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 ::