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.