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.