Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Zoltar Before
:: before ::

Zoltar After
:: after ::

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Speaking of Hiking

Talk about steep.

Siraj is a coach, for those wanting a workout.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hiking Trail

I recommend the Ezra Pound Trail into this thicket, or wilderness, and not because I'm expert in that country.  I just did another saunter and realized how little I'd explored before.

In a nutshell, right when we're discovering another Unabomber (FBI doing what it does best), and cogitating on how mental illness warps politics, I'm looking at the case of Ezra Pound.

Ezra was amazingly active, including politically, and saw himself as a change agent, helping to free his home country from crass tastes dictated by money.  He would reach them by true craft.

However, his hatred of the bankers behind the US side in the World Wars (1900s), because of how he saw things, had gotten him added to Hoover's "most wanted fugitive" list.  He was living in Italy.  When they caught him, they caged him, which would drive anyone crazy.

When Ezra was shipped back to DC to stand trial, he got to avoid the noose by pleading insanity instead.  He spent the next ten years penned up in an institution.

Conservatives sided with Ezra, not because of his Fascism so much as his lifelong commitment to freely speaking his mind.  He was the hallmark individual in the showcase of Individualism, which casts itself against the Borg, the hivemind, the groupthink attendant upon any Cult of Personality (these are the dragons we individuals must fight).

Right when he's in the middle of being committed and/or executed (the case is hotly debated in the rabid press), the Library of Congress decides he's a true American genius.

Londoners thought so too (he'd been living there a lot).  Ezra was admired around the world and friend of many a literary figure, from Robert Frost to T.S. Eliot.

The literati of that day wished Ezra to be spared the DOJ's wrath, and even the dimmest of wits could appreciate the bad light the "freedom champions" might be in, if they inanely gave the death penalty to one of their most celebrated rock stars.

This epic saga resonates so well in the current political climate that I'm surprised we're not seeing the movie already.  Hey, Hollywood!  Over here!  Start with The Pound Era for more context?  Who might we cast as Ezra?  Gump?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Since my bumpy ride (recent post), and my sense of wandering into a "CPU" (as a lone electron), life has indeed become computation intensive.

Mom's right knee, given ad hoc repairs after the accident in 2000, is no longer functioning.  We don't know if this change is permanent.  She needs an X-ray.

Just getting her in and out of the car could prove impossible.  I'm planning a dry run for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm glad I'm not commuting to some office every day, as I need to be on hand, in my role of caretaker.  I've been a caretaker a lot.

My wife suffered a long decline with her cancer.

Nor do I forget my dog.

I don't think Dawn would mind sharing this paragraph with Sarah. She was afraid of dogs at first, but developed a bond with said mutt.

Today I headed over to Glencoe, where I'm shepherding kids through an after school program.  If you dig around in my blogs, you'll find more.

Friendly Care has been supportive.  Maye Thompson let me in to borrow a wheelchair from the medical equipment library, founded by Alberta Gerould.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Bumpy Ride

Carol's leg gave way as we were standing there in the kitchen.  I turned to grab some grapes off the counter and boom, she went down.

At first I thought the grape I'd dropped on the floor had scared her.  Was it a mouse?  It moved quickly.  But no, I don't think she even saw the grape.  When I turned back, she was on the floor.  She had hit her head on the doorjamb, or at least I think that's where she hit.

She squawked as she went down.

Since she was fully conscious and there was no bleeding, I urged her to scooch towards the basement steps, which is where she manages to stand, on the landing.  She's fallen before, but not because her leg gave way, nor had she hit her head like that.

As for me, the clock was ticking, as this was a lab period wherein students look at projects, do their own thing, for a specific amount of time.  I'm to resume the "broadcast" but here I am supervising Carol's attempt to get upright.  The timing was to the minute.

The next lab came soon, so I could resume assisting her more.  Indeed, she had a bump on her head, like in the cartoons.  She'll need to call the clinic tomorrow, standard procedure in case of a head bumping fall.  I found an ice pack in the freezer once class was finally over.

Carol and I went to Multnomah County Elections office several weeks ago to make sure her ballot came to her address here in Portland, not the one in California.  Today, I got ballots for myself, and for Tara (who has moved away), but nothing for Carol.

I'll call the elections office tomorrow if nothing shows up in tomorrow's post.  We vote by mail here in Oregon.  Before then, I plan to drive downtown for my colonoscopy kit, fun fun.  I might get to have breakfast with Alexia.

These were not the only bumps in the road today.  The assignment I'd been given said I'd have eight students and I went to all the work to create eight login envelopes.  However I only had three.  I found out later that the office had messed up and confused my class roster with another in Seattle.

However I'm saving the "best" for last.  Tonight was session ten of ten for my Introduction to Python class, and my usual practice is to reward those making it to the very end (we lose some along the way) with a camera view of the pet python sliding around on my arm and so on.

The python's name is Barry and he's well behaved, never gives me problems.  It wasn't his fault I left the lid off his aquarium (terrarium?) when I put him back.  After class was over, I watched a couple Youtubes, about the 3D CAD stuff I'm teaching, and when I looked up, he was gone.

I immediately closed the door to the room, hoping he hadn't made it out yet, and began a thorough search.  Fortunately, he was under the second chair I checked.  Good outcome.  He's safely back in his habitat.  Tomorrow I'll buy him his meal.

I've been under the weather myself.  I feel I'm back to 90%, but not 100%.  The head cold went to my lungs.  I don't think it's pneumonia this time, but I'll closely monitor (I have no choice).  Fortunately, I have no more classes for at least a week.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Virtual Expos

Grand stairway and lake front
Lewis & Clark Exhibition, 1905

The so-called World's Fair, sometimes called an Exposition or Expo, was a much higher profile event before the corporate donors decided they had nothing worth showcasing.  Expos were for sharing Big Dreams for the future.  Electricity.  Freeways.

Now that we're looking at Peak Oil and are facing the realities of atomic and plastic waste, a lot of it irretrievably mixed into the ecosystem, what's the Big Dream?  Universities may have degree programs in cleanup, but Earth Day and Expo were not originally planned to be the same.

The oil producing Arabians are among the most conscious of Peak Oil, given the oil boom happened only recently, to the whole planet of course, but especially to them.  Dr. Fuller referred to oil reserves as "starter fluid" somewhere.  We could use it to boot a sustainable global civilization, but not if we couldn't wean ourselves off the stuff in time.

Now that we have television, internet, phones as movie cameras, the idea of millions flying or driving to an Expo might be counterproductive.  We have Burning Man.

The idea of Virtual Expos might make some sense, and also ways to make global development scenarios more of an audience participation business.  Having people on street corners raising money is less imaginative than fielding roving crews of troubleshooters, with fans and contributors watching from home.  That's what Bizmo Diaries was a lot about:  fantasizing about those teams and the surrounding reality TV.

But don't business mobiles drink a lot of Peak Oil?  Are they part of the problem more than part of the solution?  I'm all for having that debate.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Stop on the Tour


I was just posting to Facebook that "bridging the gap" would be a great first tourist stop in the mathemagical theme park (we use Python __magic__ sometimes).

Here is where we familiarize ourselves with the concept of Zonohedra.

A zonohedron has faces with opposite-edges-parallel (picture a stop sign), minimally rhombi, as well as opposite parallel faces, like a cube has, or a rhombic dodecahedron.

The rhombic triacontahedron is likewise a zonohedron and our "gap" inheres here, between two of them.

Consider two RTs (thirty diamond faces each) of almost exactly the same volume, but the one is a little smaller, making for two sets of faces, one set slightly within the other.

Along each radial, from the body center, two diamond faced centers occur, towards the tip.  There's a tiny gap between the two.

Here's the ratio we go by:  the RT inside, the slightly smaller one, has a volume of exactly 5, relative to the reference tetrahedron of edges 2R.

The ball of radius R very slightly protrudes, at each face center, a small hump, a pitcher's mound.  The apex of each hump marks the center of a 5+ volumed RT's face.

Each RT has a "nice" property:  a volume of precisely 5, a radius of precisely R.  The latter, scaled up by Φ, becomes yet another RT of volume 20 * √(9/8).

When we scale the smaller volume five RT up by 1.5 or 3/2 as a scale factor, its volume turns into 7.5 (red), and its radius into Φ/√2.  It now shares a set of vertexes with the volume 6 RD (yellow).

Rhombic Triacontrahedron

The new face radius, of the 7.5 volumed RT, will be the 3rd root of 3/2 times whatever it was before (call it h), since to boost a volume by 3/2, the edges need to expand by the 3rd root of that number, or about 1.14471424255333.

The resulting face center to body center radius (believe it or not):  Φ/√2 where √ and sqrt mean the same thing, arithmetically.

In other words, the original h, for which the RT has a volume of exactly 5, is Φ/√2 multiplied by the reciprocal of the 3rd root of 3/2, or about 0.99948333226234344.

Another tad-bigger RT, has a radius of R precisely, just a tad larger than the volume 5 RT's of radius 0.9995, weighing in at about 5.00775803133283.

The tag-bigger RT's volume is granule greater than 5, of necessity, but look at how tiny the gap in radius:  0.000516667737 is pretty small, compared to 1 R, the reference length.

That's why we might pay you to pay some mind to this little difference.  Without concerted attention, it might be overlooked.  Attention means concentration means doing work (measured in iota perhaps).

Let's take stock of what juggling balls we get in the air with this exhibit:
  • 2nd and 3rd roots and powers
  • the golden ratio Φ
  • the power rule (relating linear to areal to volumetric growth)
  • two spheres (and a thin wall between them)
  • a pair of RTs (tiny difference in radius, volumes 5 & 5+)
  • an RT of volume 7.5 sharing vertexes with the RD of volume 6
  • an RT of ~21.21 embedding the Jitterbug icosahedron (as long diagonals)
  • five concentric zonohedra (six counting the cube of volume 3)...
  • one of which is the the space-filling RD of volume 6
  • the concept of tetravolumes
  • T & E modules (RT)
  • A & B modules (RD)
  • alternative powering models
  • scaling by Φ
For a first stop, that's not bad.

What schools have a mandate to teach this stuff?  Paw through Youtube?  I'm finding more researchers getting a clue.

We might call this exhibit Prying Open Synergetics as we're managing to suck some sense out of a hairline fracture that came to light only after Dr. Fuller already had put some years of concentration into his newly emerging discipline.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bridging the Gap

Mind the Gap

What the humanities came up with, by way of anthropology, was a device for probing their sister STEM, regarding her meaning for "dimension" and "paradigm".

"Could you have a different number of dimensions for space, in a different paradigm?"

Rather than wait for an answer, the New English sprung upon us a new system, asking "there, is that the kind of thing you mean?".

By New English I mean anglophones in North America with their various nationalisms and other dreams, not to be confused with New Englanders, which more formally refers to a few of their "states".

Their English was different enough to permit publishing a positive futurism that was neither racist nor classist in conception.  This wasn't socialist realism.  Tractors were not core.

I've taken a different tack, having learned of these old schoolers in my early twenties, with four years of university behind me already.  I gradually worked my way into their network, attempting to find out more about their operations.  Where do the dome companies fit in?

However life is fairly quantum mechanical and one brings strong interpretations to whatever findings.  Facts under-determine what we believe to be the case.

The fun we're having branding "the gap" might be of relevance.  We're referring to a crack, a thin fracture line in the mathematics, between two volumes, relating to a perfect sphere which we may or may not require to "exist" in some namespace.

My "mind the gap" writings and videos give the flavor.  Of course we know about the London tube and the gap they mind therein.  These aren't so far apart.

The pun "GNU English" comes to mind and refers to "geek-speak" and especially all that computer science stuff as we call it today.

Computerizing the new paradigm had some number crunching aspects, especially around vectors and simple linear algebra, but mostly we're talking hypertext and what that added to the equations.

In hindsight, I'd say links to Canada stay important, and the University of Toronto in particular.  This is in no way a new development, I'm just saying it hasn't been fading.  Dr. Arthur Loeb was in New England proper, but the Eschers were and are Canadian, as was H.S.M Coxeter.  Today, we think of Hinton and ML and how Canada has embraced its heritage as a major contributor to Deep Learning.

I'm thinking Truckers for Peace, variously branded ("without borders" etc.), will continue gaining ground in Canada.  Opportunities to swap routes on a global basis are more likely to open intra-parent sometimes, meaning subsidiaries of the same directorship are more likely to collude with their own employees than are government agencies with bureaucrats, few of whom have any experience driving trucks.

What ties these threads together is of course the various brands and logos that allude to the shared "design science" ethos.  You see these in both hemispheres, and once you know what to look for, a whole ecosystem emerges.  Like when you first learn of the "octet truss" when learning about architecture; suddenly it's everywhere.  It was there all along, but it takes awareness to distill meaning from apparently irrelevant details.

For example, TrimTab Beer in Birmingham, Alabama, is definitely on the Meme Train when it comes to New English.  I've got the T-shirt at least.  I'm still not drinking beer, not because I'm off alcohol but because the Pacific Northwest has some of the best IPAs imaginable and I was turning into a real addict, flooding my system with unneeded calories.  I may get back to sipping, but have some goals to reach first.  I'm reconnecting with Wine World.

For my part, I went back to socialist realism and the tractors, finding them another type of "turtle" for moving around on a computer screen, in response to whatever instructions.  The tractor may plow back and forth, planting ASCII or Unicode, or follow a more CRT-like raster pattern, more of a spiral if you connect east with west.  Some of my Python students know what I'm talking about, or check my Github site.

Many Flavors of Trimtab

Thursday, October 11, 2018


The concept of "tweening" comes from ToonTown, the animation industry, to which Portland plays host.  Comics too, witness Dark Horse.  Manga and anime, for those used to a more Japanese spin.

The "in between" frames connect the "key frames" -- in hypertoons too.  I claim hypertoons to be my invention, where scenarios intersect through switch-point nodes.  With no break in continuity, your playheads travel through a "spaghetti ball" of toons (edges, segments, clips).

Where physics comes in:  are we able to connect key frames A and B with a set number of "tween" frames without breaking any physical "laws".  Physics is under pressure to provide guaranteed, deterministic results, provided one follows instructions.  No miracles required.

Calculus is all about expressing rules in terms of neighboring frames.  Some scientists flirt with the notion that each frame determines the next in some ironclad fashion, such that all the unfolding action is like clockwork, deterministic, including our own thoughts and feelings.

Believe it or not, such a notion is actually a comfort to some, as "it could not have turned out differently" is a kind of reassurance people sometimes offer.

In practice, the meaning of "determined" breaks down if the trajectory stays unpredictable, even with the benefit of hindsight.  "Given what we know now, we still could not have predicted what would happen, back then" is not that unusual to hear.

Sans any closed form formula letting us crystal ball the future, our only way to find out is to get there.  However, statistics still tells us about likelihoods, and that death, if not taxes, is certain.  Taxes remain highly probable.

All questions of determinism aside, marrying the language of animation to scenario planning and calculus is not a stupid idea.  We're always making recordings these days, to various media, of what goes on around us.  The study of trajectories, of particles in cloud chambers, is at the heart of quantum physics.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Lonely Lives

Some days I kick back and delve into Youtube.  Given what I pay monthly for optical fiber, to CenturyLink, I think of such R&R as getting my money's worth.

Besides, I'm not just goofing off.  Youtube is not a porn site after all.  Yesterday I was immersed in MIT's 8.04 Quantum Mechanics.  Today, I'm back to freakish humans and the lonely lives some of them have.

That I would go back to watching about Pi Guy, who recites some 20K digits flawlessly, is apropos given what I've been up to in Jupyter Notebooks.  You'll find a link to the above video in the For Further Reading section.  I'll take you there by way of edu-sig.

Brain science sometimes struggles to explain these phenomena.  Reality stays humbling.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Sputnik Day

I watched this documentary about the Apollo Era yesterday evening, without having consciously tuned in, until somewhere in the middle, that this was Sputnik Day, October 4. The movie started sharing about October 4, with a Sputnik 2 in November, and I'm thinking "hey, isn't that today?" Sure enough.

A big Our Backyard newspaper large format thing, color pictures, came from Metro addressed to Dawn Wicca.  I might not have given it a second look, but Carol plowed into it, spending the better part of the day with it. 

To her, it's a newspaper about the legacy of Dr. Jack Urner, who she say worked for Metro in the 1950s and 1960s.  I was only a toddler and grade schooler, so who am I to dispute.  I know he worked for the Portland Planning Bureau, I just don't know when Metro (a tri-cities thing) got going.

Jack went on to work for Libya, Egypt, Bangladesh and some others (I'm not ranking them), but Portland, in Carol's mind, still bears the imprint of his greenway and park oriented thinking.  When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you're automatically some kind of landscaper and gardener. 

He was not a Robert Moses type, looking for where to ram through a next freeway.  Indeed, he probably left the States partly to get away from the Robert Moses types.  But again, kid brain speculation maybe doesn't count for much.

Gamification:  I was thinking about board games and how we played them as a family.  Geeks stack them at home and sometimes get them down.  All adults.  Computer companies hope you'll play there.  Why go home when you can socialize in a state of the art rec area?  Then get back to work. 

You can say that's exploitative.  You can say that's how some people prefer to work.  The only downside is the dorm isn't right in the same building.

Board games:  I don't want to hear if it's capitalism or socialism or whatever ism, just run the simulation and show me the script.  Let me see the movie. 

Taxonomy can come during the postmortem.  An ism is what you die of.  In the meantime, lets play.

"Lots of little experiments, very few big ones" was my MTOD.  GST > Econ.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Me Too

I was falsely accused of sexual assault once.  We were stopped at a busy train signal, lots of cars waiting, in SE Portland near OMSI.

I was driving her back to her car, or thought that's what was happening.  All of a sudden she jumps out of my passenger side seat and jumps in the car behind us.  The gate goes up and I go on by myself.  Gee, I thought we were just friends.  She had a boyfriend in India.  I knew we weren't dating. She'd been a guest at Wanderers that time, which is how we met.

The next day I get a call from some policewoman saying so-and-so was registering a complaint or something like that.  I told the officer I was clueless and incredulous and had my hands on the wheel at all times.  She'd said nothing to warn me she was about to jump ship.

Why would I try making unwanted advances in the middle of a packed street while waiting for a train?  Headlights were shining through my rear window.

The officer advised me to think twice next time before driving a younger female around unaccompanied.  Meanwhile, my accuser texted me that any time we were in a public place together, such as a public meetup, she reserved the right to scream about it, stage major theater.

We'd been at a pro Jeff Merkley party (he was running for office) and she worked for Novick (likewise running, and competing), or she claimed to, so I always assumed her motivations were political.

She thought I might be influential and wanted to show me how quickly she could tarnish my reputation, spread rumors, and keep me away from venues she might attend.

She later moved away and changed her name (I found a public blog post where she talked about doing that).  I don't try to follow what happened after that. I posted something to my blog closer to the time.  This all happened over a decade ago.