Saturday, January 29, 2011

States in Flux

Grunch of Giants (by Bucky) is in part about a contrivance known as "the corporation", an on-paper invention in legal fiction that defends the shareholders against losses beyond their original investments. If the ship goes down, only your share goes with it, not your entire estate.

Nation states, on the other hand, were deemed less "flash in the pan" (less here today, gone tomorrow) so securing debt against them might be a better proposition in the long term. Many a bank specializes in loans to sovereign nations.

As of the 1980s, the flim-flam was becoming more obvious, as the press for financial mechanisms to sustain a weapons buildup was pushed forward. Dragging Uncle Sam under was a part of the plan. He was the addict, war was the drug.

Fast forward to 2011, and we find the English schoolboy reality of "nation states" still failing to fit the facts on the ground. High ideals continue to wrap themselves in the claptrap of statehood however, whether these states be virtual or even fictional. Theme parks abound, Burma's among them, a sacred space.

Egypt's is a great civilization, as is Israel's, yet they permeate the globe by this time. Localizing to shrines, sacred sites, tourist attractions, continues to make sense. Carving the world into some jigsaw puzzle, ever changing, makes ever less sense.

An ethnicity needs airstrips and dots on the map (campus footprints) but vast contiguous tracts, in the shape of nations? We share a commons, that much is obvious. Resource managers have important responsibilities.

Count me a skeptic where schoolboy politics is concerned. Too much emphasis on "boy scout math" had gotten us into this pickle. Our Promised Land is not as much a "house divided" as the nationalists presume. Our New Atlantis is nothing other than the Global U itself, our Novus Ordo Seclorum.

Ecosystems pay no heed to political districting.

I'm all for zip codes however, as a way to deliver and assess demographics. I respect Bhutan's Dzongkhags, and Switzerland's cantons. We still need organs for local administration, systems for delivering mail and/or goods.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HNY (Rabbit)

Year of the Rabbit

They're looking into Nick's case pretty deeply at the hospital. He's receiving the same standard of care they'd give to anyone with his medical condition. Lots of friends coming by.

It's almost Chinese New Year and the hospital is decorated accordingly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snakes Alive!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Next Frame

Nick appears better. We chatted about a wide range of topics today. He didn't see why Internet access should even be an issue in this day and age. Why do we settle for the problems we nurse along, specialize in not solving? I'd been whining about my failing laptop, which shut down during social hour at the meetinghouse today. I need to try rescuing some pictures at least. I'll grab everything I can get.

We're convening a first board meeting, in recent memory (I'm fairly new to this gig), to brainstorm more about the future of ISEPP. I was exulting this evening about how Terry had managed to pull off the most stellar and illustrious lecture series in the history of the planet to date. Jet airplanes were only recently invented after all, and a lecture series isn't quite the same thing as a circus, though such analogies are inevitable. Stephan J. Gould, Jane Goodall, Stephan Hawking, Carl Sagan, Sir Roger Penrose, Susan Haack... James Burke.

Yes, the OMSI pubs are way cool, as are the TED Talks. We'd wanted to do more with streaming video. The right people never came out of the woodwork I guess. We do have an inventory of some interesting tapes.

Tara secured top awards, best speaker, top debater, at the Pacific University meetup this weekend (an overbooked two day event that ended up going seven rounds).

I slogged through multi-hour Quaker business meetings in the meantime, made endurable by the people in them. I'm of course proud of Tara, as are the Friends. I was bragging to mom on the cell today (as well as listing my woes).

Portland has done some really stellar service, and our achievements should be more celebrated. I'm not sure the new sitcom is helping (I've yet to see it). Of course I've been indulging in such boosterism for years.

Perhaps I'm fighting a deeply ingrained inferiority complex? Having lived in many cities around the world, I think Portland deserves to capitalize on its successes, yet one of the memes is we're too lazy to amount to much.

Synergeo is just a Punch 'n Judy show these days. Why try to keep it serious when there's no hope of doing so. Yet there's content to work in. I'm being the dedicated scholar, scrounging up those passages from Synergetics like I always do, trying to prove to the world that our agenda wasn't all that off target. Listen to Portland for a change? Not that we're all into esoterica to that degree. My brand of geekery is one of many on tap.

I'd think a supranational looking for positive PR would be salivating for a slice of Portland pie. I've already stuffed these blogs with enough science fiction to put my preferred future on the map. Others have their own storyboards, which they're free to be up front about.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Return to ICU

I got a cell call from Gideon this morning that Dr. Consoletti was truly ill, and going by train to Portland. My instructions were to get him to the ER right away, and that I did. He's getting good quality professional care from Providence, one of the best hospitals around.

Quinn, a Chinese medicine teacher, was on the phone with the ER doc (Dr. Goldstein), and later met with him in person. No one was in disagreement. The question to Nick was whether he was willing to fight for his life with them. He's greatly in need of some sleep, but ICU is more about keeping people conscious, at least under these conditions. I'm not a medical doctor and spent much of the time eying the computer equipment, judging their aesthetics. Pretty functional. Getting more compact.

Nick has been hitch hiking for longer than most people in this galaxy. He's been given rides by Carlos Santana, Gregory Bateson, Jerry Garcia, even Krishnamurti. He worked with Ervin Laszlo's Club of Budapest as in intern with The Union "without walls" Institute and attended Schumacher College in England (David Bohm was supposed to be teaching that semester, but his health was failing -- Nick did his thesis on "Bohmian Dialog" which emerged from meetings between David Bohm and Kirshnamurti). He's wandered Europe as a busker, playing the dulcimer and other instruments. He's a scholar and a gentleman and well known to friends of Bucky Fuller.

Quinn likened him to Forrest Gump as we talked later at American Dream Pizza. I went back to say g'night. Quinn will visit first thing in the morning, me later.

Tara, away at a debate tournament, made finals (she usually does, as one of Oregon's finest debaters, objectively speaking).

I've been working on a design pattern I call Combing Medusa's Hair that I could use some more help with. Medusa is a reference to an old asynchronous listener, a precursor of Twisted (these are Python language resources). The hair-like threads represent many spawned processes. This is for COM objects inside a working model truck dispatcher, mostly implemented in VFP.

I'll have more to include about Nick and his adventures as events unfold. I ask you to hold him in the light. It's touch and go for the guy.

I've notified several key Wanderers (Nick is one, if anyone is) and left voice mail for Gideon with an update. I need to contact Johnny Stallings. Quinn is also spreading the word.

Nick has enriched my life with many lasting and nurturing relationships.