Monday, February 20, 2017

Pop-up Pyramid

Popup Pyramid

There's still some ambiguity, one could say by design, in what Pyramid means, even just as a shape, never mind as an artifact.

The artifact provides the default meaning: square base, for five facets in all (base + four sides).

However in mathematics texts we learn of the n-sided pyramid, meaning a triangular base as a lower limit, and no upper limit on how many uniform sides, to approach a perfect circle, a cone.

We have a special name for the hexahedron of all equal angles and edge lengths: the cube.  We might say "simplex" for tetrahedron if we want to sound savvy, but that still might not mean regular.  "Regular tetrahedron" takes a long time to say and write.

One of our andra- / peda- gogical devices is the book with triangular covers, open flat, with a single triangular page flapping back and forth, a stiff flap, its tip arcing through 180 degrees (or pi radians) to define complementary tetrahedra.

David Koski and I put some of the math in the cloud as open source, in the liberal tradition of academic sharing. The only unusual aspect of this exhibit is the option to measure in regular tetrahedron units, when tabulating volumes.  Also, Quadrays get used in the unit tests.

Today I was working with an elementary school math teacher / tutor on the Pythagorean Theorem and its ramifications, which dovetailed nicely with my work with the @property decorator in Python.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Three Bucky Tapes

Note: the low viewer numbers bolster my debate club argument that the US has no public schools anymore (or we'd see evidence of serious homework).

The Business Plot (cite Smedley Butler) succeeded awhile back. We'll see how that goes.

If we get a working USA OS someday, maybe we could start some genuine public schools as a pilot.

How about more boarding schools, more overseas travel opportunities, and more same sex options, which is traditional in schooling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Darwin's Birthday

White House

My Facebook study circle was about Racism again, where it came from, where it's going. That BBC documentary sure was powerful. The timing was perfect, seeing how Darwin's speculative science soon became an "ism" as in Darwinism, and in the rear view mirror we see Social Darwinism as a fork, disowned by current science. Or call it Eugenics for old times sake.

I got Lew Scholl involved in the conversation. Some of my comments:
I'd say we have a history of using physiological cues to guess about a person's ethnicity a lot, and ethnicity is in turn influenced by what the physiological cues are. The genetic (hardware) stuff is becoming less and less reliable as a guide to what ethnicity (software) is "running" a person (habits of thought and ethnicity go together). If I see a white skinned person I think "might believe in / think about races" but I can't be sure. Once I learn they're from the US, then almost certainly they think in terms of races quite a bit.

In the US they're always shoving check boxes in your face and asking you to check which one identifies your race. When I see those check boxes, I know I'm home in my racist homeland.

Same pretty much no matter what your skin color: if you grew up watching US TV and reading US media, you're programmed a certain way, with race a big part of that. What I think of as "US bots" are stereotypically racist, as in always inquiring as to what race she might be, and is that a mixed race child and so on, all core to their homeland soap operas.  
I've been talking with a Process Institute guy about my Global U exchange truck driver program. We don't have to worry about the visa situation yet as we're still working in tandem with Hyperloop planners / testers to understand what the traffic flows might be.  I'm not a transportation engineer but did work with a master, albeit briefly, Jim Hauer. We both used Visual FoxPro to cut our teeth.

I trouble-shot a Windows 10 not working with HP 5510 all-in-one today, for a neighbor. Speaking of which, the little white bungalow house next to ours, slated for demolition, has won a reprieve and today was repainted (street facing side). The for sale sign is up already, people visiting. We're in a real estate bubble in my area code (97214).

The US went out on a limb putting so much stock in anti-communism, when history shows ideologies have a relatively short half life. With Russia re-grounding as Eastern Orthodox, a lot of calories have gone out of the NATO thing. With Trump's feinting to cut it off (the Treasury just passes through borrowings at this point, servicing customers, so Uncle Sam is hardly in a position to be profligate), we learned more about the fracture lines in this somewhat fragile alliance.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Trucking Again


The good folks on QuakerQuaker (Q2) are maybe wondering if I imagine funding my partners' truck fleets from that Quaker Sharia bank headquartered in Istanbul. My answer: why not? We have Halal-compliant banking in Whittier, a Quaker town (historically: the poet John Greenleaf Whittier was a Quaker). This idea that a car might be financed in only one way is gringo-jingoistic. You might get a steep discount for buying it in bitcoin, in some schemes.

The "truck fleets" are Global U fleets, even if sporting the logos of private companies. From a curriculum design viewpoint, you're giving resume and transcript credits where due, to all your work-study students, all several billion of them.

Motion Studies

Not any one database does all the work, I grant you that, and many schools are not even trying.  But my sense is if you get from Istanbul to Kabul by truck, as one of the drivers (apprentice at first), with stops along the way to immerse yourself in various cultures and languages, you're likely deserving of a Bachelors at least, possibly a PhD. We just need to design the programs, as the trucking is already there ("work with the grain" is our mantra).

By working backwards from an open borders civilian economy, with lots of interstate-style freeways, lots of truck stops, we hope to show the way forward to an enticing-enough future to keep so many Americans out of the mercenary militias and dependent on Iron Mountain for their daily bread. The US is a chief exporter of economic refugees in the form of "million dollar men".

More capitalists, fewer economic refugees, with recognized CO status (thanks to membership in Quaker and/or Sufi sects) is not a prerequisite for having a more prosperous global economy, but might catalyze its happening faster. The Iron Mountain is dragging us down and holding us back, with the basic Bucky stuff only taught in the highest ranks, if at all.

To espouse principled objections to use of outward violence, let alone nuke weapons, is hardly a mark of a kook. Quakers have held this position for almost four hundred years. On the contrary, those cults who insist on acting out as a matter of right and/or entitlement, seem among the least stable, mentally. Their grasp on power appears problematic at best.

That Quaker Sharia bank in Istanbul was science fiction last I checked, but then science fiction differs from speculation and investment banking in degree, not in kind. That's if your science fiction is able to except a boost of science without breaking. In Martian Math, we talk about the S-to-F ratio (Science / Fiction).

Trucking Families

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Class Notes

Relative Volumes with Beans

Art students come to school eager to draw, paint and sculpt nudes, with rented subjects, friends, or each other, so my class is a relatively boring affair by many accounts, with all its skeletal outlines of duals and what-not. But lets remember it's not either / or and we wouldn't have flesh without bones to hang it on.

The bones of which I'm speaking are the metaphysical rods of the IVM and XYZ, two space-filling scaffoldings we'd like to relate smoothly. To that end, we isolate the quintessential cube of Cartesian science and cast it next to the IVM's home base tetrahedron, the edge-lengths of which likewise define the octahedron voids in this matrix.

I'll abbreviate making that bridge as I've done extended presentations on just that topic in other venues, and go straight to the dual of said home base tetrahedron. I color code the two intersecting tetrahedrons black and orange, which goes with Princeton, tigers, Halloween, OSU and no doubt many other worthy themes.

Stella Octangula

One needs to start somewhere with the coloring, or not. I've gone with green for cube, red for octahedron, and blue for rhombic dodecahedron, of volumes 3, 4 and 6 respectively. Yellow for the cuboctahedron (20). Then in my accompanying text and symbolic formulae, I'm able to use matching coloration for the font.

The aforementioned four-fold crystalline shapes then need to work in some other prime numbers, most notably more 5, which we accomplish visually with a Jitterbug Transformation (JT). The cuboctahedral and icosahedral number sequences are the same, thanks to the ball-count-preserving JT, possible with any hollow layer.

The minimalist JT provides a back-bone transformation for the canonical suite, out to the two-frequency Cube of volume 24. Once "frequency" is established we're ready for the space-time realm, a place of energy vectors (inertial flows). Pre-frequency is more Platonic.

Art students don't need the whole of Physics, with its energy conservation, spelled out there and then. More of that comes in film school, wherein a "lights, camera, action frame" pd (in Planck units, a momentum for a distance) goes by in a time (pd/t = E = energy buckets), at a frame rate (E/t = power).

Get them to electric light and paint pigments, RGB, CYMK, and you're well on your way to that art degree. Maxwell's Equations might be in some optional reading section?

In making these notes, I'm not saying we shouldn't do Physics when introducing the concentric hierarchy. Probably the classic set of opening moves is through icosahedral symmetry to the micro-architecture of the viral capsomeres, then on to buckyballs, nanotubes and graphene (diamond, graphite...).

The sequence 1, 12, 42, 92... gets in early, with the thought that "shape" reflects the prime number composition of the first term (2PN**2 + 2), whereas the second term (+2) suggests polar pairing, axial spin. The first term diverges as a 2nd power, showing surface growth, which integrates (accumulates) as a 3rd power volume count  (1, 13, 55, 147...).

They're all expected to know XYZ, sometimes known as Fermatian coordinates as well. Next to those, the Chakovian coordinate system (Wikipedia: Quadray coordinates) makes a brief appearance, so obscure, so esoteric, so underground.

Artists, including comic book artists, lap this stuff up, so they might sometimes impress their math major friends with something somewhat surprising. Artists like to jump into the limelight and perform feats. Many architects are likewise into show business.

New Fountain Downtown

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Servo Mechanisms

Per my recent post to the edu-sig archive, part of the mailman empire, I'm enjoying the company of Holden Web this week, a UK based company, the principal of which is part of Python's "deep government" (not that it has one, more in a Monty Python sense). Actually Steve isn't self branding as Holden Web these days, but was when we met. On his resume at least.

Back in the day, Steve helped get Pycon off the ground, now trademarked and a global currency. The Python Software Foundation had the benefit of his input, and chairmanship, for some years. These days he's emeritus, and still a huge fan of the language.

Apropos of Steve's "weightiness" as Quakers might say, he'll be the guest on my closed circuit Python TV show this evening, produced out of California with studios in Portland. He's got a hardware device to show off, a Python API to variable speed propellers. With some luck, we'll get a camera on his apparatus for the group tonight.

Earlier this week (yesterday), I took an OLPC XO to a fifth grade classroom and gave students an opportunity to try connecting it to the school's Wifi. The GUI is way graphical, and dubbed Sugar, coded in Python atop Linux is my understanding.

I was not directly involved with Sugar Labs, however I do continue the Turtle Graphics tradition, as shown in one of my blog-embedded Codester applications (fingers crossed those servers stay in business). I received both XOs from Juliet and Jerome and featured them prominently in my Photostream.  Here's a link to one of my favorites (I still give money to this organization).

Steve and I led a Python for Teachers workshop in Chicago one year. I came at my subject from a background in philosophy, not straight computer science, and put a somewhat different spin on things as you might learn from the Youtubes.

My other guest hail from St. Louis and have hosted me during two year-apart trips to the Missouri, Illinois, Indiana heartland. I sometimes share pictures of their two greyhound dogs on Facebook. I'll leave it as a "crossword puzzle" to obtain identities, if not already in the know.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Safe Zones

We'd all like safe zones in which to study and reflect. Getting interrupted all the time by someone else's agenda is the opposite of freedom.  Humans are designed to serve though, so if your heart is in it, dealing with myriad interruptions may be one's chosen path, God's work as it were, in which case you're to expect more joy.

My mode of study of late, when not working or sleeping, is to scour Youtube and watch mostly longer format talks and lectures. People develop habits around reading, playing games, watching movies, habits that may reshape with time, sometimes simply as a function of what's available.

Growing up poor (not really), without the Internet (not invented yet), I didn't have the luxury of sifting through millions of talking heads expressing views on many subjects, nor of contributing to this growing database of video clips. Later in life, I'd fantasize more concretely about such a system, and still later these dreams would come true.

Nowadays I chronicle the Youtubes I'm watching on my Facebook timeline, with my own comments, inviting more. For example, an issue of our day in some media is the question of whether Russia has grown influential enough to tip the US presidential election, the outcome of which surprised a lot of analysts.

I'm fine with the ODNI report mentioning RT in a few places, echoing what the intelligence community itself watches for signs of the times (for money even, as a part of one's job description). I recall Defense Secretary Rumsfeld pointing to Al Jazeera as a concern. The movie Control Room came out soon after, somewhat inspiring my own blog by that name.

I watch RT as well. Sure Peter Lavelle seems to spearhead one way of thinking (his guests often agree with one another), while Thom Hartmann spearheads another.  Ron Paul jumps on for interviews. Jesse Ventura has his own show.  Recalling Jon Stewart's criticisms of CNN, I'd say Time-Warner has been eclipsed in a lot of ways, in not having as much interesting programming.  Most [Russian] hackers would never use AOL.

That Generation Y is able to start from here, watching peers (roughly same age) contribute videos, has contributed to an exultant mood. Not only is it highly possible to find like-minded, but it's even somehow possible to make a living as a Youtube producer, or at least that's the new dream. A lot of this trashing of the "legacy media" is not based in deep ideology so much as in how more participatory the new media seem. Anyone can become a #PizzaGate scholar.

I have my own relatively small stash of Youtubes, but don't have the high production value animations I lust after (yet). Disney might have the resources, but does it have the interest now that Epcot no longer means Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and Spaceship Earth is not milked for its true meme-plex potential either? Walt was more the visionary than his successors.

I've turned to RT as well then, tweeting how we need to see a JT on RT.  Of course that's super obscure as practically no one in 2017 knows what "Jitterbug Transformation" means. Even though the International Mathematical Union has woven it into their banter, nowhere in the long slog of K-16 is the JT likely to come up.  Sure, it helps conceptually unify the concentric hierarchy but no one knows what that is either.  Ignorance of STEM is rather high in the media.

Naturally I'm not suggesting the JT appear exclusively on RT, it's already too late for that. It's just that from a hearts and minds perspective, if you don't traffic in positive futurism, then your ideology has a short half life.  RT seems more likely to share some substantive Synergetics, whereas numberphiles in the UK have been ignoring the opportunity -- why the BBC sometimes seems like "legacy media" to me as well.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Winter Plunge

We're still technically in winter for sure, still January. I was sharing a .csv file of Roller Coaster data with my night shift crew, shared with me by Alexia one evening, when we got to chatting on Facebook. Let me pull some up...


Roller coasters have been a theme here. The picture at right shows me on one, Dawn to my right cropped out. In that American Adventure park across from Disneyland, Anaheim, LA.

Regarding the Youtube below, which I listened to in its entirety, I find I differed with the provided profile as someone "liberal" in my defense of the Mormon compound against a heavy-handed, abusive intervention.

That was like Charles Dickens in a blender, where the tyrant bully saves the young girl from the other tyrant bully. Most of you won't know what I'm talking about (follow links if curious).

How fun, right?  Getting your reality smashed by an iron fist like that?  No wonder we're all walking PTSD cases, in one way or another (not meaning to trivialize by generalizing, just expressing compassion). Yes, I'm thinking of those Russian (and Scottish) mystics again.

Also, I was tracking Scott Ritter's and Hans Blix reports closely, still believing rationality would make a difference, and was highly skeptical that neocons had the evidence they claimed (in Syria either). I was all over alt.politics.cia or whatever that was, questioning the aluminum tubes story, in the lead-up to the post 9-11 invasion and following years of sanctions. pdx4d was my handle, right?

I'm  talking about the usenet group, on which I used to be active.

Carol is seeing herself as strong enough to venture out tomorrow. She has the energy, a good sign. I'm staying in close touch.

I too am still ambulatory, though with a changed sleep cycle? I'm invited to a party tonight. I'd use public transportation.  Happy Birthday (belated) to Wanderer Trisha Buckland, a brave heart.  Someday I'll get back to Pub 181 I'm sure.

I'm no Sam Harris expert, not having read any of his books. Some Google Brain decided I oughta watch it. Who am I to disobey a bot, right? Just kidding (some bots I'll just kick).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Waging Peace

Board Member (mama Carol)

Carol Urner, my mom, rebooted her life in the year 2000, after the car crash that was fatal to my dad.

She recovered under the care of Bloemfontein physicians, myself and my sister, and continued her work as an international WILPF activist.

She is very grateful for her body and how it has kept her physically with us all this time, through thick and thin. At 87, she knows most of the sand is in the bottom part. I'm treasuring every grain.

Carol works on the Ban Treaty a lot. That's an international movement to outright criminalize nuclear WMDs, which psychologically has already happened. It'd be good to get it in writing of course.

Carol's cheerful courage over a lifetime of risk taking has been an example to the world, and of course to me.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Works in the humanities are designed to resonate on many levels, using metaphor and metonymy to give expression to a mix of conscious and unconscious meanings. 

We sometimes consider scientific and technical writing to be at the other end of the spectrum, with a literal factual truthful meaning only, and no intentions towards resonance. 

The postmodernists wanted to show the notion of absolute objectivity flips to subjective (opposites meet). Kierkegaard made the same point in his Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846). However the idea of a spectrum remains useful.

Synergetics is a work in the humanities, is philosophy more specifically, because it's written to resonate. It's polymorphic without being perverse would be Fuller's claim, taking "perversion" in the Lacanian sense. See also: Love's Body by Norman O. Brown.

Fortunately, philosophy leads to science through natural philosophy, with scientists often becoming philosophical and willing to indulge in the humanities. What literal truths we might glean from "explorations in the geometry of thinking" are by definition potentially applicable in "real world" situations.

Poe is a bridge writer in that he introduces the cryptographic. Stories about secret codes may intimate that they themselves are a secret language. The rediscovery of Egypt and the idea of Indiana Jones type adventures coincided. Here's a PDF about that.

Wittgenstein took this to an extreme, suggesting a secret one cannot divulge even in principle (some private "beetle") is not really a secret at all nor private. If I suppose "my world is my language" then "my secret world" is simply "the world" (secret from whom? -- "everyone but me").  The solipsist has no way to mean what is grammatically out of bounds (Tractatus).

The attitude one takes to reading an enciphered work was thereby further popularized by Poe.  One need not take a Freudian approach to dreams to find "hidden meaning". Indeed, the humanities have always harbored the esoteric and the occult.

Those wondering how to line up Synergetics with STEM might want to bridge through psychology, an approach E.J. Applewhite somewhat favored (not surprisingly given his CIA background), though he never eschewed direct links to crystollography.  

Wittgenstein talks about our sense of something crystalline, something logical, at the heart of our language. Philosophers hunger to bottle and sell its eternal flavor in their cryptic notations.

Synergetics is more Alchemy than Chemistry, true, but only because the human psyche works that way too, reaching into the physical and special case to express the metaphysical, the mathematical, the eternal verities. 

The Gibbs Phase Rule relating solid, liquid, gas states to temperature / pressure applies to thinking itself, with "solid" meaning the more crystalline, and "gas" the more nebulous.

Critical Path, Grunch of Giants and Tetrascroll have the appearance of "code books" in their layered use of symbols. "How much of this are we to take literally?" becomes a real question.  Given the two Synergetics volumes behind them (earlier in time), I'd keep that question open ended, more like what Quakers call "a query".