Saturday, April 21, 2018

Homework Requirements

I've been getting some push back regarding my contention that everyone in the intelligence community knows about Applewhite's retirement project to boost positive futurism, by teaming up with one of the best known, and most quirky, of futurists, Bucky Fuller.  His geodesic dome appeared in Kabul, Afghanistan and Khrushchev quickly recognized its utility going forward.

The domes also featured along the DEW line, which is how Fuller and the University of Toronto first connected, through their mathematics department.  That collaboration continued.

The CIA features throughout Fuller's later writings especially, at least attracting the eyeballs of the Russian services.  Whether DC political hacks, with pretensions to membership in the intelligence community, have actually done their homework is another question.

The shift in the center of gravity away from DC might have something to do with their missing the boat?  That trend started under Reagan-Casey.

Basically, if you don't know your American history well enough to understand about Fuller's contribution, you don't have enough perspective to serve in the CIA at any level.  That's how I'd translate my thesis into plain English.

A lot of diplomats and cultural attaches display Fuller tomes on their shelves, signalling to foreign counterparts that they're not dolts.  New England Transcendentalism is alive and well in diplomatic circles.

The symbols and signs used to exchange intelligence (SIGINT) make it fairly easy to identify the real deal versus wannabe IC types.  I've already indicated to RT what Americans such as myself are looking for, in terms of a pattern language or code.  You can dig that up in Medium if you like.

I feel these litmus tests are necessary given neocons have invaded DC and plunged it into disrepute.

The Russians have been friendly enough.  The intelligence community is of course global and gets along with itself better than in the old days, despite lies from corporate media.

Corporate persons (as in "corporate personhood") are not known for their smarts.  If "making money" is your only goal, then you stop making sense eventually, witness CNN.

I'm busy recruiting for the IC of tomorrow.  The Applewhites visited me in Oregon that time, helping to pass the torch to my generation.  Now a next generation is rising through the ranks.

Anyone reading my blogs and journals knows what that looks like.  Helping weed out the fraudulent wannabes is getting easier, as the reading public gradually wises up.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Banana Republic


Except for a very few brave hearts in the US Congress, the lawmakers caved, conceding their irrelevance to TV screenwriting.

The Reality TV people know how to take scripts through production and onto the world stage, without the slow unworkable process of churning out gigantic laws no one reads.

Gigantic laws are OK for budgets maybe, such as the latest wish list (please buy our bonds!), but when it comes to fast action, we don't want to think that hard.

The question is whether the military coup is complete.  Threats were issued, that more unauthorized actions might be necessary, to silence Congress once and for all.

Earlier presidents had expressed an interest in closing Gitmo.  The latest president, determined to appear strong, went along with the torture camp.  He also gave his mercenaries almost twice what they asked for. In exchange:  the right to dictate wars at will.

Of course "animal Assad" was literally true, not insulting.  Animals are cool, unless you're a yahoo (chuckle).  The missiles would be "smart" (i.e. dumb).  Indeed they were.  They helped cover up the Syrian chemical weapons program, or lack thereof, by destroying evidence.  Classic.

With Congress out of the picture (in terms of even rubber stamping attacks on nations), we've moved to a faster paced world.  Lawless warlords and nuclear weapons don't mix, so we'll need to get rid of lawless warlords, given the nukes will take a longer time to get rid of.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cowardly Congress

I've been enjoying the spectacle of the DC senators lashing out against Facebook.  Cambridge Analytica, which grew out of the UK psyops establishment, is exactly the kind of operation these senators sought to demonize and use to justify sanctions -- against Russians.

When it turns out the UK was being far more effective, something we already knew, there's no talk of sanctions.  On the contrary, it's now Zuckerberg's fault.  The UK, which burned the White House and helped with the assassination of Lincoln, is our friend.

The shrill rhetoric of these politicians, especially that joker-clown Lindsey Graham, the new Jesse Helms, is pretty disgusting.  I'm happy to heap scorn on their whole way of thinking.  Shoot first, ask questions later, and pretend that's somehow called leadership.

Speaking of disgusting, check out this horrible crap from the RAND corporation, by one of its shills.  More rushing to judgement.

The Winter Olympics was pretty scary to hawks in the US, as the two Koreas started acting more in unison.  The World Cup might be similarly disastrous.  The Pentagon jobs program, of supplying mercenaries to vultures feeding off the US corpse they failed to protect and defend, might be further jeopardized.

Speaking of the two Koreas, president Trump announced his interest in a meet up sometime in May.  With all these diversions, is that still on track?  I don't hear "journalists" asking that question.  Lets get on with that meet up.  Trump needs to meet with Putin again too, and he knows it.

I was encouraged when Trump called Assad an "animal" which is literally true.  I like animals, it's just humans I sometimes can't stand.  Such craven beasts.  Religion hasn't helped much.  They're bloodthirsty creeps and now can't wait for a next big fight, which somehow is supposed to solve something.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Rush to Judgement


What's become clear is the role of politicians in major media is to accelerate what look to be retaliatory measures against evildoers, but in a conditioned reflex kind of way.

Doing the Sherlock Holmes thing, where you investigate deeply, is a civilian police kind of response. One gets detectives on the case.  That's not the way to get wars started.  People need to be in an obedient mood, willing to have their judgements pre-digested.  Investigations are inconvenient, to say the least.

Rush to Judgement theater looks very scripted and the onlooker extras, the people in the stands, are just expected to cheer or boo.  They're not given time to really study the issues or evidence, or form an opinion.  Conversation and comparing notes is not important.

Ever since Hunger Games and other literacy campaigns, the spectators have become familiar with the fact that war depends on deception, as well as surprise.

A significant minority no longer thinks exactly as they're programmed to think.  When the media overplays its hand, they create another wave of thinkers who don't believe in immediate responses ala Pavlov.

I think the programmer war planners consider themselves very clever and put a lot of faith in their own ability to manipulate public opinion.  I'm not sure this hubris is justified, what with the credibility of warmongers already so exhausted, so stretched to the breaking point.

Their threats start to sound shrill and hysterical, as if they themselves don't believe them.

Anyone who thinks a massive bombing campaign is somehow the right response to any crime whatsoever is suffering from terminal ignorance.  But then we pay taxes to cover the paychecks of such people.  They get what amounts to welfare to hold their desk jobs.  Will they actually learn on the job and become less pathetic?  That's doubtful.

I'm going ahead with my Trucker Exchange Program as these devastated cities in the Middle East, if they're to recover at all, will do so thanks to lots of trucking.  I don't need to leave my post to spell out the concepts and widen the circle of readers.  Did I mention academic credit will be involved?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Accelerating Acceleration


If you go back a ways, as I do, in terms of being aware of Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (he wrote other books too), then you recognize "accelerating acceleration" as one of his memes.

Physics folks like the notion, of speeding up the rate at which we're speeding up.  Just plain old speeding up (acceleration) is what we call "forcing" in that we may feel "compelled".  So when the force becomes more forceful, we may feel that even more.  There's a certain gravity to the situation.

However "force" outside of physics has many negative connotations.  One breaks sensitive and expensive equipment by forcing. What's most valuable is often most fragile, which brings me to a bridge to the Bucky stuff (as I'm wont to call it):  ephemeralization.

In one of my Medium essays, I link Fuller's "ephemeralization" to Toynbee's "etherealization", the latter being a famous historian. However I think it's time we connect both of those to Ray Kurzweil and his Law of Accelerating Returns.

First of all, lets simplify and admit that "accelerating acceleration" is still acceleration, no matter how you cut it.

Kurzweil, like Fuller, has lots of honorary doctorates, and more to the point, he has a narrative that's upbeat, relatively, and willing to take in some promising trends.  He sounds "less myopic than average" by Fuller's criteria, in that Fuller, like Kurzweil, found a lot of pessimism to be based in fake news.

Kurzweil quotes or at least cites Pinker in the above interview.  Another positive futurist, we might say.

Comprehensivists with both a big picture view, and a hopeful one, tend to stand out, as few manage to stay sources of believable good news.  People get cynical about all the "forcing" going on.

Lets review what "ephemeralization" means.  In Fuller's accounting, there's a metaphysical aspect to stuff in that we get better at doing stuff in accordance to our more fully developed intuitions about the whole show.  Putting these intuitions into words is far from easy, and is what science is all about in its perennial search for "laws" or in Buckyspeak: "generalized principles".

U = MP was the Synergetics equation, where P is for all things physical.  There's a way you can aspect shift back and forth, Necker Cube like, where it's all physical or all a dream, but we don't have to go there to understand how "more with less" is a consequence of deeper understanding.

So... Kurzweil, Toynbee, Toffler and Fuller are all pretty much saying the same thing.  Many of the exponential curves are in our favor, and speeding up may be a beneficial phenomenon.  In and of itself, acceleration might be good or evil, or the more usual mixture.

Remember that in physics, even slowing down, slamming on the brakes, is acceleration.  They may say "sudden deceleration" when being kind to laymen though.  Coming to a dead standstill, in terms of change rate, would be as shocking as Future Shock is being.

Now that I've described this tight inner circle, of thinkers on the same page, I want to point out a few differences. Fuller did not suppose that major breakthroughs in AI were critical.  He talks a lot about energy grids, which are supposedly getting smarter.  But he's not expecting humans to succeed in creating their machine learning peers.

What I told my class tonight was to be on the lookout for scams and hoaxes.  I invoke the same spirit of skepticism people use against belief in witchcraft, to question illusions.  Getting someone to believe they conversation they're having is with a machine that's almost human is easy, with a properly trained human.

The Turing Test is not supposed to be conducted in suspect circumstances, but that's just it.  Suspect circumstances are precisely those which get you to let your guard down.  AI has always had a carnival side-show-like flavor, like illusionists do, as sensationalists more generally.  Showing hitherto thought-to-be physical laws being violated can be crazy-making, as was Sophia, the Talking Robot.

I told my students once again about The Turk.  That's the irony around AI:  it was booted with a hoax.  As Ada was the first computer programmer, The Turk was the first to pass the Turing Test (yes, I'm being anachronistic), in the same way humans pass it every day, but impersonating a robot (like Sophia).

Kurzweil sees Machine Learning (which I've been teaching) as a force for good.  We're leveling the playing field with free and open source stuff.  So did Fuller's "design science revolution" actually come about with the invention of Linux and all the rest of it?  Ray thinks Open Source plays a big role in driving us forward towards his Singularity.  His Singularity, or Big Crunch is not meant to be a bad thing.

Anyway, I think a lot of people have a warped sense of where the technology is at this moment.  I'm far from all-knowing, but I recognize most melodrama on TV is science fiction, and more fiction than science a lot of the time.  Watching law enforcement shows, you'd think the authorities had truly awesome surveillance powers, but do they really?

Hollywood and fiction writers more generally have a stake in driving the plot at a somewhat thrilling pace, and getting people to suspend disbelief around technology is often the cheapest and easiest way to get a thrill.

In other words, I do think we need to stay vigilant with regard to bogus claims, especially around anyone's claims to have established a "strong AI" machine that passes the Turing Test.

What I do think is within reach are new forms of banter in which we talk to our devices about news, weather and sports in a sort of superficial, non-linear way, punctuated with jokes and new tangents.  Machine Learning will give us that.  We may lower the bar for the Turing Test accordingly, as the people we meet learn to dumb it down.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ready Player One (movie review)

I'd been looking forward to this, however reality was not supportive of my taking time out.  I did anyway, in addition to getting new rear tires for the long drive, a hair cut, and my taxes done by H & R Block.

The fact that I'm self employed and work hard for the public good (Global U, Trucker Exchange, Coffee Shops Network, better thinking in schools) means I'm someone the government would like to take out, financially if not in other ways.

I understand why Descartes tried to avoid the Inquisition.

Or so it feels.  What did I get for my money as a taxpayer?

In 1967 the State Department was at least close to authorizing a Macroscope pavilion.  Since then, the USG has been hijacked by Wall Street.

The Business Plot, warned against by Smedley Butler, then Eisenhower, finally succeeded. Miltary personnel, sworn to uphold the Constitution, have been reduced to mercenaries, whom I'm supposed to help pay for as they shill for business interests owned by shareholders around the world.

Speaking of sieges, which Descartes liked to study (he'd tour Europe, visiting them), a lot of people in Gaza were marching today, in protest of their ongoing imprisonment.  USSA media, very controlled by a six-headed corporate person and its loyalists, hasn't been very focused on that conflict.   We're fed a steady diet of vapid propaganda.

Media moguls can't resist exercising their power to self marginalize.  They go down with their ships.

With all that going on outside, in the so-called real world, why am I hunkered down towards the front of the Bagdad taking in a Spielberg movie?  Why am I so self indulgent? Duh, because I'm escaping, I guess.  Unfortunately, my mind wandered, especially during the big battles.

Does that dystopian future shown in the film makes me happier with my lot?  That's a purpose of theater, of tragedy especially.

The dark future portrayed in this film is about a species that has given up on itself and retreated into its collective unconscious.  They've substituted cyberspace for reality.  How different is that from our world today, right?  Media World is is continuous with Cyberia.

Coincidentally, I saw this movie as a double feature with The Man in the Machine, about Steve Jobs.  Glenn had me over for lunch and had this DVD from the library.

I'll review that documentary separately, but note the allusions to his demi-god status in Ready Player One.

Don't they know there's an off switch on those haptic suits?  I guess there isn't in most cases, which is why they cost so much.

In a way this world, dominated by Oasis and electronic toys, is another step towards civilization, as the only ones brandishing real guns are the obvious losers.  That point of view I understand.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fifteen Years



Margo Guryan/"16 Words"

Some channels are remembering this is a fifteenth anniversary, to the month, from when a massive PR campaign drove Americans to take out their frustrations against an enemy they'd been presented with.

The challenge was to shape the fury unleashed by 911, and turn it into something positive.  Fury and frustration.

Two of the documentaries I watched followed much the same story line, revisiting the build-up, from yellow cake from Niger to aluminum tubes from all over.  Elements within the British, German and Italian spy services, along with Iraqi expats, colluded with a DC cabal on pushing the war agenda forward.

I'd been following these stories at the time, as someone who'd always dreamed of such as Internet newsgroups and search engines.  I was like a duck to water, an early geek, weighing in as someone with a dog in the fight.

Biological weapons labs, the story sources... indeed, the two documentaries were so close on these facts that they probably came from agreeing authors.

One contained former ambassador Joe Wilson as a talking head, whereas the other featured Valerie Plame.  In both films, the reflective intelligence professionals are chagrined by how insistent the war hawks had become, about sticking with discredited stories.  But hadn't they promised a dramatic response, in retaliation for 911?

Before those two documentaries, I was looking at long documentaries about developments in Iraq, produced by Al Jazeera and Real Stories.  One of these also featured interviews.  Then we had another episode of CrossTalk on RT.  I notice Twitter is consistent in labeling VOA as at least in part funded by a government, not unlike these other networks.

What's been difficult to regain since 911 is much sense of a consensus reality.  Peter Sloterdijk writes eloquently (I read translations, also flowing) about our shared bubble going away, giving way to a more foam-like environment.

People shoulder more of the overhead of having whatever beliefs, not necessarily mirrored by geographic neighbors.  The internet has contributed to making such "foams" sustainable (in some cases), as "virtual nations" in their own right.

Don't expect any one institution or belief system to dominate the vista.  Expect many.  We learned of this more fragmented multi-channel reality from television, and enjoy the power a remote gives us, to select among offerings.

We have lots of reflection and reviewing to do.  I'm not telling anyone to turn away and forget the past.  On the contrary, lets let ourselves dive into a deeper examination of what's been happening, under a microscope, with help from a macroscope.

Lets get off the treadmill long enough to think back and take stock.  Why wait until you retire to ask what it all means, right?

That's what Fifteen Years is all about, reflecting, though I notice many channels can't afford the time. "Reflect about what?" They wouldn't know where to begin.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Crow Town

Crow Town

I may be at odds with some official narrative when I put my own spin on this sculpture, which I took pix of today in route to March for our Lives, a nationally syndicated shot across the bow of the NRA.

To me, this looks like a crow atop a plump-looking pigeon.  The pigeon sits atop a stack of books, which sit on pillows, which sit on a crate.  Except the pillows are likely sacks of grain.

The crate symbolizes Stump Town's beginnings in the forest economy, partaking of the lumber mill know how needed to build all these stately wooden homes.  Like RVs with hookups that can't move (no wheels), made of wood.  Very heavy.  Heated with forced hot air, using natural gas, refined oil, or electricity in some cases.

Then Portland became a port, albeit an inland one, but then then the Columbia is a pretty big waterway. Portland maybe doesn't get the mega-ships Seattle does, but there's enough commerce to support a class of literati and digerati.  That's the bookish layer, what makes us scholarly.

But then whereas if this were Italy we'd likely be a city of pigeons, more like Florence or Venice, we're in fact more a city of crows.  The crow is the top bird species in this chapter.  Crows are closer to ravens, more Poe like.  For that reason maybe Portland is more Gothic and northern than Mediterranean?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Founder (movie review)

I like having this review in sequence with Suburbicon (below) as both are set in the 1950s and roll forward towards our time.  The Founder is about Ray Kroc and the story behind the McDonald's franchise.

Deke came over to watch it with me.  I picked it up from Glenn at lunch over at his apartment.  This copy is from Multnomah County Library.  I'll return it tomorrow.

In the Quaker circles I frequent, we inherit from way back the idea of a utopian business, like a company town that really provides.  I think religious orders that make chocolate or beer, may seem idyllic in the same way, at least from a distance. There's no need to grow bigger.

Ray starts with his country club friends, getting retirees to park their savings in his new restaurants.  Then he hires mom and pop couples who get the vision and stick to the script.  However as the franchiser he's not meeting expenses nor has he the leverage he needs.

The McDonald brothers who started the whole show in San Bernardino had tried franchising but didn't see a way to maintain quality.  The solution, according to the movie, came not from Croc but the future CEO:  make sure you own the land, meaning you can yank the lease if a franchise fails to conform.

I think the "welcome McDonalds" scene set in Minnesota tells the real story.  Americans were extremely eager to have this restaurant chain spread.  Kroc was right to see it as more than just a drive in (they movie doesn't mention the drive through window innovation).  He wanted to create a "religion".  He invented branding in many ways.

Deke stayed to watch the panel discussion as a bonus feature.  The actors, producers, and director, as well as McDonald brother grandsons, get to weigh in and share their personal perspective on the making of this 2016 film.

Micheal Keaton, who plays Croc, explains his understanding of the American Dream as something much more modest and attainable than what has become the caricature:  making a huge fortune and joining the tiny inner circle of mega-rich and famous.  Making that a goal may more likely be a source of nightmares.

I'd like to see the spread of "company town" campuses, somewhere between universities and Martian bases (on Earth), in terms of product placing and high technology.  Would these towns feature assembly line style kitchens?  Maybe so, though not exclusively.  I recognize the need for efficiency and appreciate the role of automation.

This movie takes a "tip of the iceberg" look at the more current McDonalds, mostly in the Bonus panel discussion on the DVD.  Ronald McDonald, the trademarked clown, is nowhere mentioned, nor the children's hospital.  The meat doesn't look frozen.  The new shake machines get zero focus.

In other words, there's room here for many more movies, whether they're ever made is another question.  We could make movies forever on the material already stockpiled, yet new generations are anxious to "make history".

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Suburbicon (movie review)

Rather than watch the Academy Awards of 2018, I'm watching and reviewing movies, so don't call me disloyal to the industry.

I don't remember Suburbicon showing up on marquees in nearby zip codes, including mine.  However I found it on the New Releases shelf and Movie Madness and thought it looked interesting.

The film is set in the stereotypical post-WW2 burbs, the new utopian paradise where white people fled to be with their own kind.  A black family moves in and at the same time, a crime occurs next door.  The neighborhood is already going downhill. 

The neighbors, jerks that they be, start trash talking, building fences and otherwise wrecking the neighborhood, in an effort to reject this shared heritage as Americans.

Against this background, of whites being jerks, the crime next door turns out to be the tip of some soap opera melodrama that only gets worse, turning wickedly ugly (more than daytime TV would usually show) and heightening the contrast, between a wholesome black family, and these ugly suburban Americans.

I'd say the genre is dark comedy and satire, a send-up of a certain demographic. 

Thanks to talk shows on daytime TV, audiences are a lot more savvy today (I'm thinking of Oprah and Donahue, the mom and dad of a specific boob tube generation).  True, Americans are still herded around by cowboys, taught to fear Russians on cue, but maybe not as much as in the 1950s and 1960s?

The protagonist is the young son (of Matt Damon's character), who befriends the black boy next door, only to be told later by his dad to cut off the relationship, by a king of the hill master of depravity.  Oh, and by the way we're sending you away to a military academy for your own good.

In the last scene, we see the relationship restored (with the black kid, not the dad).

It'll be hard to blame any more crimes, or nasty social trends, on these wholesome newcomers in particular, but as we know, those into shame and blame don't usually see their blame as unbecoming.  The suburbs still come across as somewhat ugly, when it comes to attitudes.