the 1970s.  The people who participated were forbidden to share their experience, for "national security" reasons.

The premise of the recent movie Churchill, was that Winston had huge doubts about the wisdom of D-Day, and took comfort in the idea that the weather might be on his side.  He tried his best to talk Eisenhower out of it.

According to this recent history of Data Science, Eisenhower possibly had access to deeper secrets from the UK's own Bletchley Park than Churchill did, and knew, from intercepted and decrypted communications, that Hitler saw a Normandy landing as a likely bluff, and wanted his generals to gird for the "real thing" should it happen.

That told Eisenhower his deception was working.

I knew a guy who'd served under General Patton in the UK, where the goal was to appear to be amassing a large army, such that aerial surveillance would be fooled.  The Germans would think those were tanks, but they were closer to inflated balloons.  The Churchill movie doesn't talk about all this.

I remember when this older guy I knew, a WW2 veteran, finally felt free to share his experience:  the New York Times had published a story on the fake army just that morning or thereabouts. This was way back in the 1980s.

Alan Turing, on the other hand, was never allowed to talk about his critical role saving Britain.  Churchill was very keen to have all evidence destroyed.  Exactly why again?

Why do politicians have the power to order mass destruction of anything, anywhere?  Because we authorize them to do so?  So we can scapegoat them later when things don't go as planned?  Yeah, something like that.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Studying Wars

Enough still unprocessed warring has gone on to last lifetimes.

The violence voyeur is always seeking some new spectacle.  A younger generation comes along and asks itself "how would I behave in wartime?"  Some seek glory.

Maybe we don't need you to find that out?  How would you behave if war were not a goal?

Politicians continually need assurance they'll be able to whip up war fever, and float a lot of trial balloons in that regard, just to see where they stand with the minions.

The minions, for their part, get bamboozled into one war after another, because they don't get the time or space to really study.  They repeat the same mistakes, having too little time to learn from mistakes already made.

"Stop the world I want to get off" is the cliche complaint people ridicule, knowing there's no stopping.  However, without reflection, life stays shallow and superficial.  What would it be like to let generations really learn their own past?

We have enough raw material to last many lifetimes.  Do we really need to create more gratuitous karma for ourselves?

Slow down and learn about what has already happened.  Wouldn't that be a huge luxury?  You could still tour, enjoy those cruise ships, explore museums.

We didn't need you to start new wars.  Maybe you did anyway.  You might have thought elective wars would get you elected? Is that what your donors told you?  Were they paying you to get a war on?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


We use these short little acronym in government (Cyberia) all the time.  ML = Machine Learning.  DL = Deep Learning.  If you don't know what these mean, you're likely a left-behind politician with too little time for engineering to really govern (steer).

As a newbie in the circle of ML / DL teachers, I'm very humble.  I sit at the feet of favorite teachers and sponge it up, tasking my own neural net to re-weight and re-bias as necessary.  Get to the bottom of all these meanings.  Investigate.  Don't assume, coming in, that your namespace is well-tempered (well-tuned).

My approach is two-track.  First, I've somewhat abandoned doing everything in Sphinx, not because I have any issues with Sphinx, but because of my own weaknesses and shortcomings with regard to Github.  There's a final step wherein documentation might "go live" in world-readable (open source) space, but I'm not taking it.  Second, I'm staying with Python.

Track One:  manual skills, like when gardening, you need to know how to use a spade, trowel, shovel, bucket, weed whacker and so on. 

Track Two:  conceptual grasp.  The latter comes slowly or at least at its own rate, less under conscious control, whereas practicing with matplotlib, numpy, pandas and scikit-learn APIs is eminently doable of one's own volition.

My focus is on polishing Track One manual skills and remaining patient with the "slow dawning" that is the gradual emergence (surfacing) of any knowledge domain.  I can't rush Track Two whereas if I burn the candle at both ends, I can practice the way athletes practice:  you keep at it.

Keeping these tracks separate has one big advantage:  I don't have to apologize for taking the ten thousand foot view and going for broke on Track Two, all out of proportion to what my manual skills yet allow.  I'm barely able to dig a trench yet am already studying the intricacies of orchid raising, or beekeeping (not usually considered part of gardening, but then really everything is).

My humility does not translate into refraining from actually studying the magic.  I just have to admit I haven't practiced enough, nor re-tuned my model enough, to fully minimize the error function (cost function).  I'm still getting to the bottom of ML DL (gradient descent).

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

World Game Continues

Wanderers, who meet frequently at the Linus Pauling House on Hawthorne, tend to be familiar with the World Game idea, and a couple of us at least, have actually played it.  Francher showed up at the ones led by Buckminster Fuller himself.  I played it in Eugene, and in San Diego, when Tara was just taking her first steps.

We're reading about the passing of Jay Baldwin and 85, an American hero and lover of cars, who escaped New Jersey and headed for California along the open road.  He love of cars it would steered him towards Fuller, who developed a three wheeled Dymaxion Car at a critical juncture.  Then came the Dymaxion House.  These were props we could use on the World Stage (where World Game is actually played).

I'm beginning a new course on data science tonight and want my students to get in touch with their internal data scientist.  I think some of us get turned off statistics for the same reason we don't really like economics:  the topics are too dismal, to fatalistic and deterministic.  "I'm not a statistic" the ego cries, fitting the model.  I know I've eschewed thinking like a data scientist most of my life.  I'll confess that, and discuss techniques for overcoming such limitations.

World Game connects to Club of Rome in that humanity was newly becoming aware of its ability to model reality based on big data, or any data at all.  Computers could churn through the number crunching, according to whatever algorithms.  Humans would be free to focus on the algorithms.  We could turn our mathematical understanding into a better tool for forecasting.  These were seeming like superpowers.

I wrote on the Club of Rome in eighth grade, for Mr. Craden's sociology class.  We had sociology at the Overseas School of Rome.  Dad subscribed to The Futurist, was an urban planner in charge of drawing up fifty year plans for the government of Libya.  I took for grated that humans were meant to "think big".  That was part of our role.  During a crisis period in Jersey City, I came to doubt that such thinking mattered, as it never seemed to gain traction.  History did its own thing, never mind how we planned it.  I've come to a later synthesis, still being fine-tuned.

World Game is all about anticipating, forecasting from data.  Even for that reason alone I should be grateful for this opportunity to retrain and change the relative weights in my neural nets, feeding more power and influence to my internal data scientist.  The free open source tools I'm learning to use help me play World Game more effectively.  The very process of learning to use them helps me project what the personal workspace (PWS) of tomorrow will be like.  The PWS is a core concept within GST.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Big Sur (movie review)


Glenn rented this one from Multnomah Public Library. He'd read some Kerouac novels and grew up in the same generation, more or less. Jack was a pack leader, of the Beat Generation, but feels ambivalent in his role.

Glenn recognized City Lights Books as iconic and said the real one was bigger than the one in the movie.  He pulled out a book he'd procured there.

Mostly it's a movie about alcohol and its potentially devastating impact on many lives, extending well beyond the drinker's. The movie is also about truth-telling and keeping it real.  The characters care about one another, they're just not sure how to express it.

Here's poor old Jack in what we might call a utopia, a cozy cabin at Big Sur, friendly supporters, and with a dream girl and her beautiful son. She's eager to be his life-long companion, and yet he's suicidal and in hell.

Viewer jealousy may be forgiven, but must Jack really suffer that much?  What were his sins that he cannot enjoy his own fame and fortune?

These beatniks were too undisciplined, drinking while driving, forgetting to make plans.

I understand they needed to escape an overly constraining, fiercely racist environment, and that the psychological cost of alienation was an occupational hazard.  Wavey Gravy, another beat poet, did a better job transitioning.

The youthful rebellion gathered momentum, and by the hippie days was more self-defining. Or was it? Jack Kerouac transitions to Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead.

The hippie era was somewhat less blighted by alcohol perhaps, in that the hip cool thing was to explore psychedelics, which have different side effects. This movie doesn't need to tackle the subject of entheogens.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

From Facebook

As an Oregon voter and taxpayer, I'd like to know more about these new security protections Oregonians have a right to know more about. Anyone into cybersecurity knows its about adhering to open standards using source code anyone can check.

That's how NIST designs stuff, around Elliptic Curve and AES. Oregon has Vote-By-Mail so I'm curious what people see as vulnerable to Russian attack.

I know my curiosity will be met by a cloak of secrecy if the plan is actually to further heist the system by making it opaque (less transparent). That'd be hard to do given the stated objectives and follow-up audits we'll be demanding.

Americans (in the US sense) have long distrusted the voting machine infrastructure, dating back several elections. I haven't seen many claims that this sense of distrust traces to Russian propaganda.

Rather, it seems well-founded and based on actual cases of tampering that have come to light, most notably purges of voter rolls using deliberately sloppy techniques designed to spread collateral damage among specific demographics.

Those who studied the black box voting machines found much to criticize.

So where is NIST in this picture?

Does the US commit any funds towards researching and developing the infrastructure of democracy?

If MAGA means anything at all, it would have to mean looking to the US for role model, trusted technology around voting, combined with best practices.

The US is very far from that now, with most judging bodies saying US elections no longer pass the sniff test. There may be moves afoot to hold the Russians accountable for Stinky Politics Nation (SPN), but that could easily backfire. Blaming all one's problems on a convenient enemy has a way of not working out.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Water for Elephants (movie review)

Really well filmed and acted. Big name cast.

One might argue it's a tad tabloid, histrionic, pulp fiction. In a word: corny. So there you are, the audience, perhaps with popcorn. Here are your freaks: more beautiful than average, in a world of cruelty. Quite the novel (soap opera, whatever).

The setting is the time of hobos, men sans work, riding the railroads to redistribute their labor, much as Amazon caravaners, other Dead Head type tribes, do today. Wandering gypsies, in a Gypsy Economy. Welcome to 2018.

The plot features a triangle: circus impresario (reminds me of Bug's Life) with stunning wife-horse act, hires protagonist of Polish background to work with the animals.

In a desperate economic gamble, an elephant is acquired, and it turns out she speaks Polish, meaning the impresario with anger management problems manages to not wreck his own circus for at least awhile longer.

Anyway, I was really impressed, especially by the elephant playing Rosie.

Queued for Iranian TV? Total film nuts, like the Japanese.

Anyway, I'm proposing it for Pyconic conferences, for the movie track (similar to the hallway track, quite informal, more like BOFs).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Free College

The progressives say Russiagate is distracting from the student debt problem, plus so many Americans are political prisoners of the Feds, post the ending of Prohibition (part 2) on the part of several states. Facing these issues is too painful for those with no solutions, so the scapegoats are to blame. An old story.

In the meantime, geeks such as helped win WWII for the British, the Turing Types, have transformed the face of education to where the logical API is your dorm room studio aka home.  The lectures are all there, as are opportunities for two-way and multi-way communication.  Concentrating on making the home a true PWS (personal workspace) makes more sense than borrowing money to invest in someone else's digs.  How many homes might one person afford (a great many, in some cases)?

The point:  "free college" as some imagine it, might not be as brick and mortar nor as easily paid for on the backs of young people.  Getting relief from those loans might involve entering another service, one that pays loans back, but perhaps in a devaluing currency.  Inflation is on the side of borrowers right?  Not all M1 denominated in dollars are actually Treasury bills.  But I'm getting ahead of my story.

Maybe we could pay them in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency to redo college but in a different way, one that involves work/study which could mean world travel, and you might not have to wear a uniform or carry weapons.  The world is getting really sick of weapons and those who find them necessary to their survival.  Weapons used recreationally, not for crimes, are not actually weapons, nor sold as such.  A nuance of the language.

Anyway, I think patriots of all countries can rally around a university system that rescues more than it impedes.  There's a transfer of wealth going on, in entropic terms, from the sun to the earth, meaning an increase in entropy there, leading to eventual gigantism or brown drawfism, is feeding syntropy here, or potentially is doing that.  Or ability to order information has gotten rather good, what with big data and server farms and all.

Russiagate looks like an attempt to stop hacktivism and assert Federal control in new overreaching ways.  The move to criminalize self expression is quite one sided, with corporations free to pour money into Federal coffers, but forbidden to engage in private ventures unless friendly to same, willing to pay tribute and bribes.  A kind of extortion is happening, whereas a lot of the geeks who worked hard on this railroad were not doing so for the aggrandizement of any District, of Columbia or otherwise.

We'll see if the FBI is successful, in combination with the Patriot Act and other tools, in continuing to prosecute anyone using social media in ways disapproved of by the DOJ or any of several players set up to enforce a set of rules within a particular jurisdiction.  Those using Facebook to advertise their post Prohibition product lines are engaging in activities the DOJ has criminalized, or so they might soon allege.  But how does one tell Facebook to deny Californians access to home grown social media?  Silicon Valley is not about to surrender its economy to east coasters who don't know bash or think Ubuntu is some kind of drink.