Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Cyber Collage

Clockwise: Mastodon instance (dobbs.town); 52 Thinking Ideas Meetup (iPhone); assorted wireframe polyhedra

Monday, November 14, 2022

Glass Beads

The title is with reference to a famous Hermann Hesse novel, wherein intellectuals in the future, in our future too, play an academic game that generates the rest of culture, I don't remember to what radius, i.e. was this a whole planet, a global culture that GBGers created?  Rather than reread the book, I've been enjoying "3rd party" (i.e. critic) YouTubes.

Probably FSI comes closest to a GBG play Castle with respect to my own weekly routine, a HQS for glass bead game playing, a Hogwarts.  Was this Hogwarts under siege in the book, or otherwise threatened?  The very term "Castle" implies an continual fighting off of entropic forces, an effort to maintain a dynasty, some continuity in culture.  Castles require a lot of maintenance I bet.

Yesterday I skipped out on being in the audience, not for lack of curiosity (expecting a YouTube), but did join TrimTab (these are Zoom calls).  FSI = Field Structure Institute, with the central conversation pieces being like intersecting twisted inner tubes.  Their twist patterns hold significance.  

You might picture a tumbling tetrahedron inside each loop, to get more of a sense of the animations we've been sharing. 

I'm immersing myself in older mathematics these days. Glenn's aura of intense scholarship now haunts the building, in the form of binders, sculptures, collected buckyball dog toys (chew toys).  This gives me a boost, the influence of his Global Matrix.

Skeptics don't think dividing math into Casino, Supermarket, Martian and Neolithic is sufficiently sensible as, for example, how do we see Bernoulli math as "Neolithic" when so much of it is still state of the art, vital circuitry? I'm talking about my Silicon Forest concoction.

The short answer is we don't; we slide the Casino+Supermarket slider back to then, the time of Bernoullis, and look at their service to contemporaneous modeling, approximating, predicting, anticipating:  all Casino Math with Supermarket implications for what gets to the stomach, figuratively but also literally speaking.  Bernoullis (a mathematical family) remain in our future as well, I anticipate.

Relative to them in the past, looking forward, we're the Martians.  "Neolithic" is just a direction i.e. "in the rear view mirror" with respect to some now.  Looking forward:  the word "Martian" evokes strange and alien, maybe threatening, but also within reach, already being touched and probed:  the future is almost tangible, and will be, as its onrush has that air of inevitability.  The past may become stranger as well, as it recedes, or perhaps we just never had much time to explore it.  

The study of history is a luxury we should all be able to afford, InshAllah (إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ).

Here in the Matrix, our "daily bread" may be insufficient because others have risked our demise and deemed that a risk worth taking i.e. we were expendable in their eyes and now we have no bread.  Or maybe no others were in any position to save us.  That seems unlikely given the rhetoric.  So we die of starvation, or maybe they're aggressively hunting us as in wartime.  I've been watching some Philip K. Dick (adapted) scifi on the telly.  People are on the run from oppressors throughout The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.

Picture another situation: being in a casino and running out of any more options.  Leaving broke is your next step.  There's a supermarket on the block but you have no money to buy stuff with.  Welcome to Las Vegas.

However, thanks to mathematics and its ability to give us models and more rational choice making, we steer clear of obvious money losing Ponzi schemes in the first place, by anticipating correctly what will more likely be a winning strategy.

Of course all that seems very remote from Bernoulli Numbers and how to compute them.  That was algorithmic knowledge i.e. step by step one could generate these humongous fractions.  Nowadays, in SymPy or Mathematica, you might just ask for the nth one.  Were Bernoulli Numbers what Ada was aiming for in her Babbage machine inspired notebooks?

The Data Center (Casino) is humming with tools, from Wolfram Alpha on down.  Wolfram is a good example of a Hogwarts or GBG HQS perhaps. On the timeline, from ancient past (Neolithic) to alien future (Martian) we have this axis populated with star mathematicians and their rational constructions, partially overlapping and feeding our appetites for automation.

To be more concrete, today I was working on Py4HS_Bernoulli, a Jupyter Notebook, where I tackle this idea of generating functions, and the coefficients of so-called Bernoulli Polynomials.  I am in no way expert on these topics, and my goal is to exercise the mechanics of specific tools:  numpy, sympy, pandas.

Why?  In the background I'm reading about Sheffer sequences in the context of a discourse also hoping to bring healing to warring regions, in this case the region in Eurasia currently experiencing tank and trench warfare, with missiles and drones.  

Casino + Supermarket again; risk versus likelihood of survival, as whatever one considers oneself to be.  The word "existential" is often used.  So there's a connecting theme: how to more successfully wire Planet Earth going forward, literally, as well as figuratively.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Remembering Glenn Stockton

Glenn Stockton

In memory of my good friend Glenn Stockton. My thanks to his support team, who helped him through his last weeks of life. Glenn grew up in Montana, then St. Helens and The Dalles, Oregon. The family then moved to Page, Arizona where his dad, by then an electrician, worked on the Glen Canyon Dam. 

Always a naturalist, Glenn learned the ways of the desert and its creatures.

After a short stint following in his dad's footsteps as a union journeyman, Glenn joined the military and, given his high aptitude scores, was sent to the language school in Monterey, then on to a secret base in Vietnam, as a code cracker. Glenn had huge respect for the Vietnamese language and culture.

He subsequently served at the NSA headquarters (Fort Meade) before enrolling in Antioch College and joining the counter-culture. Living both on and off the grid, he continued developing his skills. He built a stone home from scratch, and started a family.

He helped get a small factory up and running in Jerome AZ. The company made the most sensitive mercury vapor detectors in the business, important in gold mining.

I got to know Glenn when he moved to Portland, partly to stay close to his son and daughter. He became a Wanderer and continued to explore and develop his ideas as a widely read scholar and polymath.

He coined the term "Global Matrix" to encapsulate his research themes. We overlapped a lot in our thinking and enjoyed exploring ideas together. 

Sometime around the Fall Equinox in 2022, he checked himself into the VA. He was released the next day, but with a terminal diagnosis. He made it to Halloween, with help from his support team.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Comedy and Social Commentary

The role of "comedian" (as in standup) is especially interesting, and inherits from "court jester", a truth teller who knew the mind of the king well enough, so the story goes, to give him much needed cues in the form of harmless jokes.  "Hey King, you're being a jerk" might not be the right way to approach a particular king.  

They say King Trump was rather not into court jesters, but that's a rumor (he had Steve Bannon, Roger Stone and Rudy Giuliani), and besides we're supposed to pretend he was a President, not a King (I compromise on "impotus"), as if The District were still capable of staging anything remotely constitutional, now that unfettered money rules the roost.

Anyway, Ramy Youssef had a much easier job than Trump's jester (Biden is his own jester they tell me), with a large friendly audience of many fellow Arabs.  Pan-Arabism is alive and well once Arabs find themselves moored in distant places like Portland.  From this distance, Egyptian and Palestinian are very much one people, a lot like ethnic Russians and Ukrainians.

Actually, I'm somewhat off the mark.  Intra-Arab tensions and stereotypes must be addressed.  Ramy had a set of jokes about marrying a Saudi and thinking she might be inner circle enough to know something scandalous.  The audience responded with hoots and hollers.

In another sequence he psychoanalyzed  the role of the therapist in Muslim culture, a somewhat new thing for some, especially the oldsters.  Fears about what one's spouse might be saying, behind one's back, to her therapist, seemed to hit a note.

Ramy mocked how unsuited a Muslim would be for this therapist job, especially when it came to preserving confidentiality.  "Let's go tell your mom right now!" she would command.  No, if you want a competent therapist, you really need someone Jewish (laughter).

The jokes about Israel had to do with Ramy going back to a new girlfriend's house, and when she went off stage for a bit (in the story) he turned on the light and saw the giant Israeli flag used as decor.  Only a USA flag could have scared him more, in terms the twisted psycho-pathologies it suggested.  How could one reconcile such fears with sex when she came back?  Something to bring up with one's therapist later perhaps.

My friend Dr. T., a college professor who had the extra free ticket, found the show pretty funny, as did I, but we both noticed our place on the bell curve, in terms of age.  This was a mostly younger crowd.  When it came to the grandma and grandpa jokes, those were about us.

Ramy had some jokey stories about: loving his rescue dog (countering a stereotype) and how he came to own it by competing with white privilege; changing mask mores over the course of the pandemic; his refusal to endorse impotus Biden despite some arm twisting from the 2020 campaign.

Upon entering the theater, we had our phones imprisoned in felt pouches, which were handed back to us for safekeeping. At the show's conclusion, we filed past theater staff with magic pouch-opening devices.  

Given I'd had a couple Jack Daniels before the show down the street, at Bear Paw Pub (many thanks to Dr. D. for driving me), this funny phone business just added to the comedy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Circling Back

One may find it easier to give in to the doomy gloomy reports coming in from all corners.  These were tumultuous times.

However when one thinks back, those corners have always been there.  One's personal vantage point changes, but against something a lot more fixed and remote, or so it seems.

Halloween has come around again, with more of the usual bellyaching about how it might all be some Satanist plot and so on.  If you study folk religions, going back, you find some people are always up in arms about something or other.  What is life without melodrama?

I'm looking back over work around the Trucker Exchange Program, variously named.  I'd be foolish to back away from the Peace Corp influence, given my long history with Thirsters here in Portland, and as part of  a family that might invite you to dinner, give you a place to stay, if you were a volunteer overseas.  So were we (overseas voluntarily).

I'll be accused of trying to "gentrify" the job of trucker, now that tables might have turned, and coders are looking to learn a new lifestyle.  They used to tell truckers to "learn to code" which came across as obnoxious and annoying.  Part of the conceit was the coders were actively working to put truck drivers out of a job, because "driverless" would be just around the corner.

Some types of convoy service, like a truck-to-train hybrid, might be in the near future, but the fantasies they've been projecting lately have felt like recycled 1920s stuff.  You'll have those conversational robots tomorrow, as you prepare by becoming more like robots today (the better to converse with them, right?).

Probably this was one of those dialectical things, where apparent thesis (the profession of trucking) and its antithesis (no drivers needed) were on a collision course to higher synergy.

The job of "truck pilot" (and "crew") was about to get more data centric and feature more programming.  The coder-driver would take on multiple languages (human and computer) in the context of a work-study scenario in the Global U.  Truckers are the new citizen diplomats, with truck stops (campus facilities) our new venues for mutual understanding and diplomacy.  Don't leave it to the cube farmers and think tankers.

On the Synergetics front, I think we have a pretty good flow among the various websites, should browsers get into the groove, which is not saying they will.  

Let's just say some already have.  

We're not aiming to be too insistent or "in your face" as they say.  

I won't say "subliminal" so much as "peripheral" in the Amber Case way of talking.  We're here when you need us.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Food Not Bombs Story

Food Not Bombs Story

What you see above is but a screen shot, not an embedded video.  I'm taking a YouTube I made, and adding it to Rumble.  This morning I made more content, exclusive to Rumble.  

If you're interested in following up, look to the Links widget on the right for a link to my 4Dsolutions channel on that network.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Dymaxion Map in the Foreground

Dymaxion Clown

Thanks to Alec's bio of Bucky being juicy, leading to higher sales, more capitalizing has occurred.  

Alec brings the Dymaxion Map into it, as he follows the chronology (Dymaxion Car, Dymaxion House, Dymaxion Bathroom...).  

By the time of that Life Magazine issue in 1943, Bucky was a King of the Hill when it came to lecturing the public on the drawbacks of using distorted maps.  National Geographic was quick to proffer up a host of better alternatives.  We've been watching the YouTubes about all this over on TrimTab.

Data scientists e.g. users of hex tile libraries, geopandas, ESRI products and so on, are going to think in terms of "data layers".  

The overlay of "nation states", like an endocrine system, or lymphatic, occupies its place on the stack of transparencies.  Fancy medical science textbooks came with these multi-layer anatomies.  

Now we have computers and animations that will perform even better.  Geo-spatial data visualizations are anatomy and physiology by another name, with their planetary focus.

Bucky wanted to pioneer a space of neutrality, using what one might call a map of prehistoric earth, but not in the sense of "continents shifted".  

We might still go with dinosaurs though, on this mythical Whole Earth with its Jurassic Park.  We could have several branches of hominid.  Unreal or Unity or Blender might be enlisted at this point.

Fast forward and we get to the Napoleonic Period, slowing to the US acquiring its fifty stars, teetering on the edge with Puerto Rico.  

That data layer is still accessible, through the Mercator, through the Gall-Peters, through whatever projection (mapping framework, coordinate system) you like.  

Just not the Dymaxion.  

We're deliberately ignorant and innocent of post Napoleonic stuff.  Give us our Neanderthal Ken and Barbie dolls, and our Dymaxion Map.  Forget the future, or at least that one.

These remarks provide some atmospherics designed to evoke that spirit of neutrality, when it comes to geopolitics.  

Given all the world maps on the shelf, it makes perfect sense that at least one would be nation free by deliberate design.  Why not?  We won't be trapped in some "time period". 

Not only that, it's sophisticated in other directions as well.  

I sound like a salesman don't I?  One who "believes in his product".

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Statecraft: the Crafting of States

Globe & Map

One idea of a nation is it's like a tribe, a large group with some shared ethnicity i.e. common customs and language.  "These are my people" say the denizens of such a nation.

Another idea of a nation is a kind of cybernetic machine that lets people of many ethnicities co-exist.  This is not a recent idea or invention.  The value "cosmopolitan" comes to mind, as older than "multicultural".

The federations of states in North America, including those of Lower48, along with the provinces of Canada, have internalized a lot of the "melting pot" aesthetics that go with the cosmopolitan mindset, although acceptance of diversity also allows for niches and enclaves (or call them "ghettos" as in the "Buddhist ghetto" like where I live -- also known as Asylum District), so-called neighborhoods.

That my family should have to live next door to some other family of greatly different heritage seems unfair and wrong according to the first set of criteria.  The Clint Eastwood film here is Gran Torino.  The retired factory worker from Detroit resents having to live next to refugees from Asia -- until he gets to know them better.

People in the federated states of North America tend to see a state as cosmopolitan and cybernetic, unless they feel threatened by such notions, in which case the idea of fragmenting into local "stans" may be attractive.   Some people suggest that, if you want a "whites only" experience (as if "white" were either a race and/or ethnicity, whereas it's neither), you might try moving to Idaho.

To cosmopolitan ears, the parochialism of "Ukraine for Ukrainians" meaning "Russians go home" sounds like nationalism of the first sort.  More like Kurdistan, a place for Kurds.  On the other hand, many European nations, especially those with a colonial past, have embraced the values of cosmopolitanism.  Their idea of a state is it should work for multiple ethnicities.

India supposedly wants to stay multicultural, meaning Hindu and Islamic subcultures get to share the same infrastructure.  Again, the temptation is to give in to tribalism, more like some Ukrainians, some Americans.  States that know how to accommodate multiple ethnicities might be more experimental, but then in principle they may be more robust, as they better mirror the whole earth in microcosm.

We might ask similar questions about corporations, sports teams, religious institutions:  are they able to hold it together even when there's lots of diversity?  That's a question to ask more than to answer.  The jury is still out in so many cases, meaning Judgement Day has not yet arrived, apparently.

What hurts Ukraine's prospects of staying in the game, as a nation, are its ultra-nationalists, the ones who say "Ukraine is for ethnic Ukrainians only".  That's an attitude Europeans are taught is immature, too immature to be a basis for statehood.  Ukraine's inability to stomach its own Russian population seems to have doomed it from the beginning, at least in the eyes of some spectators.  

Ethnic chauvinism may be safely repackaged as "pride" around which parades are permissible, even festivals.  But raining on others' parades is considered gauche and rather tasteless, as a rule of thumb.  Again, I'm speaking from a globalist perspective.  Tribalists will take a different view.

When it comes to tribalism, that's where I believe in "diaspora nations" and/or "virtual nations" that don't need to claim vast tracts of contiguous land.  Ethnicities cohere more through telecommunications than through sharing common acreage.  We could call a supranational corporation, say Global Data Corp, such a tribal ethnicity, although again, management may value diversity along several axes, without surrendering the company's tribal nature.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Campfire Hero

I'm still the hero in little ways, like when my router died, and I found a new one on sale (because an older model) for cheap, got it up and running in short order.  In the meantime, the CenturyLink modem came with its own Wifi, and I've learned to keep one of the laptops on direct Ethernet.

Just now I was a hero because I'd regenerated some access token with one chance to copy it, for Github access. That's where I'm working with teachers on a High School of Tomorrow kind of curriculum, one that incorporates Github and Git.  So I should know this stuff right?  I more swill around in it, the big pig, learning as I go.  The proud boar in the mud.

The WiFi laptop had no idea of the Ethernet laptop's doings and when I went to git push, authentication failed immediately.  How could I (a) force Git to prompt for new credentials (lots of Windows answers) and (b) push the new token through its password mouth.  That was my morning battle, with coffee and time off to think it through slowly.  I believe I came to an optimal solution, which I'll not bore you with.

OK, I will, bore on!  I emailed the token from one laptop, equivalent to archiving it in the cloud and do we trust the cloud.  Maybe the next step is to delete that email.  Then, after wandering through some reams on StackOverFlow, I finally found this gem (for my problem).  The next git push caused a prompt, and I've verified username.  The new token served.

Finally, I managed a second time this season around that 14 mile loop, down to OMSI, south to Sellwood (the new extended pavement got us lost), over to I-205 (past Precision Cast Parts), and north to Division.  That's not exactly how it all went, given a flat tire (not one of mine).  Division was repaved and ready, for today...

What's today?  TriMet unveils its new "bendy bus" service along route 2, from Gresham to downtown by way of Division and OMSI.  The service is free to help publicize, familiarize, do some testing.  Tomorrow it starts "for real".  TriMet is the hero, for sculpting a future (chiseling new features).  That reminds me of another hero story...

I finally tackled Apple Pay and got a virtual Hop card wired to a credit card in my virtual wallet.  The next time I hop a bus, I should be able to wave the phone somehow.  Except not today as the debut service is free.

You've gotta do some of your own patting yourself on your own back, for a job well done from time to time.  Others may not have time for your details, which they've dismissed as irrelevant.  You're being a hero nonetheless, and giving yourself credit for it.  

I'm saying that's healthy sometimes, like logs on the fire, as we keep the mythic (mithraic) campfire burning.

A next chance to be a hero:  that newly regenerated Github token expires soon.