Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

In celebration of Easter, Tara and I joined the Boltons' extended family, plus a nuclear family from China that has lived in North America for some twenty years.

The Chinese family had recently traveled across America by train, from Portland to Boston, with a change in Chicago. They had a sleeper compartment and took in a lot of country they had never seen from an airplane: eagles on the frozen Mississippi, owls on the leg to Seattle.

I had some Flextegrity along, for conversation purposes, a product of Glenn Stockton's workshop with supplies from the company, the four-frequency tetrahedron of 35 plastic injection molded hubs, each of 6 identical components, made somewhere on the Chinese mainland.

Tara joined the other young girls, and an older guy, in hunting for eggs and chocolate. Tara has a special liking for Cadbury eggs. That used to be a Friendly company (as in "Quaker"). I wore my Friendly hat, a professorial jacket, black and blue jeans and shirt. Tara was more stylish.

Later, I visited with Glenn, returning said tetrahedron. We discussed Hinton's work. Charles Hinton was a contemporary of Edward Abbott's of Flatland fame. Geometry was entering a new chapter back then, with talk of hyper-dimensions, starting with four.

In the Greek view, height, width and depth constituted three independent dimensions, which took care of conventional space. The "unconventional dimensions" per Hinton and others, might have to do with "higher consciousness" -- not an unusual view and one which continues to permeate the literature, although one perhaps more commonly thinks of mundane "time" as a fourth dimension, complete with world lines and so forth.

Linda Darlrymple Henderson's The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art provides a useful account of fourth dimension talk at the start of the 1900s. Fuller was a player by then, as was P.D. Ouspensky. When Fuller finished writing 4D Timelock, he rushed a copy to the latter, per Dr. Henderson's chronicle.

I replied to Alan about the Coupler on Synergeo, fitting in mention of Descartes' secret notebook. I was going over Descartes' angular deficit in the context of Fuller's critique of the calculus with Glenn, jumping from Bishop Berkeley's excoriations.

Tara took public transportation to Clackamas to see a movie with her friend. I wrote our trip to Hillsdale on the mileage sheet, then walked around the neighborhood with LW who was seeking candles. Cooking and cleaning ensued (also blogging).

Non-humans played an important role in this year's Easter, starting with Suzanne's possum on Facebook, through the squirrels in our attic, to the new pug puppy at our lunch. The pug ate a carrot off the Flextegrity tetrahedron (see Fig. 1). From the Amtrak train, many animal tracks had been visible, though no actual bears had been seen.

Last night, Tara educated me about the steampunk aesthetic, one of several styles that have traction at her school. She sent me a detailed email, including pictures, spelling out more of the lifestyle taxonomy. Steampunk has a neo-Victorian flavor, which got me thinking about Neal Stephenson's writings.

Tara is reading about Clarence Darrow and studying the issue of jury nullification for district debates. We had a discussion about corporate personhood over dinner last night, with me citing Thom Hartmann's research into the bogus beginnings of this idea, and with LW linking to Europe's social democrats. Regarding these social democrats, Tara worried about any tyranny of the majority that might give outlet to rampant xenophobia. Should ethnic costumes be banned just because Preppies don't like them? What would the Goths think?

Treating corporations as programmable machines does not negate the value potentially added by the people who control them. Some Quaker corporation (e.g. Global Data Corporation) might deliberately drop the corporate personhood dogma and revert to becoming such a machine. The new business rules would be expressed in the software, and with the government's blessing. We're designing new institutions from scratch, borrowing from cultural templates, but not mindlessly imitating them. Academia could help with the blueprints (class definitions), as could some national labs. Plus let's work with Native Americans to pioneer these new ethics. This proposal might make for some interesting steampunk science fiction if nothing more.

Fig 1: flextegrity dog