Friday, January 27, 2012

Memorable Meetups

Me 'n Trevor's Cells

Twas my distinct pleasure to join a party of earnest high school teachers in a meeting with the PSU Middle East Center at Tarboush this evening.  I showed up late, given other pressing engagements, but one of the teachers, from Lincoln High, had decided to stay on and have a real dinner (this is a top notch Lebanese restaurant).  I joined in with Dr. Tagrid Khuri, who had invited me to this event and whom I'd not seen for quite a long time.

We all had our stories to tell, our adventures in that part of the world.  Dr. Tag, as she is affectionately known by a large Arab-speaking community, has the most up to date experience, being Jordanian (currently) with plenty of reasons to visit friends in Amman.  The high school teacher and I hadn't been to the Middle East in a long time.  Not counting Egypt, the last time I was in the Jerusalem area was when Bobby Fischer was contending with Boris Spassky for the title of world champion at chess.  That was a long time ago, I think those still living might agree.

Next, I adjourned to Greater Trumps for a meeting with Synchronfile, if metonymy may be permitted.  As usual, the futuristic gadgets were on and ablaze, at least for part of our meetup.

Trevor is a serious scholar and top ranking Esozone type here in Portland.  His interest in the restoration of Dymaxion Car 2, the model for the newly minted Dymaxion Car 4, a project undertaken by Lord Norman Foster, has been more than just casual.  Not atypically, Trevor expressed his admiration and respect for Joe Moore, another independent scholar doing valuable work.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Scholar Talks

Opening Numbers
:: opening number ::

I showed up at the Unitarian Church prepared to enjoy Rabbi Michael Lerner and was not disappointed.  I did some speed reading in his book through the opening numbers and then pretty much listened in rapt attention, through the Q&A.

I surprised myself in electing to drive the taxi, which I rarely do off duty, not that it's a registered commercial taxi or anything.  This blog has its namespace.

The guy won me over when he went out on a limb and expressed his fondest hope, which was that statism would go away and we would finally start dealing with the planet's ecological issues in a more mature manner, more befitting this self-professed "sapien" status.  In the meantime, we could stay in the dark ages with some two state solution for the Israel / Palestine identity problem, keep it schizo.

Einstein had hoped for a similar scenario.  I noticed Michael didn't include Einstein in his index, and yet his fear-versus-longing analysis (we're each somewhere on the spectrum) is pure Einstein, through Bucky.  So in announcing his "no state solution", I thought Lerner was overtly joining the transcendentalist school, a mark of his spiritual progress.

The book is a winding tale from the crusades forward, to just a few months ago.

Lerner, like Kierkegaard, rejects the voice of the Objective Historian as a mask, and admits his bias up front: to tell the story in such a way that greater happiness might still be a possibility.  He's not about closing doors.

His message is a lot like the Dalai Lama's when it comes to happiness, so I could easily see why Bishop Tutu liked his book (the latter being a big fan of DL XIV).

In Lerner's view, we each oscillate between a dog eat dog hell and a heaven wherein people actually love one another and are adept at community.  Both world views are self-reinforcing.  He names them the right and left hand of God respectively.

Thanks for another great cue Suzanne, and bon voyage.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action

Various scene changes are in progress.  Lindsey is methodically whittling away at her stash of accumulated treasures.  She kindly donated her Gulfstream pen collection to Blue House, along with a DVD on the G650, which I filed on the top shelf next to Torture Taxi, a Gothic tale.

Melody is wearing gas station looking overalls like from the movie eXistenZ, which she's seen, and agrees we should share with Lindsey.  Jen has been working hard too.  I don't always know what's going on as I'm part time in the MJ Chair of CompSci over at Open Bastion, either grading for OST or reading this new book on Wittgenstein and Weinenger, or some other treasure.  Not watching TV, that's for sure.

Dave Koski has been doing an interesting toon branching off the Richard Hawkins hypertoon at, involving that flapping tetrahedron (the opening sequence).  He'd unearthed Piero della Francesca's formula for the volume of a tetrahedron given its six edges, and whittled it down to one edge changing (f, for flap), the others set to the constant 2, as in 2 radii.

The two equilateral triangles flap in the wind, like butterfly wings or pointy book covers, with a shared hinge or spine.  When f = 2, we have our regular tetrahedron.  There's a parabola of volumes as all-but-f are held constant.  Derivations of P, Q and R modules (mnemonic: peculiar) were forthcoming, leading off into other areas (as hypertoons do).

These are the kinds of reveries to pipe to the Coffee Shops Network, to shared screens or laptops, from Youtube playlists, from secret sources (like with secret sauces).

One needs that bridging talent space found at Bridges (the conference) between art-math and science, and that includes the arts of computer programming and animation (anime).  Python.TV is a likely stash point if you want to check back.  Hypertoons were originally implemented in Visual Python after Hawkins encouraged me to enter a contest for an SGI workstation.

Tara is planning her scene change as well, with the so-called "common app" staring her in the face.  We both had to get government PINs to sign the FAFSA.  Parents of college aged North Americans get to wade through a new labyrinth hammered together in cyberspace, though it's probably different in the state of Canada.

I've got the Facebook scrolls for working with Friends, in addition to these journals.  Most my remarks on recent news, with citations to stories, are happening there.

If Pakistan renounces nukes and asks to sign the NPT as a non-NWS, that could undermine India's credibility as a moral leader in the West, where the Countdown to Zero campaign has taken hold with a vengeance.  I don't think that's likely at the federal level (in Pakistan) but the desire among young Muslim faithful to ban the bomb is quite sincere, and currently consistent with Iranian rhetoric, which is why some Christian recruiters have had to flip their position, even among the evangelicals (to be Christian and "for the bomb" just sounds moronic as a wine and cheese party line among officers, holds more water in like NATO's "worst-of-occupy" LoserVilles maybe).

DiNucci was jokingly accusing Nirel at Wanderers yesterday of getting her friend Julia psyched about Paris, the latter being a valued member of his humanist circle.  Also it sounds like Bader (who also knows Alex, part of this other circle) is off to Germany for a spell.  Scene changes everywhere.  DiNucci is fine tuning his book, almost finished.  He's caring for an elder so isn't traveling much himself.

I've connected Koski's recent studies back to Martian Math on Synergeo, which subject I'm slated to teach again this summer, for Saturday Academy.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Testing Math ML

This formula by Ramanujan is being rendered by MathJax. The equation was derived from the handwriting-to-MathML utility, Web Equation, and then hand edited a bit.  This formula served as a basis for our Python Pi Day contest last year, at OST.

1 π = 8 9801 n = 0   4 n ! n ! 4 26390 n + 1103 39 6 4 n

Right click on the equation and choose Show Source to look at the MathML.

In LaTex (I didn't need to edit this one): $$ \dfrac {1} {\pi }=\dfrac {\sqrt {8}} {9801}\sum _{n=0}^{\infty }\dfrac {\left( 4n\right) !} {\left( n!\right) ^{4}}\left[ \dfrac {26390n+1103} {396^{4n}}\right] $$ 
Ramanujan's crazy-making identities get mentioned by me a few times in this debate thread on math-teach.

If you're not seeing equations for one-over-pi, click here for a picture of this blog post to see what you're missing -- provided Flickr still exists.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Glenn suggested the family condo homeowner's association might sue the linoleum company, over all that asbestos, which everyone has in their bathrooms.  Property values just dipped.  The banks should adjust their mortgages downward accordingly, like finding out there's a sink hole, like in Guatemala City, but the banks never do.  They'd rather we not blab with each other about property deficiencies, but in fact they can't stop us.

Speaking of which, the ceiling is still slated to go, just haven't figured out if we're going two-story.  This isn't the condo I'm talking about, but the Blue Tent (really a wood frame structure with lathe and plaster walls, wood siding), which has an amateur's 2nd floor deck, some pet project of former owners we'll never know.  We bought a neighborhood hand-me-down built in 1905 and felt lucky.  Yep, always lucky to be in America, no matter how they treat ya (spam up the wazoo, full body scans, pee checks, rigged elections... hardly what we signed up for as kids, so blame the terrorists right?).

Anyway, I'm ranting.  The bookkeeping pooter is still in eternal reboot mode.  That's not the end of the world but I want what's on those drives.  First step is to bust the dust bunnies and see if she recovers.  Before that though, I'm hooking up the Toshiba to the printer that only works with the other Toshiba that just up and died the other day, while we were watching.  No kidding.  Tara adeptly switched to the Ubuntu laptop and upgraded the heck out of it, but we're still down a machine and don't want to get Win7 when they're about to roll out Win8.

By the way, this LG phone they strong-armed me into getting, said use it or lose it on the credit, is the worst phone ever.  Tries to sell apps, freezes, just doesn't get it in general.  I'll get more specific with the model number when I get the time.  I'll not blame Verizon this time as they can't know some of their models from reputable companies are just plain junk really.  Who has the time to test them all?  Not the government certainly, oh no.

I'm back on Synergeo even after the big fight, which left a lot of us flocking to a different group (a Google one, no reflection on Yahoo! in terms of what we were fighting about).  A similar farce brought SWM back on board in Wittrs-Plus/Ex, Sean's station.  He narrated some of the haps on Analytic, the fighting there.  I was happy for the synopsis as I don't subscribe to Analytic nor really have the time.  Sean's station has been great though.  I've been posting about this fictive BBC broadcast they could actually pick up on if they wanted, based on a famous (if somewhat nefarious) book about the great master (the quintessential late millennium philosopher).

The Europeans seem to be getting all goofy given they can't figure out their finances.  Anything for a welcome distraction, like saber rattle at Iran.  Talk about a dysfunctional family.  I'm glad their footprint is confined to Washington DC in a lot of ways, a kind of containment.  North Americans are free to go about their business without having to fixate on what Euros are thinking.  We'll catch up on Youtube later.

In the meantime, I've been watching the Occupy Chile movement and understand they blame vouchers for some of their problems.  In a lot of ways, it's Chicago that's no longer obeyed, when it comes to macro-economics, but that back had to break further north first probably (talking neocons, remember them?).  "Allende couldn't hack it but Obama could" or something like that? -- too early to hatch a full blown narrative.  Anyway maybe Obama is for vouchers I can't remember -- time to tune in the elections a little more.

Once the Republicans snubbed the Governor of Louisiana by disallowing him time in the TV circus, I knew I'd made the right decision in killing my TV.  Dumbs ya down really bad, clinically.  Chomsky is right, Nader too.  Geniuses protect themselves better, develop antibodies.  If it weren't for the NFL (no, not talking football, duh) I don't think as many would survive public school, that's for sure.