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.

How let the 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.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Probability Computations

Training Data

I'm impressed how scikit-learn lets us compare models, such as classifiers, using cross-check validation.  Having scikit-learn is like having a staff of professional statisticians, which may be dangerous if one knows nothing of the pitfalls in that discipline.  So lets make that a responsibility, now that we have these free and open tools.

Sometimes, to give one muscle group a rest, one works out with another.  I use this technique when mining Youtubes.  This morning, without any premeditated plan, I found myself back to the JFK conspiracy theorists (researchers) and decided to snarf down some lengthy testimonials.

The idea of two Oswalds having their identities conflated in the rush of the initial investigation, with a justice system bearing down, doesn't seem that far fetched.  The ostensibly guilty party, a one time defector, now sympathetic to Castro, was close to a comic book caricature of the type needed, if "lone gunman" (LG) was the true hypothesis p(LG | BS) = p(BS | LG) p(LG) / p(BS) where BS = backstory (its probability) and our prior.  Monte Carlo + Markov Chain = the Metropolis algorithm.

Regarding public opinion, I find pollsters too focused on a "general public" whereas the more interesting surveys are of those who've had the time to look in to some matter.  Of those who've spent at least forty hours studying conspiracy X, how many believe Y?  P(Y | X) in other words.  I'm not saying "general public" surveys are unimportant, but lets remember sub-populations who've spent a lifetime driving cars, are the ones we like to write our car reviews. We listen to experts, by definition (I might say "trusted experts" but then "listen" doesn't necessarily mean "believe").

Those in the know are seeing Bayesian thinking flying by, which might be considered "trolling" ("trawling"?) among the frequentists.  Am I trying to piss off some segment in the peanut gallery?  Some might be preparing to feel offended.

By the way, I do think "trolling" and "trawling", though not at all etymologically linked, are conceptually connected.  To "trawl" is to drag a net (dragnet), sometimes across a bottom (bottom feeding) in hopes of turning up some interesting low frequency events, such as two-headed fish in the Columbia Gorge (another specimen for the tribal museum perhaps).

Yes, these same statistical techniques (some call it deep learning) might be used by 911TMer types to study relative probabilities of various scenarios, though in this case we start with the low frequency anomalies, of reinforced buildings melting after bee stings (not to minimize so much as to emphasize their narrow locality or non-existence in the case of WTC7).  I'm not the big expert in this area as I've mentioned repeatedly.  You will find I revisit this thread repeatedly.

Finally, lets turn to Russiagate and the probabilities there.  The "troll farm" or "trawl farm" has been dismissed by Rush Limbaugh as an insignificant provocation.  This might be seen as a left / right flip, as in Castros day, the right wingers were keen to push Castro as the culprit behind JFK's shooting, as to them, the whole point was to gain back their gambling valhalla.  Oswald was looking like the right narrative, given his overt Cuban ties.  One would think a loyal Limbaugh, ostensibly "conservative" would take the radical view that the FBI was going up the wrong tree.

The explanation is fairly simple:  the current president is being cast as high up in the KGB (that's science fiction language, my excuse being Rush uses it), or as being case handled by the Kremlin, so letting the FBI's trolling turn the Internet Research Agency into a low frequency unveiling, of a true spy scandal, is against the White House's best interests.  No one said the executive branch is forbidden to act in its own defense after all; that's why the designing engineers put in at least three government branches.  I the FBI is the weapon of the DNC, as some allege, then clearly the RNC (Rush an ally) is going to back the White House, a highly prized set of offices.

I've been critical of 911TMers for denying they're conspiracy theorists, as there's nothing wrong with theorizing about conspiracies, and a lot of people get paid to do just that, plus get a government pension.  No one should have to apologize about the bare fact of wanting to investigate, do detective work.  The a real investigative journalist would use "conspiracy theorist" in the pejorative is the height of irony.  The quality controls come at a deeper level:  what is the actual quality of the research?  Is this professional grade stuff, like much of the JFK stuff is?  Or is this from an amateur newbie just getting in to the research business, maybe cutting teeth on Pizzagate or on a scikit-learn toy data set?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sharing Slides

 by D.B. Koski using vZome

Some Bucky fans came out of the woodwork for this one.  We've got a new Wanderer in Camus, WA.

Terry showed up with his video gear and kindly provided recording services.  I gave him the slides on a thumb drive.  He may eventually have time to cobble together a video.  In the meantime, this was actually a dress rehearsal for another anticipated talk.

My topic:  the concept of Dimension in Synergetics.  I've talked about this a lot over the years.

Not many read Synergetics, and those that do need some guidance, from those of us who've done the homework.  For example, when Fuller says "4D", he means something different from a geometer like Donald Coxeter, whom he much admired, nor does he mean what Einstein meant, though he greatly admired Einstein also.

I was keen to show that Synergetics did not dead end with the two volumes published in the late 1900s.

Those few willing to work in "tetravolumes" have continued to make new discoveries.  David Koski in particular has specialized in collecting some "low hanging fruit" as we call it.

That the S:E (ratio of S to E modules) equals VE:Icosa (two shapes related by the so-called Jitterbug Transformation) is nowhere mentioned in Synergetics.  The decomposition of volumes into sums of phi-scaled modular subvolumes has also been an active area of exploration. 

These subvolumes may be constitutive in terms of adding in "linear combinations" to give precise bigger volumes (as when sizes of S make a Tetrahedron), but without fitting together as "solid" puzzle pieces, though sometimes they do that too.

Steve Mastin, with training as a crystallography, was intrigued, and thanked me for giving him more insights into this esoteric and off-beat corner of intellectual history.

Glenn also liked the slides, saying they were well organized.

Later today, I went to a new assignment, a public school, to teach MIT Scratch as a part of the after school program.

C.J. Fearnley has been in touch in the background.  Today he tracked down some Karl Menger citations I'd been trying to find.  Excellent. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wanderers 2018.1.31

This morning was Open Forum, meaning we practice what we preach:  wandering from topic to topic, changing the subject rather frequently.  That doesn't mean many topics are taboo, to be explicitly avoided.  On the contrary, we talked a lot about the SOTU (State of the Union) and the US president's speech, which I didn't catch live, but am aware of.

I have some typical talking points in this chapter.  I'm a globalist, ergo skeptical that nationalism is here for the long haul. However, as the premier local (to Planet Earth) religion, I get why politicians milk it for all it's worth.

"Nation-states are for children" I say, almost with a sneer, but then immediately back off, admitting only a few of us elite need to see it that way ("children are minding the store" shouts the est Trainer), whereas whole-hearted belief in one's "nation" is just fine for the hoi polloi.  What can I say?  We're all programmed (me as much as the next guy).

Barbara was there, though heading off to Guyana.  David Tver and I bantered about Noam Chomsky, agreeing we're not disciples when it comes to his theories about language, me more out of ignorance than having made a concerted study.

I was a philosophy of language guy, who came up against transcendentalists working to make "gravity" rhyme more with "negentropy" ("syntropy") which really looks like a long shot.  So many namespaces need the gravitas that gravity brings to the equations, or table.  There might be a niche market for such discussion, but maybe only in retreat settings where people aren't defending a turf or academic department.

I'm talking about Synergetics of course, wherein Fuller posits "precession" as his escape pod from the Newtonian vortex, wherein gravity is the one-on-one two body phenomenon of "falling in" based on escalating force (as proximity, or closeness, increases).  Precession is meant to explain a lot more of the spinning, reactions not at 180 degrees to equal opposite actions.

The reactions are not equal, yet energy conservation is real, meaning resultants, sometimes unexpected i.e. precessional.  "That's a clever web" I remember thinking, "but will it withstand the test of time?".

Next time we meet on a Wednesday, I plan to field test my new slide show about the concept of "dimension" in Synergetics.  Wanderers is open to people guinea pigging themselves, especially when preparing presentations.  Some aspects of Synergetics are likely to live on through the 21st Century, or so I'm surmising.  Time will tell.

Given my background in Wittgenstein, I have a well-developed sense of the flexibility of language. If words anchored to reality more by "spot welding" as naming theory suggests (both Platonism and nominalism tend to share this same theory), then we might be less upgradable as operating systems.

In his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein was at pains to show that words don't gain their significance by "pointing" to objects, although metaphorically speaking that's one of the easiest (and most misleading) models to comprehend.

I also made the point that, thanks to Prohibition and its subsequent repeal, which made many citizens and syndicates into experienced outlaws, we also have a nation of scofflaws to an extent some prudish nationalists have trouble grasping.

Americans tolerate government precisely because, until recently, it didn't have the big data surveillance powers it now could have, if properly organized, more like an organized religion.  IBM helped the Nazis with its Hollerith machines.

Americans say "Americans are ungovernable" with a sense of pride, and that's a part of their nationalism, their ethos, which presents something of a problem for the mostly literally nationalist, the authoritarians.

Many dream of vengefully bringing the renegades to heel and punishing the defiant. They want to see demonstrations of state power, even as they may still give lip service to more libertarian sounding values.  Even anarchists get this way sometimes.  The "hive mind" syndrome is no respecter of ideologies.

Finally, I mentioned thinking it perfectly legal (in the sense of legitimate) for these nation-states to exert influence on one another through social media.

The idea of Russians buying ads on Facebook doesn't bother me even a little.  The British do it too, which bothers me a little more.  I don't trust British suspicion of the Russians usually, as it relates back to their inheriting Roman Imperialism, a meme virus.  Americans were infected with that too, and tend to crow about it as a chief asset.  Just look at DC's architecture.

Anyway, the idea that nations seek to influence election outcomes does not disturb me.  It's a tiny planet and we all have a stake in the various outcomes.  The sooner we acknowledge what goes on, and stop trying to deal with it by criminalizing it, the better.

A lot of Americans have an inferiority complex when it comes to propaganda, thinking probably others do it better, because they're so truthful and innocent.  It's those other people who get deceitful and "manipulate the masses".  That's a complex to outgrow I'm thinking.

Friday, January 26, 2018


I'm practicing multi-tasking as we speak (as I write), and indeed the whole topic of "multi-tasking" has been much on my mind, apropos of this presentation by a British Sikh, Sukhi Wahiwala. What people have learned from near death is a genre on Youtube that I've been data mining lately, I wonder why.

Sukhi's focusing technique reminds me of Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics, a course I took in the Philippines and have continued to acknowledge, especially on math-teach (now closed to new postings, as of the end of 2017). The practice of closing the book you're reading, getting out a piece of paper, and actually doing a "recall", or "mind map" if you will (more boxes and arrows maybe), some kind of "diagram" is pretty helpful.  You do some intentional dot connecting before turning your attention to something else.

In Python World, we're much obsessed with age old scheduling challenges characteristic of the Operating System itself.  "What does an OS really do?" people wonder.  It multi-tasks. In practice that means matching hardware resources to work waiting to be done (queued), efficiently (optimally)... or so we hope.  Writing schedulers in software is not easy and I'm not the expert.  I admire from afar.  But then we each have our own multi-threaded lives to contend with, and that supreme Bottle Neck in Chief we picture inside our own heads (the homunculus).

We may get the impression in early training that time management skills get mastered early on, as a prelude to becoming an adult.  As an adult in a later chapter (turning 60 this year), I'd say we're always spiraling through the perennial challenges of even breathing properly.  A lot of Hinduism seems caught up with breath.  Yoga etc.  Why not?  Food too.  In English we have a fair (unfair?) amount of semantic distance between "food" and "medicine", but not so much between "cooking" and "chemistry".  The pharmacist used to be a chemist (Linus Pauling's dad). A cook's kitchen may look a lot like a chem lab, which it literally is.  Alchemist's too.

A theme in these blogs is revisiting how we teach "home economics" e.g. cooking, in early schooling.  Or do we?

Anyway, thanks for the phone call Dr. Tag, and now I must go catch that bus.  I'm heading downtown to the Process Work Institute to register late for a course, which will cost me two more beers.  The course itself is like twenty five beers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ET Math

4 x 8 = 32

Copied from Facebook:

The way I sometimes teach it is we go over A x B the usual way, with A and B perpendicular, and then of course we don't just draw a line from A-tip to B-tip (common origin), we double that triangle to make a full rectangle, filled with squares. That's our civilizational orthodoxy.

Imagine not doing that final doubling and defining A x B as simply "closing the lid" on that right triangle. A x B is always a right triangle (the same area might be any shape, but that's the canonical representation).

Next, we take the extra step of making the angle 60 degrees instead of 90 (yes, it's somewhat arbitrary but 60 has attractive features our ETs may have felt drawn to). We simply draw A and B as vectors at 60 degrees with a common origin, and define A x B as "closing the lid". This is what you see above.

What I'm not showing here is the next step, adding C, another vector, such that A x B x C is three arrows from the corner of a regular tetrahedron. Again, we simply "close the lid" such that volume A x B x C is the tetrahedron with "lid" ABC (origin O). 

We spend some time dwelling on the logical consistency of this logical beginning, before coming back full circle to our Earthian cube. A,B, C must be mutually perpendicular and the right tetrahedron formed by "closing the lid" is only 1/6th of the full hexahedron's volume -- a different approach. Earthians are very right-angle minded.

How will these civilizations get along? Stay tuned. The ETs have a unit volume tetrahedron (1 x 1 x 1 = 1) and use that to anchor volumes of other polyhedrons. A cube, with thrice the volume, when edges = face diagonals, has volume 3 (consistently). Octahedron has volume 4 (same edge lengths). Nice whole numbers. Earthians agree on the ratios, just don't share the same model of 3rd powering (hexahedral versus tetrahedral).

ET means "extraterrestrial" i.e. I'm couching this analysis (aka lesson plan) in the science fiction form. An "outer space" civilization has a different way of modeling 3rd powering based on the regular tetrahedron instead of a cube. We appreciate the logic of their civilization, but don't abandon our own. That's like the TV Guide version. A goal of this lesson is to help students get philosophical and think about foundational questions i.e. what's conventional and what are examples of different flavors of math, thanks to different conventions.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reading Rainbow

I'm two weeks out, plus one day, from my own bout of high tech treatment. Nothing cyborgian was implanted, if you're not counting ideas, which may be mini-machines in their own right, with lots of moving parts.  Ideas are variagated.

Thanks to Rosalie, a woman I helped welcome to Meeting, I now have a copy of the Dahlstrom memoir. When Rosalie caught up with him, he was serving as a distinguished member of the Portland State faculty, in the English Department. From this vantage of greater age, and high fluency, he wrote his memoir [1] in the form of a brief window on life, a period of one year serving as a private first class in World War One.

From the standpoint of an academe, he's able to put into words the experience of being a disposable machine or robot, in service of a state, led by officers of vastly higher privilege, and how these class differences rubbed democracy's children (small "d") the wrong way.

The high tech treatment was mostly diagnostic in nature, in a hospital already swamped with new year turmoil, as people tend to put treatment off until after the holidays.  Plus an especially virulent flu season was in full swing as we're seeing in the rear view mirror, as we piece it together.

My condition was statistically predicable in my age class (almost 60, a late fifties baby, slightly post hippie post baby boomer, in terms of US demographics), but without precipitating events, often fatal, where's the incentive to find the root cause?  Of what exactly?  Shortness of breath in my case. So am I just out of shape? I was still climbing mountains (OK, hills).

One of my gigs involves using Codesters, a cloud service that comes with sprites, stage backgrounds and so on, to create games with middle and high schoolers.  I'm thinking about how that same technology serves to make fun grid patterns of both a square-rectangular and triangular pattern.  I'm about to dive in to creating a few examples, expect screen shots soon.

Ellen Thomas phoned today, while I was having a lunch beer with the CRO.  This was between the two conference games (NFL).  The Vikings are playing now, as I write this. I'm watching with Spanish speaking narrators.

Ellen lived on the sidewalk in front of the White House for some years.  I reassured her mom was OK.

Last night I saw Alan Potkin, whom you'll meet elsewhere in these blogs. He has an abiding interest in the aesthetics / ethics associated with large scale engineering projects.

Sometime the left brainers don't want to think in terms of ecosystems and reject a systems approach in favor of pure kilo-wattage, neglecting the energy it would take to restore some of what would be lost.

If you start with a dumbed down model, you'll do unnecessary damage in the eyes of ancestors to come.

Rosalie actually typed the Dahlstrom manuscript and turned it into a book, somewhat as Applewhite catalyzed the Bucky Fuller creation, Synergetics (in two volumes).

Having a critical person between an original font of primary content, and those into publishing, is sometimes essential.  Kiyoshi Kuromiya played a similar role with Bucky, with regard to other books, especially Critical Path and Grunch of Giants.

 [1] Dahlstrom footnote.  Book cover up top.

4 x 3 = 12

Monday, January 15, 2018

C6XTY Meetup


Today was a holiday, MLK Day (memory).  Sam Lanahan, inventor of C6XTY, came by the house, upon learning of my new health and exercise commitments.  He brought me a really high quality industrial strength juicer.  Perfecto!

If you look closely (perhaps by clicking on the picture, then magnifying at the source), you'll see I'm using Spanish as my Facebook language.

That doesn't mean what people post changes to Spanish, only text coming from the Facebook API.

Yes, that's a slightly quirky use of "API" as GUIs (graphical user interfaces, such as Windows) have their own name.

We don't consider the surface of a printed page an "API" either, for somewhat the same reason.

 The verb "to read" applies, as in "read a face" and yet "API" has more of a lexical connotation. A car dashboard is an "API" except that it's more like a GUI.

I'm sure I'm blathering about these matters because I've spent much of the day immersed in the Tkinter API, a guidebook for programmers wanting to make GUIs. I did some similar work in Codesters, designing as Stars & Stripes for practice.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Working with AFSC

My history with AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) starts at the Multnomah Meeting meetinghouse in the early 1960s, in a building formerly owned by an electronics firm run by pacifists.

Doug Strain, though not a Quaker, had been a conscientious objector during WW2.  One of his principal clients, at least in the early days, was Hewlett-Packard.

When Doug's company outgrew its Stark Street digs, it was given over to Friends, with the understanding that AFSC, always supportive of conscientious objectors, would keep its offices there as long as needed.

"Friends Meeting House"
from company archives
courtesy of Wanderer Doug Strain

This was around the time I was born (1958) and our family moved to Portland, transferring membership from 57th Street Meeting in Chicago to this newly forming Stark Street meeting.

I've always associated AFSC's work with lots of paper, lots of typing and publishing. Activism is a cerebral thing I discovered, more about thinking and communicating than marching in the streets.  We did a lot of that too though, but with different organizations.

Women's Strike for Peace and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) took up a lot of mom's efforts.  She wanted a better and safer world for her family.  Trace amounts of radioactive materials were showing up in the food supply.  Linus Pauling was warning people of the dangers of a nuclear weapons economy.  His wife, Ava Helen, was likewise in WILPF, though she and mom didn't know each other.

In the summer of 1972, after some years in Rome, Italy, my parents agreed to help run an AFSC camp in Ramallah, at that time a much smaller town than today, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The plan was to help build a swimming pool with local Palestinians, in cahoots with students from the American University in Beirut, followed by some time on a kibbutz where we would learn from Israeli experts.

The project came off pretty much as planned though we were far from finishing that swimming pool, which had to be blasted from solid rock.

Fast forward to the mid 1980s and I'm back in Portland after finishing high school in the Philippines (I started at Southeast High in Bradenton, Florida), attending Princeton (Class of 1980) and serving as a high school teacher in Jersey City for two years, among other jobs.

As a young adult, I worked with Paulette Wittwer on the plight of Palau, and Pacific Islanders more generally. The nuclear weapons economy was hurting them too.  Palauans had tried to declare themselves a nuclear free zone, but Washington, DC was in no mood to accept defiance from a protectorate and insisted they keep voting until they get it right and allow nukes, at least in principle.

Palau has since achieved independence and membership in the UN.

Our AFSC office, now on East Burnside, published Asia-Pacific Issues News.  We looked at issues around refugee resettlement, the dangers of nuclear energy (in Japan especially), and the negative effects of a nuke weapons economy.  I eventually became the editor of this newsletter, which no longer publishes and is hard to find in any archives.

:: APIN: archive copies ::

After that, I served AFSC as a volunteer program clerk for several years. We had a youth leadership program aimed at improving communications between Asian and Hispanic (Latin American) high schoolers, and providing opportunities to travel, organize conferences, and produce media.

I participated in staff searches and some of the program activities.  I'd become an advocate for youth-focused programming centered around helping high schoolers develop media skills.  Voz Juvenile was on local community television.  United Voices was our literary magazine.

In a next chapter, I served as a member of the AFSC corporation on behalf of North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM) which paid for my trips to Philadelphia for annual meetings.  In order to ground itself as a Quaker organization, AFSC has an elaborate way of interfacing with various Yearly Meetings.  My accounts of these Philadelphia meetups appear in these online journals (blogs).

Finally, I served on an Area Program Committee in support of staff and program.  However, AFSC was feeling financial pressures and decided to downsize in Portland, moving from East Burnside and ending its work with youth.  As of 2018, I'm not doing anything with AFSC directly.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Health Plan

Keep Health Care Alive

Ever since the O'Reilly School closed, I've been adrift in the nation's health system, electing to go with COBRA at first, which took a lot of my severance, and then applying for Oregon Health Plan.  I've been reluctant to seek health care fearing the hassle of changing providers and learning the new maze.

Last night, however, my friends insisted I visit a walk-in clinic as my shortness of breath was acute and I ended up at OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University), where my care was efficient, professional, and compassionate.

I'm home now, with a diagnosis of lung clots.  The prognosis is still hopeful, though only time will tell.  I'll be picking up my exercise program right where I left off.

I'm glad Oregon state has been taking the business of care of its indigents, such as myself, seriously. Many of my friends enjoy the same benefits.

It's not that I don't work; I'm just not "raking it in" given my career as a freelance teacher-programmer.  Most medical insurance policies for someone in my position are outside of my price range.

My thanks to all the staff who saw to it that I got the best care available.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year's Day 2018

After collecting a party at the airport, I got home in time to watch the Internet go down, to my place I mean.

Right in the middle of some random Youtube about Bitcoin maybe collapsing, or otherwise keeping people nervous.

So how did that one go?  I never found out.

The modem light starting blinking red, then green, then red... all the support pages said this'd be temporary and it'd make up its mind.  Red.  Or green.  It never did.

So I left town.

By next morning I was watching rock climbers tackle Smith Rock.  This is where I'm looking to start one of the XRL-based futuristic livingry camps or colleges.  Terrebonne area.

I did some backup photo shots of my brother in law's poetry before packing it in and driving back to Portland.  I use a Lumix from Sam Lanahan these days.  The Fujifilm started becoming unreliable.