Monday, May 20, 2019

Anthropological Investigations


Yes, I've been studying Brexit.

Geography and bureaucracy are different dimensions.

I'd put more eggs in the geography basket.

We'll always have bureaucracies but they come and go at a faster rate, on average, than geological phenomena.

That being said, geographies also change suddenly.  In terms of time scales, it's understandable why these two get confused.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Recent Studies

I don't consider myself a "gamer" in that I've not had much time to play computer games.  I don't hang out on Reddit, or 4chan, or 8chan for that matter.  However, as a student of anthropology, I do embrace Memetics as a discipline.  I study Meme Wars in other words, a kind of war it's OK for a Friend to study.

People who want to use the word "Conservative" to label their world view, tend to fight over that label.  The William F. Buckley camp, typified by the National Review, wanted nothing to do with the John Birch Society, and this camp had the loyalty of Ronald Reagan, and Goldwater. 

A bone of contention: the JBS claim the President Eisenhower had been a Communist.  When the Tea Party came along, and then Breitbart.com, we saw further jockeying for position.  I've been looking in to all that this morning.

Uncle Bill phoned from Seattle, eager to come down on Amtrak for a visit, like he does.  This time, however, he wants to being his motorized gadabout, park it at Union Station somewhere (lets hope baggage claim will take it), and have me take him around with just a cane.  I've been somewhat skeptical on this score.  We've always done it with a walker.  He talked me into it though, and is coming tomorrow.

Glenn and I just had a beer together at Cork & Tap, our new watering hole.  Kroger has set these up across the nation, including at our corner Fred Meyer, now a part of that chain.  The $3 a pint price cannot be beat, and because they're union, they tend to refuse tips.  Is that what the John Birchers would call socialism?  I'm there quite a bit. 

Glenn has been studying the life and career of Christopher Alexander, the architect, who has a long history with U of O (University of Oregon).  I taking this all in vicariously.  I also learn about architecture from John Driscoll, already a blog character, as is Glenn.  We talked about concrete, and "aircrete" as well.  We've been continuing this conversation for awhile.

I've been taking my Meme War studies into UBI territory (Universal Basic Income), tracking the president Yang campaign and exploring essays on Medium.  I've even written a few things.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Town Planning (reverie)


My dad was a town planner, zooming out to regional, and winding up doing educational planning, which includes organizing teacher trainings, budgeting for WiFi and so on.  This was well before 5G, in Lesotho, where he later retired. 

Lesotho is adjacent to the Orange Free State in South Africa, on current political maps.  Bloemfontein was pretty close, by car.  I've done Bloem to Maseru and back many times.  Dad was killed in a car accident on that stretch of road, in 2000, my mom severely injured.

Living in so many countries, I got used to storefront development along highways, which had no restrictions against such business corridors, and to large "shanty towns" as we called them.

Whereas most transplants in the Philippines from a foreign country, meaning families like ours, would avoid getting too deeply in the domestic affairs of the host, my mom was never like that.

She dove into volunteer work in Carmona (in those days more of a shanty town), and latter worked with the Zabbaleen in Cairo.  She's always had a strong community service ethic.

The Zabbaleen, by the way, were an are an interesting sect of mostly Coptic Christian, and had been relegated to the job of scavenging, or trash collecting, for much of Cairo.  Let's let Wikipedia tell it:
The Zabbaleen (Egyptian Arabic: زبالينZabbalīn, IPA: [zæbbæˈliːn]) is a word which literally means "garbage people" in Egyptian Arabic.[2] The contemporary use of the word in Egyptian Arabic is to mean "garbage collectors". In cultural contexts, the word refers to teenagers and adults who have served as Cairo's informal garbage collectors since approximately the 1940s. The Zabbaleen (singular: زبال Zabbāl, [zæbˈbæːl]) are also known as Zarraba (singular: Zarrab), which means "pig-pen operators."[2] The word Zabbalīn came from the Egyptian Arabic word zebāla ([zeˈbæːlæ], زبالة) which means "garbage".
My parents were there at the time of Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated, much to the disappointment of so many.  I remember wandering the streets of Cairo back when the ousted Shah of Iran was staying in Cairo as a guest.

I've wandered around in a lot of cities, especially Rome.  One could say I grew up wandering in Rome, both alone and with friends.  My parents considered Rome a safe city and did not practice any overprotective child-rearing techniques.

The movie industry throws together city vistas not designed to stand the test of time. These are just props. Wild West towns were close to movie sets in terms of presenting impressive facades, sometimes backed with very modest buildings.  I'd like the made for TV experimental towns to feature traveling experimental communities.

The Yurt People will be taking those acres over there, for three months.  You like 'em, everybody does. A few may stay behind, a few here may want to join them.  However it's not required to make up your mind on the spot.  Give it some thought.  You don't have to run away and join the circus.

When you have a large dome (possibly rural) or a warehouse (industrial part of town), you can afford lighter weight partitions (walls).  You're already inside the "castle" like in some universal studio somewhere.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tent City (the TV show)


Vets have distinct tents, like you see on the Portland waterfront at festival time, full of long tables and beer drinkers.

Get your food from the food carts, redeeming the crypto-credits you got for living in an experimental prototype community of tomorrow, a refugee camp of sorts, like a military base, for people fleeing the crumbling older economy.

We have much affinity for base personnel and actually film the TV show on bases around the world (with permission of course).

Ordinary Americans turn out to be quite extraordinary, as the famous TV show MASH helped us realize. Celebrities visit often, making cameo appearances. Product placement dominates.

One of the chief attractions of the show is no ads during broadcast. It's all paid for ahead of time. Something unusual in prime time.

I wonder if President Gabbard might help me with this. She's acting president from around now until 2020, when I'll pick someone new. I get to pick my own president from now on, letting people know up front that I'm a science fiction writer and Martian Math teacher, fully aware of the fact that my fantasy team is not actually the team in charge. 

The team actually in charge gets full time coverage and doesn't need my help.

We don't only film in military bases branded with US iconography (stars and stripes motif etc.) as we're frequently invited to the military bases of other countries. 

Product placement is such that many camps use the same products, and besides, we're making up our own decals and not presuming to take command of what the admirals and generals get to control, i.e. we're not staging military parades or pretending our campers are necessarily tied to a specific military. 

When we repaint a fighter jet for Quakers to train in, it's with permission from the manufacturer. Part of the product placement, which is intrinsic to the screen writing. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

On Gamification Again

Wittgenstein's puzzle was "how do words mean?" i.e. by what mechanism. He wasn't looking to brain science, nor occult "mental processes" nor even to logic, so much as to grammar. 

He realized that words gain meaning not by pointing to essences (St. Augustine's model) but by operating, by doing, in the context of what we could choose to call "games". 

Lifting a paint bucket up a ladder is what conveys what "ladder" means. The meaning of "paint" inheres in how we use it. One ends up describing little fragments of action, against the backdrop of rules. 

The grammar of "games" is useful because we say we're "following rules". This was considered serious and good philosophy in time, not idle wordplay. Real insights derive from studying his work (I would aver, many agree).

Another link to "game" and "games" is through my writings around the Fuller corpus, as Bucky invented "World Game" as his antidote alternative to war games, already ongoing. 

 "What if we are all on the same side, sharing just the one spaceship (i.e. Earth), what simulations might we play then?" 

We want humanity to succeed as a whole, not watch some winner take all in some "you or me" debacle.

In a recent Youtube I aim to address those who might be offended that World Game is a trivialization, precisely because of these "game" connotations. We seem to make light of the human condition. 

But then Great Game is in the literature already, loosely referring to the same global jockeying for position that Fuller did. 

He wasn't being all that original, which is to our benefit as we like to transition more than we like to abort and reboot.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Of Poets and Programming

:: more about Ezra Pound network ::

Usually it's a bad idea to try a serious upgrade of one's platform, right before a public presentation.  My lecture would last four hours, and was but an hour away.  I chose to upgrade the entire base.

Correction:  I had an older base (3.6) to fall back on.  And I needed it.  This morning, doing a postmortem, I've decided to completely blow away py37 and reinstall from scratch.  That's a somewhat daring maneuver (not really, in my case) but I don't lecture again until Tuesday.

On the Youtube front, I went down the Ezra Pound rabbit hole a little further.  You might think I'd have explored it thoroughly, before having said Modernist poet's visage pop up all over, in my body of work (Youtube corpus).  Was it the same sense of derring-do that led me to upgrade my Spyder?

What happened was Spyder became slow as molasses.  "Full disk" joked a student.  Indeed, but that wasn't really the problem.

Ezra was thrown in a cage for having made some wrong choices.  He had some monetary theories that piggy-backed on his fame as a poet, and these led him into the murky ideologies of the 1900s, with the usual mysticism around banks and banking.

That turned him into a Henry Ford Sr. for awhile there, in terms of spouting antisemitism, but Ford got away with it and then changed his mind (he was no historian -- successful business folk tend to be self educated and interested in crusades).

Ezra changed his mind too, or said he did, but it was too late.  He was sentenced to a hell hole of a mental hospital, that actually had some nicer parts too.  He was later released and he fled back to his friends in Italy, who'd been on the losing side in WW2.

What is the relationship between poetry and taking risks?  James Jesus Angelton, an early admirer of Ezra's, heard the calling of paramilitary service, yet he fought on the side of democracy against the specter of some future USSA (a USA subjected to a USSR style tyranny).  Then the USSR went away.

How could these two Yale friends end up on opposite sides in the matter?  I don't really suppose they did at this point, meaning that's a big oversimplification.  Angelton took his thinking to a next chapter after WW2, the Cold War chapter.

Indications are Ezra got late-in-life updates thanks to Bucky Fuller (a cold warrior as well).  They hung out in Spoleto and near Venice, as I understand the story.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Campus Blimps


One of my Refugee Science advisors reminded me on the phone today that the blimp has a future.  One of the blockchainers I know taught me a similar lesson:  when large groups gather, for such as a folk music festival, the needs of WiFi users may be best served, by a blimp (tethered).

A blimp need not be designed for passenger humans.  They're a relatively inexpensive way to provide cell services, but also an eye in the sky.  The dynamics of refugee camp asylums, as we know, is campers are welcome to look through the same eyes, like Oregon does with its freeway ODOT cameras.  People are much less worried about surveillance when it's not about "us versus them".

These elementary observations, about the web cams, reminds me of lessons from Occupy.  These are not prison camps so much as livability experiments, and in democracy such as those in the camps are able to shoulder self governance.  How self governance gets established is in part facilitated and catalyzed by software.  People have shared access to data, about what's happening on campus.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Documentary City

At first, I envisioned doing a review of The Century of the Self only.  I plowed through the whole thing, and got a lot from it, yesterday.  National Beer Day according to Ad Week sources.  I imbibed my allotment (loving Big Brother -- kidding) and later, after crossing paths with a major Tweeter, I took in said Self movies.

I woke up this morning thinking Youtube had been talking about Qaddafi for awhile.  People spell that all kinds of ways, but yes, I mean the Libyan leader.

Long timers with this blog, or speed readers, will discover Urners (family name) getting involved with Libyans in the 1960s and 1970s, and with Egypt later, then Bangladesh (also largely Muslim if you're tracking by #religion).

Dad was an urban and regional planner, eager to share his newly minted skills with the developing world.

Responsible leadership sees a need for planning and shares plans as a demonstration of providing leadership.  Beyond this value in the moment, if the plans are any good, they're even followable.  That's what planning had figured out:  how to manage growth through zoning (different from micromanagement).

Given the family associations and interest in recent history generally, I went back to the start and followed Hypernormalization (by Adam Curtis) through some number of rabbit holes.

I'm actually still exploring in that one.  These documentaries are long, multi-parters.  As they should be, given the complexity of the subject matter.

However, another Adam Curtis movie, and I only just recently connected the dots, is The Power of Nightmares, which gets a lot of internal links in my own personal blogosphere.  I saw that one in a real theater, one of Portland's finest, in the basement of an art museum.

I was blown away by how the narrative came together and curved back on itself.  Spherical thinking.  What I blah blah about in my own Youtube channel.

I'm not going to recap all these movies in one go.  However they do criss-cross over the same time period (all mentioned so far).  It would make sense to go for a recap.

Given the need to keep the stories manageable, within the longer multi-part series, one can't take every trailhead or follow every leading.  There's an opportunity cost to investing too much attention in ways that won't pay off at home base, as someone base-minded might put it.  You've got a story to tell, meaning you've got a story to cut away.

The "negative tetrahedron" that gets cut away in the Self movies, might include Werner Erhard as a bridge to this negative Universe (outside the scope of these documentary movies), wherein R. Buckminster Fuller shows up, and my whole branch of the storytelling (with ties back to the CIA in several directions, mostly notably through Ed).

So in the 1970s I'm tracking Erhard through Walter Kaufmann at first (Princeton) and then, having experienced said est Training in New Jersey (while still at the university), continued volunteering in New York, while serving the Dominicans as a high quality high school teacher.

When the Centers Network switched its attention to Bucky, I noticed, and got more noticed, at around the same time.

Later, in the 1980s, I would move back to Portland and see my first Adam Curtis movie.

Is he still making them?  It's not too late to criss-cross again, although maybe he feels he sufficiently covered the Bucky chapter in the Cyberspace (Cyberia) episode, as I saw a geodesic dome or two fly by, in some Tron-like rendering -- or was that an acid trip?

Anyway, thank you Adam Curtis, for making some really interesting, if dystopian, documentaries.  I'm planning to finish watching Hypernormalization next, then probably do a proper review of that one by itself.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adventures in Video World


I'm reminded of Adventures in Radio Land (earlier blog post) wherein I take up some of the same themes.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Box Oriented Programming (BOP)

Concentric Hierarchy

In English, "box" (like "ox"), registers a container, likely a cube, but even more likely the generic hexahedron of all right angles.  Could be brick shaped, oblong.

A useful exercise in a literature class, when introducing "namespace" as a concept, would be to say something like:  for the purposes of today, we're going to use "box" to mean "any polyhedron" (teacher holds up a tetrahedron as a demo "box").

That hardly seems a stretch as what's special about a box is it's a rigid container with well defined edges, corners and faces.  A box is a polyhedron already.  The only change we're making is we're enlarging "box" to mean rigid shapes with potentially fewer or more corners, edges, facets.

What we've really accomplished, with all this talk, is rescuing the generic "object" of Object Oriented Programming, from being something flat and UML like.  Not that I'm against flat, 2D representations of objects as circles or little clouds (flat, curvilinear).  I'm OK with flat.

But at the end of the day, we need to get off the plane and be true containers, little boxes.

Then of course we know that boxes may contain boxes.  Boxes come in flavors.  Indeed, the "hat box" was already round.  Those are cylindrical.  When our family lived in Rome, we could buy fresh milk in tetrahedrons.  The cartons were easy to make, and sturdy.  The plastic bag system was less secure.

Some of you may be thinking "Russian Dolls" when I talk about boxes inside of boxes, and that would be fine.  We're in the realm of compartmentation, the "division into separate sections or units" by whatever means.  Architecture.  Cell biology.  Mitochondria live inside the cell (city) wall.

In Minecraft, the worlds are pretty ruthlessly XYZ, meaning boxes of the hexahedron kind rule.  Then students jump into an Escher like floating kingdom, an underwater oasis populated with planaria.  Flatworms I guess they are.  Instead of XYZ, it's "IVM" as we say in American literature.

Remember this is a literature class, and we're using "box" in place of "polyhedron" to become more accustomed to the "namespace" idea, which translates as "shoptalk" or even "dialect".  The problem with "dialect", often, is that we expect different pronunciations, whereas in some cases it's more a matter of vocabulary.

Now go back to OOP with your boxes and talk about "types" as before.  The "string type" hatches string instances.  Those types that hatch instances, such as string, also form a type:  the "type" type (we're talking Python now, but any OOP language will be similar).