Thursday, February 28, 2019

Viral Videos?


These are too niche market to go viral in the conventional sense.

However the 2nd video ends up with the virus as a topic, in the tradition of Martian Math, which looks at microbial life and smaller.

Here's a link to the Codesters example I'm showing.

Or is the virus a bio-machine?

 It's certainly robotic seeming in some ways.

The 3rd video delves into the virus topic also, coming from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.



Monday, February 25, 2019

Stress Tests

Crushing Time

Today I rejoined the Flextegrity thread, a company I link to from my Grunch.net page, for some serious stress testing at an engineering firm Sam has worked with before.

My speaking part would come later in the day, when I'd be the focus of the camera.  I did have some one liners, and a joke, that the lattice would just spring back into place after all of four thousand pounds of crush.

We'd been mock wagering on the outcomes of these crushing experiments and by this time had seen enough to all know my prognostication was wildly off.

The lattice does spring back after enduring closer to two thousand pounds, once initially stressed to work some kinks out and make it settle (like pre-washing jeans).  I'm talking about the steel ball lattice, with the springy joints.

That's right, we were crushing specimens of C6XTY, newly minted, in pure copper, steel and aluminum.

Copper was spared the crushing treatment.

We were not testing alloys in this case.

Crushed Ball

Those of you up on your metals are likely guess the aluminum failed sooner in the crushing process.  You would be right.  The schedule included crushing both individual balls and matrices (i.e. lattices) thereof.

I should probably explain what I mean by "a matrix of metal balls," which is what C6XTY might be seen as (the material is not the meat of the matter when it comes to branding; I've only seen plastic versions of C6XTY until recently).

Tension members hold the balls at a set distance from one another, but somewhat flexibly.  The substance isn't especially brittle.  The lattices didn't splinter apart nor fling particles.  Some smaller parts would fall out.  Of course we all wore safety glasses.

The two lattices we tested got progressively more deformed, with some detachments here and there.  This was feedback for the designers to study.  Findings inform future iterations of the flextegrity concept.

I could see driving my truck (had I a truck) over a bridge of C6XTY (were there such a bridge).  What a lattice is good for depends on the frequency (scale).

If we drop the scale down to nano, then we might be looking at something naturally occurring.  The tension would be provided by the electrical fields themselves, as in crystals.  That's more like what I yakked about at the Pauling House.

Having arisen early for this experience, waking to snow outside and taking the buses with Glenn, I was powered by a single cup of coffee.  When we got to the tests on the tension members, I excused myself and went to lunch, wanting to be in good shape for the pending interview. My camera battery had died by then.

I'd booked the Linus Pauling House from 1 to 3 PM and that's where and when I got to give more of the bigger picture, from my perspective.  Sam invited me to expound.

A philosophy scholar out of Princeton, by 1980 I'd made my way into high school math teaching, and tackled Synergetics, the Bucky Fuller magnum opus and a philosophy.  Princeton philosophy wasn't teaching about Synergetics, but this was the kind of dense and difficult prose a philosophy trained reader is supposed to be able to digest.

Thanks to my having taken this turn in my studies, I would encountered, over the years, a network of like-minded, likewise embarked on similar studies.  Such was my entre into a small subculture.  My presence at this crushing was a long term consequence of my involving myself in a philosophical endeavor.

Observing the Experiment

For example, Kenneth Snelson, a native of Pendleton, Oregon, then a resident of Manhattan, reached out to me in the 1990s, having found I was one of the first and most earnest in getting the Bucky stuff put on the web, the World Wide Web a new invention at the time.

I'd started Synergetics on the Web, now housed behind Grunch.net, and served as the BFI's first webmaster (that's BFI as in Buckminster Fuller Institute -- Kiyoshi and I helped snag the domain name, bfi.org).  I did some primitive hand-coded HTML, as a volunteer, creating a first home page.

Kenneth knew if I took Fuller seriously, I'd take "tensegrity" seriously, and that was a term to which Kenneth was attached in a karmic sense.  We struck up a friendship and over time I got more familiar with his angle on things. I became his volunteer webmaster as well.

I like to think I helped Kenneth find peace after a disappointing falling out with his mentor Bucky, at Black Mountain College, in part just through knowing he'd found a friend who would listen.

I acknowledged the hurt feelings and we would talk about them, meanwhile debating about his, and Fuller's, future place in history.  I like to believe Ed Applewhite spending some time with Kenneth was evidence of my successful diplomacy.

I later (by email) introduced Kenneth to my new friend Sam Lanahan, and later Julian Voss-Andreae.  Both got to have some in-person time with Kenneth.

However the story of flextegrity (what Flextegrity the company puts out), does not end with its deriving from tensegrity.  Sam had studied Kenneth's work and introduced curvilinear elements, in addition to straight rods.

The flextegrity lattice, in being a lattice, also derives from, or embodies, whatever Alexander Graham Bell was exploring, his "kite" structures, also used to make a tower.  Bucky knew the same structure as the "octet truss" (which he patented), and only discovered Bell's work later.  Such are the mysterious workings of the zeitgeist.

Crystallographers tend to call this lattice the FCC (face centered cubic) and mathematicians the CCP (cube centric packing).  An expanding cuboctahedron. of successive layers (1, 12, 42, 92...), says it all.

Flextegrity the company is about encouraging materials science engineers to join in researching omni-extensible synthetic lattices, one might call them.

One may grow them (weave them) in any direction.  Sam's books express this vision.

Think of bricks.  Stone masons have long had a space-filling, compression-based model, but it's all about compression.  You can't lift brick walls by crane, whereas that's exactly what Sam arranged for in an earlier test of the plastic version.

Concrete with embedded rebar is another load-bearing model.

Flextegrity, the company, would like its lattices to compete in this space, but before that might happen, it needs to crush a few.

The hired videographer was a professional, bringing his own lights on tripods, but new to the whole flextegrity business.

A high degree of ad lib was enjoyed by all around this filming.  Sam sat off camera, nudging me with questions and/or reminding me of what I'd left out (such as who I was, and so on).  This movie won't be out for some time.  I'm glad I got to play a part.

Hat with C6XTY

Friday, February 22, 2019

Pythonic PR



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Politics as Theater

A specific namespace in the educators community includes STEM, for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It's really not all that powerful an acronym in that it doesn't define any college department structure.  More it rolls off the tongue, is easy to say, and so serves as a shorthand.

From Andrew Hacker, author of The Math Myth, I picked up PATH has whatever is not STEM (~STEM).  Remember the C.P. Snow Chasm, the gulf that had opened between the sciences and the humanities, or liberal arts?  PATH would, for me, become Philosophy, Anthropology, Theater and History.

Now as with STEM, the gluons (glue particles) are such that these don't really come apart.  We can pretend Science is atomic, independent of Technology but of course it's not.  These letters stand for co-definitional things.  Likewise with PATH:  everything Philosophical partakes of the other three, and so on.

What I want to zoom in on here though, is Politics, where does it go?  The exercise is to shoehorn everything into STEM or PATH, as a mental exercise.  Answer:  under Theater.  Politics is a form of theater.  And what about war?

The conventional grammar has it that when politics, meaning diplomacy, fails, we get war.  What this grammar overlooks are all the political and diplomatic tricks aimed at sparking war, not preventing it, but that's another story.

Anyway, war is mostly engineering.  It's a demolition science.  There's psychology involved, which is Science and Anthropology.  Indeed, Anthropology, being a science, belongs with STEM as well as PATH, which is why STEM becomes STEAM and then we intersect the two, as if playing Scrabble.  You might say we could intersect on the T instead, but I'm saying the A stands for the same thing in this crossword puzzle, whereas T is for Theater and Technology respectively.

  S
  T 
  E
P A T H
  M 

      P
S T E A M
      T
      H

Politics includes many tropes, pomp and circumstance, large gatherings, intimate interviews, meetings behind closed doors.  A lot of the action is "off stage" as it were, yet we have a sense of the stage, or multiple stages.  Just about all that goes on could be considered Theater, with History what Theater leaves in its wake:  recorded performances.  That's the raw material anyway.  Then come the movie and media critics (historians).

To get more Hegelian about it, we might suppose a Logic (folded into STEM, say under M) that more or less determines what happens, per the laws of Making Sense (which degrades into various money-oriented language games once the cameras are rolling).  History supposedly traces our building of God's Kingdom or some Promised Land.  We'd like to think so.  Enter Philosophy and teleology.

What do we mean by "teleology" anyway?  Synergetics Dictionary says something about "voltage pressure".  We can leave for some other discussion more of an investigation into what that all means.  We'll consult a number of philosophers.  Theologians may weigh in.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Riddle of Peace

Another Fuller Schooler, one of my fellow fish in the think tank, suggested I check out Washington and the Riddle of Peace by H.G. Wells.  I've been checking it out.  I've been letting Kindle read it to me.

This morning, I did a circuit check with my guy in Chicago, before going live next Friday.  That's Python business, not for pay.

Tomorrow is my usual gig with the middle schoolers.

Yesterday, an interview with a Princeton candidate.  Alums get tapped for that from time to time.

A bigger for pay gig is around the corner.

In the meantime, as I prepare for a next round, I'm making sure Digital Math gets more of a chance going forward.  I've made Youtubes recently about:

Digital Math:

Casino Math
Supermarket Math
Neolithic Math
Martian Math

These are garden variety "guy with a camera on Youtube" videos, added to the shuffle.  They're about average in length.  No multi-hour documentaries.

The spread (range) of these clips depends on many factors regarding search terms and "word of mouth" -- a misleading phrase as much text is unspoken, spreads by Facebook and so on.

I don't pretend to know what happens with these "note in a bottle" experiments in most cases.

OK, time to walk up to the Linus Pauling House.  Our think tank doesn't have a specific headquarters (a specific building) but if it did, the LPH fits the bill.  Maybe we're a network, with campus facilities around the world.

Mom is on the phone talking to someone about "the Urner effect" meaning to include my dad's work as well.  I'd say it's pretty subtle.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Nickel and Dime Fundraising

Glenn and I met with some hot shot B Corp guy, a producer of fundraisers, or so we were told.  I'm something of a fundraiser myself, for the Coffee Shops Network, not unlike Avalon and/or Quarterworld, both within walking distance.  But then Oregon Lottery is even more prevalent, so if you're willing to limit your horizons...

Asking for a refill on something may trigger a requirement to see a doctor first.  Insurance will stipulate these kinds of hoops.  At some point, if you're hanging on with high age numbers, on some drug, you'll make their numbers look better if you hang on even longer.  There's nothing like a 102 year old smoker to sell cigarettes.

I mention matters Oregon Health related because I'm a go between on some prescriptions. That's why having an Oregon ID, like a driver's license, is important.  Does your state not provide ID and do motor-voter?

That means if you're authenticated enough to have Oregon ID, you can likely vote.  Actually, voter registration is another process, it's just that your status as a valid voter or not is established with the DMV, so that your rights won't be challenged at the ballot box.  Long lines often have to do with thinking a piece of mail to some address proves something.  Even a utility bill may not be enough.

CRU has Oregon ID, so I'll be able to see if it's between now and a next refill that she needs to see a doctor, or the refill after that.  I left voicemail on a non-urgent line with her clinic, in case I need to get involved parties talking.

Oregonians do a lot of research around diet and treat the "medicine is food" mantra pretty seriously, even if that changes the meaning of both "medicine" and "food" to some degree.  The legal profession has its conventions, however folk subcultures cannot always afford to abide by the standards of a court, when deciding what's junk food and what's not.  And so on for "STEM education" and all the rest of it.  When we talk about standards, we want to speak with a standard bearer.

My work with Food not Bombs is high up on my resume, because of the camp settings that might want to recruit my ilk, Friends with cooking experience.  A sense of good nutrition is implied.  However I'm not a French chef and don't expect to be Food Coordinator every year.  I recall doing that one year, for Gathering of Western Young Friends, however I recall having help.  When people have high expectations, they won't leave it to a noob to get everything right the first time.  I felt like I was on an episode of The Apprentice or something.

In the Coffee Shops Network business model, the "scone company" (selling scones over the counter, with coffee or other beverage) is allocating some Good Will money to charity, through each purchase, a well-known set of line items on charts of accounting. 

However here the buyers of the scones get to use their chits (crypto-credits) towards winning at Z, and depending on score (I skipped the step of game selection), will be able to commit Y combinations of crypto-whatevers from their game winnings, and commit these to charitable causes the coffee shop supports.  One's reputation (profile) develops as a consequence. 

If you later feel ashamed you supported Q, go back and delete or annotate.  We all recognize the fact that characters evolve over time.

Hey, what if you don't approve of CSN outlet 1234 supporting causes ('A12', 'B40', 'Z14') as causes (think of a juke box, options to play)? 

Then don't go there, and if you're the scone company, withhold your scones and sell them through someone else instead.  We call that a free market.  We're not refusing counter service on the basis of ethnicity.  We're like a bar in that sense.  Whom one has to 86 is handled by the local community. 

There's no CSN "supreme court" beyond various standards bodies I'm not discussing here.  Founders have input.  Philosophers weigh in ("weighty Friend" model).

Perhaps another CSN outlet is more the right look and feel for this scone maker? 

The proprietors have a lot of discretion as to how they tilt their portfolios.

Remember:  an end goal of all this is to get customers in the mood to play philanthropist, with small amounts (we can talk about big amounts through other channels -- small amounts add up, so to the recipients may not be trivial), and without needing to set aside much personal budget. 

If you do coffee and scones anyway, but didn't get to fund Scouting, or the Big Parade, now you might get to, because computer circuitry and databases have made "nickel and dime" fundraising a reality at last.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Producer Mode


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Consumer Mode



OK guys, you can be honest.  Should I retire the Android?  This HTC has served me well but is a pain in the butt to recharge.  I have an iPhone 6 ready to spring into action as the replacement device.  You might want more details.  I'll let you off the hook; they don't matter.

Carol and I finally got out, after the snow day yesterday, her wheely walker and chair both in tow. Last time we started out:  battery dead.  Call AAA.  This time:  success in the full mission (the bank, the bookstore, the supermarket).

Speaking of supermarkets, I had no idea Fred Meyer was a Rosicrucian.  That came up in this article (screen shot above), which I'm still digesting, about hippies long before anyone had heard of the word.  Quakers are prone to experimentalism, I'll admit that's baked in to the jargon.

I didn't fill a whole shopping cart or anything.  I wheel Carol around while she keeps the basket in her lap, limiting us to how much we can carry.  She had letters to mail as well.  The walker stayed in the back seat of the car the whole time.  While she sat in Powell's (on Hawthorne) I moved the car from near the bank (also on Hawthorne) to Fred Meyer's (the supermarket).

Carol turns 90 in a few weeks.  She's in her 90th year she tells everyone, as when you're 90, you've already done 90 years.  We look back on our age.

I'm still in the traffic jam occasioned by the government shutdown, but then a lot of infrastructure is creaky slow, even with offices reopened.  We're back to gridlock and things not working, on many floors.  I'm not "an overseer" (as Quakers say) who gets privileged access to report on what it's like everywhere.  I'm very much in a specific zip code.  I do have a restart date.

In the meantime, I have lots to do.  I'm experimenting more with Youtube, trying out different variations on a theme, fiddling with hyperparameters.  People who go to school to be on camera get feedback from their peers and faculty.  Youtube is a different kind of school, but then the first thing is to get noticed.  Fortunately, I have a lot of math teacher connections.

Carol wants pretty much the same dinner every night, though I'm not saying without exceptions.  There's a default meal plan that's pretty simple, let's put it that way.  Simple habits, no frills, that's all encouraged in Quakerism, so I'm not complaining about "too plain".  On the contrary, simplicity has many merits.