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.





Thursday, February 18, 2021

Of EQ and IQ

From the Polymaths & Polymathy group on Facebook:

Even if it's true that IQ is measurable and EQ is not, meaning you can't walk around with a numeric bell curve score for your EQ, that doesn't mean we don't each have a sense of gaining and losing EQ points over a lifetime.

You can suddenly have insights and understand yourself and others a lot better. Part of that just takes growing to adulthood. You gain empathy for people raising kids, by raising kids, and so on.

I think the game in both cases is to guard against losing points, which means exercise and train to stay at full potential (for you).

I believe EQ is trained by novels, movies, soaps, TV series (not all of them, just the ones that do). Also travel. Having friendships and community. EQ is developed and cultivated.

Even if we think IQ is somewhat fixed (everyone has a maximum they can't go beyond, similar to physical height and/or maximum strength), there's the question of whether we value it or not and/or have opportunities to "work out" in order to live up to our full potential.

Sometimes we're not rewarded for physical strength. Likewise, you my be stuck in a routine, not of your own making if you're not free, that has no use for your stellar IQ. Picture an Elon Musk type wasting away on a marijuana charge in Texas. Times a million around the world.

Humans deliberately sabotage their own smarts, to conform to social norms. Women have been especially so encouraged.

I'd say a polymath is someone who (a) values both IQ and EQ and (b) strives to "stay in shape" which means "round" (as in well-rounded). Life by its very nature is multi-topic, multi-subject, so the very process of staying in shape is going to take care of the poly part.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Playing World Game


How does one play it, this World Game thing I've been talking about? Even the subtitle of my Grain of Sand blog is Kirby Plays World Game.

Well, I'd say Natasha here in this Youtube is a player, in that she's sharing about growing up in her hometown. I just came across her channel recently, starting with the one where she takes us on a tour of her dorm block in her language school.  She's on a seventh floor sharing the space with her sister, likewise a language student.

Natasha had elected to learn Japanese, however owing to a teacher shortage, she was assigned Chinese instead, and English.  Her English is already quite good, which helps her join the world of traveling Youtube bloggers, the new citizen diplomats.

That sounds like a more exalted title -- "citizen diplomat" -- but its in some ways redundant.  As a player, you'll likely speak up for, most identify with, a subset of the total team.  This will help others communicate with you, through a somewhat standardized API.  You identify with some country, nation, camp, tribe or company and thereby serve as a representative or ambassador therefrom.  Perhaps your nation is one of the diaspora nations, not on any UN-approved map at this time?

Speaking of maps, Fuller's Dymaxion Projection was generally devoid of political data, sticking nominally to temperature (global average). The map was positioned in this way partly because of its role in the space of citizen diplomacy.  

Were Bucky to have published a veridical political map, he would have had to copy an authority, such as the United Nations, or maybe would have planted his own flag in some way, by drawing different borders. Either way, he would have taken a position on many political issues, simply by showing borders.

Rather than get involved in such border disputes, Bucky made it so that any nationalism worth its salt is concerned with the welfare of the entire game board.  He would supply and artifact, neutrally devoid of political data, and leave it to the individual players how they wanted to value-add.

Parochial adherence to some specific jurisdiction could be seen as negligent. Looking out for the welfare of a people, was tantamount to taking the welfare of all of the peoples into account.  We're a single unified ecosystem, a planet, with or without competently designed systems on the humans' part.  And that's where World Game comes in, and playing with competence.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

From My Outbox

We could artificially create human "breeds" with pedigrees, and a lot of this goes on with inbreeding and nobility.  If we really wanted to play the game of "purebreds" versus "mongrels" in the human sphere, we could.  But for the most part, we don't want to.

When it comes to typifying humans by genetic makeup, there're so many ways to slice and dice.  Why aren't dwarves a race, or albinos?  We say "genetic anomaly" or whatever, but any genetic characteristic might be lumped into a breed or "race" by convention, should we wish it.

We could easily have "races of human" based on blood type only.  This would satisfy no one of course, because the whole point of racism is to have distinguishable outward characteristics that allow one to be classified.  Like if you speak Italian as a first language, you're obviously of the Italian race and so on. :-D

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Learning to Work Remotely: An End in Itself

USDLA 2015

Back when O'Reilly paid our way to professional development experiences, I got to hang out with the  distance learning crowd (USDLA) in St. Louis.  Or maybe I should say "distance teaching" as I was learning from the teaching end of the business.

All of that was pre pandemic of course, at the time of the big earthquake in Nepal. I remember Leela (then Lindsey) calling me in my Hilton hotel room from Kathmandu, to say she was OK.  Hilton had taken over a goodly portion of the old Union Station in downtown STL, the site of our conference.

In those days, Michigan was giving some kids opportunities to take a distance learning class as an experience in itself.  A special school had set up facilities in several metro areas, whereby the kids would be in a learning facilities, complete with snacks and exercise equipment -- but their teachers were far away.  

They could practice their Zoom skills, or the old timey equivalent.  They could get ready for remote work.

Part of schooling today, is around developing the skills needed to work remotely.  Developing those abilities is an end in itself as well as a means to an end.  

Some teachers specialize in teaching remotely just as some specialize in teaching gym or home economics.  But then remote teaching works best for some subject matter, such as maybe history and computer science.  YMMV.