Friday, July 31, 2009

Toga Party!

In this game your goal is to "vanquish the heathen" using combat forces. You have overwhelming superiority plus you're doing it for their own good, saving orphans in the process.

Your "feeling good about it" index goes ever higher as you wipe out their villages (lots of realism around corpses). Use flame throwers, rebranded napalm... yes, ripping off from Fallujah, the already popular arcade game.

Then, once the field is clear, you set up these big tents for what we call Toga Parties. You get to use all the same drugs you were "controlling" during combat phase, get naked etc. The vomitorium is to the left, liposuction to the right.

Rated TV-MA for sex, drugs, violence, rock & roll.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.29

This is open season, er session @ Pauling House, meaning we say whatever we like about whatever.

Jim Buxton yakked about that eclipse, with the potential to be the most viewed in human history, but what about the cloud cover -- might've cut viewing opportunities by up to 60%? We don't really know yet I guess (maybe NASA does). I hope at least a few had some fun in the sun.

We then dug up an old Youtube about this dead whale on the beach they decided to "atomize", got blubber everywhere, wrecked somebody's car. We got to this through a more generic discussion of explosives, given Jeff's son's job as an ordinance decommissioner (new movie coming up, more Hollywood-branded unrealism).

Knights of Pythias... (Sam's story). New shoes in the Philippines c/o Imelda, as Bucky's side-kick in 1970s... (me prompting Sam, after Lindsey got here).

A couple of us watched Why We Fight again last night. Smart cookie Eisenhower warned people on TV that they had every potential to succumb to a "complex" (similar to Mad Cow), becoming half-wit monkey-brains, much like the Nazis, recently defeated. Those hoping to stay sane (as in vigilant) would have to reposition big time, in case the guy was right (he was).

Fast forward and you get a lot of the smarter rats jumping ship around 1983, leaving the helm to Congress, which steered her onto to the rocks, abusing its war powers big time, caving to mob psychology (the mad cows, the know-it-all pundits, the think tanks), Senator Byrd notwithstanding.

It's not like the rats went away though. A sort of "government in absentia" (off shore based) helped compensate for LAWCAP's insane greediness and cowardice, kept the flame alive while the berserkazoids ran amok, disgracing themselves in Abu Ghraib etc., losing another war for themselves (shades of Vietnam).

The White House was aware of this smart rat underground, wasn't too worried about it, thought it made sense, a good long term investment.

Fast forward some more and the loser-moron Rambos are still strutting and puffing on stage, clowning around big time. They're planning to play Drug Wars, keep the coke out of Coke, in as many territories as possible, rotating special forces through Columbia, Afghanistan, wherever else they might score (Philadelphia?).

There's nothing especially "American" about any of this. Idiocracy knows no borders, feels free to drop bombs wherever looks fun, on whatever easy targets show even a modicum of defiance, are not yet "with the program" ("you're either with us or against us").

The gulag professoriate grants degrees for living this way, and the pay is pretty good. New suckers sign up daily, soiling their Facebook reputations.

If we ever want our USA back, we might use some of our new cyber-tools to resurrect her (version control software for Congress?). Some people have been working on this in the background, but mostly there's nothing on TV about it (too busy foolin' ya), so it's not all that real.

The corporate media is mostly in denial about its role, thinks it's an innocent bystander in censoring our best heritage. That's why we have Youtube etc., although many high schools ban that, pretending they have a mandate to do so (old reflexes, authoritarian thinking inherited from ancestors, really awkward and jerky (lots of schools dumb ya down, so choose wisely, study their charters on-line (if they're not open source with those, maybe look for some smarter ones?))).

Lindsey showed up around 10 AM. Our discussion turned to the Global U and an analysis of "liberalism" (what is it?). I mostly talked about "liberal guilt" as one of the hallmarks, a connect back to Protestantism and its mealy mouthed ways (Quakers are nominally Protestant but my brand tends to not celebrate that heritage so much, finds "speak truth to power" too irresponsibly "us versus them" in most contexts).

Lindsey connected liberalism to incrementalism vis-a-vis the monarchy, around the time of Thomas Hobbes, a kind of trickle down strategy wherein you beg and/or negotiate with conservatives (monarchists) for some shared glory, a small place in the sun.

As such, liberalism defines the outer ramparts of a semi-feudal society, sets up a kind of perimeter around "free speech" (think NPR). Anyone outside this perimeter gets demonized, as the flip side of liberal guilt is this ominous sense of "some one or some thing" upsetting the ego's apple cart (they're mostly rotten anyway, so big deal), probably "communists" or one of those (whomever sounds most terrifying i.e. "out of bounds" i.e. "not playing by our ruler's rules" (connect to "language games" here)).

Based on today's discussion, I'm thinking "neocon" and "neoliberal" have much in common (two sides of the same coin?).

Office Scene
:: coworking booth ::

Monday, July 27, 2009

Xmas in July

Usually around this time of year I'm yakking up this commercial holiday or season, making up stories about that fourth king (yes, I'm allowed).

At one point I thought Uncle Sam might come out for some mid-summer night's stimulus shopping, but I could see where he'd not wanna upset his Christian neighbors. Christians harbor some of the most vindictive and mean-spirited people imaginable, but that's to be expected of any "salvation army" religion. "All saints" would mean "game over".

As it is, I've been pretty frugal, not thinking mindless consumption will really help anyone. What Americans are hungry for are fun plans for a bright future. Those would be true gifts I think.

However, we have a lot of anti-futurist (antediluvian) politicos who just wanna go back and hash over the past, devote the rest of their pathetic short lives to analysis of the good old days.

Obviously the younger set gets impatient with this, as that wasn't their time. So yeah, the generations segregate some, can't be helped. The more historically minded will find ways to reach across such gulfs and bond with counterparts in other age groups. Not everyone has such gifts (which is why we call them gifts).

Both the real Christmas and its commercial echo should be about sharing gratitude in an inter-generational spirit. Santa Claus has that kind of audience, even if he's of relatively recent vintage, goes off the rails sometimes.

The Easter Bunny is just as timeless.

This year, we had Michael Jackson to bring us together, albeit out of sadness at his untimely loss. Better we should rely on myth and the miracle of commercial advertising to get us in the spirit. Gifts of public service might also be rendered.

All that being said, I think it's about time to replace that broken blender.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Good Witch


:: memorial service for bonnie ::

I'm not pretending to any "final words" about Bonnie Tinker, as I'm certain her legacy will live on, including in these journals, continuing to reveal aspects of her character. Certainly this memorial service seemed more like a beginning than an end.

Bonnie's Love Makes a Family was about making marriage a safe institution for same-sex couples. That was a radical idea when she started, plus few people talked about "domestic violence" in those terms, so her idea of a shelter for battered women, escaping dead ends, sometimes with children, came across as really "out there" at the outset. Her elders, including state authorities, would accuse her of trying to split nuclear families asunder, thought the county jail would serve just as well, to protect women with records, as runaways, street walkers, homosexuals, as whatever kind of delinquent outcast deviating from strict norms.

One of the more enjoyable parts of the program involved multiple readings from a declassified police report from the 1970s, which was clearly respectful of Bonnie and her work, suggested she was a terrorist in service of some revolution, other words of high acclaim. Later speakers expressed some wistfulness in not having files as thick as hers. She was an activists' activist, with both parents role models, her dad a Protestant minister, her mom a psychologist.

My duties involved staying alert and moving, playing the "outside security" role, which I'm pretty used to doing, although Raven had more experience with specifically gay pride events (I reported to her). We didn't really think Bonnie's political foes would stage something stupid, but wanted to assure the more skittish among us that we were on top of it.

Mostly we anticipated medical events, not political, which proved to be what happened (some heat exhaustion and dehydration, a nose bleed, nothing too serious).

First Congregational Church
on the south park blocks, across from the art museum, proved an ideal venue in many ways, capacious and picturesque. A wedding was scheduled for later but even though our program went well into the afternoon, our hosts were most gracious and accommodating.

Among the attenders were a who's who of Portland's long time activists. I watched Martin Gonzalez taking in Sherrian Haggar's remembrances, chuckling a few times, both former colleagues at AFSC back when I used to volunteer around the office more. The mayor made an appearance, will again on August 6. So many others... but I don't want to get into list making here.

Bonnie's family, still reeling from the suddenness of this loss, had some deep grief to express, and the service made space for that, even if the mood was celebratory, in the sense of honoring a fallen hero who'd achieved many victories along the way.

Bonnie and I were not close friends, although my wife was her organization's bookkeeper for some years. I was never at her house to see the legendary garden, didn't know her next of kin. However, her good humor, kindness, and serious dedication to improving living standards were not lost on me. I felt privileged to know her to the extent that I did and will continue as a torch bearer for some of her pet causes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bouncing Around

Meeting Venue

I'm still being kinetic though was more into stupid stuff today, parking a long way from my meeting (about HTML5), lulled by Portland's "small town, walk anywhere" reputation, then couldn't find Jive, looking for some hole in the wall.

OK, so it's a whole building, I got that. Locked up tight. Leif and I stood outside in the door frame, trying to Twitter our way in, otherwise nudge 'em, to no avail by the time I gave up and drove back to Richmond.

To me, this was more proof we need a new Cubespace. That was working so well for Portland's geeks, didn't have to be on time to not get locked out (a cool feature).

Earlier today I did my retarded guy thing, crashing in on poor Jody at work, ranting about real estate (her specialty):
USB killed Cubespace, didn't realize upper floor was "investment banking" (coworkers working), pulled plug, Americans too stupid for words (my perspective) so heading to meeting at post Cubes venue, SW Stark, live and learn (still don't know Portland, after only two decades plus).
But hey, I'm not being fair. USB was just the landlord. Tara took its side at dinner at Bagdad (packed, no recession evident), pointing out they were paying for power, weren't getting revenue, needed to pull the plug.

Besides, since when did Portland have any real investment bankers? I've only met one of those, Peter Jaeger of JPMorgan, and there's no one in Portland even remotely like him. We're a backwater. Podunk U.

We canceled the Wanderers viewing party for tonight, Why We Fight. Because we're too busy fighting? To keep our heads above water? Keeping busy at least. Practicing.

Lets see if that Math Forum posting gets through, more about chess and Wittgenstein. Got a lot of PSF work done today around Pycon 2010, working closely with Vern Ceder (our "watcher").

My great uncle Bill Lightfoot was by, treated me to lunch (except for the wine bottle, which I saved for a "rainy day").

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.21

:: from DAve ::

Stuff is coming at me from all directions these days, shields up! The phone is ringing off the hook, though not literally, though in ToonTown it really might (we could market this as a feature?).

I'm not whining though, am actually pleased with the higher level of buzz, glad Harvard is sitting up and paying attention for a change. Why should Princeton be the only player?

True, those New Englanders have been lazy, non-industrious, leaving their best heritage to rot on a shelf, but why waste a lot of time pointing that out? We've got museums for that. It's American Transcendentalism we care about now.

Thanks to some of these fun developments, I'm late to Wanderers, barging in on Duane's presentation about nuclear waste, other energy issues. Gad what a mess.

We have a lot of first person corroboration coming from engineers in attendance, i.e. some of us have had direct contact with Los Alamos, Hanford and like those.

He's covering Chernobyl now. Picture of Iranian centrifuges (yawn).

Global grid talk: Barry holding forth, Glenn asking me if Bucky had some ideas. The state of long lines transmission isn't in the press a whole lot, but sometimes we get stories.

Stuff I wrote recently, to the Wanderers list:
Tried to get that national conversation going with Palin et al but she rightly realized more recently that Lower48 politicos are waaaaay too stupid to discuss anything that intelligent intelligently, so for the most part we let 'em watch their idiot boxes and bliss out on fake cop shows (fake math shows (NUMB3RS), fake doctor shows, fake lawyer shows....).

Phony baloney is what's in most peoples' heads, very small footprint intersection with reality (or even US policy), except at the level of hanging out with the local yokels and visiting the DQ now and then (gotta watch that "waste" line).
Julian and family were here earlier. I regret not getting to say good bye in person. His picture is here next to me on the left, a famous photo by now, with Doug Strain and Terry Bristol. Doug shoulda lost the jacket for this one, but we can't always afford a fashion consultant at every turn.

Plutonium is ridiculously toxic isn't it? People like to play god don't they? Sometimes they do so responsibly, as like medical doctors. Other times... Hey, Deb is right, we need more ethics requirements (she's a medical doctor I know, not in Portland).

Stuff I wrote recently, to the Wanderers list:
Engineers are always coming up with these goofy ideas, wanting to "try stuff". Of course we don't let 'em.

But then people did get away with nuking two cities, think they have recourse to that solution again if they need it, thinking no learning occurred from wrestling with that devastating anti-civilization (now bankrupt and extinct, praise Allah, memorialized every Aug 6, coming right up again).
I like Leslie's idea of a Peace Resource Center, like in Wilmington College, Ohio. My sister worked there some. I'm too old to start over though, am already maxed out on think tank connections (ISEPP, Greenpeace... PSF), have no plans to join new ones. Tara just joined WILPF, is pleased with her welcome packet.

Hey, Jon Bunce is here! Sam Lanahan too. Way cool.

Hey, big eclipse coming up, might be the most viewed in human history given the population centers with a front row seat. It'll be the longest in my lifetime. Many religious conversions expected says NASA (people become eclipse chasers after seeing one, witness Buxton).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Talent Night

:: music in silicon forest, summer 2009 ::


So I saw about Walter Cronkite. I immediately thought of Uma Thurman's dad, Robert, podcasting from Bhutan (Tantric), saying on his meditation altar he liked pictures of his teachers, and Walter was one of them ("for a lot of us" I'm thinking). He said this quite awhile ago, dunno if Walter ever caught it.

So in terms of talent night, Cronkite tops the list.

Here in Silicon Forest, I was back at Duke's Landing, savoring the artistry, petting the dogs, meeting some new goddesses, maybe a god or two. The big guy from Cuntagious, sideburns, kinda Happy Days or New Jersey, wrapped himself in a flag and sang about loving his all-American Datsun truck, trying to run down hippies, and yakking about Iraq ("hope they die, so I can drive"). This following some meta-banter between Lindsey and this poetess about the socio-cultural roots of "the stage" and why don't ya'll just come up here and play music while I sleep?

I asked the Cuntagious guy if "serious girl" (lead singer) was gonna show up later and he said "no, tonight you get The Dick".

Later, outside, the backup two for big guy, a couple, started wailing on guitar and washtub base. The guitarist had been playing washboard before. We got a big kick outta those two.

And no, I'm never forgetting Amanda Lynn Nobbe either, claiming to be new on guitar, missing a string, but you wouldn't know it. She and some of the others were part of this wandering car load, from across the continent (she's from Cleveland).

I love America's soulful children, I really do. Takes me back to Young Friends.

Speaking of which, Tara texted that their community night skit (NPYM) "rocked", reminded me to check up on Barry (her python). Qs have been enjoying the Big Sky state. Lots of talent among Qs, and Walter fans. Hi to Hyzy and Wild Leslie.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TinkerBell Swiped!

A Lesson

Silly me for not being more religious about locking TinkerBell in the garage. Someone ripped her off, dino bell and everything.

Coincidentally, I discovered the loss just when I was getting ready to ride with Larry (360compass), shades of my Lloyd Center misadventure, from whence Robin (our Subaru wagon) was stolen whilst he and I took in Troy years ago. No, I'm not blaming Larry.

I took Dawn's bike instead, just as sturdy, if smaller, and we accomplished our goal (> 14 miles).

Larry is low on time for joy riding, as I can well understand, so instead of flying himself to Montana will let Horizon do the piloting. He's a pretty experienced flier, told me a lot about what the new cockpits are like, instrumentation all on LCDs 'n stuff. "Google needs more airplanes" I said (the kind of stuff I say).

Losing Tink blows my plans for like a Bodies display in our World Game Museum, me riding her in some kind of posthumous tableau. If I keep losing weight, maybe we could mount me on something sleeker? I hear there's a long line for such treatment. Maybe just go with ashes then, though feeding Pacific Northwest condors was another fantasy, shared with Brian (a Wanderer, like Shomar).

Mom is all paranoid now, won't leave her walker on the porch. Property values go down with reported thefts so I should probably just shut up about it, but on the other hand neighbors should be on the alert.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.15

:: me perusing rubik's bible ::

Bill Shepard is giving us a brilliant presentation on Rubik's Cube, of which he's a master (not a black belt maybe, doesn't compete professionally). Barbara Stross is with us, Duane Ray, David Tver...

The key is knowing these "procedures" which accomplish specific tasks. He's figured out some of these for himself, memorized others, provided in The Ideal Solution, or "Rubik's Bible".

He has quite a collection, some isomorphic to the original, even if differently shaped, others of higher frequency, which he doesn't know how to solve, others lower. Still others that are just plain different. We could talk "family resemblance" and sound more like Wittgenstein.

Bill got into these back when they were all the rage. The one from Chex (he sent in some box tops), with the fruit and cereal pix, adds the wrinkle of facet orientation. He came up with a procedure for dealing with this.

Speaking of Wittgenstein
, I was invited to a new Yahoo! list by an assistant professor, Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.. I see some of the same participants from the old one, which had stopped accepting my posts for some reason.

Looking forward to jumping in at some point, was happy to find that link to a movie of Richard Rorty (my thesis adviser @ Princeton), talking about being a quietist (vs. a naturalist) -- sounds almost Quaker, although he's using a different namespace.

Steve Mastin (Cal Tech alum) is saying some interesting stuff about NMR (something he was involved with at Los Alamos in the 70s) lots of animated discussion. Having the Internet handy helps keep our thinking informed. 1 tesla = 10 ** 4 gauss. I chimed in by saying "Pauli Exclusion Principle" at an opportune moment, scoring a few points. Mostly I just blog, post to Math Forum (twice this morning), make the occasional quip.

Now we're talking about old computers, toggling in programs. Buzz remembers a computer so old it had a chimney.

Light bulb jokes... the design of light bulbs.

Monday, July 13, 2009

For Ada

:: bernoulli numbers ::

Posting to edu-sig (today)
In Defense of Ada (March 2001)
Other Xrefs: [1][2][3][4][5][6]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Buckaneer Talk

Of course today is Bucky's birthday, everyone knows that. I met with Trevor for sushi at Fred's, briefly exchanged a few heresies, caught him up on some recent 4D Syndicate doings and vice versa.

I see Bill Perk is still campaigning to save the Bucky dome in Carbondale, plus there's some old FED stacked on his porch.

The architectural fees for the original home's restoration would cost eight times more than doing a new one, but that's what one needs to go through for historical landmark status.

Sure, I get a little snarky about things like this, given it's 2009 already and we're still wallowing in intellectual squalor, refusing to really teach content or substance (it's all about style, acting like you know something).

On Synergeo I wrote:
All pretty ironic eh? Didn't bucky say we'd inbreed to the point of becoming monkeys, to where all we could do was remember past glories, when real humans walked the earth? Something like that. All this money for relics when many ordinary Global U students still go hungry in 2009. Seems like some dark ages church or memorial to past intelligent life forms. This idea that we're actually devolving is rather popular, bucky stole it from Devo I bet, or from watching professors of American history not do their jobs.
Over on the Math Forum, my longish reply to Greg Goodnight apparently got caught up in red tape, so I tried another one, much shorter.

There's all this incredulity emanating from California that Oregon would actually try something different, like really educating its young about spatial geometry and computers.

That hasn't been tried since one room school house days, when computing was more mental and geometry was about farming (i.e. geography), so I'm not sure where such a bold experiment will take us, but there's obviously no sense in following California anywhere, as it's "bankrupt and extinct" they tell me.

Good thing we rescued Spruce Goose from those know-nothings eh?

Quakers are discussing their "Torture is Wrong" sign, which our affectionate neighbors have used to label us, as in "turn left at the torture church".

I'm thinking keep the sign but remind people of that part of the D.W. Jacobs play wherein his Bucky character spiels about the ongoing holocaust, these needless deaths by starvation, a tortuous process for which most mainstream Protestants take little responsibility, settle for token charities and missionary activity as somehow sufficient to save their souls i.e. they're more a part of the problem than a part of the solution at this point.

But isn't that because their high tuition universities let them down, didn't mention the possibility that design science might be up to realistically addressing this challenge with more than just band aids?

Mostly the gulag professoriate kowtows to the religionists where student services are concerned, making low living standards be a "real world" problem i.e. not their concern, even though this is the Global U we're yakking about.

Economics, "the most retarded" (aka "dismal") science, is an exception to this rule, in that its professors are permitted a worldly tone. Philosophers, on the other hand, are usually not considered qualified to speak about any matters of any importance. Like when's the last time you read any relevant philosophy -- outside of Coffee Shops Network that is?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Outta Da Closet

That's my faux Pinoy accent, imitating myself using Taglish, a kind of slang I pretended to know in the Philippines growing up. The theme here is "coming out" as Asian, something I do at cocktail parties or over drinks with a client, letting her know I'm not just like any guy. We discreetly bleep over the "fat Buddha" allusion (Chinese chachka motif), more it's like "look into my eyes".

But that's not the only influence. Mostly I'm doing like a Steve Martin thing, wanting to draw attention to ethnicity versus genetics. What sparkles is often transmissible, unless we're talking circus contortionist, other job descriptions for which a specific physique might be mandatory. Like they'd never cast me as a Jackie Chan, unless in a spoof maybe, and even then, I'd need a stunt double, someone like Weird Al maybe (but with different hair).

Memes are what matter, yet people shy away from that word as too geeky or something. People still wanna talk about "races" even though that's totally mixed up, in North America especially.

Somewhat off topic: I'm always amazed what they'll call a "day job" around here, whereas mostly they're just commuting and doing stuff they could be doing from home, maybe in a small suburban village with home gardens and food vans (check out Portland's food vans sometime, then think of adding some more educational fare, other bizmos -- think of fried bananas as polyhedra, rich in iodine and potassium (yes, there's a carnival atmosphere -- where geeks come from, after all)). Think Saturday Market.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.7

Art Kohn is back, our video guru in residence, although that's not quite the medium. Interactive courseware, of the type a large company might use to orient new employees. It's a course packaging framework, based around video, but with lots of bells and whistles.

Like with Microsoft Word, if you're not Shakespeare, you won't get Shakespeare out of it, but maybe you're someone else talented, so maybe you'll get over not being Shakespeare and get on with it, InshaAllah.

We're packed to the gills here. Our ISEPP mission is quite slanted towards education, what with Mentor Graphics as a sponsor 'n all ("mentor" means "teacher"). I'm counting 14 in addition to Art, which is overflow size, me half way up the steps (a good angle for blogging).

If you're not doing a framework but have Internet, you might cobble together something similar to this using a mashup approach, with whatever open source AJAX library. Again, it's your content that'll give you your market niche.

My production strategy, though tilted towards animations, is nevertheless labor intensive in the sense that I don't try to cut back on characters. People have an ability to track a lot of personalities and shows for children that exercise this ability are helping develop their capacity for following complex dramas in their own lives later on (or in Tolstoy).

British novelists aren't the only ones in the business of teaching sensitivity to service staff, behind the scenes personnel. Engineers have a long history of working as janitors, maintenance types, service sector, thanks to this notion of "tending to engines". Even though today's engine might be an "SQL engine" (powers a database), that same sense of tending to valves and duct works pertains. That basement character in Spirited Away comes to mind, in charge of correctly medicating the water (so really a high level responsibility, more like a nurse).

Put another way, I don't see high technology as a way of automating everything and leaving people without roles. On the contrary, our privilege is to program a great many theater like experiences, within which our Global U students get to build character in specific ways. Hollywood knows this business, but not exclusively.

Lets invest in education with an eye towards casting a much wider net. We have lots of people with lessons to share, and the Internet obviates the need to always collect in the same room, enjoyable as that is, as much as that's worth doing. I'm excited by non-virtual collaborations, but have to be realistic about my travel budget. Of course I'm preaching to the choir here, so forgive me my daily rant.

Thank you Art, for showing us the state of the practice. This is looking good. Games like Uru likewise set the stage. Saying we don't always automate doesn't mean you can't be alone with your learning. North Americans treasure solitude and aren't praying for enforced "group experiences" unless that means buying a ticket for something. School is barely tolerated as a violation of privacy.

I'm not describing all zip codes, just making it clear I see a market for these "standalone" packages, might even show up by snail mail, like at the end of Castaway, sent for because advertised in some underground comic, or on the back of some esoteric cereal box.

"Even the package was puzzling..." -- a lot of good books could get going that way.

The questions, a lot of them from Terry, focus on workflow, issues of who gets to see what. In many workplace situations, you'll get more honest feedback if anonymity might be assured. What features allow for identity masking? How might Zorro play?

Regarding the Michael Jackson memorial, I'm amazed by the powers of the LA based music world (which includes the police) to stage an impromptu service of that magnitude and brilliance at the drop of a hat, as it were.

Our television age culture is good at rising to the occasion, which is what Michael challenged us to do, both in life and in death (echoing Stevie Wonder's sentiments in his interview with Katie Couric this evening).

I helped myself to some Cognac, better than the wines, and advised Art from the peanut gallery to have his clients steer clear of that faux Greco-Roman look, associated with "flat hats" (talking about those pomp and circumstance types).

Of course it's easy to proffer such advice, having immersed myself all day in these stronger teaching currents, no less didactic, far less pedantic.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Independence Day Weekend

Flag Wavy
We had many adventures around this family reunion, to which I connect through Northern Pacific railroad, on which Barbara was a nurse when she came to Chicago especially to see the new baby: me.

Barbara's daughter Alice is Lady of the Lake, living straight across by speed boat, whereas her brothers fly F18s and 777s and stuff, not sure what all, both top gun types though the one is a military attache i.e. attached to the ground, in terms of duties. Lots of eagle action this year, plus a blue heron joined our festivities.

Seattle in general is a more military establishment, starting with DuPont next to Fort Lewis, where the dynamite came from (destructive engineering requires explosives). One passes the American Lake Logistics Center along I-5, near the museum with all the rusty old stuff (some of it not all that rusty yet).

Back when I was a senior analyst for Asian-Pacific Issues News, I would pay more attention to the comings and goings. Bremerton, reachable by car and/or ferry, has a lot of Navy stuff too.

At the picnic, I got into pleasantries with a young Army guy at the same language institute Glenn trained at in Monterey. His mom (Barbara's cousin) is a recently retired high school teacher who enjoyed my patter about "world domination" (what I'm into per my "geek" ethnicity, a good opening for cocktail parties).

Speaking of Glenn, he gave us a call on my cell as we were heading north, one of two car loads this year, feeling upbeat about our next ISEPP season, a good lineup of MVPs already.

I used most of my "film" at the family picnic on my photogenic relatives, around Bill's place, which I'd not visited before, and at Marymoor Park. Bill is a scholar in addition to being a retired mining engineer. Great Uncle Howard was in Alaska, not unusual this time of year, glad Wilma could make it. Ed's wife and I talked about "socially responsible gaming" quite a bit, as she knows the casino scene, plus had seen this new TV show The Philanthropist.

Hey, the mirror says it's time to back off the beer, like I did after the Lithuania trip. I'm not as round as I was then, but summer is dangerous to those so inclined, when Portland's moniker "BeerVana" may become too omni-meaningful for some people. I'll never be as thin as Icarus, but that's probably just as well as hang gliding looks like a lighter man's game.

We barreled back along I-5 with hardly much traffic, fireworks going off in small municipalities to our left and right. I stopped in Centralia for a coffee and cinnamon role, on recommendation from relatives, some Chevron for Razz.

Today I've got meetings and a film, then teacher trainings as far as the eye can see. :)

Happy Birthday Julie (my sister), many fond things were said about you by relatives yesterday, lets start a plan for 2010.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Planning a Charter

Ready to Roll

The Portland based facilities will include these ordinary neighborhood houses, interconnected by VPN and in other ways, using Free Geek (or other) equipment. Most homes will have gardens, as those feed into our curriculum, which features televised cooking shows (could be on YouTube).

Teacher training is the name of the game these days. PPS is sticking to "analog math" as the monopoly controller, calculators mandatory, for high schoolers next year, except in the pilots, where we use computers and control with FOSS ("digital math"). Either way, you learn a lot of math, so it's more a matter of longer term career planning, selecting intelligently, a family decision.

As I explained to the Math Forum, all public schools are charter schools, i.e. have a charter. It's just a matter of when they got it (100 years ago?) and what stipulations are built in. The new ones are defined using software i.e. have executable components, as we're finding a better way to execute "the law" is to make "the law" runnable (or call them "business rules" if you're old skool).

My own house is on the map as one of the sysadmins. I'm not expecting to house students here, but do have plans for the garden, working in cahoots with a teacher. Parent meetings happen informally. Work with translators is under way. Probably next on the agenda is to find some counterpart houses in the Philippines and/or Japan and/or Korea, as we're planning for rotation among students and faculty alike, copying the military in that respect.

Our classroom facilities need not be in homes. We may paint up some vans, build a fleet, but in any case the engineers have their corporate environments already equipped with the math labs we need, plus have a lot of "the right stuff" in some cases i.e. some are planning to join our faculty at some level. I'm hoping we plan around the Max quite a bit as public transportation is just what the doctor ordered. Vans could do station runs for the outliers, don't have to run door to door in most cases.

Good getting that report from Vern and Jeff from NECC, where they gave PSF an official footprint. Steve and I both had favorable comments, are looking forward to Pycon in Atlanta. EuroPython is apparently being a blast, for those lucky enough to attend, others tracking remotely. Meeting in Greater Seattle today, time to study those Google Maps.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Live in Your TV?


The above is from "La La Land" (i.e. LA), back when Disney thought he might provide civilians with a relative utopia. I don't think Pinnochio scared 'em enough, as they decided to attack Indochina instead, malesh (crummy leadership).

Still, this Youtube is prescient, as it looks like we're moving into an art deco kitchen appliance, kind of like living in a percolator, except maybe more practical (note wheelchair access).

These were bold designers, side tracked into dead end wartime scenarios by lesser men. We have similar opportunities today, plus a similar peanut gallery of warmongers, always impatient with civilian lifestyles, wanting to make a buck faster, on the backs of idealistic cannon fodder.

Wayne is doing pretty well. We could try the XRL thing, applying more wattage.

They tell me the wind farms have come under attack, as not deserving of tax breaks. What's that about?

If you wanna tax something, think more about your medical puzzles, what it'll take to solve them? The other side of "patients' rights" is more people wanting to become doctors.

If your plan is to orchestrate some big calamaty on purpose, involving shooting and bombing, then maybe you don't deserve any medical services whatsoever? There's triage to think about, those kids in Darfur. Get in line?

Think about it. Sign up. Join the medical professions.

The movie cuts out just when they're about to share a smoke, time to enjoy just being a nuclear family together, feels like The Jetsons, though not as advanced (plastics had only just been discovered, with Mad Men just hitting their stride).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wanderers 2009.7.1


Trevor writes:
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (12 July 1895 - 1 July 1983) was a public speaker, author, mathematician and inventor. Fuller is best known as the popularizer of geodesic domes in architecture. He attempted to apply the most recent discoveries of science to the most basic of human needs such as shelter and transportation, without regard for precedent or profit or power, doing more with less. He called this process design science.

Fuller inspired both admiration and criticism during his life, and these have only grown since his passing. The publications of synchronofile.com are an independent resource on design science and Buckminster Fuller.

I talked a lot about Bucky today, in the context of going over my OS Bridge slides for the Pauling House group, getting useful feedback, from Allen Taylor especially.

Then I helped Lindsey (from Georgia, not WV, my bad) scope out venues for free school math classes.

The question was whether "anarchists" could ever tightly choreograph, which is what needs to happen on some projects.

In terms of geekdom, the answer is yes, i.e. our commitment to "world domination" forces a less than lackadaisical approach, even though it's not non-esoteric, i.e. we work hard for a living, but how could others know that?

We appreciate our fans.

Speaking of fans, Trevor and I were pleased to learn today that the D.W. Jacobs play will be opening in Washington, DC, on June 3, 2010 at the Arena Stage.

I was recently mentioning said play in Portland, in the context of a Math Forum posting, reminiscing about my role on election night.

At Wanderers this morning I again expressed appreciation for Doug Tompos, recounted how Tara became a fan upon finding out he'd delivered a seven-headed baby on Angel -- plus she liked the Bucky play a lot too.