Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fantastic Beasts... (movie review)

J.K. Rowling (aka Robert Galbraith) is not that far from John le Carré (alias) in creating a chthonic world parallel to that of the Matrix, that pale shadow of reality we take for granted as Muggles or No-Majs (no-madges), those without superpowers.

The Incredibles sketches a similar backdrop:  those with magical powers have suffered persecution and need to keep themselves hidden. They have their own institutions, and wrestle with the same demons, who think "hey, we're the supers here, lets take over the world!" -- the standard "bad guy" thought process.

A from above camera shot replicates all the CIA movies in having some seal or symbol on the floor, emblematic of this shadow world of Men in Black.

If you're not a spy, er wizard, and see too much, like Jacob Kowalski does, they'll need to "obliviate" what you've seen i.e. wipe your brain clean of any classified memories.

Alexia and I saw this together at The Bagdad.  I'd planned to join Friends on Stark Street for Thanksgiving afterwards, had made the lentil dish, only to discover upon checking the web that said event was at noon, not in the evening. I'd missed it.

I ended up over at Patrick's, baching it with the dogs -- his family in Chicago -- fantastic beasts indeed.  We took in a couple episodes of The Blacklist on Netflix, another series I've not tracked (I've seen maybe only two Sopranos).

The Rowling universe strives for internal consistency, as the Star Wars one does.  We get partially overlapping timelines.  Dumbledore had defended Newt Scamander when the latter was expelled from Hogwarts, we're not sure exactly why yet.

The plot is still unfolding.  Expect more from this franchise.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Permaculture MOOC

I'm enrolled in a MOOC about Permaculture these days (CN-2124).  Here's one of the instructional videos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Brainwashing of My Dad (movie review)


This crowd-sourced Kickstarter documentary is the project of a loving daughter, Jen Senko, who was alienated when dad bought into the fanatical cult that is Goldwater talk radio (John Birch etc.).  Jen was more of a hippie, anti-Vietnam war, the kind of bra-burner Nixon was outraged about.

The aging hippie generation belatedly gets around to learning more about PR skills, which the Goldwater crowd felt it had to learn big time, or die.

Liberals were a more complacent majority back then, taken by surprise by the Reagan years, so soon after Nixon's humiliation. Vengeful feelings over Nixon's impeachment lingered, and Bill Clinton took the brunt of it.  There could be no president Hillary (it's easy to say that now).

Yes, the Goldwater folks had to go back to the drawing board and create a whole new media empire from scratch, with Fox News the crown jewel.  The Imams (pastors) got in on the action, as "Mosque Morality" (the prevailing church orthodoxy -- anti-GLTBQQIP) was highly offended by the free love sexual revolution engendered by the pill.

The documentary doesn't touch on these hot button issues much i.e. it does not go deeply into what the disenfranchised "moral majority" (so-called) was reacting to.  Just calling the Goldwater folks "racists" or "misogynists" doesn't get us anywhere.

It's not that I'm "against name-calling" in some holier than thou sense -- there's no way to not name -- I'm just more respectful when the analysis goes deeper.

Hippies studied pretty hard, some of them, and a fringe even got into geodesic domes.  J. Baldwin admits the domes leaked at first and took responsibility, saying he leaked (hah hah) the numbers to Whole Earth Review before NASA (i.e. Joe Clinton) had fully debugged its programs.  Good story.  He told it at the Fuller Symposium, the last time I met with Ed Applewhite.

I have a collection of old Whole Earth Reviews (as distinct from the catalog) and do appreciate the writing that went into them. Yes, I think medications (drugs) had something to do with it.  The psychedelic counter-culture was called that for a reason.

However, for all the interest in a design science, the Boeing engineers and like that stayed hooked on military-industrialism with its prime contractor irrigation system, to the detriment of our global living standards. Too few hippies went into engineering? Helicopters were misappropriated.

I'm thinking both major parties are dead by now, and need to reinvent themselves or face the music.  Lets see what happens.

I'm still hoping STEM or STEAM pulls us back from the brink, but unless that means saying the word "tetrahedron" with greater frequency, it won't have the integrity.  We've seen some positive trends at least, like in Nature.

My morality is not quite left liberal in that I'm not offended if someone says it's possible to be gay by choice.  Lets accept that's true for some people, big deal.  That's kind of what "bi" means, no?  Some gays get all bent out of shape if you say for some it's a free choice, as if it's only "moral" if it's genetic or something.

Also, I don't see legalizing "gay marriage" as all that wonderful a civil rights victory, as "marriage" is but one of many contractual agreements, not necessarily the best, at least not for everyone.  My wife and I were a business partnership first. I'm not that crazy about diamonds as a gemstone, either.

But then who cares about my opinion?  I'm not trying to make the whole world think the way I do.  I do think the US would be less hypocritical about protecting freedom of religion if it lightened up about non-nuclear families though.  I've given that topic a lot of column inches already.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Planning Ahead

Vesica Pices Begets Four Pennies
Figure 1: central diamond (not square): 
short diagonal (vertical) = 2; long diagonal = 2√3

Square Diagonal = 2R; Edge = sqrt(2)/2
Figure 2: central diamond (a square): 
both diagonals 2; edges √2

A cube built from six of the squares in Figure 2 would conventionally have a volume of √2 to the third power, as 3rd powering means "cubing" in "Earthling Math".

The inscribed tetrahedron made from six of the cube's face diagonals has an Earthling volume of (√2√2√2)/3, as tetrahedrons in general have 1/3rd the volume of the parallelepiped in which they inscribe, as true for the golden cuboid as the cube.

We've forked our depiction of 3rd powering and developed the "Martian Math" apparatus, a tetrahedron, for this same purpose, setting our canonical cube of face diagonals 2R (R = unit sphere radius) or 1D at volume 3, not at √2√2√2, leading to a conversion constant known as S3 or √(9/8).

XYZ.volume * S3 = IVM.volume

"Martian Math" is a rebranding of certain aspects of "4D" geometry published as Synergetics in the 1970s (Macmillan) by RBF (R. Buckminster Fuller) and EJA (Ed Applewhite). The same core concentric hierarchy obtains, with a new rhombic triacontahedron added of 7.5 tetravolumes. This RT shares some of its vertexes with the rhombic dodecahedron of 6 tetravolumes.

The "4D" doesn't refer either to a "tesseract" (i.e. hypercube) nor to "3D + Time" but was rather a commercial logo used by Buckminster Fuller, along with "Dymaxion".  The "4" in "4D" drew attention to the tetrahedron's starring role.

4D as a Brand

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Election Postmortem

Back Stage

I heard the CBS team assert numerous times that voters had made up their minds a month ago, about whether Hillary's emails were important, and so on.  However we're also learning that the polls were way off, so any such specific polling result might get looked at with some skepticism.

As someone versed in social media, I saw a sudden surge in rumor mongering, with Wikileaks playing a central role in the narrative, lets call it science fiction for now, to avoid having to make too much of a determination.  The scandal factor was high.  Occultism, sex trafficking, everything tabloid and National Enquirer rolled into one orange pill.

If I were a political scientist, I'd at least entertain the hypothesis this "shock therapy" was effective, as enough dots seemed to be connecting to reveal a new paradigm, right on the eve of November 8, with November 5 the high tide.  Having CBS News tell us nothing 9th hour could be a factor seems too much like a cover story, to keep us thinking Weinergate was nothing, a false positive.  Not that CBS would knowingly fabricate, just "news from nowhere" gets in sometimes.

People don't like to randomly admit to strangers (pollsters) that they just came to a conviction in the last 24 hours, on a topic everyone has been discussing for months.  Reasonable?

Those supporting Hillary are indeed pointing at the FBI for adding a Weinergate wrinkle and reopening the emails issue, but how many of these true blue supporters saw the "scoops" being dished out through social media, about "orgy island" and "spirit cooking"?

People who listen to NPR aren't the same ones who ogle the tabloids in checkout lanes, necessarily, though of course there's overlap. People who doubt Barack was born in Hawaii, might also believe Michelle is a man. A little credulity may go a long way, given skilled spin doctoring.

Like I said, even without playing special prosecutor, with respect to some witch hunt, I think we might agree we don't have sophisticated enough models to reach agreement on the true impact of social media, especially of the more sensationalist genre.  We can guess, debate, but only the least of the pundits will definitively assert.

Election Day 2016

:: Carol got to vote too! ::

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Thinking Globally

Checking It Out

I probably come across as one of those "globalists" people rant about, although I'm not espousing some particular order as the new one.  I know it's not up to me, so when I ask myself what the future could be like, it's not to myself that I turn.  Yes, I'm powerless in some sense, but not in every sense, and I enjoy my freedoms.

In the 1960s we became aware of some "jet set" and young beautiful people who looked like Mary Tyler Moore and those handsome guys on Mission Impossible.  They had sideburns and wide lapels in one chapter.  Bell bottoms came and went.  I was busy growing up, a teenager, and yes, our family moved around a lot, without being military or missionary. I wore my mirror sunglasses and took pictures with my Kodak Instamatic.

I saw the inside of many jets.  For a time, we even had UN passports.  Dad was freelance, a planner, and people everywhere see there's both reason and occasion to plan.  Indeed, if governments or private enterprises want to impress upon stakeholders that they're doing something related to management, then sharing plans for the future is pretty high on that list.

Then after high school in the Philippines, at an International School (akin to Overseas School of Rome), I was privileged to attend an Ivy League university, Princeton, and absorb a lot of learning, find some role models etc.

Professor Falk was pretty enthusiastic about the ousting of the Shah of Iran.  He saw a new generation of Iranians taking over and ditching an oppressive cast of overlords, in favor of making room for an exiled government.

We were looking at ending Apartheid and as tuition-paying students we were asking how Princeton might play a productive role.  Two Dickinson Street (2D), where I lived for two years, was especially involved in that research.

I studied about world hunger at the Woodrow Wilson School, while writing a thesis on Wittgenstein's later philosophy.  I tried to take full advantage of this well endowed campus, putting a lot of my energy into computer programming.

All that added up on my end to feeling we live on a tiny dot of a planet, surrounded by empty space and places far less hospitable.

As humans in Universe, it's up to us to "save our ship" and a lot of that saving comes from thinking realistically about our place within the biosphere, and behaving accordingly.

A level of sobriety is called for.  I'm somewhat like Krishnamurti in thinking that our bigger failures trace to a lack of seriousness.

Not long ago I wrote an essay entitled Thinking Globally in 2016.  With that kind of press out there, it'd be on the foolish side for me to run from the "globalist" label.  That doesn't make me a part of the same conspiracy as everyone else so labeled.

Globalists are not all birds of a feather.  Indeed, if biology teaches us anything, it's that diversity is a positive way to work with complexity.  Yes, I consider the world to be complex.

A lot of people are suspicious of complexity, subtlety, anything they feel they don't fully understand.  I get that way too (suspicious).  On the other hand, I don't insist that I'm the bottleneck and stuff shouldn't be allowed to happen that goes over my head.  Just because I'm out of my depth about something, doesn't mean that something has to pause or slow down.

It's up to me to keep up, as best as I'm able.  Is that why it's called the human "race"? In other words, in being a "globalist" I nevertheless hope to avoid being a "know it all" and exuding some air of phoniness based on some "know it all" attitude.

I've had limited experience and was shaped by whatever adventures and misadventures. I'll share my perspective and be a star in my own little show, partially overlapping with the stardom of others.  A lot of what I do is "retweet" those I admire most. In accepting the label "globalist" I'm not thereby making some special claim to originality.

I've also talked about being "elitist" but really I'm more into "esoterica" such that I don't really believe in "elites" as comic book conceived.  Playing with a Ouija Board taught me something:  that a lot of what goes down is from a shared unconsciousness, one might say.

Yes, it always feels like "other people" are in control, but that's to some extent just a truism i.e. "there are more of them than there are of you." Duh, right?

The Reader

Friday, November 04, 2016

Geeking Out


At Barnes & Noble today, I perused a book suggesting that "nerd" as a label might be part of an oppressive dominant culture's mythology, which has, in times passed, classified both homosexuality and the desire of slaves to be free as treatable mental disorders.

Actually, on further research, I see the memeplex relating autism to nerdiness is well-developed, and rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Whereas I would agree that control over "what's a mental disorder" is a key controlling technique, I'm not persuaded:

(A) that Geek and Nerd are synonymous -- what a waste of a good word if so -- or that
(B) Geeks lack social skills.

On the contrary, geeks have collaborated to create new ways of working together on complex projects that big business is striving to emulate.  They call it Inner-Sourcing, which means using what we learned doing Open Source to do something a bit more hush hush and proprietary.

I've held in my namespace that "a nerd is actually the larval form of a geek" which I know sounds somewhat gross, which is all part of the spin.  An ugly duckling, socially speaking, may turn into a swan, given growth-fostering conditions.

Building the new software infrastructure of the planet, with open hardware and open data in the pipeline, took sociality to a higher level.

For my part, I consider myself a geek who is pretty well endowed with diplomatic skills.  I'm not especially shy nor retreating, though I'd cop to being on the quiet side.  Some might claim I was never a nerd then, and probably never bullied sufficiently.  We could argue.

I'd say these are not terms with any fixed or immutable meaning, so allow me my own dialect, how about?

Anyway, the geeking out I did today (Walter Cronkite's 100th birthday (he died in 2009)), involved updating the Jessie distro on my Raspberry Pi 3 (R-Pi 3) to the latest version, sporting the PIXEL desktop with integrated RealVNC.

Thanks to VNC, I was able to connect to the R-Pi in my basement from the Mac Air upstairs, not just through ssh, but in such a way as to show the desktop. I can use this new capability in my upcoming classes I bet.

I also worked on a puzzle involving transportation systems and Dijkstra's algorithm for finding the shortest distance from A to B in a weighted graph.  I wasn't aiming to solve a specific puzzle, just spin my wheels a bit as a coach and mentor.

Earlier, also under the heading of geeky, I got the firmware on my Netgear router to upgrade, finally.  The "Yes" button had been obscured by a Help Bar I couldn't move out of the way, a flaw in the GUI design I finally managed to get around.

These are living standard boosts worth making.  One needs perseverance and concentration.

Why not study "the Work" as shared by Maurice Nicoll if needing more power to focus?  As disciplines go, the Fourth Way folks seem pretty reasonable.  Alex sees connections from the Ouspensky lineage to est through Silva mind control. I'd say even more directly through Mind Dynamics -- before my time really.

I do see the link in the emphasis on machine-like behavior.  In what sense is our intelligence already robotic and therefore artificial?  The esoteric religions and cults do overlap in what they preach.

In Fuller's namespace, we look at mind versus brain, meaning intuition versus conditioned reflexing.  A lack of social skills may relate to both automaticity and an inability to upgrade / reprogram.

As code schools merge with schools more generally (witness the "boot camp" phenomenon), why not look at psychology and mental discipline, in addition to physiology and working out?

Scouting was always about mind and body both, right?  But then of course many critics would share my tendency to lump a lot of these teachings together, as a prelude to tossing them out more than anything.  New Religious Movements (NRMs) definitely spawn their share of detractors, as do the older ones.

Controlling the R-Pi from Mac Air over LAN

:: R-Pi desktop in a window in the Mac Air ::

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Scholars Meet

Scholars Meet @ Th'underground
:: scholars meet ::

Cubs Win
:: cubs win ::

:: life goes on ::