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.

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.

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".

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 some 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 is 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).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring Cleaning

Barry at Large

I'd planned on doing Barry's habitat cleanup yesterday, but that was action packed, as was today.  I had all the Chromebooks charging and retested the bum one in my trunk, ready for swapping.  It works if on a charger.  Taking that huge octopus of chargers just for the bum one would be a bummer.

Anyway, today Barry the python got his mouse and a cleaned up habitat.  Deke took pix, maybe some for Twitter, where he specializes.  I'm more a Facebook guy, and LinkedIn.  Today I continued the math-teach thread on "dot notation" using my LinkedIn profile as anchor point.

The fish got their new filter too, since Tropical Fish Hut on Division is one stop shopping, when it comes to Blue House pets.  Not cats or dogs in this chapter, just fish and a reptile.

I received a new shipment of Lux from the manufacturer.

Some may consider me a guy of loose morals if I admit to looking up to Lance Armstrong, long after it came out he was doping.  I understood his comeback from cancer was inspirational and that was fancy chemistry too.  I'm not saying I don't get it about rules and sports, I get it.

I realize a parallel Olympics wherein athletes were actually permitted to experiment with dangerous alchemy would border on the gladiatorial and voyeuristic.  That's the more lawless world outside the stadium, not what we'd put on TV under the heading of sports.  More like news.

Speaking of weather, it was cool but not raining this morning so I did my trek up Mt. Tabor, choosing the steeper stairs.  I call them "steeper stairs" as they gets steeper towards the top i.e. the 2nd derivative is not a flat line.  These stairs connect the bottom and mid-level reservoir (historic monuments; they were pressure washing the one of the castles, making it shinier).

Like Lance, I was patched back together by modern science, though with nothing so exotic as his treatments.  Yes I ride a bicycle sometimes.  No, I'm not racing, just peddling around looking at stuff, going places.

We had the python posing atop some C6XTY, after I'd hosed out his habitat, scrubbing it back to factory condition.  Deke's phone battery finally died.  Like I said, Barry got a mouse out of the deal, not just exercise, and lots to think about.

Speaking of C6XTY, part of the action yesterday, apart from the bum Chromebook (which the head office knows about, plans to swap), was a meetup with the Flextegrity inventor and founder.

The latest edition of Sam's book is hot off the press.  He's been conference boothing, taking C6XTY to the natives in several subcultures, most recently in New Orleans (lots of C60 chemists).

I'm writing curriculum a lot of the time, looking for ways to get Jupyter Notebooks pushed out to the schools.  Today's gambit was to suggest Language Arts pick up the ball, taking publishing as an on-ramp to coding through HTML + CSS.

Then comes Javascript and Daniel Shiffman, or whatever Youtube teachers (or whatever video service).  Classroom teachers get to do it 360, which our remote people do not (not yet, no VR 5G until 2020 and not every neighborhood is keen to be an EPCOT in that way).

I'm not trying to lay down any "must follow" track.  The LinkedIn article was about GNU Math and "dot notation".  I try to bring together the command line lovers, and the art world, as together they make math (a kind of music).  In that regard we often use "dot notation" to make stuff happen.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Robin Hood (movie review)

The Robin Hood story has been told several times.  I showed up at Glenn's with A Bug's Life, a Disney cartoon, but we couldn't get the VHS player to work with the new HDTV.  The fallback was this version of Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott.

I contributed a six-pack of Kell's IPA. I hadn't known in advance our afternoon would be so Celtic.

This movie proposes to give a huge amount of backstory to the Robin Hood myth.  He is by rights a new King of Nottingham, Maid Marion his queen, having returned the sword of the slain son, Marion's previous boyfriend.

Robin, played by Russell Crowe, is handsomely portrayed, opposite Cate Blanchett (Maid Marion) in a strong role.

Director Ridley Scott is known for organizing great scenes with a lot of authenticity, based on research and a sufficient budget.  This film is packed with elaborate sets with large casts, giving a sense of the period, especially through the always-depressing lens of endless war fighting.

The bad guys are a venal King John, nothing like his brother Sir Richard the Lionhearted, and this English-French hybrid double-crossing double agent. The former was plotting the demise of the latter to secure his throne, which, once secured (thanks to Richard's dying ahead of schedule), he then proceeded to drive into the ditch.

This French-English villain, strong in battle, obtains King John's approval to go raiding baronies to the north for "taxes" (plunder), not realizing that in sewing these new seeds of discord, he's made himself vulnerable to a French takeover.

Robin Hood is caught up in all these politics.  We get a glimmering of how monarchy would be made less oppressive, even though King John takes a match to this precursor to the Magna Carta.

There's a young adult gang of dispossessed, occupying the forest, who eventually gravitate to the newlywed outlaws, as the movie draws to a close.  We'll camp in the forest as a family, a merry band. Friar Tuck, Little John, all there.  Fun movie.  Big production.  Lots of great visuals.

Something I'd like my campus theaters to screen are some of these classics.  I'm talking in general terms about the Global U, but am also thinking in more detail about my more remote outposts, where "movie night" will be a feature.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Thermodynamics: Earth Energy Budget


Thanks to recent meet-ups with Terry Bristol, I've been diving more deeply into the history behind thermodynamics than ever before. He's steeped in the stuff way more than I'll ever be though, as he's been combing the Carnots, Maupertuis , for the beginnings of quantum mechanics.  The link is through the Principle of Least Action.

The concept of "waste energy" or "energy no longer available to do work" is what gets us some focus. When did this idea arise and how does it relate to "entropy" in grammatical English, equation-free?

The picture of the Earth energy budget I'm getting, from many sources superimposed, is of higher food-like frequencies coming directly from fusion (the uphill battle to heavier elements), and lower elimination-like frequencies boiling off, evaporating back into space (metaphorically speaking).

Earth can't afford to impound wattage at a significantly higher rate than it discharges.  This would mean a growing disequilibrium and stresses beyond what we measure, climate change notwithstanding. In some grand calculus, well-illustrated using Markov diagrams, the total in equals the total out.

You probably see how these core concepts all relate.  There's a sense in which Earthian "muscle mass" is increasing in the form of humans and their cities.  Leaving aside any judgement on what specifically constitutes healthy growth, there's an energy price to pay for everything physical.  So if the "muscle mass" is growing, is this reflective of some net income?

Information theory enters in, as a human organism is nothing more than rearranged atoms mostly already present in the ecosystem.  Some new material falls in from space every day, just as ionized particles leak away.  Very slow changes in total mass, spin rate, surface temperature, gas makeup, are the focus of many astronomers today, with respect to the other planets.

I think an average human, such as myself, will relate to the personal organism's experience of eating food, but not getting food value from waste products.  Working hard on a project and finding it returns no value, has the feeling of "wasted work" as in "this was my time down the drain".  But that's also what we call a learning experience, given the scientific mindset that feedback is always valuable.

These comforting reminders don't erase the fact that we're sensitive to "waste" as a form of energy we may produce and have too much of.  Engineers ask themselves how to optimize their time, meaning maximize useful output.

The personal credit wheels model I developed for GST consists of two pie charts, the diameter of which may be adjusted.  The charts segment ones source's of energy income versus one's investments in the future, another way of "putting it in the bank".  Walking to the grocery store to get more food is an investment of calories.  It takes work to do work, even if that work is playing games.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Positive Futurism

I have yet to share Quadray Coordinates with either Jesuit or Central Catholic.  You might suppose, given my background as a Catholic school teacher, that I'd be posting theses on their doors or something.  Actually St. Mary's would be the most apropos, as most similar to St. Dominic Academy.

As it is, I've been promulgating said alternative basis vector bouquet with Linus Pauling House (ISEPP), IEEE (indirectly through Portland Center Stage), Saturday Academy and the Systems Science folks at Portland State.

What's so special about Quadrays?  We start with four vectors from the origin (0,0,0,0) to the four corners of a regular tetrahedron, with addresses (1,0,0,0), (0,1,0,0) (0,0,1,0) and (0,0,0,1). It's pretty easy to see that, from these, one may develop a spanning set, not including rotation as one of the necessary operations.  We appreciate change in direction is distinct from a change in length.

In ordinary XYZ math, three basis vectors (1,0,0) (0,1,0) and (0,0,1) are helpless to reach 7/8ths of space minus help from their counterparts, the rotated versions.  Vector negation (180 degree rotation) is primitive to this space such that -i, -j, -k are linearly dependent, not independent, of their mirrors.

In the Quadray system, we're fine with rotation e.g. -(1,0,0,0) = (-1,0,0,0) = (0,1,1,1) but don't need it to span space with our original four basis vectors.  Any point is a linear combination of the original four, with at least one of them passive i.e. not involved.

By anchoring this caltrop in some Philosophy of Mathematics, we open three doors at once:

(A) Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, based on "language games", comes to life and
(B) we're right where we need to be vis-a-vis the CCP sphere packing and
(C) we've established a context for a Concentric Hierarchy of polyhedrons

All twelve combinations of {2,1,1,0} e.g. (2,0,1,1)(0,2,1,1) and so on, point to the vertices of the cuboctahedron, twelve spheres around one.  We're ready to give all CCP ball centers positive integer coordinates.

I've also been in touch with Eastern Orthodox, "the other Christians" outside the Euro-Anglo Catholic-Protestant axis.  My essay on how an RT on RT would signal a connection with New England Transcendentalism showed up in Medium some time ago.

Some readers understand how (C) links us to a lot of positive futurism, including a brilliant critique of Corporate Personhood (Grunch of Giants).  I setup the grunch.net website to keep those memes alive.

I don't really need to bring my work to the Quakers as I'm already identified as a Friend.  However at QuakerQuaker you'll find me reaching out to Sufi schools.  Having attended the 1999 Parliament for World Religions in Cape Town (when my wife Dawn got to visit with the Dalai Lama in Durban), I'm quite used to Ecumenism.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Bots versus Humans


If you stop and think about it for a bit, you'll realize the "bots versus humans" meme has many dimensions, starting with the invention of "corporate personhood" as championed in "whiteman law" (I call it that to invoke the Cowboys & Indians era).  Corporations, with their artificial motivation (as "moneymakers" for limited liability puppeteers), do not behave with the intelligence of humans, and so count as Bots of the legal kind.

However, the Bots we oft think of are the ones on Westworld, the TV show based on the movie with Yul Brynner.  The Bots are played by top notch human actors and are therefore human in every way (unlike the Corporations), except for the science fiction backstory, which draws from Isaac Asimov.

Human science is nowhere close to Westworld's level of technology, but Hollywood screenwriters aren't here to teach us the true state of the art.  That's the job of Silicon Valley more generally, to "fess up" that Sophia is not actually capable of going off script.  If she could, why would Amazon be pumping big bucks into making Alexa more conversational?

So what we have are Bots of the stupid kind (corporations, phony humans in legal fiction) getting behind Bots of the deceptive kind, to scare humans about how unnecessary they'll be.  Squeeze them out of the leisure class, so they have no time for work/study, and keep 'em desperate, willing to work for almost nothing.  That's what the Stupid Bots most need:  slaves.

So in a way, the Singularity is behind us in that Stupid Bots are creating tyranny by scaring people with their puppet deceptions.  Sophia got a huge boost from Saudi Arabian investors who conferred upon her the title of citizen.  As a Quaker, I have to wonder if Islam is really as down on idolatry as I'd once presumed, as it seems to cheapen humanity and God's creation, to give a talking doll the same status as a human.

But then citizenship in a nation-state is starting to seem part of the Bot system anyway, in that corporate Stupid Bots have hollowed out (privatized) the once proud states.  It stands to reason that Saudi Arabia would help bring the nation-state era to a close.  They caved, those nations did, especially the USA which, as we learned from the FDR era, had strong Business Plot tendencies.

Another media campaign is going on as I write this:  various human journalists and correspondents are being labeled Bots because they diverge from the Party Line in the Orwellian state known as the UK.  I was just listening this morning to various accounts of Tweeters and Bloggers being labeled Bots.  This RT segment below gets into more of the details.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Monuments Men (movie review)

Glenn is a war vet, served in the Navy having attended DLI (Defense Language Institute) to learn Vietnamese. He ended up as a code cracker with NSA.  You'd think a guy like that might have generous military benefits but of course that's not true.  He was recuperating from a tooth extraction today, low budget, out of pocket.  The VA doesn't pay for anything.

I bring up Glenn's war vet experience because this movie is about older vets getting into World War Two (chapter two of the Great War) in order to save the great art pieces of Europe.  Hitler had this agenda of raiding all the treasures and amassing them in some Fuhrer Museum.  After the allied powers invaded through Normandy, Italy, Eastern Europe, it was a matter of preserving what could be saved.

George Clooney produced, directed and starred in this all star cast movie.  I could see using this in an art history class to introduce some of the great masters.  We need timelines for that too.  Leonardo and Da Vinci were contemporaries, one could say rivals.  What they said about each other was not always complementary.

Clooney portrays the Russians as just in it for the trophies, not as good guys like the Americans turned out to be.  The French curator ends up trusting Matt Damon, a good guy.  But then he very selfishly refuses her romantic advances, not cool, but that's OK, we weren't expecting much.

Actually, Russia helped return art to rightful owners too.  For example, an obelisk the Mussolini forces stole from Ethiopia was returned via Russian cargo jet (!) after the war.  I learned all about that at the Lucy exhibit in Seattle.  Ethiopia is still thankful.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ridiculously Reckless


The Banana Republic with its uber-controlled propaganda machine, blatantly took us to the edge of a major conflagration, with an audience of know-nothings egging it on.

I can't remember a time when the a government was more transparently in over its head.  Neocons were never up to dealing with Russia, because they think its all about "showing strength" but they don't know what strength means.  You get spineless cowards instead.

I'm glad there's just a tiny window remaining where oxygen comes in, meaning internet and Youtube. I don't doubt that some bozos in Homeland Security (sounds Orwellian to begin with) would love to shut all that down.

The concentration of ownership of media outlets has deprived journalists of their souls, turning them into ghouls.  Welcome to Hell Planet.

As of this writing, it's becoming apparent that not only was the Syrian army not behind the chemical attacks, but this time there were no chemical attacks.

I understand why journalists malfunction.  They have seen over and over that lies are the basis of military action but refuse to believe they're being lied to, and so they pass the lies onward.  The best way to stay sane is to avoid TV news completely.  The credibility is all drained.

I know, I know, I sound like a latecomer.  That misinformation makes the world go around is not a new development.  Just that the farce has reached new levels.  The soap opera is so ugly.  I'm reminded of Closing Time by Norman O. Brown.

I don't see any men of honor in the Pentagon at this time.  I see mercenaries, for sale to the highest bidder.  If protecting the Constitution were ever their mission, they failed utterly.  Losers.

Tulsi Gabbard is strong, and many in the rank and file understand their leadership is uber-corrupt.  DC is taking a nose dive in terms of having any legitimacy or influence.  Working around DC, in the sense of bypassing dead heart tissue, is the new global industry.

Actually I take it back about dishonor in the Pentagon.  If there's a group trying to pander to the reckless bloodthirsty irresponsibility of the warmonger pundits, by working closely with the Russians on minimizing casualties, that's honorable -- but should not be their job.

Media barons are trying to run the show through the media they've worked so hard to control.  The military is under huge pressure to stage a circus for a public the media whip into a war frenzy.  I wonder if the problem is with the English language itself.  Too buggy?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

More Therapy Needed



I'm gonna rebook with H&R Block this morning, and pay more fees to pay less taxes.  I thought of business expenses that were obvious.  I was in a daze the first time, under pressure to live through Machine Learning.  The doctor says I survived, but you wouldn't know it to look at me.

That's probably me alluding to January events, when I was rushed to OHSU in my cowboy Gun Club hat and Grateful Dead Timbers T-shirt, P-coat, long underwear, black jeans (I'm pretty sure).

I'd stopped breathing too good.

They fixed me up and sent me back out into WestWorld the next day, good little robot that I be.  Melody picked me up in her rig, before shooting south to Texas, yee haw.

I'm in the poorhouse, not literally, but it is the one we paid for, and fortunately the roof is no longer leaking, got that fixed.

Praise Allah, and many friends of the Urners who helped me find productive work, with that Hubble team and so on.  O'Reilly School...

Anyway, I forgot to claim Pycon, with 2017's in Portland.  Nor do I think it fair I foreswear gas costs to and from a startup I was helping.

They paid on W2 but let me teach Python, which is my business anyway.  I was getting them going here in Portland.  That was Coding with Kids.  I claim that cost me 4D Solutions gas money.

The only thing I claimed was my CenturyLink bill, only about half of it.  This business costs me lots more, in Internet fees beyond ISP costs.  Clearly I need to refile and think it through more carefully this time around.  More therapy needed.

OK, that's enough of a rant.  Lets hope they have a slot open given this is crunch time.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Remembering Uncle Howard


I haven't been blogging with the same frequency.  That's just how it goes.

I missed Wilma's memorial, as did Alice, because of work.  She went a little ahead of her partner.  A nurse by training.  Howard told great stories, about everything.  His son Lee is like that too.  I enjoy his writings.  I've seen less of Carol over the years.

What makes me an outsider relative to a tiny core or clique in this family is who ever got to hang out at one of Howard's gold mines.  He held his claims consecutively, not concurrently.  This was a hobby for them and involved keeping in shape around heavy machinery.  If you don't think that takes athleticism, as well as mental acuity, you'd be wrong.

Howard and his brothers always amazed me with their banter, when I'd visit on Mercer Island, the globalist son of a planner and world peace activist, product of international schools, later Princeton. I must have seemed like the quintessential know nothing, which I am and was in so many ways.  I've cleaned up around big machinery, used for Tokamak on Route 1 (Forrestal Campus), but that doesn't make me a machinist.  Bucky had that on me.

Anyway, that whole side of the family is hugely self reliant and pioneer spirited and I've always been proud of them.  Swedish heritage mixed with all kinds of stuff.  I'm talking memetic more than genetics if that makes any sense.

Ed passed of cancer some years ago (his son Ricky was closer to my age -- I went to his wedding), as did their sister Evelyn, mother to Alice and Mary.

Uncle Bill, author of a history of submarine building in the Pacific Northwest (check for blog entries), plans to visit on Amtrak one of these days.  He's ninety something.

My last visit with Howard was at Mary's, at Thanksgiving last year.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Man in the Machine (movie review)

I was pretty sure I'd seen this.  I've eschewed the dramatic version.  Docu-dramas are less my thing if real documentaries are available.  Not that it has to be either / or.  I've seen Aung San Suu Kyi's story done with actors too.

Anyway, the director was amazed at the global outpouring of both grief and respect for Steve Jobs when he passed.  The wake was reminiscent of the one for John Lennon, or Prince.  Princess Di even.  "Why?" the director asked; hence this movie.

The episodes from Steve's life that he chooses are indeed choice.  He bangs on his Japanese guru's door, lonely with his own dread.  He's saddled with a burden:  a form of enlightenment.  His first real girlfriend (as in, mother of his first child) only sort of agrees:  enlightened yes, but still with the burden of ego, so in a sense "he blew it".

Of course any film even momentarily entertaining such a thesis would be controversial, given Jobs was the icon of success. How could bachelors be married?  How could the Pope not be Catholic?

The director allows those who idolize Steve to have their say.

Both Glenn and I remarked how much Jobs looked like Tom Cruise as a youth.  This director also went after Scientology, in another movie I've seen.  He's not one for putting mere showmen at the top of his totem pole, and I think in this director's opinion Jobs was a tad pretentious.

He did live and breath his machines.  He did sit quietly in Zen gardens and seem serene.

As for me, I could see where the Think Different campaign would be moving to Jobs and expressive of his values.  What values?  I think giving space to freaks to invent the impossible in a short window. Like Alan Turing did.

He galvanized people to produce in ways we maybe thought only a war to the death really could.  Or was that what this was?  We all face mortality, so it's not like the wartime theater is any more lethal, given morbidity is 100%, eventually.

The film is a trip down memory lane and a quick review of the territory we've covered, since well before the personal computer.  Recommended.  Well made.  Kristen is a serious Apple fan.  There's a religious dimension.  Ray Kroc also understood how customers would be loyal to what had been loyal to them.  The products pleased people, still do.

Full disclosure: I forked over $300 for a use (good condition) MacBook Pro yesterday.  Good thing, because had I done my taxes first, I'd probably have felt too much the mendicant to have continued in my business.

As luck would have it, I went from Glenn's to get my taxes computed afterward.

Some ruthless stranger wants to extort money to blow up children, or send me to jail.  If I were brave and more honorable, I would refuse to pay a dime to the DC gangland oligarch hijackers of a once Constitutional government.

But I'm reconciled to life in the gulag.  Post USA North America, still pumped up with illusions, is a strange place to be.

Probably because of my dark mood regarding the farce my taxes pay for, I really wasn't that disturbed by Apple using Ireland as a tax haven.  Any way to keep the money from feeding these warmonger bozos was all right with me.

I'm used to people saying Buckminster Fuller was a failure, never mind all the patents, awards, honorary degrees.  A showman, a popularizer, and look, the world is still a mess, so Bucky was wrong about our human potential.

Maybe judging people isn't the real work, nor our calling as viewers of these films.  We're putting together a model of reality and taking in what happened.  We need the stories.  We don't need verdicts.  Life is not a court.  Who's naughty and who's nice might not be the whole point.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Big March


I'm justified in calling this march "big" by Portland standards.  Frequently, a march will assemble in South Park Blocks near the art museum (extends into Portland State's campus, behind the Schnitzer (a grand theater)).  The marchers will snake through downtown ending up at Pioneer Square.

This one massed in North Park Blocks closer to the old customs house, kaddy corner to Union Station (very roughly), and zig-zagged down Burnside, heading east, then south along Broadway, again with Pioneer Square the destination.

By the time Pioneer Square was completely packed with protestors, awaiting the sound stage performance (speakers and live music), they were still emptying out the North Park Blocks.  That whole stretch of Broadway stayed completely populated for a good hour at least, continuously piping a crush of people towards the square.

I was in camera man mode, eager to pan up and down the line.  I'd have taken twice as many pictures had I remembered to fully charge the battery the night before.  My bad.

This protest was against a kind of metaphysical phenomenon going on since the Columbine High School episode.  There's not much agreement on underlying causes.  We no longer entertain theories of possession, in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer sense.  Mental illness is typically discussed in terms of brain chemistry, computer games and television.

Once my battery ran out, I was motivated to visit Yard House, a high ceiling below ground level watering hole.  Derek, my company for this outing, joined me after taking in the full program of speeches and music.  We both had smartphones to keep in touch with, way better than walkie talkies (who here remembers those?). I also Facebooked and likely tweeted.

Later, when I was already on the bus heading home, Derek taking a different route, running an errand, Glenn phoned and we decided to have lunch (I'd only had Boneyard RPMs at the Yard House), this time at the Hop House (I allowed myself one more beer for the day, this being around 3 PM, the start of happy hour).

Glenn knows plenty about guns, has always had them around since he was a kid.  North Americans have their outdoor heritage and I'm all for living in the great outdoors.  The camping side of the culture, with its emphasis on gear, and self reliance, continues our hard won competencies as outdoor humans (with caves and such to retreat to).

A different cultural balance, much healthier, is likely nearby, however the invisible landscape in question has little to do with legislation per se.  Code emerges in the wake of a strong willing emergent mindset, one could say.  Law is what forms in the wake of the moving ship.  Steering involves using psychometrics to respond more appropriately to feedback.

Psychometrics is perhaps a dated term, but is not something bad.  Statisticians and data scientists have the responsibility to collect data measuring public sentiment.  Catching that massive demonstrations happened is more tip of the iceberg.  One looks for analysis and the better analysis is, as we say, data driven.  So lets not begrudge that data gets collected, including on us.

That said, having data for the purpose of fine tuning a model of reality, is distinct from seeking to reshape (versus simply model) said reality.  We don't begrudge academics their modeling, but take umbrage when campaigners wage psywar on behalf of their candidates and clients.  However don't we prefer psywar to violence and mayhem?  I know I do.  I'd make the whole fight be through billboards and other advertising, and computer games, had I that magic wand.

That's all a long-winded way of saying the outward weapons way of settling scores could be set aside for something more computationally intensive, perhaps, but we have an abundance of silicon.  Let us duke it out in social media, including on television, and we won't have to work it out with sawed offs.

The day closed with another visit, where I ate sparingly at Riyadh, a Hawthorne icon, down closer to the old site of Dr. Hawthorne's hospital, a mental one.  The languid Ladd's Addition stretches back from the intersection with SE 12th, where a famous pod of food carts sits kaddy corner from a Burgerville.

I was expecting to see a lot of people I knew at the march, based on past experience. I did encounter Joe Snyder on a street parallel to Broadway, heading the other way.  I was reporting details to Glenn but got off the phone long enough to compare notes with said Friend.  Richard Moley, who often salutes me as Kirby the Obscure, came up and bowed, conveying his customary greeting.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Logical Fallacies


I'm developing new respect for the field of Statistics, nowadays rebranding as Data Science, given its 21st Century willingness to amalgamate (converge) what had been considered two mutually exclusive approaches:  frequentist versus Bayesian.

As Terry Bristol and I discussed at Tom's over breakfast not long ago, sometimes the most mature science is the one that overcomes a core either/or mentality.  Reality is made of particles.  Reality is made of waves.  Rather than a single Grand Unified Theory, why not have two?  Part of our GUT is we need two ways of looking at minimum.

Operation DuckRabbit.

The prejudice against Bayesian thinking, expressed as antipathy towards its champion, Laplace, might trace in part to a school days lesson most of us learn.

If A then B does not imply B therefore A.  Example:  if it's raining, I will not go to the zoo.  I'm not at the zoo, ergo it's raining.  That does not follow.  It's a bright sunny day, but I didn't feel like going to the zoo, OK?

However, a Bayesian would say, the fact "I'm not at the zoo" constitutes new information vis-a-vis the hypothesis "it's raining".  P(it's raining, given I'm not at the zoo) > P(it's raining).  Given I'm not at the zoo, I'm more willing to bet that it's raining.

Shifting to a more eugenic set of memes, what is the probability a randomly selected member of the population has blue eyes?  Lets say 36%, regardless of hair color.  Now I tell you said person has blond hair.  The chance said person's eyes are blue just went up to 45%.  Why?  Because having blond hair increases the likelihood of having blue eyes.

Draw some probability distribution.  That's my reality right now.  I just draw an invisible landscape of what I consider likely.

Now let new data stream in for awhile.  Roll the dice a few times.  What's my probability distribution now?  How about now? 

My prior beliefs, "compromised" by subsequent data, yield my posterior beliefs.

The credibility curve, in light of new data, stems from the ratio between the likelihood of said data given old beliefs, and the probability of said data for any reason.

My old belief is there's one chance in thousand that I have medical condition X.  Then I take a test that's almost always positive when a person has X.  The test registers positive.  My old belief modifies somewhat, but not a lot, because it was already close to certain that I don't have X.

For years, per the sources I'm studying, Bayesian thinking was delegitimized.  But in the 21st Century, Bayesian thinking was finally accepted, keeping the door open to forms of Machine Learning that had been developed to a high level at Bletchley Park.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Systems Science

Harder House

Thanks to a grapevine stretching to John "the Architect" Driscoll, the Systems Science PhD program, headquartered in the Harder House (PSU campus) invited me to give a brown bag lunch presentation, an almost weekly event when school is in session, this past Friday (March 9).  Dr. Wayne Wakeland introduced me.  Some people lurked from remote locations.

My topic:  the concept of "dimension" in Synergetics.

"Dimension" is a slippery concept in some ways, as mass, temperature, time, pressure are dimensions, relative to standard units of each, while space is commonly given three dimensions to establish location, named X, Y and Z dimensions.

Conceptually, we may need only an XY grid to establish which piece goes where on a chessboard (King to (r3, c2)), so we say chessboards are 2D, whereas rulers might be 1D.  However a chessboard is more obviously spatial and we simply choose to neglect the board's thickness.  Does "neglect" of a dimension make it go away entirely?  Out of sight, out of mind.

The dimension concept is even more complicated than that though, and we got into that in the midst of making some elbow room for Fuller's meaning, which starts pretty much where Kant starts:  space is a priori, a given of experience.  Adding time the way Einstein does, is different from adding more dimensions of space the way Coxeter does.  Different language games arise, each making use of "4D".

Fuller's paradigm volume, in terms of shape, is neither a cube nor a sphere, but a tetrahedron, of four corners, four faces.  The language games he builds around his core space concept somewhat diverge from those we learn in school, so much of this was new information to those present.  I'm aiming to share some of the same info with summer school students, as part of their literary heritage.

I also learned quite a bit, as one of the students mentioned being led to the writings of Donella H. "Dana" Meadows through Fuller's. I wasn't sure who that was, and as it turned out, my friend Patrick, with whom I went walking that same Friday afternoon, had been in her courses at Dartmouth.  He filled me in.  Dana Meadows, and her husband Dennis, have a lot to do with Systems Science as we know it today.

My overlap with Systems Science is General Systems Theory (GST).  I see these as quasi-synonymous, in terms of opening a large umbrella, under which we'll find many approaches to modeling and data representation.  There's a cybernetic flavor, meaning we're equipped with all the tools of Cyberia, our Global U.  The so-called Noosphere is a temporal-energetic phenomenon these days.

I talked about the Fuller Projection for data sharing as another invention, relating to his "geoscope" or "macroscope" (the "concentric hierarchy" having been my main focus), and how after the World Game chapter, it mostly stays back burner and on the shelf because of its apolitical nature (no political boundaries mar its surface).

"Talk about quixotic!" quipped the same student who mentioned Meadows.  I raise the question of Fuller's "quixoticness" with reference to his daring naively to critique XYZ thinking at the "three dimensionality" of space, conventions we mostly never revisit in later life.

As children we may have our doubts, about the sustainability of "nation-states" included, but in the press of events we usually come to abandon our both our skepticism and idealism, along with our teddy bears.  We stop pooh poohing zero dimensional points creating infinitely long lines, and settle in to take them seriously, for the duration.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Youtube Teachers


When I first started my gradient descent into that hell hole (just kidding) called Machine Learning, I discovered a cast of teachers hitherto not on my radar, Siraj among them.  My first response was one of annoyance, but that didn't last.  Nowadays I have a healthy respect for the Siraj Youtube corpus and recommend them without hesitation to anyone I think might be entertained by his somewhat manic style.

Speaking of manic, another quirky teacher I highly respect is Daniel Shiffman, who covers a lot of the same topics in Machine Learning.  I was learning from both teachers today.  Even though I'm mostly looking at ML / AI through the lens of Python, I'm happy to watch Shiffman coding in Java and Javascript.

With teachers as entertaining and as intelligent as these, I'm thinking the threat of AI is not that serious, or at least not as serious as the threat of serious learning opportunities on-line, to traditional schooling.  You'd rather ride a bus half across town to enjoy far more restricted access to information?  I guess that's your right.  Just realize a lot of kids are rocketing ahead, as peer groups, not just as solo scholars.  Homeschoolers may rule, in generation Z (or have we rolled around back to A, B... already?).

These two teachers are not the only superstars out there, even limiting the sample to the few I know about.  However they're among the best in the knowledge domain I'm currently exploring.  That just tells you I like it quirky.  Demented even.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (movie review)

Main Menu

History sometimes hands us a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm in a big way.  The context is women's suffrage, and human rights more generally, in the face of longstanding religious and ritual practices.

Americans were seeing the rate of change of the rate of change on the increase, per future futurist Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.  Comic books were a harbinger, leveraging low cost publishing with high dissemination rates, a forerunner of the World Wide Web.  People were hungry for superheroes, and not all of them could be men.  Wonder Woman to the rescue.

However, the story is more circuitous, in that privileged, educated, elite Americans needed to feel the brunt of the dominant majority's anxious ire, its defense of a brittle integrity, before a more literate and psychologically well-founded formula could be supplied. Female superheroes had been a flop hitherto.

Literature has always played on the edge, like HBO today.  Who pays for a diet of pabulum?  WW would need to be a tad risque. Only risk takers risk risqueness, weirdness, queerness.  People queue for what's quirky and quixotic.

Dr. Marston was the guru, the brains, but not a genius at drawing.  He could communicate what he wanted to see, down to the smallest detail of rope thickness, how tied.  But he didn't work in a vacuum, as comes out during his inquisition, in the form of flashbacks.  He's also the front man for a committee, they're a threesome. Or are these women his human subjects?

This inquisition into private lives was even before the Red Scare, which blamed civil rights activism on Russians "sowing discord" among right-thinking Americans.  Prohibition was already in full swing.  The film shows the state of unfreedom that went along with that amendment to the US Constitution, since repealed (although many languish in the prisons thanks to Cannabis Laws).

Marston was not accused of being Communist (McCarthy came later). He was "polyamorously perverse" (to play on Norman O. Brown) in ways that less disciplined more jealous individuals would be unable to coax into a long term molecular family, with kids, a house in the burbs, personal cars etc..  They were living the dream.

However, the nuclear model was about the only one permitted were sex to be involved, despite Biblical precedent.

And besides, wasn't allowing two wives to one man a sliding backwards in any case?  Women were finally coming to own property, after centuries of being owned, as property.

The movie studies these questions, like an earnest student, as we follow this family as only an omniscient camera can, we come to be immersed and perhaps enamored of its charms.  The bottom line is choice. Is compliance voluntary?

The "true story" doesn't need a lot of help, only framing.  When the bullying intensifies, the molecular bonds bend and break under pressure.  Chemistry happens, at every level.

After Dr. Marston died of cancer, his Wonder Woman superhero underwent a sanitizing facelift and became less controversial.  But then her meme was readopted by the feminist movement, and now, with the recent Wonder Woman blockbuster out there, the whole story comes out, behind her genesis.  The Smithsonian Institution helped with the research.

What's always been obvious is the dominant majority feels entitled to use "kinky" "commie" and "pinko" as relatively synonymous, along with "freak" and maybe "egghead". These are the lowlife people we have license to bully, to punish, sometimes only vicariously through horror films, wherein the transgressors face the consequences of depravity (much to the audience's cathartic pleasure).

[ Joss Whedon consciously set about to overturn the whole formula when the protagonists smoke dope, yet don't face extreme rendering, their just deserts, in CGI. ]

Marston enjoys a pretty good life and his creativity lives on.  I'm guessing his story, and that of his wonder women, will filter into common knowledge at least among the comic book aficionados, our future leadership.

Molecular families of the future will have their own reasons to celebrate this superhero's genesis story.

I recommend viewing this in double or triple feature with both Kinsey and Manji.  The former is about a sex researcher facing a lot of the same push-back as the Marstons did.  Manji, possibly hard to find in your neck of the woods, is twisty-turny tale of Japanese trying to sort through their love triangles and finding it no easier in Japan.