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 eyes 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.

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 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. 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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

On Projection

In dime store psychology books for the dummy dumbfuckistanis, you'll learn that "projection" is something you shouldn't do, like picking your nose in public.

With a little training and vigilance, one grows out of this immature practice, and then just sees others doing it, so blind to their own failings.

More upscale psychology, closer to worth the money, will tell you "projection" is all you've got (in the more Plato's Cave sense) and so the game is one of "fine tuning" (presuming you're even grossly in the right ballpark).

If you make projection be your friend, and then spend the time, do the homework, to learn it as a skill, an intentional art, you might wind up with something more like a crystal ball in your own estimation.

Why we diss projection is it leads us astray. We believe our beliefs and that's rarely a good idea.  Were projection to be trusted, like corrected vision, then that'd be a new chapter.

I do like Maurice Nicoll, the intrepid Scotsman, on this topic.  He warns us to not identify with every thought or feeling posing as "one's own".

Many never even get to that first rung of the ladder: of realizing they have a choice, in terms of what inner voices to identify with.

How fast they climb from there, is anyone's guess.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Public Policy: Finding Farm Workers


Although Glenn grew up in a union family, amidst other union families, he came to see the downside of unions as well.  I learned more of his story this afternoon.

His decision to quit the electricians union in Phoenix is what ultimately led to his joining the Navy and enrolling in the Defense Language Institute in Monterey.

The theme of our discussion: the looming agricultural crisis as states scramble to find farm workers.

The clamp down on itinerant field workers is endangering vast resources, from vineyards to asparagus patches.  Picture acres and acres of rotting onions, potatoes, you name it.

Might states start up their own Guest Worker programs independently of the Feds?  What unions might get involved, if any?

Could we use smartphone apps to help workers find opportunities?  The same apps might help farm managers find help.

Given we live near Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, the newer name for SE 39th, it makes some sense we'd be wondering about United Farm Workers and so on.  What's the history at least?

Glenn dove into Wikipedia as a start.

The Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy provided the impetus, and meeting place, for Wanderers in the first place.

That some of us would be focused on the impending farm worker shortage certainly stands to reason.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Screen Time

DSCF4101

We spend a lot of time with our screens don't we?  Internet or TV, consuming and/or creating.  Our level of media output has been rising exponentially I'd hazard, along with our ability to store it all.

Will the collective nervous system get too nervous?  We balance on a tightrope, afraid of falling, with so many clamoring for the more violent alternatives.  They want to see it in their lifetimes, whatever it is.

During our meetup tonight, over the wire, like a closed circuit TV show with chat window, I explained more about my own workflows, rendering out graphics that start out with Python code. A lot of my friends will use C and/or C++.

I wasn't a software engineer so much as a philosopher by training, and as a consequence I was on the lookout for patterns we could affordably capture with technology of that day, including data from heart procedures, feeding the medical research.  Statistics matter.

Shifting gears, I've been archiving "Gnome" Chomsky Youtubes to my Facebook profile.  Not a lot of them all at once, just a few. [1][2][3]
Not news: Gnome doesn't think 43 was in the loop on Nine Eleven. Not something I've ever claimed either and in fact I don't think continuing to read the Goat Book was a bad reaction. Stay calm, don't rush around like an idiot, which is what they seem good at in DC, lots of pin-balling betwixt one office and another in some panic. Caveat: this was awhile ago; I have no idea what Gnome's saying today exactly.
I was working through Pan's Labyrinth, on DVD, while taking a break from teacher prep.  That's a dark tale that got me catching up on the Spanish Civil War again.  One thing led to another and it was the Chechen Wars that got my attention.  We didn't start the fire, but nor have we succeeded in putting it out.

A theme in these blogs is the Bucky stuff could make a difference, but probably in back office philosophy and management at this point, the more outward forms coming from more recent generations, sometimes motivated by the American enlightenment, if we want to call it that.

Imperialism long ago alienated Samuel Clemens and William James.  These repeated wars against Asians were avoidable it seems, but for that sense of manifest destiny that drives many ethnicities.  Everyone seems to consider themselves chosen.

On a micro speck of a planet, ethnic differences seem somewhat trivial, to say the least. But upon zooming in, that tale told by an idiot gets taller and taller, becoming a giant soap opera at the other extreme. People need to be heroes. The vanity of the Captain in Pan's Labyrinth only makes him seem more of a monster.

The animations in that movie are pretty good, the faun, the fairies. I've not been able to directly produce anything of that quality. I was reminded of eXistenZ.

Synergetics could be an influence in some future animations.  I laid some groundwork with the "hypertoons" concept.  Check my Synergetics 101 playlist in my Youtube channel maybe?  They link to each other, gradually building up a memeplex worth sharing.

DSCF4606

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017


Portland's Earth Day celebrations combined with a national March for Science. "You know it's severe when even nerds appear" was one of the signs. These were not your usual assortment of activists. Some came in lab coats.  "Dieticians against Twinkies" read another sign.

The organizers had rented a fairly high powered sound stage and were able to project speeches to the gathering thousands, after which followed a march, permitted, peaceful. One black-block-looking guy seemed out of place, furtively glancing about from behind his mask for at least one other anarchists in his tribe.  Police kept a low profile, with no riot cops in gear that we could see.

Glenn and I took the bus downtown and joined in the march but also stood on the sidelines, the better to take pictures and enjoy the exotic assortment of science advocates.

We adjourned to the Yard House where we were soon joined by Dr. DiNucci, an expert in parallelism and operations research.  He'd been marching with the Humanists' banner.

I saw several people I know in the crowd today, including a few Quakers.

The perception among many is that politicians, a lower ranking form of social engineer, may have lost their grasp on reality, in an effort to govern through make-believe.  Their policies seem increasingly irrational to the point of crazy.

Washington DC, a distant city, run more by lawyers than engineers, seems to have dwindling relevance around the Pacific Rim.  All those bellicose threats against our way of life add up to a big turn off.

Those avidly seeking greater political power inadvertently advertise their sense of not having much.  The End of Power comes to mind, a book in the Blue House collection.

Rising Literacy

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

Some weeks ago, Multnomah Friends considered moving the traditional third Sunday business meeting off of Easter in favor of doing business another day.  Why?  The consensus was to barrel on ahead.  Business on Easter might be especially propitious even?

As the cookie crumbled, I got an opportunity to chauffeur an MVP out to PDX.  He's off to a world meetup, not in Zurich this time.

Then I met my Shanghai friend at the Bagdad.  He's much more serious about containing NK than I am, a diffuser and disperser of nation-states (in my own thinking).

Chinese, Japanese and SKers are closer to the situation than I am.  A lot of political capital gets spent on making Americans care enough to watch the old M.A.S.H. episodes.

Cleveland High School was more a business school in the early days, grooming people to have basic office skills, both interpersonal and technical.  Typing at some number of words per minute, error free, was a technical skill.

Then typing became word processing which became desktop publishing. With the invention of the Web came HTML + CSS + JS.  That's the business school triad of today, throwing in SVG, SQL and Regular Expressions (regexes) for a skill set even more rounded.

I'm working along that "pipeline" (K-12) much of my week, grappling with older students (adults) some evenings.  Pedagogue by day, andragogue by night.

HTML = hypertext markup language, the paradigm markup language and direct relative of XML. These tags define a document's "object model" meaning the DOM, or Document Object Model.

CSS = Cascading Style Sheets, more and more capable, used for styling and describing the look of things, to the point of providing transitions and animations.

SVG = Scalar Vector Graphics.  Similar to Postscript in providing "zoom-able" characteristics.

SQL = Structured Query Language, used to store, update and filter-select records from sets of interlocking tables called Relational Database Systems.

JS = Javascript, an emerging computer language, not at all the same language as Java, and customized to work with the DOM and Shadow DOM.  Lookup React and Angular for examples of frameworks in this language.  Also Babel, which allows future features today.

I think of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.  The typewriter seemed like a big advance in its time.  I remember shopping with mom for an Olivetti in Rome, one of the newer electric kind.  Those machines already felt futuristic to the folks living that dream, however they gave one less control over presentation, with the disadvantage of storing as hardcopy, in devices still known as "file cabinets".

The future is here in terms of instant real time communications with friends and family, in addition to asynchronous.  Fun.

Why NK would wanna to join the loser states I'm not sure.  Having nuke weapons is a sign of mental illness and moral decadence in today's world.  Why NK'd wanna join the club of nukehead nations is anyone's guess. Time warp?  Throwback?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Worldly Affairs


Derek (aka "Deke the Geek") received a welcome donation of fresh Chinese food, thanks to restaurateur neighbors, and called me at the right time to share some.  I was in a funk, having Youtube issues, however by the time we'd finished, those issues had resolved.

Today I start two new gigs, a third this Wednesday, plus there's the MOOC, also starting, so I have a full plate to say the least.  However, unless I pace myself, I'm sure to burn out, so let's see how smoothly I'm able to time-share.  Yes, multi-tasking may be an illusion, but task-switching is not, and may be more or less "interrupt driven".

The MOOC is on IoT ("Internet of Things") and promises to get me into Arduino country, so I hope I'm up to it. My skills are only so-so in so many areas.  I wouldn't take myself skiing for example. Let's hope I'm not a total clod on the bicycle again, like that time with Suzanne (I wiped out twice).

So far so good, with the Cannondale from Sam (the two previous bikes were stolen, Tinkerbell from my own backyard, and the one Lindsey worked on from Jay when on Food Not Bombs duty. I'm not keeping up any gym memberships.

SourceTree by Atlassian, the makers of JIRA, may be my solution when it comes to Git. My coding career reached its peak, in the medical research area, before Github was even a gleam in some Youtuber's reflecting glasses. I'm wanting to branch my Python5 repo but am unclear on the sequence.

Patrick is in the batters' box as opening hitter on my evening gig, in case traffic delays me today. I'm dreading the drive from Beaverton back to Blue House, given bridge repairs. In theory I have plenty of time, but that's only theory.

The opportunity to learn new skills is welcome and I'm grateful, and our theme in Meeting on Sunday, yesterday, amidst many concerns. My work is to orchestrate my learning experience in such a way as to not overtax my limited capabilities.  Stress is a positive in a gymnasium sense, because it's well-managed. Stress in the wild, i.e. life during wartime, takes its toll on us all.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Bad Theater

Evildoer

Unabomber City, built by Beltway Bandits, is at it again with the unilateral reprisals, for a crime no one had time to investigate (by design), shades of 2013.

No one believes the ranting and raving anymore. Clearly this plan was up some sleeve, funded by petrodollars. Some triggering event would be needed.

The charade at the UN was the thinnest yet.  The UK and US role players read from their same script, per usual.  The diplomatic gestures were pro forma. The attack was already getting a green light from somewhere.

I don't think anyone serious will be talking about North Korea, really a non-issue in comparison.

No one wants to hear how the Unabomber "feels threatened" as it suffers yet another psychotic breakdown.

Trump's base appears to be fracking over his sudden course reversal, which he wants us to see as evidence of "flexibility".  Is that it, or did some straw just break the back of some camel?

Unabomber City is feeling desperate and weak, its grip on power slipping away.  Will this rerun of the attack on Iraq help rally the people?  I doubt it.  But then many livelihoods depend on keeping these wars going.

Addressing domestic issues just looks too scary I guess, especially to the chicken hawks.

hooded_enemy

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Projects and Complications


The Portland Peace Program is ramping up around developments in Syria. Youtube is predictably skeptical that 2017 is super different from 2013. They showed Trump the DC version and he's rightly pissed. Hollywood is maybe not finished with its version. I know DC has dismissed Russia's take, of an exploded Jihadist munitions factory, but then here in Portland we routinely dismiss DC.  So it's complicated.

When at Princeton, I had Firestone library and world newspapers coming in every day, but hardly in real time. My access to information has improved considerably since the 1970s, as I hoped it would. As the idea of hypertext gained traction, thanks to Ted Nelson and his Computer Lib / Dream Machines (hearkening back to the MEMEX, which Ted knew about), and as CERN put real muscle behind the dream, the shape of things to come became clear.

In GM's heyday, they were introducing the Freeways of Tomorrow at World Expos. The age of the motor car, internal combustion, of abundant oil, was upon us.  In my generation, the "information superhighway" was the dream, freeways (the "I-system") now taken for granted.  Actually, with more roads than we can really afford to repave, "taken for granted" is by now an overstatement; those days are gone too.

On Facebook, I'm looking at China's plans for the Silk Road, an ancient set of overland routes connecting the Far East to points west, on into Europe.  Istanbul has been a gateway city in that regard.  I'm glad to see the Trucker Exchange Program taking shape.  The Chinese Peace Corps (akin to Capitalism's Invisible Army in serving to tell a story) is getting the job done.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Spring Appears!

Four Freedoms

We got this message in Meeting this morning, from someone usually reluctant to channel (we don't usually use that word, it's not a seance): spring has sprung, rejoice (paraphrase). I've certainly noticed a burst of activity, including in terms of my own megabytes per hour upload rate.  Meaning: in the last forty-eight hours or so, I've added about eight Youtubes comprising much of the new playlist: Synergetics 101.

Glenn and I took the maxi taxi to Silverton yesterday, April Fool's Day, "maxi taxi" being a nickname for Razz's successor in my driveway, good story.

Gus Frederick was leading a workshop on digital scanning at Seven Brides Brewery, a place I'd gladly visit again.

The Norman Rockwell display of Four Freedoms, gigantic wall posters, was worth the price of admission, a figure of speech, as there was no admission charge, nor even a fee for Gus's fantastic workshop, a presentation by Northwest History Network (NHN).

Gus knows his stuff and makes it all look so easy. He was using Photoshop with an Epson scanner, high end enough for a from-above light source, for scanning slides or negatives, either color or monochrome.  He demonstrated using other technologies too.  That's a workshop worthy of its own journal entry.

At Quakers this morning, we celebrated April birthdays. I stood to wish my mother Happy Birthday, in keeping with what others were doing, celebrating birthdays of folks not actually in the room. Many people here know her.  She hopes to be in Portland by May.  Joe Snyder has a new grandchild, born on the March-April cusp.

Diane Hollister was in Iran forty years ago, as a Lewis & Clark student. That's one of our local colleges, considered top notch. She stayed with a non-English-speaking family for nine months. When her Farsi failed, they'd resort to French.

She was just back from a second trip, with a lot of perspective, from having been away for a couple generations (lets say generation = twenty years). A large gathering of curious Friends assembled, after social hour.

Bob Barker, a meeting member, whom Diane knew from as long ago as the first trip, was a part of her group this time. The Barkers, like the Urners, have spent a lot of time outside the US.

Towards the end, we talked a lot about traffic in Tehran and driving habits. Diane had a fun video, POV the front seat of a van in the downtown, with people walking every which way. That's a standard topic when cultures discuss one another.  Driving customs vary widely around the world.

I wasn't expecting this presentation, having missed it in the bulletin, and didn't say anything from my back row position.  I'm sometimes quite talkative about the Trucker Exchange Program that would put Americans in the Stans on a civilian basis, earning credit from a (reconstructed?) university.

Something along those lines.  I want experienced truckers to see more of the world if they want to.  The program could take off within a global company perhaps, or several.  I'd think more universities might get involved.

Long ago, as a teenager, I went through Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan with my parents, on home leave from the Philippines (dad was with USAID and entitled to this family trip back home).  That was not the same year we went through Kabul in route to Tashkent.

I was later in Cairo (my parents had moved) when the Shah was kicked out and taken in by Egyptian president Sadat as an asylum seeker.  I wandered the streets of Cairo freely.

The next time I visited, I'd make more friends, assuming I've got my timeline straight.

I've been doing some Facebook messaging with David Koski through a lot of this (not during Meeting for Worship of course, I always silence my phone or turn it off). Given the volume of Synergetics-related Youtubes going out from my PWS (personal workspace, or studio), I sometimes need to do some quick fact checking.

I did get up Mt. Tabor (a local hill, a butte) once or twice in the last week.  That's what I should do next.  Walking is a form of meditation after all, or can be. There's a flight of steps I go up and down, one with a non-zero second derivative, meaning the steps get steeper as one gets towards the top.

Diane's Presentation on Iran

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FEMA Loves You

From my angle, this was a short-lived media campaign on Facebook with a thought-provoking premise: that both the heroin epidemic sweeping the nation, and the purge of voter rolls, ala Florida but bigger, might constitute national emergencies to which a response was in order.

We saw what actually happened when New Orleans went under: a lot of disbelief in DC that anything was expected of them right away, as these were mostly poor folks with homes underwater, literally, and therefore of little net worth.

FEMA had some trailers built in a hurry, with formaldehyde issues, and moved on to Rita, a little better organized (learn by doing). Food Not Bombs was on the scene as well, managing logistics from a van (I wasn't there, Melody went later).

The idea that Uncle Sam (US) might develop public programs for drug abusers is just distopian science fiction from the point of view of those hoping to lower the population. We have schools of thought, tracing back through Eugenics (the movement), to Galton and so on, always looking for excuses to dispose of people, accelerating their downfall.

These schools have a lot of hands on a lot of controls and should not be dismissed as fringe cults or sociopaths-in-treatment.

Admittedly, the Euro concept of Sanatorium has gone through many iterations. We also have strong grooves around sending people to camps to either punish them or have them brainwashed (rehabilitated) most likely both, so "FEMA camp" is already a nightmarish meme in distopian scenarios.  That's two strikes against the whole idea:

(1) government should let more people die faster and

(2) we're afraid of government because of how we've been treated in the past.

In other words, we don't have a lot of precedent for a secular institution successfully bettering the lives of people in need.  That's not something we know a lot about.  We know a lot more about enslavement and control, getting people to do stuff, so-called work.  Healing people of their drug addiction is not really a part of our repertoire.

Anyway, back to earth, I was glad to see CBS News taking up the subject and zippering together the debate about insured healthcare, the many plans, and the hitherto missing detail about whether any provision for rehabilitation and drug treatment might be in the works, for the nation's most desperate.

That was last week sometime.  Mostly I've given up on the media as incapable of connecting the dots.

As for the voter purge, I find it beyond believable that such jiggering occurred, given Florida. Also, given tightening control over the media and less diversity in coverage, I could see why something just barely making the radar in Bush vs. Gore would fail to register all together in Trump vs. Clinton.

The Amy Goodman cartoon makes a lot of sense:  those in control of the narrative are not about to surrender it to outsiders who steer the conversation in different directions.

"A discussion of voter suppression right when we're having outbreaks of ethnic violence, heightened awareness of the legacy of a sorry past, just feels like it might get unmanageable so let's keep that on the shelf for now." Not sure to whom I should attribute that quote.

Anyway, FEMA is not about to take over the voting process and put it through extreme vetting, with help from the NSA.

If we want it to be super-secure, we all need to be more educated about encryption.  That means appreciating Edgar Allen Poe more, in my book.

His detective novels helped us all learn about "bread crumbs" though we'd had "treasure maps" before.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pacific Pivot

Cascadian Concept

William Irwin Thompson, mentioned on the above (not glossy) magazine cover, has written extensively on the Pacific Shift.

In our Silicon Forest region, that means more connections within the Pacific Rim economy, which includes parts of Russia, as well as Japan, China and Southeast Asia. The increasing political closeness of Russia, much in the news, has its benefits.

I know some of the billionaire cabals are hoping to increase tensions between the two hemispheres, as that's where the money is from their angle (endless war).

Out here on the Pacific Rim, we have different billionaire cabals with their own agendas.

The "commemorative ruble" below is of course a joke (see latest issue of Mercury), and is a measure of how not concerned we are about the emerging pacifist economy.

Commemorative Ruble

Sunday, March 26, 2017

N8V American

Ghost Church

The Indian Wars are cranking up again, with the Yanqui drive to nail down the borders once and for all. Reclassifying Latinos, from Hispanic to Native American, is not exactly what's going on, as many Pueblo are happy with "Pueblo" and don't need to care what's put on the check boxes.

The US president's visit to the tomb of Andrew Jackson was a signal to the General Custer types to become more militant about reporting when indigenous folk might be migrating in violation of Ranger rules. Incarceration is the big industry, next to human trafficking.  Bounty hunters keep queuing at Information, asking when and where to saddle up.

I've been suggesting our Third Party (we could call it that) get advisers among the Born Free (or Free Born) of South Africa, those emerging from a post-Apartheid zone. A spirit of "not waiting for the government to do it" should warm the hearts of church-going citizens, eager to return social services to the pastor class.  Does your Meeting get hip hop yet?

Quakers were never fans of the Indian Wars, preferring to do business among equals and profit all around. They were already heavy into negotiations with the locals when the Indian Wars were declared, and briefly pressed into service afterwards, as minions in charge of Boarding Schools. AFSC got an earful that year in Philadelphia, when I was a corporate delegate from NPYM.

I just got off the phone with Maureen Long. She's a part of the extended Methodist community around Portland and so of course knows Pat, who thought I'd be female when we met, based on my name Kirby (she's a she). I'll join one of their Wednesday feedings at Ghost Church (what I call it) in Sunnyside, when Maureen gets over her "case of the time zones" (she's recently back from west Thailand, visiting a son).

My Third Party, just revving its engines (no candidates yet, more like a record label) cares a lot about voting technology, wants a lot more openness, a lot like the California's Pirate Party, a natural ally.

We care all year around about polling and voting infrastructure and agitate to let US public schools feature said technology as a part of what students learn about and understand. Where are the museums about Vote Tech?

All the more reason to keep it open source.

Quakers tend to use consensus in Business Meeting however that only works when clerks have done sufficient homework ahead of time to smooth a path ahead for whatever minutes.  The process is time-consuming and we call ourselves Friends for a reason. Come role play and discover your own talents.

That being said, among strangers or ships in the night, one expects a different system. Voting has its place, as does polling, and the infrastructure is progressing with leaps and bounds, given WiFi and encryption. Universities don't need to wait for governments to give their student bodies more practice.

Closed source elections with no audit trails have far less legitimacy, and contribute to the Banana Republic quotient, now skyrocketing in North America.

Our Third Party gains an edge simply by pointing to the sullied reputations of the colluding parties, which have aided and abetted, not to mention covered up, the dirty tricks in some cases.  With nothing to lose, we have everything to gain.

Sure, universities here in North America might have some stake in more transparent elections, but don't they depend on the largess of Congress in many districts? How eager is Congress to invite more transparency in the electoral process I wonder?  Do we see any signs of dawning awareness yet?

South Africa, home of Chappie and Die Antwoord is more liberal about sharing the bash shell with more ethnic groups, through Shuttleworth Foundation tuXLabs and so on. North Americans still suffer under the tyranny of TI.

I focus on these more liberal policies in my recent Is Code School the New High School?, which looks at all these connections in more detail.

On another topic, just to clarify: "Project Truckistan" is about more open borders for truck drivers, not just in terms of fewer mandatory check stops along the lanes, but in terms of getting to exchange truck routes more readily.

Get good in Ukraine and South Africa both. Give labor (work-study people) the freedom to move, not just their pseudo-human corporate employers. Cross-trained truckers might also serve as tour guides, two revolving door careers.

True, not everyone drives on the same side of the road, nor in all weather conditions. I was not suggesting dispatching drivers purely randomly was I?  Transcripts matter.

The trucking issue comes up around truck routes in the Americas as well.  How long must trucks sit in line waiting at borders or weigh stations?  People tend to favor a policy of keeping the borders open between states in Lower48.  Other regions of the world would like more of that freedom too.

We may need big data to help us on the metrics, and universities like MIT, or that one in Austin. I've not put any Jupyter Notebooks out on that myself, with or without Bokeh. Perhaps the Google Earth team will show some leadership in this area?  We shall see.

Friday, March 24, 2017

No Immune System?


Excerpts from my postings to Facebook:

People expect so much from politicians. The institutions are what's broken though, starting with voting itself.

A federal contest to come up with the best open source not black box voting system with auditable / analyzable results, which the government would then adopt and own, not outsource, might help resurrect that "democracy" idea.

In the meantime, states need their own foreign policies and workarounds. DC is an obnoxious capital with no legitimacy at this point. Too many irregularities in the voting, per Palast etc.

Not talking about "fraudulent voters", talking about purging voter roles by the millions, Rove-style, thanks to deliberately sloppy matches.

Neither mainstream party wants to look at that (except Black Caucus) ergo USA is dead, long live USSA, the Imposter State.

I don't think it makes much sense to have a healthcare debate and exclude public health / CDC type epidemics such as Zika and Oxy.

Or the quality of food in government facilities, be those schools, prisons, hospitals or military.

Focusing purely on the nuclear family and how family physician type medicine will be provided is letting politicians off the hook in too many dimensions.

We need to see if there's any interest in public health.

My impression is the FDA is like in Idiocracy, helpless to protect Americans against the merchants of bad health.

Uncle Sam has no immune system?

Probably a 3rd party would do well if it focused very concertedly on the infrastructure of voting itself. Why don't public schools at least, have voting machines 24/7 that they get to work out with, come to understand?

Or is it that the public should not understand the vital infrastructure of democracy (exactly right, but our party could change that).

As campaign manager, I'd widely show the new Palast film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, about the Rove-style purge of some millions of voters in the build-up to the most recent presidential election, on the pretense that the algorithms were protecting against "double voting", somehow a common practice in a population hard pressed to vote once in most cases. 


This magic trick, like the one in Florida in Bush vs Gore, likely swung the election, but no the Russians are to blame (we'd mock that "look the other way" campaign, to distinguish ourselves from Dems).

We'd probably also talk about Apartheid a lot and advertise our friendly ties with South Africa, home of Die Antwoord (a campaign needs music).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Note to Translators

Syte of Two Rites (or Two Bites)

Translators might feel OK with simply adopting the simple Synergetics words for them, while supplying various synonyms and equivalents: the Mite, Rite, Bite and Lite. Also Kite, Syte (see below).  Each is one syllable and therefore easily pronounced.

We're in the ballpark of space-filling and tiling, figurate numbers.

Earlier threads trace the convergence of Bridges type art-math content with the mosque patterns, already converged with geodesic architecture in the 1900s.  We might say Humans in Universe by Anwar Dil was a precursor to the Iranian SpaceX, in hindsight.

The TetraBook "job" (Montessori meaning) pays the bills when it comes to adding insightful software to your PWS (a GST term). A page wags back and forth, its altitude the radius of some circle, symmetric "book covers" lying open on XY (Z is "up" except in POV-Ray in most Oregon Curriculum Network chapters, with quadrays more relative and zero-gravity).

The Mite, remember is Aristotle's space-filling tetrahedron. He didn't call it that, nor did Coxeter, which is why translators need to study the source documentation (Synergetics) more directly, if in doubt. The full text, with diagrams, has been online since W3 (WWW) got started, more or less, as many of you well know.

Two Mites face bond in various (not many) ways, one way yielding the Rite, another the Bite, using this namespace of Martian Math.  The Rite explodes into four sections ala quadray quadrants, to give additional not-handed (outwardly identical) space-fillers, identified by Sommerville (1920s). Our K-16 has all that in the pipeline, where and when subject to local jiggering.

I've got the magnetic Mites in my Pergamon Press bag, the kit I carry to local schools sometimes, when yakking up 3D printers.

So far, that mostly happens through the Linus Pauling House, a birthplace of organic chemistry (alpha helix...) in that I meet with teachers and retired teachers at that venue, through weekly meetups going back some years.

During the latest election cycle, I was hoping to expand the number of teachers I get to work with, but the anticipated costs for professional development would have needed Measure 97 funding, so that plan got scrapped, and I went back to working more directly with the students, more like on the Saturday Academy model, some of whom are ESL (not native English speakers).

Given Synergetics and Python are not native English either, but different languages, we have more of that "even playing field" that keeps English from over-dominating.

I did over a year of Python work in California (over the wire, declared as income in Portland), and that included at least showing some of the Jupyter Notebooks at my repo in this area.

The Business Accelerator building has an IVM outside (an octet truss), inviting students to remember about A & B modules. The international school is blocks away.

Sytes (2 Mites): Rite*, Bite*, Lite
Kites (2 Sytes): Kate*, Kat*, Kit*

* space-filler (1/4 Rite also a space-filler, not-handed) -- note that only some of these are tetrahedrons (Rite, Bite and 1/4 Rite).

Kates, Kats and Kits build the Coupler of tetra-volume 1 (space-filler). Mite volume is 1/8, A & B both 1/24 (same as T). Typically we'll show ESL classes how Mites make not just Rites, but a Rhombic Dodecahedron (RD) of volume 6, a transition to the "NCLB Polyhedron" (RT) for those into parochial jargon. Montessori Schools are not guaranteed to have 3D printers.  Look on-line for teaching supplies? Koski is supplying the name Kit, for the Syte made of two face-bonded Lites.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pedagogical Artifacts

MITEs Make RITEs
:: Mites make Rites, space-filling Sytes ::

Ethnographers use fancy words for "educational toys" sometimes, Lux Blox for example. Once a toy becomes a model of something serious, it's no longer a mere toy. Skeletons hanging in the medical school, even if made of plastic, are serious tools of science.  I've used "toyz" to cross that line, as in "toyz for the adult-minded" (but then that has its own connotations).

The TetraBook is my standard example at this juncture. Consider the rhomb (diamond) as two triangular book covers laying flat. A diamond has long and short diagonals, corner to corner, and either could be the book's spine. Then we have a single page that flaps back and forth, a gizmo not unlike the unit circle in that the page tip traces out a circle, but of variable radius.

Getting to build these gizmos in a shop and/or 3D print them is a privilege many of us do not have. I checked out Hedron as a possible studio but 4D Solutions is mom & pop scale-wise, not really NASA or a government lab, in terms of budget.  However one doesn't actually require anything that fancy to construct a Rite, a space-filling tetrahedron.  You may follow the links through to Sommerville (a mathematician).

Another pedagogical artifact is the Adidas soccer ball, the pattern, which in chordal form is called a truncated icosahedron, well known to Leonardo da Vinci.  We're at the heart of so-called Western culture here, the realm of the Platonics, all duals of one another. A rich genesis for geometry begins here, with or without Euclidean definitions. Menger's "geometry of lumps" has equal access, for something more like claymation (what distinguishes points, lines and planes is topological but not dimensional).

Dawn Wicca was the mom in this mom & pop operation and the family is missing her today (and always). We had a family business doing programming and bookkeeping: Dawn Wicca and Associates, with 4D Solutions a DBA (business alias). She kept herself alive through a vicious cancer, pulling her community together for a healing process, wise woman that she was.

Even back when we had DWA as a partnership, I was investing a lot of time/energy into my Oregon Curriculum Network website, as well as Synergetics on the Web. The Wikieducator stuff came later, along with Martian Math (one of four components of a Digital Mathematics curriculum, more developed in my various pilots).

David Koski is working on the TetraBook project. He envisions some of the shop course options, such as motor-controlled, with the cover tip to page tip strings stretched between counter-weights hanging beneath the book's plane.

I've kept it more screen-based, given my skill set, thinking of segments for hypertoons (a Portland Knowledge Lab project, back when Dawn had the annexed office at ActiveSpace).  Making Portland a "toontown" and source of claymations, other technical animations, was and is my goal as a curriculum developer.

These days most "toyz" in the US are for authorized personnel in the military, where most have no clue about the heritage denied, unless a privileged officer from West Point perhaps.  That's where people learn about radomes and the DEW line (Cold War history). I imagine few below the rank of general on active duty have had much time for Grunch of Giants (St. Martins Press).  Don't ask an enlisted US army soldier about A or B modules, or whether MITEs make a RITE.  Standards for K-16 vary.  I don't know any public school math teachers who aren't free to teach this stuff.

Half Coupler