Sunday, October 27, 2013

Corrupting the Oldsters

This job takes you on the road, to nursing homes mostly, as they're mostly called now.  Your job is to share Internet culture with some older people, a lot of them bored.  You have good equipment, a lot of bandwidth and sharp color on a big screen.

Fail compilations, Annoying Orange, conspiracy theories... plenty to keep us occupied while only alluding to PornVille, just left off the Interstate.  We're aware of adult humor and the Internet comes pre-packaged with some sense of sleaze, not much one can do about it.  Kids know about Grossology...

Hey, speaking of which, I'm taking a breather myself and tracking down a meme.  Gangnam Style.  I've seen four or five that purport to be takeoffs thereon, but when do I get to the tap root?  Sherlock Holmes hat on.

Wikipedia to the rescue. I was there already. Psy is the source, Korean derivation. Got it. And these others are the parodies...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

AFSC Support Committee

We haven't met in months.  Those of us around the table may be a little hazy about what our purpose is (to support local staff and program).

Tonight we're meeting the Assistant Regional Director for the Western Region, Marielle Oetjen.  She works with Sonia Tuma, the Regional Director (replacing Susan Segal -- except the regions have also been changed).  There's also an Associate Regional Director.

Marielle will have a base in the Portland Office.

At the Philadelphia level, AFSC and FCNL have put out a document called Shared Security, which I still need to read and blog about.

Our recording clerk, Eddy Crouch, is also on the Western Region Executive Committee and has already started a series of meetings at the Multnomah Meeting House following the study guide that goes with this document.

I know other denominations work this way:  they develop program around Great Decisions for example, I know the Methodists use that.

I'm suspicious of these studies usually because they instill nationalism in a non-critical manner.  The whole idea of "foreign policy" on a tiny spherical ball is a tad ridiculous, as is the whole idea of "sovereign nations".

Bucky Fuller was right to resist politicos marring his map with a lot of their corrupting data.   Our Promised Land is less stupid than the Land we have.

Speaking of sovereigns, did I mention I was reading Royal Babylon? The author refreshingly turns the tables on these so-called royal families.

I can see how Shared Security (I'm scanning it now) could help with the creation of new "schools for diplomats" developed with some Quaker influence.  These my high tech boarding schools, part of the larger "eco-village" phenomenon, slow in materializing given various vicious circles.

Pedro and I discussed the military's use of immigrant conscripts to pad itself out.  Pedro pointed out a core irony:  when one of these immigrants is killed in the line of duty, they're declared a citizen postmortem, whereas the wounded are more likely to be deported, as a budget liability.


Monday, October 07, 2013


5 x 6 = 30

:: 5 x 6 = 30 ::

This is not such a hard way to multiply.

So what that we do it against a backdrop of triangles instead of squares?

Triangles are simpler and we're allowing for all edges the same length, same as squares, so that's no advantage on the square's side. 

Take your two lengths, A and B, and just connect a line across, and you're done.  That's your area, in equilateral triangular units.

An interesting feature of pouring fluids into such containers is you may tilt it to have the water level connect A and B.

 When filling a tetrahedron, your corners A, B and C may be independently reached as well.

So if the goal is to measure out a number that's factorable, into two or three terms, you've got a way of tilting to get that:  get the fluid to hit all the factors in the flask, as calibrated along the edges.

Think of it as a kind of beaker, amidst other lab equipment. Tilt the tetrahedron to 4 x 5 x 3 for 60 tetrahedron's worth of liquid.  Scale those unit tetrahedrons to be milliliters if you like, no one's stopping you.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Afghanistan Again

:: chatting with Afghanistan ::

The invasion of Afghanistan, ostensibly a manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, commenced about twelve years ago, making this the longest "war" in "US" history.

I put "war" in quotes because it's not headline news and few people care about it.  "Dirty wars" are like that:  clandestine / covert.

This "war" is more the kind of thing Orwell envisioned:  a hell pit in which to dispose of million dollar soldiers and equipment, a black hole for contractors and profiteers who need to perpetually resupply and restaff the operation.

Many militias participate in this gold mine for mercenaries, not just the Pentagon's.

The private sector runs this war internationally, mainly through its sham non-democracy aka the Beltway Junta in DC (currently in "shutdown mode" -- though not when it comes to the resupply effort, which is endless).

That's why I put "US" in quotes.  The private sector has a jobs program to keep the assembly lines going, but said program has nothing to do with the US Constitution or Declaration of Independence.

The age of once-proud nations is well behind us by now.  This is what "desovereignization" looks like:  a lot of pretenders behind the masks, trying to keep the illusion of "sovereign states" alive.  A bit of a corpse show.

Keeping the North Americans employed in bases around the world is a mainstay, and the legacy of the WW2 prime contractors irrigation system (aka LAWCAP).  They like the perks that come with the various occupations (pun intended) and stay compliant / obedient in exchange for low PX prices (comparable to Costco's) and access to red light districts, with veterans' benefits to follow if they hang in there and stay out of harm's way.

As Marty the PhD economist (panelist) pointed out:  on paper, the US squanders over a trillion a year on its military jobs program, a gross monument to the ineffectiveness of mankind.  If you ever wanted proof that patriarchs are incapable, here's your proof.  You might say the space program proves the opposite but the violence-prone want to ruin that too, make no mistake.

We had a Skype connection to Afghani non-violent activists which was cool (thanks Mireaya).  They were in an early morning time zone while ours was late evening.  Lots of translating went on as speeches and Q&A occurred.  One guy reminded us none of the 911 hijackers were Afghani.  That's true, but then gaining control over the world's opiate and cocoa leaf crops has little to do with 911 either.

One of our panelists (not mom) was in the frontier area a year ago, where most of the drone attacks occur.  Shameless dishonorable uber-cowards are in charge of those.

Mom was prepared to give a much longer talk, not an 8 minute lightning talk.  She got the audience interested, talking about our bus trip from Peshawar, with what amounted to a teaser or trailer (like a movie preview).  She did bring in her hero Ghaffer Khan, and did so again during the panel discussion.

As the off-duty chauffeur I ducked out to a liquor store during part of that getting Smirnoff's vodka and Bailey's irish cream.  Yes, I was escaping being social around then.  I get upset by these stupid ape-like creatures sometimes, though I'm one of them.  Is misanthropy "self hating" or more "alienating" or are these two the same?  Existentialists should discuss this question.

We and the Afghanis think the same way about the low-life scumbags who murder by remote control.  War criminals.  Like Nazis.  They'll be vilified for decades to come, in children's books, in museums, in history books.  Like the thugs running Gitmo (the puppet US presidents are helpless against them).

Neither we nor the Afghanis on the line had any easy solutions to recommend.  The militaries of the world have the weapons and use them to extort from less well armed civilians.   Or at least that's what the disreputable militaries are doing.

They perhaps have no choice, given they have no real skills or marketable talents other than stealing from others at gunpoint.  The education system has let us all down.

Let's be clear these Afghanis were as disgusted by Taliban violence as any brand name violence.  All brutal violence is ugly and stupid and hurtful (the antithesis of "sexy" except in Hollywood movies and uncool gringo TV) -- on that most religions can agree, despite their own track records.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

DC Withdraws from Governance

DC appears to be bowing out.

They call it a "government shutdown" meaning when I went to a Library of Congress website, I got this message:

Library of Congress

Due to the temporary shutdown of the federal government,
the Library of Congress is closed to the public and researchers beginning October 1, 2013 until further notice.

All public events are cancelled and web sites are inaccessible
except the legislative information sites and

So does this mean the Pentagon is no longer refilling its aircraft carriers with BP? No, of course not.

The Pentagon runs with or without the Feds as it's controlled by the private sector which uses DC as a sham, to give people the illusion of a Federal democracy among some 48 states in North America.

When democracy shuts down, the occupations (e.g. of Hawaii, Okinawa... Afghanistan) and permanent base construction proceeds apace. Mostly just civilians are affected.

DC is telling the world it no longer needs or wants to be taken seriously as a center of governance.

We get it.  That's been obvious for some time.

Washington DC has been in the process of de-legitimizing itself for quite awhile, starting aggressively with the Nixon Administration.

The question is:  when DC starts up its sorry show again, will anyone care?   Sure, many will.  It takes awhile to lower expectations so completely.

Switching medical services to other circuits would seem to be in order.  The MD community, doctors without borders, must be in high gear.  Shall we appeal to the UN for disaster relief?

The rumor is whole departments are soon to disappear, FEMA among them -- or am I reading the wrong sources?  We'll need more foreign aid and care packages than we're already getting.

Ever since the end of WW2 there's been a lot of cannibalization going on, as tax-funded research and development was privatized and spun off.

At some point, you go below critical mass and the whole thing just dies.  There've been lots of rehearsals.

How about the US Post Office, who or what will replace that?  We may not be able to take junk mail for granted anymore.  But what about pay checks?  Electronic transfers?

Do we need to designate a new capital city?  How about LA?

When they turn the ignition key will it start up again?  Under new management maybe.  These clowns can't be trusted with the Library of Congress, that much is obvious.