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, AimeĆ© 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.