Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quaker Business

Today marked Tara's first experience on an adult Quaker committee, Multnomah's Peace and Social Concerns. I dropped her off at the meetinghouse so I could buzz over the bridge to catch the tail end of the Bridge City business meeting.

At our meeting in North Portland this evening, an informal event, we took a trip down memory lane, comparing notes from the Clinton years:
  1. then CIA Director John Deutsch flying to some high school in LA to disavow any agency drug trafficking in crack cocaine;
  2. killing the guard while destroying the veterinary supply plant in Sudan with a cruise missile;
  3. bombing the European city of Belgrade, starting with the Chinese embassy.
Those too were sick and twisted years. Most of us at the meeting had lived in Washington DC, some of us (not me) had been born there.

I had my OLPC XO along for the ride and acted like ol' Captain Grunch on the back of some cereal box, yakking up plans for world domination, purveying a more hopeful brand of futurism (e.g. children with laptops, with or without the crank units).

Then it was off to the gym to catch Joe Biden on Larry King, yakking about getting back on track in the eyes of world leaders. The derailment happened a lot longer than eight years ago.

On Fox, our American Dad was going ape over his son's getting a little too deeply into "commie stuff", the kind of kitsch you might buy at Missing Link on Hawthorne (formerly on Belmont).

So will this geoegraphy-by-dodecacam idea from Google spark renewed interest in "duals" as a topic in the better Quaker schools? The dodecahedron's dual is the icosahedron, the basis for viruses (1, 12, 42, 92...). That's the tack I took at the Math Forum today, as I'm always trying to get back to our primitive sequence of polyhedra, a kind of gem collection at the core of our philosophical system.

Why that's important is a lot of our best futuristic planning and heritage attaches thereto, through the writings of American Transcendentalist R. Buckminster Fuller: lots of telegenic topics, Medal of Freedom, dome-building Marines.

However, with zero corroboration from elementary and/or high school text books (not because the math is wrong) this remains quasi-verbotten and/or subversive and/or completely ignored material. Too many wholesome whole numbers, too much organic goodness, too much hope.

OK, I admit to having a Fuller Projection at Cleveland in the global studies classroom (and at Multnomah Meeting for children's program), and yes the geometry teacher knows V + F = E + 2, but that's just a drop in the bucket. ETS hasn't given a green light yet. Its standardized tests expect no knowledge of A & B modules, or MITEs.

There has gotta be some really strong philosophy keeping the Bucky stuff at bay, or we'd be a lot further along by now with the smarter, greener houses, the better health care.

Apparently our nation's curriculum writers are awaiting Princeton's next move, as that's where all the top notch philosophy happens in this country. Or is it the Woodrow Wilson School we need to be watching?

Welcome back to Wanderer Allen Taylor, recently returned from wandering in Costa Rica. Terry, ISEPP CEO, is still out and about someplace. Dave Ulmer is still in his bizmo, last I checked (Dave invented geocaching awhile back, I think I mentioned).