Wednesday, April 24, 2019

On Gamification Again

Wittgenstein's puzzle was "how do words mean?" i.e. by what mechanism. He wasn't looking to brain science, nor occult "mental processes" nor even to logic, so much as to grammar. 

He realized that words gain meaning not by pointing to essences (St. Augustine's model) but by operating, by doing, in the context of what we could choose to call "games". 

Lifting a paint bucket up a ladder is what conveys what "ladder" means. The meaning of "paint" inheres in how we use it. One ends up describing little fragments of action, against the backdrop of rules. 

The grammar of "games" is useful because we say we're "following rules". This was considered serious and good philosophy in time, not idle wordplay. Real insights derive from studying his work (I would aver, many agree).

Another link to "game" and "games" is through my writings around the Fuller corpus, as Bucky invented "World Game" as his antidote alternative to war games, already ongoing. 

 "What if we are all on the same side, sharing just the one spaceship (i.e. Earth), what simulations might we play then?" 

We want humanity to succeed as a whole, not watch some winner take all in some in some "you or me" debacle.

In recent Youtube I aim to address those who might be offended that World Game is a trivialization, precisely because of these "game" connotations. We seem to make light of the human condition. 

But then Great Game is in the literature already, loosely referring to the same global jockeying for position that Fuller did. 

He wasn't being all that original, which is to our benefit as we like to transition more than we like to abort and reboot.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Of Poets and Programming

:: more about Ezra Pound network ::

Usually it's a bad idea to try a serious upgrade of one's platform, right before a public presentation.  My lecture would last four hours, and was but an hour away.  I chose to upgrade the entire base.

Correction:  I had an older base (3.6) to fall back on.  And I needed it.  This morning, doing a postmortem, I've decided to completely blow away py37 and reinstall from scratch.  That's a somewhat daring maneuver (not really, in my case) but I don't lecture again until Tuesday.

On the Youtube front, I went down the Ezra Pound rabbit hole a little further.  You might think I'd have explored it thoroughly, before having said Modernist poet's visage pop up all over, in my body of work (Youtube corpus).  Was it the same sense of derring-do that led me to upgrade my Spyder?

What happened was Spyder became slow as molasses.  "Full disk" joked a student.  Indeed, but that wasn't really the problem.

Ezra was thrown in a cage for having made some wrong choices.  He had some monetary theories that piggy-backed on his fame as a poet, and these led him into the murky ideologies of the 1900s, with the usual mysticism around banks and banking.

That turned him into a Henry Ford Sr. for awhile there, in terms of spouting antisemitism, but Ford got away with it and then changed his mind (he was no historian -- successful business folk tend to be self educated and interested in crusades).

Ezra changed his mind too, or said he did, but it was too late.  He was sentenced to a hell hole of a mental hospital, that actually had some nicer parts too.  He was later released and he fled back to his friends in Italy, who'd been on the losing side in WW2.

What is the relationship between poetry and taking risks?  James Jesus Angelton, an early admirer of Ezra's, heard the calling of paramilitary service, yet he fought on the side of democracy against the specter of some future USSA (a USA subjected to a USSR style tyranny).  Then the USSR went away.

How could these two Yale friends end up on opposite sides in the matter?  I don't really suppose they did at this point, meaning that's a big oversimplification.  Angelton took his thinking to a next chapter after WW2, the Cold War chapter.

Indications are Ezra got late-in-life updates thanks to Bucky Fuller (a cold warrior as well).  They hung out in Spoleto and near Venice, as I understand the story.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Campus Blimps

One of my Refugee Science advisors reminded me on the phone today that the blimp has a future.  One of the blockchainers I know taught me a similar lesson:  when large groups gather, for such as a folk music festival, the needs of WiFi users may be best served, by a blimp (tethered).

A blimp need not be designed for passenger humans.  They're a relatively inexpensive way to provide cell services, but also an eye in the sky.  The dynamics of refugee camp asylums, as we know, is campers are welcome to look through the same eyes, like Oregon does with its freeway ODOT cameras.  People are much less worried about surveillance when it's not about "us versus them".

These elementary observations, about the web cams, reminds me of lessons from Occupy.  These are not prison camps so much as livability experiments, and in democracy such as those in the camps are able to shoulder self governance.  How self governance gets established is in part facilitated and catalyzed by software.  People have shared access to data, about what's happening on campus.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Documentary City

At first, I envisioned doing a review of The Century of the Self only.  I plowed through the whole thing, and got a lot from it, yesterday.  National Beer Day according to Ad Week sources.  I imbibed my allotment (loving Big Brother -- kidding) and later, after crossing paths with a major Tweeter, I took in said Self movies.

I woke up this morning thinking Youtube had been talking about Qaddafi for awhile.  People spell that all kinds of ways, but yes, I mean the Libyan leader.

Long timers with this blog, or speed readers, will discover Urners (family name) getting involved with Libyans in the 1960s and 1970s, and with Egypt later, then Bangladesh (also largely Muslim if you're tracking by #religion).

Dad was an urban and regional planner, eager to share his newly minted skills with the developing world.

Responsible leadership sees a need for planning and shares plans as a demonstration of providing leadership.  Beyond this value in the moment, if the plans are any good, they're even followable.  That's what planning had figured out:  how to manage growth through zoning (different from micromanagement).

Given the family associations and interest in recent history generally, I went back to the start and followed Hypernormalization (by Adam Curtis) through some number of rabbit holes.

I'm actually still exploring in that one.  These documentaries are long, multi-parters.  As they should be, given the complexity of the subject matter.

However, another Adam Curtis movie, and I only just recently connected the dots, is The Power of Nightmares, which gets a lot of internal links in my own personal blogosphere.  I saw that one in a real theater, one of Portland's finest, in the basement of an art museum.

I was blown away by how the narrative came together and curved back on itself.  Spherical thinking.  What I blah blah about in my own Youtube channel.

I'm not going to recap all these movies in one go.  However they do criss-cross over the same time period (all mentioned so far).  It would make sense to go for a recap.

Given the need to keep the stories manageable, within the longer multi-part series, one can't take every trailhead or follow every leading.  There's an opportunity cost to investing too much attention in ways that won't pay off at home base, as someone base-minded might put it.  You've got a story to tell, meaning you've got a story to cut away.

The "negative tetrahedron" that gets cut away in the Self movies, might include Werner Erhard as a bridge to this negative Universe (outside the scope of these documentary movies), wherein R. Buckminster Fuller shows up, and my whole branch of the storytelling (with ties back to the CIA in several directions, mostly notably through Ed).

So in the 1970s I'm tracking Erhard through Walter Kaufmann at first (Princeton) and then, having experienced said est Training in New Jersey (while still at the university), continued volunteering in New York, while serving the Dominicans as a high quality high school teacher.

When the Centers Network switched its attention to Bucky, I noticed, and got more noticed, at around the same time.

Later, in the 1980s, I would move back to Portland and see my first Adam Curtis movie.

Is he still making them?  It's not too late to criss-cross again, although maybe he feels he sufficiently covered the Bucky chapter in the Cyberspace (Cyberia) episode, as I saw a geodesic dome or two fly by, in some Tron-like rendering -- or was that an acid trip?

Anyway, thank you Adam Curtis, for making some really interesting, if dystopian, documentaries.  I'm planning to finish watching Hypernormalization next, then probably do a proper review of that one by itself.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adventures in Video World

I'm reminded of Adventures in Radio Land (earlier blog post) wherein I take up some of the same themes.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Box Oriented Programming (BOP)

Concentric Hierarchy

In English, "box" (like "ox"), registers a container, likely a cube, but even more likely the generic hexahedron of all right angles.  Could be brick shaped, oblong.

A useful exercise in a literature class, when introducing "namespace" as a concept, would be to say something like:  for the purposes of today, we're going to use "box" to mean "any polyhedron" (teacher holds up a tetrahedron as a demo "box").

That hardly seems a stretch as what's special about a box is it's a rigid container with well defined edges, corners and faces.  A box is a polyhedron already.  The only change we're making is we're enlarging "box" to mean rigid shapes with potentially fewer or more corners, edges, facets.

What we've really accomplished, with all this talk, is rescuing the generic "object" of Object Oriented Programming, from being something flat and UML like.  Not that I'm against flat, 2D representations of objects as circles or little clouds (flat, curvilinear).  I'm OK with flat.

But at the end of the day, we need to get off the plane and be true containers, little boxes.

Then of course we know that boxes may contain boxes.  Boxes come in flavors.  Indeed, the "hat box" was already round.  Those are cylindrical.  When our family lived in Rome, we could buy fresh milk in tetrahedrons.  The cartons were easy to make, and sturdy.  The plastic bag system was less secure.

Some of you may be thinking "Russian Dolls" when I talk about boxes inside of boxes, and that would be fine.  We're in the realm of compartmentation, the "division into separate sections or units" by whatever means.  Architecture.  Cell biology.  Mitochondria live inside the cell (city) wall.

In Minecraft, the worlds are pretty ruthlessly XYZ, meaning boxes of the hexahedron kind rule.  Then students jump into an Escher like floating kingdom, an underwater oasis populated with planaria.  Flatworms I guess they are.  Instead of XYZ, it's "IVM" as we say in American literature.

Remember this is a literature class, and we're using "box" in place of "polyhedron" to become more accustomed to the "namespace" idea, which translates as "shoptalk" or even "dialect".  The problem with "dialect", often, is that we expect different pronunciations, whereas in some cases it's more a matter of vocabulary.

Now go back to OOP with your boxes and talk about "types" as before.  The "string type" hatches string instances.  Those types that hatch instances, such as string, also form a type:  the "type" type (we're talking Python now, but any OOP language will be similar).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Oregon Curriculum Network

These two instructional videos were produced rather far apart from one another in time, though not in space.

I keep coming back around to the same points, in this case the efficacy of "Thing Oriented Programming" (TOP == OOP) for representing polyhedrons in particular.

What's somewhat unique about the Oregon Curriculum Network curriculum is that it contextualizes and takes advantage of the Bucky stuff, instead of ignoring it.  This helps level the playing field in some ways, as the Python gets applied to something unfamiliar to almost everyone, yet it's not that hard to grasp.

OCN is a project I sponsor on the side.  I don't yet have it out there as a nonprofit, though it easily could be.  CSN (Coffee Shops Network) is another such project.

The "more with less" revolution has allowed me to share the content globally, and mostly by word of mouth.

Absent high pressure advertising, we get organic growth, versus a flash in the pan passing fashion. 

Those taking the time to seriously integrate their materials within the context of this revamped humanities curriculum, will likely appreciate how STEM-friendly it is.  PATH meets STEAM.

We're able to go back and forth over the C.P. Snow chasm, which was always a goal of Synergetics.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Multnomah Village Meetup


Bradford Hansen-Smith had piloted his car through major snow, the I-system providing only one lane each way through major stretches.  Such is North America in winter.  The further north you go, the more frozen water you get, with neither pole really having time to thaw out, though over longer cycles a permafrost will get mushy.

Terraformation sounds like a noun, but then English is good that way, making everything sound over and done with, stones in a graveyard.  Nouns, as far as the eye can see.

There's something to be said for immutability, software engineers will attest.  But lets not forget:  the planet is still forming, it's not "done".  Best we be nimble and quick in our thinking, not stodgy, as she isn't.

Back to Brad:  he's showing circle folding as a method of exploration, almost meditation.  He wants to equip you with specific techniques and then set you off to explore a territory.  Circles and creases. Edges, faces, vertexes.  Topology at its most primitive.

In my Youtube about our meetup, I talk about how it really isn't Origami.  The circle meditations are meant to be journeys of discovery whereas in Origami we have a specific goal or objective and know that following a set of stepping stones will get us to our destination.

I encouraged Brad to hit the groove of doing more Youtubes, as I've been doing.  When it comes to Show & Tell, there's no real substitute for both showing and telling.

The workshops out here are on Orcas Island, which we hear about a lot, as cool and trendy.  People who migrate around doing conferences as a lifestyle, a way of earning one's way by speaking at some of them, like to get away to these nooks and crannies of Planet Earth.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Creature Feature

I've been vlogging up a storm, note the V, where a "vlog" is a "video blog".  What you're reading here is more conventional.  Capturing all these motifs in language is subject to misfires.  Like I don't really think I qualify as a vlogger.

There's some huge critter in my ceiling.  Is that a racoon?  I'll bang with a broom...

Spring day out.  St. Patrick's Day.  For me, there's a lot of yang in this yin.  You can find it on Youtube.

I think I need a ladder (I have one) to figure out some hole, likely in the southwest corner.  I doubt there's any ingress through the chimney.  The critter is between floors, not in the attic.

Bang!  Bang!  That's the broom noise.

By "vlogging up a storm" I just mean I'm continuing to publish Youtubes at a rate of more than one per day (if we just look over the last couple days).

I've been weaving in my trademark themes, but these days adding more autobio, taking advantage of my current stash of accumulated online slides.  I feel like my grandpa Tom, who put a lot of work into their trips through Europe.

I've seen a lot of physical slides go by the wayside, along with papers and other such physical media.  I understand that the way we preserve stuff now, digitally, has many advantages.  Grandpa Tom stored his slides in a tropical climate in a shed.

I remember going to Bangladesh and helping mom and dad pull up stakes.  They'd stored family belongings, including old papers, like dad's CO application, only to find them being eaten, but whatever bugs like that kind of stuff.

When Derek or Glenn have a chance to act as a spotter, I need to find out where a creature this large is getting in.  Or is it more than one?

Friday, March 15, 2019