Monday, December 26, 2011

Hanukkah / Xmas / Saternalia / Solstice

:: december, 2011 ::

I'm serious about Saternalia, thinking of "that of God" (Quakerese) in Roman culture, from the vantage point of Mt. Tabor and the aqueducts leading into it.  The architecture looks old English, but echoes still older.

Some District of Columbia wants us to cover them over, like with domes. Like Alaskans and Californians, Oregonians don't always follow orders from this non-state calling itself a "district".  Cascadia has its own forms of nationalism / bioregionalism.

The Hanukkah party featured little hand crotcheted hats by Alexia's David.  We discussed various medical conditions and treatments, affecting old and young among us (each a different case).  Conversation roamed into comedy, that of Louis CK and others.  We exchanged gifts and ate latkas.

Xmas itself was a low key affair featuring immersion of the household, especially Tara and I, into living room movie watching:  Gattaca, Alice in Wonderland (Disney's newest), Primer (twice:  once with director commentary), The Great Debaters, Rocket Science.

Glenn came by Xmas morning and shared the rest of the cinnamon french toast.  He gave me a set of DIY books for home maintenance.  Nothing about building a TV studio per se, but an overlapping skill set for sure.

Jen and Melody departed south and north respectively, to rendezvous with their families.

At intermission, I downloaded Stellarium to the laptop and projected the night sky to the south.  Tara and I then stood on our south-facing porch and identified Rigel, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Procyon using short term memory.

For dinner, Tara and I adjourned to the very busy Fujin, one of the few restaurants serving, along with Mt. Tabor Cafe.  Earlier on Christmas Day we took Sarah Angel to the reservoirs and surveyed the city from about half way up.  We'd planned to hike to the top, like the Nallys had, but it started to rain.

Cousin Mary's visit before Xmas Eve was a highlight.  She regaled us with stories at the Bagdad.  She and I had Moroccan Coffees (alcoholic) while Tara got the crumble dessert (which all sampled).  We discussed our wide ranging family and friends, Tara's college process.

Tara couldn't make the Solstice Party (nor the boat ride with Barry).  Dawn used to host a big one, ever since our first taking up residence together on Rhine Street (not far from Aladdin Theater).  We'd invite lots of Quakers.  As I was mentioning around Burma Night, Dawn would have integrated well into our Food Not Bombs community.  The gathering at Satya's was epic, though I didn't stay long.

Through all of this, I'm putting in my hours along the Python track, making sure students stay busy.  They can work on ahead without me, but if I kick back for too long I just have that much more to catch up on.  Staying up all hours is a theme around here though.

The Blue House is a lot like a submarine, with someone always awake.  We don't "burn the midnight oil" so much though -- we only have the furnace on a few hours a week.

xmas tree 2009 (solid)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jitterbug Party

:: jitterbug party, 2011 ::

One can't but help feel one's cult or club member like status in a room full of people who speak the shop talk of Synergetics to some degree.  The lineage is still somewhat obscure and esoteric.

There's a crystallographic flavor, which brings in the more classically trained chemists such as Steve Mastin.

We had some bona fide Silicon Foresters in our midst (at least two folks from Intel).

Our guest of honor was James Nystrom, a computer geek and professor, with lots of overlapping interests in physics and so on.  John Driscoll picked up on a lot of the jargon from his Systems angle.

The event was orchestrated by Sam Lanahan, with Wardwell and myself assisting with the guest list.  Having Trevor Blake, Glenn Stockton and Nick Consoletti in the maxi taxi was a privilege.  Good seeing LaJean again, as well as meeting these new people.

Interesting to me was how the night before we'd been looking at a picture of a younger Alex, accepting the Nobel Prize on behalf of his mom, and now tonight John was boasting (in a self-humbling not too self-serious way) about delivering a talk on the physics of consciousness from that very same famous podium / stage.  A nice segue between consecutive dinner parties, both of the highest caliber.  The projected synergy is already kicking in it seems.

What I found gratifying is that a gent was applying differential and integral calculus to a cuboctahedron and coming up with some interesting properties, and was also playing cellular automaton games with the tetrahedron, random walking it, per a rule set, within the IVM.

He wants to tackle A & B modules maybe.  He gets some of his graphics from Bob Gray.

The back story here is Sam and his 10-frequency flextegrity tetrahedron made their debut at the Rhode Island School of Design for the annual SNEC-organized Synergetics shindig, where he met this fellow Nystrom (Pearce was there too).

The fact that Dr. Nystrom talked Jitterbug and IVM and knew differential calculus made him the ideal resource to pair up with Mark Martin, who has been sweating the details of a Flextegrity computer model based in differential equations for springs.

Nystrom is one of those who takes seriously Fuller's pulsating vector field concepts, as articulated by the Jitterbug sending ripple effects through the IVM.  There's a Negative Universe aspect.

Since he asked, whether we thought "IVM" or "octet-truss" would be best, I argued for IVM in the more theoretical context, as it makes a better dramatic foil for XYZ (also three letters).  "Octet truss" refers to the more times-size realized versions, the less abstract.  Bell's kites come to mind immediately, for many of us.

Saving the best for last in some ways:  Nystrom mentioned using quadrays in one of his academic papers.  I'd not heard of anyone doing that besides me in FoxPro Advisor, March 1999 (more an industry trade mag than an academic journal for sure).  Wow.  If there's a citation to track down here, I should do so.

Trevor and I played at the dinner table with BuckyBalls that he'd brought (the magnetic balls, so simple).  Even though they're polarized, they'll come together in a tetrahedron.

Holiday shopping... must do some.  But work has me pinned to the laptop.  Boat ride with Barry coming up.  Wish Tara could go but she'd probably be the only girl.  Nirel has the same consideration.  Sam suggested I invite Dondi to his event but I don't know her well enough, speaking of woman Wanderers I admire.  Maybe Trish and her son will join us on the boat.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lightning Talk

:: holiday message ::

Great rant Charlie. You sound like one o' of them "Occupiers".  Trying to reach out to the soldiers...  Pretty bold guy.  I bet Newt would tell ya to take a shower and get a job you little bum.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eye Care

The "I Care" campaign departs from the usual attack on a disease and simply states that every human being has a right to correctional lenses if indicated, which humanity has a moral obligation to provide. Of course the NFL will debate both sides of that resolution, but in the mean time, the "aff camp" (contending in the affirmative), with considerable resources, needn't sit on its duff. Lets get more of those eye exam buses fielded already, backed by ophthalmologists without borders.

This goes back to OPDX 2012 and the planning we were doing for our Ministry of Education. Camping gear / XRL was expected to become yet more ephemeral (more with less). Rather than have such a clunky dome in the A Camp, we might cover all of B Camp, or call it D Camp. This didn't have to be downtown. You may remember the planning meetings. A way to occupy the indoors. I went to Ikea.

I've been suggesting XOM get involved, as a part of the new Asian focus. Having a Russian Peace Corps (MirCorps) in the wings was the planning around Troutdale. These jets could be in Hillsboro as well, and meant for domestic / local service. I haven't even checked where Gulfstreams are allowed to land, if we're looking to repaint more of those.

When you get the exam, lenses and frames, an effort will be made to connect you in to medical records, if there's no record already. You will likely get the usual messages about how integrating your identity across systems is a job you might help with. Do not take only a passive interest in how your records get kept. Activists welcome. Designers, we need your assistance.

Speaking of which, the Oregon initiatives around open source record keeping in general might be a good place for "I Care" to start. As an off shore NGO, we're not worried about trying to jump through hoops to become some certified HMO / PPO covered entity. This isn't business as usual.
However, with the Chinese peacekeeper concept (like peacecorps), or the Russian MirCorps (like a geek corps), we're able to advertise some alternatives to high cost "all American" health care (the kind that leaves people out in the cold to die). [1]
Like the cruise ships (some of them), the criterion for service is not "ability to pay". We expect that access to money accounts is negligible in these monopoly games, with way more losers than winners. Doesn't mean they shouldn't have eye glasses though. We're just not that selfish, even if that's not true about you.

Of course realistically we might need more self serve, ways to administer one's own eye test. Our delegation to Managua found people scrounging through boxes, trying pairs on, using trial and error against an inventory of hand-me-downs.

I'm thinking /dreaming of a better service on average, such that we might have more pride our our species of hominid (however bloodthirsty). Why deny a person prescription lenses in a frame (a pair of spectacles)? Other healthcare may be more difficult to provide on such an industrial scale. Lets make a difference where we can, when we can, while we can.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Erudite Oregonians

:: Go Cleveland Cannibals, and all you Oregonians ::

It was again my distinct privilege to chauffeur and judge at Clackamas High School not far off I-205, Sunnyside exit. Did I hear 46 schools were represented? That's mind-boggling if so. And that's what the event was, for its fearsome complexity and choreography.

Gonzo showed me right where he and Tara first met, in the hall in front of the Media Center, she the aspiring debater hoping to get a team going, and he the debate coach transferring to Cleveland High School, where she was. She made it to nationals, which Gonzo had always been curious about. He, she and his son Griffith went to Dallas this summer, joining other Oregonians and talent from all over the country. Tara is 36th in something or other (not to be dismissive, I'm obviously quite proud of her), in some national ranking system of the NFL (National Forensics League).

Anyway, back to yesterday: I'd judged here a year ago. This time I got to see lots of LD debates (Lincoln Douglas), the kind Tara specialized in during her high school years. I also judged poetry, impromptu speaking, prepared speeches. I came away proud of these young people. They're quite a diverse body and from all over the map (Tibet, India, Cambodia, Multnomah, Redmond... Guatemala). Such lovely people.

Yes, I took a lot of pictures in that one math classroom, B10, where we did some poetry. These were intense readings, lots of passion and thought. They needed a theme, readings from at least three sources to connect the dots, some remarks in between.

What also impressed me as we were gathering were the professional posters the sports teams were getting. Pretty impressive, to have posters like that. I snarfed up the girl teams especially, not knowing when my battery might die. I consider them more exotic, because it's not all that long ago that women didn't get the same privileges as men in sports. I was feeling proud their posters were so humbling, if that makes any sense.

Back to the events: Tara was quite appreciative and sportsmanlike (heh) regarding her various opponents. Those winning this time she may have won against before and vice versa. The best of the pack are like a club. This is definitely a variety of para- or pre-legal training, I'd say effective. Tara is not currently planning to make a study of law her focus (thinking more STEM), but that doesn't preclude her from getting a feel for the dynamics of Matt's world, for example (collegial, yet competitive, a willingness to fight hard for your client against people you know you'll likely have lunch with).

These meetups are excellent demonstrations of inter-generational collaboration. The adults really want to do their jobs well. They're all paying it forward, serving their world, putting their shoulder to the cause of civil process, working things out by the athletics of speech and expression, theater, not massacre and mayhem. Civilization was served, that seemed clear to everyone I thought.

The resolution for LDers this time: individuals are morally obligated to assist people in need. I could write a few reams on how that went down. Maybe I will. More of this on TV, with these same youth performing, oldsters too, would make sense to me. Too geeky? Hey, give us some channels to be as geeky as we wanna be.