Monday, June 14, 2021

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

City of Roses

 Try reading this as a kind of poetry.  It's about a rose, after all.

As Korzybski, the founder of general semantics, pointed out, the consequence of its single-tagging is that the rose becomes reflexively considered by man only as a red, white, or pink device for paying tribute to a beautiful girl, a thoughtful hostess, or last night's deceased acquaintance. The tagging of the complex biological process under the single title rose tends to detour human curiosity from further differentiation of its integral organic operations as well as from consideration of its interecological functionings aboard our planet. We don't know what a rose is, nor what may be its essential and unique cosmic function. Thus for long have we inadvertently deferred potential discovery of the essential roles in Universe that are performed complementarily by many, if not most, of the phenomena we experience. But, goaded by youth, we older ones are now taking second looks at almost everything. And that promises many ultimately favorable surprises. The oldsters do have vast experience banks not available to the youth. Their memory banks, integrated and reviewed, may readily disclose generalized principles of eminent importance.

 Exercise:  mine for memories of meanings for "rose" and be favorably surprised.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Mapping Out a Curriculum

Thinking with Mike Episode 5:  My Favorite Martian Mathematician

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Synergetics in the Humanities


Excerpt from recent correspondence (email to Maurice, Apr 20, 2021, 3:02 AM ), regarding Kenneth Snelson's relationship with Bucky Fuller:

He was always trying to figure out where the narrative was going to go around Bucky.  Was the guy a genius or a crackpot and to what extent would tensegrity be tarnished or polished by the association?  Had he been victimized somehow, was the core question, e.g. by a mad man with a messiah complex?  A lot hinged on what a next generation did with the whole corpus.  He was still trying to see the future.  That's why he reached out to me, an early web guy focusing on Bucky stuff, both to warn me about what he called the Church of Bucky, and to get a sense of where said "church" might be going in future, as that would inevitably be impacting the Snelson story and reputation as well.

I don't think his question was ever fully answered, and that had been the problem all along:  an inability to reach consensus on the nature and/or level of Bucky's game.  He somewhat resented the sense that, as a Black Mountain College student, he'd been left to figure that all out for himself.  Bucky was looking at Snelson as a possible protege, and given how mission-critical the former thought his own work might be, that put Kenneth under a lot of pressure.  He just wanted to enjoy being a college kid and having a girlfriend.  That he was put in the position of needing to assess Bucky was in some ways infuriating.  Others should be helping more.  

To make a long story short, he eventually fell in with a crowd who assured him Bucky was pretty much a charlatan and he'd be doing us a service by fighting him directly and publicizing their tug-o-war over intellectual property (both were patenting).  Kenneth thought they had something like a truce, an understanding:  Bucky would stay out of the art world and leave "tensegrity as art" to Kenneth, as what could a design science guy need with pure art?  Then it appeared Bucky transgressed that line, and was moving into the art world himself, and that's when Kenneth put on his battle armor.  

But then people such as myself gave him pause. Maybe there was something to it all after all?  We discussed these matters at some length, why not?  He was a really charming guy, easy to get along with.  We both had daughters.  I took mine to New York City to visit that time, and show her some of my young adulthood haunts in Jersey City.  

We exchanged a lot of emails, Kenneth and I, none of which I've kept as if he'd wanted those kept, he'd have archived them on his end, as he was very organized.  Maybe he did, I don't know.  He was also handsome and athletic.  He didn't like old age and what it did to him.  He was having a brilliant life.  Who'd want to ever let go of such an amazing scenario?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Algorithm

compute a tetrahedron's tetravolume given its six edge lengths

I'm pretty sure the first time I saw Gerald's algorithm it was already expressed in source code, Java no doubt. I've also implemented it in Clojure just for fun and suggest on my Youtube channel that students use whatever language currently interests them, i.e. use it as a Rosetta Stone entry.

The constant e.g. 288 or 144 (a 2nd root thereof) was already absent from Gerald's version, and returning in tetravolumes was already the goal. I don't claim that wrinkle came in with the Python.

Given Python's "duck typing" it's easy enough to use the same source code to use arbitrary precision inputs (way beyond floating points in precision) and to use such as the plane nets for A, B, T, E, S modules in Synergetics to get these volumes and to interconvert their expression with Koski's versions, involving Phi (Fuller avoided using both Phi and Pi in his invented language of Synergetics, whereas adding Phi back in simplifies a lot of the dimensions).

I've also been frequenting a certain Wayne Roberts Principles of Nature website wherein he proves how the area of what he calls a "eutrigon" (one or three angles set to 60 degrees) is A x B where A, B are the lengths including the 60 degree angle, and C is the opposite edge connecting A to B. Multiplication is a matter of specifying the two sides and "closing the lid" (adding C). Lengths 4, 3 would give area of 12 etc.

area in ETUs

Using the same volume formula and treating the unit tetrahedron as analogous to Wayne's "ETU" (equilateral triangular unit), I show the model is entirely analogous i.e. lengths A, B, C from a common corner (picture XYZ corner as analog) give A x B x C as the corresponding volume, once again with a "closing the lid" operation, this time on a tetrahedron vs. a triangle.

2 x 2 x 5 = 20

Given the fixed angle of the ABC corner (that of a regular tet), the remaining three lengths are already determined and easy to obtain, for the purpose of feeding into the 6-edge-eating formula above.

I personally don't need a whole worked out math textbook with proofs + index in order to encourage developing coding skills while imagining a reference "sculpture" namely the concentric hierarchy from Synergetics. Your typical arts and design academy, where fluency with computers is baked into the curriculum, would have reasons to include this segment.

concentric hierarchy

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Domestic Logistics

P1140294

Tuesday this week was a mini day of reckoning.  Would the new appliance show up as the email promised, and work?  This may be the biggest appliance I've bought on the web, sight unseen (but for pictures).

How about the furnace? Letting an oil furnace run out of fuel (my bad) puts air or worse in the line, making a restart difficult sometimes. 

One ends up phoning a technician. The technician usually does a hard sell on rebuilding the whole furnace. Should I convert the house to gas?  Not an option at the moment.

The new Samsung dishwasher appears up to the task. The guys who put it in clearly have their choreography down. Efficient.

The furnace wouldn't come on at first.  The fuel line from under the driveway is quite long. I kept at it, pressing the red button at long intervals, and finally, ignition.  The line was cleared.

I'm back to keeping the household running smoothly, for a 62 and almost 92 year old, during a pandemic. Many thanks to my friends who help out in so many ways.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Sociological Remarks


As the son of a city planner, I have to enjoy the dissonant zoning. Little Free Libraries are the epitome of middle class, whereas the Adult Bookstore is commercial strip mall zoning. 

Juxtaposing these two zonings sets off dissonant notes. 

Then of course the whole idea of "adult content" conflicts with tea-cuppy Victorian values, which provide the roots for what we consider anglophone middle class (piano, trivial pursuits, stable of "horses" i.e. Prius and Tesla).

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Of Bioneers and St. Thomas Aquinas

Continuing with the appliance theme, the bionics, I got my yearly diagnostic at the hospital the other day. There's one number in particular, a physical dimension (width) we're keeping an eye on. No change. That's good.

I guess I like the term "bioneer" OK. Better than "bionista". I echo Guido's dislike of "pythoneer", much preferring "pythonista". So does that make me inconsistent?  Not really.  We want to keep the "engineer" meme.  "One who deals with engines".  Intellect:  that which busies itself with thoughts, while remaining its own thing.

I was lurking on Srikant's seminar room again today (52 Living Ideas).  The est Seminars sometimes endeavored to such collegiate levels, but in opening one's doors to the masses, you're not necessarily soliciting the most high brow of conversations.  This one was about "Faculty Psychology" or "the Psychology of Faculties" and, in particular, the cogitative (no, not cognitive) sense, per St. Thomas Aquinas. 

"Bioneer" for me is a slightly tongue in cheek swap-in for "farmer" where today's farmer is not some left-in-the-dark peasant, but a very globally aware technologist, at the intersection of a great many industries, from entomology, to chemistry, to climate science, to marketing, to cybernetics and synergetics.  Farmers make use of their cogitative sense at a high level.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Appliance Connection

I've been grateful the appliances have kept working. After the personal bionics, the avatar, and those around us, we want our machines to work, especially the life sustaining ones, like the furnace, air conditioner, for many a car. I running a two person household yet managing my Oregon Curriculum Network on top of that, pumping memes to the world.  That's thanks to appliances.

So yeah, the clothes washer went out.  My ex Sandia Labs friend, with the can do attitude, was all ready to buy some parts and dive in.  Bill Shepherd rescued my DVD player by soldering a new capacitor to the circuit board, per online advice.  Perhaps $60 in parts and some hours, would make the Kenmore good as new.

Calling around for a repair person wasn't getting me anywhere.  The web machine is still directing calls, but these go to a black hole. The economy is still in suspension.  The economy would prefer I buy a new washing machine.  That's what the stimulus check, if there is one, could be for.

My Sandia friend was also ready to solve the BP crisis, when British Petroleum (aka the Pentagon) trashed the Gulf of Mexico. Patrick had his aquarium tank fired up and started prototyping these giant sucking contraptions (giant at scale), designed for ordinary fishing boats to use.  Mobilize the fleet.

He's taken on other challenges: the python invasion in the Everglades; the need for easy verification of vaccinated status.

My sense of the problem with the washer is there's no diagnosis by telepathy. One has to take it apart to see what's wrong.  I've had it for more than five years probably, and it's not under any kind of extended protection plan.

Buying a new appliance, and protection plan, in this day and age, is a statement of confidence about our civilization, and even about so-called "capitalism" (a word I use for something else, but never mind). I'm expecting Home Depot to be around for another five years, and maybe even expand to other countries.

We need to get back to tourism, and not tourism in camo.  In exporting its youth in military uniform, instead of as civilians, the Americans wasted a few generations.  People are entitled to UBI as compensation for all this abuse maybe.  Monkey rule of humanity has been a bummer.