Sunday, December 28, 2014

Birdman (movie review)


I got to Columbia River Brewery (CRB) early and checked in via Swarm, leaving a record in my Facebook profile.

Hollywood Theater, a nonprofit with a loyal membership, including friends of mine, was doing a brisk business this day after Christmas, 2014.  Matt and I were there to see BirdmanI saw Wild on Christmas Day, also showing here, but I saw it at Lloyd Center.

We both admired Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice and I saw a lot of continuity in the character.  A raving psychotic who should be supervised, or at least not be given openable windows, is allowed to pursue a dubious career in theater, at least in his paranoid / locked-up own mind.

His daughter does her best with this guy but is showing a lot of birdman tendencies herself.  Both achieve some notoriety, with her registers being more cyber-spatial (Cyberia-focused); she's following Twitter and all that.  Having seen Wild the day before, this young one's character reminded me of Cheryl's.

Matt and I had mostly critical things to say about the movie, but really we were talking about the whole melodramatic / theatrical culture.

I'm not exactly a quietist, as a Quaker, but on the quietist-to-ranter spectrum, I'm more a quietist than this theatrical bunch, prone to expletives, like the Nixonian White House.  I'm certainly known to rant sometimes, giving vent to invective.

But then, to be fair, this cast needed to survive on Broadway and pump it up incredibly, every night, for eager audiences, any one of which might contain a powerful media critic of enormous influence.  That's a lot of stress.  Show business drives people nuts, and likewise attracts nuts to its swirling core (cite The Zero Theorem -- nutty and fun).

We decided to hit Laurelwood Pub, adjacent Rheinlander, which used to occupy the CRB location nearer the theater, only to find it was packed to the gills.  We checked the pub I often go to after Hollywood, but that was packed too (not a work or school night).  CRB was comfortably busy with just cleared booths.  I got War Elephant Double IPA and a sandwich, Matthew a salad.

Birdman is over the top intentionally I'm sure and with enough psychoanalysis we could get something spinning around the secret psychic powers (shades of Stalker).  I'm going to leave that to other critics.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Test Piloting a QR-code







with special thanks to David Chandler, Leslie Hickcox, and to Portland Mennonites

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hobbit Economics

"everything is awesome!" (so much gold!)

So King Thorin has a serious headache with all that gold, inherited from the nasty dragon.  If he just lets it out the door then pretty soon it won't be that scarce.  We saw how the villagers treated it, but how long would that last?  It would have to be meted out, and you would need to be an Einstein, or Milton Friedman, to figure out the velocity of money issues.  How fast would be the military build-up?  Would inflation lead to food riots, with wheel barrows of gold barely buying a zucchini?

What are orc children like?  Did we see a hatchery in a back episode?  Do Mr. & Mrs. Orc ever party, and do they form nuclear families at all?  They don't appear to have much use for money in other words, or the finer things in life.  That's probably why Smaug's Mountain has to be "strategic" in some battle ground, as a bunch of gold is not attractive enough.

Indeed, what can gold buy you?  The Elves have what they need so remain aloof.  No HDTV, no iPhones... there's precious little money can buy back then, and one gets tired of mere jewelry and gold bricks used for street pavement.  So what?  What's so "wealthy" about streets paved with gold when you get right down to it?  Slippery, impractical.  Back to Thorin's nightmare.

One can almost read Gandalf's lips there at the end when he says Bilbo is a terrible liar.  We all know he's got the ring and Gandalf understands the Shire is the best place for it as the saga continues, with Mordor on its military build-up, post face-off with the elvyn chyk (tail tuck time).  We know that in the audience as well, that Gandalf is just biding his time, plus the book readers among us even better understand how the ring is increasing Bilbo's willingness to lie, never mind how bald facedly i.e. badly.

The first of the three Hobbit films got me claustrophobic and I'm reminded by last night's Solstice banter that the book is that way too.  Now that I've seen the Snowden documentary, I can't help but make the pun "snowed in" and draw the parallel of getting stuck in some hotel room in Hong Kong for N hours.  Lets just start on some adventure already!  People should let up on Assange.  In general, lets be a lot less Mordor-like, less Orc-like, if we really think the Hobbits won or deserved to.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Where's the Fair? (movie review)

Where's the Fair? asks why the USA no longer seems to care about the World's Fair or Expo concept, having withdrawn from the international body that plans them while producing only lackluster pavilions and then only when goaded by foreign governments to step up to the plate.

Talking heads propose various theories as to why the State and/or Commerce Department have dropped the ball, while the Freedom of Information Act begets a lot of heavily redacted documents.  No one seems to know for sure.

The film spends very little time on the Montreal dome of 1967, Buckminster Fuller's contribution, and mentions Kabul and Khrushchev not at all.  Minus the Bucky thread, perhaps too much of the narrative unravels?

Washington does not want to get trapped into doing another dome probably, while winning hearts and minds is an undertaking that city despairs of doing anymore, having alienated just about everyone. 

The confidence to spin truly hopeful visions of the future is not in the USIA's repertoire anymore, as there's no longer a USIA.

I learned quite a bit from this film.  I had no idea Spokane, Washington had hosted a World's Fair in the 1970s, or maybe I'd known that once and forgot.   Archival clips from some of the events were exciting.

Perhaps the USA is just too diverse to be represented by some out of touch State Department in any case.  Cascadia could have its own pavilion someday maybe?  GM did, in Shanghai in 2010, with its Chinese partner company.

Milan 2015 will be the site of the next Expo.  The documentary suggests the USA will not have a pavilion but from the perspective of December 2014, we do expect one.

:: rendering:  usa pavilion 2015 ::

Followup proposal:
A possible food candidate for the American Food Pavilion

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wisdom @ Work

Monday, December 08, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar (movie review)


Strange as it may sound if you're not used to thinking of movies in a curriculum context, ala film school, this cartoon deserves doing some homework first.

The Madagascar franchise is already well evolved, and this narrative follows an off shoot:  the special ops team of penguins, so endearing in the earlier episodes.

Ideas come quickly at high bandwidth, fighting boredom all the way (I was never bored); ideas about physics, about relationships, and about human (or octopus) motivations.

The villain feels royally dissed that all the zoo patrons coo over penguins and not him.  His revenge:  "monsterize" penguins.  The giant ray gun, a staple of villain cartoons, is playing the usual role.

Another special ops team appears on the scene, somewhat modeling the so-called "special relationship" between the US and UK.

The US broke off from the UK at a high management level, as well as in the rank and file, and the two cultures still have a lot of the same attitudes toward what "special ops" looks like (ala James Bond, though I didn't catch that many direct references to this Ian Flemming character).

Seeing Penguins of Madagascar and Big Hero 6 both on the same day, with a few hours in between (enough time to visit Yard House for dinner, bus home, come back with the car), made for some interesting thinking.

John Malkovich plays a great villain, bravo.

Note closing credits:  they get it right with the hexagons as connoting high tech.

By 2014 we have successfully migrated from the right angled XYZ look to the more futuristic / organic IVM look, when it comes to connoting high technology.  Graphene is where it's at.

When buying two 3D movie tickets at once (the 2nd for Big Hero 6 at 9:50 PM) for like $29, I mentioned something about breaking the bank.  The ticket lady said she didn't mean to be rude but if I were age 60 or greater I could claim a discount.

Although I have the requisite white hair, I wasn't sure if she'd card me so demurred: "I couldn't prove it" I said, "but I'll be 60 soon though, and then I can watch all the cartoons I want!".  The guy behind me thought that was funny.  Me too.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Men Were Too Slow

Given ongoing ops in Bangalore to raise living standards for children by sharing a more intelligent STEM curriculum (OLPC an influence), I'm seeing a next campaign shaping up.

You may remember my Kite campaign, a connecting of dots that included Alexander Graham Bell's kites.  This campaign will be similar in that many dots will connect, and many light bulbs will go on.

Before that it was "Aristotle was right, remember the Mite", homage to space-filling tetrahedrons (Sommerville a champion).

The gist of the new campaign:
Men had thirty years to appreciate Synergetics and a few of them did, but mostly the Bucky stuff, being about livingry and not killingry, is about "girlie man" stuff i.e. is "for girls" i.e. "patriarchy [sic] is too dumb to get it" (as in:  too lazy, too slow -- a non-virtuous kind of dumb).
This taps into pent up fury against patronizing men, plus helps counter the Barbie Syndrome.  Works well in India, but other places too.

More on Facebook.  Stay tuned. Wicca an influence as well.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Good Bye Party

I'm at a low key good bye party for Steve Holden, who comes and goes from Portland quite a lot, but with this departure having a penultimate flavor.  We look forward to having him back in 2015.

Steve lent some serious technology to the Blue House:  a color printer, now in the Buddha Room, and an Apple computer, to which I added an HDMI monitor and USB keyboard.  Lindsey uses this setup, freeing my Samsung tablet for use as my reader.  I bought Dataclysm this evening.

I'm chauffeuring Steve to PDX tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Progress...


After watching a few motivational Youtubes about Neo4j, which I'd been playing with using the default Movies tutorial, py2neo just started working as advertised.

What I'm still not clear on is where this data persists, and will Tom Hanks come floating to the surface, some castaway, perhaps lost in our Quaker terminal?

The "4j" should be seen as meaning "for Java" i.e. Neo4j targets the JVM, as do Scala and Clojure.  No matter:  the C-family of Pythons have an API to the engine, just as they have the standard DB API for talking to SQL engines.

Neo4j, in being an open source graph database, is "not SQL" or "~SQL" per the graphic below, aimed at elucidating Model, View, Controller architecture in the form of a web application.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1 (movie review)

My daughter warned me as I entered one of Plato's many caves (The Bagdad) -- having just bought her his Republic, a new translation -- that this would not be a happy world, beer and pizza notwithstanding, nor one tied off with a bow (being a Part One).

Katniss, Tara noted (having seen it earlier), had broken through to a next meta-level of The Hunger Games when manipulating cat behavior in a bomb shelter (cave), suddenly seeing her own role (as Katniss) with new eyes (bingo, enlightenment strikes).

I'm somewhat in awe of this whole series which snuck up on me.  The pieces it fits together are pieces we've seen before, but the arrangement seems deftly done and that impresses me.  More to think about.  The Wag the Dog aspect is especially intriguing i.e. the PR dimension.

I've been writing about PR a lot on the Math Forum, sometimes in complement with a disillusioned "mad man" from Bangalore, soured on sloganeering from having pushed too many products he did not personally approve of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Onion Pie


Steve Holden is a pretty good chef and blogs have traditionally kept recipes.  I only have one so far, for a lentil dish.  Here's another:

Take six pounds of onions, and chop off tips, skin outer layer, halve, then slice with cross-section laying flat.

Add to large sauce pan with stick of butter and steam over medium heat until cooked down and flavorful, about 25 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425F.

Add to onions:  four slices (rashers) of sliced bacon, sauteed; pint of sour cream; two heaping tablespoons flour; salt; pepper, four eggs lightly whipped to blend yokes.

Fill pie shells and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown.

Extra filling may go in portion-sized bowls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NYPM IT Comm Business


I was cracking some jokes with the IT Committee about our retro, largely spreadsheet-based record keeping practices within NPYM.

We're not universally using such scatter-brained tech, as M3 uses Quickbooks, which is at least database based, what you need where monetary transactions are happening.  Keeping track of money on spreadsheets is not especially professional, though they're great for "what if" planning and doodling.

Imagine a futuristic NPYM wherein the Secretary, wanting a list of current M&O clerks throughout the region, simply runs a reporting routine that polls the MM servers behind the scenes.  These Meetings of Record, the Monthly Business Meetings, are where the real action is and their servers are on-line 24/7.

NPYM is just about gathering together a few summary reports and providing Directory Services, in addition to producing Annual Session, our roaming conference, like a circus.

In reality though, in 2014, we use only a few SQL engines, let alone NoSQL engines, for member tracking and there's no uniform API allowing the central office to send HTTP requests to any of them, for a list of current members.  They're not on-line in the first place.

Meetings do not host CMFs and/or depend on FGC Cloud Services, even though NPYM is technically not within FGC.  Friends tend to use Facebook instead, which I'm not saying is terrible, but the data then goes to Facebook, not to our offices.

I've set a target of 2016 for having at least two Monthly Meetings able to demonstrate an ability to let households maintain their own records on-line.  Our NPYM Directory would then practice polling them in answer to NPYM Secretary queries.  Worth a try anyway.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back to Teasing

We've got this character named Israeli Knight, seriously.  I call him IK for short (see below).

You can dig through math-teach yourself if interested, an acquired taste for sure.

Anyway, he's a racist of the classic sort, and Biblical to boot, so I asked him this question, as a way of spiraling back to a favorite video:
Say IK I've been wanting your take on this short operetta about a black King and a white woman who decide to collaborate on an oasis development project, thereby attracting attention from the natives. Do you think it's a good idea to form inter racial business partnerships of this kind?


Ongoing repartee: [1][2][3]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CitizenFour (movie review)


Big slow-moving bureaucracies that can't do their own thinking are easy targets for the faster thinkers, human individuals, brains with integrity, geeks or what have you.

The NSA is easy to crack and spy on, its mostly military-minded leaders none too bright and none too keen on protecting the Constitution, which they most likely know little to nothing about.

Google is easy to spy on as well, as is Verizon.  These companies have little to no ability to protect against serious investigative reporters, let alone geeks.

The table-turning of Wikileaks etc. is obvious:  the real intelligence community owns the unimaginative bureaucrats, the laughing stock victims of professional spying.

No, I'm not saying Snowden was a criminal, guilty of espionage.  Like Manning, he's a bright kid who wants to uphold and defend democracy.  He thinks for himself.  Unlike most generals.

So what do we learn from "spying" on the NSA: that most of its people are average Americans e.g. they get along to go along and aren't particularly principled.  So what else is new?   The technology is new.

I remember researching "PGP guy" (Zimmermann) versus Bobby Inman (then head of NSA).  Should ordinary citizens have a military-grade skill set?  The opportunity, the freedom to have that, is what counts.

Organized government, like organized religion, says no.  Who asked them though, right?

Anyway, PGP plays a role in this movie, as does encryption as a general theme.

This film could be shown in high schools to:

(a) inspire patriotism and respect for geeks and
(b) motivate more learning of maths, crypto in particular.

I saw it with Carol and Melody at Living Room Theater #6 in downtown Portland, a couple blocks from the main Powell's.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Martian Math


 
1 x 1 = 1

2 x 2 = 4


 
3 x 3 = 9



3 x 2 = 6

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Wanderers 2014.11.4


David Chandler was our speaker tonight.  He's made a name for himself in 911 circles by proving, fairly persuasively, that WTC-7 fell "at the speed of gravity" meaning "controlled" demolitions were happening, in addition to crashing airplanes (no airplane hit "WTF-7").

NIST in its final report agrees WTC-7 was in free fall for over two seconds.  The North and South Towers had their own pathologies.

The Twin Towers were certainly alluring as a symbol of cogitation, including to me, in nearby Jersey City for some years, a high school math teacher.  I was taken up with the plight of Tibet and seeing office towers as a place for "virtual nations", like corporations, to base themselves.

My fantasies tended toward offices of the Dalai and Panchen Lamas in respective towers, maybe goofy but I thought poetic, given the imposing nature of the towers.  This was before the family relocated its HQS to Bhutan.

Were one to dig up my crudely hand-drawn comic books of the day, the Twin Towers in silhouette would show up on various pages, and one might imagine I had nefarious designs.  The designs were benign however.

I'd ride the PATH train from Jersey City to WTC quite often, Manhattan's Penn Station even more often.  I had other designs as well, our family (dad in particular) having "planning" on its resume:  for a high definition Dymaxion Map billboard on the back of Loew's Theater (near my house); a rail spur to Newark Airport (like Portland's MAX to PDX); an IMAX in The Stanley.

JCNJ_planning

:: big dreams for JCNJ ::

When 911 actually happened, Dawn and I, in Portland, Oregon, were expecting a wedding anniversary, which it was, but not one of the normal kind obviously.

As a matter of logic, one cannot conclude from evidence of an intentional demolition that hitting the button on the buildings was long planned for that day, even if there was such a button.  How many more would be saved versus burned alive?  So many were leaping to their deaths, would that be going on for several days then?

Would helicopters and long ladders have made it all better?  Viewers would have felt moody and blue watching all that dying day after day, not that they weren't moody and blue already.

The "mercy killing" theory is the antithesis of the "part of the same assault" theory.

In between is the "needed to do it there and then for insurance reasons" theory.  Only the "coordinated assault" scenario really requires pre-planning.  Other scenarios require quick judgement calls one may question in hindsight... and a button.

Depending on the theory, different groups get to push the button.  Bin Laden pushed it?  Yeah right. Not enough is made of Bin Laden being the construction company.

The idea a building of that size would need to come down someday, so would be pre-wired for self destruction -- seems like a good idea at least.  Nothing lasts forever.  I'm not sure you'd need to sneak around adding explosives later.  Paul Laffoley's story suggests otherwise.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

New World Order

Whereas the financial press may date the end of the US as we know it to the 1980s, when terminal bankruptcy was trumpeted as a sign of bogus immortality, the layperson on the ground is more likely to date the desovereignization process to the breakdown of borders in the Middle East.

As of 2014, no one really knows where the borders are among the former nations of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and so on.  Political maps survive, showing snap shots of various people's belief systems, however the credibility of such was draining away from the 1940s onward.

Ironically, a chief catalyst in the breakdown of the nation-state system was the Pentagon's "strategy" of bombing whomsoever it pleased in the No Man's Land around Afghanistan-Pakistan.  The cruise missile and later drone attacks were corrosive of the whole sovereignty concept and softened up that framework for eventual garbage collection.

Of course Romans did not really know Rome as an Empire had "fallen" on any given day.  Those narratives get invented later and only hold water through repetition and agreement, as stories are much more than necklaces of facts strung together.  The infrastructure of passports, customs, import / export taxes and so on remains, especially in areas where borders are enforced.

The end of the nation-state system happened first on paper in the back office, where those in the know were holding high cards or at least knew what a "high card" was.  Then "border rot" propagated by Pentagon policies, helped the world's "average joes" come to terms with the fragility of the entire nation-state framework.  Life would go on amidst the rubble of once proudly recognizable jurisdictions.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gothic (movie review)

In this obscure Ken Russell film, a bunch of over-privileged white people with servants to wait on them and nothing important to do, drive each other crazy in various ways, only to return to "normal" when the sun reappears.  Lord Byron and company, but no Ada.  I'm hoping for more movies about Ada.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hash Tag M3

Probably #M3 won't catch on, certainly not right away.

Even our Clerk of Communications is not into Twitter and he's at least a standard deviation ahead of his peers when it comes to navigating around in Cyberia.

I expect #MMM will be far more popular, once more of us start using Twitter.

As NPYM Technology Clerk, I should role model how we do things in Twitter-ville.

:: in my twitter profile ::


:: going out to subscribers ::

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Fashion

I've been working on this look for awhile.  This is a different hat, a present from Glenn.  My Paul Kaufman original has gone missing again, maybe will show up on eBay someday.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Libby, Montana (movie review)

This almost-two-hour documentary does a marvelous job showing the story from Libby's angle, where the workers gradually put two and two together and realize this deadly asbestos they've been hearing about is actually the stuff they've been mining but branding as vermiculite or something else cute.  The stuff is everywhere because for awhile no one thought lung science could possibly matter in the rock business.  Kind of like H-bombs can't be bad for ya.  Or smoking.  Live and learn.

Anyway, what's missing are the board room meetings at W.R. Grace where the limited liability nature of the corporation kicks in.  That's what keeps little old ladies from losing their life's savings because some venture goes bad and all the sailors lose their lives at sea.  You may not get that box of chocolates, $100 wasted, but if you do, each bonbon will be individually worth $100, the proceeds all yours to keep or divvy among friends per your temperament.

That was the promise to English nobility:  risk ten sheep, reap a fortune, or at worst, lose the ten sheep.  No one comes banging on your door for twenty sheep.  There's a cap on your liability equal to the amount ventured.  That's what Inc. means.

W. R. Grace needed to reallocate resources to selectively bankrupt the Libby subsidiary, then block EPA from locking up lucrative contracts, in case a clean up ever was approved.  Meanwhile people were dying but there's no real cure for asbestosis anyway so that was already a write-off.

These were more good soldiers of capitalism, risking their lives for their labor in their capitalist sea, and reaping the rewards:  early death from complications associated with one's job.  Grace management died on the line as well, this wasn't just union men.  Whole families got it.  Asbestos is no joke.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mycology Festival


I'm super-uninformed about the fungal inhabitants of Planet Earth, in terms of their names and ecosystem niches.  That doesn't mean I don't find them fascinating.  Given Christine is a professional photographer of same, i.e. makes a part of her living selling beautiful pictures of these guys, I was happy to use that as an excuse to pay a visit to Miller Hall, a part of the World Forestry complex near to the Oregon Zoo (shares a parking lot).

Indeed, parking can be a problem in that lot, so if you're a tourist or smart Portlander, consider parking below in Goose Hollow or nearby and visit Goose Hollow Inn for some fine local fare (I had Country Boy IPA).  Then hop the Max for one stop and study the quirky yet excellent timeline made from a core sample drilled as a prelude to carving this deep tunnel Max station into hard rock.  The elevators will take you hundreds of feet, to the surface.

Patrick, a co-worker, was on an independent health hike from Asylum District to the zoo.  I used my Max ticket to revisit Goose Hollow Inn to meet him for some Sunday Headless Chickens (Bloody Marys).  We rejoined the Mycology Festival and I sampled yet more of the exquisite shroom-based miso the Culinary Institute was serving.

The Pacific Northwest is haven to a large number of fungal species, so no wonder you have a legion of shroom-heads out here.  The festival was well attended.  Hugely knowledgeable experts were on hand, to identify specimens and give advice to hunters and collectors.  Again, I'm quite on the fringe of this subculture, but I appreciate the well-organized event.  The white square worked fine when swiping my card.  Encouraging.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reminiscing About Conferencing / Software

:: Steve Holden, GOSCON 10 ::

Speaking of Quakers, a long term low priority topic (in the sense of non-urgent), is do we want to open source any of our PHP + MySQL LAMP stack stuff through NPYM (where these are most used).  I'm suggesting moving slowly, in light of how specialized and esoteric our needs in the first place.  An adequate needs assessment has not been done.  Open sourcing is not the first step but a much later step in a longer process, as I have been underlining in committee / subcommittee threads.

I was NPYM Registrar at least one year, passing the baton to Dave Fabik as I recall.  That was in my FoxPro chapter, a language since discontinued, though still popular in Prague they tell me.  Actually the USA is full of FoxPro adherents and I don't mock it in any way.  Serious applications that do heavy lifting were my bread and butter, from camp registration to food banking to hospital data collection work (in tandem with other products -- the camp stuff was in dBase not VFP (they're all called xBase in the lingo)).

Anyway, that was before watching over Steve's shoulder in the Open Bastion chapter, which saw several conferences produced, only some of which I got to be at and observe first hand.  GOSCON was maybe my favorite because so esoteric.  I don't think I'll ever see one quite like that again.  That's where I first ran into Rami Kassab.  Then the DjangoCons were good, ApacheCon... nothing less than top notch, though I'm not a judge of speaker quality, not being a web framework geek (FoxPro was thick client LAN-based, pre-TCP/IP even).

I'm a somewhat peripheral player given IT Committee has a rather narrow mandate at the moment and grand schemes to use Github for anything are far from front burner.  That's fine with me.  I'm more here to grease the wheels for conversation among the principal players than to press for any new agenda.  The wheels were already turning when I got here.  I'm just adding some lubricant and telling campfire stories from my software developer past (now I teach a language, a little different, yet related).

:: from xkcd ::

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Threshing Session

DSCF2653
:: meeting room, Stark Street facility ::

Yes, I'm blogging from the meeting room right now, but like a TV reporter in front of the camera before the event begins.  The Quakers are mostly down at Social Hour, schmoozing, which is what I'd usually be doing, but the hubbub was distracting.

I'm also listening to SomaFM (Drone Zone), probably sucking off Meeting Wifi.  Lew et al have done a good job reconfiguring the building to take advantage of what bandwidth we have.  The laptop is likewise "live", which is why at least the first couple paragraphs were real time.

I'll probably want to put this away soon, when more people show up (only three in here besides me, listening to Lucinda).  In geek world, like at Google, it's OK to keep using a laptop when a speaker is speaking, as remarked upon soon into it by Andrew Bacevich, a progressive Catholic (or so he seems to me).

Now there's no one here but me, when I snapped the above picture.

Quakers are not like Mormons or Masons in having "members only" rooms or rituals.  We have rooms and rituals, inner sanctums, retreats, but non-members are allowed to infiltrate by design, as a way of keeping a check on member honesty.  Quakers noticed from studying history (lived experience writ large) that a "members only" club design leads to abusive relationships, institutionally speaking.  Chuck Fager goes into this at some depth in an adjacent blog posted video.

What are we threshing about?  Depends whom you ask but the Bulletin distilled it down to a little box, so I should grab a screen shot of that:

announcement_threshing

The prospect of losing the PSC committee is exercising (worrisome, anxiety-producing) for many Friends as it looks like a disembowelment, a suicidal act.  The right to have such a Committee was won through bitter struggle so to just give away the store looks a tad cuckoo to put it nicely.

But that's just one angle, probably more prevalent among oldsters like me.  The younger hipsters see a way forward where we all turn to one guy or gal for guidance, or treat as a catalyst or whatever.  I'm hoping to pick up on what the new lingo might be, in the aftermath of such a radical surgery.

My guess is Friends will back away from the precipice and signal a willingness to resume their duties as Quakers (a self identified Friend has one choice: to walk the talk or appear hypocritical).

However, that we've even been to this brink says a lot about us and the State of our Society.

Our upcoming State of Society Report will need to draw from whatever Megge and Rick put together (they're to write some report).  I'll be sending some analysis to Philadelphia, plus blogging here obviously.

I think I'll move to the library now, and take some more pictures.

Marty has a laptop open, so I feel OK for me to do that also.  Good to see Carl, sitting in front of me.  He's clerk of Nominating, which is sourcing this proposal to shelve Peace and Social Concerns.

"Friends do not avoid issues which are difficult and controversial, or complex, or require learning information of an esoteric nature, and threshing sessions help the community get up to speed in advance of going back to executive mode."  That's a paraphrase.  Hmm... I don't see Josh.  I thought he might have a view on all this.

Megge is opening the discussion on whether we agree that the topic is "how best might Multnomah Meeting address Peace and Concerns issues?"

We're back to the water / welling / bubbling metaphor which has been popular in meeting lately, one of our thematic memes.  Catholics go through these.  Seems the topic wording is more vague than what was put in the newsletter.

Some Friends are too upset by the prospect of killing off Peace and Social Concerns (OK, icing it for a couple years); they want to thresh about their shock and worry about losing it, and maybe to share about their PTSD from being on the committee in the past.  We have some PSC veterans here.

Veterans:  Joanne Luchini, Carol Urner, Jim Metcalf, Desiree Hellegers, Debbie Averill... so far everyone is speaking passionately about how a Peace and Social Concerns Committee is vital to Quakerism.  Jan Kjerne remembers a time thirty years ago when the committee members all wanted to act solo and never attend meetings.  That's probably the time this meeting seriously faltered before, in the 1980s.

Jim emphasized that such a committee is not about solving all the world's problems, but about supporting people doing serious work in the world as peace workers.  The committee provides advice and coaching and is a repository for the meeting's organizational memory.

Still an hour to go.

Carl, clerk of Nominating, finally addressed the question as to why we're even having this discussion, as so far no one has backed Nominating's proposal.  Mostly, it seemed to Nominating that Friends were not interested in serving on a reputedly "falling apart" committee.

The idea that people might come to Peace and Social Concerns meetings without going through an appointment process sounded like a good way to address this apparent reticence on the part of potential committee members to come forward with concerns and leadings.

"There's still a Peace and Social Concerns Committee" Carl claims.  That sounds a tad euphemistic to my ears.  He used the word "goofy".  Mom said "I don't think you're goofy Carl".  Carl:  "well, it may be that the proposal was."

Eddy is reviewing her career with the meeting, as several Friends have.  We have only about nine minutes left.  Glee is confused about how to separate her concerns into Oversight and/or Peace and Social Concerns.  She's relatively new to Friends.

I don't sense any interest in shelving the committee so far.  My guess is the Meeting will move to resume operations as usual, with this vital organ intact.  That doesn't settle the issue of AFSC Liaison though, as I will likely discuss in a future blog post.  For today, that's a tiny footnote.

Peace and Social Concerns

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Zero Theorem (movie review)

Glenn and I agreed afterwards, at the nearby English-style pub, lights out shades pulled (a holdover from bombers over Britain days, unfriendly).  This Monty Python esque movie is a frolic in the collective consciousness of our day, with perfectly played stereotypes or masks (archetypes if you're Jungian).

The "ga-ga girl" from Management, top of her class, kept being a spelling teacher in my fantasies, and I knew why.  The son of Management was convincing, with the onset of hormones, already a smart cookie.  The supervisor of our anti-hero (or hero) is brilliant as well.  And so on.  Management does a great job.  Having so much set in a church, which burned down when none of the faithful monks (vow of silence) would yell "fire!" made this a comic Brazil like relief.

The job life there is so utterly crazy yet a lot like mine "crunching entities" (I crunch with "objects"), and instead of pneumatic tubes ala Brazil we have glowing test tubes of fluid as the storage medium du jour, with human hands still in the picture.  Storing data in fluids as gene sequences (packets) to be assembled later (they're numbered) isn't such a bad idea, and glowing is like labeling, so Gilliam's team may have nailed it.  Pizza will of course still be popular.  The realism level here is quite high, right down to the almost-contemporary advertising and product placement gags.

I won't go into the plot or share more of the jokes.  Check the official trailer for more details of that sort.

Glenn knows about the authentic English-style pub tables one may procure in Dundee, a nearby town in wine country, Willamette Valley.  I used to live about three blocks from here in Hollywood, for which the theater is named or vice versa, used to serve on the Neighborhood Committee in fact, with neighbors and realtors bellyaching about the supermarket moving out, and someone with a pet cougar.  I rented a basement space from a dear Quaker family with kids, watched 'em both grow to adulthood before I passed on (met my death on) _______ [intentionally left blank].

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

A Quaker Arc

Fighting Quakers


Speaking of Carl Jung's Red Book, I will be suggesting in my Quakernomics talk tonight that branches of Gnosticism may have re-awakened within specific branches of Quakerism, but then I'm using a larger backdrop wherein Quakers, whatever their diverse makeup, had almost peaked around the time Philadelphia was Quakerdom's new capital (well before 1776 in other words).

So it's a bell-shaped curve rising up towards the "total capitalism" phase, when Quakers gave birth to the industrial revolution, and by extension the UK itself, with Friends then starting to experience diminishing power "until 1756, when they refused to vote a tax for war against the Shawnee and Delaware Indians".

Their refusal to fight the "Indians" was somewhat the final straw.  Then their refusal to support slavery was just beyond the pale.

Many a Quaker family fled westward in the build-up to the Civil War, finding themselves unwelcome guests, viewed as outright terrorists, or as disruptive at best, in the pro-slavery South.

However, in the UK, slavery was a less "in your face" phenomenon, and Quakers continued to climb the social ladder with their crowning achievement being this Iron Bridge which opened in 1781.

So let's use 1781 to mark the apogee of Quaker power in Universe so far, with a long sunset phase carrying us through the North American dark ages and near extinction within the derivative Pastoral forms.

I wrote a little program to draw timelines in ASCII, with a few examples:
 
timelines = {
"Oliver Cromwell":(1599,1658),
"George Fox":(1624,1691),
"Henry VIII":(1491,1547),
"Rene Descartes":(1596,1650),
"Margaret Fell":(1614,1702),
"Mary Dyer":(1611,1660),
"Queen Elizabeth":(1533,1603),
"Ben Franklin":(1706,1790)}

def make_line(person, start = 1490, end = 1800):
    line = (end - start) * ["."]
    born = person[1][0] - start
    died = person[1][1] - start
    line[born:died]= ["@"] * (died - born)
    return "{:>40} {}".format(person, "".join(line))

for person in timelines.items():
    print(make_line(person))


The British Empire peaks when Quakers have already started to wane, not surprisingly as imperialism is incompatible with egalitarianism.

The US empire -- more a flash in the pan by comparison -- takes place against the backdrop of the New World Order or whatever we wish to call the Future Unknown.

Historians and some economists may seize on Quakernomics as a useful meme. We shall see.

As I posted on Facebook recently:
Our Multnomah Meeting spawned a Quaker Economics Group under Joe Havens for awhile, huge interest and attendance, but no one thought to coin "Quakernomics" as anything special at least that I can recall. So hats off to these PR gurus and their new branch of economics. May they live long and prosper (Spock sign).

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Vectors...


I spent some of this morning reopening NARMIC files one might say, not that I actually made it to Swarthmore or anything. This is Opt Out season in Portland and plus AFSC is always studying militarism in one form or another.

"Ain't gonna study war no more" is maybe a fond hope on the part of that folk singer, but I don't see a way to follow suit at the moment, as steeped in war as the planetary humans still be (it's more about upgrading the quality i.e. making it more virtual, that AVP is about: Alternatives to Violence, lots of blog posts already...).

So in that mode, it's unsurprising I found myself watching this Google Talk by Andrew Bacevich regarding hyper-militarism in the USA.  Shades of Walter Kaufmann I'd say, in issuing these warnings, and of course Chalmers Johnson would be in this choir.  Hey, I'm obviously appreciative.

Then an unplanned nap hit me and the day went by.  That kind of time shifting happens when you're a world traveler and need to accommodate time zones, which sometimes one accommodates by ignoring, as in some cities the infrastructure is permanently active and in fairly high gear.  So just keep going in whatever time zone you're in and ignore the relative positions of planet and star.

Portland is getting to be a lot more that way.

But then of course the Internet is always that way too, as it's always "rush hour" in some subnet or other.  Topology replaces geography at some level.

OK, back to the lambda calculus (i.e. day job).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PPUG 2014.9.24 / Ongoing Threads

We're learning about how to use Django + Postgres to handle unstructured / schemaless data.  Clearly Postgres is an SQL engine, so this talk was about a kind of hybrid.  The searchable JSON field type is key, with binary JSON coming in version 9.4.  JSON is the de facto standard for web APIs.

I was in a somewhat grumpy mood on the bus, as I knew we'd be having pizza, courtesy of Energy Builders, our job-seeking sponsor of the evening, along with Urban Airship.  The Division bus 4 was running a bit behind schedule, not unusual during rush hour.  Contributing to my grumpiness was my ongoing thread with GS Chandy on math-teach.  The discussion is moderated and sometimes I'll spend a lot of time on a post only to see it vanish into oblivion, or at least not make it to the official archives.

With django-pgjson added, you can query JSON fields, impose orders and filters and so forth.  Basically you're doing the kind of thing SQL does but within JSON fields inside Postgres.  Don't imagine Postgres is necessarily slower than Mongo.  This seems like a cutting edge talk.

From my posting to GSC:
National governments generally use schools to instill nationalism, a form of patriotism.  This may mean familiarizing students with the roles and institutions available to them in civic government, or perhaps it means exerting peer pressure to enlist in a military service, provided that's a voluntary choice to begin with.  

In this model, schools are seen as extensions of recruiting offices by the military services.  That's another reason a Quaker family might homeschool in a given zip code:  the programming at the local public school comes across as too militaristic (e.g. mandatory ROTC for boys).

Lets start with a list of roles and then start looking at workflows.  

Roles + Workflows is how to analyze a Quaker meeting as well (where "Role" might be "on a committee" i.e. other objects need to be defined to give roles their sense -- but lets keep thinking in terms of theater and scripts).

"Role playing games" tend to be popular among young people yet how much time do we spend on the mathematics of "game theory" (closely related or perhaps a part of GST, as you know).
Also:
As you may know, in our geographic region, school has been used as a tool of cultural genocide in that native populations were forced to surrender their young to boarding schools / indoctrination centers the purpose of which was to expunge the region of local cultures and replace them with a uniform Anglo-Euro veneer. These boarding schools no longer exist as such, but their after-effects are still part of everyday experience in our region.

One purpose of these indoctrination camps or prisons was to make the "nuclear family" the only acceptable norm and to recast family relationships according to the "white man" model. The imposition of alien marriage customs was part and parcel of this genocidal program, as memorialized at the cultural museum on the Warm Springs reservation.

 A nation such as India will go into a region such as Ladakh and apply western concepts of "living standards" e.g. cash income per annum, to determine the indigenous lifestyle "poor" as in "under-developed". We're talking about a lifestyle that has evolved over millennia that includes a lot of hard manual labor, but then many adults with privileges and freedoms actively choose manual labor as a voluntary activity, so that in itself is not a sign of "poverty".

What are the criteria of "poverty" anyway? I'd say malnourishment is a sign of poverty and by that criterion the US population, in suffering from increasing obesity rates, is becoming increasingly impoverished over time. It's not really about money as in some economies that commodity is not so much needed. And yet the "dollars per annum per household" measure is still often quite mindlessly applied, as if money were the measure of all things.

 Some in my circle have been to Ladakh and we have actively discussed and been to events about whether "schooling" and "westernization" in general is helping improve living standards there, or whether it is actually having an overall negative impact in disrupting a 1000s-of-years old lifestyle by penning children into the "Free and Compulsory" new schools that India sees fit to provide.

Here's a blog post with Youtube on the topic.
I managed to get plenty of pizza and am glad to have salvaged at least some of my prose. We talked some about the ShellShock exploit / vulnerability.  This was during our "ask the audience" session wherein people poll the audience.  Who's using Python 3.x?  Who's using Flask?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bombs Away

DSCF2095

WDC is doing what it does best again:  bombing.  There's always a cloak of "coalition members" (e.g. CNN) to keep our socio-paths in DC from seeming too Unabomberish, but I think that's a transparent rain coat at this point (apologies to Mark Allyn).  We know the Pentagon to be a bastion of mental illness and there's not much anyone can do about it, other than "sit back and eat pizza" (as I used to put it, back when bombing Belgrade was the cruise missile fiesta du jour, under Clinton).

However we should also move further west in our analysis, closer to The Heartland as it's called e.g. Ohio and Michigan, where you have many immigrants from the Middle East with strong views and extended families.  Atrocities by self-proclaimed ISIS members (or branded as such by media) trigger demonstrations in Detroit, which in turn make "bombs away" an acceptable policy, a cathartic revenge killing, characteristic of Christians who haven't turned the other cheek since the crucifixion.  Why should they?  No one else does, except maybe Buddhists sometimes.

The phenomenon of immigrants with an ax to grind is a standard pattern.  Organized crime was about to capitalize in Havana when Castro spearheaded a revolution, and Florida has ever since supported ostracizing Cuba, a policy the rest of the world pretty much ignores.  Many Syrians in the US have their own axes to grind e.g. with the Assad regime.  Their lobbyists become a source of white papers, just as refugees from Saddam's government were milked for justifications for invading Iraq.  The war profiteers are eager to test the F-whatevers of course (F-22s in this case).

Around AFSC there's this fixed view that the military is for those too mentally incapacitated to survive in a civilian ecosystem.  The gangland-mercenary lifestyle becomes an end in itself and killing sprees get you merit badges on your resume and/or colorful threads on your uniform / costume.  There's an esprit de corps, a camaraderie, that develops around bombing, both suicidally and otherwise.  Terrorism begets fraternalism, with token women as brothers.  ISIS and the Pentagon have much in common in that way:  both provide career opportunities for fratricidal morons.

Of course not everyone in the military is a rank idiot.  Starting wars is easy whereas getting them to wind down takes expertise and diplomacy.  The idiots all say war becomes necessary when diplomacy fails, but then outward war is by definition a failure, so it's eventually back to diplomacy again, this time perhaps more in earnest by people ready to try living as a civilians again, perhaps desperate to do so having tasted the no-win dead end that is war.  So we'll recruit a military person from time to time, as a war-stopper.  Quakers attract a cohort of ex-military in every generation who believe as Smedley Butler did:  that war is a racket.

DSCF2167

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quick Insert


Before racing down to People's Climate March, I was thinking to review El Topo (Jodorowsky directing, and acting), however I'm under some time pressure.  September 21 is one of those circle your calendar type days.

I'm also cramming on Category Theory for notation buffs, though I might stay on the humanities side and say "analogy" or "metaphor" in place of "functor" given similarities in meaning.

Talked to Chandler at meeting, wanna figure out which "island in the Willamette" he was yakking about.

Mt. Tabor is looking good.

For further viewing:
Type Theory Foundations
Category Theory by Tom LaGatta

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Anthology Books

DSCN8685
:: Third Eye from porch of Anthology Books ::

Glenn and I enjoyed Stan'wiches today.  From our point of view it's El Dobre, the Polish place, but that name might have confused the public.  Either way, the food has been excellent and we loved the meatloaf pizza this afternoon.

We were watching them repaint Headlandia, which I gather Nomad Crossing owns, along with Vapelandia down the street.  Third Eye is adjacent and is somewhat the grandaddy on the block.  Linus Pauling House:  directly across.

I imagined the Pauling House fascia boards in a Bhutanese style.  The Newar temple, where Lindsey trained, is around the corner.

The economy is shifting gears here given hemp is making a comeback, industrially, for fabric, as well as the medicinal brands.

Adjacent to Linus Pauling House:  Anthology Books.  Quite a collection.  I bought a first person narrative about adventures in the Himalayas, for $6.

Glenn and I went in and talked with Gary.  We're all looking forward to the Equinox coming up, which we'll celebrate on Friday the 19th, a little early.

DSCN8687

DSCF1889

Thursday, September 04, 2014

DjangoCon Talk


I'm in a talk being presented by a team from National Geographic.  Justin Quick, Ben Fonarov and Farhan Syed are the speakers.

Django is a part of their website ecosystem.  Their talk is based on their Django module activitysteams on Github, the open source repository.

An Activity Stream is like a series of comments, likes, or game actions on a target.

A semantics like "You favorited a photo" pertains, with an "actor / verb / target" grammar.

What's exciting to me is the Neo4j graph database being used by the Horizon service.

Horizon is their Node.js web socket service that takes snippets (like "likes") and stores them using Neo4j.

I've been thinking of a Quaker meeting management API based on activity streams, not realizing what wheels might not need reinventing.

"Make [actor] [position] vis-a-vis [committee] for [term]" would be the kind of semantics we need.  Example:  "Make Joe Shmoe clerk of Oversight for three years starting June, 2015."

Also:  "Show [actor] and [actor] are married under the care of [meeting] as of [date]." As I've pointed out on math-teach, said marriage might or might not be recognized by the state in which the meeting is situated (Quakers define marriage their own way, independently of their surroundings sometimes).

The team made the good point that browsers prefer interactivity to read-only web pages.  Given how I generally have comments turned off in these blogs, I'm going against the grain on that score.  These are on-line journals more than conventional blogs.

However, it's fairly easy to post a link to a blog post and frame it for comments elsewhere, such as on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Quaker Village in a Box

Just add water... (smiley).

I'm mixing DemocracyLab memes with The Village (movie review) and coming up with this high tech "reality show" (reality, but shared in media) that comes with a software ecosystem and operating manuals, plus lots of DIY instructions for setting things up.

The community may not be autonomous or self sustaining in the larger sense, as we're all "solar surfers", but might still be somewhat remote and a place to restart in some ways, for some folks.

Yes, there's a bit of WestWorld in this vision (with Yul Brynner).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (movie review)

The plot here leverages the experience of every player of first person shooters:  you get so far into it, and then you die.  Reset, and again.  You play until you make it through, or give up (similar to our pedagogy at OST, in lieu of "grades").

Given there's no alternative "outside world" beyond the game (The Matrix is complete, a reality prison), Tom (named "Cage" with good reason) has his Ground Hog Day cut out for him.

Seeing Cruise and Murray and their co-stars (Emily Blunt as Rita, and Andie MacDowall also as Rita) as a double feature would be fun, as one gets two different worlds reflective of the kinds of acting each guy does.

Murry is quirky and whimsical whereas Cruise is darkly War of the Worlds and action oriented, highly kinetic.

Yet the similarities stand out too:  how to authenticate as a time traveler.  Blunt's Rita has "been there" and so has an added advantage vis-a-vis her looper partner.

Having Cruise go from shy and retreating to full on aggressive, with that same sense of partnership displayed by Peter Quill towards Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy), was a fun twist.

A needed ingredient is that sense of destiny aka fate that goes with heroism, a strong sense of making a big difference.  Once Cage develops confidence and survivability, along with his sense of destiny, he develops his heroic qualities within the loop, an eternal return.

The "mimics" which Cage and Rita get to fight have plenty of demonic power.  As a first person shooter, this game is definitely challenging.  Live, Die, Repeat is the other name they came up with for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finding Vivian Maier (movie review)

One might imagine I felt drawn to Vivian as I share her obsession with "street photography" as they call it, though I more call it "National Geographic photography" when thinking about it to myself.

The controversy about her accent seems easily resolved:  you could call it "affected" as she went to France only later to discover her ancestral roots.  Adopting those roots and owning them was wise on many levels, including in the practical sense that upper middle class people still sucker to this day for that "European nanny" jazz (though these days the Philippines is the new Europe).  It pays to have a French accent when you're in the nanny business, and she had to learn hers late in life.

She had that kind of spy-like fly-on-the-wall existence that life behind a camera somewhat foments.  You get that distance, that "observer" mentality (to quote the est Training).  One is recording for posterity, spying as if for ETs, but really for the future, and it was just hugely fortuitous that John Maloof would acquire her property at auction to start, and do the requisite archeology.  He reminds people how fun it is to discover others, and that's just as viable a creative outlet as making a big show of oneself.  Reminds me of Trevor.

Indeed, he's being somewhat Vivianesque in playing the self effacing documentary maker.  People treat him with the respect of someone who's done some homework.  Vivian too, did a lot of homework, and came across as respect-worthy.  Her employers would have sensed that in wanting her to have parenting responsibilities vis-a-vis their own children.

Yes, developing film was messy, chemical, and a pain.  If you're a deeply private individual, as Vivian was, then piling up your negatives in good condition and putting them all in a time capsule, with some strategic letters, is not a bad strategy.   High risk, but at least doable.

Remember Bucky Fuller and his "chronofile":  to self document in that way added a dimension to his experiment "Guinea Pig B".

Vivian achieved her own kind of nirvana in morphing herself into one of the greatest street photographers in the age before we could just upload into the cloud.  Now I think she so resonates with people like me, the common garden variety camera buff, because we share the same fascination with street photography, and the technology to make it relatively painless.

Of course it helps that the pictures she took were really excellent.

As Linus Pauling said (paraphrase):  the secret to taking some really good pictures is to take a lot of them (as he said of "ideas").

This is a well-made documentary about an intriguing subject:  Mary Poppins meets Bridges of Madison County (OK, that's a stretch -- she doesn't meet anyone, but she does remind of Clint Eastwood).

Someone told me ahead of time she was "plain" and/or "homely" and if maybe that was why she had such a lonely life, the poor dear.  On the contrary, Vivian was photogenic and displayed a level of toughness that goes with the territory, if "street photography" is your game.

As for her supposed mental illness (yes, lots of paranoia, imagine today with Cyberia) and draconian child rearing techniques, lets remember this was spoiled upper middle class America and she was hired as a French nanny.

The role of the nanny was to be "bad cop" sometimes, giving parents a more "good cop" role, sparing them the need to use the rod (nanny was rod queen).

So sure, the little darlings had some PTSD under Mary Poppins, but who wouldn't under such a Scary Mary?  I'm sure Vivian could be intimidating when she needed to be but she didn't water board, lets be clear.  Hers was the wing of the OSS (or whatever spy service) that didn't torture, but maybe did stay out in the cold quite a bit.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Graph Databases

Ever since Pernilla Lind's talk at OSCON, the idea of graph databases has been rolling around in my brain.  A kind of NoSQL.  That's the place to fit in.

I don't mind accepting the pejorative connotations of "spaghetti monster" (play up the Italian food angle) or the links to the spoof deity that said monster comes with, in the Atheists' religion (some denominations).

That's all a plus in my box.

Neurons, like the Wild World Web (WWW), get messy, like Ms. Frizzle taught.  That's STEM.  So yeah, a graph database might be a terrible tangle, a Gordian Knot.

The beauty of it though, may be seen in its application to Quakerism and its processes.  Nominating puts forward names in a slate, which gets approved by Business Meeting, thereby filling all these positions.

Who served as what when, create a time slice, produce a resume:  these things a graph database will do, and reliably, if you feed it true information.

GIGO, right?

Just keep track of who on what clearness committee recommended X for membership to Oversight, and you'll have your reports at the end of the day.  Bring a smile to your clerking team's helpers, especially if your meeting has grown complicated and involuted over the years.

Minutes are just log files detailing the transactions that have gone on.

But of course the applications of such graphing engines are far broader than Quaker committee work or household diagramming, business analysis and so on.  The list goes on and on.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Dymaxion House


My plan is to visit some coffee shop with Wifi and my copy of Cosmic Fishing, to re-read whatever Ed Applewhite recounts about the Witchita, Kansas operation.

Then I'll flip through Bucky Works by J. Baldwin, which Ed liked a lot.

Trevor of Synchronofile has the most comprehensive Fuller archive within a thousand mile radius, so I'll likely be consulting him too, just to remind myself about some of the subplots.

Speaking of Applewhite, I think he would have been gratified to see this depiction of Fuller's E-module, with follow-up mention of David Koski's Youtubes on Facebook:

 
:: source ::

Thursday, August 07, 2014

More Counting Down


As in "countdown to zero" that is, a meme brought to you by the abolitionists, versus nuclear weapons that is (the anti-slavery battle is ongoing as well and they're related).

This year we again enjoyed fine weather, perfect shade, and a relaxed summer park atmosphere, with members of the public towards the back performing acrobatics quietly, in much the same way Joe Snyder does with kids' program during talent night at Annual Session (which I mostly missed this year, OSCON a priority -- still got some IT committee prep work done though).

A fun wrinkle was this mom & pop "radio station" showing up with what appeared to be equipment for making interviews.  I didn't see them make any, but one of their colleagues posed during Congressman Blumenaur's speech, with a black on yellow sign calling for Barack Obama's impeachment.  Carol later remembered Bonnie Tinker's fascination with the prospect of impeachment vis-a-vis George Bush.  My take both times is the same:  USAers are still PTSD from the Nixon Era and now see impeachment (a kind of scapegoating) as a solution for everything.

The highlight of course were the en Taiko Drummers, teens and tweens, led by taller girls but all obviously enjoying themselves and the audience feedback.  Mom took the opportunity to leaflet the front row during their 2nd performance, a stunt reminding these theater mode duffsters that it was theirs to stay active, get involved, not just to expect entertainment.  Or at least that's my spin.  She really didn't block anyone's view and she had relevant information.

Veterans for Peace is always high profile at this event.  The Native Americans were less foreground this year.  These things come and go.  I was wandering off site to savor local context and widen my perspective, and stumbled into a photo exhibit regarding some event called Vortex in 1970, which according to the proprietor was like a state sponsored Woodstock aimed at keeping a surly hippie generation out of trouble for the summer, by organizing some "lets get naked and pretend we're Indians" event.  That puzzle piece fit with my recent airplane reading.

Carol reminisced in the car about some of the early versions of this annual event, now pushing fifty years.  Fellowship of Reconciliation used to be involved but FOR must see Portland as "over it" by now, pretty much reconciled by now.  Mercy Corps is just across the street but not an active sponsor.  I was off in a Chinese second floor restaurant having a Tsingtao and watching Chinese TV for a part of it.  Like I said, I was taking in surrounding Portland (Old Town), adding nuance and new angles to an event I've attended for almost fifty years (but with a huge gap from like from age six to fifty).

Carol was given full credit for helping start this ceremony / memorial by Polo, a community / city leader, some years back.  She knows a lot of these people and had a walker full of stuff to compare notes about.  She's looking forward to another workshop today in fact, on the military's misappropriation of drone technology.

OK, time to stop blogging and head out to an AFSC-related meetup (AFSC is an old time co-sponsor of this event, right from its inception). The Portland office has relinquished its hold on its historic digs on E Burnside, though the outdoor sign is still there.

Where to go next, that's fully ADA compliant?  Old houses like that one usually don't even begin to qualify.  E Burnside has a ramp, with some turning radius in the restroom but I don't have the exact figures.  I'm suggesting we camp out, at least on billboards:  picture an AFSC tent overlooking a grand canyon (doesn't have to be the famous one):  "Really Out There, and Lovin' It!" could be the slogan (would McDonalds sue?).

The idea is like we're into scouting and stuff.  Like the old days in some ways, when AFSC ran work camps for COs.  The idea of a recruiting tent right in R2DToo itself has some appeal.  AFSC has a long history of working with stateless / houseless / refugee populations.

:: source ::