Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back on 2010

Car 4

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wanderers 2010.12.29

I came to the Linus Pauling Center all hot to trot about this new "weapons inspector" major. The feedback I've been getting ranges from "too narrow" to "too broad", as one would inspect in such academic discussions. The idea of hosting facilities in the Philippines is sparking interest among Japanese sources. Could a consortium of universities look at Okinawa too? MIT?

Glenn and Steve are hold forth on their gemology studies. Glenn is a hard worker and makes stuff. His turquoise may take about three hours to buff. Now they're talking about welding. Jeff and Bill have done this with electronics a lot. Jon Bunce is here as well, the musician. He's the coffee beans keeper, one of the few official roles we've designed into this institution (Wanderers).

We've had a suggestion from "off camera" (from someone not here, using the Internet) to watch a particular TED talk, dunno if we'll get to it. Glenn is back with some welded jewelry, other finery. We're moved to a discussion of taboos, inter-breeding, and hemophilia within the British royal family (Queen Victoria a carrier).

I'm more in the "too narrow" camp (re weapons inspector PhD). The environmental sciences department is seeing the need for sensors, lots of IP numbers, DNS coverage of hydrofracture sites, hundreds of thousands of "bubble villages" (the cleanup crews). Radio-toxins such as crews grapple with at Hanford need not be the sole focus of a given Global U student. Deploying sensors, taking readings, designing visualizations, is simply GIS in action and applies equally to theme park planning (like a roller coaster theme park, Six Flags near LA for example, a First Person Physics project, open to physics majors). When you transfer to the bubbles around Subic Bay, you may or may not have Johnston Atoll on your "to visit" list (maybe you just came from there?). Routing through the Manas Transit Center? You may or may not be in field dress.

What am I reading these days? Lots of stuff, but this one hardcover in particular is worth yakking about. I passed it around the table. The first chapter is about a group not unlike Heaven's Gate in some ways, of Hale-Bopp fame. "They got the wrong Applewhite" quipped Ed on the phone, me at Russ & Deb's for the PNW Synergetics Confab (with other confabs since). Here's the book: Apocalypse Pretty Soon: Travels in End-Time America by Alex Heard (W.W. Norton Company, 1999). The Unarians weren't into abducting themselves in quite that way.

We're immersed in dinosaur imagery here, literally. Craigmore Creations operates in many of the chambers throughout this Center, turning out quality graphic novels about science, mostly set in the geological (prehistorical) past. Although human observers may be present, which gets a plot line going, you need some pseudo-science to get them there (a time machine perhaps, like in Idiocracy). Per Dr. Fuller (recent meeting), Karplus invented Mr. O, a little observer character with one palm painted (to define left-right orientation), the Observer (or "first person") of any physical vista.

Bill found us this amazing video stream, very fractal. Sharing links is part of the "groupthink" (usually a "bad word", right up there with "hive mind"). For example, David Tver has a text sample in image format, in a language as yet unrecognized, discovered in a Genizah in Cairo. Pat was off to see her friend Kitty, age 98.

Jeff is showing me Pivotal Tracker, which we can use for our storyboard planning (he's already using it at work). I could invite faculty from New Mexico Tech to join me here vs. using Facebook or one of those. Bill: what's atan2? (used in the "3D Mandelbrot" he's studying). We found it on Wikipedia.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rock On Portland

Typos fixed, links added.

--- In Synergeo "coyote_starship" wrote:

> Another meme that makes the rounds is that "conspiracies are bad" i.e.
> you'd never want to throw a surprise party, or be in league with some
> friends and work to steer the company in a positive direction. No,
> those'd be collegial networks among peers, whereas a "conspiracy" is
> by definition nefarious. This FBI guy doesn't seem to have much
> immunity to the "conspiracies are bad" meme.

This is where I'd go back to the memeplex I was hammering on with an influential McLuhanite (newmedia) with Church of Bob connections. Synergetics Dictionary -> M -> Marshall McLuhan gives us a scene wherein Marshall shows up on Bucky's radar going "I've read your books, and I want to join your conspiracy". Said in a cheerful, affable style no doubt, with a tinge of mischief.

The word "conspiracy", meaning "to breathe with", also has that "piracy" meme embedded (there it is, right in the spelling -- aren't memes fun? not unlike numerology, a sub-branch of memetics). Pirates conspire. Or Pyrates.

Now here in Portland, we like Pirates, think they're cool, might dress and talk like pirates on some days. So we might like conspiracies too then? Let's say we do.

A radical bookstore like Laughing Horse is where people are likely to know a lot about the various conspiracy theories ("911 inside job" is a bevy of theories, not just one). They're like librarians, or at least the more experienced ones are. More like Giles or the female equivalent in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Portland as a city is quite well read, with some enormous famous bookstores (Powell's especially, but others too) and a really excellent library system (the on-line stuff works). So it stands to reason that Portland, even without a Library of Congress, is able to serve as a decent intelligence gathering headquarters.

Our analysts are nothing to sneeze at.


Geed Squad

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa's Elves (movie preview)

This one is about North Americans gleefully making bombs, designing new kinds of horrors, with many of them professing some kind of twisted "religulosity" to justify their livelihoods.

Disturbing. Reminders of Why We Fight.

Keeping most of it a cartoon is a cute touch, as an offset to the grim realities.

I can see where the Elves wouldn't want to tarnish their good image (Lord of the Rings was too kind), and their morale is Santa's concern.

Will it come out in 3D?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hanukkah 2010

We're getting closer to Judaism in making Hanukkah our December event after Thanksgiving.

We used to throw a big Solstice Party.

Dawn didn't proclaim herself Christian, though she was cleared as a Quaker, was a member of the Religious Society of Friends through Multnomah Meeting.

We enjoy schmoozing with those doing the tree thing in their living rooms, even if we don't do one ourselves. More ornaments should be polyhedrons. A virtual tree would do (on the LCD). The scene would keep changing. A reverie.

I'm somewhat predatory, though appropriately diplomatic when it comes to nuts, eggnog, other winter cheer. I got a ride in a Cadillac today, to the supermarket. Our kitchen was somewhat bare again. Last night I tried boiling vegetables, including some greens and marinated tofu. Not half bad. But I do like a box of Coca Krispies now and then, and lots of coffee.

The hanukkah gifts were generous. Soaps and chocolate, socks, stuff we really do use.

I grabbed an Advent Calendar out of the garage awhile back, a wooden one that Dawn hoped we'd use -- she was raised Catholic and recognized the power of rituals. I set it atop the upright piano, a gift from the Braithwaite family years ago.

This time of year, I tend to truck out my "Fourth King" myth, but I haven't thought of anything new to add. Maybe others will take it on (they weren't Christians either, those kings -- no one was back then).

Speaking of Christmas, Sam Lanahan his been like Santa Claus lately, mailing out his beautiful book to a long list of people (Dave Koski was pleased to find his, under a pile of snow on his doorstep, in the midst of a blizzard).

Sam is also giving away free samples of the prototype materials. Customers need only pay shipping.

FNB was also distributing some hanukkah "geld" (chocolate money) thanks to Satya. He offered the bag to me but we agreed it was for younger children than mine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Office Work

As I was complaining to Patrick:
Today I'm regretting not taking you up on some summer time offer to pour trailer park slop on my upper deck, which needs a new sealant. I just went up and relaid the tarp, in the faint hope that'll help. The ceiling in my office, in the meantime, is cracking along seams (latex paint layer). The electrical tape solution was ugly and pointless (the glue melts when damp). This surgical tape solution, porous to let the blood through, might be just the ticket for now...
The bookkeeper's computer is rebooting at will. I took it outside for a dusting, but there may be deeper damage. It reboots even from within BIOS. Maybe a hard disk transplant into another skeleton computer would solve the problem. I'd have to dig one up somewhere. That's also the network printer controller...

My equipment is out of date, as is my domicile more generally (1905). In some experimental prototype community of tomorrow, a leading buckaneer wouldn't be some Wall-e in a junkyard, all intelligent life on vacation (Orlando?).

I'm glad mom is doing OK in average 70 degree weather (Whittier). Tara was gung ho to hit the debate circuit again this weekend, but her team (and coach) need their rest.

I'd gladly upgrade the Blue House to meet Global U codes (and help define them), but that'd require some planning and organization, both of which are in short supply in this day and age, at least where radical math teaching is concerned.

Walker took off after dark for a remote tool shop on the outskirts of town. Why do everything nocturnally? My senses reel.

The Dead Mathematicians Society (DMS) has been suggesting I give a talk. I just submitted a proposal.

My attempt to do multi-threaded COM was successful, but the code is quite "mickey mouse" as my scuba instructor Gill Gilleland was wont to say -- exMarine, professional recovery diver.

Mark Hammond himself dropped by on comp.lang.python on response to my query, wow.

I made some baby steps forward with OST as well.

Writing to Nirel:
As individuals we're brilliant. As teams working together, you'd think we could do more. Anyway, that's how it seems tonight -- thinking about teams.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Choosing a Flavor

The next generation of forms handling is XForms, another W3 standard.

I've been experimenting with ODK Build, which allows one to build phone-ready forms for the Android.

The "ice cream factory in Havana" might be one of the simulations, keying off Senator Leahy's remarks about getting a Ben & Jerry's in Cuba, in a manner consistent with zoning and city ordinances.

ODK Build

Ice Cream for Einstein

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Facebook Excerpts