Saturday, June 25, 2022


Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 8.06.52 AM

Today is a Saturday.  I've been immersed in data analysis and visualization classes pretty recently (leading them). 

More recently, I've had one or two planning meetings to attend, with FSI and/or TrimTab. I call them planning meetings given the anticipatory designing that goes on, much of it imaginary, like in Critical Path.  

The geoscope near the UN was never built.  Ephermeralization.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Newtonian Units

I used to do movie reviews rather frequently. I still see movies, but my energies have been directed elsewhere. I will explore ways to move the movies back into my blogs, without necessarily adopting a "movie review" format. 

For example, Quantum of Solace, a Bond film, one I'd so far missed (I've caught the majority I'd hazard, back through several chapters), got me thinking of the concept of Power once again. We started talking power during a TrimTab meeting and I stuck up for the Newtonian meaning: energy per time. 

What's the connection? 

When Bond and the Bolivian hellion need a hotel for the evening, she has this cover story worked out for two teachers, clearly of limited means. The hotel is far less than four star. Bond is having none of it, and insists they have the best most palatial digs anywhere on the circuit. He tells the desk the same story: two teachers... whom've just won the lottery. 

The Bolivian is impressed with Bond's power to spend money like water, and a swiftly flowing river of water at that. 

When nature is being powerful, she's showing off some combination of inertia and pattern-making. She goes for high wattage, but doesn't lose the structure, or if she does, an explosion takes its place, representing what until a moment ago had been more cohesive. 

The stately, one could say placid, flow of the lower Columbia, gets forced through what pass for water wheels on their sides, although we call them turbines today. The torque the river pushes against is that of magnets resisting the steady twirl. The current goes out across the lines at very high voltage, to stepping stations able to reduce the power to match conventional loads. 

Newtonian units also get into Work, not just Power, another politically loaded term. An anti-employee accomplishes negative work, but perhaps by burning the same calories as would a hard worker. Work is measured against a stipulated end state, so that syntropy and entropy compete in the business of making stuff happen. 

Was the design conducive to getting work done in the first place? 

Did anyone even know what the end goal was? 

Entropy might've been high from the beginning. 

Bond is not only burning through funds, he's making an effective difference from the standpoint of the crown. Lower life sycophants may have sold out, but 007's boss, a queen bee, has a lot of faith in his ability to evade her own henchmen. Now there's an interesting pattern for ya.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Positive Developments


The Youtubers of the moment share a lot of negativity.  Of course I'm able to sample from many time frames, so the current inflationary conflagrations in the eastern hemisphere, with repercussions around the globe, is only optionally a focus. I do believe in staying current, although I know that's relative. My grasp of UK politics has improved but I'm still not getting the India-China-Pakistan matrix that clearly, whereas obviously it's very important.

I should add that my bizmo (meaning "body" in this case) has toured in all of those nation-states. We walked across the border from India to Pakistan somewhere near Kashmir, ending up in Islamabad, then Peshawar, then Kabul... my mom is an Abdul Gaffar Khan fan, though they never met in person.  My good friend Glenn Baker had come from Islamabad to join us in the Philippines, in my senior year of high school.

Anyway, the good news is I was gifted with a hand-me-down Mac Pro, a lot like the one I already have and got used from Fubonn Shopping Center on SE 82nd.  However this next one volunteered to upgrade itself to Monterey, a big jump from Yosemite (these are names of Apple Mac computer operating systems, from the Intel chip days).  I've been having a good time beefing it up with my favorite software, including a POV-Ray, not through homebrew this time.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Navigating Bureaucracy

Getting one of my bank cards replaced, at the teller window, reminded me my driver's license had expired. DMV now has online renewal, and with proof of payment in the glove compartment, I'm good to go.

I've got mom's Medicare call in my queue.  We'll see if they let me do an in-home administration of the blood check.  I'd need to get trained.  Providence is fine with it.

Matthew took me to lunch at Barley Mill today.  Then we walked due south through Ladd's Addition to Palio on Ladd's Circle.  I've talked around these places before.  The Ladd sisters had a houseboat on the Columbia, where the original scenic photography hobbyists would gather.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Puttering with Sympy





A synergeoist on Synergeo wondered by what factor we would scale the icosahedron of edges one, to give it a volume of 20, i.e. what would the new edges have to be? 

We think of the Jitterbug Transformation and how s_factor = jb_cubocta / jb_icosa (snake case) i.e. jb_icosa times s_factor takes its volume from 18.51... (tetravolumes) to 20 (ditto). 

In other words, the factor in question is a 3rd root of the s_factor, since the latter scales volume, meaning its 3rd root is our linear multiplier.

The s_factor appears again when we morph the icosahedron into a cuboctahedron by a different route. Start with the icosa with faces flush to an octahedron's.  Rotate the tilted triangles to a minimum volume 2.5 cuboctahedral conformation.  Two applications of 1/s_factor does the trick.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

More About Branding

Today's lunch conversation was about the physics of consciousness.  That's become the field.  I've questioned the priorities there, as a kind of psychologist, as what we need help with, as a faculty, is the unconscious.  Everyday dream time awareness, so-called consciousness, is something I tend to scoff at (just kidding).

Anyway, what kind of "psychologist" do I suppose I might be?  Do I hang out a shingle somewhere?  In the 1980s I think it was, the philosophers thought they might do this, making the claim that what ails people is more metaphysical than merely psychological.  

I could see the appeal.  Philosophy has been on the self help shelves in the past.  Stoicism and so on.

No, the psychology of individuals was my focus in the past, as a reader of Freud and like that.  Adler. But mass psychology, whatever that means, is more my focus today, and that means marketing and advertising, lobbying and propaganda i.e. changing the collective psyche i.e. politics.

Yes, I've called myself a lobbyist.  Once I realized the political process had a hand in determining curriculum, somewhat shocking to realize at first, I jumped into the business of pushing discrete math.  This had to do with high school level topics, and whether delta calculus would maintain its same level of dominance.  I posted tons to Math Forum about it, before the public forums were canceled.

But then of course Oregon Curriculum Network is more niche market than that.  Under cover, I've been an agent for Python Nation, not that our legals at PSF think there is such a thing.  

Guido's term as benevolent dictator was more tongue in cheek, somewhat mocking actual dictators.  That's true of Python Nation as well, similar to Rogue Nation (a brewery in Oregon) in taking the claptrap, the pomp, of nation-states, and using it for branding.

What's a nation-state, or a religion for that matter, beyond a brand?  One could say the difference is immeasurable as a brand is nothing without a substantial subculture to back it up.  Betty Crocker.  McDonald's. 

Exactly.  Ethnicity matters.  You need those subcultures.  The US had its deep believers in democracy.  The flag decals wouldn't mean anything without those old timers.  Other ideologies would adopt them.

Advertisers who believe in the Holy Ghost (a Zeitgeist) have an edge, one might believe, as a matter of faith. Or call them propagandists, as the Catholics do, or did, when everyone important spoke Latin.

Hollywood will tell you it's all show business.  I'm not saying that I disagree.  The show must go on.

If physicists want to be the next priesthood, or maybe that dream has come true already, we should get them involved in the treatments.  Help us with the mental health issues, war a chief pathology.  

That means curriculum development.  That means programming, as in television programming.  

But then television doesn't mean what it used to mean, either.  The internet (tcp/ip) has created the new groundwork.

I work at being a nationalist, a patriot, but for Python Nation, a science fiction virtual nation the PSF doesn't necessarily believe in.  That doesn't mean I've abandoned USA OS (my idea of a democracy, based on the one that died in darkness).  

I think we need practice in re-basing our nationalism in the cloud, more like the religions have done (the more successful ones).  

Cloud-based nationalism helps take the stress off the planetary ecosystem, freeing it from service as a mere backdrop for our nationalist fantasies.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

American Polymathy

This notion that we should divert attention back to the Platonics and sister polys, has a few champions in every era, however the question is what have we new to say about this vista? The theory of Regular Polytopes was nailed down in H.S.M. Coxeter's book by that title, anchoring a consequent literature of n-dimensional graph theory, or topology we might as well call it.  Don't we teach that already?

That a next American pragmatist, literally an inventor, would present with a lot of new chatter about polyhedrons, was not necessarily a welcome development in Europe and/or the UK, except in rarefied circles.  Germany and the Bauhaus School still had a history of architecture to tell, and the geodesic domes had to be part of that, tracing to the Walther Bauersfeld planetarium on the roof of Zeiss company headquarters in Jena.  RBF could remain "an American architect" who popularized dome designs.

The graph of famous inventors in structural engineering had to include the man who patented the octet truss, popularized by other architects and likewise researched by A.G. Bell, the telephone guy.

Peter Sloterdijk, the famous German language contemporary philosopher, embarked upon his Spheres trilogy: Globes, Bubbles and Foams (each a volume), with our American scattered throughout, a vertex oft returned to.  That work, like Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era suggested the architect-only view was far too narrow.  

RBF was in fact a polymath whose cross-disciplinary forays were a way of unlocking new synergies.  A pure mathematician might look askance at the tensegrities and wonder at their entanglement with physical forces.  A physicist might wonder how RBF could be anything but a crank if he actually believed in ESP, which he seemed to.  The risk was opening the philosophy department to ridicule, whereas it had already settled on its particular risk avoiding canon.

On the other hand, history moves on, and in the rear view mirror we have more thinkers to accommodate. What looked too embarrassing to include in one era, becomes embarrassing to exclude in a next. A survey course in philosophy without Bucky, is getting to seem like a survey statistics course without Bayes. The priors have changed, as the machines keep learning.

What was new about the polyhedrons had to do with the simplex, the regular tetrahedron in particular, and its ability to divide evenly into the others, volume-wise, even more successfully than the cube, the new "volume three" in this system. 

An octahedron with the same edges, is four times the unit volume, a rhombic dodecahedron six times, with its long face diagonals our unit tetrahedron edge.

Although the logic was there, and the context (closest packed geodesic spheres in a lattice, the octet truss), it was elementary, more like Wittgenstein's remarks on the foundations of mathematics.  Words like "concave" and "convex" and "spin" came in for grammatical investigation within a growing web of semi-tautologies, metaphorically cast.  Synergetics would have the hallmarks of a philosophy, and that would take some grappling with.

However the Continentals and the Analytics were both averse to this new American Pragmatism -- a lineage uncoiling forward through Rorty's work (one of my profs) -- but for different reasons.  

From Europe's point of view, America had outlived its role as an exotic upstart, a revolutionary presence, and was settling into the familiar mode of Roman imperialism, a model dear to many UKers but not one to admire or take instruction from. 

Why rock the boat with a retreat to Transcendentalism, with which this new flavor of pragmatism was blended?  Why think like Thoreau or Margaret Fuller, and question an expanding empire?  

Phrases like "legally piggily" (a whole chapter in Critical Path) melded with critical attacks on lawyer-capitalism and specialization itself...  how could such writings be good for the establishment?  

The mythos and ethos here, questioning authority at every turn, was more hippie-bohemian, even if somewhat engineering-savvy, and therefore too counterculture for any aspiring button-down corporate culture, what many universities aspired to be at the time, and still do to this day.  Yet Bucky always dressed like a banker.

Had the new language games with polyhedrons been buried in a jocular Scientific American article, say by J.H. Conway or Martin Gardner, and filed under recreation, then the spark might have more easily spread, but perhaps fizzled much sooner.  

The problem people had with this philosophy is that the new casting of the polyhedrons in a nested arrangement was supposed to be significant to children and to the future of humanity.  It was supposed to be important, and dared to clamor for attention.  

Teachers did not want to positively reinforce this message as it was subversive to their ongoing dismissal.  "Don't encourage disruptive behavior." "Ignore attention-seeking behavior."

The prospect of introducing some positive futurist science fiction within the core curriculum would have many implications and the easier course was to keep the lid on these developments.  Elon Musk proved disruptive in this regard as well, even if his plans were less grounded in a philosophy.  People were dreaming about the future again, and contrasting that with what the politicians felt able (i.e. unable) to deliver.

The chief advocates for introducing these education reforms no longer had their charismatic leader and their army seemed tiny and unimpressive, almost invisible.  The juggernaut of mainstream philosophy could afford to dismiss this new philosophy as irrelevant, therefore, at least for the time being.  That seemed to be the thinking, looking back.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

German Pseudo Science?

Is racism a holdover from German pseudo-science?  People try to make a race out of everything, confusing DNA with ethnicity.  The two could hardly be more different.  Hardware is one thing, software another.  But then software makes sure hardware counts for a lot, in terms of how the sorting algorithms work.  "What race is he?"  

It still sounds out of line to reply "I don't keep track of races" as people think that's a claim to color blindness, as if one were literally unable to pick up the RGB value of someone's skin tone.  Well, put in those terms, maybe I am color blind, as I'm not "perfect pitch" going from an observed tone, to the actual catalog combo.

"He's what people call Black" is better, and for sure he has dark skin.  But then so do people considered "not Black" by some.  The use of the word "colored" never really went away, but became People of Color.

Anyway, the short answer is no.  German pseudo-science was bolstered by the eugenics movement, which was strong in North America, to the point of making laws.  Insofar as "racial purity" might be a thing, the eugenicists and the KKK had a leadership position.  

As an elitist, I might say the bottom half of the Bell Curve believes in races, but that wouldn't be an IQ curve.  A lot of people who do well on standardized IQ tests nevertheless believe in races.  One's ethnic conditioning is "orthogonal" to one's IQ, is how someone with a high IQ might put it, using an ethnic (as in niche) way of talking.

Some ethnicities obsess about race more than others.  To obsess about race doesn't mean admitting to being racist.  Few people I know would go with the definition:  a racist is someone who believes in races. That sounds as wrong as: a nationalist is someone who believes in nations.  "Of course we believe in races and nations.  That doesn't make us racist or nationalist."  That would be the mainstream view.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

HB2U Carol Urner

My mother Carol is sleeping most of the day away in the living room.  She slept through last night in this chair, me on the couch.  We talked at around 4 AM.  I sent an email to Alex and went back to snooze mode.  She knew it was her birthday at that point.  I'd also wished her a happy birthday at midnight.

As the day has gone on, she has had well wishers come through.  Eileen Gannon, Beth Read, Lucinda by phone.  Julie, Carol's daughter, is here for the occasion.

I'm on the hook to dive into numpy and pandas this coming week.  I'd started out hoping I could warm up with my 8th graders, but when they say "algorithms + data structures" they mean CP (competitive programming).  Anyway, I've filed my flight plans elsewhere, like on edu-sig.

Carol has been a lifelong peace activist, ever since she found out about radio-toxins in the milk (Strontium-90?). Her life, like mine, was against a background of endless wars.  Being a peace activist feels like working against the gain, and yet humanity seems to yearn for an opportunity to express itself with greater glory.  Maybe not against the grain of human nature after all.

I inherited a belief in non-violence as a way to go.  I stayed with Quakers, although I resigned membership in Multnomah Meeting at one point.  I wanted to pioneer the role of attender, and took it all the way to clearing people for membership.

I left a message with Sonya Pinney regarding it being Carol's birthday.  She called back a few minutes later. We had a good talk.  The Pinneys and the Urners were among the original families to express themselves in the form of Multnomah Meeting, some generations ago.  The meeting overlapped with Electroscientific Industries (ESI) in terms of facilities:  ESI sold its old factory to the Meeting for a dollar.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Machiavellian Country

On my end, the Orwellian Memory Hole theme (see previous blog post) resonates with the "verboten math" meme i.e. a strain within STEM that we'd maybe be better off not considering, if we want a career with the big guys.  Whom to salute?  In civilian life at least, that's not often so clear. 

Actually, I'm not entirely sure how to characterize the threat, or call it the risk, to one's reputation, and then there's always the other side of it:  what risk is one taking by overt obeisance to some status quo rule makers?  Will these be the administrators going forward?  Much to think about.

Academics might rib each other for past citations i.e. if Mein Kampf was a book you cited often, approvingly, in service of your own views, there might come a day when your peers gave you flak for this chapter.  I'm thinking of how professor Kaufmann was pretty unmerciful when it came to interrogating Herr Heidegger, while standing up for Nietzsche as having nothing to do with Germanic fascism.

Back to those toeing the line, being good minions beyond a safe pull date: a published disavowal might have helped notify the world of a change of heart.  But maybe you weren't sure at the time that it would help, and so on. 

In retrospect, you (not pointing fingers, if the shoe fits) played your cards rather inexpertly, but then so did a lot of people.  Factored in to one's playbook are one's predictions of who the winners and losers will be.  One gambles.  One might be wrong.

"Throwing one's lot in with" another is like "hitching one's star to" in terms of comparable idioms. 

Then there's "riding the coattails of" which comes off as more minion-like.  

The winning team appoints its own to the coveted desk jobs around town.  That's not scandalous or unusual, but evidence the system works as designed, assuming the power to overturn administrations was a built in feature.  

Monarchies may, in contrast, may have a hard time scripting their own demise, lets admit the obvious, not that orderly transitions haven't happened, in cases of an heir apparent.  Dynasties are certainly a thing.

Allegiances and loyalties, expressed or implied, are what we're talking about here.  Machiavellian Country.

What's true in our case is our subversive author was never entirely purged from respectable publishing, thanks to some anticipatory efforts by the Bohemian generation, in collaboration with Boomers in many cases.  

I'm thinking about , for example, still actively tapping the "verboten" roots of our counter-culture (cite Private Sky etc.), continuing to bring a positive futurism to light in fresh ways.

When I talk somewhat tongue-in-cheekily about our not indulging in "EU metaphysics around pi" i.e. concerning the "real numbers" (their theoretical foundations), I'm circling the wagons, so to speak, and protecting my West (the Americas) from the undue influence of Continental beliefs, religious and otherwise. 

We'll study their beliefs, sure, but not necessarily at the expense of suspending our own.  Our practice of globalism need not imitate theirs either.  

As an Oregonian, I'm not into picking elective fights with my counterparts in the Stans, for example, let alone in Persia.  The Pacific Rim is pacific for a reason.  We don't behave like we're a part of some Atlantic alliance, nor would it be a dream come true if we did.