Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mocking Qyoobans

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Drug Pushers

Speaking of livable lifestyles, I find American TV somewhat cruel in how it's used to push drugs for "depression" (DSM V), an insurable condition for a tiny minority of human guinea pigs, while society's systemic ills are never mentioned as a cause.

Because for that, no pill is the cure.

I liked it better when advocates for strong drugs, psycho-actives etc. were not allowed to preach on television.  DC is so hypocriticalmarijuana is Schedule One, but we're happy to let drug pushers of stronger, less understood drugs, pay for our news shows.

Of course people get depressed.  The positive futurism of some of America's best thinkers and doers, gets shelved, to ensure we have plenty of folks desperate enough to blindly obey the pyramid schemers.

LAWCAP (see Critical Path by Medal of Freedom winner R. Buckminster Fuller) thrives on scarcity, even if it has to create those conditions artificially.

If you're uninsured and go for more affordable drugs, you're a criminal.

The commercials tend to show people enjoying upper middle class lifestyles, their depression something brain-related.  Blame the brain.

Your pursuit of happiness is being frustrated by a chemical condition.  Your genes are bad.  Wrong race. Yeah right.

Talk about inferiority conditioning.

I tend to mute the TV and / or walk away when they start hitting me with their drug pushing.

I'll let my doctor tell me what medications make sense, or do some homework.

I won't "ask my doctor if X is right for me" because of some Big Pharma drug pusher on TV.

I've been around enough vets to know many have reason to be depressed.  If their mental condition were truly the focus, more research with DMT/MDMA would be permitted.

However the focus is not on mental health but on making money.  "Make sense or make money" was Fuller's mantra.  We think in terms of money in lieu of doing the harder and realer work.

More honesty about what the world is really like, and less drug pushing, would sure make for some better television. I'm not some puritanical "burn the opium fields" guy saying this.

I'm all for drugs, just not the phony, tacky, smarmy, tasteless commercial messages the sponsors dish out through my airwaves. TV drug ads are just gross in most cases, especially the "depression" ones.  I'll bet the billboards are even worse.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Food Not Bombs

I'd set aside tonight for Food Not Bombs, which was important to me during the recession, both in terms of keeping myself fed and for networking.

I guessed I'd stick to that plan, even though Melody isn't going.  It's not like I'm out of food.  I've got my Soylent.  I guessed wrong though.  By the time I found my bike light I'd decided to stay home.
This article in Truthout, against charter schools is vitriolic: Education Reformers' Core Beliefs Are Objectionable Monday, 22 August 2016, by Erik Mears.

I like the idea of livable lifestyles for teachers.  I'd like to be some kind of teacher with a livable lifestyle too.  Livable lifestyles in general are a public good, especially when service oriented.

If we're not looking to charters like Nexus Academy and so on for innovation, then will the math teachers step forward of their own volition with plans of their own?  When and where?  What are the think tanks sharing as road maps?
How would the rank and file like to work it out?  Where's the Youtube spelling out the plan?  Another school year is about to start.  Putting it off and putting it off is uber-risky, reputation-wise at the very least.

I think the International Mathematical Union and maybe the Mathematical Association of America need to weigh in, not just the NCTM again?

If we just stick with the TI calculators and teach no coding skills in mathematics, then my fear is the Americans will sucker for bombs, not food.  They'll seek to enslave the world, as mega-bullies.

They'll do this by supporting a tyrannical and fascist leadership comprised of Beltway welfare queens, admirals and generals, and their thank tank minions, their obsequious engineers.  The engineering will be focused on killingry instead of livingry.

A related question is do we really plan on ignoring the Bucky stuff forever, not just talking about "geodesic domes" (talking more about "tetravolumes").  That's intellectual history if nothing else.

Where did New England transcendentalism go, after Thoreau?  Down the drain?
Lets see more public discussion, long overdue.  Maybe it appears I'm elitist and catering to "geniuses".  I'm more just looking for self-respecting students willing to do some homework.

This McGraw-Hill textbook for elementary math school teachers seemed really off the mark to me.  Why bleep over tetravolumes as a topic, right where it could slide in?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Code School Meets Art School

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gutter Talk

I'm talking literally about gutters, the rain guides houses need to protect their foundations from sinking into a moist earth.

My gutters need some work, but not of the kind Jim's company provides, and Jim Thomas was quite up front about that.  We joked about Kirbys, the vacuum cleaners (he owns one, I don't).

Anyway, homeowner talk is one I'm still learning.  Property values, property taxes and yadda yadda.

The unit right next to mine is about to go bye bye.  The owner was passing literature around to all the neighbors, reassuring us a handsome domicile would replace the bungalow.

I'll have something to photograph, a whole process.  Portland is seeing a lot of demolition / upgrades.  Those in my generation who had kids (we had two), learned about doing that from playing SimCity and other Sims games.  Properties would upgrade or decay, depending on several parameters.  Quite a fun game.  Plus my dad was an urban planner.  He did a lot of work on Tripoli (Libya) in the 1960s.

I'd gotten confused because the homeowner / neighbor and Ecobest guy showed up back to back, and somehow I'd gotten the impression the Ecobest folks were involved with the neighbor's demolition and rebuilding project.  Not so.  Their brochure said "Our Apologies" for a different reason.

I should jump on ObamaCare or something.  I continued with COBRA after the full time salaried job, getting one dependent and I through the summer, but come September, circumstances will have changed enough that I'll need a new health plan.

My gutter on the northeast is hanging off the house, not doing its job at all, or maybe a little (not that we're having any rains at the moment).  I should make an appointment or something, or try to hammer it in myself if my ladder is tall enough.  I'll ask Glenn what he thinks.

The Addams Family thing will only take me so far (or is it The Munsters -- I liked that one even more).  The goal of a middle class homeowner like me is to fit in (to stay in the middle, to be the herd animal).  This isn't Grey Gardens (recommended by Melody), a home for the rich and perhaps over-privileged.

Growing up, I thought maybe the Design Science Revolution was at our door, and it was, but not in exactly the way I'd imagined (surprise, surprise).

I thought maybe I'd be in some Ecovillage by now, with more domes and bubbles, driving a BizMo around for work.

That was a worthy dream, however these 1905 wooden monsters still have some life in them, and I expect the Ecovillages will still happen, with or without my help.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wanderers 2016.8.17


Lucky for us, Barbara Stross is dog-sitting and brought the stafford terrier with her to Wanderers today.  We talked at some length about pit bulls.  I shared about the story on NPR I picked up on the rental car radio, when driving in the mid-west.

I've always thought we should embrace non-humans as members, not that we have anything so formal as "membership", like the Quakers have.  Dogs should have status.

I'm thinking of the Ecuadorian constitution, one of the first to assign legal rights to nature, what a concept.  I don't know if English speakers would have ever come to that, probably some would.

We also talked quite a bit about zika in Puerto Rico, and about the state of PR more generally.  The territory was a perch for Big Pharma, enjoying tax breaks.  Steve seemed to know the story there, all news to me.

Then Congress ended those breaks, is that how it went?  How does it work with the Virgin Islands again?

I know Belau was enticed into a Compact of Free Association after "getting it wrong" in several plebiscites.  Belau wanted some nuclear free zone provisions the nuke heads on their high horses were demanding be removed.

Nuke heads have a hard time with defiance, especially around nukes and their having them.

We talked about a lot of other things as well.  That's why it's called Wanderers, because the conversation is like a Ouija Board, but higher bandwidth.

Patrick and family are back from Tuscon, AZ.  He and the kids got to tour Biosphere 2.  Lucky!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Heat Wave

I waited at the bus stop awaiting a Tri-Met bus 4, ticket already purchased, heading to Monday night Flying Circus.

I was brimming with stuff to share about, regarding Measure 97, Raspberry Pi and whatever.

However the bus didn't come and didn't come and we're having a heat wave.  I'm built for colder climes and started to sweat a lot.

"Poor Barry [our real python] needs a mouse" I was thinking.  I then decided to abort and visit the mouse store.

Getting the Chinese for "tetrahedron" the better to explain "isotropic vector matrix" was on my plate earlier, when the M97 people called, about a lawn sign etc.  I'm glad we're coordinating.

These Chinese interactions were tweets, not hard to find.

Since I'm back from these errands now (e.g. the mouse store), I'm able to watch the evening news show (CBS) about the flooding in Louisiana and fires in California.

Terrible flooding in the Deep South.

The winds are blowing embers into buildings, destroying whole towns in California.

Trump is softening on NATO.  Was that the Bernie wing burning up?

Will he embrace TPP next?

These were my queries, not the news show's.

Does our National Guard have more rescuers to spare this year?

Some have seen service far from home, several tours, in the Islamic State (formerly Iraq), near Persia, in "Messy Potamia".

Horrible crimes, in Chicago, the city of my birth.  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) -- how to prevent.

No other cases of Zika have been reported "in any other state" besides Florida.  Deliberate wording.

We bleep over Puerto Rico with over 10K cases, State of Emergency declared -- not a state, more like District of Columbia, more on Facebook.

Nothing about the Quantum Science Satellite, launched from China earlier today, nor about India's 70th independence day celebrations.

One needs to pick and choose from a blizzard of stories.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Suicide Squad (movie review)


Such a depressing future.

Hey, for those new here, my "reviews" mostly only make sense to those who've seen the movie; I don't work hard to address those "just thinking about it" i.e. it's all archival, you'll decide at some point.  I also pride myself on not reading a lot of "what other people think" before giving my spin.

In this case though, I couldn't help but hear some buzz, so I'm sorry.

Bagdad Theater was in good form, and after the film I went to Back Stage per the hoped-for workflow, and indeed some Olympics teasers (Rio, 2016) were on, though nothing too substantive (no audio).  The screen is indeed huge.  The greyhounds (vokda + grapefruit juice) were excellent, no complaints.  JetBlue flyers experience extreme turbulence (news story).

Depressing because the "good guys" are so not, and what it's really about is persecuting freaks, meaning civilization has gotten nowhere, just gotten a lot uglier.  Nightmares R us.  However I'm not faulting DC Studios or the movie-makers.  Our science fiction has been dystopian for quite awhile now.

We go there for a reason, to think again about the mistakes we're maybe making.  Simulations teach.  Here we see the CIA "obligated" to employ weapons no one wanted to see used, after deliberately getting in over it's own head by unleashing them, or by "priming the pump" depending on how one tells the story.

That Batman is a background good guy "law enforcer" in Gotham, and that we get to see from the villains' point of view for a change:  nice premise.

I'm not going to sit in the bleachers and just criticize an expensive comic book, as that's not my idea of a "review".  Thank you all for a heartfelt performance.  In case I forget to say it again?

Hey, that Tom Hanks movie, upcoming, about the guy emergency-landing that airplane in the Hudson, I'm all for seeing that.  I can relate, as a passenger if no one else.

Thanks also again to Bagdad.

In terms of refugee camps, yes why not "drive in" movies, sans the cars, but with more serious content, in the sense of less densely encrypted.

I love comics myself, though I wouldn't count myself as faithful a follower as many.

But hey, if I'm a refugee in a camp, looking for ways forward to the future, I'm not likely to wanna wade through ten thousand years of one particular culture's psycho-history.  I mean lets get real here.

I beat a straw man.  No one that I know of was suggesting screening said movie, in first release, in refugee camps around the world.  Hollywood is not into that.

My saying it's inappropriate is like, way outta left field.

Anyway, I may have more to add regarding this film at a later date.

The need for superlatives for "beyond human", be that "meta" or "super" or "trans" is more a test of the English language.  "Hyper" is another one we might try (shades of Lawnmower Man).  "Cyber" is already taken as in Six Million Dollar Man and Robocop.

Nietzshe sure got quite a few balls rolling, with that √úbermensch meme. It's an archetype, part of our yearning to overcome.

Speaking of "overcoming", I don't like singing We Shall Overcome anymore (a favorite in the liberal hymnal).  As a kid it made sense, but I'm 58 now, so either I did or I didn't.  Deadlines make sense.  Using the future tense at this point sounds phony.

John Taylor, visiting from Indonesia, was at the house when I got home.  I had those new USB memory sticks ready, one for each of us.  He's writing his autobio.

I showed him the Word docs inside Office Libre, on a Pi.  Checking at Fred Meyer's today, they've removed all the Linux-specific magazines.  The dumbing down campaign takes a toll every summer.  The idiocracy always find new ways to oppress the geeks (freaks), like by taking away their reading materials.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Necker Cube Guy

E.J. Applewhite

Speaking of trailer parks, Ed Applewhite was an archivist by temperament, and on the lookout for such filing savvy in others.  That explains why he was such a fan of Bonnie Goldstein when she showed up, fresh from Allegra's dance curriculum.  Bonnie appreciated Bucky too, shades of Kiyoshi, plus was good at filing, which is more than just shoving documents and artifacts into a vault.  One looks for peer review, as well as networking opportunities.

For example, BFI (the Buckminster Fuller Institute for which I was briefly webmaster), once sent me a box of physical models with spreadsheets attached.  This was my first introduction to the work of Steve Waterman, whom I never met in person, and his way of finding maximal convex hulls in the IVM, classically with a ball at the origin.

I was just around then discovering convex hull algorithms (e.g. Qhull) available for free download, and got busy prototyping what became a genre, that of rendering Watermans, including inside interactive Java applets, forerunners of today's Android apps.

Ed himself bounced a few things off me from his own archive, separate from BFI's, most notably the writings of this Florida guy in a trailer park.  Ed was testing me in a way, because at the heart of this guy's thinking was a Necker Cube, and "aspect shifts" is what Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations are all about, especially in so-called Part 2.

EJA knew that (given my own quirky writings) and wondered if I'd pick up on that, or just convey the dour news that so-and-so was off the wall.  That's really the pot calling the kettle black, the height of irony, right?  Ed was surrounded by freaks of nature, and I was one of them, a Strontium-90 baby. I'd written him from a Florida trailer park too, no doubt, or at least from one in Apple Valley, North Carolina.

Anyway, he liked what I was doing to merge Synergetics with Wittgenstein and told me so. We may use Synergetics as a source of new context managers one might say.  In the namespace of Synergetics, we don't "cube" when we multiply a number by itself three times.  The incantations are different.

Getting how that could be involves like a Necker Cube effect, a shift in perception (Quadray Coordinates may help).  At least that's what it takes for some.  I've put the details in plain old math for those just wanting to go by the numbers.  The Martian Math cartoons (including hypertoons) should make it all seem more intuitive.

Applewhite tested me a lot in retrospect as I knew he pretty much had to, as someone up and coming in the tiny circle of Synergetics scholars.  We all suffered from serious flaws in his eyes, but then so did he in ours sometimes, so hurt feelings all round.  He wasn't much like a cult leader, though he helped brew the Synergetics kool-aid.  When that Heaven's Gate Applewhite talked his followers into returning to Hale-Bopp, Ed quipped "they got the wrong Applewhite" (he'd written Paradise Mislaid).

He was used to it, being mocked for this or that, perhaps behind his back,  Goes with the territory (he'd been around embassies a lot) and he did his best to work on what he regarded as potential weaknesses.  I admired his industrious productivity. He managed to stay the quintessential insider.

In general he got along with me really well and we were both disappointed when I had to say good bye in a hurry, thanks to a medical emergency.  We'd been scheduled to have dinner, as I was in DC for back-to-back events, a Fuller Symposium (Ed a panelist), and a Pycon (both at GWU). 

I'm glad for his coming out to the left coast for that earlier visit with his wife June, and spending some quality time in Portland.  We'd also eat out around Georgetown, when I'd breeze through.  He had a lot of favorite restaurants.  One time I brought my friend Matt to his Georgetown apartment, whom he later meet again on his Portland visit, along with Harold Long, who'd worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect.

That was the time, when Matt and I stopped in, that he gave me a copy of his newly published four volume Synergetics Dictionary as a gift, which I then drove across country, meeting Amy Edmondson in Santa Fe along the way. Matt and I shared driving, taking my sister's car from Montclair, NJ to Whittier in Greater LA, via Nashville and the Texas panhandle.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Rabbit Out of a Hat

This Westinghouse story is about how patents are used to crush innovation.  Edison was keen to subvert alternating current as a power delivery system of choice and sought to prevent a public showcasing of its efficacy.

Fortunately for the world, Westinghouse had a backup light bulb design, happy in an AC circuit, and not belonging to Edison.

Without engaging in criminal malfeasance, Westinghouse was able to light up the exhibit of Tesla's preferred future, the one we're enjoying today, though lets remember about HVDC lines.

The time has come to open source tables, lamps, chairs, (tractors... lab equipment) as the EU is moving to allow copyrights (copyleft is also copyright) on patterns, such as clothing.

Such an extension of the practice goes way beyond trademarking or service-marking (branding).

The lawyers are eager to create conditions of scarcity where they're in danger of yielding to an economy of affluence, thanks in some degree to the advent of the 3D printer.

Let the stylists pay big bucks for their Oochi Goochi whatever, their copyrighted Throne.

The rest of us will make do with what's freely contributed to humanity more in the spirit intended, hearkening back to when "good ideas" were meant to be shared.

Intrinsic to the idea of an "idea" is its copiability.  Getting philosophy (i.e. reason) out of the picture has been important to schools of irrationalist anti-pragmatists who consider themselves entitled to make the rules the rest of us must follow.

Monday, August 08, 2016

At the Circus

Monday Night at <guild />

Neil Raja gave a presentation tonight, showing off a nifty JavaScript library.

I arrived late, no worries.  He gave me a personal preview of his talk the week before.

Neil and I got into a conversation about Eigenfaces, before Ben gave him a free ticket to the ongoing DevOpsDays conference at the Convention Center.

A spontaneous discussion of gambling and gambling machines broke out, without any prompting from me.

Sonya Pinney called, about catching a ride with us to tomorrow's memorial service downtown.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Hiroshima Day (August 6)

From Mt. Tabor

Also known as Disarmament Day in this neck of the woods.

Except this year we're having our commemoration ceremony, organized by Oregon PSR, on August 9th.

Nagasaki Day.

Apropos as the Hanford site, still the site of a reactor, was where that second bomb was assembled

We learned that only recently, my generation never having been consulted about any of these decisions.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Helping Refugees

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Touring Sunnyside



Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Morning Walk

Gold Door / New York

My suggestion for John Taylor at Stump Town this morning, on Belmont, was that he consider real time social media, such as Blogger, as another outlet for his expertise.

John is working on an autobiography (see below), which promises to be interesting, however Portland is facing the "informal neighborhood" issue right now. Any advice?

John is an urban planner by training, sort of like my dad was.  Dad was freelance, sometimes with USAID but also with UNDP and private companies.

For example, Jack worked for Whiting & Associates out of Omaha, contracted by the Libyan government to draw up fifty year plans, post Wheelus AFB era.

Dad's Rome-based team worked closely with Libyan counterparts.  Drawing accurate maps was a lot of the process.  They didn't have GIS / GPS in those days, at least not to the extent we currently enjoy.

Those plans for Libya were pretty much followed, my dad later learned, his career having since taken him to Manila, Cairo, Dhaka, Thimphu and Maseru. When looking ahead fifty years, it's mostly about zoning, not individual buildings. Where to site the cemeteries and like that.

Regional and urban planning is a process, not the top down imposition of a fait accompli by edict.  The people who live in the area have a lot of influence.  In Portland, our Neighborhood Associations play a role. Development is an organic process.

Anyway, we discussed what the US forward-basing approach in terms of aid might be today, given the evaporation of Communism as the credible threat.  Many are eager to bring that back, as it seemed to work as a bogeyman, but most of the world has moved on from Cold War Era politics.

Probably what more urban planners will realize is the engineering community itself saw the wisdom in "publicly owned goods" what with the GPL / GNU / EFF revolution (MIT played a role).  Their realizations extend to Open Data, now that Open Source (computer source code) is well established.  That doesn't mean divulging everything, just a whole lot more.

Big companies, rivals, will work together on an even playing field, where key assets stay "unowned" (not "in-house", not under just one player's control).  That's like Communism, but then who owns the stars?  Is God a communist then?  Unsettling.

The recent legal battle twixt Google and Oracle, over Java APIs, was interesting in this regard.  What's a trademark?  What's a language?  Is Oracle the next SCO?  The two cases have something in common, as other analysts have noted.

So in this day and age, the enemy is Fear Itself i.e. Terror, and those who promulgate terror, in whatever form (drunk drivers, bad doctors, ISIS, dodgy car makers ... KKK) become the ones we need to beat back and defeat.

Once language is reduced to truisms in this way, a loss of traction may be experienced, which may feel freeing.  At least we know we're united against terror.

Going forward, the engineering sector still has an upbeat attitude about all the new free tools, and are actively reaching out to the world's as yet "unbanked" with all manner of schemes and devices, including with new methods bookkeeping (e.g. blockchain).

Engineering + Urban Planning + a Commercial sector willing to experiment with new kinds of advertising, are probably all we need to kick start it in Portland.

John was curious about the #CodeCastle meme.  We toured the outside of the "ghost church" which could be a bigger version of Southeast Uplift or something like that.

Rear View

I'm already in touch with the math teachers (some of them) by social media.  Brick and mortar would be nice though, for more hands-on, but for that I have Monday Night Flying Circus (lots of math goes on there).

Monday, August 01, 2016

Quaker Doings


 John Taylor is in town, working on his autobiography.

Yesterday it looked like lights out on that nifty notebook with wireless mouse, which has some issues. We're brainstorming some alternatives for his remaining weeks in Portland.

In the meantime, I got it back up and running over the weekend, and made a new backup to his USB stick.  He's on his own from Indonesia, his wife having gone back to her job in Jakarta (their base), having made a career in international development.

His career dates back to the Robert Moses era in New York City.  He's worked with the Ford Foundation in India, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and so on.  He knows a lot about "informal neighborhoods".

Last Tuesday, I introduced him to my friend (and Friend) Denny at Tom's.  Denny was just a couple days off the jet from Shanghai, where he used to work for the US Commerce Department.  He brought me some gifts.

John is fighting a small screen.  The notebook is nice and light, fits in his backpack.  For now it's a solution.  On a previous visit, he did a presentation at Wanderers.

On this visit he'll be giving a talk at Thirsters in mid-August.

We also enjoyed that lunch buffet at Dwaraka's (prior to the laptop rescue operation).  He had a couple days in my guest room before settling into a house-sitting situation.

On Q2 I've dredged up my Global Data science fiction, about a N8V rez-based corporation that leverages local IT investments to create a philanthropic climate: the Coffee Shops Network I've outlined.

However given my lingering focus on the "ghost church", it's also about CodeCastle, the teacher training facility.

Speaking of CSN, Glenn and I enjoyed the Woodsman Tavern on Division, perfect day for outside table. Glenn's study of the Portland Tribune got us there, finally (it's in the neighborhood).

He was celebrating the Macroscope's appearance in the most recent issue of Scientific American (not a hexapent global matrix, but that's a detail in design).

I was celebrating getting to the top of Mt. Tabor on the donated bicycle, thank you Sam Lanahan.  Once in a blue moon I'll indulge in a big burger, not usually my style.  The Tribune said they're the best. I enjoyed the ambience and IPA.

John Taylor @ Dwaraka