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

povray_on_pi

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 tetraflops) 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

P1050891
:: on SE Hawthorne, turning north onto Chavez ::

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Parallel Processing

P1050666

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.

Держись!
Держись!

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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Monday, July 02, 2018

Approximating a Bizmo

Trending, not quite a Bizmo

Bizmo Diaries (this blog) anticipates more use of vans in help-the-world scenarios. We're not quite there yet.

I've always been well ahead of my time.

Dave Ulmer was another pioneer of this lifestyle.

Getting There

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done


I don't think "globalism" always translates to fantasies about one world government. It's just a fact that 8+ billion humans are embedded in a spherical biosphere, a Babel University. It's neither hubristic nor utopian to point that out.

Our awareness of this context is more acute than ever, given the faster feedback loops. Observing accelerated evolution and describing it ain't the same as fomenting revolution.

Mark Twain mocked artists' conceptions of Heaven (angels, harps...) as uber-boring and anything but utopian. What would Jordan Peterson offer as a vision of Heaven in light of his claim that humans hate predictability. Nirvana = Samsara? Is Buddhism giving more of a clue? But then "marriage of heaven and hell" is a Christian theme also.

Tower of Babel: 8 billion brains imagining reality in various ways = nothing sensical, yet something invisible, the sum total Ouija Board re-weighting of weights. There's gravitas, but does it speak anything close to a language we might understand?

Spaceship Earth == Babel University == Global U (a teaching hospital).

Suggesting humans have room to be less awkward and uncoordinated in their collective self management hardly strikes me as a totalitarian vision. Extrapolate from trends? Haven't we learned something as a species? The question is have we learned enough to keep it going.

Certainly the fate of humanity is cliffhanger enough to satisfy most anti-utopians. Dystopianism is pretty easy to promulgate.

Yet is the Lord's Prayer not a promise of obedience to eternal principles? What choice do we really have in the end? Humanity might self discontinue. Utopia or Oblivion suggests a preferred direction, a gradient.

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 included 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

P1050435

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

Geopandas

:: 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 192.168.0.1 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

Pepe?

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

icosa_matrix

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

Crew

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


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".