Per my pre-summit background essay (5 page PDF), I've been looking for ways to develop a sense of energy cost accounting that's more primordial than say monetary accounting, which invests rather one-dimensionally in a somewhat theoretical fluid or juice, convertible between currencies.
Real joules come to planet Earth from a solar fusion furnace we call our Sun. Real photosynthetic processes help us amass the biomass needed to fuel a bonanza of air, water and land specimens (some multi-medium). Humans partake. All of this ecosystem economics involves joule-measured energy transactions, and could theoretically not involve money in any way (Robinson Crusoe's scenario).
Energy without money is highly conceivable. Money without energy doesn't make any sense.
We've been combining the fruits of such general systems theory insights in the form of rich data structures, suitable for sharing more globally. Ruby and Perl get to play in the Gnu Math playground, just as surely as Python does, so I'm not saying this new Py Dough trademark defines and captures the market, but it makes sense for my team.
Whereas other shops will focus on astronomy, anatomy, minerology, flora and fauna, my shop is hugely into polyhedra for its class definitions. We like 'em round, we like 'em spikey, we like 'em with triangles and without. And in the Fuller School arena, we have this "classical garden" motif (sort of Kyoto in flavor), wherein a stark and austere object world is relatively oriented and sized in a particular way.
This prefrequency "no world" (or "gnu world" -- however special case depicted) also features this sort of jitterbug dynamism (a kind of dance, or heart beat), centered around an inside-outing (akin to an inflection point). The resulting bow-tie shape suggests an hour glass or tornado-like toroid of involuting evolution, a so-called pattern integrity. So let's all put on our 3D glasses and bliss out for a spell. You can maybe appreciate why hippies thought this Bucky guy was fun to tune in.
Anyway, I was documenting this breakthrough (about how to get more joules in the picture) over on edu-sig this morning, over my morning coffee in a black Princeton mug (newly replaced, after I broke the one purchased at my 25th reunion). We'll take this rich data structure idea, and converge it with the idea of a richly inventive class hierarchy, starting with Mammal for example, and feed it out to our schools around the world. Any school might become a source in this way.
Indeed, classes were originally spawned from structs in our C world, were primordially just data themselves, before developing legs and/or fins and accompanying behaviors ("methods" as we say in our namespace, our computer science shop talk).
Differently trained professionals will want to take charge of how to best distill the information. Typically, a simple flat file will prove unsatisfactory, which is where the more involved data structures come in. Spreadsheets keep up the pretense that the data is flat and two-dimensional, but formulae behind the scenes provide for tunneling and hidden connections. Suddenly, a system springs into view, connected around everywhichway.
Open source business strategem: if the work is already done in Perl, or Ruby, we should have no trouble converting it or storing it for Python use or vice versa. As gnubees, we tend to cross-train in any case, so it's not about the one language (we have lots of namespaces, duh). And certainly finding affordable disk space is not the problem.
YAML might help us avoid redundant rekeying. Given Ruby's aversion to using XML (per Ruby on Rails), I could see this as a workable compromise. Dethe on edu-sig suggested checking into JSON, another alternative to XML.
In the meantime, let's press on with our free core liberal arts modules and not worry too much about centralized integration. Consolidation tends to come later in the game, when more players have jumped on the bandwagon, and come to see cooperation as key.