Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wanderers 2016.12.29

Dance Teacher

Lindsey Walker is discussing her research in Newar Charya Nritya, a form of meditation centered in dance.  The fact that Portland has a Newar temple on the same city block as the Linus Pauling House, does figure in to this narrative.

She's tackling the Newar language, in conjunction with the Buddhist tradition, as the priests and gurus who know the disciplines tend to be native Newar speakers.  Many of the texts are in this language.  Newar is Sino-Tibetan, though rendered in Sanskrit.

She's working through Oregon State University.  Charya Geeti is the musical aspect, which she's studying through the Anthropology department.  She's also doing religious and international studies, with a boost from her credits at Florida State.  Kinesiology looks at the dance aspect.

Quakerism, as I've experienced it, includes a cast of mostly women who appreciate the relevance and power of movement, and they would lead workshops in this area, but if you want deeply rooted ritual practices, Vajrayana Buddhism is where to look.

The masters of Charya Nritya realized back in the 1950s that their at one time semi-secret practice was in danger of dying out.  A few experimental solutions were devised and Lindsey is involved in some of them.

The North Indian raga system is complex and provides the basis for Charya Geeti.  The other basis would be the religious texts themselves (the "lyrics" or "verses").

We had some interesting discussions about low budget travel, such as Lindsey was doing on her first trip to Nepal.  She actually slept nine days in a forest, in addition to staying with random strangers who offered her shelter.  Barry reminisced about his Peace Corps experience.

Lindsey brought examples of the texts she's working with and sang a few notes.  We had some professional musicians in the audience.

Students of Synergetics would do well to map the dorje (or vajra, as held by Vajra Satto), to Fuller's "bow-tie" icon.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hannah Arendt (movie review)

Tara found a nifty wall projector I'd somewhat misplaced (as in lost) and the original plan was to hook that up, renting from Amazon (not my habit).

I'm trying to get out of my box, shake loose old habits.  However, just getting the DVD from the Germany section at Movie Madness proved simple as pie (I also made pie, x2 pumpkin) and we ended up watching Hannah Arendt on the Sony Trinitron, not even an HDTV.  Talk about stuck in a pattern (but one that works!).

Besides, if I'd rented it on Amazon would I get the lengthy extras, including the panel discussion at Deustsches Haus / NYU?  Maybe, I dunno.

Heidegger has been bubbling up in conversation.  I think I'll develop my narrative around Hannah and Ayn Rand as a kind of dynamic duo.  Checking with Google, I see that's hardly a new idea.  I'm entering a well-plowed field.  Excellent.

I've been chipping away at my own self portrait, the better to fit in as a puzzle piece.  Whereas I make direct ties to Vienna Circle figures (Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Menger for example, and lets throw in Jung and Freud), I'm somewhat distant from the Continental line, coming from Princeton, though my thesis adviser, Richard Rorty, did help me to tune in.  Walter Kaufmann was happy to send Heidegger to the back of the queue, in terms of readings we might choose.  So why not approach those thinkers through leading women instead?

I hadn't realized the Eichmann trial in Israel had occurred on my watch, much less that Hannah was there for the New Yorker.  I was still somewhat oblivious at age two or whatever it was.  By the time of the Kennedy assassinations, I was tracking, and when we got to Nixon's bombing of Cambodia I was fully aware, though still just in middle school.

So Hannah and I partially overlap on the timeline.

The movie makers underline the challenge that adds, as many in their audience will, like me, have lived through this period.  Affecting realism is harder when the judge has a practiced eye.  We know what a phone sounded like when ringing.  They got it right.

I think I'll add Margaret Fuller Ossoli as another thinker here, on assignment for the New York Tribune at one time, then editor of Dial, and Dora Marsden, the British "anarcho-feminist".  How these dots connect is for later.  The movie got me in the mood to link to thinking women.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wanderers: Winter Solstice 2015

Yesterday was high stress for me, for the same reason it is for many this time of year:  the miracle of jet travel and the possibilities that opens, for missed and cancelled flights (and of course disasters and broken hearts).

In Tara's case, car troubles and an optimistic schedule left her in tears at the ticket counter in Dayton, Ohio, with me likewise calling United for options.  We lucked out:  she arrived through Chicago instead of Denver, at 10:28 PM instead of 1:30 PM, same day, same ticket.

Lindsey, another former denizen of Blue House, now a full time student at Oregon State, doing her field work in Patan (Nepal), likewise had last minute issues, with China Southern suddenly deciding to yank the  Kathmandu-Guangzhou flight.

She was able to re-vector through Bangkok and Seoul just hours before flight time.  Patrick and I met her flight from Seattle.

So for me, December 18 was a milestone positive day with the Christmas gift of family and friends showing up as I'd hoped.  We celebrated the solstice at the Linus Pauling House.  Deke joined us as well.

Lindsey, forty hours traveling, ended up crashed out in the living room and Tara was still in route on UA 518 so neither was at our Wanderers party.  I went from the party back out to PDX, bursting with gratitude that I would be reunited with my daughter.

We had a classic solstice with Glenn bringing his signature chili, Barry the ribs, and I brought along my signature lentil dish.  Bob Boreman played some excellent electric jazz guitar.  He's been practicing a lot.  We were impressed.

Also going on down the street:  what used to be Blue Butterfly, run by Micheal (also at our party) is now called the Fernie Brae and was showcasing a new edition of Alice In Wonderland.  Dave DiNucci has played a role in this literary project and reminded us of this interesting cultural opportunity.

The pictures are all new (though in a period style), by David Delamare, one of the gallery's top artists.  The text has been revisited as well, in light of scholarship around this original tale by Lewis Carroll.  Deke was given some prints for his bedridden friend Suzanne Pardue.

Michael is now based in Bali, bringing his Southeast Asian wares to the basement of Gold Door for selling during the winter season.

Later today, Alexia, her friend John, Tara, Lindsey and myself, plan to see the new Star Wars at The Bagdad.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Philosophical Remarks

Drat, I was up all hours sampling documentaries (browsing; always my habit), and missed getting the garbage out in time.  I was awake early enough, but too preoccupied with nursing duties to remember this was Tuesday... I'm care-taking for a dog, on her last legs.

Anyway, last night I came across the above (amidst some Mars rover and giant black hole videos).  Lots of fun "making math look cryptic" -- the language of high priests no doubt, like the ones at CERN.  I'm a Mario Livio fan, glad to see him in action again.

Phi and Fibonacci numbers -- a favorite topic.  Pascal's Triangle is also good (they're connected).

The mathematician who wonders if he's being radical in saying the universe is mathematics, versus the mathematics being just an attribute of same...  when do they ever interview philosophers on whether grammar really matters that much.

Saying it is mathematics sounds dizzying in its implications... a sense of wonder / vertigo is sometimes welcome in documentaries, I don't deny it.  The thrill of a new way of looking.  Grammar (in Wittgenstein's sense) is all part of the math.

Philosophical investigations:  explorations in the geometry of -- the grammar of, shape of -- thinking (concepts, fitting together... or not).  Will we condescend to see topology in the plot structure of a novel or film?  In what dimensions, these meanings?

Saying nature is mathematics, not just a user thereof, might help bring the humanities into closer association with computation.  The book of nature:  a running program (event driven?).

Funny how when they turn to Pythagoras we're into the nightclub scene, and jazz.  Not that I have a problem with that.  I liked the mathematician-musician they interviewed.  Talented, and with a message:  studying is hard work.

I'm just thinking how Disney applied a somewhat similar spin, way back when, in the 1960s.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Global Data / Global Matrix


Glenn and I have much in common.  He has Global Matrix, I have Global Data.  Both are rubrics of some kind.  He sees Global Matrix as a technology which the Institute for Integral Design would share.

What's Global Matrix?  It has to do with spherical shells for a "Z axis" and hexapents for each of the concentric layers.  One could show not only the Earth's surface, but beneath the surface characteristics.  Showing MRI-like cross-sections of neurons would be another application of an hexagonally pixelated display.

At lunch today Glenn shared the latest of issue of NatureE.J. Applewhite would have been pleased about it I think as Fuller's Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth is given top billing and is included on Adam Rome's short list of five influential tomes on sustainability, all from the same time period, late 1960s, early 1970s.  Applewhite always saw Nature as the gold standard, when it came to acceptability within the sciences.



Another of those tomes is by Kenneth Boulding, the Quaker systems theorist.  General Systems Theory overlaps with economics.  He's sometimes called an economist.

The GUAC chart (those are the four bases of RNA, with U replaced by T in DNA), in American Scientist (vol 97.) showing how to get the 20 amino acids from 64 combinations of GUAC (4 x 4 x 4) is plenty instructive.  The sixty-four trigrams of the I-Ching, isomorphic to the sixty-four possibilities depicted, figure into Glenn's Global Matrix for sure.

The literature mapping sixty-four hexagrams to DNA sequences is fairly well developed -- the same permutations of four possibilities is at work in both.  Glenn's background in applied cryptography (NSA / Vietnam) gives him a nose for, an appreciation for, such literature.  "Connecting the dots" is the name of the game.


Monday, December 07, 2015

World Pax

A lot of Democrats are shocked by the unseemly belligerence showed towards Persia, whatever disputed borders may obtain, on the part of Republicans, uniformly condemning of the deal.

They maybe remember that Kissinger, a Republican loyalist, advised "tilting towards Iraq" and that was official policy in terms of where the ordnance went, to support Saddam's side.  The Iranians were the "bad guys" in this chapter, all the more so after the hostage crises.  Or was that when the dynamics changed?  Under Reagan the threat was suddenly south of the border.

Donald Rumsfeld, then ambassador to NATO,
with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
and President Richard Nixon, Brussels, June 26, 1974

So after Carter came a tilt the other way, with Republicans negotiating an end to said hostage crisis, and Ronald Reagan becoming president, with Bush his Vice President (Casey in CIA, preparing for Iran-Contra).

That there had been some kind of pivot, post the Carter administration, took even Saddam by surprise and he assumed his invading Kuwait would not be the trigger it was for a major shift in weight under George HW Bush as president.

Under the next George Bush (son of George Bush) the US would inflict uber-damage on a former ally, calling it "shock and awe".  Some saw it as betrayal.  Wasn't Iran the enemy, not Iraq?  Not since Ollie North sought Iran's help against Cuba-supported Nicaraguans.  Wasn't that an "Iran Deal" of sorts, until exposed?

But by now the Shah was out of power and the Ayatollah Khoumeni had replaced him with a different lineage.  Taking Iran for granted was no longer in the cards; it could not be bullied so easily.  To make a long story short, Saddam became the next Noriega, Iraq the next Panama. Rumsfeld and Cheney would help with both the tilt (under Nixon) and the counter-tilt (under Bush).

By the sound of things, I'm planning to recount some lengthy and dreary story about the Orient, or Arabia or whatever.  I must be into oil or something.  Do I have a point or what?

I'm just trying to explain why the Republicans may have a harder time swallowing an "Iran Deal" given their thinking hearkens back to English Empire days in trying to imagine "what a superpower would do" in these circumstances.  Their answer (by the sound of things):  just restore that old Pax Americana and let America rule the world once again!  They're thinking more like Allen Dulles maybe?  He's more their role model.

The thing is, there never was any Pax Americana, that's a myth.  The 1800s were about a Civil War (in the US) and the 1900s were about Global Wars (involving the US), so there's really no "pax" in this picture and the US is lucky to still be here in any shape we might recognize.

I'm all for Pax on Earth myself, in the sense of Peace or Mir.  I don't see that one nation, under God or otherwise, needs to enforce it, as that tends to stir resentment.  More, it takes a willingness to allow it on the part of many nations.  Allowing is more natural than forcing.  The world is sick and tired of wars and has the ability to heal if given half a chance.  More ordnance is not what's most needed.

Democrats see the Pax more like that, a co-production, whereas those still under the spell of the Manifest Destiny meme virus (still rampant in some circles) need to see a Stars & Stripes on everything if they're to believe it's really real.  To the rest of us, less infected, all that "faux superpower" nonsense looks really phony.  No empire needs restoring.  No empire is what's best.

I'm glad that Congressmen from both parties, and from more parties as they arise, get to travel a lot, especially out of the country, as a perk of the job.  Sometimes I forget, as an expat who grew up while wandering the planet, that many in Washington DC were never so privileged.  Their education takes time, just as mine did.  Even presidential candidates need more experience sometimes.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Speaking of Memes...

I've not yet tackled the Richard Dawkins corpus but understand he's the source of the "meme" meme (i.e. the meme "meme"), though for him, twaz / is the "gene" that is selfish, i.e. our DNA may be cast as "prime mover" in some way Aristotle might understand.

I'm really grateful for the "meme" meme, and do think that "meme" itself is quintessential, in showing off its power as a meme, even in defining what a meme is.  Like GNU, the "meme" meme is recursive (self referential).  I acknowledge "memetics" as a legitimate area for study and so on.

I do want to make the case for "selfish memes" with a reminder of the Standard est Training, in which the Mind was the ultimate in Selfish, masking Being (authentic self).  Yeah, I know, sounds like a pile of Heidegger.  But the point was well made:  ideologies will throw people to the fire in droves, as it's precisely the DNA we're willing to sacrifice, so long as our core meme set or "way of life" lives on (continues to make sense to us).

Switching gears to a Quaker story, our founder George Fox is famous for answering, when asked why he didn't carry a sword (or handgun), that "you can't kill the Devil" with such a primitive outward physical device.  What he was saying is the physically animated body in front of him, the human being in corporeal form, was never the enemy.  The fight is with something maybe she or he saw on TV.  Why go around slaying couch potatoes, or the ones acting out?  These "meat puppets" of the various "meme-plexes" (ideologies) need some countering intelligence, whereas martyrs to memes help spread them more widely.

Let's talk about "psychological warfare".  Immediately we think of people in camo (OK, maybe only some of us do), but lets admit it sounds a lot more military than civilian.  But who gets us hooked on cigarettes and other killer substances we know are bad for us?  They look more like cartoons and clowns don't they?  The "Mad Men" of Madison Avenue, the legendary birthplace of "spin doctors" in the world of advertising, are for the most part not paid as military officers.  Yet isn't suggesting you inhale what will kill you just a tad bit like chemical warfare, just a little?  Psychology is certainly involved.

Again, it's hard to see how our DNA benefits from smoking cigarettes, whereas it's easy to see how selling these things turns a pretty penny.  Having the advantage of legality is always worth having.  As a citizen of the State of Oregon, rolling back Prohibition has been on our agenda too.  Although not big on cigs, I imbibe spirits.  A lot of these memes have had their way with me and my DNA.

So that's how I'd preamble my question for Dr. Dawkins:  why "selfish gene" and not "meme".  Just asking.  He may have answered this very question a million times.  There may be a FAQ about it.  Forgive me for thinking out loud and advertising my ignorance in that case.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Before I sign off, I want to circle "Open Source" as a meme that I care about, and yes I'm all for keeping the discussion alive about "Free" and what that means.  It doesn't "get old", not that fast.  New generations have come on the scene.  Revolution OS is worth seeing.  I'd screen at least excerpts of that in my Saturday Academy classes.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Resolved: the USA is Still Solvent

This question is a no-brainer for most of us, given the national deficit (versus debt) as a percentage of GDP is still considered acceptable.  The US is not Greece.  Those measuring solvency as a concept need look no further.  Nations are debt payers for the most part, in this New World Order, a handy source of interest income.  The name of the game is to keep it that way.

Those seeking to debate for the other team will need to dig deeper in search of arguments.  They will have to argue in terms of ideals, suggesting, perhaps, that the military-industrial complex is a pretender, having hollowed out the original core and replaced it with a new operating system.  Instead of directly arguing the US is insolvent, this team might argue the US we have today is a fake, a facsimile, a phony.  "Whatever it is we're calling solvent, it's not the USA" could be their approach.

The latter line might perhaps gain some traction.  The life support on which Uncle Sam has been placed bespeaks a new chapter wherein nation-states in general have lost much of their believability as moral beacons, standing for higher ideals.  Certainly the map of the Middle East has become hard to draw, Syria having crumbled.  The game of asserting sovereignty by enforcing borders looks like a no win proposition.  In the meantime, the population flees.

How close are we to internal refugee displacements reminiscent of Syria?  Should we blame "global warming" for the shut off of potable water in the heartland?  Flint, Michigan decided to encourage residents to imbibe toxins, while many in Detroit are simply losing access.  Local government is walking away from the challenge of providing for the people.  The money the US borrows is more intended to pay for carnage overseas than to provide for essential services.  In that sense, then, "the USA we have known is bankrupt and extinct" (to quote a famous Medal of Freedom winner).

The people do become restless when it appears the government is turning against them, now the servant of alien ideologies.  Reassurances that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are somehow being defended fail to mollify.

Will the National Guard bring Flint some relief, in the form of potable drinking water?  Citizens have been calling for that.  Instead, the US Army (and National Guard) chose to conduct war games in the area.  I understand why Jesse Ventura, former Michigan governor, is suspicious.  The presumed demise of the so-called Posse Comitatus Act gives our debaters more points to bring up, regarding the possibly phony nature of a post-US imposter.  Meanwhile, in Flint, the free water filters should help.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Road Trip

Thanksgiving 2015 included the ritual drive north, just me this year.  I'd thought seriously about bringing the aging, no-longer-ambulatory dog, however Mr. Bridges kindly agreed to look after her here in Portland.  I drove to my cousin's house, north of Seattle (Everett latitude), departing Portland about 11 AM the day before TG, and arriving about 5 PM.  Traffic from Seattle to Everett was especially thick, with people rushing to get home.  The usual 25 minute commute was 70 minutes, including in HOV lanes.

This morning, on Thanksgiving itself, I followed cousin Mary's Volkswagon south to the University of Washington area, where we picked up Uncle Bill.  We transferred his walker to my trunk at that point, and he rode with me, on southward to Port Orchard, near Bremerton.

The family convened here last year as well, at a pancake house restaurant, but Tara and I, driving north from Portland, got jammed in traffic and met up with relatives later, at Uncle Howard's.  That year it had rained and Howard's old machinery was glistening.  I took lots of pix.

This year, brothers Bo, Howard and Bill were all together.  Their sister Evelyn, my cousin Mary's mother, has passed away, as has Eddy, one of her brothers.  The three uncles were not actually my father's brothers, but by grandmother's sister's sons.  Grandma Esther's sister, Elsie Lightfoot, had five children.  Esther had only one, my dad John Bailey Urner, who went by Jack.  The Urner name comes through my grandpa Carl.

Mary's sister Alice and her husband Steve, another two hours north, were unable to make it this year.  My mom and daughter, as well as stepdaughter Alexia were in their own scenarios.

Bill and I yakked about Boeing some.  They build the 777 in Everett.  Renton builds 737s.  We were not sure where the 787 was being built, but saw one as we drove by Renton.

Carol was most fortunate in that David DiNucci noticed the decrepit state of her walker when she attended Wanderers on Tuesday last week (I had to stay home, as I was teaching a class over optical fiber).  David happened to have a spare walker, ordered somewhat by mistake for his aunt, one with working brakes that met her specifications quite closely.  She was happy to switch to red for awhile, getting the day before she left for California. 

Uncle Bill and I did not remember about his walker in my trunk however, after we left the pancake house and I drove it all the way home before remembering.  He was good humored about it on the phone, having come to the same realization.  I'll send it back to him by UPS.

I tend to think about big picture history and emerging reality (becoming) around this time of year (other times too).  I'm studying about N8V Americans and the history of American peoples through a couple titles on my Amazon reading list.  Meditating on the various narratives is what TG is a lot about for me, starting with my own family's and quickly branching to the world, as all our stories inter-twine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Coffee Break

The term "coffee break" is a bit of a misnomer when applied to my doings, given I work and drink coffee simultaneously.  I don't "break" for coffee, usually.  I have it sitting here next to me.

I think a lot of overweight and even ideal weight individuals would appreciate the privilege and opportunity I have to generate a modest income and pay bills, by sitting in an easy chair, somewhat kicked back.  I call this the Steve Holden Chair of Computer Science, as I inherited it from him when he moved back to the UK from Portland.

Turn this coffee to beer and put some ball game on the screen across the room, and I'm in the archetypal posture of the relaxing sports event viewer.  People work so they can afford to relax like that.

That I can get paid work done in the same posture is a sign I've been lucky, by some cultural standards.  However I'm not sailing the Mediterranean in command of my ship, with a crew of Sea Org interns at my beck and call.  By other cultural criteria, Hubbard (I call him "Elron") was more "living the dream" in his later years.

The fact is, my home is permeated with invisible frequencies that my screen and keyboard tune in, to carry my keystrokes, sometimes voice, images, out to the cloud, where my doings make a difference, however small, in the lives of other people, as do their doings in mine.

Of course I do other work too, such as housework.  I'm the chief domestic, no servants.  One of my primary responsibilities is looking after a no-longer-ambulatory dog.  I'm not sure what she weighs, lets say thirty pounds.  I'm strong enough to lift her up and, cradling her in my arms, get her down to the driveway level, so she doesn't pee on her bed or my rug.  I get her to poo on a newspaper usually.

Lately, circumstances have been less pleasant in that I've had a cough and sore throat, yet I'm on the hook to be like a radio host for a call in show about Python, a computer language.  My listeners also see my screen (not my face).  I've told them about the cough and for the most part am able to mute the microphone before I have a coughing fit.

Another thing I've been doing is watching rented documentary films, standard practice for me.  The TV across the room, not an HDTV flat screen but an older Sony Trinitron (still pretty flat), is not hooked up for broadcast channels, nor cable.  I use it strictly for recorded media.  Mostly I use the radio receiver under the TV, when not watching DVDs or listening to CDs (there's even a tape cassette deck).  For example, a couple nights ago I watched Going Clear, about the Church of Scientology. 

Upstairs, I receive broadcast TV and in the back office, I get the minimum set of TV channels to get Internet via optical fiber, and all those house-permeating frequencies.

Shifting gears, I recall a time wandering through the lobby of the World Trade Center (not sure which of the twin towers) and seeing lots of exhibits on organization management, i.e. running a business.  I remember being impressed at the level of abstraction sometimes required, to impart these various management theories.  Theology is no more intricate.  I was still pretty young at the time and had yet to have much experience in business myself.

Exploring further, I browsed over to Werner Erhard's site and caught up on some of his doings, in particular watching the business management presentation at the Simon School of Business in Rochester, New York.  Erhard is not someone I've met in person, but I did participate as a volunteer in his organization, in addition to paying for its trainings and seminars.  I've had hours and hours in large hotel ballrooms (as they're called) listening to people talk about their lives through microphones and amplification systems.

Lets contrast such a for profit or nonprofit business and all that "metaphysics" they get into, with "church", a way of mingling and perhaps benefiting by sharing benefits.  If you're looking to rub shoulders with or otherwise get in contact with interesting viewpoints and individuals, a religious establishment may be just the ticket.  Better than radio, or at least as good.  A religious establishment is also a business.  In fact, if you're a Quaker, you're used to such terms as Meeting for Worship for Business.  Quaker Meetings have stuff to manage.

I've also been in touch with a Quaker friend about Landmark.  Sara has invited me to Landmark events a number of times, Landmark being a business.  I don't hear from her often (we are geographically far apart).  Here's what I wrote back just yesterday (one typo fixed):
I just saw the new documentary on Church of Scientology, Going Clear, last night.  I wrote this review:


History is interesting to me.  In researching my blog post I got to the long article about Werner Erhard linked to in the last paragraph ("fair game") -- an article at the Erhard website.  I didn't realize how well he was getting along with Christians, especially in Ireland.  What about Quakers and Centering Prayer then?

Food for thought.

I don't know when I'll review Landmark.  It remains a definite possibility.  In the meantime, I'm working on other ways to "shape history" (aka "steer") in ways that might be beneficial.
Erhard's relationship with R. Buckminster Fuller is what proved pivotal in my life in that after my years at Princeton (Class of 1980) I was casting about for new stuff to get into, and was receiving the est Graduate Review at the time (I had moved to Jersey City with college housemates).   I read about Fuller and Werner co-appearing at Madison Square Garden.  I did not attend that event, but felt prompted to start reading more of Bucky's books.  I was also participating in Centers Network at the time (the organization est had become before Landmark).

The sore throat, which was pretty severe, seems to be abating, almost gone.  There's still some coughing but not as much.  I have another Python radio show tomorrow night, as I do this gig two nights a week.

Last night my mom Carol attended Wanderers at the Linus Pauling House to hear about Dick Pugh's work in the world of nuclear weapons back in the 1960s.  He's been reading the same book she did:  Command and Control by Eric Schlosser, about all the accidents and unanticipated turns of events in that line of work.

I couldn't make it unfortunately but I'm glad she could go.  I'll be returning these documentaries to Movie Madness today.  The other was an interview with Steve Jobs.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Yakking with HomeSchoolers

Yakking with home-schoolers on the Web (hyperlinks added):

I'd never seen Platonic Solid Rock by Dan Radin.  Fun.

Note here at 1:36 mas o meno where we get the standard schoolish math re Dimension, that his line segments (supposedly 1D) are most definitely "lumps" i.e. they have all the height, width and depth one could ask for, even as incorporeal narrator informs us otherwise.

That's typical in Platonic cartoons:  they say "you will never see a point" even as they make the point (pile of chalk dust, usually).  Kids squirm uncomfortably and some try to mount some resistance, only to end up in the corner, dunce hat on, an example to others who dare question authority.

"Points are so small they're smaller than the tiniest atom" (quoting some random math teacher) -- yeah, as if they existed at all (to say they're Platonic means they're "pre-frequency" as we Martians say i.e. they have no energetic content whatsoever).

With Karl Menger we get our "geometry of lumps" and do not distinguish line-shapes, point-shapes and polyhedron-shapes on the basis of their being "depth only" or "just depth but no width".  No, they're all 4D lumps, so-named because the tetrahedron broadcasts 4ness and is therefore the canonical representative of Volume (i.e. pre-frequency space).

I'm into the intersection of mathematics and animation (mathy cartoons). Even just this animation about the International Mathematical Union is fun:

Note that I am not the creator of the above

I like it in part because the IMU explicitly credits Buckminster Fuller as a "popularizer" of his "Jitterbug Transformation", which is this twist-contraction of a cuboctahedron into an icosahedron then octahedron. 

The citation is somewhat ironic as standard practice in math circles is to dismiss Buckminster Fuller as a "popularizer" of X and Y without ever coming to grips with Martian Math

I blame the philosophy department as union mathematicians are by training clueless about much beyond math (per job description) whereas we philo types are supposed to stay more up to date on a broad range of disciplines.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Storybook Nation

Inventing broad brush stroke stories about how West Region was won, is an ingrained habit, so ingrained we don't really call it "inventing" with "we" being the authors of such tall tales.

Like that all of Louisiana Territory could be "sold" by Napoleon, in need of a war chest, to a bunch of Company investors in the then Mason Capital.  Or tell it how you like, it's a fairy tale of sorts, however told, but hey, we all learn about it in school, and that makes it "true".  Sometimes "the past" just seems too unbelievable, know what I mean?

Donald Trump is doing public debaters a public service in sketching the comic book literal picture of a "real country", not one conquered on paper by imaginative storytellers.  Sure we can mobilize, at this very late date, to actually spill the blood it would take to once and for all give those Yanquis total control.  Sure we could.

The arterial system of tribal migration was certainly interrupted by fences and freeways, diminished certainly, but to bring the circulation of the pueblo to a total stop, in a desperate attempt to get a stranglehold on the situation, once and for all, with a giant wall and everything?  We could call that Washington's last gasp, a final death rattle.  Leave it to a New Yorker to make the funny noises.

Speaking of school, we've been sharpening pencils in the Martian Math department.  That's an initiative to strengthen STEM by bringing real REPLs to students.  Remember in The Martian where Matt Damon hits on using ASCII?  You learn that stuff, along with Unicode, when packing for / training for Mars.

With real REPLs like Python's comes a decent helping of Group Theory, not everyone's cup of tea, but a great way to spin one's wheels learning coding, which is all the rage.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Smart Art

:: Rev. Billy & Church of Stop Shopping ::

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quaker Doings

Carol (mom) and I are at the meetinghouse for what promises to be an all day meeting.  Joyce was somewhat disapproving of my showing up with a Diet Dr. Pepper, but as long as I don't take it in the meeting room, Quaker doctrine specifies no problemo with caffeine (68 mg per 20 fl oz).  Our Coordinating Committee (NPYM CC) clerk is still coming in from the airport (PDX).

Annis is here at the table with Carol and I, along with two others from out of state.  Some people have traveled some distance for this meeting.  We happen to live in the neighborhood and often walk it, even Carol (with a walker) but today we took the car.  Someone was in the wheelchair parking slot (a Volvo) so we went to the Mazama's parking lot next door (that's an arrangement we've worked out).

I'm here as Technology Clerk for the region.  We have fairly light IT needs (event registration, a regional directory, a website) but I still regard our work as cutting edge, as how Quakerism embraces or shuns technology is in many ways going to be definitive of its future profile in the world.  I want clerking, as a role, to include SQL / noSQL savvy, as a matter of course.  Computer literacy is simply literacy, in this day and age.

Choosing to meet on an important holiday, Halloween, was a mistake I think.  Our NPYM Secretary was unable to attend for this reason, as it's a major business day in her line of work.  She's the paid staff in this picture.  The rest of us are volunteering.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Portland Doings

Carol is being recorded downstairs, where I've cleared out of the living room.  I've been camping out in the Steve Holden Chair of Computer Science, keeping the dog company while I promulgate Martian Math.

Today I have lunch with some friends.  This morning:  my walk, meeting up with Glenn.

In case of a major earthquake, we can expect liquefaction of the muck under the fuel depots along Hwy 30, west side.  The heavy equipment is mostly in SE.  If the bridges fail, we'll be in trouble.  Fortunately we have one of the best gravity fed water systems on the East Side.

Oh wait, they're planning to disconnect that and make us dependent on electricity.  The best earthquake backup system is to be purposely disabled by "city fathers".  As Glenn put it, Portland is built atop ignorance.  Just look at those homes on stilts in the West Hills.  He wrote about all this in the Southeast Examiner.

I've been debating Vote By Mail with a former PSF elections maestro, still active in e-Voting.  My concluding comment:
Some N8V reservations e.g. Warm Springs, have only one post box in a radius of 40 miles. Getting to a "polling place" (USPO) is well nigh impractical (there's no home pick up or delivery on the rez) but then "as a zip code" the N8Vs know they'll continue to be punished regardless, as that's the white man's way, i.e. their votes count for nil as it is.
When it comes to fairness, I think that's as scarce as [ U-235 or whatever ] i.e. there's not much of it in human affairs, never has been, but democratic models do help us remember it as a liberal value. Thinking about "free and fair elections" helps us create more fairness, even if we have yet to have a national election, in the US at least, that would truly count as either.
It's easy to judge in hindsight right?  No election was fair when blacks couldn't vote.  No election was fair when women couldn't vote.

Since those two prohibitions were rolled back to some degree, other barriers to voting have crept in, and if blocking voting doesn't turn the tide, there's always rigging and miss-counting.

We need a lengthy documentary series on the history of voting and democracy, don't we?  An old theme in these blogs.

The Mayor, Charlie Hale, has decided to not run again and instead focus on strategy.  He's right that many key decisions need to be made during the remainder of his term.  He sounded in full possession of his faculties on NPR the other day, quoting Monty Python a few times.

NPR is reassuring us that even though they didn't pick Boeing for the latest boondoggle, the Pentagon is still engaged in prime contractor irrigating in our region, per usual.  They spin that as "good news" somehow, not sure how.  Jobs I guess?   Is that a bribe?

Certainly it's not about keeping our edge in engineering as the military is prohibited from accessing our best science (any military, except when it comes to health care for the injured) -- a truism, as the best science is not about killingry (duh).

We were hearing on the radio yesterday, about how the US discards its own soldiers left and right.  One DUI and you're discharged, without honors, denied benefits, after sometimes decades of service, and even if you have injuries (especially if you have injuries).

Human resources are treated like so much garbage, collateral damage, so the war machine can afford to keep running.  Use 'em up and spit 'em out.  America eats its young.  "The true costs must never be admitted let alone paid" is the business model.

Like the Taliban, the US Army vets could use more professional, less backward, outside medical services, like from Doctors Without Borders.  The secret tape recordings of Army psychiatrists prove they harbor and protect quacks, a kind of terrorist.

The leadership provided by Judeo-Islamo-Christian cultures is somewhat pitiful isn't it, witness the Middle East.  All they know how to do is fight, right?  The Middle East is hardly a poster child for the so-called "prophetic" religions.  New Yorkers are more law abiding.  Bishop Tutu made this point.

We already knew that about quacks in psychiatry from the torture-authorizing BS artists in the civilian rank and file.  That whole branch of the medical profession (psychiatry) is fighting for respectability at this point, given it can't seem to disown its own bad apples.

In Asylum District, "crazy" as in "bat-shit crazy" is becoming a badge of honor almost.  What they call "sanity" in military doctrine never seems to set much of a standard.  Helicopter gunships get involved, and sanity is out the window, once again.  I'm glad the Pacific Northwest makes other investments.

At lunch we talked about Heidegger quite a bit.  I went home resolved to Google up something interesting.  I liked Richard Rorty's summary at the end of this BBC documentary (above).  He, along with Walter Kaufmann, were two of my teachers at Princeton.  Rorty actually read my thesis.  This documentary on Ho Chi Minh was interesting too.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Advice to the Sanders Campaign

Behind a Fence

As I've mentioned on Facebook, I agree with the view that the more imperial-minded in the media need to start closing doors on Bernie, regardless of his populist appeal.  His USA has too many inconceivable elements whereas they see Hillary as a known quantity.  These journalists simply feel more confidant, more ready to write about her trajectory, whereas Bernie, like Donald, is a wild card.  They'd have to do a lot more homework, a daunting prospect.

My suggestion to the Bernie Sanders campaign is to take the edge off "socialism" by advertising how Americans practice military socialism with dignity and professionalism, co-owning, as a people, huge fleets of monster weapons, intimidating to say the least.

Sure, a percentage of "we the people" may feel suckered into buying a lot of these toyz, aircraft carriers in particular, but hey, the Chinese and Russians build those too, so if there's a sucker in the room, at least the sucker is not alone.  We have a fellowship of the ring thing going, a community of dolts.  Hasn't it always been this way:  stuck at the bottom of a gravity well in a pile of Fallen humans.  Welcome to the Big Apple (in the sense of planet -- New York City a cosmopolitan mirroring thereof).

That's why "making the world safe for socialism" is really no longer a battle.  We won!  The Americans, Chinese and Russians all practice military socialism in one form or another.  Each has a "people" (pueblo) that owns vast arsenals and feels patriotic about it.  Nuclear weapons, wow.  That's socialism in action.  Rising through the ranks in the military is also a form of social mobility, a way of circumventing hereditary classisms.  Again, all the weaponry states practice this from of ladder climbing (social promotion).

So whereas Socialism is in good shape around the world, Democracy could use some stronger defendants.  Relatively few had a say in making these great decisions (e.g. to go whole hog into nuclear waste as a primary investment, which it now is for the foreseeable future), including Einstein, who didn't think the US would actually go beyond testing.  He regretted that the physics community had helped the rest of humanity come to the low IQ brink of self destruction through stupidity.  Scientists in the main are not eager to see their knowledge exploited towards purely misanthropic ends, with those few Dr. Evil exceptions.

Once we take the edge off "socialism" then we can get back to thinking about both capitalism and democracy and how to best serve them and their flagship institutions.  Bernie has never said we should not have private ownership or even secret ownership, which was the original goal of the LLC.

When investors wanted to back risky ventures, starting in the early days of the East India Company, they wanted to limit their exposure or potential loss, without closing the door to future benefits should the risk actually pay off e.g. should one's proverbial "ship come in" laden with scarce hard-to-come-by luxuries.  You'd get your share, some to keep, some to resell for a pretty penny.

Without some measure of control and self protection, a wealthy doctor, for example, would not wager on an adventure.  Not if the widows and orphans left in the wake of said venture could haul said doctor before the magistrate as a scrooge and war profiteer who only faked being a doctor while making sure the war was fed.  The public had to understand that his personal liability was only up to a point, and no further, plus all the good doctor's investments were philanthropic and socially responsible.  Buying shares in "Killing Commies Inc." went out of style in the 1960s, at least among the 0.1%.

Indeed, buying shares in "America Inc." has not been as trendy ever since the Imperial Presidency got out of control (JFK onwards).  Truman saw it coming but couldn't head it off.  Allen Dulles was one of the chief perps, but only one of them.

Not that the USA was really set up to be an empire in any constitutional sense -- it wasn't.  A federation of states is more like a strong alliance.  And that's where Bernie should jump in:  remind voters that investing in America could be sexy again, if only she were a little more like Canada, a little less like a Bridge Troll.  Lose the battle ax and camo, step into something less thuggish, and you'll do better in the ratings.  Or should that be Donald's line?

Finally, lets remember that workers of the world have as much a need to invest (their labor and its fruits, their savings) and limit exposure.  A safety net is so important because it empowers the worker, like the rich doctor, to take the risk of retraining in some new skill set.  That's like leaping from one trapeze to another in a circus act, and if the safety net is not there, why risk it?  Better to stay stuck in a rut, trapped in a dead end job.  The economy stagnates and dies when workers cannot afford to jump ship and take on new challenges.  That's the flip side of limiting liability for the estate-minded.

Bernie is already strong on the need for a safety net, so lets help bolster capitalism and celebrate its embrace of Open Source, as a bridge to a more civilian-minded socialism.  Given the military is already socialized, lets focus on the benefits to the civilian sector, of 21st century engineering.  That's where we have many capitalist celebrities eager to talk on TV.  Some of them would be happy to promote Bernie.  Silicon Valley is not pre-committed to the Republicans I don't think, despite the reputation of Venture Capitalists.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Disarmament Degree Program?


Having toured the Linus and Ava Helen Pauling Special Collection, then regrouped to discuss strategy towards creating a less morbid culture, our grand finale for the evening was to hear Hideko Tamura Snider talking about what it takes to overcome being atom bombed.  She was ten years old, in Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.

OSU has no special track for Disarmament Specialists that I know about, however the auditorium at La Salle, was filled to capacity (this was the smaller auditorium, seating 200-250).  Some of us stood around the edges or sat on the floor (that's what I did, having gotten there a bit late with Carol -- who got close to the front row, but sans hearing device).

Hideko's slant was to encourage her fellow humans with assurances that each one of us is endowed with the capacity to overcome extreme discouragement and disappointment of the type she endured.  She's concerned that postmortems of atomic warfare neglect the psychological aspects in favor of the easier to understand physical aspects.

Witnessing the intense suffering of others without being able to assist is one of those traumatizing experiences.  Her own sense of abandonment was intense, as an only child who had lost her mother as the world turned nightmarish.

Her father, also a survivor, and in the Japanese military at the time, was placed on cleanup duty (she found out later).  Whereas they piled the bodies high along the river for cremation, her dad was sensitive to Western culture, specifically impressionist painting (soldiering was never his preference, only his duty), so he insisted the charred remains of US POWs killed by the bomb be buried instead.

In Hideko's case, her resilience traces to deep curiosity, a desire to fit the puzzle pieces together and figure out what happened.  She would read incessantly, including existentialist authors, i.e. those who deal with the human condition in some profound way.  This ability to deeply process is, in Hideko's view, part of the human design, which is both flawed and wonderful.

The mostly college age audience was quite engaged.  Her delivery, though going over stories she'd told in public a thousand times (figuratively), was full of spontaneity and wisdom.  She alluded to drugs and drug taking, suicidal ideation, the importance of friends.  These were themes to which many in her audience could easily relate.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Email Woes

So far the story about the CIA director John Brennan having his emails hacked reads more like a tabloid article than authentic news.  I'd expect such a headline in the supermarket checkout lane.  The details are thin and all the articles simply repeat one another.  I'm fine with writing it off as a hoax for now, but a good one for sparking debate, like the face on Mars.

The timing couldn't have been better in terms of reminding people how easy it is to pretend to having a particular identity.  Faking one's identity is much more common than stealing someone else's.  For one thing, that someone else may still be in the picture, fighting to terminate their credit cards.  Much easier than identity theft is contriving a phony background and getting that to snowball somehow i.e. to enter that hallowed "realm of believably" -- a royal realm.

Of course I'm talking about Wayne Simmons, a loudmouth on Fox with all kinds of opinions, very much a "white guy know-it-all" of the kind we have in great overabundance.  Getting him and every guy like him to stop self-promoting with phony CIA affiliations would really help us move faster towards reconciliation on a number of fronts.  Call it a "truth process" if you will.

The timing was ripe because the AOL story reminds people that one needs to fill out a lot of paperwork to be in government.  Those claiming CIA affiliations are mostly posers spinning it out of whole cloth, living their fantasy lives, inflicting it on the rest of us.  Simmons lived as a character in a novel of his own making, but then that's what TV is all about in this day and age:  purveying fiction.  Fox News is entertainment.

As the hacked AOL story reminds us, Brennan had to fill out 47 pages or whatever it was to get his security clearance.  Unless you have a form like that on file, don't try to be a pundit on Fox as some former secret agent.  You need to get your ducks in a row.   I hope Fox doesn't blame people "right out of college" for a lack of vetting, like Joe Concha does
I say this as a host myself who has similar experts (former FBI, CIA) on all the time in a guest/panelist capacity, and it’s not the job of a host/anchor to vet every guest that comes on… as that would be a full-time occupation onto itself. Bottom line: most bookers at cable news networks are right out of college and some depend on booking agencies, which themselves do little vetting outside of a quick internet search.
Keeping it real goes with the territory.  If you're an "anchor" you're responsible for protecting your own gravitas.  Isn't that what's at issue in Truth as well, the movie about the snafu around Dan Rather, one time CBS News anchor?  Why apply a double standard?

Of course this tightening up around vetting leaves a lot of bozos struggling to keep to their narratives.  They've maybe earned some respect in certain circles by talking up those questionable credentials, ala Simmons.  What happens to all those hot air balloons when we start wanting more pinpoint accuracy?

However the Brennan story helps here too, as one of the exhibits, a spreadsheet, highlights the volunteer (as in unpaid) nature of many an IC role.  One needn't point to or even hint at a high net worth in order to get noticed as an asset to someone's country, according to criteria that might matter to that someone (e.g. being on the CIA director's short list).  Even if just another tabloid story, it's not without a message of patriotism.

However, neither of these stories have run their full course yet.  Perhaps the "white boy stoner" who is managing to elude the FBI while talking to the New York Post and maybe CNN -- still Time-Warner whereas AOL is now a part of Verizon -- will read a statement from behind an Anonymous mask.  We haven't heard from that character in awhile.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pop Culture: Tributes to Bucky Fuller

Richard Buckminster Fuller by Artichoke

Buckminster Fuller We Need You Now by Jason Ringenberger

What One Man Can Do by John Denver

Sunday, October 18, 2015


As long as the Commander in Chief is saying his lower downs goofed, in murdering all those doctors and patients, then that's what it was, a goof.  You can't "send a message" while at the same time disavowing it at the highest level.

Obama is saying point blank that no message was intended, so we're left with a "crossed wire" somewhere in the vast and gnarly bureaucracy.  Tracking this bug through the system looks like a paying job for many, so expect the investigation to take a lot of time.

I understand those who fear a message was being sent however.  If Kunduz had fallen to the Taliban, yet Doctors Without Borders continued operating (literally), that could be construed as giving aid and comfort to the enemy.  That would be like Jane Fonda going to Hanoi.

The Geneva Conventions about not targeting medical personnel, is easiest to apply in the case of one's own.  Watching wounded enemy get hauled off the field, perhaps to be rehabilitated to fight another day, puts many a general's teeth on edge.  The urge to strafe the ambulance corps and run over any wounded with tanks, runs strong in the blood.  If giving in to that were OK...

We do know that US personnel like to run over people with tanks.  That's well documented.  However in many cases these people are already dead and the point of running over them is merely to add insult to fatal injury.

The point of doing this is mostly revenge.  In putting themselves in harms way, soldiers sometimes come to harm (a statistical likelihood) and seeing one's brothers suffer feeds the rage reflex.  Running over a lot of people with tanks or other type of armored vehicle becomes a form of catharsis.  Didn't we see something similar in Waco, Texas?  The way the siege at Waco was managed pissed off Timothy McVeigh by his own account, leading to his own act of domestic terrorism.

So some within Doctors Without Borders are understandably thinking that they were being "run over" simply out of vengefulness, to send a message, a deliberate attack.  That's what the Taliban would be telling them:  "see, we told you so, this is how they operate, so why would you (or anyone) ever fight for them then?"

Releasing the cockpit dialog, both in recorded and transcript form, was a way the Pentagon had to assuage these paranoid fantasies and was the right thing to do (I'm assuming this was done with the blessing of NATO higher ups, as a part of prosecuting the ongoing "crossed wire" investigation).

Given the president's public statements, we now know the Geneva Conventions still have the respect of the Obama White House.  I expect John Kerry would underline that fact.

However there's still a gray area, symbolized by Gitmo -- the promise to close it being a promise no one is talking about right now -- wherein the Geneva Conventions apparently do not hold.   Enemy combatants have no rights, according to this dogma.  Imprisonment for purposes of inquisition is open ended in this view, synonymous with the War on Terror (also endless).

A large and growing grey area tends to occur when the formalities and legal framework supporting a just war are ignored.  In such cases the players polarize into blind loyalists, willing to do the dirty work of subverting the rule of law, versus those wanting a place in history for heroically standing up to authority and questioning the legality of one's orders from on high.  We wish more Nazis had done this, but understand whistle blowers often face retaliation.

The president still depends on a statutory framework for authority and if this framework is widely perceived to be out the window, with respect to previous norms, then even intentional messages become difficult to send, as there is no longer a legal framework to support the president's authority.  Why is the president the one to ask?  What makes the president a chief of anything?  In any role playing game, straying too far from the game's premises may drain the roles of much significance.

Some analysts have speculated the Supreme Court may need to provide some ruling soon, on whether the executive branch is within its legitimate war powers in morphing the drone war of the contractor-mercenaries into a stateless criminal operation, unauthorized by the relevant civilian authorities i.e. Congress.  Put that way, the answer is obviously no, but then the court hasn't ruled yet.

Those who believe in diplomacy tend to look to authorities for legal advice and developments in Syria especially are fragmenting the somewhat fragile consensus.  Does Syria even exist?  That's a real question.  When whole nations dissolve, how does that affect their neighbors (Europe is finding out).  Many eggheads are working overtime, looking for ways to get Humpty Dumpty (the Middle East) back together again.  One may still draw the old borders, but how does that help?

The Reagan Administration got pretty steeply involved with mercenaries in the Ollie North chapter.  How different are the Contras from the groups engaged in gray area operations, the former Blackwater and so on, claiming to somehow represent the native interests of the American people?

Perhaps we're only talking about the profit margins of a select chosen few, the Beltway Goons around the District of Columbia?  This is what Doctors Without Borders is concerned about:  that war criminals have hijacked the controls, and are now "flying the plane".  Given recent history, simply dismissing these concerns is impossible.  Coups happen, even in the US e.g. in 1963.

Lets see what the investigation (ongoing) discovers then.  Do we need someone like Richard Feynman, an outsider with credibility, to help out?   We certainly don't want Washington "blue ribbon" insiders with perceived conflicts of interest.  Several teams seem to have picked up the baton and the Pentagon appears to be cooperating fully.  It's only a matter of time before we learn more about what went wrong and what measures are being taken to prevent future gaffs of this undermining nature.

Friday, October 16, 2015

More Memories

:: inheritance and composition:  OO through the lens of cell biology ::

When you apprentice under a master, the master presumably judges when you're ready to perform in his name, or her name, lets not be sexist right off the bat.  Actually a lot of Renaissance painters let their minions (grad students) do a lot of the actual painting.  The master would sign off, literally.  That sounds like leeching, and it can become that.  Work out the dynamics yourself:  sometimes the apprentices really appreciate the opportunity and know it'll look good on their resume.  Other times they simply enjoy the company of the master and / or the work.

In reading Critical Path, you'll come across Kiyoshi Kuromiya as "adjuvant" on that book.  He'd moved to Philadelphia in his earlier years, looking for an architect to apprentice under, first finding Lloyd Khan, but then Bucky, who really impressed him as the real deal.  Kiyoshi was into elegance and good taste, so also made a name for himself as an expert in matters culinary, a writer of restaurant reviews.

Fast forward and we find Kiyoshi dying of AIDS and working hard through Congressional hearings to legalize cannabis at least for patients such as himself, who suffered from loss of appetite and the wasting away that comes with that. As cannabis users know, it often brings on a desire for food, known as "the munchies" and some AIDS patients depend on that effect to get nutrients.

Of course it was a huge blow to Kiyoshi to be losing his appetite, as one of Philadelphia's super food gurus.  Too bad his attempts to prolong his life made him a criminal in the eyes of the law.  Thanks to his activism, some zip codes have escaped those dark ages.

"Adjuvant" is a word you'll find in books on virology, and it means "catalyzing agent", which aptly describes Kiyoshi's role, also taking care of Fuller when he'd gotten to the old master stage.  As such, he was also an apprentice.  Apprentices may also catalyze.

Critical Path pays homage to e.e. cummings in the Preface, in such as way as to maybe warn the reader she's wading into someone's prose-poetry.  No one believes in the kind of evolutionary cartoons Fuller tended to use, with whales and dolphins heralding the arrival of some two legged counter-part in some literal sense.  Is he trying to conjure the god Neptune then?  He certainly plunges in to a mariner-like yarn, and a tall tale.  What's believable here?

If he was implying humans and dolphins had a pre-Earth relationship or were maybe even the same species on another planet, he should have come right out and said so.  It's just not clear what literal meaning to attach to his Speculative Prehistory, especially in light of Tetrascroll.  His science fiction allowed not warp travel exactly, but something akin to hyperspace.  I suppose we could say he allowed for reincarnation on other planets, but that just sounds goofy and he never said that anyway.

Perhaps I'm more the uncertified apprentice.  I admired and learned from a great master, but I was not an adjuvant nor apprentice exactly.  Co-conspirator, sure.  I never actually got to hang out with Bucky, except that time at Hunter College.  I did visit with Applewhite some, and KiyoshiKenneth Snelson. Allegra and I had breakfast together, some decades after Bucky died.  I've worked with some other people Fuller worked with.  We were partially overlapping scenarios in Scenario Universe.

Special Feature:
__ribs__ in Python (background for the above)
First Draft of above Python-learning video

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gold Door 2015

Michael, in business for over thirty years in Asylum District, as owner of the Blue Butterfly, now bases himself overseas and shows up with a shipment.

Glenn is helping him unpack and set up in the downstairs area of Gold Door.  Michael is friends with the owner.  Good plan.  Click here for more pictures from both floors.


Ganesh 2

Ganesh 1

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Learning to Cook

I've found myself wishing "cooking" were closer to "chemistry" in English.  We may work to bring them closer.  The high school subject of Health is clearly mostly biology and chemistry and yet anything we put into our mouths, especially if we digest it, or absorb it, is of a culinary nature.

We're eating chemicals to make chemicals, after going to some lengths to prepare them.  Sometimes the foods we like depend on biological processes that last years, as when we age whiskeys and wines, and of course cheese...

Dietitians sometimes wish "food" and "medicine" were closer I'm sure.  One prepares food with greater attention and certainty if thinking in terms of cures, but also of developing propensities.

Sometimes the goal is simply to stay awake, and knowing what inputs lead to sleepiness... this kind of folklore, once codified, is somewhat core to one's culture.  How many trips to the refrigerator do you make in a day, and does it keep count?  How many joules in?  How many joules out?  Thinking this way, in biochemical terms, is what athletics / sports are about too, so it all fits together.

Lets go back to the science fiction wherein some tribe is rallying against "schooling" coming in, as they see it, from outside.  Schooled people need to see in what ways they become dolts as a result of schooling.

They may be ignorant of cultivation, crop cycles, food preparation and storage, chemistry of the most personal sort i.e. cooking.  "Book learning" as they say, "is where one refines and complements hands-on experience."  Book learning alone is too thin, and watching TV alone, fantasy shows mostly, is to live impoverished, with less than the minimum recommended doses of real experience and skill building.

A dull routine by day, with fictional TV shows by night, and with no time doing one's own cooking, because pressed for time:  that's a rut a lot of us work hard to avoid.  TV dinners were at first a convenience, along with the microwave ovens, but what was lost was any knowledge of chemistry and self maintenance.  Autonomy was lost.

How about watching more cooking shows that relate to health and biochemistry, while even following along, cooking yourself?  How about making those cooking shows, as a part of your schooling?  You'll need to learn editing, setting up shots, doing retakes when needed.

School, leading to treadmill habits, obedience, leading to a full time job, a boss, was maybe what the factory town-city needed, circa 1790s, and is maybe what military-minded cultures still need today, but if that's all that's meant by "school" then of course the science fiction tribe is making sense in resisting it.  We at least might appreciate their qualms.

They don't want their children to grow up Borg, eating only TV dinners and living vicariously through TV fantasy lives.  They fight the "soul snatchers" and "soul crushers" as they see those forcing their kids into schools.

Kids come home no longer proud, but with self pity in their eyes, as they've learned of their "poverty" and how their old ways, their ancestral ways, are a dead end.  News to the parents.  Who dictates what "poverty" means?  Who gets to write the curriculum?  Do the curriculum writers know how to cook?  Is the assumption we want "full time jobs" working for "owners" of enterprises?

The tribes people notice how the Borg kids are forced to use money, to suppress day dreaming in favor of "school work" (in preparation for doing it full time), and to surrender to the merchant-sponsored storytellers come nighttime.

They're thoroughly programmed, these Borg kids.  Their story tellers whisper how fortunate they are and how unlucky are those still in parts of the world where money is hardly used.

Monday, October 12, 2015

More Tales of the Cell

My third grade elementary school experience was in a British academy by the name of Junior English School.  I gradually got used to the new customs.  Changing schools is always a big deal.  I remember we learned to gather and press flowers in our science notebooks, drawing pictures of plant cell anatomy to go along with the specimens.

People have discovered a lot more about cell biology since those days.  What would third grade look like today?  Or lets fast forward to eighth grade.  There I had the privilege, the luxury, of a real medical doctor for a biology teacher.  When does that ever happen?  We were living in Rome and as a US citizen, like me, Dr. Gillespie was not licensed to practice in Italy.  So why not teach eighth grade biology?  We were blessed.

The complementary actions of photosynthesis and "mouth breathing" respiration form the overarching sun-powered narrative.  Plants cover it all, both forming sugar and oxygen on the one hand (photosynthesis) while breaking those two down, into water and carbon dioxide, during aerobic metabolism on the other.  Not being photosynthetic themselves, animals eat plants for their hydrocarbons.

In oxygen-powered metabolism, hydrocarbons such as glucose get broken down, using the released energy to power the metabolism of each cell.  The cell's cytosol and mitochondria (in cells that have them) both participate in the breakdown, with the latter especially efficient at turning ADP into ATP via a nano-motor known as ATP synthase.

ATP synthase molecules are embedded in the mitochondrial inner membrane, between its more electron-rich matrix (in internal soup) and proton-rich encasing.  The protons seek equilibrium and rush to join the matrix, but in so doing are forced through a turbine-like structure that spins on an axis at high RPM, driving the formation of ATP from ADP, the addition of one phosphor to make primary fuel of the cell.

The space between the inner and outer mitochondrial membrane was so proton-rich in the first place thanks to the presence of oxygen, which sucks the electrons available from ATP-sparked glucolysis, the initial breakdown of sugar, through a sequence of molecular pumps that push protons (hydrogen atoms minus their electrons) out from the matrix.

Even non-Eukaryota live on ATP, deriving it from a less complete breakdown of sugar, perhaps into alcohol or lactose.

The evolutionary narrative suggests the Earth's atmosphere was not oxygen-rich enough to support mitochondrial style metabolism until maybe 700 million years ago, at which point a new kind of cell emerged, the eukaryote, able to harness mitochondria as fuel cells, in turn powerful enough to sustain a nucleus with a bigger payload.

A greater repertoire of coded proteins allowed for more differentiated intra-cellular machinery, organelles in other words.

The modern cell nucleus is a vast library for the gazillion proteins needed not just by the individual cells, but by the community they form, the creature or body.

The endoplasmic reticulum, continuous with the nucleus, provides a delivery mechanism, a secretory pathway, whereby cells may deliver specialized chemicals, for example insulin, throughout the body, by means of the blood stream.  The Golgi Apparatus receives nuclear byproducts from the reticulum, and helps label them for delivery elsewhere, with signaling proteins.

Thanks to the efficiency of mitochondria and ATP synthase in particular, juggling the vast amount of information in human DNA, is now a possibility.

Coffee Shops Network for relevant visualizations

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Opening LuxBlox

One of my co-workers is visiting from California today.  I look forward to our meetup at Rogue Hall. I've already been downtown twice today by car to drop and fetch Carol from here WILPF meeting.  I'm happy to chauffeur an 86 year old internationally recognized peace activist to and from her planning meetings.

Yesterday I got a shipment of Lux Blox from the inventors.  The toy currently consists of a single atomic square tile, not unlike Polymorf (another toy) in creating a hinge when conjoined with a neighbor.  Its flexibility adds a dimension.

Since I'd just been sharing some Martian Math storyboards, I built a perimeter, a protective fence, to keep the Earthlings from barging into "the Martian apartments" a tetrahedral stack of icosahedral cocoons.  Of course I'm using Flextegrity, another product oft placed in my blogs.

Fantasy:  LuxBlox Perimeter Around Martian Apartments
:: airplane for scale ::

I put the Lux Blox toymaker in touch with a Chinese STEM toys specialist, just helping him grow the network.  Who knows if that will go anywhere, right?  We have a number of Quaker families in Portland with experience doing business in, or with, Chinese companies.  Portland is on the Pacific Rim after all.

Geometry toyz have long been a focus of mine, including work on Strange Attractors by Design Science Toys (no longer in business).  Flextegrity is not a toy.

I sometimes call 'em the "toyz" to make 'em more edgy, as in: for adults as well.  I'm into andragogy as well as pedagogy.  I don't want the stereotype of "toys are for children" to preclude older people learning some Synergetics (a philosophy) or Python (a computer language) or whatever subjects I'm currently out there teaching.