Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 1 PR

May Day Flier


Friday, April 26, 2013

Memorial for Igal

:: remembering igal ::

Article at OPB site

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Girl Rising (movie review)

My sympathies are with girls, not pit against boys, but with all genders having a shared co-investment in having their world be less cruel.

The film is nakedly propaganda and that's quite OK with me as I'm one of those USSA types who understands one must show one's hand sometimes, even hold it out for donations.  One must beg, even if one is The Grunch, i.e. Paul Allen, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Intel, UNESCO and so many others.

"The Grunch" is insider vocabulary, cant, jargon, shoptalk, for the amorphous post-nationalistic Global U.  This film is the Global U recruiting girl students, seeking to perpetuate the lifestyle of a long on ramp of skills acquisition, wherein various fluencies are developed.  You need years to prep for your first adult life roles.  Marriage and children comes much later in this model.

You might want to see this in tandem with Waiting for Superman, another documentary that conveys statistics, and that points to trouble spots further along the pipeline.  Just getting to "school" isn't the end of the matter.  A lot of these girls seem to think of getting into school the way Christians imagine getting into heaven.  There's no "but then what".   Samsara would be another good one to see in close proximity, keying off the opening dancer in hypertoon fashion.

Were I to push back, it'd be about not giving up on adults, on the parents.  They need education too and to abandon them to their dead end jobs while putting all the pressure on sister Susie, is overly stressful, making girls take the brunt again.

Guardians need their little screens, the tents all need WiFi.  What's up with that UNESCO?  One lap top per adult?

Families learning together with the adults in the household (dads, moms) having some say?  Lets all watch Girl Rising as a neighborhood, without trekking to a "school building," or at least let us enjoy the benefits of a "flipped classroom".  Let parents continue to share in the job of teaching, as the dad does in buying his girl a coloring book.  Maybe he draws (and is a space case) too.

Because "school" does have a track record of unthinkingly persisting a hollow meme set.

A great lifestyle that just needs fine tuning gets eradicated, because the families are carved apart by a new Central Casting institution. A landlubber farmer in Ladakh is called "being poor", and the "fixes" may involve destroying a next generation's ability to carry on the family business (farming), because "school" is all about impractical uses of time, or imparting outmoded skills.

May we count on our schools to share the best ways of learning reading, writing, music and programming (accounting, tabulating), and how to work with an ecosystem (gardening, cooking, fishing, shopping)?  We have a real global shortage of such schools, including in the so-called "developed" world.

A lot of kids drop out everywhere the same reason:  they're too responsible to stay in school.  They're needed behind a cash register or sales counter.  School itself cannot afford to retain them.

The trick is to have the Global U compensate the tent cities more immediately.  If the tents are doing homework, passing tests, then the WiFi is considered to be "paying for itself".  Investors see what they were hoping for, not a doubling of their money (that's just inflation), but a rising in real assets, human resources (the army you've got), people launched in ways that create exciting (even to them) resumes.

If education is such a world-changing positive, then why delay all the gratification?  That's a questions I'm left asking, when I see the condition of our student body.  I blame a weak curriculum, artificially dumbed down.

The film has a lot of fine lines to walk.  The oppression of peoples is in the foreground and the analysis is how girls are treated is a "canary in a mineshaft" indicator.  Slavery in general, in any form, is an enemy.  Cloud Atlas seeps in.

The girls show spunk and are encouraged to do so.

They question authority, use reason, stand up for themselves, hold out for better.

Liberation poetry is proposed as an acceptable genre.  Secular leadership, indigenous values... ancestors are not completely shut out, and that's a positive.

There's no liberation theology per se (those films are left to others), but there's an academic global development culture that cares about numbers (statistics) and wants conditions to improve.  This culture is busy recruiting girls.  Here's a film made for that purpose.

If only the war of ideas could be waged in darkened theaters and on smaller more private screens, versus in the primitive monkey-brained Universe of blood and guts "theater" (drones, cruise missiles, cluster bombs, tanks...).

Clashing titans in the form of competing propaganda films (like this one) would be far more tolerable than making the point with terrorist / torturist implements -- a widely shared sentiment I realize.  Hence the Countdown to Zero campaign, which has lots of grown up girls behind it.

Speaking of which, the grown up girl who watched this with me at Fox Tower owns her own truck, owns land, and has training in film making.  She sells her photography all over town, in the form of greeting cards.  Dora Marsden was hoping for more such women.

Maureen had wanted me to see this film, a WILPF member.  I wondered if Dr. Tag had seen it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Knocking on Doors


I was brainstorming with our Portland AFSC support committee about associations for "doors" recently.  The Door Project is one of those Mike McConnell like efforts to make a meme, condense a dharma.  Anyway "knocking on doors" is one of the themes, and that's the stage we're at now.  Sounds Biblical.

Mike McConnell was an AFSC regional director who died recently.  Quoting from email:
Michael became a passionate and creative leader in AFSC and with many partners for building our programs to challenge war and preparations for war, while lifting up alternatives. He was one of our chief thinkers and strategists for work on ending war and violent response to conflict, from developing the “Eyes Wide Open” campaign to our current F-35 campaign on military spending. He supported creative and effective programs dealing with healing justice, immigrant rights, peace, and economic justice across the region and the whole of AFSC, nurturing leadership qualities among staff and championing opportunities for young people to engage in AFSC work and gain knowledge, skills and  passion for peace with justice.    Michael’s legacy is deep and enduring.
More concretely, Right to Dream Too (R2D2), close to the Chinese Gate, has a fence / flank made of doors along SW Burnside, in a zig-zag pattern.  This has become an art installation, with R2D2 seemingly air mailed from Burning Man.

Some here would likely gladly staff an eco-village prototype if they trusted the company, but few trust The Corporations holding "personhood" hostage.

You can sponsor these symbolic doors if you want to, a place to put your message, like a brick in a plaza, though less permanent, we understand.

If the "gentrification of camping" (living outdoors) could be taken a few steps further, we might have communities we're proud of, find aesthetically pleasing, and yet their camp-like nature is as unmistakable as their high tech may be overlooked, at least at first.

Occupy Portland was not that much of a scuzz bucket as some would have you believe.  On the other hand, it did become a magnet for monsters, molesters and other marvels, and lo the village was quasi defenseless, despite its security tent and squad.

The FNB tents held their ground and provided some alternatives to big tent fare.  We packed up on schedule, with other principals, preferring the big party notes of the previous night to a more serious confrontation with police, which is what awaited the lingerers and/or those who didn't catch our broadcast.

When I say "we" I don't claim to have been a denizen.  My Blue Tent (a wooden affair) was not that far away, and more capacious and comfortable.  I helped with supplies mainly, pulling SkyBlue (a trailer) behind EmoKid (a bicycle).

With all that straw spread around, and festive buzz in the moonlight, it was much like a petting zoo, like The Grotto in years passed.  Children were safe, at least initially.  Had this experiment been conducted in a proper setting, versus in the downtown of a major city, much would have gone differently, obviously.  More of a perimeter could have been preserved.

I've called for such villages through DemocracyLab, following the "company town" model but with DemocracyLab more of an infrastructure provider than landlord.  The kind of eVoting stuff Massimo writes, with some help from David -- that was a topic at our last meeting, just before Thirsters.  The Python Software Foundation uses this product.  Deb Bryant was on the alert for such open source offering given OSI's in-house needs.

I couldn't stick around for that particular Thirsters though, as I had my appointment with H&R Block to finish refiling, plus my preparer had a good letter regarding the 1099 mirror and IRS seeing double in 2011.

That was actually just the one income, with the partnership TIN being retired, DWA / 4D transferring to my personal SSN where they (it) continue(s) serving the public, albeit not in any especially high profile capacity.

I'm mostly a W2 guy these days, as the 2012 1040 makes obvious, with the back office the one getting the makeover (that's the $9000 reported expense, funds from business dealings for an office the biz pays for, enduring two years of leaking from water damage, taking about 10.6% of floorspace).

This Sunday is a memorial service for Igal Koshevoy. I'd been kind of taking him for granted as a pillar of our open source community, the paradigm geek. Geeks can suffer some hard times, I know that. We should learn to support each other more, not that we don't already, to an admirable degree even, but that still leaves room for improvement.

Igal gave some of the best talks ever, on exotic trains (BarCamp), and on virtual worlds (WhereCampPDX).

Sunday, April 07, 2013


The sudden fires lit to inflame fears of Koreans is helping us trace the veins again, like having some radioactive dye in the blood stream.  Various offices light up.

The National Forensics League (NFL) will be looking at Korea soon I bet.  There's a tendency to track headlines and see what the kids come up with, brilliant as some of them are, at winning arguments.  Politician parents, other relatives, sit in, fingers in the wind, gauging, looking for eigenvectors (strong winds) in the Matrix.

Imagine a town in which a large percentage of adults got by on skateboards.  Someplace flat, like in Florida.  Why should all those "trailer parks" (sorry:  "mobile homes estates") be limited to the 55 and old set (for which I will soon qualify)?  That joke about young people retiring in Portland is only sort of true.  A lot of us are telecommuting.  Yes, it looks like I'm just hanging out in a Starbucks (doing that now), but I'm working, actually winning my bread as they say.  Like a paid seal, or sea lion, eager for fish.  Welcome to Sea World.

Joke:  where should we put the Sea World in Iran / Iraq?  Answer:  How about Little Beirut?

More seriously:  allowing dolphin and whale diplomats access to more landlubbers is a priority.  A lot of factory ships haven't changed their ways in response to peer pressure and we'd like the landlubbers to understand when we take their twisted fantasies about shooting people and start seriously hindering the eco-terrorists of this world.  And by eco-terrorist I don't mean the green-minded hippies who camp in trees to protect them.  I mean those who would destroy the environment while paying the politicians to look the other way.

Steve is about to help kick off Write the Docs, Eric Holscher's creation.  He's likely to be one of our newest PSF members once this voting period is done.  We have like two weeks to ponder the ballot, familiarize ourselves with its content, before voting secretly using Massimo's software (David Mertz an adviser).

I've been commending Massimo of Web2Py fame for his most excellent eVote software, which PSF just used again, to rave reviews.  Not that we didn't have a tantrum or two.  The tent has gotten quite big and the geeks within are idealistic.  There's been lots of hype around Python and there's a sense of a Banana Republic wanting more respect on the world stage.  But all virtual states are back of the bus from a United Nations point of view.  Not everyone gets to play dress up and mean it, the way real diplomats get to do, with or without portfolio.  Massimo offered to write some additional voting software for OSI.  Whether Karl will take him up on it I don't know.

Kudos to the Portland AFSC for the Drones Project (maybe not the official name) involving LEP High students.  Making allusions to "a quilt" is a nice touch.

A flatland Florida village with skateboards a primary means of getting around, why not?  I'm not saying hit has to be Manatee County, though I do favor the enviro-sensors and maybe drones planned to help protect said creatures (manatees keep getting hit by stupid boats).  Hunters who stray off season our out of zone are going to see their actions monitored as well.  We can't afford to let humans play fast and loose with the rules as much, whether hunting or fishing.  Snow Crash an inspiration.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Wanderers 2013.4.3

:: mt. hood community college ::

We're sitting around comparing theories of anthropology.  Lots of us here, lots to think about.  David Tver is saying the liberated Jews in the Passover story were not technically "slaves" in the way we might use the word.

My point exactly:  the word "slave", kind of like "race", dumbs us down when used uncritically.

We're a typical room of verbally endowed hominids, post Babel, not all on the same floor, let alone page.

DC is like this too:  nonsense meetings, people getting a word in, no narrative congeals (nor need one, in this case).

What is / was / will be a "slave"?

I learned only recently that Plato was apparently a slave of some kind -- I just checked that out, more a temporary prisoner of a goofy potentate who saw a chance for some booty (he accepted a ransom).

Buzz is talking about Plutocrats.

Cal Tech gets a fair amount of rep with us, given Feynman and Pauling, and also OSU, thanks to the archives, but Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) should get more credit.  The overlap in staff and faculty has had a precessional effect.  The other night, a few of us visited the campus planetarium for a teach in on galaxies, an event open to the public.  Got a tour of the lab / offices.  Impressive I thought.

The Thai restaurant, Vi Thai in Gresham, Wood Village exit, up the hill a ways, was excellent.  Just saying "Thai restaurant" into the Android (Steve fakes an American accent) got the robot voice telling us where to go.  Electronics have made it easy.  "Where's my car?" doesn't work yet though, when you get lost in a shopping center (or community college).

I quizzed Bob Mcgown on the difference between graphite and graphene.  Was the latter another allotrope of carbon, like buckyballs and diamond?  This got us talking about the trail of evidence Harold Kroto followed to a Nobel Prize with Richard Smalley and Robert Curl.  On the spur of the moment, we surfed up his web site and emailed a greeting (with a snapshot, so like a postcard).  I'd met Harold a long time ago, at the First International Conference on Buckminsterfullerene, in Santa Barbara (by Pergamon Press), where I represented both BFI and ISEPP (I was BFI's first volunteer webmaster).

So many eating options along Hawthorne means less business for any one of them, maybe (unless total foot traffic increases, or the willingness to eat out).  Such traffic patterns were on Becky's mind when last we stopped in.

Swirl is not competition for Fujin, but it was for Ben & Jerry's in her analysis, yogurt being trendy, and would the new owner of the ice cream shop there keep making things stay interesting?  Free cone day is coming right up, we saw that on the sign after, drawn in by the singers out front.

Speaking of Unilever, I heard the theory lately that PonPonPon has an overabundance of Unilever products represented, some kind of conspiracy?  Count me a skeptic so far.  I've gone over it and don't recognize any ice cream containers.

Last night, in private studio, we went over some South Park and related productions:  history of white people in America, of Mormons, and a famous musical number.  The public threads (journalism, blogs etc.) seemed to do less to educate about Mormonism than I thought they would, given Romney's candidacy.

I don't think the Roman Catholic church should strive to be other than a patriarchy.  That's what it is and changing the rules too drastically would change the character of the practice to such a degree as to render it a different animal.

I have no problem with patriarchies persisting, any more than I have a problem, in principle, with a religion that reserves its core positions for females only (however defined -- XX a clear place to start, but not necessarily where all do).  Nor must all religions use gender-based criteria -- but those that do should be permitted to do so.

The premise here is your freedom to choose:  religions are brands.  You also have the freedom to create new ones, and some will be better than any so far InshaAllah.
For warm up last night, we goofed off watching Maru  (まるです) the clever cat.  I closed out the show with Code Guardian by Mark Spitoni and company, a kind of tribute to a genre of war movie and popular with my Saturday Academy classes.

We talked about Hawaii a lot.  Pat is moving there to be with her mother.  This is her last Wanderers meeting in awhile.  She'll be at the next ISEPP lecture (like TED talks, but longer).

Email from Python Software Foundation:
You have voted and your vote has been registered. Thank you!  Here is your ballot....A copy is also attached.

Please keep it to verify the integrity of the election.
We have secret ballot elections for new fellows, board of directors etc., even though we also claim to be a dictatorship when we feel like it.  Guido has thumbs up thumbs down on PEPs, plus he's free to take the language in new directions.  We got a taste of his leadership during his Pycon keynote this March.  I also enjoyed Raymond Hettinger's keynote and have offered to summarize it for our school.