Monday, November 29, 2010

Olive Branch

featured artist: Mario MarĂ­n

I held out an olive branch to the functional programmers today. They've been registering their distaste for what some have called the "object oriented paradigm" (OOP), saying it's not really a "paradigm".

That might be true. Or if it is a paradigm, it's a very old one, embedded in natural language. Animals have behaviors signified by verbs. Animals, signified by nouns, inherit characteristics (adjectives, properties) from their ancestors. What's new about that? Nothing.

What's proved a lasting innovation was the notation, and that notation is "dot notation" (DN).

So instead of writing "object oriented notation" in place of "object oriented paradigm", I merely substitute "dot notation", with the caveat that some OO languages don't actually use it (which is fine, diversity rocks).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Conversations about Bizmos

Friends and relatives know I've had this idea for a long time, of roving vehicles that aren't just recreational, get work done.

We already have lots of utility vehicles on the road, including some that provide health care.

This trip north have provided some more opportunities to discuss the idea. I just filed another brain dump to Synergeo on the topic.

I've got a lot of interesting science fiction going, way better than most IMO, in the sense of realizable. So much dilly-dallying goes on. Where's the beef?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yakking with Patrick

Sir Patrick was by yesterday evening, one of our resident geniuses (97214: the zip code of geniuses in the city that works).

Dr. Nick came in later, and we screened A Necessary Ruin against the classroom wall (same arrangement I'm using to teach Python).

We also talked about girl scout math, which LW is pioneering -- a kind of bridge between Supermarket Math and Neolithic Math per my Heuristics for Teachers. One needs to shop wisely, meaning a lot of homework goes into the BE phase (GST). One simulates, plays "what if" in one's head. Then you jump out of a helicopter or whatever (perhaps as a rescuer, perhaps as an occupier, perhaps as a company shill... many language games might apply).

I also shared this little cartoon that's good for learning Wittgenstein's philosophy. I used it in my last Python class as well, given the nominalist (name -> object) model it well illustrates, antithetical to pragmatic operationalism but in an edifying way.

Given Barton's connections to Hollywood, I'm always left thinking about documentaries when he leaves. There's a lot of retarded slowness in getting those S3 cartoons imported. We're coming up on another NFL that'll just show off how "left behind" is the Lower 48, or so I'm anticipating. The USA is now the basket case of the world, refusing to upgrade, putting future shock off onto everyone else. That's a theme of Idiocracy and deserves to be played up.

Blaming King Obama for not waving his magic wand fast enough might give rise to a Harry Potter for president movement. Lets watch for tell tale signs of that happening. Without proper civics training in the schools, USAers fall back on monarchy and the claptrap of the Ivory Tower and its royal societies. We're back to courtly models, socialites buzzing around a throne. The socialism of the celebrity class, bejeweled and tawdry, is just more Lord of the Flies.

I'm no Anglophobe ala LaRouche, but then I'm not into kowtowing to Hogwarts when it comes to ethics, faith and practice. That's one school among many. We've got better witches, and more "right stuff" free software, a better meme pool overall.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walking with Nick

I joined Dr. Consoletti for a saunter to 17th and Hawthorne, site of the Barley Mill (a Grateful Dead capital) where we dined on tater tots, coffee and beer. This was a chance to catch up, reminisce, compare notes. Nick knows a lot, has been around the town a few times. I value his information, much of which is in the category of "news" i.e. I knew nothing about it. I'm far from omniscient, lets make that clear.

Now I'm back at the meetinghouse, juggling logistics. It's a crazy wet day and I forgot my bike lock again (Lindsey brought it). My flashlight is underpowered. I'm not appropriately equipped. Call out the National Guard right? When the absent minded professor decides he does wanna be president (thinking of Albert again), stand back everyone, maybe lend an umbrella.

I went back to my yak of the morning, which is that (a) an aphoristic style ala both Nietzsche and Norman O. Brown is apropos and (b) it's more up to self-professed humanities experts to grapple with Synergetics. Leaving it to physicists and mathematicians is quite the opposite of stepping up to the plate. You've got your philosophy of mathematics if you need to blend into the woodwork on occasion. Wittgenstein's stuff is almost custom made, for talking about cubing versus not-cubing, where 3rd powering is concerned.

That's something to look at between your readings of Emerson and Thoreau, maybe Logicomix. Don't push it off on those "engineers" you need to vilify. This is common heritage, a contribution to the vernacular, obtuse as it may seem.

We talked about Bonnie DeVarco, at Bioneers (way overpriced for depressing times, Nick thought), in the early days of BFI's founding. We share a number of names in common. You could call that a "namespace" if so inclined.

Yes, I heard about the Medal of Freedom. Sounds like there's more of a story there than most people know to tell. How might we encourage future curriculum writers to delve more deeply?

We also talked about the Coffee Shops Network, a way to get faster geometry to the public without needing a visa from the gulag. Sit sipping your espresso, and see some of those memes you might have encountered in prose. Maybe you've been a loyal reader of these blogs? If so, you'll probably know it when you see it.

I'm drenched and there's no one here (here's Justin). I should get to work, washing those pots and pans.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Visiting Speaker

Quaker Institution

Kathy Bergen has a long history working in that area of the planet commonly associated with stories in the Bible, Koran, Torah. She's been with AFSC and now helps out with other Quaker assets in the region. The prophetic or "book" religions, as some call them, each have many denominations or branches, all of which want floorspace in this intensively trafficked region. Lots of tourists coming through, along with pilgrims, airline pilots, people with hidden agendas, as well as open ones.

We learned about Ramallah and the water situation. There's running water only a few days a week. Makes me wonder what Philadelphia Inquirer was crowing about, saying that city was doing well, but then I didn't see the article (just heard it reported on). The nearby gated community suburbs are like these Neocon flats, where people live more like squanderous Portlanders in their opulent palaces (water 24/7), shopping at New Seasons and driving around in their Priuses, feeling proud to be so green.

Not that I'm against running water 24/7 mind you. I'd like that for Ramallah too, but do engineers have the competence? Getting "smart grids" to actually be smart, requires intelligent consumers, not mindless ones. Software can't do everything.

Waste and inefficiency is a problem all over. Introducing some realistic simulations as games one might enjoy playing, is a time-tested way to develop skills.

They say religion has something to do with all this, but I'm not sure what exactly (so many conflicting stories). Those "book people" never made a whole lot of sense to me, even though I'm one of 'em. Been there done that etc.

Jesus was definitely a great Bodhisattva, I think many Asians would agree. Let's see how much "Peace on Earth" rhetoric we get this time through Santa's tunnel, how much "Good Will to all Men" that's not hollow. Or has Christianity finally gone belly up? Maybe Quakers got out just in time? Jesus was Jewish, a great rabbi.

When I was in Ramallah in the 1970s, you could still be an Arabic-speaking local with family going way back, and get permission to use dynamite from the authorities. There's lots of rock in that area and building just about anything requires blasting and pneumatic drills. The attitude was relatively laid back. By most measures, the world IQ has been plummeting since the 1970s, at least in some subcultures.

The distopian hell hole this region has become for so many does not reflect well on the programming, a point Bishop Tutu was making at the University of Portland the other day. It's hard to be proudly a Christian, and besides, there are many preachings against vanity. Wasn't it Sir Francis Bacon who wrote: "life is a tale told by an idiot?" Idiocracy R Us right? They oughta do more on South Park.

Kathy showed lots of interesting slides and the event was well attended, at least by oldsters such as myself. Younger people tend to read more manga (comics) and are maybe not as infatuated with this part of the world, hard to say.

Geographic literacy is down across the board. You'd think with Google Earth and all... but then many schools aren't using that, because it's new, and schools don't do "new" -- too busy letting adults relive their childhoods, which keeps them kinda retro.

They say the second half of life is all about nostalgia for the first half. The future is something we back into inadvertently, as we make other plans.

Some schools are maybe not as like that, teach more "listening to Abba" (however translated), i.e. "attending to Spirit" (as some Quakers say). One might hope.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Carnival Bizmos

More petro-fueled truck-based than van-based, but we're open minded around here. My thanks to Ovo for referring me to PinkTentacle.

Thursday, November 04, 2010



:: GOSCON @ The Nines (PDX) ::

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Accounting for Time

I'm lurking on the ChiPy list, the Python group based in Chicago. They're talking about producing boss-friendly reports that account for time spent, hour by hour, or even more fine grained.

In trying to jump start a more literate mathematics, more informed by philosophy, I've been flitting about, conversing with characters. Asynchronous meetings. Who else is doing it, and does it need to be done?

What is mathematical literacy
What about the C.P. Snow chasm?
How do words mean?
Girl Scout Math

Hey, wonderful I'm able to write so much, which also entails reading. There's a sense of urgency though, which may be unfortunate given how back burner is Urner. I keep hoping for Project Renaissance to take off, or something similar.

I recommended Obama's Wars to Steve, suggesting clues to decode, such as WTF, some stuff about torture. He's off to new adventures, following a busy schedule. I hope to hold the fort for Holden Web's new Portland office.

Hillary came by today just as Lindsey was sorting her bike trailer full of organic vegetables, doing Get Out the Vote. I gave her my secret ballot to deposit on my behalf. Good timing.

I voted with Native Americans on the casino issue (no). I'd still like to see those new kinds of games though, where you build an on-line portfolio reflecting your commitments and values. The USG could develop and test some open source prototypes to seed the market, in collaboration with various non-governmental entities.

I wrote more about simulation and recruiting games on Halloween. Go fish?

Your friend in the Silicon Forest.