Monday, December 04, 2017

Studying a Protocol

I'm holed up nursing my knee, treating my condition more as a sports injury than a sign of encroaching old age. Nothing swollen, just inner joint pain, tender to touch, not stopping me from walking or stairs. I've worked out some physical therapy maneuvers, a kind of dancing, using Galaxy Tablet to pipe in a mix of Goa trance +  Azan, my new fave.

On Q2, a discussion list, I've been making some inroads regarding Sufi-infused Synergetics, a new "metaphysical tea" flavor, not unlike those at Salt 'n Straw, an important Portland institution that pioneers new flavors of ice cream, like Pear Blue Cheese.  Some of them taste better than they sound, you might be surprised.  I was there last night, with my friend Matt and his lady friend.

What protocol?  RPC it's called, older than HTTP, but able to use same as a blanket i.e. you may wrap up a remote procedure call inside a request and have the server recognize this is not the usual POST & GET API, meaning we've moved outside the standard web protocol (hypertext transfer) to tap something older.

Flask, the micro-web framework, optionally comes with RPC extensions and I've got my Pythonanywhere site responsive, both in testing and production, though not doing anything very fancy as yet.

In the case of that particular application, I think redundantly pairing remote procedure calls with the pre-existing calls to return JSON, makes plenty of sense, e.g. you'll be able to get a few details on a chemical element or Geek Glossary term.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Reality TV

scapegoat

TV guide: An over eager presidential transition team starts reaching out to Russia before actually occupying the White House, in an effort to get a grip, a move considered a grievous affront, even a criminal act, by those most afraid of losing their grip.  To be continued.

urner_kirby_anne

Monday, November 20, 2017

Work / Study in Global U

I continue to both work and study, in my Global University, my metaphor for home sweet home: Nuthouse Earth.

I'm upgrading the Python stuff to a next level, so that those liking my on-ramp, might continue the tour.

Youtube is a goldmine, unlike anything I enjoyed at Princeton (because we hadn't created the Internet yet, not really), so I dig in it avidly.

My beat takes me in a wandering cycle through a set of topics:  computer stuff, Bucky stuff, education politics, and more recently, climate change.

For those new to these blogs, which go back a couple decades, I haven't written a whole lot about climate change other than to remember the theories of Hamaker-Weaver.  So there's lots to catch up on around that.

Education politics includes looking at religious movements:  Falun Gong, Hizmet, Unification Church, Quakers...  a mixed bag to say the least.  All exert at least some form of political influence, either as targets for government attacks, and/or as lobbyists.  Quakers have FCNL.

I had no idea how close Henry Wallace got to being VP during FDR's fourth term.  What would have happened minus President Truman wanting to prove how tough he was?

René Guénon: newly a blip on my radar.  More BBC Palast on how the US is incapable of having free and fair elections.  We knew that.

What if the Hizmet STEM curriculum started to pick up on the Bucky stuff more?  In a memo this evening, to other faculty, I wrote (those not interested in math may tune out here):

The canonical conversion constant for cube -> tet volume conversion is sqrt(9/8) i.e. a cube of face diagonals 2R, edges sqrt(2)R, has volume 3, not sqrt(2)**3.

I.E. cube of edges R (1x1x1) is slightly bigger than unit tet of edges D (D=2R).  ~1.06066

Sphere volume is sqrt(2) pi r^3 by this conversion. 

R=radius of unit sphere of said volume. Quadrays go from center of 2R edged tet to corners.

So the tetrahedron made by connected 4 inter-tangent unit sphere is: 1
Octahedron from six such unit spheres: 4
Rhombic Dodecahedron (encasement for each sphere, voronoi cell): 6
Cuboctahedron (12 spheres packed around a nuclear one): 20


How the 5-fold symmetric shapes slot in to the above relates to Cuboctahedron --> Icosahedron by Jitterbug, and the Rhombic Triacontahedron made from said Icosa and its Platonic dual.  Volume 15 * sqrt(2).

Interesting that CO of volume 20 * sqrt(9/8), the aforementioned volume conversion constant = same RT volume (15 * sqrt(2)).

That's the "art school" CAD system some people wanna work with.  I don't blame 'em for finding it simple.  Tetrahedron, Octahedron and RT also explode into wedges / slivers, easy to reason about and assemble with.  Lots of fun ratios you can carry around in your head.

No harm converting back and forth.  XYZ is always there when you need it, spherical coordinates too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Dumb Domiciles


The idea of lightweight high tech gear, much of it inheriting from aerospace, brings to mind the smattering of prototype bases wherein a small crew of science minded practice living on Mars.  Of course there's no way to quite simulate the true misery of that place, and the experience of learning new ropes here on Earth, in terms of lifestyle innovations, might actually provide a modicum of joy to the lucky participants.

Campers come in many breeds, from extreme to weekend station wagon types, lugging equipment to state parks.  Extremophiles tend towards Burning Man and Rainbow Gathering experiences, where they're up against the elements, other logistical challenges.  They're doing research.  Those pioneering new lifestyles are at work as much as at play.  Product placements go here.

However, the aerospace sector said "no" to the invitation, for the most part, seeing easier profits in what's tried and tested:  weaponry contracts.  Peanut gallery opinions regarding early attempts to cross-fertilize civilian lifestyles with higher tech, must have scared off investors.  So are they happy with their portfolios?

We're left with piles of tools suitable for mass murder (Ka-ching!), chasing columns of refugees on foot, streaming from war crime centers towards mythical better living standards we have not been working to provide.  Even non-refugees are astonished how we've given up the fight for a better life, right when we had so much technology going for us.

Against this backdrop of humans unable to perform, even in their own self interest, comes the haunting tale of machines poised to seize the day and catapult themselves into government.  If we all bow down and become properly obsequious in the face of AI's edicts, then maybe those hiding behind the curtain will finally get their ultimate alibi?  "The computer made me do it".

Having bet the store on Endless War, there's a new urgency to finding the new Game Theory that will tell us why the losing strategy has been the correct one all along.  Deus ex machina will come in the form of exoneration:  we had no choice.  "Forgive me, as I know not what I do."  This is not a new development.  As Hannah Arendt pointed out:  evil is banal and just follows orders.  The best excuse is "everyone was doing it".

The counter-movement to the fatalistic one may be within Geekdom, with its more positive "world domination" hubris.  Rescuing humans from malign neglect, preventable starvation for example, remains a winners' goal.  Those who code tend to be less cowed by the claims of those hoping to speak for the Singularity when the time comes. "No, the computer didn't make you do anything, us either".  Geekdom is cosmopolitan and takes Spaceship Earth itself as our Promised Land (Moon included).

We could pitch this as an ideological showdown between the Transcendentalists and the Transhumanists.  The latter are more enamored of AI whereas the former tend to be more awed by intelligence that's non-artificial.  You'll find technophiles in both camps, as well as extremophiles.

The theater for this showdown is the university campus, what it looks like.  Are we expecting gothic arches and ivy?  Or do we expect to experiment with some of the latest engineering solutions to the refugee crisis?  What sort of career am I training for anyway?  Do I plan to help with cleanup, or am I here to make a mess?

The houses haven't gotten much smarter in in light of where we could be. I'm thinking they're ridiculously stupid.

The resources people waste, in their pursuit of a good life, is testament to the weakness of our Global U curriculum.

What campuses seem interested in experimental prototypes of tomorrow?  What FinTech will they experiment with?  Recruiters won't be looking for just anybody.  I've you've sided with the losers, you may not have what it takes to engage in more holistic forms of scholarship.  Having a lot of money doesn't make you a skilled player.  Imposter Syndrome is sometimes acute for a reason.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Neuroscience

Before I forget, it occurs to me that neuroscience might turn its attention towards "scheduling" soon, as in prioritizing, as well as not giving too much credence to improbable story lines.  Humans are easily led astray in some circumstances, but not that easily, if you give them some time to think about it.

A lot of cultures give young people a chance to meditate.  We talk a lot about "the service" in many of the federated states in North America, while the various religions, even the mainstream ones, have no real expectation of having such barracks full of meditators as one might find in Thailand.

What comes closest is a liberal arts college, but is that a luxury investment or albatross of debt or what?  Joining a religious order for some years and getting discipline in a schoolish setting, is not normative.  We call that "joining a cult" where I come from.

A scheduler keeps a lot of pots bubbling and doesn't expect laws of physics to be circumvented. Planning is key.

We have the AI neural net recasting of linear algebra, with statistics now data science, with data now very big, so lets get them anticipating developments we might be able to stop or avoid.

This fatalism suggesting we all freeze in a panic and watch the ship sink is not necessarily the most useful.  Get your counsel from multiple sources, right?  White water rafting includes some steering, more in the Friendly sense of steer, meaning feedback loops can be non-obvious.

Giving young people a shot at seeing the world while pondering deeply about a future direction, is the mark of a generous economy that feels able to invest in its own future.  A sinking ship economy is more inclined towards slavery for all.  No one gets the time to think about anything.

Acting out scheduling challenges in a kind of theater setting could be informative, a genre of animation maybe. Think of a traditional classroom wherein numerous students each need attention and help with a specific problem and two teachers roam among them, lending such assistance as they find practical.  That's all about scheduling and accommodation and to some extent triage (an algorithm designed to maximize health care worker effectiveness).

Computer science with its many processes and threads (from the OS point of view), its many pipelines, parallel goings on, is about life in a big city.  Yes, things move insanely fast.  We always feel behind, and in the dark, to some degree.  As mortal beings, that's our lot.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Behavior Control

I appreciate how kids behave, on a different stratum from adults, a different frequency. I think carving out "childhood" as its own culture, versus going for "little adults" has beaucoup advantages, at the risk of annoying those tiny tyrants ready to wield power at a precious age.

Gags on Youtube or the like, little skits, in which we imitate kid behavior expertly, while transposing it to an adult world, might prove illuminating.  Like I had a kid on his back under desks messing with co-workers' power and Internet access.  Imagine some guy in a suit and tie doing that, jumping out of his cubicle and switching off the lights, just for starters.

We let little kids get away with a lot.  They're obviously unarmed, or so we presume.  The terms on which we meet are semi-voluntary, in my case often a day care setting, meaning parents need time to complete their day job assignments before resuming parenting duties during the evening and night hours, unless on night shift, and so on.  Older kids often walk home and no one says they can't enjoy domestic life sans parents bossing them around...

Anyway, no need to paint the entire sociological picture on a tiny postage stamp of a blog post.  I'm just thinking of video clip episodes of high didactic value and what those might look like.  I'm not in favor of people not reading.  Boosting the effectiveness of said clips is in no way to diss screenwriting skills.  We work together, we the graphical and lexical.  We're called your hemispheres.  Your brain, dummy.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cramming Again

Pythonic Ecosystem

"Cramming" is a term used by Global U students when feeling up against a deadline to produce in some way.  In my case, we've just finished Session 8 of 10, adding to a 40 hour course on the Python computer language.  That's just one of my gigs.

Once mastery of core Python (keywords, builtins, special names) has been achieved, we branch out in two more of the five dimensions: Standard Library and 3rd Party.

A fact of life in the high tech world is we're awash in toys but with little time to play with them, someone's idea of a joke perhaps.

Like, Python is cram packed with interesting little gizmos, feats of genius, and future generations inherit a goldmine of possibility.

We only have time to mine a little in our day.  Mostly we're running from negative phenomena, many of them self inflicted.  Humans are not on the side of humans.  The movie Wonder Woman looks into this.

Heading up the Python tree, a first branch is into web development.  Are we behind an HTTPS / HTTP server and if so, do we also need a database?

Web servers have become the way to share files.  You don't even need a landing page for human eyeball browsers.  Your clients are other computers and they're hungry for JSON, not HTML.

One of the most used web servers in this regard is the Jupyter Notebook server.  Most researchers install it locally and serve themselves, from localhost:8888 or one of those.  In this case, we do want HTML, but also a running kernel capable of interpreting language X, which might be Python, but could also be JavaScript or SQL.

Given the Python marathon, and all my recent victories around Synergetics, I'm content to post less to math-teach and more to the Python websites, regarding the explorations I've been undertaking with D. B. Koski.

He takes the LCD triangles (spherical) of the 31 great circle Icosahedron, which relate to the 25 of the cuboctahedron, and turns them into plane nets about four modules:  the E (each a 1/4 slice of the 30 rhombus 120 LCD triangle Rhombic Triacontahedron, radius 1); then: Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum (taking pronunciations from the fairy tale).

A shared edge of the Fe and Fi, which latter has E's volume "phi down" (phi^-3 scale factor), has a length we've taken to calling the S Factor, likewise the ratio of VE:Icosa both of Jitterbug fame, and of S-to E-mods (S/E): about 1.08.

The icosahedron embedded within the volume 4 octahedron, of edges 2, from whence the S modules are carved, has edges that same length?  I hadn't tuned that in.  I'll use Python as a kind of spreadsheet, or dataframe, to explore more in that direction.

In this way, I'm able to keep my fingers on a keyboard, composing with mathematical concepts, while staying in shape for my morning and evening seminars, not to mention the time in schools.

I'm a big believer in a varied diet, so I'm not painting the above regime as some frieze of the rest of my life.  However, I think having coding and/or geometry as a frequent mental activity serves the same role as walking a mile a day or visiting the gym.

Use it or lose it right?

That's what the professors really mean when they say "publish or perish" as usually how we know you haven't lost it, are using it, is we get to peer review.

The S Factor should not be confused with S3, Fuller's published constant for volumetric conversion between a Cartesian XYZ cube of edges sqrt(2) i.e. sqrt(2)^3, and an IVM-based cube with the same edges, but embracing a different "unit of volume", in this case a 2-edged Tetrahedron.

Thanks to a theorem, the IVM volume (tetravolume) is of said tetrahedron-embracing cube is 3, giving 3 / sqrt(2)^3 as our S3 "currency conversion" ratio of about 1.060660171779821 (as computed in Python), see Table 986.209.
982.32  The cube formed by a uniform width, breadth, and height of sqrt(2) is sqrt(2^3), which = 2.828428. Therefore, the cube occurring in nature with the isotropic vector matrix, when conventionally calculated, has a volume of 2.828428.
An interesting discovery of Koski's regarding S3 is it's also the ratio of SuperRT / VE, i.e. the classic D-edged VE of tetravolume 20, in a Jitterbug relationship with D-edged Icosahedron, when multiplied by S3, gives the volume of the RT formed by said Icosa and its dual, the Pentagonal Dodecahedron (we call that SuperRT, "phi up" from the 120 E-modules RT).


E mod (right tetrahedron) with submodules: Fum, Fo, Fi, Fe going left to right.
:: left to right: Fum, Fo, Fi, Fe ::

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wanderers 2017.10.17

Cat Box

I got Sellwood Middle School's guest Wifi unblocked from MIT Scratch web services.  That means I won't need to use Verizon for my Show & Tell station.

Now, hours later, I'm at Linus Pauling House. The house WiFi is down, perhaps by design, as I don't think external groups rent the building, whereas tenants supply their own?

Glenn is talking about collagen, macro-molecules, and new article in Nature:  Patchy particles made by colloidal fusion by Gong, Hueckel, Yi and Sacanna, pag 234, Volume 550.

He keeps up on multiple sciences, as sometimes only a layman can.

I say "layman" thinking back to the old E.J. Applewhite business card.  He thought this was a clever title.  I thought so too.

We're passing around the magazine.

Back on Verizon.

What's the Difference?

Friday, October 13, 2017

California Burning


Santa Rosa is ninety minutes south of here by commercial airplane.  I've made that trip a few times.  The airport is named for Charles Shultz, author of the comic Peanuts.

Oregonians got a taste of wildfires this summer.  Californians are suffering far more devastating damage.

I'm patched in through Internet, watching reports, getting news through Facebook. 

I learned this morning that one of my friends lost his house, made it out alive.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bladerunner 2049 (movie review)

Welcome home to a dystopia we know well.  Los Angeles is more a melting pot than ever, and there's an LAPD. However there's no real sign of national governments, only Sony, CocaCola, Peugeot and restricted air spaces. We're in the mind of Philip K. Dick, or some facsimile thereof.

Sony has been researching hologram technology for some time now, in addition to acquiring digital rights. Here we get Elvis as a ghost in a dead casino, and Sinatra under glass.  The protagonist's girlfriend is a hologram.  But then he's not all there either, a synthetic human.

When we're able to simulate reality and use it to manipulate emotions, we tend to get lost in our own creations. Hollywood knows a lot about that.  Are we real, or are we Memorex?

There's a problem with science fiction though, which is we're so used to screen magic that we're not able to tell if these holograms are any closer in everyday experience as commercial products.

Some viewers may suspect Sony is sitting on some ability to generate building sized hologram ballerinas.  Most won't.  We've given up waiting for holograms at Best Buy much as we've given up on jet packs, as a part of that ever retreating mirage called the future.  Flying cars, yeah right.

The replicants aren't sure what's a real memory and what got placed there by clever advertising. Did I really have that birthday, or did they just stick it in my brain TV?

The protagonist, bred to think clearly, to do detective work, as a better grasp on the unreality of it all than most.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Wittgenstein Synopsis


Wittgenstein wrote in his introduction to Philosophical Investigations that it'd take a culture that "breathed a different air" to find his philosophy understandable.

Perhaps we're now in that culture, as understanding now spreads.

Brought to you by Operation DuckRabbit.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Busy Week

I'm super booked this week, having committed months ago to an east coast timed Python training. I just completed Session 2 of a west coast timed training about an hour ago.  I get to snooze a few hours, then dive in again, using a somewhat alien control panel.

Then it's off to Sellwood to launch a new Learning to Code program, the groundwork having been laid by parents, guardians, coworkers, school staff.  Then there's MIT Scratch and Codesters, the star e-toyz of our show.

Carol, in the meantime, is enmeshed with Friends on the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, which is up for signing. Thanks to many media still taking most cues from DC, a lot of our people don't even know the history.  They learn to switch media if wanting to follow developments.

Quakers and the USG have been on opposite sides of "abolition" before now, with some politicians able to think ahead.  Lots of medical science reminds us that nuclear war, even just preparing for one, is toxic and unhealthy.  We lose IQ.

Carol, a member of WILPF, is working closely with PSR as well.  This alphabet soup may not mean anything at the outset, but a quick search will get you in the loop, if that's where you want to be.  Some loops are intriguing, like Hyperloop One, whereas others are more noose-like, as useful as a dead albatross.

Also I'm on the warpath for C6XTY, an abbreviated way of saying my ethnic group has some strong biases in terms of what curriculum upgrades we need.  Getting those upgrades implemented may appear to be happening despite "over my dead body" style resistance, hence the warpath metaphor, suitable for "inward weapons" oriented Friends.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Newest Youtubes


Here I'm continuing a sequence of Youtubes devoted to the topic of software development within Python. A little math gets into it along the way.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

GNU Math = Math + CS

[first shared on math-teach, Math Forum @ Drexel, with no pictures ]

Factor an Integer
:: factors(84729293) ::

Rhymes with "New Math"...

I think we all know the pun by now: GNU stands for GNU is Not Unix.

However in being recursively defined, it's also an allusion to Lambda Calculus.

GNU came along around Gen 2.0 of the C-STEM Epoch, which Epoch started around PLATO (1960) and rolled through at least two revolutions: PC (personal computer) and Liberation (free / open source).

Liberation was a long fought battle pitting the likes of GNU / Linux against SCO. I'm sure some here remember those years, followed by Browser Wars...

Where C-STEM starts hybridizing with the contemporary public schools math sequence is around the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, that every integer has a unique prime factorization.

I'm going with Conway's suggestion that we throw in -1 as a factor along with 1, go ahead and call the former prime if you like.

A prime has only itself and 1 as a factor, and -1 if negative. 1 itself is not prime.

When we say factors, we may include or omit the 1 (identity element) depending on context.

factors(42)
(1, 2, 3, 7)
factors(100)
(1, 2, 2, 5, 5)
factors(-12)
(1, -1, 2, 2, 3)

When students are ready to write code, in whatever language, to deliver these unique prime factorizations, that's when CS starts to meet Algebra. The Sieve of Eratosthenes, Trial By Division, Euclid's Algorithm, start phasing in here, as things to code.

Yes, we're still doing arithmetic, using the four basic operators plus modulo (%), but we're also introducing functions, the composition of which will be our basis for getting work done.

Algebra has much to do with controlling the components of a function, one might say inputs, arguments or parameters. The specifics are often fixed with constants, as in:

A sin (Bx + C) + D

the paradigm oscillator. Only x is considered the dependent variable at the end of the day, as A, B, C, D are used to construct a special case function.

Polynomials are the same way. The coefficients fix the function, and then x or t do the heavy lifting.

A*x**3 + B*x**2 + C*x + ... we have notation for arbitrarily long lists.

CS is good at this: providing an executable language wherein functions have the ability to construct other functions.

CS profs further along in the pipeline will be grateful if we start writing functions that build functions earlier.

C-STEM has a bright future.

The Pumpkin Knows
:: (1, 11, 31, 248473) ::

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gala Gathering


I tried to explain this event to people by saying we were shooting raw footage for future commercials.  That might not be quite it, certainly not it entirely, however people understand the movie shoot, complete with retakes, and that's what this was, as well as a party.

Sam Lanahan has been planning this event for some time, blending his personal genius with that of the many he's come to collaborate with.  Jeff is the talented engineer.  We carried the four frequency tetrahedron together.  Steffan is the talented magician, working with Hope, the athlete.  Polara brought their considerable abilities to the scene, as did the professional drone camera operator.  No, I'm not forgetting the crane.

Barry Redd and Glenn Stockton have been helping Sam build C6XTY sculptures, which show off a non-cubic lattice, not BCP.  All the examples were CCP, but each colored and "carved" (in the sense of omitted balls) to create a landscape of clearly unique pieces.  One was for stress testing.  Others were for display on a grassy yard.  The biggest was for hoisting by crane so that Hope could dangle and twist therefrom, ushering in the Tension Age.

I should explain the plot a little.  Steffan Soule had it worked out, with a stage magician's brick, symbolizing compression, and a bright pink and black ball of C6XTY, matched in color by Hope's harlequin outfit.  During several takes, Sam both received, and handed over, the plastic ball, the icon symbolizing Tension in this picture.  The receding Age of Compression was about the Cube.

Yes, this all sounds esoteric and to some level indecipherable, the entropy is high, potentially.  However, I'm connecting themes that go back years in these blogs, so in a way I don't feel I have the burden, in one post, to compress all these years of thinking and running experiments.  That's partly what "tension" means:  not having to re-invent the wheel every day.  I'll be referring back to this HP4E event again, don't you worry.

Many thanks to Derek Bridges for additional photography and a twitter stream, to Tim Hitchcock (bizmo pilot) and Trevor Blake (a Fuller archivist, among other roles).  Thanks to Patrick Barton for helping move pieces from my patio to the rented truck, and to Diane for having some ideas about what all this could be about.  We're still figuring that out.  The Age of Tension is often suspenseful, but perhaps less awkwardly melodramatic?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Back to School

Patrick has been working out.

I'm expecting my mentor and personal trainer, Patrick, to come over and remind me how it all works through his control panel.  I've only "flown" (piloted) his rig once and remember Mac shortcut combos were translating to surprising combos on the Windows server.  I need to practice which combos to avoid next time.

Patrick and I were co-workers through many of the O'Reilly School of Technology years.  We're both friends with Steve Holden, a former neighbor, and citizen of the UK.  Steve was a major player in getting the early flagship Pycons off the ground, imitating EuroPython which came earlier.  A nonprofit named the Python Software Foundation grew up around Pycons as the organizing entity and eventually became what it is today, with Steve one of the first directors, later chairman.

I've been dividing my attention between hurricanes and quaternions, not as distant-apart concepts as that may sound, though granted hurricanes are energetic phenomena whereas quaternions are metaphysical assets, a tool in the computer graphics library for making things rotate, around any axis, in what in XYZ-talk we call 3-space.

XYZ-talk extends into Coxeter type n-space, wherein real number-lines are imagined to be mutually independent through a common origin, as many as we need.  IVM-talk is different, is what Bucky hatched in Synergetics, with a little help from his friends.  IVM-talk has only a toe-hold, or beach-head or one of those, vis-a-vis contemporary academia.  We're more likely to read that Bucky was crazy (quirky) or Synergetics is pseudo-math here in 2017.  I've got the two talks somewhat mixed together.

OK, Patrick has come and gone.  We sat on the back deck overlooking the C6XTY sculpture garden. The truck will be here tomorrow, to haul most of it away.

I then went upstairs to watch CBS Evening News, to get some overview on Irma.  Today is of course September 11, my wedding anniversary, as well as a day the metaphysical climate changed dramatically.

Friday, September 08, 2017

News Room

Remembering a Friendship

What's amazing is how in a few decades, the personal workspace (PWS) has evolved into a newsroom.  Instead of a few papers having these telex machine feeds, we get this blizzard of news reports, some half baked, others slickly misleading, all ready for editing in the virtual studio.

The CSN CRO and I were checking out the Florida freeway system this morning, using Google to suggest where the worst logjams are, then pulling up stories.  How many freeways have committed all four lanes north?  Any concept of "evacuation bus"?  What's up with the trains?  Why not commit railways to getting people out?  Insufficient rolling stock?

Houston decided to hunker down, more than evacuate, yet more freeways fan out from that hub, going inland, then you get leaving Florida.  The two sides of the peninsula provide the two main arterials.

It'd be easy enough to get all these computers on different channels with several sources per screen.  Then it'd look more like a newsroom or monitoring station.  Like a control room.

I took public transit out to PDX last night for a meetup with a JetBlue pilot's sister (she was flying JetBlue).

He's retiring today, or at least bringing in his final flight, from Fort Lauderdale as it happens.  They're having a gate party at JFK today, a JetBlue tradition.

I used to live full time in Florida, in a mobile home park in Bradenton.  A lot of the news stories are focused on changes to building codes since Hurricane Andrew but what's special about Florida is how much of it is mobile home estates.  Lets not just focus on fancy beach side apartments and condos.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Homeostasis

I made this joke about "home me-o staying" (having some down time). I'm reading about Proxemics, a discipline founded by Ed Hall (anthropologist), which is the science of how humans and other animals co-organize in space.

For example what's the plan of an ideal house, what are the rooms for, and how close should you stand to someone you're addressing? What level of voice is polite. I just read a chapter comparing Brits to USers, in very broad brush stroke.

He takes Americans for having automatic neighborliness, a " kids will play with your kids" egalitarianism, whereas a British family has no expected obligations, no lending of a cup of sugar, now over the fence camaraderie.

Having lived in many parts of the US, in several states (New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina... Oregon), in many zipcodes, I'd say many neighborhoods, including suburban, are just as isolating and foam-like (Sloterdjik) as the urban.

Not that urban villages don't exist.

We don't all live in Twin Peaks, that's for sure.  It's David Lynch week in Portland, unbeknownst to me when Melody made a pit stop and reminded me of that heritage.

I'm well into Season Two, after seeing the pilot after Season One.  We're talking about a series made over twenty years ago, but recently resurrected.  I'm striving to catch up.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day

Monitoring Eclipse

Oregon has been girding for today for some time.  I didn't have specific plans until my assignment came through to do computer camp in Lake Oswego, not quite in the path of totality (99.4%).

All the kids had eclipse glasses but I didn't.  One of them kindly shared.  The eerie low light (never completely dark, no stars) was likewise spectacular.

We had three classes going simultaneously today, though with only two instructors.  Jeremy was covering both Little Coders and Minecraft Modding, which I consider a feat.

My stint was longer, 9 - 4, but only one camp at a time.

An added stress factor came after camp was over:  my car decided to throw a fit when I tried to start it, sounding the alarm.  I couldn't think of anything to stop it.  Should I call AAA?  After a brief conversation with mom, the Nissan started with no problems.  Weird.

I headed to a nearby McMenamins (John Barleycorns) to unwind and finish paperwork.  That's where I am now, having a Hammerhead and a Dungeon Burger.  I parked in a far corner of the lot in case the car throws a fit again.

Followup: no Torture Taxi tantrum this time; I swung by PDX Code Guild on the way home to Asylum District, in case Flying Circus was happening, traffic light.

Business Accelerator building (2828 SW Corbett) was a ghost town, however.

I made it home in time for all but the first five minutes of the CBS Evening News with Anthony Mason anchoring from Carbondale, Illinois.


After a Tantrum
:: in the corner ::

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Atomic Blonde (movie review)

Wonder Woman remembers the mission, which is to save humanity from corruption by the devil (aka Mars). But in attempting to save us, she has to join the fray, a Joan of Arc figure, with knights ever eager to serve under her command.

Fast forward to Lorraine, two wars later (really one) and now at a signature apex, the convergence of the two Germanys as symbolized by a wall-divided Berlin overcoming its internal divisiveness.

As the opening narrative makes clear, this story explores a violent underbelly of this convergence chapter, through a favored lens when exploring this era:  that of the spy thriller comic book genre. Le Carré uses a similar backdrop sometimes.

Some will raise their eyebrows at my use of "comic book" and ask what's so funny about all that head bashing, more like Streets of New York.

I think because of the superpowers on display, an ability to play these violent games that shows some purpose and intent, not just people caught up willy-nilly in awkward conditioned-reflexing.

The martial arts make for some bloody ballet, with protagonists appearing somewhat in control of their own destinies, more as predators in the know than as helpless victims. They serve and protect the rest of us, if cast as heroes (heroines).

Both Wonder Woman and Atomic Blonde use similar wartime spy thriller motifs, with their focus on Amazons (female warriors).

Rome, Italy, where I was during early Cold War years, was another hotbed of intrigue and secrets, with all the high fashion and flashy cars to match.

I was too young to pose as an adult of any stature, but I soaked up some of that James Bond culture at the English language movie theaters, the Archimedes especially (near Piazza Euclide).

Berlin over ten years later was more into grunge and proto-punk from the looks of things here recreated.  Disaffected youth didn't want to grow up with some Iron Curtain through their psychology.

The Korean DMZ stands out as another Berlin Wall of today.

These spies did not have the Internet, nor much in the way of social media.  The film takes us back to when people used ordinary landline telephones and didn't have to deal with strong encryption.

I most recently saw John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane and couldn't quite shake the idea that this was a flashback to before his retirement to that bunker, just a passing thought.  American dads can be pretty crazy.

Lorriane smokes and drinks and lives a punishing lifestyle, which will catch up with her later.

I was interested to learn that Charlize Theron, who plays Lorriane, is natively Afrikaans with American English her second language (IMDB). I wonder if she knows Yolandi Visser.

I did make it to Berlin before the wall came down, took the tour.  Our train was actually East German, terminating on the east side in Berlin, starting with a ferry trip from Sweden I believe it was. We were unusual for American tourists, not the first time.  Dad liked to plan interesting trips.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chain Reaction


At first I didn't like that the timer was running even if I'd not signaled my willingness to begin, by punching the green flag.  I'd have the option to turn that off, given the See Inside powers conferred in a copyleft economy.  I didn't write this game, merely remixed it and value added.

The point is to keep going to the next level, by setting off chain reactions that consume tiny sprites. The surface area of the target area is variable and rises as more sprites are consumed, before falling again. You anchor the target initially and then sit back to see if you've won the round, so it's basically a one click per round game, a feature, a kind of minimalism.

Note the timer resets on each explosion. The sprites are all clones of the main ball, which spawns multiple copies of itself, shrunk to 15% of original size.  The number spawned is three more than the level number.  Notice you have less time as the level number rises.  But then more explosions per time unit would be expected.

All in all, I consider this a handsome little game, elegantly implemented.  I'll plan to show and tell about in at summer camp today.  I actually found it in the official handbook, so it's not like I'm straying far from my ken.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Banning Nukes


Portland has joined a lot of cities, as cities stand to lose the most.

The uber-cowards plan to head for spacious luxury apartments in various gated mountain suburbs, there to send out hapless journalists at the point of a gun to see whether Planet of the Apes or 12 Monkeys has come true or not.  In the meantime, they'll eat nachos and swill Bud.

Portlanders don't savor that genre of science fiction as a their real future and so push back, joining a broad alliance of city mayors and others, signalling in the history books we were never on board with the selfish oligarchs.

The oligarchs have various pretenses or ploys they float as trial balloons, trying to gauge the public mood. Recent results have been disappointing from their point of view.  A nuclear conflagration is harder to get started even if the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty is just something on paper.  So are a lot of things "just paper" (like money for example, other entitlements?).

This year, our memorial event (remembrance ceremony) featured a Buddhist invocation, several speeches, and a second indoor event in nearby NW 70 Couch Street.  We were permitted to take pictures, and indeed spreading visualization memes was part of the intent.

I fought rush hour coming home from the day job, where mom was waiting.  My mistake to think the Hawthorne Bridge could be any better, now that Morrison is one way each way, but no way from the east side, short of joining I-5 somewhere north, which is crazy.  But then traffic-wise Portland has succumbed to North America's chief ailment:  addiction to one-driver commute lifestyles (leads to opium addiction, heart disease...).

Usually, with no evening events pending, I don't have to fight rush hour.  I know a friend with a swimming pool just off Boones Ferry, plus have Lake Oswego friends scattered around I can visit.  The game around rush hour is to avoid it completely.  Fortunately the day job starts around noon, and the drive is then typical, at posted speed limits.

Cross references:
2016: Hiroshima Day 
2015: Disarm Day 2015
2013: A-Bomb Day
2010: Hiroshima Day
2007: Remembering... 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Visiting Vancouver


Vancouver, Washington is an important port and way station, a gateway to Oregon. People complain the I-5 draw-bridge is a choke point, however Oregon State Senator Lew Frederick says the studies he's seen point to replacing the rail bridge instead, re-routing trucks to their own deck.

In some simulations, this redesign would do much more to alleviate the problem than replacing the I-5 bridge, especially if people enjoy reading and social media enough to prefer taking mass transit, even high speed rail in some possible futures.

Sam Lanahan has view property overlooking the Willamette-Columbia confluence, though from a safe distance away, which explains the telescope. Freight traffic is fun to watch.  Glenn and I got to see the hexagonal flextegrity table, which Glenn had helped build in my garage, amidst other marvels, on our car trip there today.

For those of you into intellectual history, when Alexander Graham Bell had the command of vast resources, post inventing the telephone, he plowed time and energy into what he called "kites", and which today we might call an "isotropic vector matrix" if into Fuller, or perhaps an "octet-truss" if aware of the patent literature.

Sam's matrix is no mere knock off of Bell's solution as the tension and compression forces get distributed by a different strategy.  However it helps to see it in the lineage of space frame solutions, in this particular family of lattice structures.

In the latest incarnation the basic "brick" is a soccer ball of hard plastic made of six base parts, hence the name C6XTY, all identical, with eight screw-in disks to secure each assembly.

Armature members with their own smaller screws then fix these spherical components in place, creating the Bell-like lattice with the ball centers in CCP or FCC positions, for those of you schooled in crystallography, or willing to watch a few Youtubes.

Standing in the courtyard at his house, Sam had a prime example of the kind of sculpture one might create from C6XTY, given the liberty to explore the IVM "in vitro" so to speak, as an organic pattern.

He's working on and/or commissioning several more examples for an upcoming photo shoot.  My backyard is one of the construction sites.  We returned with a portable gazeebo on the roof of my car. I excavated and removed the brick fire pit to make room for the new work area.

I need to study Quantum Mind again tonight, a book by Arnold Mindell.  You'll find Jungian psychology a recurring theme in these blogs.  I'm thinking Bell, Bucky, Lanahan and others were attuned to resonant frequencies in a collective unconsciousness that surfaces in their cases.  Something deep within us wants to get it out there.  The zeitgeist is making waves.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Leaving Terrebonne

Madras Airfield
:: airfield, Madras, Oregon ::

I'm preparing to jet out of here, with "jet" more a metaphor as I'm driving the Maxi Taxi. Yes, there's an air transport connection from PDX to Redmond, and car rental solutions, however I'm partial to taking my own wheels over the mountain on Hwy 26, then down Hwy 97, through Madras, which also hosts a substantial airport.  I'm thinking ahead, about Earthala, with roots in Terrebonne (Good Earth), science fiction at the moment, though others might call it investment memory banking.

I took down the campsite, and was never far from coffee nor WiFi, so I wouldn't exactly call what I did "roughing it". Rather I was joining over forty others in a memorial service for Sam (my brother-in-law) at Haystack Reservoir, a special place for Sam & Judy, as is the whole of this area, where they've lived since the 1970s, having met in Florida as college students.  I always feel a part of a tribe, an extended family, when coming over here, this time especially given so many reunited to pay tribute (heartfelt complements) to wise man Sam.

Sam's sister Dawn (Carla later) also sought wisdom, as she was much on the same path as her bro. They grew up together in Ohio, Nashville, and later in Satellite Beach, Florida after the marriage was dissolved (Carla stayed with Don). She took the name Wicca, as in Dawn Wicca, to give herself a high bar to live up to, a constant reminder to seek wisdom. She was not establishing herself as a Wiccan per se, a specific invented religion you may wish to read about in Triumph of the Moon, about Gardner and so on.

We're enjoying a global warming heat wave in 2017, with temperatures in Portland staying in triple digits for longer than we're used to.  I don't use air conditioning in the car and like to keep things cool and less trafficked, so chose an early departure time both coming (4:15 AM) and going (6:45 AM).  Carol (mom, 88) is back in Portland with Melody (passing-through house guest).  Last time we came over, Tara joined us.  Alexia came over with Elise, whom Dawn was living with on a horse farm when we first met.  You'll find her elsewhere in this Russian "novel" (in quotes because I'm doing non-fiction here).

Fires are a big fact of life around here.  Orchards burn, other cultivated lands, even homes.  Firefighters can't reverse the irreversible. Mother Nature is not intimidated by humans, even a little. They're her creation after all. Planet Earth has a long history of creatures coming and going.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Persia Power

There's a lot of truth to the idea that a sorry-ass "deep state" (a clique) is pushing to make Iran the uber bad guy again, in the wake of funding the Iraq side for many years, then turning on Iraq and making it the enemy.  Make up your mind?

A problem with Kissinger-style real-politik is once you cut loose from meaning what you say, on the record, you may lose your moorings. The District of Columbia is somewhat adrift.

Making Russia the arbiter of the last presidential election (or why all the fuss) is a feeble call for help?  Maybe Russia will take it that way; NATO's bluster as an empty search for meaning on the part of some neocons hoping to play hero against some invented geopolitical backdrop requiring much suspended disbelief (most of us are not buying).

The bigger news is Persia's collaboration with India in competition with China's collaboration with Pakistan.  The journalistic class wants to keep it either/or (contrary to fact) and play up the India-Pakistan rift (e.g. Kashmir), but the engineer class, more globalized, is less impressed by the tabloid press (or tabloid politics).

Two ports, not far apart, feature in this so-called competition, with India shipping to the one in Iran, China using the one in Pakistan as a springboard to the Indian ocean, bypassing the Malaysian Straits. A lot of new infrastructure is coming together.

The nation-state terminology still helps us talk about the world geographically, as states themselves disappear into the global circuitry.  We all know where Israel / Palestine is, in the context of Mesopotamia.

I see global trade route planning as an application of graph theory in a lot of ways, as in networking on a sphere.  The international school curriculum I'm co-developing gives ample airplay to graph theory and global planning.

Where do the airlines go?  I have a database of world airports, incomplete but at least on topic.  We use pandas, SQL, JSON... what they call "computer science" in English, somehow not statistics or math ("data science" maybe).

Is English broken?  I think the linguistic turn combined with basic self-critical reflection, puts English-as-a-first-language folk in a front row seat regarding the efficacy of this mother tongue.  I'm glad many diverse traditions continue feeding in to this meme-chest, as at the very least it's a language that's ripe for continued overhaul.

Iran's leading role in the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty has not yet worked its way into the narrative as the "cynical journalist" culture doesn't really have a narrative and looks to politicians to carve out the talking points.

Politicians, not being engineers for the most part, may not have much insight into investment banking either.  They're on the take, more than willing to take campaign contribution bribes and spout lobbyist language in exchange, but as originators of policy.... I'm not thinking the District of Columbia is any longer original in that sense. DC is a district of followers, not leaders.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Does Your School Have a Charter?


[first posted to Forum 206]

I just waded through a few Youtubes on the charter versus non-charter school debate.

There's a sloppiness to it all in that everyone starts by saying charter schools are public schools and then a sentence later it's back to "public versus charter". Silly right?

The mainstream discourse seems to have settled on "traditional versus charter schools" or "district versus charter schools".

What an amazingly narrow and ill-fitting vocabulary, is my thought.

https://youtu.be/vhubtPygTcA
Charter Schools Are Overrated, IntelligenceSquared Debates

was interesting, a hosted debate between two teams, an ongoing show that seems to think "IQ" is something real and therefore square-able.[1]

What many debaters miss, in my view, is the passion some have, in every generation, to create new schools, not just join existing schools. Any healthy society has its pioneers and reformists.

We should accept that as a built in feature of human nature, and so the debate should begin with that premise: that the public sector, however designed, needs to facilitate (not stifle) turnover at the institutional level, meaning public schools, charter or no charter, will continue to come and go.

Speaking of schools going, I think it's more than obvious we need to physically close a lot of schools that are simply beyond repair [2]. Trying to coast on clearly broken buildings, full of lead or whatever, is just lazy, the opposite of innovation, and proof we have little imagination.

I'm one who thinks a central government (of any nation), if there's one in the picture, should have the where with all to create its own flagship schools. These could be boarding schools for future diplomats, deliberately open to students from other countries. We might also see more experiments with same-sex schooling, for those wishing that option (choice). Let NASA do more than just summer camps, NSA too for that matter.

But then I'm one who thinks any government worth its salt should run a number of showcase institutions designed to provide work to a nation's citizens, including roadside lodging (motels), an airline, maybe a rental car company.[3]

What better way to stay in touch with the people than to run and manage some example enterprises.

Something other than war machines (and a few camp grounds), which is currently the main endeavor for which the weakest governments (e.g. the US) are allowed a sandbox (the war machine includes government labs such as Sandia and Los Alamos -- not much research on how to help with refugee camps -- just on how to create them in the first place i.e. by turning cities to rubble, per the 1900s, a century of barbarism).

Governments are permitted / coerced into serving as clients to a weapons-oriented private sector (Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin...). That's their major role (subsidizing the most sociopathic). Greece, broke, buys submarines from Siemens. [4]

How we tax and spend today is income redistribution, like they say, from the defenseless and over-taxed to oligarchs with off-shore investments (Russian or otherwise, what does it matter at that level?).

A truly American run boarding school might even teach some of the heritage I'm most interested in, namely this "geometry of lumps" I keep talking about (Karl Menger et al) wherein we experiment with axioms other than those inherited from ancient Greek metaphysics.

http://coffeeshopsnet.blogspot.com/2009/03/res-extensa.html

The way things are going, with Uncle Sam broke, and more a hired gun than anyone's idea of an emperor, I don't think it's a given that these dreams will pan out. We appear to have drifted into oligarchy and plutocracy with democracies fading. The politicians have the job of telling us something different i.e. they comfort us with their fairy tales.

Kirby

[1] (dig way back in the math-teach archives if you can figure out how, takes IQ, and you'll see we discussed the "g factor" for like forever that time).

[2] Beyond repair... or not (in some cases):
http://prospect.org/article/fixing-our-infrastructure-how-about-schools

[3]

Spain has a chain of state-run luxury hotels:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parador
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Government-owned_companies_of_the_United_States

[4]

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.801881
(similar to the scandal in Greece)

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/world/europe/so-many-bribes-a-greek-official-cant-recall-all.html

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Ban Treaty


Per Carol Urner's presentation to Wanderers at the Linus Pauling House, the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty has passed the General Assembly, by a wide margin, as expected.

The loser nations know the ban need not apply to them. Why? Because they have nuclear weapons and no one tells Nuke Head Nations what to do.

Nevertheless, we patriots who care about reputation have some cause for celebration this July 4th, and Tillamook butterscotch ice cream is being consumed in the Urner household.  The draft was actually adopted on the 7th, but we knew it was a done deal so were already waving the flag.

Good job Iran in helping to steer the process.  DC's mythology desperately requires Iran to be desperately seeking nuclear weapons.  Here's another nail in that narrative's coffin.  No one I know expects DC (not a US state) to ever reform its thinking. We expect it to remain a backwater.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Rajneeshpuram (movie review)

Rajneeshpuram was an attempt to found a new town in Oregon, in land zoned for farming.  Oregon has some strictly enforced land use laws.  That said township was so religious, and not Christian, didn't help.  Not that Rajneesh professed a religion exactly.  For years he wisely kept his mouth shut, went for a ride, then he gradually took control back, wresting more steering power to a point where Madam Sheila felt obliged to get away.

The folks of Antelope went to heroic lengths to not lose their cool, and played with Oregon State by the only rule book they could think to follow:  Oregon's.  That starting a Puram in the heart of Oregon by aggressive tactics ends up backfiring is hardly a surprise in retrospect.

I borrowed this OPB Oregon Experience episode from the Multnomah County Library system and today will return it, along with some books on CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and another on SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics, another front end Web technology).

A man who fascinates me even more than the Baghwan here, is/was Father Divine, the short African American king of His jungle, as a God in his own way.  Lavish feasts were provided by the disciples, the fans, and the gatherings were by many accounts convivial and of "melting pot" ethnicity (an all-kinds stew), and all back when MLK was still a young man.

My overlap with the Father Divine community was when I scored a job teaching high school at St. Dom's (Catholic), exactly what I'd been looking for, within walking distance. The circumstances of my hiring were tragic in that Sisters had died in a car crash.  My willingness to dive in under those circumstances was appreciated.

An old Father Divine hotel was just kitty corner and offered a good breakfast served by Sister Grace.  I studied the literature and grew intrigued.  Other faculty would join me from time to time, or go there on their own.  Why not?  Great place.

Maureen (Methodist) and I got to talking on the phone through some of this film, which I screened while folding laundry, pacing about.  But then I've been through the story before, in other media.  I never got to visit said Puram myself, even though I'd returned to Oregon in 1985, having left in the 1960s at the end of 2nd grade (my 3rd grade would be first forum in the Junior English School of Rome).

As someone with a long term interest in student exchange programs, organizing opportunities for faraway urban kids to experience some ranch living, I'm sensitive to locals not wanting to feel invaded.  Our placements will have advance training in sensitivity to community values.

In terms of setting up campuses, the ecovillages (picture boarding schools), I'm interested in what Props has to offer, thinking lower barriers to entry (to year around camping and village building) has everything to do with technology, from transportation networks to radio stations and runways (landing pads or whatever).

I'd like to see more train re-development, for the express purpose of bringing students in to their remote bases, which may not stay put for long in some cases.  Exploring ecosystems means leaving them as they were by default.  However, where railways are concerned, we're talking about a longer term commitment.  Railway work is maybe for college credit, trucking too. That's how it works in the Global U.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Catching Up

We've been over the mountain (Mt. Hood), my two daughters and I.  Alexia went earlier in her dad's late mom's Buick.  Sam, Tara's uncle, was in hospice, at Partners in Care in Bend, Oregon.

Last night, back in Portland, we visited Atlas Pizza, Tara and I, Patrick joining us.  Patrick has been contracted to dig down into command line Python minus any IDE.  A paying client likes it that way. He's using Wing's debugger in another class, a habit I'm likewise gradually acquiring.

I've completed a first Arduino course, a Coursera MOOC, and now I'm wading more deeply into that world of programmable circuits.  Tonight I'm teaching Python to adults, and next week to kids as well.  Mark me as firmly planted in tech.

However, American Literature (we might call it that) is on my mind, and I wonder about standards.  How much are able to build immune systems, as we might call them, if following a more German philosophy of bubbles, globes, foams.  To what extent will we stay prey, to "false news" in whatever guises?

Judy and I visited the funeral director while Alexia and Tara went on ahead. They ended up test driving a Ford Fiesta in Madras.  No memorial service has been scheduled yet; a way will open. This journey has been a part of it.  Remembering Sam is a new theme now, one I'll treasure.

Carol has done her share of road trips recently, both east and west, and flew the Blue House solo while we were gone.  Temperatures soared to record highs this weekend.  We're glad for the break in the heat wave, with overcast skies, now coasting in the seventies (Fahrenheit).

I've been showing Tara the latest PR around C6XTY, including my 4D logo in the mix, next to the link to Synchronofile.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Building Fractions

The code below shows a way of teaching operator overloading in Python.

Even though the standard library includes a Fraction type, it can't hurt to recreate it in a lesson, drawing on our knowledge of how fractions should behave.

Notice the embedded _gcd() method employs Euclid's Method to reduce fractions to lowest terms on initialization.  Since multiply and add operations, and their inverses, all end up creating new Q type instances (fractions), no attempt at reducing is made until then.

Hit the Run button to run the script.  Output appears at the bottom.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Circuit Rider

Uncle Lightfoot

Bill Lightfoot in 2010

At age 92, my uncle (dad's mom's sister's son) Bill Lightfoot has the baud rate to negotiate Amtrak on his own.  He escapes his comfy quarters in Seattle to be with his grand nephew.  He's eager for pictures of Jack, my dad.  They weren't much together after their chance meetup in Alaska, in the summer of 1947 I think it was.

Jack studied International Relations in DC, then went into regional planning under Dick Meier at the University of Chicago. After a strong on ramp performance, stateside, practicing planning in Portland, he went to nation-state scale, where you're looking at zoning and freeways, big picture infrastructure, less at individual housing or office complexes.  The latter is architecture and city planning, and more detailed.

I brought along some C6XTY as I'm timing myself to build a tetrahedron with four of them.  By "them" I mean soccer ball looking things, each assembled from six identical plastic parts, hence the name. The hexapent C60 is a meme, and a chemical (a carbon allotrope, a family of cages, then come the tubes and of course graphene, full circle, graphite, diamond and plain old soot -- carbon powder -- being the earlier discoveries).

Carol was also routing through downtown this same afternoon, and it worked to drop her at 10th and Taylor, park in a garage, observe some Flag Day childrens performance (a traveling troupe), then retrieve the car and head to Union Station, where the Coast Starlight has just arrived.  Bill and I headed over to Ringlers, where we enjoyed the usual great food and service (I'm a loyal customer). Thank you Bill, for making these forays.  I'll get you some more pictures, of dad.

This was the "short format" visit where we cut it pretty close.  The Coast Starlight is often late, getting here from California, but today was right on time.  I had Bill back at the station with only minutes to spare, whereas on another occasion we waited some hours.

On his previous visit he did "long format", coming a train earlier and leaving a train later.  That gave us time for Pittock Mansion, Kell's for lunch, visiting with Carol at Bagdad out my way, with time to spare getting back.  That was pretty exhausting though, for a ninety-two year old.  Did we get many pictures of Bill with his Aztecs (those were cars many considered rather funny looking, Bill loved 'em)?

Howard and Wilma came with Bill on one of these outings.  Bill and Barbara Hancock on another.  Amtrak:  keeping families together.  Bill wore his Northern Pacific hat.

Monday, June 12, 2017

OR Welcomes PR


Some will say it's a bit preemptive for a former territory, Oregon, to welcome Puerto Rico to the Union, as 51st state.

After some hundred years, I'm glad we have that sorted out.

Welcome.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Fundraising Dinner


Carol (mom) and I are about to drive across the river, against traffic (meaning with a faster trip time), for a dinner with Physicians for Social Responsibility.  As a veteran WILPFer, she's worked with the Oregon PSR rather closely, most especially on the Hiroshima - Nagasaki commemoration event, a time to pledge never again to indulge in nuclear war.

Since WW2, the planet has endured several nuclear catastrophes, beginning with so-called "testing", which irreparably harmed the ecosystem, followed by nuclear meltdowns. The meltdown in Chernobyl was such that brave and selfless human intervention was possible.

A tunnel was dug in record time to intercept the melting mass before it reached the water table.  In the case of Fukushima, human bravery is irrelevant and the Pacific Ocean is becoming increasingly contaminated, and by extension the planet.

The responsible jobs, going forward, have to do with cleanup and disaster mitigation. Humans floating around on military ships, threatening each other, saber rattling, is a lot of toy story nonsense wherein humans refuse to grow out of their kindergarten stage.

We'll have to leave them to play those war games, as they insist, and have the weapons to stop us from stopping them, but we don't have to treat them as mature adults.

I think a lot of the slowness to respond is about theater (the T in PATH).  People used to think Kings (a few Queens) had divine powers. Even when that illusion exploded, politicians managed to keep up an illusion of being in control.

That these people actually do any real work is becoming less apparent.  But then "work" in its physics meaning simply means "to expend energy" which we all do, of necessity, just to breath.  Any meaning beyond that tends to be tinged by moralizing, with Protestants (Christians known for their protesting attitude) among the first to chime in.

I need a haircut.  My gray hair is bushy and I'm wearing a maroon turtle neck with not such fancy pants. I'm in the ballpark of "frumpy academic" I suppose, though I'm closer to a Quaker crime boss (it's considered traitorous to laugh at politicians is it not?).  I've been posting to Forum 206 quite a bit. Does that make me a math teacher?

Sam Lanahan was by today with a truck load of C6XTY.  I'll be able to organize workflows for kids, having them construct soccer ball looking things from six curved pieces held together with eight screws. Then come the arms, suitable for interconnecting them in a lattice.

What's all this for?  Do you know what the isotropic vector matrix (IVM) is?  Octet truss?  CCP?  FCC (no not the government acronym).  Maybe we're just sharing some memes at first, basic STEM.

It'll be awhile longer before humanity grows up.  We're a work in progress.

Some of us don't think we need to learn about hard stuff, like science and math, as long as we have our politician parents to take care of us.  They'll protect us from the laws of physics, right?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wanderers 2017.5.30

A Peter Bechtold Briefing

I spent some of the morning listening to the Seymour Hersh telling of the Zero Dark Thirty story, based on actual events. Prying apart fiction from non-fiction is not always as easy as some pretend.  He provides missing puzzle pieces.

My sense of not needing to pry these apart at every turn, carried me into Peter Bechtold's talk, giving the history of Syria, the heartland of the Holy Land, as they called it in President Wilson's day.

Sure, Wilson sounds racist by today's standards but that doesn't make him a complete idiot. Peter sees Wilson relegated to the sidelines as French and British create their own narrative around what happened in the Middle East, subsequent to the end of the Ottoman Era.

The kinds of maps Peter showed of Syria, showing patchworks by micro-climate, language, religion (ethnicity) could be used with North America as well. However as Peter restated several times, these were static snapshots from an earlier time.  Much has transpired.

Given we're in Portland, how the District of Columbia sees the world remains influential.  Peter knows a lot of people and has great respect for many of them.  He's no fan of the New American Century PR or what the neocons have accomplished, using perhaps dated terminology.  Richard Perle and like that.

Dr. Bechtold volunteered that he had no inside information on events in Idlib, site of the chemical attack in early April, 2017.  The relevant international bodies have not confirmed the Assad government still has any chemical weapons, nor was there clear motivation to use them.  I share his skepticism.

Anyway, Wilson probably had the right idea, about providing peoples in the region with more apparatus for self determination.  The arbitrary boundaries and agreements made by English and French social engineers have not withstood the test of time.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Control Room


Coding with Kids

See the Pen Sine Wave Experiment by Kirby Urner (@pdx4d) on CodePen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Coroutines

I see refugees from Chef World (aka "the kitchen") trying their hand at coding, and thinking they're making a big leap. Yes, they are, in a way, but in other ways a short order cook is a study in workflows, and an algorithm is a semi-numerical recipe.

The key to cooperative concurrency is the wisely chosen yield keyword in Python, which is two way, and a way of handing back control to the caller, voluntarily we might say, before all business is completed.  Queue up a number of such yielding tasks, as promising to deliver in the future, and roll through them, round robin or when the timer dings (ready!) and you've got yourself an event loop.

In a seeming change of subject, I had the C6XTY "buckyball" made of six units, screwed together with eight disks, as a "booth magnet" conversation piece.

Even after understanding our proposal, for a smart router that keeps students on task, schools approved by model families, a Pythonista maybe wanted to linger, chat on other topics.  Hexapents for everyone (HP4E) meets CP4E (Guido himself sauntered by, but chose neither to engage nor inhibit, per Pycon's code).

The connection is this concept of "payload" or "something valuable inside".  When a Python generator returns, raising a StopIteration, a payload might go inside at that point.  Likewise a Future, or class of Task, this this "cooking" or "baking" internal state, which the event loop keeps checking, not blocking for more than a moment if the task is clearly undone.

Once an egg "hatches" and releases the payload, then other design patterns kick in.  Cooked meals get delivered to tables. A waiter / waitress is optimizing in many ways too.

The chef or chefs may be amazing in their seeming ability to multi-task, but lets not forget:  the whole restaurant is made from coroutines.

Nor is such an ecosystem incompatible with the pre-emptive multitasking going on at a deeper level.  The OS knows the CPU is a resource to share.

There's nothing wrong with running "blocking code" or "being a CPU hog" when you've been scheduled for useful work, and when the OS retains the channel changer (the "remote").

That's how CERN and Hubble both work, with a jobs queue.  It's up to the researchers to manage a workflow once their fun in the sun comes around.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Haim's Challenge


In chapters passed, I tried to dispute Haim's Challenge, which he re-introduced on math-teach again recently:
Thank you for the opportunity to re-introduce "Haim's Challenge",
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=6300122&tstart=0
"There are no important open questions in math pedagogy."

(The Challenge is to prove the premise wrong by pointing to even one long-term, ongoing examination of open questions in math pedagogy, by any group of people, anywhere. The context is K-12 mathematics.)
I'd bring up A&B modules, T&E modules, clearly referencing Synergetics for its pedagogical implications.  Of course the K-12 curriculum should be adjusted, here and there!
Of course I do not discuss math pedagogy, for the simple reason that there is nothing to discuss. Or, so I believe.

I believe:
(1) We know everything there is to know about school mathematics (i.e., K-12 math), and
(2) We know everything there is to know about how to teach it.

So, the only really important question is why don't the schools do what we know they should do to most effectively teach math to the most students?

The answer can only be found by exploring the politics of education, not the mechanics of long division or anything like that. We know the mechanics of long division. What is less clear is why the schools don't teach it well, if at all.
I realize now that actions speak louder than words, and Haim well explains many phenomena I observe in the ambient culture.

Whether I agree with Haim's challenge (more like a claim) or not is immaterial.  My sphere of influence is definitely limited.

People treat mathematics as a static aspect of their environment.

Hell would freeze over before "tetravolumes" would rise to the level of attracting the attention of grade school math teachers, let alone prove share-worthy, with coming generations.

I get it.  That's certainly not a decision I'm comfortable with, which accounts for my somewhat non-mainstream ethnicity.