Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rainbow Gathering

And now for something completely different, as Monty Python would say, as they did some crazy segue.  Rainbow Gathering.  No, I've never been.  However, my long association with the two generations behind me (younger than) through Food Not Bombs brought me into many of the same circles.  They'd go.  I'd hear about it.

I've always been a browser, since before "web browsers" were a thing.  I dreamed of hypertext before the web was born.  So now, approaching 60, my idea of a good time is plowing through Youtubes about this and that, sometimes making one of my own, but mostly watching, er browsing.

Two themes tonight:
  • the 60 Minutes episode on the opioid epidemic (adding "opioid" to spellchecker), the one with the DEA whistle blower, focusing attention on big pharma as big drug pusher;
  • and Rainbow Gathering.
I don't premeditate, usually, about what I'm gonna browse about though I keep coming back to core topics.  A Dom Rosa post at Math Forum got me watching 60 Minutes.

Oh, and I listened to quite a bit of Bucky Fuller, like the interview below.  You might think I do that a lot given my interests, but I don't, probably because I feel pretty expert on that already (the Bucky stuff) and am more focused on filling holes (in my knowledge).

I'm doing laundry.  Today was First Day (Sunday) and I brought a car load of C6XTY stuff to share with kids.  Me, Ron and Carl were the adults.

Then Glenn and I had lunch at Hop House after which we decided to check out the newly installed wooden bar at Back Stage, McMenemins, literally back stage behind the main screen at The Bagdad.  An old Portland landmark, the Lotus Room, is closed and gone, however McMenamins rescued the bar itself, a sight to behold, and we enjoyed it, chatting with the bartenders while watching drag racing and soccer.

Tying things together more, in retrospect, Bucky Fuller was very respectful of the hippie "rebellion" from which such institutions as Rainbow Gathering derive. He was pretty in touch with the Zeitgeist himself, a fancy German word for the Holy Ghost if we're translating from Catholic.

The focus on artifacts and inventions, in the above video for example, is what his Design Science Revolution was all about, although in his case the initiative was to involve the aerospace industry in providing shelter solutions.

I was slightly post Boomer I think it safe to say, and my line is I didn't really get to know any true hippies until returning to Oregon post college and meeting Bead and Denise at the Gathering of Western Young Friends at Camp Myrtlewood, very Rainbow-like both in spirit and design, with a big focus on cooking (not assembled outdoors though, in a well-equipped camp kitchen).

My middle and high school years had been mostly in Italy and the Philippines.  At Princeton I lived with what I might call 2nd generation hippies (and Kirk) but that's a bit of a stretch given this was Princeton after all.  We hadn't dropped out.  We were definitely against Apartheid.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Terminology and Scope

More Concentric Hierarchy

Scope relates to terminology. In computer programming, we're always looking to prevent "name collisions" which is like when everyone uses the term "vector" but defines it in different ways, ditto "quaternion" or "duckrabbit".  The Java language took your Internet domain and flipped it around, drilling down to some unique path, at the end of which your "vector" might append -- just yours.  Like I might have net.4dsolutions.quadrays.vector -- in Clojure.

Koski and I were yakking on Verizon tonight, mostly about terminology. I think it's fine to divide the RT's E-mod into "Fe Fi Fo Fum", reminiscent of the Jack and the Beanstalk story sure, but also of "Do Re Me Fa".

Let me unpack that a bit.  RT = Rhombic Triacontahedron (raise your hand if you thought Russia Today) and in having 30 rhombic (diamond) faces, each criss-crossed by face diagonals, it begets 120 of what we call E-mods in Synergetics, though the latter term relates to an RT of specific radius: same as that of a unit sphere.

The RT arises from combining two Platonics, dual to one another, the Icosahedron and Pentagonal Dodecahedron. Their edges provide the criss-crossing long and short diagonals respectively, of the 30 diamond faces.

The Icosahedron, when spun, around opposite vertexes, edge middles, face centers, generates a network of 31 great circles likewise consisting of 120 LCD (lowest common denominator) triangles, which may be superimposed on the RT, effectively slicing each E-mod into four sub-modules.  These are what David is naming the Fe, Fi, Fo and Fum (alternatively: Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum).

The Fi-mod, for example, has the volume of the containing E-mod with edges scaled down by precisely 1/Phi (0.618...), meaning its volume, a 3rd power of edge-length, has (1/Phi)(1/Phi)(1/Phi) the E-mod's volume. E weighs in as a tad greater than 1/24th (of the uni-volumed tetrahedron).

What we were discussing tonight is how one of the radii of the Fi is the S-factor, 1.08..., defined originally as the volumetric ratio between the S- and E-mods, or equivalently the ratio twixt the volume 20 cuboctahedron and its partner in Jitterbug, the volume ~18.51 Icosahedron.

Cubocta / Icosa == S / E == S-factor (S).

One of the Fi-mods radii is S.

We need to distinguish S from S3, the latter being the volumes ratio of the cube of edges R (= unit sphere radius) to the tetrahedron of edges D (D = 2R).  The former is a bit bigger by 1.06... or so.  S3 serves as our conversion constant between two systems of mensuration, the XYZ and IVM.

XYZ is the grid of cubes we're all used to from our math classes.  IVM, or "isotropic vector matrix" is the scaffolding (grid) defined by spheres in closest packing, consisting of tetrahedrons and octahedrons of volume ratio 1:4.  How we juxtapose these two is by convention and intelligent design.

Another math fact: the cuboctahedron of volume 20 times S3 gives the volume of the so-called "SuperRT" the RT formed from said ~18.51 volume Icosahedron and its dual.  The SuperRT derives from the aforementioned unit radius RT (of 120 E-mods) by scaling all edges up by phi (not fi) i.e. 1.618..., increasing volume by a factor of Phi to the 3rd power.

Such is the terminological world in which Koski and I swim around.  It'd be completely a private language were it not for it's tightly syncing with what's long been published and out there i.e. Synergetics itself, by the genius R. Buckminster Fuller.

The so-called E-mod is a part of a family, which includes the A-, B-, T-, E- and S-modules.  These are core to the Synergetics "concentric hierarchy", built around a duo-tet cube of volume 3. A-mods alone build the unit volume tetrahedron, whereas As and Bs build the octahedron of volume 4. Both A- and B-mod, like the T-mod, have volume 1/24.  They all have handedness (left and right versions).

For more information, about the S-module especially, my Coffee Shops Network blog.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Thinking About Scope

Show & Tell

Thinking About Scope

For further reading:
Names Have Scope in CS (Math Forum)

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Number Sequences

:: screen shot ::

Given I'm spending time with 5th and 6th graders as their Python teacher, I've been looking at Oregon's version of Common Core, and, sure enough, that's an age where students learn the difference between prime and composite numbers.

The so-called Natural Numbers, or Whole including zero, form a comforting world of integer types and operations, especially number sequences, like at OEIS (On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences).

What I'd recommend to teachers are the two books Gnomon, by Midhat Gazale, and The Book of Numbers, by Conway and Guy as a way of motivating course prep around number sequences.

In addition to prime and composite, we have such as the triangular numbers, square numbers and then, off the plane (moving into space), tetrahedral and half-octahedral numbers.

Here's our transition to sphere packing and space-filling, analogous to tiling on a plane (tessellation -- already a favorite elementary school topic).  1, 12, 42, 92...

Back to primes, I'm also seeing 6th grade as a time when we pick up more keyboard skills.  Coding with Kids has them moving from block-based programming (sliding puzzle pieces around) to more lexical languages, such as Python.

To that end, I wrote yet another Sieve of Eratosthenes.  Such programs are an old standby in computer science, meaning I'm being very correct and conservative in my approach.

My agenda is to promote C-STEM or C-STEAM in a way that doesn't lose sight of Synergetics.

Good meetup with a NW Process Institute guy today over lunch.  I was hoping to catch Arnold Mindell in action on Friday but ended up working a new teaching assignment instead.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Flag Waving

With Flag

Another Quaker queried, on one of the Facebook threads, about what the Quaker read was on the pledge of allegiance. For background, Quakers have issues with taking any kind of oath to begin with, as there begins a double standard (under oath and not) and "forked tongue" as a native language.

My answer was esoteric. As a child I learned the pledge as a classroom ritual and have said it many times. A pledge is a pledge unless somewhere retracted right? So insofar as I'm obliged to accept the burden of childhood promises, I'm pledged to the Republic for which it stands, Banana or otherwise.

Nowhere in the fine print does it say we can't do due diligence and unearth the distant past of said flag. Yes the USA took it over, modified by stars in varying patterns, signifying states of the Union (more on that shortly).  Took it over from whom?  That's not a verboten topic for exploration.

As a matter of logic, the flag's standing for a certain Republic does not preclude it having many other meanings, including those resonating with a certain past. A Republic has a prehistory. The pledge might keep going back, in that case, to even before the Republic and its symbol.

Some states tried to secede and flew a new flag, abandoning the more Yankee-flavored East India Tea motif.  Their attempt at secession occasioned a great Civil War, during which time, a pledge of allegiance to that specific symbol could be considered traitorous to a warring side.

Forcing a Yankee ethic on the loser states, newly suffering other losses of specific icons, is what the Trump Tower edicts appear like to some in the NFL.  He's making the Confederate States pay homage, now that he has defended their right to be defiant, in an almost ACLU type position.

I saluted the flag in Portland, where dad was in some pitched battle over how to route the future freeway. He was not a fan of its hugging the shoreline, obliterating the riverfront.

He was a city planner back then, with a hankering to work overseas, the focus of his PhD thesis.  He'd been trained at Johns Hopkins for international work, so why not?  Let the locals have their freeway battles.  He'd be in a small plane over the Sahara (not flying it, part of the overview crew), not looking back.  Lots of oases.

He was a consultant, not telling anyone how it had to be (not bossy), just applying what he'd learned, at University of Chicago and elsewhere, as the state of the art insofar as the US practiced it (city and regional planning).

This explains my transplant to Rome, Italy at a young age, to resume my academics at the Junior English School of Rome, and later the Overseas School of Rome (OSR).  I came to more appreciate my identity as a USA citizen according to some macro-melodrama one could scarcely understand.  We'd have to learn about Rome first, and Greece before that.  "It's a long story" the adults said, rolling their eyes sometimes.

Fast forward and I'm almost sixty and still couldn't tell you exactly what's up with all this flag business.  Symbols play a deep role in human consciousness, is what the anthropologists are telling us, historians too.

I'm hypothesizing that recent Civil War tremors (aftershocks) have newly awakened us to the fragility of the Union.

The spectacle of Puerto Rico needing rescue, as part of a big triple whammy (Harvey, Irma, Maria), just adds to our sense of disorientation, if not outright disunion.

There's a need to bond over something.  As far as secular symbols go, Old Glory still carries weight. I'm not gonna walk on stage and tell people how their symbols don't matter.  Of course they matter.

However I've always been taught graceful ways to stand aside on oath taking, using "affirm" or other language.  As a Quaker, I enjoy the practical consequences of walking an ethnic talk.

To me, that's the glue of the Americas: an understanding of our melting pot role, an acceptance of varying ethnic practices, yet getting the job done anyway.

People were already here; people came here from everywhere.  The flag belongs to Chief Crazy Horse as much as to General Custer.

With a history like that, one shouldn't be apologetic if "allegiance" means something nuanced.  Ben Franklin would understand.

Betsy Ross got in trouble with some Quakers, many of them still loyal to their King, in Revolutionary War times.  Free Quakers broke off from the mainstream, in taking a pledge of allegiance.

Later, Quakers as a sect forbade the practice of slavery among its members, well before the USG deemed slave-holding illegal. We're in a similar position today with our support for the UN treaty banning nuclear weaponry.  We also remember the Kellog-Briand Pact.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Equinox Celebration

Equinox Party

The Friday following the CERM Academy presentation, we gathered for potluck.  Greg & family were of course invited and may make it another time.

We've been doing these Equinox and Solstice celebrations pretty much since being granted access to the Linus Pauling House as a part of the Silicon Forest sponsored ISEPP project, which included restoration and preservation of this historic home.

Linus studied chemistry in the basement and came to intellectual maturity during that exciting time  when organic chemistry was first getting its head around macro molecules, DNA included. He won two Nobel Prizes, one for Chemistry, one for Peace.

Our discussion turned to off-color acronyms, such as engineers use to remember the color coding of resistors. That took us to the politically incorrect (at first blush) mnemonic phrase I learned at Junior English School (Appian Way, Rome) for spelling "arithmetic": A Red Indian Thought He Might Eat Tobacco in Church.

Bob McGown and I realized somewhere around the time I trucked out Pascal's Triangle, that this Red Indian must be that very Chief SohCahToa to whom we who our memorization of the specific names of functions in Trigonometry.  He lives in a tetrahedron tepee. It all came together.

My spin is of course smoking tobacco would be the natural thing in a church, seeing as it was treated as a medicine and religious substance.  We have lots of "tobacco churches" in America, and that's just for starters.

C6XTY, often dubbed a "molecule" by neighbors, especially when assembled, is indeed named in part for C60, the carbon molecule.  The 6 also refers to its six identical parts, locked together with eight screws to give the 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons of the Fullerene macro molecule.

Alpha Helix by Julian voss Andreae, the red helical sculpture outside, commissioned by ISEPP's Doug Strain and its president, Terry Bristol, shows a much simpler molecule than DNA, but one that inspired chemists with portents of what folding could do. Linus Pauling had worked out its structure.

We collectively learned molecules could do origami like nobody's business.  Shape matters, a lot. There's a jigsaw puzzle aspect to chemistry, with lots to visualize.  Chemistry is a lot like a block-based language (thinking of MIT Scratch and its kin).

In attendance: David DiNucci, Barbara Stross, Dick Pugh... I could go on, but not everybody likes their name mentioned.  Brenda Wyse showed up, nice for me as she always showers me with affection (an English idiom).  No Nirel though.

We talked a lot about Brenda's ambitions to get a rather muscular tractor.  She'd done a lot of homework and got into details.  I enjoy tractor talk, even if I'm not good at it.  She has a large farm, that her dad worked on, showing her the ropes.  We've had celebrations there to.

"Tractatus" for "work" connotes "tract of land" and "roe to hoe".  One of my favorite Latin roots.

Mom and I drove the maxi taxi, parking a block behind, and coming across Satya at the temple.  Some equinox-related ceremony was happening there too.

Satya is one of our local holy men who bounces around between the outdoors athletic youth culture (Rainbow Gathering etc.) and elder spaces (Food Not Bombs is for all ages).

I met him through Lindsey, political refugee (not unlike Dawn in that respect) and former house guest, sometime Wanderer.  She's in Kathmandu these days, immersed in some of the cultural traditions this temple traffics in, part of a Religious Studies major through OSU.

Bob McGown brought his dog, which I appreciated and Facebooked about. Wanderers for me is about celebrating non-humans in addition to humans. I've always considered the dogs among us as symbolic of this respectfulness.

However the dog's specific name will be left out of this account in order to keep the confusion level down.  Having a pet python named Barry is bad enough, given Barry Redd the former Peace Corps volunteer machinist banker.  Barry helped a lot with the Sam Lanahan C6XTY Gala Event, another major subject of our conversation.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Life During VUCA Time

:: greg | CERM Academy ::

VUCA, an abbreviation for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, is meant to characterize the times we live in.  We can't just go by established patterns.  Alvin Toffler anticipated a somewhat shocking future, and this is it.

Greg and Vic, with their daughter Margaux, packed the Pauling House for what was a first for this audience: a talk on life during VUCA times with perspectives from the Hutchins family.

Greg talked about the challenge to continually reinvent himself given accelerated change in engineering.

Vic is in the midst of changing careers in mid life, turning herself, along with Margaux, into a computer programmer.

Margaux, age 18, has researched the return on investment for college and doesn't see how it pays off. A lot of people she knows find only low income jobs yet are already saddled with debt.

She has been homeschooling and volunteering on numerous projects, gaining life experience by leaps and bounds.  She and her mom just got back from Burning Man, a first time for both of them.

The premise of the talk, well established using slides, was that the challenges faced by each family member were highly representative of mega-trends in the workplace.  Their predicaments are our predicaments.

We're moving to a gig economy.  Artificial Intelligence is promising to automate many jobs that humans are currently paid to perform.  The nation (USA) is swimming in debt, yet only mega-spending on infrastructure is likely to keep it alive politically.

Greg has written and led workshops on Risk Based Thinking [tm] for quite some time, and through his CERM Academy counsels businesses on ways to manage risk in times of upheaval.

Learning to connect the dots and think outside the box may sound cliche, but only because such skills remain vitally important.

How we respond and adapt organizationally is at least as important as how we respond as individuals.

The talk was perfect for Wanderers and sparked conversation and debate.  Some of us are already retired whereas others are just starting their careers.  We come from many walks of life.  I didn't recognize quite a few.

Steve Crouch brought donuts.  Chips and salsa, along with soft drinks, were also served.  Deke recorded the whole presentation on his iPhone.  The projector misbehaved at first, so Vic and Margaux dashed home to get another one, but then it ended up getting the job done.

Deke (Derek)
:: derek @ LPH ::

Monday, September 18, 2017

It (movie review)

It took me a few weeks to realize this movie It at The Bagdad, my neighborhood movie theater, was the same movie as this box office record-setter I'd been reading about, featuring some scary clown.

For context, I was joking about Trump fitting the "scary clown" archetype before going, and then after coming back from the movie I dove into the Steve Bannon interviews, with Charlie Rose. 

So Trump is a student of Jung's I found out.  So the scary clown knows what he's doing?  Scary.

The film is a kind of Goonies meets Stand By Me meets Carrie, and some other horror films you may have heard of. 

The directing is confidant, way more than competent, and is self aware of its genre, which filmmakers in this area generally need to be.  It's a world of symbols and motifs, of nightmares and minor keys.

As we learned from Vienna Circle, a good way of tackling taboo subjects and sending messages along to the tormented, is to employ the code language of Gothic horror. 

What children most fear, including their own fantasies of vengefully murdering others, get explicit treatment amidst manifestations of disgust and outrage over mistreatment.

In childhood, the local bullies may be of primary concern.  Intelligence learns to zoom out and appreciate the bigger picture.  A 27-year-long time cycle haunts this town.  The evil is at the archetypal level, less than in the individual incarnations.

The stereotype personalities in the making band together as blended hero, to fight their collective projection of pure Evil, whom they eventually find, and corner.  They fight for each other.

The hellmouth they find is worthy of another Buffy and crew.  I respect the cinematographic effects.

There's always a library, full of those musty books, telling texts that at least hint at the sulfuric sepulchral creatures that haunt the netherworld. 

Childhood means taking up the perennial battles against our own deepest fears. 

Horror flicks like this one help us focus and deal with whatever traumas.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Eye Glasses

Glenn and I moved some plants out of the expected rains, an October harvest, prior to which I shop vac-ed a bit, spewing fine what powder out the rear while barely getting enough pressure to lift a few rat turds.

I also swept a bunch in the basement, wherein the dust is harder to see but nevertheless a suspect.  New hot water heater going in, the last one lasting from a manufacture date in 1992, and installed before we moved in to what these days we call the Blue House.

I'm blaming the fine dust for the more milky vision, but according to WebMD and other sources, I'm overdue for another eye exam.  I rolled over on my main frames the other night, falling asleep to quantum mechanics (Bell's Theorem experiments again), and woke up to another logistical challenge.

Of course it doesn't help that the city's air is full of particulate matter, the detritus of incinerated forest out the Gorge. I-84 has been closed for some time.  The fire is less than half contained.

Lloyd Center Lenscrafters didn't carry spare parts, only sparkling new frames, but I was directed to a place I'd seen driving by on numerous car trips, may have even patronized in chapters past:  a frames fixer on SE Powell and Foster.

The guy was quick with the frames.  All they needed was new bows.  This milky vision symptom came later and seems fleeting hence the shop vac dust theory.  However I'm reminded by the Internet that I've got the problems of an almost sixty year old male.

I switched my healthcare plan awhile back and haven't visited my primary provider since the switch. However we're talking eye doctor here, not family care.

I'll be relying on pretty good vision in the coming weeks given all the driving and coding I have scheduled.  Vacation time is coming to an end.

No I don't have a bizmo yet (beyond the body itself), although my friend Tim Hitchcock does. He brought it to Sam Lanahan's gala gathering on Friday.  More about that gathering in another post.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Grampa Carl
:: grampa carl ::

Jack Urner
:: Jack Urner (my dad) ::