Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hermit Chapter

Morning Walk

This chapter, following Alabama Adventure, is soon to end, as I plot a next trip.

However, I'm glad for this heated cave with WiFi.  I'm working on some new course-ware, written in Sphinx, and wrote an essay on Medium about my latest thoughts on teaching Python.

I did get out this afternoon, to visit The Good Bye Party family, out towards Gresham.  I took the Max. Great homemade pear wine!  I learned so much, hanging out with this younger bunch.

Tonight I'm listening to A Man of Letters reading from Undercover Mormon by Th. Metzger. I do this as I blog, upload pictures, and make a long overdue backup.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Got SQLite?

Screen Shot: Using Sphinx

Does you office pass around .db files as a convenient way to share data? Of course many file extensions are overloaded, so yes, to be clear, I'm talking about SQLite files, which require only the sqlite client, or many programming languages, to reveal their contents or accept new data.

In my courseware for IT workers, I tend to emphasize the efficacy with which SQLite might be used, as a simple way of keeping data organized. 

A database much more difficult to either tamper with or change inadvertently than a database, plus the format preserves the structure of a relational database, meaning the query engine is at your fingertips, if you just remember enough of the language (SQL).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Supply Chain Logistics


The world has lots of plastic junk already, and what with 3D printers now widely affordable, a different way to shape the plastic, we have a tsunami on our hands.  Recyclable plastic, actively reused in the space of an average human lifetime, might be a goal.

I'm back to those A & B modules again, so-named in Synergetics, which aims to capitalize on a Unit Volume Tetrahedron (UVM) in a corner (remote) of Universe somewhere.  A rebel planet.  However in a Diverse Universe (DU), we can afford renegades and mavericks, some of which become tourist destinations.  Rebels needn't be averse to tourism as such voluntary traffic gives more vectors for disseminating a more sympathetic version of history throughout the galaxy.

Then we have the two flavors of E module.  I put it that way because whereas A & B are equi-volumed but differently shaped, the T & E have all the same angles and differ only in surface-to-volume ratio.  The E-mod is phi-down from E3, i.e. 1/120th of the RT3 (another name for "SuperRT"), the rhombic triacontahedron embedding the edge-2R (1D) icosa of volume ~18.51, and its edges crisscrossing dual Pentagonal Dodecahedron (the two five-fold symmetric Platonics).

RT = Icosa + Icosa.dual(), where the dualing method sizes to cross edges by default, and the plus operation has been overloaded to mean combining two polyhedrons into one, a visually pleasing special effect.  Cube = Tetra + Tetra.dual().  RD = Octa + Octa.dual(), where RD is the Rhombic Dodecahedron, not a Platonic, but a space-filler nonetheless (and a Kepler favorite).  Its dual is the CO (cuboctahedron).

Finally, bridging the volume 4 Octahedron (1D edges) and inscribed Icosahedron (two S-factor applications up from the relatively askew Cuboctahedron of volume 2.5, faces flush), are the 24 S-modules, with a strong relationship to the E.  S:E :: VE:Icosa in volumetric terms, where VE labels the canonical CO of volume 20, edges 2R.  That's the S-factor of about ~1.08.  We also have S3 (about ~1.066), the constant by which we do IVM:XYZ volume conversions, but also: VE * S3 = RT3 (in terms of volume).

Getting 3D printed, face-gluable A, B, T, E and S modules, and phi-sizes thereof, is a supply chain issue.  Just In Time principles apply, i.e. why generate more than we need just to build inventory?  Have the specific use case already planned for and scheduled.  I'm thinking of my Saturday Academy class.  Others have their other scenarios to plan for.  A lot of us have access to workspaces like Hedron, which specialize in custom order manufacturing.

Finally, AAB = Mite, or Minimum Tetrahedron.  I already have a Pergamon Press bag full of these guys, a souvenir from a First International Conference on Fullerenes in Santa Barbara (1993).  I met Harold Kroto there and corresponded with him a bit much later.  I'd rented a convertible.  Nick Consoletti rode south with me part of the way.  I drove a German guy around, his first time in North America as I recall.  I'll link to another blog entry mentioning that adventure.  Ed Applewhite and Terry Bristol both had roles in helping me pull that one off.

Nick Consoletti
:: Nick Consoletti with Sarah-dog ::

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Codes of Conduct

Twilight in Birmingham

Given my focus on Anthropology, the A in STEAM (not Art, as some falsely proclaim -- chuckle) I'm keen to see "Codes of Conduct" become more of a focus.  We're maybe done with tourism's first chapter, recreational travel post WW2.  That chapter was followed by "tourism" in the "tour of duty" sense, wherein adventurists donned camo and fanned out across the globe in some effort to "fight terrorism".  A lot of these adventurists were of the scaredy-cat variety, only willing to venture forth if heavily armed.  The consequences of disobedience could be severe.  Lets not pretend their code was democratic in any way.

These days, in brainstorming a Trucker Exchange Program, I'm thinking of the various briefings we'd need.  You don't insert personnel into alien cultures with no preparation.  Tourists would do that of course, and complain of "culture shock" as a result.  What works better is to prep, to train, to do some homework.  Remember it's just a tour, and you get to come home.  You're not a missionary.  Your job is not to impose your code of conduct upon others, although you're certainly welcome to share about your ways, as tourism is a two-way street.

The right to drive a truck anywhere and everywhere, given suitable training, is not a recognized "human right" or anything.  Driving is a privilege.  Having a mentor, or mentors is key.  We all start out as apprentices, in one way or another.  Perhaps our driving skills are fantastic, but what about language skills?

Gender relations are especially touchy.  How are people to treat one another?  A lot of tourists have somewhat Westworld-like expectations of their hosts.  "If we pay you enough, you'll do what we say" is their attitude.  Sex tourists, some wearing camo on duty, are "looking for a good time".  Some aren't even expecting to pay, as they assume they have the privileges of a dominant culture.  This pattern goes way back, with "rape and pillage" but the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Launch Pad

The house next door held an album release party last night. I believe Peach Pit is the name of the band. One of our regulars found a wallet on the sidewalk and mentioned to several partiers we had it. Stopping the band for a sec to make an announcement proved impractical.  She came and collected it later. I never saw the lass as I was engulfed in the Steve Holden Chair of Computer Science, now with a large log in the back to compensate for lost screws.

These were the days, at the conclusion of 2017, when DC was relinquishing relevance left and right, butting out of businesses it no longer has the capacity to either regulate or understand.  Like the military, DC depends entirely on the private sector for any remaining smarts.  I'm not saying the public sector can't or won't make a comeback, however that needn't happen in DC in particular.  OSCON is returning to Portland after all.

Melody and Alexia each took a guest room as we switch tracks through this hub.  Blue House experiences turnover.  I've finished my most recent cycle of ten meetups, netting more LinkedIn connections.  That's an over-the-wire closed circuit TV show, built atop Internet technologies (or should we write "internet" -- the Buzzfeed copy editor shared some views on that at Powell's recently).

The idea of a global oligarchy / kleptocracy is not new and the concentration of capitalism in fewer hands, amidst a rising financial literacy index, has helped it once again gain foreground status. The notion of a "grunch" of giants pulling the strings is ingrained in the folklore, as expressed in various narratives.  The demise of nation-state politics, or shall we call it an eclipse, was never an overnight phenomenon.  We'll have true believers clinging to their true beliefs long into some future.

Tom's, a favorite breakfast nook, was not quite up to snuff this morning; too busy? The PSU student I was with required one fried egg over hard, but got two, soupy.  For a hard egg person, soupy is not appetizing.  Have you notice the "hard over" types also trend towards crispy bacon?  Lets see a scatter plot right?  Big Data where are you?  I posted a semi-favorable review on Yelp!.  No place is perfect.  They recooked the egg part then still billed for two (neither eaten), a sixty cent difference, but the bookkeeper trainee stood on principle, bless her heart.

Coming back to Blue House we encountered a small murder of crows, nothing like what we see (and hear!) in the PSU park blocks.  I mention that "group word" for crows in explication of my "grunch" (of giants) above.  Haim and I used to joke on math-teach about how I got it wrong in Desovereignization (a web page):  I said "gander" instead of "gaggle" (of geese). I still get those two confused.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

School Planning On Facebook

On Facebook, we're looking at the XQ Super Schools Project, a priority of Emerson Collective. This was after I brought up the generic idea of charter networks latching on to at least some of the New England / New Scotland (Nova Scotia) stuff, transcendentalism if you will.  Alexander Graham Bell and family were the New Scotland residents. His interests had turned to aeronautics after the big invention for which he was most known: the telephone.

You may have seen me on Youtube in my obscure (esoteric) channel, telling the story of Bell and his kites, based on this book I'm reading, having mined it for pictures.  Bucky Fuller is mentioned throughout, as another genius who came upon the same discovery by a different route.  I'm talking about the octet-truss of course.  What charters teach that?

Not that one needs a charter or that you have no right to experiment even if you've been stereotyped as a "traditional" school.

Friday, I was out of my usual ruts in North Portland, finally visiting the latest digs used by Saturday Academy, by now the thirty five year old institution.  You'll find I go way back regarding Saturday Academy in these blogs.  We talked about Martian Math some more.  I showed up with what's left of those cardboard polyhedrons made by Russell Chu and Trevor Blake and myself.  Some of those didn't survive to the end of 2017. Plus I took some C6XTY to the meeting.

Bell's Octet Truss

Where we stand today in Python World, is Visual Python, a flagship spatial geometry add-on, is starting to work well with Jupyter Notebooks, a core technology in my virtual classroom.  We might be able to give high and middle school age students some experience with these tools.  The Martian Math stuff is very polyhedron focused.

C6XTY consists of plastic soccer-ball like spheres held in a semi-rigid lattice per the octet-truss arrangement, ditto Alexander Graham Bell's design for kites, towers, other structures.  Is it that he didn't patent the thing?  One might think that Fuller's gaining a patent on it later might have necessitated bringing their contributions together, and making Bell's work known to Fuller.  Apparently these connections got made only later.

Will a "super school" teach me anything about A, B, T, E and S modules?  In this flavor of spatial geometry, we employ the octet-truss as our home base conceptual scaffolding, not the XYZ all-cubes lattice of Descartes and Fermat.  It's not like we can't use both.  Indeed, in converting between the unit volume of the "IVM" (the octet-truss skeleton) and the unit volume of the XYZ coordinate system, we encounter S3, a specific scale factor, or "currency converter".

Quakers (Friends) have their history as school makers.  Schools have to be more than brick and mortar buildings, a physical campus, to survive the exigencies of time.  They need "schools of thought" to inhabit them, give them life.  What ghosts might we attract over time?  What frequencies?  Obviously, I'm reaching back to reach forward.

Vpython in Jupyter

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Work / Study

The plan in the "US" Congress, to gut grad schools by making tuition waivers taxable, targeting those with the least income yet still with hope, is motivating changes in bookkeeping.  Work/study is what they do in Congress too.

When I get a job at IBM or Google, and work my butt off to learn a lot of in-house procedures, you could say I'm in a kind of grad school, except I never see the $95K income the government would tax, that represents the worth of my training.

Likewise, a freshman legislator, still learning House rules, is getting a tuition waiver on like a $200K privilege, as she or he gets an education in the arcane functioning of government organs.  That's a lot like going to med school.

Given this concept of "tuition waiver" is so flexible, and doesn't apply in the case of IBM or Congress, it looks like schools will be changing their rules as well, to operate more like corporations, the only structure the "US" looks upon favorably, having been hollowed out by same.

We say "US" Congress with scare quotes at times, as the will of the people is no longer expressed through democratic institutions in the District of Columbia.  That's propaganda, or fake news, and rather weak.  We know bankruptcy when we see it.  The attack against grad students is proof positive that we have a dangerous parasite in our midst.  Let's hope the antibodies go into overdrive.

You'll notice the so-called "public schools" no longer teach civics nor provide much insight into the workings of government.  We've degenerated into clashing mobs and their media.  I suppose that's what they mean by "populism".  Whatever it is, it's not recognizably what's spelled out in the US Constitution.

That the USA is dead and gone, undefended by those sworn to uphold its Constitution, is not really news though.  We've lived with mob rule since the 1980s at least.  Imperialism spelled the death of a once proud democracy.  We live amidst its ruins and remnants, waiting to see what springs from the ashes.  In the meantime, it's all Reality TV.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

TG 2017

TG 2017

Carol and I were grateful for an invitation from the Bartons to share their Thanksgiving. Tara used to babysit for their kids.  Patrick and I were co-workers with O'Reilly School.

Now I'm back in my personal workspace (PWS) plowing through some instruction videos.  I did about two hours researching wars in the former Yugoslavia first.  That came up during dinner, as the war crimes trials in The Hague are just coming to a conclusion around now.

I'm thinking my next Python course should look at Bitcoin more, as an example of (a) applied cryptography and (b) using a complex API.  If you've followed me on math-teach at all, I've been pushed for more crypto along a high school DM (digital math) track.

The Bartons have a new adult dog named Quinn.  I've been getting time with Quinn when Patrick brings him to Mt. Tabor, a popular walk for a lot of us.

Tomorrow I'm up early, for travel out of state.

I didn't know that bokeh in photography meant peripheral blur, i.e. there's a contrasting focus on "what's relevant".  That gets me thinking of the Synergetics "sphere of relevance" meme, a system attuned to a frequency that dismisses a bokeh of twilight zone data.

Systems, in Synergetics, have a visual representation as spherical objects.  If you read Peter Sloterdijk's stuff, you'll get a workout thinking with this metaphor.  That could help make Synergetics useful, as a tool.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Python Lab

I needn't have conclusions regarding UFOs in order to pay attention to reports. In this Python lab, I use a UFO reports database as a means of introducing the DB API i.e. "this is how we talk to a SQL engine". I'm not aiming to settle any disputes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Old Feuds

Buried in some distant past already, the prehistoric origins of Scientology, in science fiction writings by the same author.  A shift of gear, a change in tenor (or tense), and a new religion pitched a big tent, its founder a legend in his own time.

As cultural historians have shown, the culture was hungry for healing, having been through some bruising battles, literally as well as metaphysically.  Civil Rights were hard won, as we feel more acutely when the clock starts running backward.

A core tenant of Scientology goes back to P.D. Ouspensky and others:  taking the negative charge off of memories takes Work.  Maurice Nicoll, a Jungian Scots following in O's footsteps, capitalized Work the same way.

Then est came along and reiterated various practices, though certainly not auditing and e-meters and without the business model of a religion.  Many in the Scientology camp felt compelled to think in terms of a turf battle.  That's one of the old feuds.

A hit piece against Erhard by mainstream media, somewhat baseless, showed that money and politics were hard at work, seeking to keep some trends in check.  Bucky was fighting alongside Erhard around then.  You might wanna dig into that story sometime, if curious.

Another feud is between the reverent and irreverent more generally.  As one who grew up reading MAD Magazine as an alternative to Meeting for Worship (I'd go both ways), the irreverence of the Church of the Subgenius was sure to resonate.

I'm glad the Kickstarter project, to get the documentary out there, got funded.  I pledged my $30.

As these blogs disclose, I did volunteer work for the Centers Network around the time I enrolled in est, in my Princeton through St. Dominic years.  My friend Ray Simon was a big fan of Hubbard and Erhard both.  I've told that story.

Not just the struggle for Civil Rights across "races" but across generations.  Did these adults who thought a certain way have the right to derail young lives by sending kids to fight in the jungles of Southeast Asia against their will?  What was the rationale?  To fight for freedom?

Muhammad Ali shows up, along with Malcolm X and Father Divine, as a bridge figure, taking us closer to MLK's dream of a post-apartheid America.

The Jungians have their own leading towards pacifist strategies.  Unlike Quakerism, the Jungian tradition is more a profession than a religion.  These two strands intertwine nonetheless.  When I'm tempted to feed into religion, I'm reminded of my existing outlets.  Praise Bob.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Another HP4E Story

Welcome to another episode of Hexapents for Everybody.  What's a hexapent?  Most simply, the Adidas soccer ball pattern, also found in Carbon-60, the buckminsterfullerene molecule.  FIFA appears to have moved on to a new pattern, but that's neither here nor there.

The topology at work is such that those twelve pentagons, evenly distributed on the classic soccer ball, might be more randomly distributed, even as the number of hexagons is allowed to proliferate ("higher frequency").  Nor are we limited to twelve pentagons if straying from a purely hexapent pattern. Why not allow squares too?

Adrian Rossiter of Antiprism fame has shared such a construction in the window below.

What's fortuitous for our HP4E campaign is we don't need the petitioned bureaucracy behind public road signage to cave, and show pentagons going forward.  We use the discrepancy, now enshrined, to suggest a productive thought process, a new thoroughfare.

Keep those signs exactly as they are, along with any number of similar exhibits suggesting unfamiliarity with basic principles of Synergetics, and leverage that circumstance to promote the missing ingredient.  The lack begets its antibody, the corresponding knowledge.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Another Kirby

I'm not saying I don't see similarities, in that we're both pink and round, and I can be something of a demon in the kitchen, occasionally breaking things (Selma could tell you).

However, we should allow that's Kirby's strategy, above, of unifying opposites, is the time-tested remedy of alchemists. Maybe he stayed a little on the too hyper side, but then it's easy to second guess from the sidelines.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Synergetics for Kids

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Catching Up

Brochure at Hop House

I claim to enjoy browsing a lot, since well before web browsers, but when do I get the time?  Well, today for example, I left my Stetson at Hop House and used that as an excuse to wander on to Common Ground, the coffee shop with the most magazines on upper Hawthorne.

I ordered a whole pot of coffee, to counteract the beers, and read up on Sleep Science, VP Pence, and former US president Hoover, not necessarily in that order.  This was all in the one issue of New Yorker, October 23, 2017.

At the Hop House, with Glenn, I picked up a pamphlet on Falun Dafa. I've been looking at this practice through a framework of comparisons with Hizmet.

Both religious movements were at first embraced by their respective governments, Turk and Chinese, then demonized.  Turkey holds US citizens hostage hoping to extradite Gulen in exchange.

I was unaware that Hoover had been a mining engineer.  His determination to feed Belgium at the height of the blockade jibed with Human Smoke and his Quaker values.  He seemed happiest and/or most fulfilled when serving as some kind of chief of logistics.

I'll need to cycle back through his bio again soon.

Mike Pence, per this New Yorker analysis, has always been interested in serving as a US president.  He's a heartbeat away at this moment, but at a time when said high office is waning in power?  The west coast has escaped Prohibition (the later chapter) and no longer supports the Drug Wars unless that means against McKesson etc.

I don't just browse print media however.  Last night I was half comatose letting Youtube keep picking the next one.  I'd surface from my somnolent state from time to time, curious what I'd been brainwashing myself with.  Louis Farrakhan?  Just his fans?  Back to dream land.

I have a big screen facing me, while I recline on the futon couch.

I'm also active on my Kindle these days reading a Hoover Institution fellow's book from the 1990s, Inside American Education by Thomas Sowell.

He seems respectful of Bayard Rustin, who had Freedom House connections.  Freedom House is quoted in that Falun Gong brochure, attesting to the reality of organ harvesting.  That calls to mind another Youtube.

I visited Indiana around the time Pence made himself more enemies in the alt-gender community.  I guess it's OK with him to do that.  He defines himself as rigidly parochial Christian, not a cosmopolitan.

Glenn and I watched Portland Timbers win the Cascadia Cup from Back Stage / Bagdad.

Dinner with mom at Thanh Thao.  Need sleep.

Timbers win Cascadia Cup

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Social Contracts

A lot of journalists are reporting that, given the Equifax data breach, banks are now off the hook if they mistake you for me, and open an account for the wrong person.  Who can really tell these days right?

I say "nice try" but the rules have changed, given now we know what they told us was secret no longer is.  So issue new credentials?  Think of new ways to establish trust?  The bitcoin people do this all the time, and yet only get flak for it from the supposedly security-minded banks.

Now that we all know an identity is easy to forge, that currency, trafficked in by Equifax, has been thoroughly debased.  Don't believe lawyers who say banks are protected from complicity in fraud if they do not exercise due diligence.

What due diligence meant then, and what it means now, given the balls that've been dropped, is a whole new ball game.  Many conventional / routine transactions may no longer have that flavor.  It's not just "the masses" who've realized the credit game has turned some corner.
Glenn and I watched the Timbers win the Cascadia Cup.

Timbers win Cascadia Cup

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Raining Cats & Tacos

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13


In the year 2000 on this day, on one of many trips to nearby Bloemfontein, my parents, in their Kia SUV, encountered a pickup coming the other way in their lane.

I flew to South Africa.  Mom had survived.

We remember Jack on this day.  I arranged for his memorial service in Maseru and was graciously hosted and helped by many who knew him.

My sister came after about a month and took over, helping Carol get back to the Pacific coast, where she lives today.

Dad had a pacemaker and low blood pressure, so chances are he wouldn't have made it to today. Women outlive their men for the most part.

Here's a link to an on-line bio.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize went to I-CAN this year, an organization with which my mom has worked, given the abolition of nuclear weapons is core to the WILPF agenda as well.

The award was well-timed to help focus international attention on the UN treaty to ban nuclear  weapons.

Organized crime rules the planet, often in the guise of religion.  However the rule of law has made some gains in certain pockets or niches.

The old USA was a champion of the rule of law, and democracy in many minds, until it got taken over by oligarchs and plutocrats.  Organized crime is in control again, hiding behind the veneer of legality, an increasingly thin disguise.

Absent much moral authority, the imposter government continues in a farcical manner, a scary clown.  People still interested in advancing democratic values have had to reorganize, to get out from under a failed nation-state system.

The icons and symbols, such as the Stars & Stripes, remain important.  Their meanings continue to shift, as global humanity seeks a new equilibrium.

The illegal war of aggression against Iraq, into which the American people were railroaded, pretty much broke what remained of a working democracy.  The descent into despotism has been ugly, to say the least.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Five Dimensions of Python

Understand that I'm using the term "dimension" loosely, perhaps to structure a TED Talk, or TEDx or something similar.

The Roman orator, Cicero a role model, learned to break it down into chunks.  If the chunks were too fine:  a host of problems.  Too big:  problems there too.

The goal of the accomplished orator was to get the chunk size "just right" for the intended audience.

The first dimension is like your utility belt, so close to home base you consider its content basic, and full of "built-ins" as these tools are called.

Here is your basic vocabulary for bootstrapping all the rest.  Any classic Python shell provides them natively.

In __builtins__ you get your "import" (for expanding the vocabulary) and your "open" (for streaming), your several workhorse types: list and range (sequences), some number types (int, float, bool), the string type (str, another sequence), the dictionary (dict) and the set (the not-sequences or mappings).

Functions such as "iter" "next" and "divmod" grace the builtins, with "property" a built-in class (used as a decorator when the time comes).  The large number of built-in exceptions are not "junk DNA" but rather the signalling system used to recover gracefully from inevitable glitches.

Before dimension one though, is dimension zero: the keywords. Forgive me for going out of sequence.  The builtins are actually somewhat easier to grasp, as objects, than these more ephemeral tokens of the Python grammar.  Words like "if" "else" and "lambda".

In any case, I propose we should number our dimensions from zero like Python does.

Dimension Zero are the keywords and related punctuation, such as colon, square brackets, quote marks (single and double, then triple of either).  Dimension Zero provides the original syntax you'll need to structure your programs, to tell a story of what happens among its several players (the objects).

Only three of the keywords are uppercase: True, False and None.  About 35 in all, for looping, branching, making functions and classes (callables).  No keyword is a callable.  In prehistoric Python, before the great leap, "print" was a keyword, yet today is a built-in function.

By dimension two, we're looking at "special names" (or call them __ribs__), provided by the language, meaning new ones get added from version to version, but they're not for the Python coder to create.

Like the keywords and builtins, we accept them as given.  They have that funny look:  __getitem__, __getattr__, __setitem__, __setattr__ ... __add__, __mul__ and __call__.  With these "puppet strings" we're able to control the behavior of our objects down to the syntactical level.

What should be the effect of using square brackets right up against my objects?  What should it do when "called" with curved parentheses?  How should two objects of my own devising interpret the addition or multiplication operator?

I'm empowered to devise alternative languages, or to approximate existing ones more closely. M1 @ M2 might result in matrix multiplication, while (f * g)(x) might be massaged to mean the same as f(g(x)).

Such sinewy flexibility, built right in to the language, could easily become a justification for the snake motif.  A snake is a subtype of dragon.  Perhaps Python has the connotation of "dragon language" in a more Chinese take on computer science.

Dimension three: the Standard Library.  Here, with "batteries included" we reach a frontier.  Any Python distribution is likely to come with all of the above, after which we reach dimension four.

Dimension four includes anything from simple one-module libraries, to frameworks and distributions.  One might further differentiate between these levels, however keeping it all zero to four has its advantages.

When I teach Python to others, I'll be specific about these dimensions and then begin spiraling in all five over time.

In a given lesson, we'll add a couple more keywords here, a special name there, a built-in, and then a module.

By "add" I mean "add to the student's knowledge base" i.e. to the student's awareness of a complete ecosystem, still evolving. Python is a moving target, but it's never too late to catch up.

Even core Python is evolving, both as a language specification and in terms of its implementations.

Python has been implemented in C, C#, Java (Jython) and in a more simplified version of itself (PyPy).  Python has likely been implemented in languages I don't know about.

Then we have Cython, a superset of Python with more compile time goodness.

We should expect people not that conversant with this variegated geography (territory) to get somewhat lost in it sometimes.

Partly why I offer these simplifying schematics and "dimension talk" is to tame the wilderness or wildness (entropy) and bring some order out of chaos.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Curriculum Segments

Above:  Discussing issues of scope, comparing and contrasting the block-based MIT Scratch with Python in Codesters.

Below:  giving a sense of where it goes after Codesters.

Then I continue demonstrating what object oriented programming looks like, comparing the Spyder and Codester IDEs.

This sequence continues in Control Room.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Business Meeting

I don't think P&SC has had enough time to address the Chelsea Manning affair at Harvard, in which somehow Morell got mixed up. We do have a minute asking Friends Everywhere to consider the newly minted UN treaty banning (criminalizing) nuke WMDs.  That'd be a step beyond banning bio and chemo, except for authorized doctor use in the war on cancer, other diseases.  Nuclear medicine is still OK.

I'm planning to bring Deviled Eggs to potluck, there being no prohibition against same, the name notwithstanding. We're considered Liberal Friends, meaning eggs "of the Devil" have not been banned, and indeed they usually go quickly, either alone or as an ingredient with potato salad, like Sonya does.

I once had a long conversation with Christine, not a big believer, thinking the kitchen conversation she'd recounted was with Sonya, not Sonja -- we have both.  Silly me for getting the whole scene wrong in my head.  We've all gotta watch that.  Constructing one's own reality (liberals believe in constructivism usually, per Piaget), is a weighty responsibility, as any weighty Friend worth her salt will attest.

I did my walking meditation up the mountain this morning, which sounds so dramatic. Mt. Tabor is the neighborhood hill, full of decorative lakes, a tribute to Portland's former glory when, like ancient Rome, it enjoyed an entirely gravity fed water system.  Engineers may be forgiven for not having the training and background to keep that up into the 21st century.  We switched over to pump-driven because that's what engineers today can understand.

The new sandals from Bi-Mart are on a maiden voyage this morning, as boats for my feet.  Time to visit Fred Meyer, a Kroger brand shopping center, for the requisite deli offering.

Carol is here with complete versions of the UN Nuke Weapons Ban Treaty, ready for distribution at Business Meeting after potluck.  Quakers know nation-states thrive in war mode, like a drug, and have no ability to go cold turkey where WMDs are concerned.  However, we've been able to orchestrate a gradually introduced safety and security program wherein we safeguard future generations from our radio-toxic stockpiles.

Containing fires in the heavy element sphere has not been our forte.  Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island... how many others don't we know about?  The tick tick ticking of the time bomb nuclei, nano-hazards, have been released and the genii won't go back in the bottle.  Yes they occur naturally in some cases.  In other cases, you need a freak of nature, like hominid species of a self-destructive bent.  Then there's the depleted uranium issue.  Lots to study at OSU.

Multnomah Friends Meeting is based in Portland, Oregon.

Lastly, for today, a brought a free sample of C6XTY for the kid programs, letting them know there's more where that came from if there's interest.  I have exhibits I could bring in.  Friday was a gala event wherein we got the super bowl commercials in the can.  Just kidding.  This stuff is a tad esoteric for the NFL.  When it comes to soccer clubs on the other hand...

I'm literally in the meetinghouse on Stark Street as I write this.  This used to be Doug Strain's electronics factory (his company's) and Jantzen's before that (swimwear factory).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FrackNation (movie review)

This documentary is a direct response to the award winning Gasland by Josh Fox.

I recommend viewing it.

did a lot of homework, starting with Kickstarter.

The director engages in a point by point refutation of the Josh Fox documentary.

I notice there's a Gasland 2 out by now.  I haven't seen it yet.

I'm all for public debate about public policy.

The MSM comes in for some severe criticism in this film as well, especially the NYT.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Task Management

Conway's Law says organizations reflect outwardly how they communicate inwardly, and that gets me thinking about task management both individually and at more collective levels.

How we write computer programs may have an impact on how we conceptualize about multi-tasking more generally. That's something I sometimes talk about with Dr. David DiNucci. He was at Wanderers this evening, which adjourned early on account of unhealthy air quality.

In the Python asynchronous model, a Task is like an egg working towards hatching, with an event loop scheduler checking each egg, almost round robin, until any one of them cracks.

The syntax expresses putting a wind-up toy into the mix, but how fast it unwinds depends on many environmental factors, such as the slowness, or speed, of the network.

Tick tick tick go the eggs, somewhat like time bombs but we want and expect them to go off eventually, and each one is enveloped in a waiting handler, less a callback function than a surrounding context, the enveloping Task.

However, Python's means of maximizing or optimizing a single thread is only the beginning.  Spawning threads and processes is likewise possible, using tools from the same asyncio library or other places.

A procrastinator will often beat himself or herself up for delaying an important task just thought of, however queuing up stuff to do later is likewise a signature activity of the self-organized.  Putting things off is not a dodge, but intelligent scheduling.

Let tasks come to you and don't feel compelled to jump up and immediately attend to them in the order dreamed. Acting immediately is what we call "impulsive" and many seemingly important tasks will appear "half baked" looking back.

Doing jobs in the same order you think of them may be a higher risk lifestyle than you need indulge in, is the mantra here.

Go ahead and stay in the lotus position, even if your jobs queue grows in the meantime. You'll need downtime to optimize.  Seeing how to kill many virtual birds, with no real birds harmed in the process, with one stone, will be your saving grace in many cases.

Yes, sometimes we need fast reflexes to take over.  Things do happen too fast for a lot of, or any, conscious consideration sometimes.  However don't treat your whole life like a twitch game.  Practice the art of creative delay i.e. scheduling.  Computers do it.  Multitasking is a science and an art.  Learn to both divide, and undivide, your attention.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Jupyter Community


Wednesday, August 23, 2017



nyc_girl = codesters.Sprite("person10", -100, -100)
girl2 = codesters.Sprite("person7", 50, -100)

ufo = codesters.Sprite("ufo")
ufo.glide_to(100, 200)

nyc_girl.say("OMG! What's that???")
girl2.say("I think it's a flying saucer!!!")


ufo.glide_to(-400, 200)

def click():
    x = stage.click_x()
    y = stage.click_y()
    ufo.glide_to(x, y)
    # add other actions...

def space_bar():
    # add other actions...
stage.event_key("space", space_bar)

def enter_key():
    # add other actions...
stage.event_key("enter", enter_key)

def up_key():
stage.event_key("up", up_key)

def down_key():
    # add other actions...
stage.event_key("down", down_key)

def a_key():
    # add other actions...
    nyc_girl.glide_to(-100, -100)
    girl2.glide_to(50, -100)
    nyc_girl.say("OK, so now what?")
stage.event_key("n", a_key)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Amish Mafia

I'm not calling this a movie review because we're talking about a made-for-TV series, meaning we bypassed the old-timey big screen theater distribution networks (e.g. Miramax) and went straight to cable (which includes satellite and optical fiber).  Netflix tends to pick it up from there (just kidding, we have lots of subnets, very diverse).

In any case, I'm finding myself pleasantly entertained by this pseudo-documentary genre, many faces blurred to protect the innocent.  Amish maybe get some protection from English viewers, and we the English get to see our Mafia turf wars transposed into an innocent key, with buggy races not allowed in Levi's court. Merlin, an Ohio rival, another Mafia boss, muscles in.

I rented this first season alongside season two of Fear the Walking Dead, picking up at the coastline, now that our families have escaped the LA zone.

However it's not like I have oodles of hours to watch soap operas.  I'm doing full time work with a rush hour on both ends, ala the North American fossil-fueled nightmare (not complaining). Amish Mafia + Mennonite helps this old bones Quaker unwind a bit before midnight or whatever Zs time.

What stretches credibility is that a documentary film crew would get just this angle, with intimate relationship scenes on the Sarasota beach (no worries, everyone stays fully clothed). Why would Levi allow cameras?  Actually that makes plenty of sense: he covers his butt as Amish special operations, given he's never really alone with her. They're all using the film crew to tell their side of it.  We're the ET observers.

John the malcontent-in-trouble is hilarious, as is the Mennonite intense. I know these people, have met them many times.  The eternal vibe in this transposition is what makes it both Biblical and high comedy all in an anthropological bundle.

I love it when they speak Dutch, so Afrikaner in some ways, said the Englishman, right?  Actually the Afrikaners don't equate USAers with UKers, remembering some earlier conflict I suppose.  I've written on that topic more elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Skin Color


When I was little, I'd hear my maternal grandmother sometimes refer to "colored people" which to her ears was not a slur.  America, in those days, consisted of "whites" and "coloreds".

However my generation was already being schooled that "colored people" was not acceptable.  "Skin colored" in a box of crayons was also biased, obviously, because off-pink (not white really) is only the color of a sampling.  Lots of skin colors out there.  That much, at least, is clear.

What's not clear is whether "white" is really not a color, given few people are actually that.  Off-white is a paint color, a whole variety of them.  Singling out "white" as a one non-color seems a similar form of discrimination.

If "people of color" (POC) is OK to say, is it OK if off-whites and even true albinos, be considered people of color as well?  That would seem the more uniform basket we're looking for, where any skin tone has its associated RGB value.

A problem though, is we use appearances for a kind of code, as in dress code, but also as in "code of veiled meanings".  Choice of font might be part of a code, or a flag, or other symbol.

Perhaps the better word is "brand" as in "look and feel".

Like when we go to high school or later college, we might have these various stereotypes, these templates, that people follow, more or less consciously.  Out of such raw material, identities get carved and tested, torn down and recast.

Is obsession with nuanced codes the way we operate as egos?

A lot of meanings can't or won't survive a bright light, but as implication and innuendo, they have a shadowy persistence.

The need to have or be a "personality" might have a lot to do with our color coding.  We get to play roles then, even pick up the mantle of this or that group and become as though mouthpieces of historical lineages, simply on the basis of a few genes in charge of skin, melanin content etc. 

As we grow older, and closer to death, some of us become the disembodied voices of these imagined "races" or "ethnic groups".  We might get our DNA tested, and build an identity based on what has to say.

Lots of theories and superstitions, or call them "day dreams" help the ego glue it all together.  Everyone needs to be somebody, right?  Why not start with skin color, daft as that may sound?

Might there be a way to champion humans, or even more than that, humanity itself?

We have this word humane, and use it with respect to other animals.  In what ways might we train to be humane?  Would we need to identify as a person of any specific color to be humane?

Perhaps these code languages, not of our own choosing, nor making, could be left by the roadside?  I'm tempted to disrupt them.  I frequently question the reality of "races" and the relevance of DNA to one's mental makeup.  The power of stereotypes, templates, role models is real though.  I admit there's theater.

I suppose if your daydream is working well for you, adding insights and happiness, productivity, then it might be worth keeping.  I've been inventive regarding my own persona, crafting some specific guy.  Realizing one's ability to be inventive is perhaps the most one might hope for.  Doesn't "human" mean "made from clay"?  I read that somewhere.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Balls in Backyard


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Summer Camp Fun

Summer Camp is primarily focussed on MIT Scratch.

The "block language" projects have continued to evolve though. Today we took a look at Blockly and Berkeley Snap.

Snap in Arabic

Friday, August 04, 2017

Shopping in Portland

Made in Burma

Myanmar Beer

Squid Snax

Prosperous Buddha

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

International School

I'm hardly The Martian (Matt Damon) in the degree of XRL (extreme remote livingry) I'm using. For one thing, I'm still on Planet Earth.  For another, I'm not far from Hwy 97, running north-south through Central Oregon.

I've envisioned my international school headquarters somewhere in this area, thanks to Barbara and Ed Janoe, some Friends living right along Crooked River canyon.  Here was the dramatic landscape my school needed, along with the horses, alpacas, and obsidian flows.  Smith Rock is a world class rock climbers' destination.  We could also teach bungee jumping.

Lew Frederick, Oregon State senator, was by the Linus Pauling House recently, on Hawthorne.  I shared with him my fear that Rajneesh Puram might have poisoned the well (pun intended -- the group used to poison people) in terms of Oregonians accepting an international cast with a footprint in this rural paradise, outside Portland.  Xenophobia is sometimes born not of ignorance, but of real contact with an aggressor.

Another vision I shared with Lew, spelled out more in these blogs, is the whole concept of off the grid camps, harvesting their own energy and food, ala New Alchemy Institute and Whole Earth Catalog.

We've come a long way since the 1960s, tech-wise if not in political maturity, and engineering firms need venues to showcase that inspire the public imagination, if seeking markets for their civilian lines.  They have war theater to showcase killingry and do so routinely.

"EPCOT West" (a meme) was born out of Dignity Village, near PDX International.  Do you want to experience XRL for real?  Instead of another make-shift shanty town, Portland would show off the new products and offer tours.   

MercyCorps has headquarters here.  Refugee camps around the world are looking to the Pacific Northwest to innovate.  The international school students will feed into our deployment crews, having trained with the equipment and taken in the bigger picture, of a world that works for everyone.

I didn't come out here in a recruiting van, or bizmo.  The art car made it over the mountain.  I've got my gear.  At the moment, I've got WiFi.

Another Friend, AimeΓ© Ford Conner, helped me come up with a name for this project:  Project Earthala.  That could also be the name of an eco-village established by the project, and featuring the latest in XRL.

I'm looking ahead to a kind of international tourism that doubles as a kind of work-study.   However tourism has been taken over by military touring in large degree, in tandem with the rise of idiocracy, and that's tainting many brands, and frustrating the civilian markets.  We continue to experience high levels of squalor on Ghetto Planet.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Food Fight

Mobsters accusing mobsters of harboring a criminal element is a sight to behold.  We're supposed to find a deep moral difference between "Russian 1%" and the others, whereas Occupy looked much the same in Moscow (a confrontation).

A criminal sphere embraces a more game-like lawful world, sometimes with crushing effectiveness, other times more divided and self recriminatory.  The latter phase is what we're in.  The mobsters are all outing each other as the onlookers grow more financially literate by the week.

Trampled underfoot is an old world order, somewhat forgotten, wherein the cyber-sphere seemed less tabloid. The action needed to be dumbed down a lot as we democratized more.  I sound elitist for saying that, but it's more esoterica that I'm into.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017



I've been chatting with investment fund types about what Quakers will or won't invest in.  Given a push towards improving infrastructure, ala China, there are moves afoot to contract with companies that build infrastructure.

The lunch meetup today, at a Chinese place, connected me back to the Hunger Project and Lynne Twist.  I'm listening to her CDs: Unleashing the Soul of Money.

She's a Bucky Fuller fan, like I am.  Bucky made a big difference throughout the est network.

Has she read Graeber's Debt: the First 5000 Years I wonder? She tells the myth that money was invented to rescue us from a "barter economy", a thesis this debt book questions.

Quoting a review by Charles Eisenstein:
Graeber ably and thoroughly debunks the commodity theory of money that holds sway in neo-classical economics, which says that money originated from early barter economies. This, as Graeber points out, is an imaginary history with no historical or anthropological evidence. Instead, it projects our own market-conditioned behavior onto primitive people, assuming that they, like we, were calculating maximizers of their own self-interest. A universe of competing, separate selves, interacting according to impersonal economic “forces”, is the economic analog of the Newtonian physics that was so spectacularly successfully up until the 20th century. It is obsolete today, as quantum mechanics reveals the dubiousness of the subject-object distinction.  
Do Quakers invest in Hollywood?  The military-infotainment complex depends a lot on turning theater into theater, i.e. the military saga into the blockbuster epic, or computer game.  Many Quakers do invest in Hollywood.  Whittier is close by.

Anyway, lots to think about.  I added this comment to QuakerQuaker this morning, copied here:
Comment by Kirby Urner 4 hours ago

One reason Quakers are no longer strong in business, compared to late 1700s (a time of peak influence in the private sector), is it's hard to work in the US without being a part of its military-infotainment complex.

Developing sprawling businesses that pointedly do not invest or contract with sociopathic institutions would be a huge challenge.  Meetings themselves, though businesses (if you believe the shoptalk), are not public enough to make a difference.  Schools, hotel chains, hospitals... if only.
Speaking of fundraising, Multnomah Meeting was successful in getting enough donations and pledges to install the new temperature control system. Thanks to our ad hoc committee for getting that organized.

A 1980s family picture, Dawn's side: Sam (Dawn's brother), Glenys (mom), Carla (sister), Dawn. This was taken before Dawn and I met, she the new bookkeeper at Center for Urban Education, me just back from Bhutan.

Dawn and Family

I driving over the mountains to Sam's memorial service next week. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rocky Horror Picture Show (movie review)

I've seen very little mention of the geodesic dome, featured as a part of the spooky castle above.  Much could be made of this link to another counter-cultural icon, from a domain of sexual mores breaking out of their bounding box, thanks to ETs.

The point was to visit Clinton Street Theater where teens, mas o meno, have been doing the audience participatory version of this cult film for some twenty odd years, starting midnight on Saturdays.  The torch gets passed, one generation to the next.

Getting picked as a cast member means knowing the right people, in addition to exhibiting some talent to entertain. Participating in a RHPS is something of a rite of passage.

I went with a professor of gender studies and international development who'd never seen the film, turned off by the word "horror", a genre she doesn't enjoy.  The raucousness of the audience overwhelmed the soundtrack and she came away with a garbled version of the plot, but that's easily rectifiable with later study.

I like pointing out that Tim Curry has a later role in the movie Kinsey, where I plays an ironically prudish professor. One of the best ways to study a culture is by delving in to its sex ed, but then don't make the mistake of thinking education == academia.  All media have an educational role.

My first induction into this cult came way back in my Princeton years, in the late 1970s, much closer to the time when this film, originally a stage play in England, where that castle is, first came out.

Audience Participation

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Coursera Homework

The on-line course I'm taking asked us to build a circuit of two push button switches, both of which need to be pressed for the LED to come on. The Arduino motherboard is used only to power the breadboard, very not fancy.

Note that a yellow LED on the motherboard itself, distinct from the always-on power light (green), is flashing intermittently. This would have to do with some earlier-loaded blinking light program, unrelated to the current project. The Arduino does retain the last loaded program, even when powered down.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Retro Coding

:: talks about CGI in the client / server context ::

Retro Coding is where one deliberately dials back to an earlier point in time and uses tools at that time considered cutting edge, but since abandoned.

A case in point:  "Common Gateway Interface" or "CGI" programming. "Computer-generated Imagery" is the more common decoding; a name collision (just get clear on the namespace, for less cognitive dissonance).

In Python, we import the cgi module primarily for access to FieldStorage, an object that plays the role of sys.argv in some ways, the latter being a list object intermediary between "__main__" (the running namespace) and the shell command used to start a script.

For example: 

$ ./ Au 

passes Au as a string string element to the running, which finds it in sys.argv[1].  '' itself, the name of the running script, is what's in sys.argv[0].
Here's an example lookup operating, running the above lookup about gold ("Au"):

Server and Client 

That's Python's standard library CGI server in the background, plain vanilla.  The going rate is not included. This pared down database lists he abbreviation and longer name, number of protons, and atomic mass.  The long integer and KTU track when a user last touched the record, me in this case.

>>> num
>>> datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(num)
datetime.datetime(2017, 4, 29, 3, 39, 52)

The invocation in the foreground triggers a little script to send an HTTP request to said server, with a chemical element symbol (e.g. Au for Gold), which, if all goes well, returns a JSON string which the little script converts, to a list. Print to console. We're done:

looking up an element through localhost

Taking a look at that script, we see the Python DBI in action. That could have been Oracle we were talking to, like in the good old days (mythological allusion).

Serving Data

I've changed the shebang line to /usr/bin/env python, which is fine if you're running Python3 or greater, and shared the two scripts via Github, for educational use.  Thanks to WorkingIt!

The database table, periodic_table.db, is likewise available.  I'm continuing to evolve this little project, adding AJAX to the mix.

Friday, June 30, 2017

On the Banks of the Tigris (movie review)

The Portland Blues Festival kicked off today and our Hawthorne bus 14 moved slowly across the bridge, stuck in traffic.

I was on my way to Rogue Hall to meet up with Dr. Tagrid Khuri of Portland State University.  Our plan: to see this award winning movie at the Clinton Street Theater (Tag was expecting outdoor live Arabic music, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but never mind).

The film is a work in ethnography, more specifically ethnomusicology. A lot of the folk music of Iraq traces to Iraqi Arab Jews, who knew?  They fled Iraq en masse, after some two thousand years by the Tigris, starting in the early 1950s, some looking for a new life in the newly established state of Israel.

The Ba'athists seemed keen on erasing cultural memory, but music and memes are more powerful than mere politics.  Enforced ignorance doesn't last.

The film is the result of a collaboration between a Muslim Iraqi refugee, Majid Shokor, living in Australia, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and an Ashkenazi Jewish woman, Marsha Emerman, with experience making documentary films.

The project took about ten years to complete.  This was not a first screening by any means, but was a strategic one, with Emerman joining by Skype from Victoria, British Columbia, fielding questions.

The film succeeds in conveying the respect musicians have for their music, in ways that transcend ethnicity.

The opportunity to share memories, life stories, in a relatively safe environment, comforted by familiar tunes, brings out the best in people.  The film is uplifting, as well as informative.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smith Rock

One of the great joys in getting married is the merging of families that occurs.  In Dawn's case, I lucked out big time, with her brother Sam and partner Judy, musically minded creators of a new scene in Sisters, Camp Sherman more specifically, in the Metolius watershed.  I also met Elise and then Les, that wonderful family. 

Dawn's extended family went to Indiana, Pennsylvania (a town).  We spread her ashes there in 2009, following a Chicago Pycon.  Tara and Alexia were with me then too.

Compared to our city rat lifestyle, as non-profit hub managers (CUE and so on), Sam & Judy were the rustic true pioneers, living off the grid as year round caretakers of the lovely Dahl Ranch, in a time when the surrounding forest was lush.  They hewed their own firewood, kept the swimming pool operational.

Later, Sam, a skilled indoor finish carpenter, built a house for the two of them.  Judy's mother joined them later.  She died in the same Partners in Care facility Sam did, same room.  That was on Gold Coach road, in a gorgeous patch of country.

Just an hour ago I headed over to Smith Rock for some memories.  The two sisters (Tara and Alexia) are exploring somewhere in the area.

Radio is important here, and music.  I'm listening to Psychedelic Protest on KPOV FM, a show sometimes hosted by the Smith's friend Steven.  Mad Dog is hosting today.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Decorating a Circle

When I teach about Python decorators, I often use the extended metaphor of "being abducted by a UFO".

In science fiction, the abductee is subtly or not so subtly transformed by the abduction experience. What's important is they come back as still themselves, which parallels decorated callables retaining their original names.

In the video below I'm using the @property decorator to show how a Circle type might update its inter-related attributes through setter method calls behind the scenes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Woman (movie review)

A Visitor

I wasn't planning on seeing this today. I'd RSVPed on the Flying Circus meetup downtown. Then came a knock at the door and there was Lindsey Walker, whom I'd not seen since last year.

We had tea on Division at our usual spot where she showed me pictures of her new place, austere and functional, in Kathmandu. Turned out she was curious about Wonder Woman also.

Probably the Bible families won't be too bent out of shape as the somewhat Bollywood style Greek mythology reiterates the Paradise Lost theme of Lucifer, jealous of God's love for his homely creature, Man.

Aries (lets call him Mars) is a died-in-the-wool misanthropist, and what is War (a favorite form of theater) if not misanthropic?

Wonder Woman is on the side of good as we slide back in time to the World War One era.

Mars is having a field day and the job of these Amazon women is to defend humans, innately good, from his manipulating.  Or so the children are told.

As Wonder Woman grows wiser she realizes Mars is a pretty good prosecuting attorney and humans somewhat deserve the fate they choose for themselves, and indeed they're somewhat loathsome.

Lindsey and I agreed it was all on the corny side, but then we're talking about a comic book after all.  Serious-minded theologians are not a primary audience.

We're more into learning about puberty and putting our childhood toy stories to bed.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

From Forum 206

I haven't posted much about factoring quadratics, but would for one take a group theory approach if following the forking-off Lambda Calc track after Algebra, more vocational than Delta Calc (Calculus), in the sense of straight-to-job, minus college, for more trainees.

You've got the JS + HTML + CSS, what more could you need? Of course plenty, and many will head back to college or code school or whatever, but the meaning of "vocational" still pertains. You get some paid work as a front and back end developer, applying your high school degree, and afford college later, where you go into Physics, say.

Where I'd go with quadratics is full bore into History as I think it's a travesty how we try to tease apart maths from any cultural context. Enough with the "universal language" already, if that means Greek metaphysics about infinite planes "existing". That's philosophy, so any PhD will be able to defend these theses of plane geometry (Euclidean), but lets not pretend that they're not cultural, and that mathematics is not as multi-cultural as Manhattan.

The fierce "game show" competitions on the Italian peninsula, to factor polynomials in contest, complete with pro wrestler style champions and death bed secrets (algorithms) is all too much to pass up. Then we roll forward to Galois, who scribbles some final words on Galois Theory before defending his honor in some dark ages duel to the death. Bleep over all that? Not unless you're into "history avoidance" which math geeks are often guilty of, but not in my course, no way.

I like showing a Polynomial class in Python, complete with some Newton's Method type convergence algorithm for finding roots even when factoring is nigh impossible. I've got this in my archive somewhere. [0]

At least lets tell them about the limits to factoring. And don't wait until some bitter end to share the quadratic equation, making it some punch line after slogging through months of seeking roots by other means.

I'm into spending a lot more time with primes versus composites, Euclid's Method, because I'm heading to RSA (public key crypto), like they do in Mathematics for the Digital Age (Bob and I both like it, although I do class-oriented coding much earlier in the deck, see my Fraction [1]). RSA is a capstone "thing to get" in the aforementioned text, used at Phillips / Andover. I teach crypto too, had for years before I saw that book. [2]

Why Euclid's Method to get the GCD over factoring into primes? Because factoring fizzles long before EM. Then there's the extended version (EEM). Check Knuth. These are the algorithms they're gonna need. As a mammal to other mammals: don't let them write that off as "just computer science" in their snobby mathy way.





Sunday, June 04, 2017

Radar Blips

In case you're a long time reader of this blog, or a relative newcomer with a Sherlock Holmes bent, wanting to piece it all together like a Russian novel of interweaving scenarios, let me look at some loose ends.

The pristine wood hull motor boat that featured often in blog posts and pictures, especially in warmer weather, is still with us, but under repair.  A boat seeing as much use as that one, way above average, incurs wear and tear. The only real question is whether anyone around is skilled enough and has the time. Don and Barry have been on it.

Also speaking of Barry, his big project to keep himself in shape and amused was to convert a legacy motorcycle, a big one, into something two-wheeled yet enclosed.  The prototype has been test driven, however the loose end is I've not been present to photo-document anything.  It's front-heavy on steering and a next iteration is planned.

Former housemates have been meeting among themselves, crossing paths at different times. Jen has moved to California with Yarrow, growing up.  Melody drove down there and visited.  Maybe Lindsey got there later?  I'm not in her loop.

Speaking of Lindsey, a looped through her music on Facebook again, spiraling through some of her showtime posters.  She was a keyboardist / singer with a big love for her drum machine.  With me as chauffeur, she could pull off real gigs. has her at the Egyptian Room in Portland (long gone).

My two daughters are both working hard in their respective roles.  We've been sharing developments on email with Carol (mom) and my sister Julie.

Today we had some tense times downtown thanks to various rallies and counter-rallies.  We seem to be forgetting the past and dooming ourselves to its repetition but then history doesn't repeat, not really.  OK somewhat it does.

Patrick bounced down there on foot, busing back.  We're both yammering about Python this week, in a code school setting.  I'm studying his textbook, to which I contributed, plus we both learned from Steve Holden, author of an earlier curriculum we both used, when mentoring for O'Reilly School (since closed).

Speaking of Steve Holden, you'll find where he bounced out to the West Coast for meetups and business, but he's a citizen of the UK and has lived there for some time.  We see each other on Facebook and like that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dress Rehearsal

Relax into Knowing

Speaking of a dropping Portland IQ, lets focus on mine.

What does it say that I was fully cognizant up to some point, that I would not be needed in Lake Oswego today (because the course ended last week) but that I nevertheless dutifully drove to Laurelhurst, as if today were tomorrow.

I got all dressed up, in my collar shirt, smarty pants, and badge.  Fought traffic (was traffic). Finally figured it out.  The booby prize goes to me.

Hey, we all make mistakes.  Today was the day.  Actually it's already tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dropping IQ in Portland?

They say the creatives are leaving, force out by higher rents, as the narrow thinkers take over to pursue ever narrower lives.

But is that true?

One sign of a dropping collective IQ is the water system.  Portland had a variance exempting it from having to treat for a specific parasite, one that hadn't been a problem, until now.

The city decided to take its working reservoir system and replace it with an underground one, following instructions from The District, the lowest IQ zone in the nation.

The parasite has since been detected, the variance lost.

The Lloyd Center gutted itself of movie theaters at the Food Court level.  Concessions have left blank holes.  I guess the whole food court thing isn't making sense to people?

How can they shop until they drop?

Let's hope I'm wrong.

Carol spent the day at Lloyd Center, getting new glasses at Lenscrafters.  The moment she got home, without dropping them, the lens fell out.  Then she noticed the frame was cracked, who knows for how long.

We're driving back there now.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pycon: Looking Back

Pycon was very sciency this time, and I'm plenty glad about that. We're up to developing 3.7 around now, with a lot of emphasis on asynchronous capabilities.  That's event loop programming, not unlike event-driven GUI programming, indeed it's the same (to some degree).

Most the examples seem to focus on network probes, and how those might take forever.  An await state keeps something trying, working to fulfill some promise, complete some task, even while other coroutines get on with their business.

The paradigm of multi-threading is germane, it's just Python takes responsibility for expressing how the players should share, leaving the operating system to think in terms of a single process.

One of the keynotes was an astronomer, another a nuclear physicist engineer, studying the complete fuel cycle, from cradle to grave.  We flashed on pictures of space telescopes, like the Hubble, the Hubble itself (still operational in 2017), and considered how Python is a boon to the scientific community.

I got to meet with the SciPy / Cuba guy, Olemis Lang.  He's facing some of the same logistics encountered by Steve Holden, former PSF chairman and conference organizer (starting with Pycon itself). I'd be his sidekick through some of these events, taking in the business in a more backseat driver role.

Ed Leaf and I reminisced about FoxPro quite a bit, another coding language community that went through phases.  "Every language has its story" I remind my "Python radio" audience (really more like TV).

Jeff Elkner of edu-sig came through as well.  This was during booth and poster time.  CS is now well-established throughout the states, lets assume, at the level of standards (what Jeff has been helping with, in Virginia especially), but on-the-ground implementation is another story.  Urban versus rural: it makes a difference.

Bridging to the agricultural sector(s) is a big part of what open source is all about these days, because agriculture, bar none, is a science, from population genetics to pathology (we also compared notes with Sheri Dover, also a scientist by training, and code school insider), to business management.

If interested in the Cuba stuff specifically, remember python-cuba is an open archive, as is edu-sig. Some years ago, Pythonistas came to the realization the Cuba could be another Python hub, given proper care and nurturing by the various users already there.

Python use is skyrocketing thanks to a vibrant ecosystem and ways of making science journal articles come alive with Jupyter Notebook versions. Share the data, share the process, with your peers.

Mostly I served as sidekick to Dr. Charles Crosse, a physicist by training, adventurous and risk-taking by temperament, with experiences as far off the beaten trail in Guyana as it's possible to get (a world of river rapids, crocodiles, anacondas...).  He'd served in the Peace Corps in Kenya before that.

His infrastructure for governing access to elective cyberspace, based on fulfilling requirements (buying time), was completely working as a prototype.  He'd ported some puzzles from SugarLabs. Reading assignments complete with fill in the blank follow-up / recalls could be generated on the fly. We did one on Isaac Newton, as a test.

The gist:  a server in France provided "bird feeder" credits towards keeping the router open for other purposes. Developers, supported by consciously allocated subscriptions or purchases, build these life-giving games (we're talking about cyber-lives, time on the Internet, not miracle cures, not snake oil), whereby students net metered credits, the currency of "staying on-line through this particular router".

Of course it's easy to bypass a router, a Raspberry Pi in this case, but that's all family politics. Once a given router is accepted as a valid player, according to whatever rules, one has incentive to rack up higher scores.  I see plenty of applications to Coffee Shops Network, which features charitable giving games, a casino to benefit the deserving recipients of winners' winnings.

The job fair booth people have to answer whether their place of work allows remoting in from places like San Antonio.  Do they have telecommuters?  I was tied to the poster, complete with working Pi and slaved tablets (representing metered clients), so took my job booth pictures mostly during setup, when I was free to roam.  I fetched Charles a couple turkey sandwiches before they all disappeared.

My transition to post conference mode involved taking the Max downtown with Charles for a hand off to Luciano outside the Apple Store, after which I Maxed it back to maxi taxi and headed for the FredMeyer rooftop parking slots.  David Koski was there on Hawthorne at Fresh Pot, embedded in Powells, across from Bagdad.  He was touring in the area.  We walked backed to the car through Freddies, purchasing coffee and shaving cream.