Friday, January 27, 2023

Border Patrol

In this science fiction drama, the Canadians have turned sufficiently into an extension of District groupthink to be counted on to round up and return the "defectors" who try to draft dodge.  

In the meantime, those Mexican countries (wink) with their leftist governments, provide a haven south of the border for those wishing to avoid being sent to the front, as pawns for NATO.  

In that case, the border wall was a good investment.  It was always about keeping the prey hemmed in, in our game park.  We've been here before, in screenplays and dramas.

A sealed border is an affront to the freedom of movement for everyone, whereas most borders are semi-permeable -- meaning permeable.  Some of the right stuff, and right people, still gets through.  

Who are the right people with the right stuff?  That's up to the ones controlling customs.  

These read like grammatical truisms.  The fabled Hermetic Seal is more myth than physics, akin to a "perfect vacuum".  

Most membranes are at least permeable to light, meaning any electromagnetic frequency on the spectrum.

The question of citizenship or ships is not always a question of geographic locale.  You'll find citizens of country B inside country A and vice versa.  People mix it up like that, all the time.  

When an ideology puts people first, such complicated arrangements pose less of a threat.  From the viewpoint of the individual, it's rarely that complicated.  One cultivates one's loyalties as events unfold. Each step of the way makes sense, like a blockchain.

The idea that a person born anywhere on the planet has some inherent right of access to the whole planet, is not accepted even in principle as a part of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.  

The rights of citizenship, if one has citizenship, are not the same as access rights.  Thanks to private property rights, no one alive has unrestricted access in practice.  Even if "some inherent right" pertains, we see countervailing principles.  Then there's simply the inaccessibility of much of the planet.  No roads...

I'll be the first to admit I have no privileged access to most places.  Given my expired passport (I need to work on that), I'm pretty well penned in, but within a rather large area.  

What's oppressive is when the borders you must not cross keep you within a single campus or less.  Such arrangements are usually considered punitive, although if you're washed ashore at sea, on a deserted yet life supportive environment, then you may consider yourself lucky to be alive.  Hello Tom Hanks.

One hopes for at least an airport or dock, with appropriate boardable vessels coming and going.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Random Gossip

Bob Dobbs

From some Facebook timeline somewhere:

I'm still trying to figure out the IRA game (Internet Research Agency) as research seemed what it was up to: stage events, gain followers, sell stuff, promote memes... but to what end? Twas Bannon of Cambridge Analytica who overtly copped to trying to win elections, with that whole scary backstory about the secret Facebook quiz. Facebook took the heat and learned to kowtow.

I bet IRA was more "oligarchs playing with the west's new toys" trying to get in on the ground floor playing the new social media capitalist game. Swinging the election was likely not a motive, not at all. My hypothesis. Facebook and Google are global goliaths and the Russians assume (as I do) that they're just as entitled to their troll farms as any lobby group. IRA actually stood up to Mueller saying it had every right to play the game and Mueller backed down, seeing this as a footnote in history he'd like us to forget.

On the other hand, the whole Guccifer 2 business and Crowdstrike is a separate narrative and there we're told the GRU itself has its hands in everything, and working on Trump's behalf was definitely the goal in that case. The Mueller report goes into great detail, showing the Russians snapping to attention when Trump called for them to find those missing Hill-Billary emails. The only weakness in the narrative there is CrowdStrike wrote it under contract, with the FBI in no position to audit, only coach and cajole to get the narrative it wanted. It's not what I'd call highly credible, even if it's in the Congressional Record (so is a lot of other garbage).

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Making Sockets More Secure

An issue CJ and I would argue about, was whether browsers were amiss in relegating unencrypted websites to second class status.  Chrome seemed especially heavy-handed.

I'd taken up the position that sticking with HTTP was no sin, any more than not wearing a mask, or wearing one.  In principle, we don't have enough info to talk about who's being "too unforgiving".  The bare fact of using HTTP does not warrant any kind of moral or aesthetic judgement.

I had a dog in the fight: through 2022, my Grunch.net, host of Synergetics on the Web, and hosted at GoDaddy, was serving plain old HTTP, with no encryption, no security certificate.  Perhaps for this reason, although I'm not clear on the mechanics, my ability to connect to my own website was degrading.

I cannot quite imagine what whitelist or blacklist would be frustrating traffic through my two routers, one behind the other, when neither registered any explicit blocking.  Was CenturyLink getting involved up line from me?  I'd reboot the routers, and at least temporarily regain access to the site -- or not (even that stopped fixing the issue). 

We could still ping and traceroute the grunch.net domain, just not get through to the server, netting a timeout instead.  Yet that very same website, viewed through Verizon, on a phone, was still quite responsive.  "What's up with that?" was the thinking.

Anyway, in the midst of all this confusion I decided it was time to bite the bullet and tackle the HTTP issue more directly, by upgrading Grunch.net to an HTTPS site.  

GoDaddy had a solution waiting.  I was able to follow the steps myself, although not without some confusing chat sessions (by voice and by text) with disgruntled tech support humans.

I'd point out to CJ that many of our treasured websites no longer had active administrators behind them.  Webmasters pass away.  Getting them converted over to HTTPS would require someone taking active measures and assuming administrative responsibility.  Is that even possible in all cases?  Given our rough and tumble Global U reality, we have no right to assume such faculty will be available.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Avatar 2 (movie review)

Bagdad at Dusk
Bagdad Theater, 2009

The rumor I heard, on the lengthy delay between movies, is the director, James Cameron, was waiting for technology to catch up.  The first movie, a 3D as well as 2D work, constructed a state of the art, highly intricate world that would have to be topped.

As a visual feast (I saw it in 2D this time), Avatar 2 certainly delivers.  I hadn't gone back to watch the earlier one, so was maybe a little confused on who'd descended from whom, but blue people hybridized with sky people have only four fingers and a thumb, which singles them out for ridicule by kids in the other tribe (the water people, more green than blue).

The main plot element to get is: the main villain (a sky person, white) has arranged to reincarnate, and/or have his memories transferred, to one of "them" (a blue) if his current avatar (piece on the board, US Marine type) gets destroyed, and that apparently happened, as he wakes up in a blue body, but with the same gung-ho personality. 

The bad guy's white son, in the meantime, left behind because they can't freeze babies for cryogenic travel, grew up native, as a blue.  The blues are the Native Americans if you haven't figured it out yet, albeit mythically portrayed through Hollywood movie tropes.  They're also all-American and highly relatable.

The film is a lot about the "strong father" archetype.  The dads keep expressing disappointment in their kids, especially the boys, for their foolish misjudgements, and the boys hate being dissed by the man they most admire and aspire to be like.  They just want to be brave. The greens have a strong father chief too, with offspring.  The whites have their reincarnated guy with his left-behind "monkey boy" son.

The blue family seems very like The Incredibles family (also Disney), especially the teen girl, who feels marginalized as a four finger, and who is developing psychic powers beyond her peers (see Beetlejuice for another take on this character).  She saves the day on numerous occasions.  The younger boy does too, in bonding with the four eyed whale, the outcast one who had tried to fight the sky people earlier.

The plot is complicated but basically goes like this:  the bad guy Marine and his ilk (the sky people) have returned in their spaceships (buckyballs!) with a special grudge against the blue family dad.  

The blue family, to protect their own people, decide to hide out amongst the greens, which is controversial as the blues are forest people with underdeveloped lung power for undersea activities.  The greens agree to take in these Incredibles and teach them their watery ways, but it isn't long before the whites figure out where they are, and a fight ensues.

Cameron did both Aliens and Titanic and really knows how to put together a believable Machine World, an extrapolation of our own.  He also knows how to tilt the decks, as the ship is sinking, making the  passengers slide and/or climb what had been horizontal surfaces.  

Sigourney Weaver plays her cameo role, as the human mother of the blue teen with psychic abilities.  This mother and daughter don't meet directly in person, but on a psychic plane, in a dream state.

On the whole, I was glad to revisit this world and continue processing the machine versus natural technology rift.  The technology of the Native Americans is higher in many ways, if we include nature herself as a kind of Mech 'n Tech (which she is).  Whales are higher tech than any aircraft carrier, and so on.  

The brutish sky people are the Euro whites, the neo-Romans, the US Army more specifically.  A lot of what this subculture is most proud of comes in for criticism, in part simply for being so hackneyed, but also in the tradition of great westerns such as Little Big Man, and Dances with Wolves.  Europe is the dying world.  America, already inhabited, is the new world.

I saw the film by myself at The Bagdad and although the film was long, I didn't take any pee breaks.  Nor did I have my customary IPA or other drink (which probably helped) as I've given up beer (but not wine or gin).

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

After Princeton

284 Magnolia

These were my digs in Jersey City, post Princeton, a shared group house, more Platonic than polyamorous, though we certainly loved each other as schoolmates do.  We somewhat continued our lifestyle from 2 Dickinson Street.

My cohort was mostly using JCNJ as a springboard, to promising careers in the Big Apple, and they'd find a new place pretty soon. I found work within walking distance, as a high school teacher, and continued on in this space, renting from Mr. Chang, through other chapters of housemates.

Which house again? Immediately adjacent to the apartment building.  No solar panels.  Two cars.

The Alleyway

Above, you'll see that same apartment building with the house behind it (red balloon). You're looking at Loews Theater on Journal Square, courtesy of Google Earth. The alley to the left of Loews, connecting JSQ to Magnolia, our old street, was used for a scene in The Joker. Newark was also used for that movie.

Nearby: The Stanley, used in a movie directed by Woody Allen.

This all happened in the early 1980s.  By 1984, I was living on the opposite side of Manhattan, in Queens, sharing digs with Ray Simon, along with a job at McGraw-Hill courtesy of Nola Hague.  

By then, I was also on the other side of a gig with Project VOTE!, aka Americans for Civic Participation, headed by Sandy Newman.  That was a rooming situation in Washington, DC (thanks Brenda), during the Reagan versus Mondale presidential contest.

Below:  Journal Square, across from Loews, back in the day.

JSQ

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Some Psycho Analysis

I don't see "the USA" as fighting Russia so much as an arrogant self-aggrandizing group we call neocons, which rose to power under Reagan during the Contra War against Nicaragua, and sees itself as being in charge. Many Americans have no beef with the Russians and are in fact of Russian heritage. Washington DC may see itself as representing "the USA" but some of us just see a silly City of Morons (one of my blog posts). Clearly I have my own deviant rhetoric.

I also tend to shy away from historical accounts that make "nations" the principal actors. I don't have any great belief in nations except as ideological / psychological constructs we use to organize our human affairs, akin to a corporation or religious bodies / institutions. 

The English language allows us to construct stories wherein Europe does this and London does that and Nicaragua does something else. I know how to talk this way too, and do (when in Rome...), but under the hood I'm a skeptic. Only humans have agency. These inanimate actors are at best a kind of journalistic shorthand. 

A faction of Ukrainian ideology wants "Ukraine for Ukrainians" and has a very definite idea of what that means. Ethnic Russians fall outside the definition. It's like if we had a faction here saying "real USAers" have to be white and of European heritage, anyone else is tolerated but is not as real. 

Given my upbringing as a liberal, I was taught that "ethnic uniformity" was a primitive older idea of "a nation" that had been superseded by the modern conception, one which accommodates a mix of cultures and religions and doesn't put any one of them in charge. I call that "secularism". 

Secular nations (which accommodate religions) are the ones I'm snobby about and think more highly of. "Ukraine for Ukrainians" sounds old fashioned and immature to my ears. I'm sorry this faction has gained an upper hand in Ukrainian politics and that they have their proud boy types to enforce their racist views.

Translating to Americanese I might say that in my view 2014 was a January 6 moment, except the Trumpies won, the ultra nationalist Bandero Ukraine for Ukrainian proud boy types forcefully took charge. The decent Ukrainians, especially out east, were shocked by this violent uprising and wanted out of this nascent nation-gone-bad. Russia is blue, fighting Maga Reds in Kiev. NATO is fascist to the core, we know from what it did to Libya, where my family worked for six years. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

One of the Angels

CJ @ Play

On Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST, Christopher John “CJ” Fearnley, passed away from a very aggressive, still undiagnosed cancer. CJ was 55 years young. He is survived by his partner Jeannie, two sister’s Michele and Brenda, his mother Marilyn, father Jack and stepmother Edyta, and two nephews Ryan and Nick. CJ was born in NY. CJ was a Comprehensivist and Explorer in Universe.

In my own experience, CJ was a great inspiration and collaborator, whether it was a deep exploration into Bucky Fuller, synergetic geometry, philosophy, Dante, Dostoevsky, Saramago or Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, our last deep read. He had a reading plan that extended years into the future. In recent months, as he refined his ideas about the need for comprehensivity, he encouraged all to be macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive.

CJ was one of the angles.

-- D.W. Jacobs 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Adventures in Quakerism


Everyone has a different experience (of life) of Quakerism, in terms of vantage points assumed and/or achieved. I did a lot of the small meetup stuff, in part because my parents found sitting in silence a great way to get to know strangers, who then become Friends in one's own eyes.  The proverbial beholder's.

The above YouTube continues an earlier one that should just was well be entitled "experiments in" (versus "adventures in") Quakerism, which is not meant to sound cynical, as if Quakers were my guinea pigs.  I'm the guinea pig, and I'm encouraged to explore my religion "experimentally".

What's "my religion"?  Again, that's whatever pass for priors in terms of one's own dogmatism.  Not all beliefs can be under the microscope at every moment.  

One has to believe Google Maps or just trust intuition, unless one knows one's way about.  My friend Steve had a cul-de-sac dead end loop for an address, but the mapping software showed the street went through.  The procession of lost vehicles was endless.

What's critical is your religion have an update or upgrade process, whereby "waste beliefs" get dealt with and excreted. Nostalgically curating "bad beliefs" (as in "no longer useful") results in a level of metaphysical constipation that may become uncomfortable, not only personally, but institutionally, depending on one's role in society.

Quakerism, in focusing on silent worship, interrupted with ministry (aka ranting), does not get hung up on a bunch of "credos" wherein people give themselves the self indulgent benefit of being able to debate the trivial stuff quasi-endlessly.  You know you're dealing with the over-entitled when their predilection is to fiddle as Rome burns.

My hope for Quakerism, in a nutshell, is silent worship, as a central practice, as a catalyst, akin to various forms of meditation, will keep some of the least beneficial viral memeplexes from taking root.  Too many religions prove vulnerable to satanic "mind thetans" or whatever we wanna call 'em.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch for the giant dome is survivalist, which immediately gets funny, because of Yes Men and their Survivaball.  Not that domes are the equivalent of space suits.  

But when it comes to heating and cooling a big volume, the logistics of powering a single space comes with an economy of scale, at least in theory.

Inside, you have your sound stage and audience,  a perimeter of concessions.  In neighboring domes, people pitch their tents.  

In some, you stage a quaint village, Medievalish but with amenities, built more with movie set theater prop technology, than with old fashioned brick and mortar, as you're more in a studio than protecting against the elements. 

The dome or other universal studio building is already taking care of wind, rain, cold and heat.

Benefits of rapidly deployed and emergency assembled and disassembled heating and cooling domes include practicing the world game disciplines we've come to take for granted.  People have to choreograph and to some extent improvise.  The moves become smooth to the extent practiced.  

Movie-making comes closest, as a design science, with military logistics providing a complementary theater.  Both center around simulation and planning with models and maps.

The domes in Cornwall provide a good example of what we all expect from the UK.  If British Aerospace can't deploy emergency heating domes, who can?  Raytheon?  

The engineering sector is shifting our attention from "Big Tech" and/or "Big Pharma" in the sense of social media and biochemistry advertisers respectively, as these are small fry compared to the aerospace sector.  We have conventionally allocated aerospace to civilian versus military but there's little to keep this namespace anchored.

Besides, it's not either / or.  Health care is just as big a consumer of computer science warez as the military and weapons vendors.  The arrival of mass casualties during wartime, begot triage and triage tents and all manner of medical practice I know more about from watching movies than from nursing school.  WW1 saw the beginning of many new kinds of war science.

Speaking of nursing, I do appreciate the cram course YouTubes I've been plowing through.  As we all get older, we encounter more issues in health care, for ourselves and for others.  In my case, I also had a professional track running through heart procedure territory, being a chief data harvester for a research hospital system.  

I was not in patient care, unless we count long term outcomes research, a kind of feedback doctors treasure.  I knew heart anatomy pretty well.  Lately I've focused more on lungs and liver.

Could a giant dome be an emergency hospital, like a MASH unit?  People may spontaneously associate such setups with war zones, but disaster scenes more generally feature both the wounded and the infected.  Lately, the world has been dealing with infection and overdose.  That was until they decided to plug and play this retro Euro-war.  Now war wounds are what's climbing again, along with thermal issues.

So we're back to MIT having done its homework, and private firms having their catalog of emergency shelters at the ready, whether or not they'e actually free span.  The more likely shape of anything American is a box, with sliding doors, more like a giant garage, farmhouse or big box shopping center store, like a Costco or Home Depot.

The floor plan of a "camp in" dome is more suburban street mode, with curvilinear walkways (synthetic pavements) and marked out camping sites, like when car camping.  A few golf cart type vehicles offer fixed route services whereas delivery forklifts carry palettes to and fro, complete with kitchen units and entertainment (education) modules.  

Some properties have tents, but a lot of those are outside.  Property holders stack the various units, which need not be equipped with individual heating or cooling units, given the context, of a larger system.  You may have personal devices, such as fans or baseboard units.  There might be a sauna and/or hot tub module, depending on amps available.

The Cornwall Domes use like a Tefzel pillow, I've never toured the place.  J. Baldwin was my source of pillow dome savvy.  I got to interview the guy on camera even, when staying with Rick and company in San Jose.

What do the power stations look like?  That's another whole side of the business.  No doubt NATO, like FEMA, has a large number of plans for such units, with other regional bodies likewise sharing blueprints.  Given the dire needs of the populace, and funding already allocated, it's time to spring into action, right?  Right!