Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Convergent Friends

:: seasons greetings ::

Some may find the title misleading as there's a Martian Math spin to this post, by which I mean I'm blending in some of what I also call Quaker geometry in posts gone by.

Given the primacy of the tetrahedron in New England Transcendentalist late 1900s poetics, aka 4D per Bucky Fuller, we have some obligation, in Quakerism, to sustain the inertia (our heritage, after all).

So the teaching is this:  at the XYZ origin, instead of something boring like a bowling ball with hooks, the XYZ vectors stretching away at right angles, we substitute a wrought iron tetrahedron, hooking our six vectors to that, reinforcing the understanding the opposite edge pairs are mutually perpendicular.

Inscribing a tetrahedron as face diagonals in a cube is an easy way to demonstrate this fact, plus to allow for an inverse tetrahedron (the dual in the "duo-tet cube", Bucky's 3-volume).

I imagine a clear plastic cube of beveled faces, six squares glued, with chains pulling hard against the tetrahedron in the middle, in the XYZ directions.

:: model by Skip ::

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wild (movie review)

Maybe because a guy at the Christmas Party at the FCNL liaison's house was decrying the liberties The Exodus had taken with history (wrong swords, flags, camels...), that I wondered if that rusted tank without water was really the real one, if there is one, twenty miles on from wherever.

I'll have to wait for the DVD "making of" feature to find that out, and if the fox was CG.  Bridge of the Gods was certainly real, though I didn't realize hobos on foot were allowed over.  Makes sense that they should be.

Strayed is a pun, as she's strayed, and wants to get to know her own bizmo better.  That's "slang" for one's own body, built for business / IT.  "Slang" in quotes because I'm like the only one using "bizmo" for "business mobile" in the first place, let alone for our bodies.  But this is BizMo Diaries after all, so you'd expect these memes here.

The roller coaster of life gets some safe predictability for awhile (about a hundred days worth, in under two hours), as one trudges the PCT rehashing through experiences and recovering from PTSD.  The security of having things in flashback is what keeps them from being a near death experience, which isn't to say Cheryl doesn't have heart pounding encounters:  with a rattler; with scary males.

I went from the Christmas Party in North Portland directly to Lloyd Center, the big outdoor theaters, built at a time when I used to walk to work (CUE) through what's now the parking lot (the one Robin Egg was stolen from, our blue Subaru -- while I watched the movie Troy).  Speaking of which, I renewed my Triple-A membership yesterday.  These blogs, if they still exist, have some fun AAA stories (battery repair, losing keys, other excitement).  Razz was our next car.

Anyway, she stumbles along, doing an REI commercial along the way.  I don't think hikers begrudge that commercial and I'm a champion of product placement as a legit way to sell people on a lifestyle, and hiking the PCT is definitely an acquired taste.  You need companies to support athletes, and that's why we have athletic brands.  We didn't get what brand of condom that was, but this wasn't really that kind of movie.

She's a mature and intelligent woman at this point in her life with flashbacks through her younger years.  The audience is willing to take this as a study in empathy once it's clear we're not bracing for horror.  Hitchcock tricked us with a flashback once, but we're trusting the ride here.

There's a happy end feel to it too, but also that sense of an observer (a big movie-going audience, and TIME) changing the observed (a private campfire "true story", not a novel).  Will we have more tourists now, looking for Jerry Garcia festivals?

In some ways I was reminded of Prodigal Sons in how we dive into a family's dynamics and explore them, finding the usual good stuff:  our mortality and humanity. Prodigal Sons was more the documentary, with people starring themselves, whereas this is a "stage play" (with the "great outdoors" for a backdrop) with actors.

I was also reminded of Roz Savage and her lonely journey amidst the elements as one of the greatest ocean-going rowers of all time.  She has also written deeply and reflectively.  She's someone I've met in person, though not in a way she'd remember.

Then of course there's Lindsey Walker, just back from a very long walk (not a trek) in Nepal, getting down to tattered sandals like Strayed's at one point, after a bicycle trip to California.

We're getting into Everyman / Everywoman territory here, El Camino, the pilgrimage, the great way.  Each one of us is a scenario, a dharma tube, partially overlapping with others.  My wife Dawn died on St. Patrick's Day so I got her sense of loss and separation and not being in a party mood in that scene from her life.

Pacific Coast Trail itself is the unsung star of this film in some ways, a symbol of the roller coaster that is life, with the markings left by the many who've gone before.

Update:  Glenn reminded me coming down from Mt. Tabor this morning that Cinema 21 hosted the gala event with the original author and actress both on stage.  Big news at the time.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Deke, aka Lawn Mower Man, aka @dekebridges, with 117K Twitter followers (on that account), very kindly called me up and followed through on an offer to let me use his digital broadcast receiving equipment.

For the first time in like years, I'm getting the channels in real time.  I'd ditched those for satellite, but then in the great downturn cut all my expenses, while living on credit and the generosity of others.

Since then, I've regained an income and (a) restored the gym membership and (b) started treating myself a little more.

I'm still at the frugal end of the spectrum, for a Hawthornite, but not complaining.  Quakers are supposed to cultivate "plain and simple" as virtues.  The house (aka Blue House) is fully mine, thanks greatly to Dawn's planning.

So I'll be watching more CBS Evening News, just like old times.

In other upgrades:  fitted purple sheets, found in storage, and new speaker wire for the two dad bought me many Xmases ago.  He got us the TV then too.  I'm in no hurry to go flat screen.  I get LCDs and HDTVs everywhere I go, so don't mind sticking with my antiques.

I need to return the audio cable though as the phonograph comes with a fixed length white and red.  I don't know what I was thinking buying the six foot cabling.  Fortunately, I still have the receipt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Summer Camp

I was back to my "boot camps for teachers" meme today, this time including their families.  Glenn and I had been talking about publicly funded boarding schools, pre-college, of which there are very few.  However teachers are not "pre-college" in that sense, so the topics were loosely connected.  The bridge or glue language was Quakers, and public-private collaborations, more like in the old days.

Of course I'm back to my Project Earthala imagery, those elusive Fly's Eye Domes and other gear, perhaps deployed only for the semester, then packed up and returned to the giant warehouse somewhere.  Humans getting better at not leaving that much of a footprint.  OK to stake something for the GIS record but we're not wanting to harm the pre-existing ecosystem.  The eco-village comes and goes.

Although I mentioned helicopters, something of a cliche in Fuller School circles, Glenn emphasized their danger.  If the property in question is accessible by container truck... I'm just not into building lots of roads (defeats the purpose), more into making do and/or letting roads go back to nature (some counties over-built, lets face it).  Anyway it's not up to me to make the site-specific recommendations, not when summarizing the network.

Some of these might be closer to "call centers" as in "places of employment" than training centers or schools.  People have already trained in order to get here.  I'm not insisting on pegging the stereotypes, and draw on the variety / diversity in summer camp experiences already, including reminding myself that cold weather conditions may obtain, as I've not specified a hemisphere (above or below the equator).

Speaking of which, we're coming up on Winter Solstice.  Best wishes to travelers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seven Year Itch (movie review)

A friend who especially enjoys older films, with less swoopy computer effects, recommended this 1955 classic, directed by Billy Wilder and co-starring Marilyn Monroe.

The backdrop premise is the married men bid their families adieu in the heat of the summer, this being a privileged class with summer digs.  Yet even the janitor has manged to send his next of kin off Manhattan.

Which reminds me, the film opens in a light-hearted parody of the annual ritual to set the tone, set 500 years ago, using stock / stereotype Hollywood imagery.

Our anti-hero, Richard Sherman by Tom Ewell, free of his family, and enjoying air conditioning, has an eerie habit you'd think he'd lose, of talking out loud at the top of his voice, committing his thoughts to the air waves (literal air in this case, not the "air" waves of radio).

You'd think a family man of some maturity would not be in the habit of voicing his thoughts like that, a first step down the slippery slope.  No doubt the director chose to ignore the "inner voice" option for comic effect, and it works.

Probably the best moments are in the office when our star, having accosted Marilyn Monroe outside the boundaries of fantasy, suffers a paranoid backlash right when the psychiatrist walks in, to talk about the slenderized (sensationalized) version of his book.  This film is it (dry psychoanalysis compressed for mass public consumption), one could say, appropriately slapstick (almost), with Marilyn upholding the "dumb blond" stereotype.

The protagonist is not just afraid his wife will barge in and want a divorce, or that his reputation will be sullied.  He's concerned about his own evident lack of will power and by his wife's infidelity as an echo of his own.

He makes the mistake of misidentifying fantasy with reality more than once, as the audience is given to know.  As onlookers privy to intimate fantasy, through the "miracle" of film, we know our guinea pig gets lost in the maze, not knowing what's real.  We see ourselves in his woes.

One of the funniest lines is when he defensively asks "who do you think I've got in there, Marilyn Monroe?"  The film reaches out to engulf itself here, like an Escher print containing its own canvas.

As I'm reading some books about the infusion of quantum mechanics through metaphors, I'll say Richard Sherman is a probability wave with fantasies tilting him this way and that, to where he intersects consensus reality in comical ways.

He's often dizzy with all the self-particle ("me ball") spinning he does, a symptom of having an active imagination.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Hotel Room Tableu

:: from Pycon 2009 ::
[ posting on math-teach ]
On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM, Robert Hansen wrote:

> We analyzed math circles here several years ago, including Kaplan's?
> http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7030630
> Bob Hansen

I don't know about "analyzed" but in this Hotel Room Tableau from Pycon 2009 Chicago you'll see Kaplans' 'Out of the Labyrinth' in the upper right, a gift from Steve Holden, then chairman of the Python Software Foundation.

(I miss that hat, had my name in it, a Paul Kaufman original)

If you zoom out and check the full Album, you'll see the "Bucky stuff"
figures prominently:

(who's the first to spot Guido, our benevolent dictator in Pythonia?).

Kitchen Tableau
More Developments

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Global Warming Commercial

Commercials back from the future...

:: reads bottom to top in time ::

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Extended Precision

:: world order ::

... some writing on extended precision in another context.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Wanderers 2014.12.2

One of our topics tonight:  where does "hippie" come from?
In Greenwich Village, New York City by the end of the 1950s, young counterculture advocates were widely called hips because they were considered "in the know" or "cool", as opposed to being square. One of the earliest attestations of the term hippy is found in the "Dictionary of Hip Words and Phrases" included in the liner notes for the 1959 comedy album How to Speak Hip, a parody based on the burgeoning Greenwich Village scene. As opposed to the hipster, defined as "A fully paid-up member of Hip society", a hippy is "A junior member of Hip society, who may know the words, but hasn't fully assimilated the proper attitude." It also defines hippie-dip as "Derogatory word for hippy." [ source ]
Also: was Thomas Edison really trying to invent a device to communicate with the dead?
Regardless of Thomas Edison’s misinformed understanding of biology, he was inventive genius who was astoundingly capable of developing devices to serve a purpose. During the last decade of his life, he turned to inventing a device that would be capable of communicating with any sentience that existed beyond the grave. In “Spiritualism,” written in 1920, Edison postulated that, “For my part, I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved, or manipulated – whichever term you want to use – by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.” Edison continued an attempt to develop this device. He continued in this essay: “I have been at work for sometime building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us.” [ source ]
Yeah, sometimes we sit there looking up stuff on our computers, comparing notes. Why not? It's called "studying".



Monday, December 01, 2014

A PhD in Truckology

Of course truckology is not a real discipline, though you wouldn't know that visiting my Uncle Howard's place.  One could swear a truckologist worked here.

Then there's routing the trucks, assigning them lanes, a software-intensive endeavor.

I met a master craftsman in that business and know a PhD in Truckology, were Teamsters U to have one, would be no joke and command a good income.

I'd been thinking Harvard Business School might work on scholarships for truckers already plying the Tehran to Istanbul highways, on westward into Europe and eastward to Kabul, the old spice routes, newly paved.

It'd be a treat to drive that, were it safe enough, but for now the academic credit is due to those currently braving these wilds.

Making it safer, recruiting more students, would be the hard work of some dean.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wanderers 2014.11.26

We had one of our best turnouts ever today, with people we practically never see.  Coffee was in high demand.  I said I'd be more like a photographer at a wedding and move about, then fade away as my day job is peaking.  Just getting to join was a privilege, with family and friends.

Our topic was Matriarchy, beginning with concerns about definition and semantics.  Matriarchy is not "just the opposite" of Patriarchy, but then what's the latter?  Matrilineal is easier to define.  In Patriarchy, the fathers have a stronger "need to know" regarding the paternity of children, as property passes father to sons, or any offspring per King Lear.  In Matriarchy, paternity doesn't matter as much and the mother's brother may be head of household, with her husband the head of another household.

Constance Tippett Chandler was our presenter.  She's an artist who shapes a concept of history as from clay, with attention to detail and scholarship.  Matriarchy is less concerned about gender, though patterns around gender may well develop.  "Whoever is most fit for the job" was her response to division of labor questions.  Creating the ethics in the moment as a way of unearthing a distant culture in the past may seem like undue editorializing, but as performance-based conceptual art, it makes sense.

Given circumstances, looming work-related tasks, I took my leave somewhat early and missed a lot of the discussion.  Do we really find evidence of a Matriarchal layer in Old Europe circa 7500 BC?  We do find a lot of sophistication about time and cycles back then, astounding pottery, evidence of successful civilization.  But what do we know about the social order?

In Connie's telling, that layer of history, or prehistory, is buried with the invasion of the Kurgans, after which the archeological record shows plentiful weapons cluttering up the landfill, up until our day.  We're still the war-prone heirs of the horse-mounted bullies who imposed far stricter rules to the point of enslavement.  Patriarchy is a lot about asceticism, rank, policing others.  More fascist.

Obviously much discussion could flow from such a storytelling.  The Confederated Tribes of the Iroquois, by some accounts a model for the Federation of States branding as "USA" in later chapters, was Matriarchal.  In Connie's telling, the patriarchy reached a corrupt phase and downward spiral out of which the matriarchy then emerged.  Could this happen again?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Recapping a Story

When Lindsey Walker was with IT for CSC for GulfStream, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, she had the savings to (a) follow the band Weezer to Japan and (b) scope out Portland for its reputed Portlandia scene (this was before the TV show).  She ended her IT lifestyle in Savannah and made a bee line in her Nissan, with Titty the cat, to Asylum District (Hawthorne) there to start a new life as a rock star and revolutionary.

In the meantime Tara and I had done some desert driving lessons that ended when Razz the Subaru bumped over some floor-piercing rocks.  Walker had forsaken driving as something less ethical folks do and become more ascetic, a cyclist and pedestrian.  Result:  given I had a spare space and she had a spare car, tit for tat:  she got the space, I got the Nissan.

I'd also been experiencing dire straits in the wartime economy (fewer good options for civilians) and welcomed Lindsey's exciting foray into pioneering an ascetic lifestyle.  She got us into the FNB network at a critical time when free food in exchange for labor and logistics, was a welcome opportunity.

Fast forward:  Lindsey discovered Newar Buddhism through the one temple in that tradition anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, and it just happens to be around the corner from the Linus Pauling House, through which Lindsey and I first met, thanks to Patrick.

Lindsey is now interested in becoming a serious student of the Newar Buddhist tradition, with another year of training in Nepal to follow her recent three-month sojourn there.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Exorcist (movie review)

I'd not seen this one since the Philippines, when priests came on TV and told us it was just a movie, which made it worse.  My girlfriend at the time soured on Ouija Boards but warmed up to priests, so impactful was this celluloid-saved scenario.

When it opened to some beautiful call to prayer music, showing scenes in Iraq, where apparently the Christians had found a hell mouth (cite Buffy), that finally made it click for me, why the Catholics felt compelled to invade.

But wait, no, they didn't, that was a Neocon thing, not a drop of pure Christian blood in it, except at the Monster U fringes, with imam-rabbis Falwell & Robertson types flaming them on.  The Pope was against bullying Iraqis in the name of ousting a Noriega type the US had been supporting just prior, in some "balance of terror" you should ask Kissinger about, I'm no authority.  I was in Tehran once, fun place.

Anyway, the girl's mom is a total Georgetown power-nester, a socialite par excellance, the dad gone, with a new loser boyfriend, and a teenage girl hoping to practice some real girl talk.  Mom isn't up to it though and projects this whole shrieking journey on her daughter, while mom sits it out in the mental hospital, doing unspeakable things in her mind with those priests.  It's all a flash back you see.  Mom got better.  That's the uncut version (laugh track), my spin.

So the audience is immediately jealous this mom has servants to boss around and fawning admirers and thinks it probably serves her right her darling daughter is such a potty mouth (like Nixon) who makes salon party social errors beneath those of most socialite amateurs, like peeing on the rug.  Hah hah, mommy doesn't get a Barbie, mommy gets a Chuckie.  [ This is the version where more dolls were used, with the coming-downstairs scene, belly-up on all fours.  Only very athletic girls should even attempt such a thing. ]

The hero-priest is racked with guilt and needs a way out himself.  What better way than down those same steps the loser boyfriend took, the now-famous "Exorcist steps" of Georgetown, one of my favorite necks of the woods, used to visit friends there, had a job there, even lived there for a spell, working for a pro-democracy group while staying with a partisan supporter of same (WDC is riddled with partisans, like Rome in that way).

The main tension in this film is the triangle between a raving mom, doctors, and the church.  The doctors and church are all men, vying for this woman's allegiance and respect.  The church plays especially "hard to get" where exorcisms are concerned as belief in the supernatural is no longer cool except when practiced with true believers (the devil himself the archetypal original-sinner in-self believer).

Today's priests do nuclear physics and teach astronomy and stuff and don't get involved with demonic possession cases.  Leave that to the con artists and filmmakers (symbolized by the movie-fan detective, professionally skeptical of everyone).  On the other hand, they have a reputation to live up to, and so don't want to disappoint when cornered by Satan.  Their profession gains credibility through this work, as it does from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Out of the Clear Blue Sky (movie review)

I picked this up from Movie Madness to continue on the topic of 911, taken up at Wanderers last week by David Chandler.  He invited myself and a friend to watch it at his house, given his own focus on this topic and the fact that we're all friends anyway, through Quakers.

As I expected from reading the dust jacket, this is not a film about the whys, hows or wherefores.  It's about a group of families connected to a company that lost all 650+ co-workers who went in to work that day at North Tower, right near the top, where one could feel the building sway and see water slosh back and forth in the sink.

When the plane hit, all access to the ground was lost and the physics was lethal.  The CEO, who was enjoying his son's first day of kindergarten, understood the situation and grappled with it as best he could.  At first he was the human face of the 911 victims, but then the media turned on him when rumors spread that his company was not planning to make good on its promises.

The arc of the film is a lot about the exoneration of the CEO, who lost his brother in the attack, as well as about the nightmare the victims have endured since 911.  The film makers also lost family members and friends in the attack.  The suffering of the victims is mixed with that sense of the surreality of these horrific events, a reminder that reality need not be believable.

David thinks any notion I may have that these buildings could have been pre-wired for demolition for benign reasons, namely to get rid of them when they proved to be white elephants, is highly unrealistic and thinks it far more likely that the wiring was premeditated and coordinated with the airplane attacks.

That's assuming a demolition occurred, in addition to the airplane hits, which many architects and engineers argue is likely, given eyewitness accounts, analysis of the video, and of the chemical residue from the dust.

Adding a button to the picture and a decision to press it, does not in itself point to who the decider was as a matter of logic, at least not in my mind.

I'm willing to add a button (e.g. to explain WTC 7's fall "at the speed of gravity" -- not 40% slower as the draft NIST report alleged) but that's about as far as I go in my own analysis of what happened.  I have no special insider knowledge I'm withholding at this time.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Abandoned Projects

I haven't had time to explore my free Amazon Web Services and they were soon to convert to pay-as-you-go.  As a defensive measure, I cancelled the account, not really having learned anything.  Nor have I gotten anywhere with Cypher, the Neo4j language I was hoping to tackle.

Like anyone, I think I'm lunging toward X and find myself embracing Y instead.  Perhaps momentum is conserved if nothing else, or inertia if you prefer to call it that (coordinate systems talk).

Quakerism tends to have some liberal dharmas (teachings) about how "the way will open" and your work as the receiver is "expectant waiting".  The ego doesn't get to own the road in this picture.  But then perhaps one may legitimately worry this bigger Self is just another egoic projection, a shadow puppet. Projection is certainly a strong psychological phenomenon, good thing they came up with that name for it.

One might distinguish projects based on their point of abandonment.  Consider a ship.  Some never make it off the drawing board whereas others plow the world's oceans for decades before finding retirement.  Both may be accounted "ended projects" but certainly at different chapters or phases. The other variable to remember is that projects spawn other projects to varying degree.

Tonight I was watching a EuroPython video mentioning Rope, Pykka, Bottle and Traad ("thread" in Norwegian), the talk by Traad's author.  Probably that, and the email from Amazon about my twelve month free trial period coming to an end, got me meditating on Abandoned Projects as a theme.

Not that these excellent Python projects (Rope etc.) have been abandoned, more they've been spawned, adding to a thriving ecosystem.

Likewise the projects I've thought of doing, or have gotten into part way, have sometimes produced results in other, perhaps unanticipated directions.  Precession.


Greetings from Amazon Web Services,

This e-mail confirms that you have cancelled your access to AWS Unified Registration. Your access to following services is canceled:
Amazon Simple Storage Service
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Amazon Simple Queue Service
Amazon SimpleDB
Amazon CloudFront
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Amazon Simple Notification Service
Amazon Simple Email Service
AWS CloudFormation
Amazon Route 53
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Direct Connect
AWS Storage Gateway
Amazon ElastiCache
Amazon CloudSearch
Amazon Simple Workflow Service
Amazon DynamoDB
Amazon Glacier
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AWS Data Pipeline
Amazon Redshift
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Amazon WorkSpaces
Amazon AppStream
Amazon Kinesis
Amazon Zocalo
Amazon Cognito
Amazon Mobile Analytics

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Short Story

This one came to me this morning, a comic skit maybe. 

It's about this guy who makes like a hundred times more than anyone, or exponentially more, but then he's obsessed with covering his tracks by encrypting any porn he might tap into, and that takes like nine tenths of his dough, or whatever it takes to knock him back to like you and me. 

The funny part is we all know this is his obsession, to protect his privacy with fancy encryption bought from the most expensive think tanks.

So what has he gained really? 

We never know the IP numbers or exactly which girls and/or boys (or hamsters?) but in leaving that to the imagination, we pretty much just see a guy who could have had a lot more fun in life. 

So yeah, it's a sad story, but then it's fiction, a cartoon.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Angle & Frequency

Synergetics heads will appreciate this snowboarder mag logo for its use of Frequency in conjunction with Similarity. In the Synergetics vocabulary, Frequency relates to size whereas Angle relates to shape. These may be varied independently.

Warning:  per Wikipedia, Synergetics is an "iconoclastic" discipline, roughly meaning:  unorthodox, verboten, off limits, fringe, in the twilight zone, remote, maverick, experimental, weird, odd-ball, off-beat etc.  But then probably more people read Bucky than Heidegger so it's all relative anyway.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Which Way Home (movie review)

Los Estados Unidos have become mythologized in more tropical climes, though here in El Norte, Costa Rica has a reputation as a subtropical paradise.

Not only do these kids often have very hazy, uninformed ideas, their parents and/or guardians may likewise have a very poor understanding of what almost two thousand miles on the top of a freight train might do to a person.

The children run away, clump together in teams, and a large number come home as PTSD victims, having been starved, robbed, imprisoned, and/or forced to witness crimes, including atrocities, against fellow travelers.  Some come back in a coffin.

What a lot of these Guatemalan, Honduran and Mexican kids don't realize is that North America has a large population of runaways just like themselves, fleeing broken homes.  They may be orphans, disowned, have an alcoholic step dad, mom's a meth head or who knows.

For one reason or another, a radical reboot / reset looks more promising than staying in the hood, and these kids hit the roads, sometimes the trains.  It doesn't matter what America you're in, the plight is the same, as are the attempted remedies.

What's most touching is how many of these young wanderers imagine they might find a loving family up north, not realizing many of our voting USA taxpayers would rather enjoy using them for target practice.  Immigrants who got here earlier tend to be mean to later immigrants:  an old pattern, similar to the "snobby butler" phenomenon.

Organized work / study tours for academic credit, and web sites for matching students with global opportunities would be part of the solution, as well as safer train tracks.  By the looks of this film, trains in Mexico have a bad habit of flying off the rails.

The film crew is gutsy in riding the trains with the kids, getting lots of hours in and winning the trust of their non-unionized cast of characters.  The social services and authorities, as well as NGOs, are portrayed as always caring and professional.  The "corrupt cops" and "predatory smugglers" do their thing off camera keeping everything PG-13.

Many thanks to PortlandiaLanguages.com for hosting this showing of an Emmy Award winning HBO documentary.  Save The Children International was the designated beneficiary of all proceeds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Thriving Adhocracy

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lunch Break

Long time readers of these blogs will remember Glenn Stockton, both a handy-man caretaker, really great with tools thanks to much off-the-grid living, even raising a family that way, and a scholar. 

He haunts the Good Will sometimes, knowing it's a place to score finds and today found a really great condition copy of a classic by Linus Pauling and E. Bright Wilson, which one is welcome to read for free on the Web:

Not that this book is light reading by any means. Pauling was a good clear writer in general though, Glenn points out, and I assume Wilson was too.

He also shared several other titles which you can take a look at by entering my Flickr Photostream, by clicking on either picture above.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Devils (movie review)

Students of Royal Babylon understand that royalty, like circus people, have been in-bred for a reason, to create a courtly cast of public figures easy to manipulate from behind the scenes, to puppet in other words.

The Devils is a reenactment of an historical period when France was undergoing incipient nationalism (this was long before Napoleon).  The so-called King of France (a royal) is kept feeling insecure by the "threat" of any city within its "borders" with walls.  Yet with a rampant plague going around, having a wall is actually good sanitation and the local strongman knows it. So the strongman must be framed and then murdered for his "crimes", which provides the plot for the story.

That the strongman happens to be a priest is very convenient for the framers, as he's something of a rock star with the nuns.  Absent family planning or competent medical services, when he gets a nun pregnant, she has no social security and freaks out, leading to momentum for a backlash against his studly ways.  The head of the nunnery doesn't quite have her head screwed on straight and she becomes the primary vector for vengeance, and ultimately furthers the king's minders' plot to fell the walls of the town.

The priest reminded me of Copernicus, also hounded by fellow Catholics for having a live-in partner whom he listed as a servant in official papers.  Lots of priests had women friends, which Protestants used against them, leveraging the hypocrisy charge, although this particular priest had done his homework and found nothing Biblical to support celibacy in the first place.  Or rather, the Bible tends to self cancel on many issues, with voices taking all kinds of positions.  The Quran is the same way.

Copernicus, Mercator, Descartes... all these good souls lived in terror of the Inquisition, and always for the same reason:  their intelligence was superior to the Pope's.  Any titular Pope or King is prone to throwing a hissy fit when some mirror mirror on the wall says someone else is the Snow White du jour.  The resulting rage feeds a desire for vengeance.  In the case of Mercator, with better maps than the Vatican's, that meant jail time.  For Descartes, also caught in the middle of religious wars, it meant encrypting some of his best secrets in time capsules not decoded until the 1980s.

The nuns do not have the benefit of depth psychology in the 1600s and have no way to deal with the unconscious other than buying into the namespace of demons and devils, the occasional angel.  Instead of psychoanalysts, you had exorcists and the Inquisition fielded these psychopaths by the gross.  Not surprisingly, the minders wanting to capitalize on France as a nation are hell bent on using the Inquisition as their tool, to bring down the strongman and the walls protecting his people from the plague.  They are successful in their plot and France goes on to terrorize the world as one more nation-state monster with corporate personhood (or "sovereignty").

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Blustery Day

:: Fall Look ::

High winds today, trees bending, quite stormy but without the driving rain.  I was walking in it no problem, descending Mt. Tabor.

It was mini boom town in Stump Town in those years, with many a new palace, new bridge (making a dozen total).  A proud city approximately at the end of both the Oregon Trail (pioneered by Lewis & Clark) and the Missoula Floods (in different chapters obviously).

The last Dick Pugh talk I missed wasn't content I'd heard i.e. I missed out on quite a good talk by all accounts.  I'd been moping in my beer contemplating a different fashion line up now that ol' Stetson Gun Club was gone for good.  Longmire without a hat?

The Punch & Judy Show at Math Forum has been productive for me at least in that I got in touch with a GST buddy in India, a pen pal if you will, who knows more about Warfield and Pearce than I do.  We've had our differences, which I've even blogged about, but that only shows how much we care.  Awww...

This really happened:  I saw The Zero Theorem twice and the second time my RAZR decided it needed a red vortex splash screen and gave itself one.  A first perturbation of the Singularity?  Smartphones might start showing signs first, like dogs yelping before the tsunami.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Biosphere is Better

Monday, October 20, 2014

Remembering Occupy

Rear positioned, with police, we bring food tent supplies to Cascadia Pioneers statue.  Beach head established, full sized tent by evening.  Good relations with police got us off on the right foot.  Polarizations would happen later, in predictable ways.  Portland got some better bathrooms.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Speaking of Role Playing...

I have reason to use this clip in a somewhat academic context, in a footnote to some timeit() project where different versions have to race. The student is asked to cut a function's time by almost two thirds or more.

Rather than destroy the slower function, the two versions are raced, or maybe more than two. In my thinking, this image of a "snail race" occurs, and this movie clip, which makes it all come alive in CG.

I also appreciate this clip because of its resonance with real life situations of course. The film was obviously made with children in mind, and they know getting teased and/or teasing at recess.  They got teased for being "a crier" perhaps; and sure enough, one of the snails is immediately picked on by a bully.

There's no time to waste developing personalities however. The film itself does that at leisure, but our clip merely takes us to the races.  Barely more than a minute.  Yet a winner is found.  Given this is a cartoon, the laws of physics need not apply.

The premise of this movie his hilarious: a snail with aspirations to become a speed demon. The sheer idiocy of the premise, combined with expert follow-through, makes this a favorite of mine. I've already reviewed it.  Check it out.  Oops, sorry I'm slow... can't find it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Innovations in Role Playing

Besides experimenting with graph databases, Quakers in the 21st Century have options George Fox never did, such as to fully record Business Meetings on high bandwidth storage media for the Meeting Archives (picture a server farm, a rack space, if the meeting is big and old).

Traditionally, a recording clerk synthesizes a meeting's decisions into Minutes, and this practice should not be suspended.  Written minutes have a life of their own within a graph database.  However, if a remote Quaker wishes to (a) view and participate in real time and/or (b) record a response at a later time, an "after thought", why disallow this on principle?  Which of the Quaker SPICES testimonies says to only meet behind closed doors and never make any recordings?

The obvious answer is Business Meeting (a form of Meeting for Worship devoted to management and governance) contains confidential material sometimes and the "need to know" ethic predominates in Societies not given to idle gossip.  For this reason, real time access may indeed need to be limited to only invited / trusted remote parties.  Likewise, before a Business Meeting goes to the Meeting Archive, an editing step might be applied.  A skillful editor, like a skillful clerk, is not trying to change the sense of the meeting through censorship.  Editing is a way of sculpting and bringing out features, highlighting.  The Job Descriptions manual may need a new Role, though perhaps "recording clerk" already covers it.

Speaking of roles:  remember the Advices from past clerks of Peace and Social Concerns: to not let Nominating rule the roost when it comes to activist participation.  Practice first, get nominated (or not) later.  How are people supposed to know you and your concerns well enough to nominate you if all you do is play wallflower and hope you get noticed?  That's no way to run a railroad.  Wade in and get noticed.  Flamboyance may be preferable to sulking.  Think about it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Graphing Relationships


Those of you who've done most your bookkeeping or other record keeping with SQL, may have heard of NoSQL or "not only" SQL, but your mind flashes to something like Mongo or CouchDB, not to a graph database with a language like Cypher.  That's still forgivable as graph databases are still relatively new players in the record keeping ecosystem.

Neo4j depends on Java and gives you a web browser mashup that's a combination IDE / REPL and visualization portal.  For those of you not decoding:  IDE = interactive development environment; REPL = read / evaluate / print loop (interactive prompt); SQL = structured query language.  You'll see that above:  the $ is the interactive prompt and the box beneath, listing movie names, is what a MATCH query in the Cypher language came back with.

Getting some basic / primitive Python API might be a next step, or maybe not.  I should probably just work out in native Neo for a couple weeks and build up my Cypher skills.  The command language front end would be like:  "Make Ahmed clerk of Peace and Social Concerns for two years starting in 2014".  The Cypher would happen behind the scenes.  Something like WikiWords might come in handy, to keep the parsing part easy.  If you prefer to write Cypher directly, more power to you.

Then a clerk could query using syntax like:  "show all previous members of Peace and Social Concerns with the percent of regular meetings they attended".  This might be a Nominating clerk query.  One wants reliable attenders usually, though some people have pre-agreements that could also be encoded e.g. members who live in another city half the year, the case with Carol.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Reviews on Amazon

Quakernomics: An Ethical Capitalism (Anthem Other Canon Economics)

Quakernomics: An Ethical Capitalism (Anthem Other Canon Economics)
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Did Quakers practice "Total Capitalism"?, October 9, 2014

Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very cool that the author focuses on The Iron Bridge as an entry point, a science fiction novel about a time traveler sent back from a future that's decided humans had industrialized too early, before their thinking had matured enough to handle it (witness the World Wars the followed). In this future, the planetary ecosystem is messed up beyond repair. Industrialization must be delayed. So she (the time traveler) is to sabotage the Iron Bridge, built by industrious Quakers who treated their workers fairly well. Hence the book's claim that Quakers not only practiced "total capitalism" (from foundry to factory to wholesale to retail) but did it in such away as to give "total socialism" a run for its money, i.e. they treated their workers relatively well. Quakers reach an apogee in power and influence around 1781 when the bridge opens. Given their socially unpopular positions in the US, anti Indian Wars and anti slavery, their Quaker utopia (Pennsylvania) is already on the wane, but that's another story. This book is more about the UK and the difference Quakers made there.

Divided Spheres: Geodesics and the Orderly Subdivision of the Sphere

Divided Spheres: Geodesics and the Orderly Subdivision of the Sphere
Price: $55.46

5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Rounded Primer, June 12, 2013

Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This handsome, beautifully illustrated primer is authored by a career geodesic dome engineer with a sense of the big picture, including the history. I found plenty of mathematical trail heads leading off in various directions, all worth exploring, with a core of spherical trigonometry.

Yes, my own writing is in the bibliography, which may color my opinion, but to me this just means Edward Popko (whom I have not met) was extremely thorough and really did his homework for this tome, including exploring a lot of obscure topics. Amy Edmondson's A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R Buckminster Fuller is likewise cited, helping weave together a story that is still unfolding today.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Elders in Action

This went by on the Chipy list today.  I've watched it before but this time had the sense to grab it for my blog:

Also today, in addition to chauffeuring a friend with a hip replacement around, I joined some women at the waterfront, East Side Esplanade at Salmon, for a quick photo shoot in honor of of the ongoing global Kites Not Drones campaign.

That's the abbreviated slogan. Drones have their legitimate uses, just not in the hands of vicious killers. It's a misappropriation of technology. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Ava Helen's old haunt, organized the Portland action.


I rounded out the day at a local temple (Newar Buddhist), on invitation from a friend. Classical Indian ragas sung by an older guy, accompanied by traditional instruments, who knew what he was doing. My ears took awhile to adjust but then that's part of the process. By the end, we were pretty much all on the same page.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pacific Northwest Social Forum

I'm in no position to write any comprehensive review of this event.  Good job Food Not Bombs on the lunch.  Carol (mom) was especially keen to go as she'd been to the Social Forum in Detroit and been on organizing committees for Forums before this one.

This year the plan was to fragment the global event among several cities, so that more people from diverse locales could maybe make it to one of them.

This was not the same church as where we have the ISEPP lectures.  First Unitarian is not First Congregational.  Both have ample facilities, with the Unitarians also having Eliot Center, the site of many a social event in Portland, including some Barcamps I've attended (that's a computer thing, not a camp for bartenders).

Ibrahim was the one panelist I could claim to know by name.  He came up to Carol and I later and introduced himself in a friendly way.  I reminded him he knows Lindsey (housemate), who would have dug this event; she's still in Nepal.

The Luchini family was in high gear with both parents leading breakout sessions.  However it's not like I was able to recognize many faces.  Portland is a small city, but not that small.  More it was the issues, causes and agendas that I recognized.

Using the term "capitalism" to encapsulate / name a broken operating system, buggy and disreputable, is part of the common core vocabulary, though I wouldn't call this an unexamined nomenclature.  During questions to the panelists, the door was left open to embrace aspects of the "current system" but given the heterogeneous makeup of the group, having a common vocabulary is an asset and after cost / benefit analysis it seems "capitalism" is indeed the common foe.

Somewhat ironically, I'd scheduled the middle of the day to photograph houses on the market for some people looking to move to Portland and so was out and about playing the language game of home ownership after lunch.  Then I settled down on the back deck with Nietzsche, Godfather of Fascism? to read some of the anthologized writings therein.

English must be versatile and fertile enough to come up with other isms, for those wishing for neither social-ism nor capital-ism.  Those can't be the only two choices.  This book Quakernomics I've been reading suggests capitalism is not intrinsically oppressive, if placed at the service of alternative value systems.  Maybe.  Why call it "Quaker capitalism" instead of just "Quakerism"?

Why not just advertise an openness to a plethora of small scale experiments (no "winner take all" rules need apply), with some doubling as a basis for video programming, such that onlooker-viewers may judge for themselves what's an appealing lifestyle?  We already do that a lot already.  Let's do it a lot more.

We (humanity) can practice hundreds if not thousands of isms and individual humans need not see themselves as trapped by any one of them, anymore than bees are trapped by flowers (unless they're flowers of the insect-eating variety).

Engineering subcultures are not by definition the enemy so much as potential infrastructure providers, stage crews, for giving the various isms space to flourish and recruit.  Architecture is a branch of engineering in this vocabulary.

Aren't religious communities "socialist" in that the devotees of whatever flavor share assets / property?

But in that sense isn't an aircraft carrier shared property as well?  Who on board has title?

A captain of a ship is so often not its owner, nor are the admirals typically in owners of their fleets, or why would socialists have them?

Political terminology is full of holes.  Why stake one's life on such hole-ridden texts?

The capitalist in me says risking everything to defend "capitalism", one ism among many, is not a good business investment.  Isms come and go.  The 1800s need not dictate the terms of our debates going forward.

Monday, September 22, 2014

El Topo (movie review)

El Topo ("The Mole") incorporates many tropes from the Western, but also the martial arts film.  A story line wherein a wannabe confronts successively higher masters and fights them, perhaps to the death, is taken up by Bruce Lee, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar one of the masters he fights.

As someone well versed in the Buckminster Fuller legacy, I have to comment on Master Two's splendid collection of toothpick vector matrices, including a painstakingly constructed isotropic vector matrix of considerable size, which our anti-hero destroys.  Got me thinking about Russell Chu, a patient toothpick IVM builder.

The anti-hero goes on to confront his own son, now a grown man, as yet another master he must overcome.  If we take "killing" as a metaphor for simply "comprehending" then we might restore the gory foreground to the status of tantric dream (cartoon-verse or whatever).

The anti-hero is driven into the priesthood by a love triangle, getting "crucified" on a bridge in a scene aptly named Betrayal on the DVD.

Yoko and John Lennon appreciated this film and Jodorowsky's talent more generally.  He's both the director and a main actor in this comic book South American western.  I can see why.

Anyway, the son, the mole, is vastly understaffed and underfunded and his alchemy experiment proves a calamity and he experiences game over, probably doomed to replay this level at some level.  Reintegration of "the other" into "polite society" or whatever the towns people signify, is clearly a dicey game, explosive, and without careful management and supervision, was bound to go awry.

The DVD itself gets a lot of credits i.e. restoration of the original film to its DVD state, complete with an interview (engaging) with Jodorowsky, which leaves me wondering if the somewhat rough cut editing is an artifact of restoration.  I think more likely it's what I'd call the "comic book style" of this kind of movie making.  Things happen abruptly sometimes, just like in real life.

In trying to turn his rescued significant other into a shaman, like himself, she appears to bifurcate into two people (my reading) at first conflicted, but growing self-assured enough to stand on her own and engage in a separate journey.  On this reading, it's maybe a triangle, but Mara is simply more in touch with herself and doesn't need to piggy back on her man, riding him Lady Macbeth style at first (given what she'd been through, I can't say I blame her).

The anti-hero, in the meantime, has a lot of father-son issues to work through and so isn't really prepared for a girlfriend.  He needs to deal with not being in control for a change.  Part Two of the film (the film somewhat divides in two) traces the anti-hero's continued maturation, this time against the backdrop of the mole's alchemy project, which he undertook by popular demand in a spirit of public service, a politician of sorts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Slutwalk 2014

This crowd was on the cerebral side, regardless of dress.

The speeches were pitched to a high level and I overheard someone way a lot of St. Mary's students were in the crowd, a premier Catholic school not unlike St. Dominic Academy where I taught math and sundry subjects in the early 1980s.

The protestors were basically advocating for Second Life rules in First Life insofar as avatar presentation goes.  Dress or don't dress your avatar however you like:  nothing about your dress code implies consent and/or a willingness to provide favors, sexual or otherwise.

The Code of Conduct around Portland State University and other places is clear:  women, and men, can dress how they like within whatever boundaries the courts would uphold (e.g. going stark naked is still not accepted public "attire" except in designated areas), and no aspect of one's costume or dress should be considered "an invitation" as in "but she dressed like a slut, your honor".


Put in other terms, guys have no right to behave like dicks no matter how women dress or undress themselves.  "Consent mode" and "dress code" are two different concepts.  Don't confuse them.

Get it yet?

Some in the crowd were professional dancers who considered their performance art very far from an invitation to random others to assume anything about their willingness to have any specific type of relationship.  Portland has a lot of strip clubs.  These are supposed to enforce a professional code that keeps the dancers safe from non-consensual intimacy.

The main speech maker declaimed sorrow at even needing to hold such an event / protest as the rights being asserted should simply go without saying.  To have to fight for the right to never have non-consensual sex:  why again is that even up for debate?

Given the Code of Conduct is clear, I'm not for a moment saying it's necessarily a simple matter to resolve every dispute wherein an aggrieved party alleges non-consent after the fact.  Many a soap opera has featured a betrayal wherein an innocent party becomes the target of a criminal accusation, for whatever motive (revenge, blackmail etc.), or wherein a perpetrator protests innocence by alleging such a motive on the part of the aggrieved.

Soap operas sometimes make matters easy for the audience as there's often a "fly on the wall" point of view (the camera) giving the inside story.  Usually a jury of one's peers, or the court of public opinion, as the case may be, will not have the luxury of such a viewpoint.

That's where the police and detective shows come in, along with the lawyer shows.  Our TV channels are awash in such stuff.  At St. Dominic Academy, they almost all watched General Hospital.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sounding Some Themes

I told the story of CareWheels, as I knew it, to 791 Techologies in Canada.  That was Ron Braithwaite's project.  I hung out with 791 people at DjangoCon a lot, as they were among the top sponsors.

I'm settling in to this routine where I meet at Red Square wearing my AFSC Liaison hat and swap papers around with the Multnomah Meeting Communications Clerk.  Sounds very toontown doesn't it, like out of some Hollywood movie.  Red Square is just a coffee shop and the Portland AFSC is moving closer to Stark Street, so it's convenient for me 'n Rick, both Friends, to chat over coffee sometimes.

Holden is in Sebastopol I'm pretty sure, with Carol on her way from LAX right now.  Melody got a voicemail from the away team near Kathmandu, still heading for the Rotary-sponsored women's clinic so far as we know.  Glad to meet up with Jen and Yarrow again, and to finally meet Melody's dad.  Uncle Bill is training over from Seattle.

Wanderers will likely celebrate the Solstice on the 19th, which for me will likely start at Colonel Summers where I'm still active with the SE FNB chapter (that's Food Not Bombs, lots in these blogs about the local group, with some links to global resources).  FNB was hosted by the Quaker meetinghouse on Stark Street for about a year, when Blue House was also providing more logistical support.  We were more of a hub back then.  Our main supplier moved and Lindsey found more time to work on music after that.

OK, enough with the random notes, gives the flavor.  Sounding some earlier themes, keeping my storylines going.  CareWheels.  Some good thinking went into that project.

I've also been hyping Fibonacci Numbers on math-teach.  So what else is new?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Documentaries

I find multitasking helps me stay focused.  Each activity gets concentration and attention, but I exhaust my patience for Just That One Thing and get relief simply by varying the content.  We all know this power from the Channel Changer (one of the great inventions of all time).

Is that what's meant by Attention Deficit?  There's nothing wrong with an attention span of only three minutes, if you keep coming back for another three minutes often enough to keep up with the workflow.  That's how our interrupt driven computers work.  The operating system's whole job is to multitask intelligently.

Sure, some tasks take sustained attention for a lot longer than that, but lets hear it for the ones that don't, or don't always.

In that spirit, I welcome the chance to plunge into Quakernomics on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet (10.1") from time to time, or maybe on my Razr when riding a bus.  That book poses interesting questions especially seen in contrast with The Wobblies, a 1979 documentary I just reviewed (I'm pretty sure I'd seen it already, or maybe parts of it).

The IWW was sure no form of capitalism could be benign whereas Quakernomics makes the case that nothing intrinsic to capitalism says that system must be miserly-miserable.  But then Quakernomics is very broad brush stroke with what it means by "capitalism" casting Quakers as most definitely capitalists, in contrast with the Marxists who sometimes ridiculed their mendacious ways.

Likewise the book Debt:  The First 5000 Years, also on my Kindle app, is broad brush stroke with its meaning of "communist", making it mean almost any community-centric economy, any sangha.  So much ideological warfaring depends on loose definitions or, same thing, breaks down as definitions come under closer scrutiny.  "We're not in conflict, we're just working in different namespaces."

Prohibition by Ken Burns is a masterpiece of storytelling.  I'd never associated Happy Days are Here Again so closely with the repeal of Prohibition, preceded by FDR's legalizing 3.2% beer by executive order (a master stroke).  I've always taken legal drinking (for those of legal age) for granted, my generation having been imprisoned for similar offenses the Burns documentary avoids mentioning, despite obvious parallels.

Building up beer as a specifically and endearingly German thing, to postpone Prohibition, really backfired come the demonization of Germans and their culture during WW1.  That, and the passage of a Federal Income Tax turned the saloon-keeper caste and their suppliers into outlaws.  The US had a new source of income and a profitable war to prosecute.

Truly, the "saloon" as an all male club, a symbol of anti-female apartheid, pre women having the vote etc., did not survive into the mid 1900s.  More accurately, gender stereotypes broke down under the pressures of industrialized city living and typecasting based on gender (and "race") became less and less tenable for any institution.

The Wobblies sure liked to sing a lot.  When you have a pre literate and, more important, pre Web culture, propagating ideology through lyrics (and prayers) makes sense.  And these are not songs to kick back and listen to, they're songs to sing oneself.

There's a lot less public singing in groups these days, is my impression.   We have become a culture of spectators on the one hand, and amplified / recorded celebrity-pro singers on the other, with new institutions to break down that difference:  karaoke bars (and of course "church choirs" are still popular), and Youtube.

These two films, on Prohibition and the IWW, in combination with To Be Takei with its focus on the internment of Japanese Americans, provides a ton of information about the "culture wars" that North Americans have been fighting.  Prohibition had everything to do with trying to legislate lifestyle choices with one caste (cast) feeling entitled to dictate to another.  Prohibition was "cast warfare". Criminalize that of which you disapprove, is the "moralistic solution" Americans tend to favor, at great cost to their living standards.

Indeed, we might intelligibly replace the notion of "class" with that of "cast" (as in theater), as ultimately it's a matter of role playing.  Cultures are role playing games, pure and simple.  It's just they take themselves so seriously that saying "game" sounds offensive (too jokey, too light), especially to hardliner ideologues of whatever true faith.

The IWW fought hard for the eight hour work day, and for Freedom of Speech.  The documentary is brilliant in that it shows press accounts being predictably and routinely anti-IWW, making the point, in case it wasn't clear, that newspapers are a tool of one cast more than others.

Demonizing the IWW as either German or Russian agents helped Americans confuse the two, helping with the Great Pivot under the Dulles Brothers, when Germany and Japan (former enemies) became allies against Vietnam and Russia (former allies).

Speaking of demonizing Russians, I also squeezed in at least part of Season One of The Americans, set during the Reagan Years.  I won't try reviewing that here though, beyond acknowledging its relevance.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To Be Takei (movie review)


That's "Tah-Kay" not "Tah-Kai" as the movie makes clear.

What strikes me about George Takei are the similarities between his story and that of Kiyoshi Kuromiya, another Japanese American who incurred internment and a resulting life-long commitment to activism in defense of civil liberties, including gay rights.  Kiyoshi and I used to hang out some in Philadelphia, when I'd fly there for AFSC meetings.  He was likewise kind and brilliant, also focused on personal integrity.

Being gay is an orientation, not a lifestyle, George likes to point out.  If it's "a choice" so is being in mixed-sex relationships a "choice" i.e. it cuts both ways, yet many mixed-sex oriented don't think of it as "a choice" for them.  Well ditto.  That was reasoning by a standup comic we heard later that same evening, but it fits as analysis.

The documentary advances its threads in a multitasking way, an effective way of storytelling in that you get three minutes here, seeing the marriage equality campaign move forward, then three minutes there playing up the Star Trek lore.

What's illuminating about this film is how it's highly media literate within what's popularly called "pop culture" so we get inside Howard Stern's radio show and into magazines and tabloids, visiting a lot of edgy comedy.  That's why the later show by Dick Foley and company at The Helium was so dead on, including more gay jokes.

Like a lot of the stranger-fans in the movie, waiting in line for picture signings and so on, I'm a Takei friend on Facebook.  I don't think I've ever posted to his profile or commented thereon, but I've really liked some of his funnies.  I'm think of myself as a subscriber in that sense.

The movie spends some time on how Asians get portrayed in films.  Yes, a fencing sword is less "stereotypical" than a samurai sword one could say, but getting all martial arty and Bruce Lee like is hardly "out of character" for an Asian male.  They seem to do that a lot.  Not just Errol Flynn.

The interlude about a fantasy Kirk-Spock relationship kicked up by the collective unconscious for Internet consciousness, is hilarious.  ROTFLOL.

The musical George has been working on, Allegiance, is another one of those threads we see advanced.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, from where I'm writing, this musical would have special poignancy.  Perhaps we'll see it in Portland.

To Be Takei

Friday, August 15, 2014

Delta Calculus

I'm thinking Calculus is too generic a name for the Newton-Leibniz thing, takes up a good word for what I'll call Delta Calculus, as opposed to say Lambda Calculus (different greek letter).

People make fun of Newtonian mechanics for being "mechanistic" (duh) meaning "clock-like" which is where delta calculus hails from:  the world of gear-works and their ratios.  How quickly does this gear turn relative to that one?  dy/dx comes from there.  You're trying to reverse engineer nature by modeling her as a clock-works.  Sure it's primitive, but it actually works pretty well when it comes to planetary orbits and what not, even if we admit to chaotic elements.

The figure below, singled out by Glenn Stockton from the many images flying through his workspace, provides a fine summary of rotational motions "in principle" i.e. what you'd expect just thinking about it, in a somewhat Kantian sense (synthetically a priori in other words):

You've got the magnetic field thing going, as a kind of involution / evolution of toroidal (donut) shape, then the revolving and orbital-precessional.  The solar system "corkscrews" whereas in profile it's sinusoidal, which means sine waves.  We should talk about sine waves more, and their oscilloscope values.  Trigonometry remains such a key, don't let e to an imaginary power divert your attention from the underlying rotational phenomenon.

The rate of change at which something changes gets us back to that "trim tab" idea of the butterfly effect.  Butterflies do not in fact cause climate change individually, yet are a part of the climate collectively, and deltas in butterfly cultures may indeed serve as canary-in-mineshaft warnings or positive omens, of big wheels turning in a helpful or harmful direction (you need a model to figure out about preferences, and a value system).

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Holy Toledo


Hygenic Dress

Pythian HQS


For further reading:
Re: Hygenic Dress League