Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Borg R Us


I was reading about demoralization in the workplace a lot of today, focusing specifically on Carrier and Amazon.  For contrast, the National Geographic documentary on Coca-Cola bottling plants showed presumably well-paid workers proud of their responsibilities.

The Carrier people know their furnaces are in demand, but don't sense the parent company values them as people.  Mexicans know what that's like.  Corporate personhoods don't always relate to flesh and blood humans that well.  Welcome to the matrix.

I got a free AWS T-shirt at OSCON this time, and wore that around N. Mississippi, playing the part of a techie moving into one of the new apartments and gentrifying the hell out of that part of town.  In fact, my personal experience trying to drive an AWS go-cart (metaphor) was a wipe-out.  Nonetheless, I do promote the infrastructure to my OST-RU buddies.  That's a science fiction template code school built on the model of a travel agency booking charter flights (classes).

In other words:  we are Borg.

I allude the that sense of complicity, of collusion, we all feel as Amazon Prime users.  I canceled mine but that doesn't count, as I piggy-back on family.  The physics books I got through the Amazon database recently was not shipped Prime, but it was definitely paid through Amazon.  Someone, somewhere, had to run around some giant warehouse at my behest, maybe needing a break, a vacation, a little job security.

What the AI people miss is the worker is not so much feeling apprehension about the coming AI revolution and the jobs that will steal, as they feel the robot takeover is already complete and their existential worth as human beings is null and void.  They feel like wage slaves. Meanwhile, we are Borg.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Changes

I've been using my Facebook profile rather publicly, giving the world more insights into my state of mind.  I may go back to using it that way down the road, but for now I'm removing Facebook from my blog links and closing the profile to the public.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Updates from PDX

Regarding news of the day, I'm happy to have joined Truckers without Borders on Facebook and am seeing lots of interesting posts.  I'm looking forward to a meetup with my "truckology" mentor in about a week.  By then I'll have started teaching a next class.

The Portland-Shiraz sister cities discussion has to do with more than just high tech and roses (also high tech) in my book, in that I'm eager to compare notes on pure geometry.  Mathematicians like to play sometimes.  We already have a large body of mathematical art collected.

The business was notified by the IRS that my documents have been received.  They're still mulling stuff over.  I'll be sending in some self-withheld self-employment taxes soon.  I need to keep enough to pay the local property tax, which is pretty steep in Asylum District.  I'm a homeowner there.

I'm still thinking about OSCON and what I learned.  Open Source is at the heart of a lot of the economy, doing closed source things.  That's not a new paradigm.  Everyone has screwdrivers and drills, but what they do with them may be shrouded in secrecy.  That being said, unless you show people what you're doing, they'll happily learn from someone else.  Invest in future friends.

Speaking of future friends, I understand that focusing on election outcomes can be a waste of time, when the politicians in question are pretty much stuck at the Common Core level.  Qualifications for political jobs are minimal, as we've seen.  DC is pretty vain, thinking social engineering has to be focused on them.  Just saying.

That being said, I'm following the local campaigns and do plan to exercise my voting rights.  In my region of Cascadia, we vote by mail.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Sermon

Rather than beat 'em, I join 'em, as who needs all that beating anyway.  I'm talking about the cadre that delivers sermons, as from a pulpit, which might as well be a lectern.

When it comes to dogma, anyone is capable of barking out some truth, unreflectively and by the book. But what's the point of suppressing free speech?  Let the spewers spew, while reserving your right to change channels.

In other words, rather than fulminate regarding how others seize the privilege (of sermonizing) I'll dutifully get in line to deliver my Lightning Talk when the occasion is appropriate.

My boilerplate sermon (oft preached) centers around God having real problems with his Creation, to where He has to take strict measures even before Genesis is over.

He bans Adam & Eve from Eden, or rather they're self disqualifying in some way.  Then he floods the place, saving precious little DNA:  just that of Noah and his family, along with the non-humans that they rescued.

So Noah's offspring were very deficient in the biodiversity department and highly susceptible to groupthink.  They succumbed to the flat Earth vision of an infinite plane (plain) and God Above, looking "down".  To reach God, then, they reasoned, build a tall tall tower.

Their hunger to connect with the deity was commendable, even endearing, but once again the humans were on the wrong track.  Blasting off into outer space atop a Saturn V or whatever, would need to come later, much later.  By then, the chief lesson would have been learned.

God had promised no more major cataclysms, though in later Plague Days some may have wondered if He'd changed his mind.

The intervention he'd need for this mono-culture was pretty brilliant:  just don't let them all get on the same page.  End the ability of humans to establish a single, totalitarian consensus reality (some singular Reich) once and for all.  Thwart imperialism.  Keep it chaotic, though not entirely without rhyme or reason.

Again, the lessons to be learned are geometric in nature:  the planet is not an infinite plane, but a ball, and God needs humans to realize this fact.

Some say our eating the apple was coming to know of the world's roundness and that wasn't really a  sin.  Rather, a self-serving intelligence community, a priest caste, wanted to keep such knowledge secret and conspired to make a religion out of keeping us ignorant.

Without buying into this particular heresy, we're still able to appreciate the intentional nature of our Diaspora.

As a chosen people (humanity, on this particular Eden planet) we were to understand our relationships to one another in terms of networks, not top-down pyramids.  Cybernetics and Deep Ecology would eventually seep into our thinking, countering the conditioned reflexes of those "infinite plane" landlubbers.

The Diaspora in the wake of the Tower of Babel incident meant removing our fixation on some singular Z axis, a common pecking order.

Civilization would be multi-polar, henceforth.

Hallelujah and Amen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tredding Water

I'm keeping my head above water at least, figuratively speaking.  Teaching Patrick's course is a good workout but strenuous in some sense.  I'm the Mr. Professor character, holding forth, but sometimes I experiment, take risks, and fall on my face in so doing.  I figure having students watch me flail a little, is truth in advertising, where learning to code is concerned.

In this case, what bit me in the butt was a missing commit after a bunch of SQL inserts, meaning none of the records were actually saved, appearances to the contrary.  My implementation of a context manager in Python, characteristically about connecting to and disconnecting from a database, failed to list out the expected dogs, because in fact, the dogs table was empty.  Live and learn.  I see what I need to do to fix the code.  However it'd be great to fix it in the master copy, as every session starts fresh from that source.

Lindsey Walker is my house guest again, but for only hours, not years, this time.  She's enroute from her academic lifestyle in Corvallis, Oregon, to another set of self disciplines in Kathmandu.  Religious studies.  Lots of ritual, Sanskrit, yoga, dance moves.  You'll find lots of entries about LW in my blogs.  We're heading out to the airport shortly.

Last night, we dropped in on Wanderers, where Barry was sharing about his southern hemisphere vacation.  However Carol (mom) was seeking to navigate her way to the pharmacy, pushing her walker, so Walker and I decided our higher calling was to supervise that process, after which we sought out Patrick, the original author behind the course I've been teaching, every day this week, from 7 AM until 1:45 PM.  We work on an East Coast timezone.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Aftermath

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Events that gather momentum, like some meditation retreats, like OSCON, don't then just dissipate to nothing immediately upon close.  People radiate back into their lives, sharing vibes they picked up.  Ripple effects.

I wandered Mt. Tabor with a friend, stumbling upon piano in the park. Ramona was there, and explained a little.  One of the improvisors was her student.  A duet.

We watched the sunset together and went our separate ways, me down the steep steps I'd come up, the recently upgraded flight from the lower to upper reservoirs.

Mt. Tabor's reservoirs are decorative and historic and make for cool lakes of Bull Run water, gravity fed to the city by some Uru technology, other-worldly, more Narnia than not.

As evidence of OSCON putting me in a trance, I rushed out to Best Buy for a bigger brighter monitor. I ripped through the TV stuff to get to my desktop where I watched documentaries about container shipping.  I'm studying the trucking end of that business.

You'll be asking yourself what Open Source Convention has to do with "truckology" or container shipping.  One answer is transportation is data intensive.  Truckers use apps and GPS.  Another answer is cloud architecture is all about "containers" these days, talking Docker and Kubernetes.

For those unsure of what I'm talking about:  after the PC revolution (personal computers), then Free Software (Revolution OS), came Cloud Computing, which we're still exploring.  One puts components together in new architectures.  Microsoft is happy to let you spin up an instance of Ubuntu on Azure.  That's the new world.

Missing from the picture was how to bring the cloud into the world of the work-study Global U student trucker, the coder behind the wheel.  Code schools were springing up all over.

One could move from driving to programming, without necessarily changing knowledge domains.  Keep thinking about trucking, just more from a back office angle.  Or go the other direction, from a pod to a cab.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

OSCON at Twenty

Girl STEM Star

OSCON is waxing nostalgic on its 20th.  Tim O'Reilly expressed his pleasure in being back in Portland, though maybe bringing some Texas weather.  For sure.

From humble beginnings in UNIX culture, free and open source culture took off and now (semi-secretly) powers the economy.  Heavy hitters come to OSCON seeking to recruit new devs.

At OMSI last night, some of the OS community expressed their sense of OSCON closing in around core devs and seeming less accessible in terms of providing a more Maker Faire style front end.

That's not a new development, as OS migrated to the cloud, where it gets configured into proprietary back ends, inherently closed, but with components contributed back to the community.  The cloud world is dominated by big name monopolies, sometimes abbreviated FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google).

Tim O'Reilly wondered from the stage whether the cloud companies were becoming too greedy around empowering themselves at the expense of others, versus catalyzing new synergies and surfing on network effects.

The question need not be posed in terms of morals, unless one sees ethics in engineering as a restatement of scientific principles.  "We're doing science" said Tim, which means experimenting to find what works.

Generosity (definition goes here) is a component of long term business strategy, and more than airy fairy investment in "good will" per the old school economics textbooks.

Morning Coffee

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Elementary School

Had Wittgenstein been in a position to avail himself of computer languages, as his student Alan Turing was starting to do, would he have found these sufficient to make his points regarding rule following in mathematics, or would he have taken the position that some formal logic, woven by not-computer-scientist philosophers, was essential fabric?  I'm thinking he'd have found our world of programming languages sufficient for his purposes.

In Synergetics we see non-executing notations referred to as "empty set" versus another category of math notation as "operational". His math is of the latter type and seems destined to run on computers, both in serial and in parallel processes and threads.  In the meantime, there's plenty of prose to munch on and run neurally, in search of tips and clues regarding generic heuristics.  "Think in terms of planets" might be among the mantras we come away with.  In other words:  mnemonics that employ connected graphs in biospheres will help you play World Game more effectively.  Peter Sloterdijk helped pave the way.

The challenge in elementary schools is to expand their horizons to needing to wrangle large numbers of numbers.  That doesn't necessarily mean the numbers themselves have to be large.  Imagine of herd of a billion numbers, all primes, plus negative one, and low order primes at that, no well established RSA number factors.  Those would be too large.  It's the billions and billions of numbers we need to work with.  Store them.  Process them.  Save them.  Return to them later.

Fortunately, none of these challenges are extremely new and without precedent.  Businesses have always needed to track inventories, large and small, and to measure capabilities.  The physics and chemistry world is keeping track of atoms and molecules, in terms of moles, in terms of various measures.  Even individual molecules may be tagged and made to fluoresce.  The mathematics of large quantities is ancient history.  We just need more of it in the early grades.  Supermarket Math to the rescue.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Nomenclature

Gregory Bateson, the systems theorist and anthropologist, recognized the emergence of Cybernetics as one of the major landmarks in human history.  However, "Cybernetics" per se (the word itself), like "Biosphere", has not enjoyed the wide currency many expected.

That doesn't mean Gregory Bateson was wrong, only that the precise language used is highly mercurial vs-a-vs the less fickle concepts themselves. Systems that auto-tune in the presence of an environment, in order to optimize various capabilities, don't have to be identified as "cybernetic" in order for them to get their work done.

General Systems Theory (GST) actually includes an appreciation for "word meaning trajectories" meaning we track the significance of words in semantic space, and not just according to their frequency (common versus esoteric).

The concepts to consider here:  biases, weights, precession.  The first two seem obvious and show up in linear algebra specifically.  The latter, precession, is borrowed from Synergetics, often lumped with Cybernetics (for good reason) and has to do with the curvilinear paths (the geodesics) formed in the presence of feedback loops, tensor fields, some of which may be self reinforcing (e.g. the "vortex" pattern).

Planets were originally conceived of as "wanderers" because from the standpoint of Earth, their orbits are not simply elliptical, as they are from the standpoint of a Galilean observer, looking from outside the solar system.  Picking the viewpoint from which bodies in motion have a simplest set of relationships is a non-trivial application of machine learning. At least metaphorically, the fixed point theorem applies: there's an identity function hiding in a forest, like a singular tree.

Machine learning is somewhat like fine tuning an ear to hear, inside a chamber with characteristic frequencies we hope to detect.  Train your ear while creating a track record, a history, of improvement, thanks to feedback loops.  Then correctly categorize new sounds, as evidence that you've practiced some generic skill and aren't helpless outside the training cocoon. In today's Tensorflow tutorial we distinguished training, validation and testing data.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Forks in the Road

World Cup Flag

Regarding the Friday 13th indictment of Russian nationals, the talk of the town in this chapter (except for the World Cup, which is on at the moment, last day), we're seeing a fork in the road when it comes to the readership, itself a small percentage of those who care.

Reader A is seeing all the details sprinkled therein, with specific servers in Arizona and Illinois, unit numbers within the GRU, and of course specific names, and is impressed, ready to believe.  Knowing the indictment is unlikely to result in a trial, Reader A is willing to presume the story is true, skipping that step (a trial with evidence), and go from there.

Reader B is thinking of Colin Powell's detailed presentation regarding Iraqi WMDs ("aluminum tubes") and may in general have the view that a big part of spy stuff is crafting stories to look believable ("yellow cake").

The assassination of JFK comes to mind as well (I've been watching Jerry Kroth's latest).  Some people even don't believe the moon landings happened (I think they did).  They're skeptics by nature, especially around anything Cold War flavored.

These are not the only two camps of course.

For example, Reader C may think, like Reader A, that the story holds water, is probably true, but we should be thanking Russian intelligence for doing the job investigative journalists no longer do.

Reader D thinks more like Reader B, but also thinks the intelligence community is now global and this is its way of moving conflicts between major powers out of nuclear hot war space and into the cyber arena, which is for the better.

I haven't even mentioned Nine Eleven and probably should.  Once again, major events that have changed the face of history, do not always build much consensus.

People agree on the magnitude but not on the significance.  The many mutually conflicting stories cancel each other out to some degree.  For example, as a student of Col. Fletcher Prouty, I don't believe the Gary Powers U2 was "shot down".

Understanding these forks in the road helps with analysis as we move forward, as it becomes easier to understand people's thinking when we remember we don't share the same past.

As for me personally, I have some sympathy for Readers B and D, but want to keep an open mind.

The indictment suggests Guccifer 2.0 is a persona, not a person, and that part I'm thinking might be true, but then who invented him?  He seems to have implicated the GU rather overtly, with those Word templates.  If he was a Russian invention, he was not that smart.

Reader A and Reader B therefore have some overlap.  Reader A thinks the Russians have been caught red handed (retro pun intended) precisely because they were sloppy about the coverup.

Stories that Guccifer 2.0 was actually a disguise for Russians came out well before the indictment.  People doing searches will again reach different conclusions.  Reader A sees a consistent story shaping up.  Reader B sees collusion as a cabal seeds the media.

I'm probably sympathetic to Reader B because I don't think politicians in the UK did a convincing job of proving Russians poisoned the Skripals with fancy nerve agent.  Nor did I buy the following April, 2018 chemical weapons attack story in Syria.  The debunkers seemed more credible.

I do think people make stuff up to incite sentiments and also to increase that sense of being under surveillance.  I believe that's a big part of spy craft:  writing believable science fiction.

I think those in a prosecuting / investigative role have little choice but to press forward with their story.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  The goal should be to tie off loose ends.

For example, the "AMS panel" in Arizona maybe counters a line of reasoning raised by some retired NSA types suggesting the metadata was inconsistent with any transcontinental data transfer.  The indictment adds that the files were compressed.

These details go towards addressing the "leak versus hack" forking, providing more ammo to Reader A.

What I noticed in the forty eight hours following the release of the indictment was how hard it was to find any official Russian reaction.  This was not a focus of any of the news stories I could find, but for a paragraph here and there.   We'll likely be getting more along those lines in the next few days.

I'm more interested in the Russian counter-spin than on whatever CNN has to say.  I prefer RT to CNN, any day, thanks to the Americans who work for RT USA.

I'll go upstairs now and see if I can find the World Cup on Fox.  I'm in the Steve Holden Chair of Computer Science in my living room, which is propped up with a log in the back.

Carol, my 89 year old mom, is trying to get ready in time for Quaker meeting, however I don't see us getting there in time, even though my car is back from repairs at K&M near 50th and Division.  We'll likely make it for social hour.

Congratulations France.  I managed to catch just the last five minutes.  Someday I'm hoping to go back and watch a compilation of highlights, from all the games.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Headline News

Headline news in my subculture is Guido van Rossum (GvR) is stepping down as BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life) of the Python community.

In practice, Guido had final say over what PEPs were accepted (PEP = Python Enhancement Proposal), however he discovered winning approval for a recent PEP to be an exhausting process.

Stepping down after winning a grueling battle (assignment expressions are to appear in Python 3.8) is probably a good way to make an exit.  Guido deserves a vacation.  He's not disappearing from the scene.

An issue for most dictators is they have no exit strategy, or they appoint a heir to the throne.  Python's community will need to reinvent its own system of governance going forward.

Guido deserves praise, not only for his skills as a language designer, but as a community organizer.

Chris Angelico and Tim Peters were also behind this PEP.  I've read it through and see the logic of adding this new feature.  Like other Python semantics, it might be inelegantly abused by some.  That's no argument for not including it.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Remembering Lisa

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The meetinghouse was full on this occasion, with both Multnomah and Bridge City Friends, and a lot of Sisters, a Catholic order based in Mt. Angel (about fifty miles south of Portland) that allows lay participants, known as Oblates.  Lisa was one of those as well.

I only attended Bridge City a few times in the last year.  Great seeing so many familiar faces, and chatting with some of them.  Greetings Dave Fabik, Ron Braithwaite, Jane Ewert, Gail Sanford... Betsey Kenworthy (I'm mixing the meetings).  Janet Jump.

People remembered Lisa as especially real, authentic.  She made a big impression that way.  She was devoted to non-humans, took care of pets, including her own several.  She loved dogs and cats.  Her authenticity likely traced to her living with beings of so little guile.  Mischievous but not phony, these fellow travelers.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Cyber Tourism

Much as I'm in favor of actual tourism, there's much to be said for getting to know one's world from the comfort of some home base.  When physically touring, there's usually less possibility of integrating into some local lifestyle, like an anthropologist.  A cyber tour guide, on the other hand, may take you on some more intimate journey.

For example, my Twitter feed this morning was about following the adventures of an old lady needing new glasses and going to "America's Answer to Communism" for this purpose.  Those were vice president Richard Nixon's words, in a speech at the dedication.  The Cold War was about showcasing what competing socioeconomic systems might do for their participants.

Americans were going to wait less for a greater abundance of goods than ever, to the point of instant gratification in some cases.  Citizens of the USSR, their economy deeply wounded by two world wars, were lining up longer for fewer goods.  Then came Sputnik, the satellite.  Were they studying harder?  Was their mathematics better?  The space race was on.

The old lady was able to schedule her eye exam for an hour later.  Medicaid paid a lot of the $89.  The frames were $170.  The frames industry is a known scam with lots of history behind it.  Where systems compete is in their ability to provide stakeholders with basic care, including eyeglasses, some dental.  Veterans get less dental benefits than many suppose.  My American War buddy Glenn had to resort to a low cost cash only dentist, with inexpert help.

The Lloyd Center has apparently turned off all its public-facing electrical plugs.  I have a Mac Air from O'Reilly Media, where I used to work, that has to be plugged in, and no it's not a battery problem.  I've been able to plug in at Lloyd in the past, but not today.  I'm taking refuge in a nearby McMenamins (where Thirsters meet, more Peace Corps connections) with plugs and WiFi, while the old lady, my mom, gets her new lenses ground.

The Chinese Peace Corps plan to give free eyeglasses and dental care to Detroit's underserved, sounds a lot like science fiction.  Seeing is believing in that case.  I went to some meetings at Wayne State some years ago, about whether military welfare was the way to go.  The US military is a major experiment in military socialism.  Every time someone joins, they're saying civilian life in a democracy is too precarious.  In the military, one takes orders and shares property owned by the state.  Some health care is available.

Cyber tourists might even get inside some military or another, not as spies necessarily but as welcome witnesses to a friendly service.  Given today's telecommunications, there's no reason militaries can't lurk in on one another's high level meetings.  A "tour of duty" doesn't have to mean lots of time flying in some jet.

Portland, where the Lloyd Center is based, has a lot of eggs in Refugee Camp Science.  I'm not sure what OSU and University of Oregon offer, specifically, in terms of degree track preparation.  "EPCOT West" has been one of my media campaign operations, aimed at highlighting our focus on working with refugees.  MercyCorps has sent a speaker or two to Wanderers (Linus Pauling House) over the years.

What's it like trying to get an eye exam and eye glasses in a refugee camp?  That all depends on the camp.  Are we talking Palestine?  Cyber-tourism helps the Chinese Peace Corps figure out where they're most needed.  You don't have to leave Beijing to follow an old lady around in Portland, seeing whether she's able to score a pair of glasses.  How about in Detroit?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Six-Hearted Sex

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Some of our heavyweights turned out for a science talk on octopus sex this morning, July 4th, as is our freedom.

The octopus favors deeper waters, say two hundred feet on average, or at least that's true of the species we're looking at.  They occupy all levels actually, including the shallows.  These creatures contain venom as a defense. Sometimes the little guys are the most deadly.

We use the term mantle to refer to the gut sack, connected to one side of the head. The octopus has multiple hearts, one associated with each gill funnel (mantle openings, or intake valves), and one more centrally located.  Two octopus ("octopi" is wrong) equals three plus three hearts, hence the title for this talk.

One exhaust port takes care of everything going out, including deoxygenated water. There's a mouth of course, lips around a beak right at the center of the radiating arms.

The arms are called hectocotles (with ligula at the ends) and one of gets involved in reproduction, when a male pulls a spermataphor from its own funnel and places it through a gill opening into an ovaduct.  Arms are not tentacles.  The octopus has no tentacles, technically.

Each spermataphor contains billions of sperm cells.

The oviducal gland nurtures the sperm for maybe six months or more. A given octopus may have been fertilized through both gills meaning both sperm incubators might be active.

Hariana Chilstrom is our presenter. She worked for many years with the Seattle Aquarium. She knows many of the creatures in her pictures by name.

In our discussion list she wrote:
Although there are thousands of invertebrates with crazy, sexy lives that live largely unnoticed by most people, octopus are animals that most folks recognize. But there’s a lot of misinformation about them, much of it involving anatomical inaccuracies that affect descriptions of the mating process. “Six-Hearted Sex,” is based on first hand observations, studies with a cephalopod expert for ten years, and research from primary sources.
Potential mates sniff each other out for a protracted period.  They're discriminating and in the wild have a choice of several partners.  They don't always get along.  Sometimes they run away from each other.  Sometimes cannibalism occurs.

If they do mate, the process may last for some hours (say four). Some researchers theorize the male ligula may even scoop out sperms injected by a previous male.  That's speculation however is a pattern seen elsewhere in Universe.

Placing the eggs in clusters and guarding them until they hatch (if all goes as planned).

Males tend to go crazy or lose their will to live or whatever in older age, becoming fish food in open waters, especially for sea lions in the Pudget Sound area.  The females tend to die in their caves.

The octopus has a reputation for being very intelligent.  They have big eyes and a large visual cortex. It's believed their vision is monochrome, but high resolution.  They've been known to blow bubbles and chase them, indicative of playfulness.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Fifty Years of Sixty Minutes

Deke phoned me last night just as this program was coming through broadcast media. Although I have optical fiber with television signal, I use a digital antenna. My home sports a satellite dish, but it's not turned on.  Remember when you see vistas of Medieval cities sporting dishes, that only some of them are able to tune in.  Great to get a look back.

Yeah, Iraqis weren't lying, and were being ripped off leading up to the first Gulf War from the point of view of national sovereignty. But nations are more just for show in those regions of the world, there for the benefit of TV viewers.  If you're an historian of this period, don't neglect to dig deep.

The show stumbled a few times.  I've talked about that elsewhere.

An irony with active journalists like that is they wouldn't get to play at that level if they were major couch potatoes, and yet TV depends on couch potatoes for its budget.  At some point, couch potatoes start resenting their own lives in front of the TV and switch off, seeking adventure.

TV programmers, like computer programmers, have to walk a thin line, as if they make their worlds too engaging, they create a matrix people sense is hypnotic and seek defenses against.  Good people, the kind we want to buy our consumer items and take our drugs.  "Make TV good, but not too good" is the rule.  60 Minutes has been perilously too good at times.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Running Rust

Every strong computer language comes with conceptually useful mnemonics, and Rust is no exception. We use Cargo to build and crates to define dependencies.  I'm just starting down the Rust rabbit hole, in anticipation of OSCON.  So far: no regrets.

Contemporary frameworks take for granted a canonical tree structure, with given paths, such as /target/debug versus /target/release in the case of Rust.  Use cargo check more than cargo build, skipping the final step of building the executable.  In some cycles, all you need to know is your code will compile.  Actually running it is not a requirement, and indeed might slow down the development process.

The idea of extending Python with Rust or even implementing Python in Rust someday, has of course crossed my mind. However I don't depend on this idea as a sole source of motivation, when it comes to wading in as a newbie.  The humbling effect of wading in as a newbie has intrinsic value. 

However I'd prefer to explore a rabbit hole with a reputation, such as the one in Alice in Wonderland.  One wishes for wonders, in exchange for one's labors.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Camp


The term #camp has take on various connotations, however summer camp remains a ritual activity for families seeking activities for the kids when school is out.  I went to a summer camp in Sardinia, when my family lived in Rome.  I remember being homesick.  My parents stopping by for a visit made it worse, though I'm glad they visited.  The camp language was mostly Italian and my Italian wasn't very good.

This year, I signed up with Saturday Academy to do another edition / iteration of what I call Martian Math wherein I converge science fiction, a little history, some astronomy, and the off-beat 4D stuff I learned from transcendentalists, Bucky Fuller in particular.  I'm up front with the kids that I'm drawing from this source for what I call "martian" -- not a secret.

Summer camp is not supposed to be grueling or any kind of unwelcome imposition on the customer.  We're aiming to provide entertainment, and in a well equipped, well connected computer lab, with middle schoolers, that tends to mean games.  My approach is to introduce each meetup with a short lecture when they're fresh, and then permit multiple activities.  Quite a few opted to assemble C6XTY or try out Lux Blox.  I also had a folding paper exercise, wherein we might assemble a whole Tetrahedron.  I didn't get enough interest for this last activity, but did have a completed tetrahedron already made.

Again, I featured War of the Worlds as featured on CBS radio by Orson Wells and company.  Today I played a 48 minute program in the background, covering that incident.  Later I switched to showing Mandelbulb reveries.  In both cases I kept the sound a relatively low volume and didn't mind if student attention were focused elsewhere.

This morning's lecture featured the number series 1, 3, 6, 10, 15... (triangular numbers) along with the tetrahedral 1, 4, 10, 20, 35... (cumulative), both found in Pascal's Triangle.  Then 1, 12, 42, 92... took us to the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences and the link to my web page on the the Microarchitecture of the Virus.  There's a tie-in here, to War of the Worlds, as it was microbial life that eventually brought down the Martians, otherwise the humans would surely have perished.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hard Work

24 A Modules (12A + 12A') = Tetrahedron

The stereotype of a Protestant is one who protesteth that he's working all the time, because of the Work Ethic thing, where you're a burden on the King if you don't serve His Royal Court in some way. One must justify one's existence, as jurisprudence in this jurisdiction dictates, omni omni Latin Latin yadda yadda, Amen.

When New Math came out, as we saw in Incredibles 2, parents felt hard pressed to keep up and help with homework. Parents not knowing any of what junior brought home as assigned labor ("homework") was undermining of their authority.  The head of household needed to establish basic mathematics competence in the eyes of progeny, given the insistence on maths as a Cold War necessity (Incredibles 2 is set in the 1960s but is entirely innocent of political war-making, unlike the backdrop for Black Panther).

Speaking of both Wonder Woman and Black Panther, I'm back with the Ottoman Turks reliving the final days of the British Empire.  So really?  Ireland and India color-coordinated their respective flags? Both were striving to gain egress.  Iraq, newly taken, along with Persia (Iran) and Kuwait, were also chafing to establish a more localized sovereignty.  Iran was actually not part of the UK, just the oil deal was highly favorable to BP or whatever they called it back then.  I've also been studying the Opium Wars, which is relevant in light of the American opioid epidemic.

So Physics has its own meaning for Work (W) in terms of energy, with units of productivity and throughput, along with Big O notation in Computer Science (CS).  As a hominid, we burn calories at about the rate of a light bulb, but we're not all doing the same processing, in the sense of Process Work (I've been attending workshops downtown).

By analogy, not all CPUs or GPUs are running the same jobs, an obvious point, but when considering raw power in a "plugged into some hydro dam" sense, there's a tendency to overlook just what exactly the power is used for (usually a long story).

What if families were under time pressure to learn GNU stuff in a hurry, as in bash (Bourne again shell) and other POSIX type stuff?  A lot of them are.  Dads and moms everywhere are wading into bash, a gateway shell environment.  Much of the working out is not directly compensated, and in fact people go into debt seeking these skills, having been promised a shovel at the end of the rainbow with which to dig themselves out of their financial hole.  Many retirees are counting on those student debt backed annuities.

So how is the Global U, going forward, planning to teach about Work both in the Protestant Christian sense, and in the more secular sense of Higgs Boson (God particle) physics?  Thermodynamics enters in.  Climate science.  Concerns about plastic in the biosphere.  Thinking globally, while acting locally, is not something one consciously chooses to do, necessarily, which is why "Think Globally. Act Locally" is less a moralizing enjoinder and more just a label on the box, especially where billionaires are concerned, processing financially as it were.  Is that work?

The pressure to learn New Math had to do with maybe those Communist nations pulling ahead, now that they had the full support of their Proletariat base classes.  Capitalism needed to prove itself through its superior university system, and the University of Chicago was up for the fight. SMSG (the official name for New Math) would introduce the missing rigor required by Academe of its best and brightest.  I was a guinea pig for this project, one of many, until extracted and landed in a British facility, with coat and tie.

However, as students of Systematic Ideology well know, political ideologies tend to have a short half-life, morphing into one another (quantum physics like) with Marxist Russians nowadays presenting as Eastern Orthodox, or some other Byzantine variant of what was once Emperor Constantine's official religion for the Roman Empire.  Protestants have lost some of their shining lights to this competing branch of the One True Faith (OTF).

The Ottomans were planning to follow Rome's model, but using Islam as an engine, in place of Christianity.  They were semi-successful I suppose one might say.  I'm still catching up on all these stories, and I haven't even started on Game of Thrones.

The question is "what Work is productive?" and in which namespace are we, when asking that question.  What "work" is merely Entropy in disguise?   The water would have flowed downhill anyway, but you're charging me for this "service"?  This line of inquiry invariably plunges us into Information Theory, Thermodynamics (again) and of course GST (the general theory of systems).

Would it behoove the Seattle economy to invest in luxury cruise submarines that take people to undersea gardens and even SeaWorld Resorts?  Or would that make less sense than extending the monorail, which I gather continued to see service after that mixup with Elastagirl (Incredibles 2 allusion).  Investment bankers decide which science fiction scenarios deserve their reputations and savings, be those autonomous vehicles (and required infrastructure), Hyperloop, hotel submarines or whatever.

Seattle does have a history of building submarines already, as well as hosting a World's Fair.  Fewer people remember the Spokane Expo, making for two such events in the same Union state.  Oregon hosted a giant world's fair type expo as well, in 1905, called the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition. Oregon had joined the Union on Valentine's Day, 1859.

Microsoft has shifted a lot of its weight over to Github for a reason:  collaboration on software projects is a way of life for many of its most productive developers. Like I'm these days hacking on a next iteration of Martian Math for Silicon Forest clients.  PayPal was talking about Inner Source.  The culture has benefitted greatly from the productivity of the GNU era engineers, once their best tools were escaped (freed) from the grip of IP lawyers.   Or rather, a new brand of IP law challenged an older set of schools for intellectual dominance and carved out some turf.  Linux would make a splash as the darling of the Dot Com revolution, only to take up residence in the cloud as a premier cloud service, long after Dot Com at ceased to be as much of a thing.

What I'm saying is the dad in Incredibles 2 is tackling a hard job in reprogramming himself to think more like a New Math teacher (Tom Lehrer et al) and parents continue to face a steep wall in the homework department, with Learning to Code a new kid on the block.  Nowadays we're pummeled with messages about the importance of coding to a child's future, but without much attempt to provide parents with the necessary background.  That's all changing of course, plus many parents are already techies and/or hobbyists leading the charge.  The point is:  learning to code is hard work.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Incredibles 2 (movie review)

P1050508

Even before the cartoon begins, we got a brief promo from some of the voice actors acknowledging a gap of fourteen years between the original in 2004, and this sequel in 2018.  That promo may be just for theaters, dunno if you'll see it on the DVD, in front of the main feature.

The movie opens right where the last one ended and pursues the same themes.  The Mole, by the way, is never caught (spoiler alert), is simply forgotten about.  He gets away with his crime whereas superheroes are framed by the media as the bad guys.  The public seems awfully gullible, as usual, as if it weren't obvious The Mole was a serious threat.

The Mole's methods of destruction are reminiscent of urban legends around Nine Eleven, which focus on gold stolen from deeply buried broken-into vaults.  Superheroes did not materialize then either.  Firefighters did, heroes of the real kind.

Interestingly, it's the billionaire elite who want to bring a nearly homeless family, ensconced in a motel with only two weeks unemployment left, back to prosperity.  The kids are ecstatic to receive the charity of a billionaire's extra home, while mom goes to work in a PR capacity.  She and the Bezos character will restore the reputation of superheroes everywhere.

There's a funny Peter Sellers allusion given the control panel in the fancy house.  Remember "birdie num num" in The Party?  Here it's "cookie num num".

Bezos and his sister have a batman-like story of how their dad was murdered by bad guy intruders. Instead of retreating to the panic room, ala Jodie Foster, the dad tries the two "bat phones" representing faith in superheroes and is let down.

The sister has never forgiven this decision and blames the Cult of Superheroes for plunging people into unreality and faith in imaginary friends ala Waiting for Superman.  Her screen-slaver persona plays a double role:  as a superhero through technology (not unlike in Incredibles the first) and as a prophet reminding people of their life in The Matrix, as slaves to screens.

The Screen Slaver tries to talk us out of our blind trust in the vicarious existence screens give us, while at the same time enslaving us with that same power (hypnotism).

The sister has got a point.  An audience of rapt movie-goers stares at the Disney movie, hypnotized, while the villain tries to break the illusion and push us back towards our own lives, wherein superheroes are not illegal, they simply don't exist.

Since we're enjoying the dream so much by this time, and empathize with the homeless family, now so much less hopeless, we resent the villain for trying to break Disney's spells.  We root for Bezos, the billionaire, and by extension for Hollywood and Pixar.  We want to be hypnotized.

We appreciate the billions that go into providing us with this virtual reality, wherein magical superpowers do indeed seem real, thanks to the miracle of telecommunications and computer generated graphics (plus audio).  We've paid our admission and are entitled to this experience.  May the good guys win.

The movie seeks to perfect a recent era, wherein the FBI consisted of apolitical men in black and New Math was proving frustrating to parents.

Government plays a minimal role in this world. An ambassador Merkel type character represents some kind of global social order.  A supranational global elite controls the superheros despite the latter's special powers.

As good guys, the superheros are constitutionally law abiding.  They obey the law because that's the right thing to do, even if that means working for an insurance company.  With great powers comes great docility.  Clark Kent would understand.

In keeping with the movie's theme, my next stop after Bagdad was the Powell's Books across the street, where Peter Rubin, an editor for WIRED, was sharing readings from his new book Future Presence about VR and the intimacy it promises.  A book about the artwork in Incredibles 2 was already on the shelves. 

We may feel divided and isolated by social media today, as our smartphones intrude on actual real time relationships, with the people in our immediate vicinity.  However VR might cure all that, by making the virtual world at last as satisfying as the real one.

Screen Slaver has the potential to hypnotize us to an even deeper level.  Disney and Pixar will be right there with us, along with FANG, helping us believe in The Matrix, as we fly around the world meeting with each other in Cyberia, super beings at last.

At Powell's

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Refugee Camp Science

Camp Life

The Global University is highly militarized and low on people skills, which means it's somewhat weak in the brains department, or "mentally deficient" as we say in the business.  Long story.

In terms of funding, the talented scientists and engineers need to represent their research foci against a backdrop of Endless Wars, as that's the lifestyle most students see as realistic for themselves.  How will my research help on the battlefield?

Metaphorically, we're always able to see War when we need it.  President Johnson tried his War on Poverty, but then how was that going to profit Big Business?

What followed was a War on Big Government in order to stop it from FDR style experiments with so-called "socialism" (the irony being the military is highly socialized, in addition to being not democratic).  The Business Plot, at first frustrated by Smedley Butler, won out.

One consequence of Endless Wars, with its belief in "regimes" and "regime change",  is an endless stream of refugees from the bombing ranges the Global U selects for fairly indiscriminate flattening and rubblizing.  As faculty knows:  we're a bit weak in the head.

Student housing, being destroyed over there, needs to be reconstructed over here, in the form of refugee camps and the Global U is starting to train people in the many skills related to setting these up and providing management and materials.  We're looking at large logistics challenges, especially around supplying the basics, such as WiFi.

GST has been helpful in linking all of the above to the Earth Energy Budget (EEB) at least conceptually.  Exactly how currencies come to represent current, in terms of kilowatt-hours, is another discussion.  Think of energy as gold bars and of the sun as their place of origin (we import more energy from the Sun, as a planet, than we do from all the oil fields combined).

Another branch of study the students are going into:  weapons inspection and disposal.  Those making bright shiny new weapons often have an investment in retiring the old ones the sooner the better.  When conversion is a possibility, in rare cases, only a systems based approach will graph out the consequences and provide anticipatory programming.

My network of "spy camps" (derogatory) was envisioned with similar goals e.g. testing lifestyles with a degree of self-sufficiency even in a remote wilderness.  Campus facilities employing XRL (extreme remote livingry) have an ephemeral quality.  The entire campus is designed to vanish without a trace after the research data has been collected.  Permanent infrastructure may be left behind in some cases, but minus the campus that put it there.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Heaven, Again and Again

I'd like to write a Medium essay on this topic, of Heaven versus Reincarnation as two belief systems that philosophers sometimes just assume are opposed, even though both feature an After Life in some sense.  The devil is in the details right?

However, I'm in a hellish state of needing to connect to a virtual classroom on Monday, for hours at a time, and I've been depending on my Android doing Bluetooth for that purpose.  However, the Android appears to have gone crazy.  Not the first time.  Fighting to save the Android's sanity is taking a lot of my time.

That's the thing about Heaven:  it comes with a flip side or Hell.  If you wake up in some After Life, you're going to wonder what the Judgement was.  Yes, I know, we're not all on the same page as to the timeline.  The orthodox Christian belief is we need to stay dead until the end of time, at which point, we experience the Resurrection.

What may confuse people is that's apparently not how it worked with Jesus.  He could be resurrected as a fully formed adult, just days after he was entombed.  Did he look the same though?  Some accounts say only his closest disciples were able to authenticate that this was the same guy.

I diverge though.  Or maybe not, as I'm wanting to highlight that the legends or myths are already murky.  Judgement Day has to wait for a Second Coming.  Is there a Heaven without that Judgement Day coming first?

In the archetypal realm, this is already the After Life.  We've died and been reborn many times, and each time we're born, we get a lot of what we prayed for.  The living standards humans enjoy now are pretty good for some, totally miserable for others.  We regard Creation as both Heavenly and Hellish, but ultimately neither because not Eternal.

What would Heaven be like then?  You have a body?  What if you think others are better looking?  Are you condemned to jealousy, envy and so on?  That would be Hell right?  You keep suffering from the same sins you did before, except eternally.  There's Karma in this picture, it seems like.  Here's an After Life, which you expected to be Heavenly, but once you get there, what do you get to do?  Do you have a job?  Is your life meaningful?

Getting to a world that still made sense, had a history, a narrative, or set of narratives, would seem a Heavenly Outcome to many, especially if said world were relatively free from want and diseases, compared with some Hellish world one had just been in.  A believer in reincarnation prays for a better After Life.  How is that so different from a believer in and/or hoper for Heaven?

In sum, I do not buy the idea that we have any strictly necessary division in namespaces, between those dreaming of Heaven, and those praying for an After Life on Planet Earth or some other planet.  What both believers have in common, in addition to aspirations for a brighter, happier future, is a sense of continuity.  How will we know "this is me"?  Is one cogito as good as any?  That goes against our sense of having a self to preserve.

Now we're getting into another sticky area in philosophy:  continuity of self.  Those into reincarnation sometimes claim to have memories from past lives.  However, beliefs do not always bend in response to such claims, as those not believing in reincarnation may nevertheless believe in dreams, fantasies, thoughts contrary to fact.  "Sure you claim to believe in past lives, but that doesn't mean I have to believe you had any" is how the reasoning goes in that case.  And so for many claims people make.

My claim is simpler:  belief in an After Life includes belief in Heaven/Hell and belief in some future lifespan in any context, comes under the same umbrella.  Those positing a strict separation between these two belief systems are being unnecessarily strict in my view.

In contrast, some believe in No Before Life, and No After Life.  The cogito does a "heads up" in a single lifespan, experiences the mystery of Being, and then reverts to Non-Being, which is not, after all, a state of Being.  Saying someone "is" dead or "is" not yet born, is to posit a "someone" and that's where the oxymorons get started.

Even here, I'd say there might not be as strict a dichotomy as we might think at first.  To have another life while forgetting your previous life completely, suggests some underlying continuity that's deeper than one's memories and thoughts.  That a specific ego might dissipate, never to reconstellate (reconstitute), is possible even in the course of an ordinary lifetime.  A person you once felt and considered yourself to be, is now dead to you.  There's no going back.

This issue of Continuity (an important word in film) likewise arises for those who believe in Heaven. We expect to be reunited with our loved ones, in many stories.  However that implies we recognize them, and they us.  Did all the people we don't want to remember go to Hell?  Does that mean we can't remember them in Heaven?  Does their suffering not detract from our eternal satisfaction?  Do we exult in it then?

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Upsetting Sets

Modern "Set Theory" - is it a religious belief system? by Dr. N. Wildberger

Some of us who study the Bucky stuff are likewise attracted to the mathematical research of Dr. N. Wildberger.

Why?  Because he is:

(A) not afraid to talk about Foundations and
(B) questions the ones a lot of us grew up with in the 1900s.

At one point he says explicitly that his questioning of the dogma that Set Theory somehow provides logical underpinnings, is deliberately designed to bring mathematics more into alignment with computer science, wherein the Set is one data structure among many.

Furthermore, computer science is resolutely discrete and content with Finitude, at least in some circles.  Dr. Wildberger is, philosophically speaking, a Finitist.

What I anticipate is the unwillingness of mathematics faculties to take on Learning to Code at the high school level is going to result in a corresponding loss of influence when it comes to preaching, I mean teaching, about mathematical foundations. 

Are we so sure we need "infinity" as a central concept then?

Years ago, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) changed its logo from something promising, an octet truss looking thing, to an infinity symbol.  This could be interpreted as a symbol of self defeat, as we leave Cantor dust in the dust, so to speak.

What's missing in our selection of a coordinate system is a sense of its frequency, scale, degree of resolution.  The assumption is that any grid is immediately resting upon some continuum, that stable reality that makes "solids" solid.

Even if we don't find much justification for such a reality in physics, many still believe we're able to access this continuum through some third eye (the "mind's eye"), and therefore the continuum remains an object of mathematical study.  I'm not saying it shouldn't be, only that said eye might be critical (in the sense of skeptical).

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Home Brewing

Brew Install PostGIS

Hah, hah, I'm making a punny joke, as actually I'm not making beer at home, but using a program called brew, for OS X, to install PostGIS, and it's taking a lot of time.  Might as well blog about it right?

Quakers kept journals, not because they thought "I'm a big cheese" but because it's a therapeutic activity, at least for some of us.  Many mental states have as their symptom some compulsion to write, and some of those states are considered lucrative to be in, or at least better than suffering from writers' block.

OK, lets decode some more:

OS X is the operating system running on contemporary (at the time of this writing) Apple machines.  Last night in my course (I'm the instructor) I yakked about FreeBSD and Darwin, not Charles but rather:

x86_64-apple-darwin14.5.0

meaning the specific build of this operating system I'm currently using.  I've not always been this much of an OS X user, having run my business atop Windows, and cut some chops in GNU World (Linux etc.).  However I've been more an application layer programmer than any kind of kernel developer. I was not a computer science major.  My focus was Liberal Arts, and philosophy in particular, which has its own angle on programming.

Engineers log their steps.  Starship captains like Picard do the same. As do real ship captains, especially the exploring ones, sponsored to give thorough accounts.

That's George Picard of Star Trek fame.  I was into that series when living in Bradenton, Florida and needing to still believe in some 24th Century, very EPCOT.

So here I am, a blend of the two:  Quaker journal keeper and engineer logger, talking about installing PostGIS using Homebrew.

PostGIS is a fancy industrial strength open source database that's taking hours and hours to compile on my OS X.  I teach a class in data science, which includes both data management and analysis, visualization.  I'm showing off geopandas and basemap and other such tools of the DS / GIS trade. I cite VanderPlas quite a bit, as an effective teacher whom I'm learning from (lots of curriculum writing on-line).

There I go again, adding more abbreviations and acronyms.  At this rate, we'll never be done decoding.

I re-upped on Grunch.net, a domain name I own, and portal into the Bucky stuff.  That's Buckminster Fuller (he wasn't a vampire slayer, or depends on the namespace).  His pithy Grunch of Giants is a perfect specimen of late 20th Century New England style transcendentalism.  GRUNCH is another acronym to boot.

EPCOT = Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (Disney's invention).

The installation process has gotten a lot further.  239 minutes and 55 seconds were required, could that be to compile gcc itself (8.1.0? -- I don't compile a lot in my present chapter, as Python precompiles to bytecode at runtime without requiring any explicit compile step).

This attempt to install PostGIS was abortive.  No such luck.  My version of OS X is too old.  At one time, this OS was state of the art, and the homebrew script probably worked.  But now they've moved on.  The messages tell me not to report the issue, just fix it myself (I'm to create pull-requests with any bug fixes I may discover).

Possibly I got a working postgresql out of the deal?  Homebrew lists it as being installed.  I'll need to poke around a little more.  I notice I have a new Python 2.7.

compiler_failure_homebrew

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Meanwhile, in the Mapparium...

DGGS / Global Matrix

The Mapparium is a Church of Christian Science project started quite awhile back, to nurture greater global awareness within the church.  Not just secular governments should be privy to big picture world views.  I'm sure the Vatican agrees.  Spatial data management systems were an obsession of mine even then, and when AFSC paid my way to Boston, as a part of the Manhattan II project (Daniel Ellsberg and company), I made sure my pilgrimage included a visit to this holy spot.

These days I'm looking at DGGS presentations on Youtube, the above picture a screen shot from one of them. Notice the "hexapent" design, a focus of my HP4E campaign.  The shoptalk of layers and levels pertains in that one may superimpose several layers at the same level, to tomographic effect, or drop down to show minerals, fossil fuel reserves, coal deposits and so forth.

If you're installing Geopandas using Anaconda, one of the best Python ecosystems, in the sense of convenient, remember to install it in its own conda environment.  conda-forge has binary incompatibilities with the default Anaconda installation that are likely to bite you in the butt.  Fiona is especially troublesome (that's a package Geopandas requires).

I know what you're thinking:  such data layers at the lower levels would be highly prized and mineral exploration companies, oil supranationals and so on, are not about to divulge whatever secrets they've already harvested at great expense.  Well, yes and no.  The downside of wholly proprietary data sets is if they're not independently auditable, as in verifiable, then confidence in their reliability may suffer, even within a company or government.

Long ago, I wondered if, as a test case, a world class corporation could establish itself outside the US jurisdiction, yet within the boundaries of the United States, per some sovereign tribal, treaty established land.  Yes, we know from recent examples that the USG doesn't honor the treaties it signs, but that's beside the point.  The question back then is whether this experiment could succeed in principle, and Global Data (not an Inc.) was established with that in mind, as a product in part, of GST (a balancing discipline for Economics the way I cast it back then, and still do to large degree).

Anyway, that's all backstory to today's meeting about DGGS, a global data data management and visualization framework not unlike Google Earth.

The Mary Baker Eddy Library/Mapparium

Having attended a Process Workshop Institute marathon yesterday (OK, only five hours, with breaks), I had some fresh perspectives to bring to the table, perhaps jarred lose from my internal groupthink matrix.

Glenn and I were able to discuss patterns of information distribution, focusing on such institutions as hair salons (including barbershops) in the archetypal small village.  Think of a WestWorld episode if that helps.

The flip side of misinformation-laced "vicious gossip" (or just "gossip") is what we might call "intelligence".  The latter often comes with caveats and disclaimers, whereas the former is often "pushed" by people in no mood to be contradicted because they have agendas, which may be time critical.  Gossips flock to tabloid journalism, which is sensationalistic by design, intended to stir up outrage in the face of scandal.

I called Uncle Bill from Ringlers along the way.  I've cut way back on beer consumption since turning sixty, but haven't gone cold turkey.  That was my 16 ounces for Friday.  Today, I had my allotted 22 ounces.  Having a budget helps.  I had taken buses 75 and 15, having returned two overdue library books on statistics to the Belmont Branch, and paid the fine of $3.50.

OSU has more than a big toe invested in DGGS waters.  I've been exploring the connections.  Having more public macroscope displays is a long time mission for World Game as well, established by the Buckminster Fuller emporium as one of a suite of related 4D enterprises.

Our meet up featured the last lecture in the Complexity series from Great Courses, by professor Scott Page.  You can't fix a broken heart with bandaids.  What Fullerians call "precession" has everything to do with the maxim:  you may control almost nothing, yet influence almost everything.

AFSC flew me to Boston for the Ellsberg summit, but also to meet with AFSC Boston and get ideas for how a youth program might work. As many a mom & pop martial arts studio will attest, having a van really helps if reaching out to minors or non-drivers, yet wanting them at some central site.  AFSC Portland actually managed without a van, but then Portland public transit system (Tri-Met) is better than average.  Check it out.

Assembling C6XTY

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Reality Check

Today I drive outside city limits to share MIT Scratch with some kids.  The theme today is "broadcasting" whereas last week it was "cloning".  These are technical terms within the Scratch namespace.

I was up until like 4 AM this morning, after teaching an on-line class, catching up on the Putin Files a little (PBS).  There's way more there than I'll likely have time for.  I also caught some of the Oliver Stone interviews (of Putin), awhile back, not this morning.

That got me back to studying where we're at in the latest political soaps.  I posted a bunch of links to Facebook (public).  One link points to an article saying Guccifer 2.0 was a GRU guy.  Then there's the VIPS narrative that metadata proves DNC emails were sucked down to a memory stick, not siphoned off through some backdoor connection (so no proof of a hack). 

The purported Guccifer comms also looked doctored in some way, something about cutting and pasting to a Russiafied Word document?  I'm not at all close to this investigation.  So whatever happened to the story about destroyed hard drives in that guy's garage?

Me on Facebook: 
I suppose a 3rd narrative is something like "yes the Russians helped expose DNC corruption and we thank them, lets hope to return the favor." A 4th narrative remembers how Pizzagate was going viral at the time, which is related to Russiagate but seemed to have a life of its own and was damaging to Clinton Foundation / DNC.
 My summary remark on Facebook was:
I have to say, I think the substantive content in all these soaps is more meaty than during the Clinton years, which were so much about sex scandals, not that we don't have that going too (Stormy etc). The cyber stuff is really dense (IP numbers etc.) and the Putin Files take us to Ukraine, Crimea... the public has plenty to chew on. Looking at reality as TV, the screenwriting has gotten better. That's putting the best spin on it I'm capable of this Tuesday morning. Same goes for these discussions with Fero I suppose.
Somewhere in the middle of that thread, Fero Zubek showed up lambasting the Bucky stuff and linking to his own videos, which often mention me by name as the arch-villain.

I'm supposedly confusing people by promulgating a concentric hierarchy of polyhedrons, a purely Platonic construct in the sense that one doesn't need empirical evidence to shore it up, just mathematics.

The reliance on verifiable mathematics ala what's in my Jupyter Notebooks makes the whole debate somewhat more democratic in that neither Zubek nor I need rely on unnamed, anonymous "intelligence professionals" -- almost always a weakness in those more empirically-based narratives, making those games unplayable except by certified insiders, more a spectator sport than participatory.

Tonight I'm back to teaching on-line, but a different course than last night's. I'll be charging my Bluetooth headphones.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Philosophy Circles

The mathematics folks have been fairly adept organizing into Circles.  I watched them do it and see where Philosophy Circles could be "a thing".  Of course I'm not the only one thinking this way.  Alex and I formed a circle, inviting a visiting physics professor, quite awhile ago.  We met in a church.

You may recall in the 1980s or so, some philosophers proposed hanging out a shingle kind of like Lucy in Peanuts, who had a psychiatry booth.  Did she serve lemonade?  Probably the Kool-aid is in another booth.  Charlie Brown was always game for another therapy session, for a nickle.

Philosophers might indeed be the adepts in psychedelics but that wasn't a main focus. Rather, you might see your corner philosopher to wrestle with existential problems, but not from the premise of "medical patient seeking a cure" (how the Freudians operate).

Actually, some psychologists in the Jungian lineage have experimented with dropping the idea of "pathologies" and running clinics.  We might think of "morphologies" and of philosophers more as experts in posture and shape shifting, both literally and metaphorically.

How one sits with the world influences where one stands.  Where are you on the Globalist to Nationalist spectrum, or is that not an axis that gets to your address?  How do you advertise and what?  Lets leave aside whether you engage in PR and just assume that's a given.  No judgement.

I like starting with questions about clinical depression, which the drug industry wants to treat with miracle pills, a panoply of psychotropics.

Philosophers are more likely to aver that the illness is not effectively treated at the individual level as the principal symptoms, as well as the causes, are psycho-social in nature.  That's why we need more  research.  We actually need to cure what ails us, not act out.

Planting memes and seeing how they travel is not illegal and is what the media savvy do all the time, usually for reasons other than a love for pure theory.  Any agency with a payroll needs more of a purpose than idle play.  Attracting advertisers has served that purpose.

Philosophers put up billboards, just like some religions do.  You've likely seen them.  Bumper stickers likewise play a role.

Am I suggesting all philosophers are on the same page with these various Circles, these Borromean Rings?  On the contrary, these interlocking directorates are all over the map.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Humanity At Scale


I've continued yakking about Scale, plus watched a Geoffrey West video.  He talks about how mammals all live roughly the same time, in terms of heart beats.  He talks about how cities last whereas companies come and go.

I had some analysis about that, and asked about nations and religions, as additional institutions that scale, or not, through spatial-temporal dimensions (however many).

That's with ISEPP and SNEC and some others.

Think about a bar with the Greek letter phi for a logo that sells beers in mugs that are phi scaled.  Say the smaller mug is exactly a cup, which isn't much when it comes to beer.  Linearly phi-up means exactly the same shape (that's part of the gimmick), but every linear dimension up-scaled.  Result: the beer therein contained is What It Was times phi, times phi, times phi.

That's right, volume goes up as a 3rd power of linear increase, and the mug size above that, is phi-up once again, with yet another "phi to the 3rd" increase in volume.

Now according to Geoffrey's book, even if we accept these "Platonic" ratios, some of the power laws by which creatures and/or cities grow don't have simply 2 or 3 for exponents.

Look for 1/4 and 3/4 for example.

That's fine.  Leave it to Santa Fe Institute to find these subtle power laws.  The Platonic power laws, per the phi mugs, are a place to get started, but they don't tell the whole story.

Companies with an avowed purpose may accomplish a set of goals and then deliberately break apart.  Financial ruin and major trauma need not be a part of the picture.

The troupe (the company, like Monty Python) forms, produces the movie, stages the play, takes it on the road for awhile, and then disperses.  New troupes form.  The stars move on, from picture to picture.

Cities provide a platform, like an operating system (OS), closer to Universal Studios.  Businesses like to set up shop inside tall buildings because electricity and plumbing are someone else's problem.

A business just needs to pay its bills, and thereby becomes free to pursue a project or whatever endeavor.  We call this the freedom to be enterprising, i.e. to have enterprises.

That enterprises would be more like shorter life-span applications than long haul operating systems seems not too surprising.  Companies need to cannibalize one another and start over, not always smoothly reshape from one thing into another.  Some caterpillars become butterflies, but not every enterprise is multi-staged.

So what about religions and nation-states, how do their lifespans pan out, in terms of power laws?  The book (talking about Scale) seems less concerned with such pattern integrities.

Nations have the interesting property that comes with any time a geographic area is fenced:  a property line always determines two properties, unless up against an ocean or edge beyond which the idea of property stops.

Picture a spherical polyhedron.  Every face is fenced in, and is surrounded by other faces.

When nation A's borders change, that often necessitates changes in other nations' shapes (B, C, D...) as well.  The jigsaw puzzle nature of tilings, and of space-fillings, goes with the territory (or more precisely, with the map).

Companies may also share vertical boundaries, given how elevators make them so stackable.

Many nations have had rather shaky borders hitherto, as they've mostly been on paper to begin with.  The locals may not have known exactly where in the desert the border line crossed.  GPS was not available.

These days we're discovering whether nationalism as an ideology is coming up against limits to growth in its efforts to make all these atlas boundaries more literal.  Smartphones are able to tell anyone which nation they're in.  That's what makes them so smart I guess.

Some people would say these invisible fences (in many cases) must become more visible.  Electric fences, walls, other barriers, become prioritized by these border aficionados.

Before I get to tell you to get off my property, we need to agree one what that property is.  Those kinds of agreements have fallen apart in many regions of the world.

In some cases, the atlases and globes sit in school rooms but the kids have all fled to refugee camps, leaving the atlases behind.

Companies and also religions tend to go for networked smaller patches of land, a campus here, a warehouse there, with no contiguous jurisdictions the size of France.

Also, some wineries have been quite long lived, more like religious orders.  I don't know if the power laws have any crystal ball predictions regarding these matters.

May we expect to discover new ones?  Now power laws that is.  I expect we may.

The conclusions in Scale seem pretty suggestive, so far as they go. Thank you to Terry for a copy.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Jupyter Notebook on C6XTY

I met with Saturday Academy's CTO on Thursday to field test some software for possible deployment.  Everything was looking pretty good.  I left some C6XTY to help them explain about Martian Math.  You'll get Jupyter Notebooks on your resume.  For the college-bound, that looks good.

All this driving around is wearing out one of the belts, not the fan belt, so I'm scheduled to take Torture Taxi in on Monday for a diagnostic, and I hope an intervention.  My little geniuses out in Happy Valley will be disappointed if I can't get out there next week.

C6XTY is explained a little more in the Jupyter Notebook, big in the news lately.  I'm using Python3 to generate a specific lattice, known to crystallographers and others as the FCC, no relation to the Federal Communications Commission.  No, FCC is equivalently the CCP (no, not the CCCP, an old synonym for USSR) and the IVM.  But practically no one calls it the IVM, because nomenclature makes a difference.

I'm sure I lost just about everybody in the last paragraph.  Do click on "Jupyter Notebook" if curious.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Truckers for Peace


In science fiction, T4P is a wildly popular global initiative to enhance the role of participating truck drivers, making them citizen diplomats on the road.  Truck stops become a lot more like campus extensions in many cases, as the Global U provides more services.

Today we're seeing some successful pilots.  More truckers are using GoPro type devices while the simulation software (similar to flight simulator) continues to improve.

A primary focus are routes in the Americas and in Asia, with more development in Africa yet to come.

Yes, we understand about Peak Oil.  That's why squeezing more value from every barrel of oil makes sense.

Using those precious barrels to destroy infrastructure using warships and warplanes is what's clinically insane.  Private single occupant commutes, leaving half the housing stock empty, is another symptom of species insanity.

But trucking (transporting) goods and people (a bus is a kind of truck) is still the important work of a lot of people.

Unfortunately, the District of Columbia seems hellbent on surrendering to Planet of the Apes type warlords and putting its PR powers behind ramping up more wars.  The T4P network cannot assume DC's PR machine will give a shred of attention to our investment banking.

All the PR tasks, from logo design to storyboarding, has to go on without much support from the central planners in charge of all the wartime socialism.  Getting the audio channels to trucker cabs, in various languages, is taking time.


Friday, May 04, 2018

Youtube Content

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Glenn has been researching the B Corporation as a background institutional framework.  Today, however, was the meeting on personnel.  We both think the CSN CTO might be the best at video editing. He and I as talking heads need to be balanced with other content.

Yes, I'm talking about Youtube content.  When I first moved to Portland we were looking to Comcast, to which the City had given the keys in exchange for some community television facilities.  I was able to get on, do some work in front of the camera.  I think I did some editing.  Another Glenn I know has done a lot of editing.  Award winning.  High school friend.  Manila.

The B Corporation, Global Matrix lets call it (shades of Global Data), is about giving some of our Pauling House talent an opportunity to get studio air time if wanting it.  I'm in studio almost every weeknight, doing closed circuit.  That's not the Youtube model though.  I did some pilot studies, testing the waters.  Those needing more "spy camp" knowledge got their A & B modules, T & E modules.  Not forgetting the S.

Yes, I'm tracking the Jupyter Notebook breakthroughs:  winner of the ACM award and major feature it Atlantic Monthly this April.  I've been yakking with the physics teachers about it, thanking them for Jake VanderPlas tutorials, his Pycon keynote.

Astronomers, including at Space Telescope Institute, have done wonders for Python's street cred.

Stockton knows a lot about white water rafting.  He's recovering from an injury at the moment, but I wouldn't put it past him to shoot down the Deschutes.  My "math is an outdoor sport" meme is about exercising body as well as brain, but also becoming practiced at noticing patterns.  Rivers have their pattern language.  A certain type of swerve predicts an eddy, perhaps a beach, another fast current on an opposite shore...  Glenn knows all about it.

If you fall overboard and end up in "the Maytag" swim down to get out of it.  That's what a lot of people would not try, out of reflex.  Scuba has secret knowledge like that too.  Which is why it really helps to have a teacher.  I had Gill Gilleland in Manila.  I'm no white water rafter though.  The roller coaster at Oak's Park is closer to my speed.

His Global Matrix is about layered data on a Macroscope, the proverbial illuminated globe of Mapparium fame, hexapent in design.  Ultimately the planets don't have to be real.  Subject matter, so-called fields, map to planets just fine.  Physics Planet and so on.

I'm into timelines myself and keep looking for the best timeline sites.  You'll want to know who knew whom, but that's not always information to easily come by.  The Economist is dropping its rules against split infinitives by the way (I just read that this morning, coming down from Mt. Tabor).