Monday, February 25, 2013

From ApacheCon

:: apachecon 2013 ::

Back in hotel space, with choppy Internet.  Not that base has been trouble free.  I'm free to speculate that DSL is over subscribed and random dropping is like a rolling brown out they don't tell us about.  How are customers to know?

You would need whistleblowers, and last I checked Congress was more interested in whistleblowers sitting on whatever.  At the UN, warehouses pile up to the rafters with earnest reports of unfairness.

At least the heat's on.  Base is not arctic.  Portland is 45th parallel or thereabouts and we're creeping around the annalemma.

I'm in no way a full timer at this conference though.  I have a busy day, and choppy Internet only puts me further behind.

Good meeting at AFSC tonight.  Tony Noble joined us.  Afterwards I got more caught up on what's rollicking in this town.  Somewhat embarrassing how much I don't know.

Shirley Q. Liquor was offending people all over the country and The Eagle had booked him.  Local activists went berzerk (paraphrase), but when the Q-Center sought to use that opportunity to broker a Racism discussion, that set off inter-tribal jealousies in other dimensions.  Events were being canceled faster than they could be defined.

The car is on Apachecon and AFSC duty both.  That makes it sound like I pile up receipts for the IRS, and I should probably.  But I'm not advertising to the public as a licensed chauffeur (which I'm not) and don't really see the point.  Anyway, I've got my taxes filed for this year already, and expect a refund (from Feds, not the state).

I've got a fresh Buddha tankha hanging in the Buddha Room (also Bob's).

We talked about QVS some (at the AFSC post-meeting), reminding me of conversations with Robert Cooper recently.  He knew of this house in North Carolina.

Eddy reminded me my next flight was on a different day than I'd thought.  Scary to be that wrong.  I did that in DC and got lucky.

Carol waded deep into the logistics of making it happen for her, and I was encouraging.  Using an oxygenator on plane trips is still somewhat state of the art.  These machines are somewhat new.  I praised her for helping break new ground, with Delta, with other airlines.

Not in the cards in this shuffle though.  She can relax and recover more instead.  Whether that trip insurance she purchased pans out is another question.  More unfairness.

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:: new AFSC poster ::

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wanderers 2013.2.20

Not uncharacteristically, I was late this morning.  My thanks to Don for the reminder phone call.  I really didn't know what I was missing.

Alan Weider has recently finished a book looking at the role played by an activist couple, Ruth First and Joe Slovo, in the anti-apartheid campaign that analysts are still grappling with, and will for some time, as the benefits of hindsight keep flooding in.

Alan is not new to this general topic, the resistance against apartheid in South Africa, and what I caught of his talk was deeply informed.  That's coming from my own limited perspective as a member of a Quaker family that relocated to Lesotho in the 1990s and stayed there for about seven years.

I then moved to The Bagdad to hear a presentation from Momentis out of Dallas, an energy company seeking to offer Oregonians more choice as deregulation looms.  By 2016, companies like Just Energy expect to have access to market share.  Some of our Quakers have gotten involved in this venture.

A grass roots marketing campaign is being developed, one that recruits from the consumer base itself to expand its sales force.  Not a new idea in North America, though perhaps not in energy (Amway and Tupperware don't sell you Internet services or household gas).  Wanderer Patrick Barton was my guest, as I value his perspective on matters energetic.

Back to Alan's story:

Ruth was blown up by a mail bomb, placed by unprincipled South Africans who believed they had a mandate to murder (not a new misapprehension).  The monster behind this  atrocity came forward during the Truth Process.  Joe later died of cancer, having served in the Housing Ministry.

The USSR did funnel a lot of money to the anti-apartheid resistance back then.  Remember Cuba's involvement in Angola.  Joe was a Gorbachev fan.

I mentioned our family history during the Q&A.  Urners came to Lesotho after apartheid was officially over and many a diplomatic family was leaving Maseru, which had served as a base.  As Quakers, we learned about recent history through that particular lens, which was enlightening.  But for the accident in 2000, Jack and Carol would likely still be in Maseru, enjoying good times.  They loved that whole area of the world (though not exclusively).

I also mentioned my time at 2 Dickinson Street when the student body was asking Nassau Hall to divest of any stock holdings in companies benefiting from an apartheid regime.  Such holdings would seem antithetical to, and/or hypocritical of, a liberal arts institution, according to these 1970s student analyst-activists.

Madeline Albright, formerly US Secretary of State, is speaking at The Bagdad tonight.  Like last time, I'll miss it, but will hope to read reports.  Portland (PDX) has diplomatic relations with Washington, DC (WDC), as well as non-diplomatic relations.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Live from DorkBot

We're at Someday Lounge again tonight, though Backspace (two doors down) in the more usual occasion?

What am I up to?  I've been telling the hospital bosses their patient-facing equipment is crap if it doesn't do Kanji, the Japanese word for Chinese ideographs, a core element in several languages.  I've discovered James Heisig's work thanks to this Youtube by a Nipponophile.  One may have many goals in tackling Kanji, one being to cultivate an associational network that cross-hatches one's own.  Plus you know you're tuning in something of the consciousness of billions.  What's the keyword for "tongue" again?  As in "mother tongue"?  I'll get back with the number. 41: 舌.

James isn't teaching Japanese specifically, in this volume, just the Kanji with their imaginative meanings, which he builds using English.  Their pronunciation in any language, their combinations, are left to future work.  This is particle physics, subatomics.  Or is it bacterial phenomenology?  Yes, that's it.  The characters swallow each other, as well as common elements.  There's an assemblage, a kind of molecular bonding.  Study Kanji to learn chemistry, why not?

I using my cell phone as a Hotspot, talking to my cell provider, getting on the Internet that way.

Holden is with me; we took the bus together.  He's in the thick of getting NA Apachecon booted.  The last one was in 2011 in Vancouver, BC (another state of North America, two to our north, Washington in between).  Homeland Security (US) does a lot of its intake in Vancouver, with domestic flights southward.

I was telling Brenda about Alan and Kati getting married in our living room in Thimphu, how he, the good Jew, had to sit on a swastika, though one innocent of Nazi spin.

Brenda is a Wanderer and role model GSM teacher (Girl Scout Math).  GSM is actually an urban nomad wilderness survival skills program that uses STEM math, not traditional / conventional math.  STEM math tends to be quite geographic, lots of geocaching (treasure maps / hunts), GIS, GPS, and geometric.  If your teacher doesn't say what an Icosahedron is at any point, that's likely not STEM.   GSM inherits from Pentagon Math quite a bit, but isn't as violence-prone.  Brenda, Elise, Deb, Lindsey, Trish... Xtine, you could call them "tom boys" I suppose, as they're not afraid of tools or science.  That's an ancient namespace though ("tom boys", お侠), more characteristic of septuagenarians.

I went outside and took some long shots of the very low resolution (but very bright) being shown.  Other dorks had their various bots.  Mine were commercial devices, not homemade.  I'm more the journalist-blogger than the bona fide dork, more the dork wannabe.   Another mixin superclass for GSM I'd say.

Steve is selling a Raspberry Pi.  Last week he showed up with about fifty.

You can place these units, with solar power, deep in the forest, with loggers (meaning log files, chronofiles -- though some loggers with permits to cut might willingly place them).  They don't need to transmit (can't be traced that way).  The GPS locations get saved and the monitors check them later.  Someone is cutting trees?  Does BLM know?  Record something for the subscribers (a snapshot, a reading), data for the listeners.  Sierra Club maybe.

You're not trying to catch the discrete campers or hikers.  It's broad trends in the ecosystems that you sense, and record.  You might be in a plexiglass box in a riverbed, measuring turbidity.  If they do a clear cut in Bull Run, they'll know, and you'll know.

Next time:  Brain Silo.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

La Casa

Blue House Stairs


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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Promised Land (movie review)

A delightful fractal of a movie.

I'm biased to think that way, having just attended a John Driscoll lecture at Harder House, PSU's epicenter of Systems Science.  Plus there's a pun.

Everyone does a fine job of acting in this one, going through the motions.  Just what are they voting on exactly?  It's not clear.  The whole idea is surreal, and as we back away from this narrative we realize that none of this really happened.

And yet the companies are real and the leases are real, and people are counting their pennies, reckoning on having some gas in the bank.  Accounting systems make a difference.

Me, I'd pay people a stipend to just act out the small town life, so people could visit and learn how to take it slower.  Make it a theme park kind of thing.  But then that's how I see it anyway, Sun as our sponsor (by which I mean the nearby star, not Sun Microsystems per se, though I respect Sun's engineers and their contributions).

What play is this?  What theater are we in?  It's a really existential film in that way.  Everyone is so sophisticated, not just the city slickers.  I was taken back to another surreal film with Matt.  Funny, to see them together.