Thursday, June 03, 2021

TikTok Meets GST

The didactic content on TikTok is pretty high, and users with cells (not usually in cells) both consume and produce, meaning the community supplies its own demands, with advertising paying the bills.

As is the case with Youtube, this social medium puts an emphasis on the individual as the unit of on camera (or in camera) talent, with sound, effects, formats provided.  Make a splash in a controlled environment.

This morning I was following a truck driver, presumably in real time, with viewers communicating via comments.  

The trucker's PWS (personal workspace) is live streaming to TikTokers joining in live.  The Trucker Exchange Program is on track to become a reality.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Riffing On Rorty

Achieving Our Country by R. Rorty

Date: Tue, 18 May 2021 07:10:54 -0700 
Subject: Re: The children's story 
From: kirby urner 
To: Trimtab Book Club

Yes, thank you hugely Maurice.  This was a really interesting podcast and my plan is to download more Rorty books to my Kindle (my daughter just bought me one, smaller than the original, same graphite grayscale, plus I use Kindle software on other devices).

The podcast deals with Rorty's 
(a) pragmatism 
(b) liberalism 
(c) nationalism.  

The last (c) may seem not to belong and indeed Rorty took incoming from the left especially, which had soured on nationalism to the point of fomenting anti-Americanism, whereas, in Rorty's view, the framework of liberal democracies (the US among them, along with Canada) was a last bastion between us and tyranny.  

Extending this thread a bit...  I found Achieving Our Country (AOC) in for checkout.  You get to "keep" a digital image for 14 days.  A short tome:  a couple "lectures" and an appendix.  One thing I remember about Rorty's in-person lectures is he'd hand out dense, single-spaced, well-written multipage notes ahead of his presentation.  The implication I got is we were free to immerse ourselves in the talk and not furiously take notes, the kind of attention dividing many profs see as unhealthy to begin with.

Anyway, AOC is about Rorty, who grew up in a "leftist" (meaning liberal) family matrix (interesting autobiographical section), pointing out that the New Left of more Marxian and more anti-American vintage is a johnny come lately, that there's an older liberalism focused on labor rights, anti-racism, anti-imperialism, predating Marx, and owing much to Hegel nevertheless. Somewhat surprisingly, Walt Whitman was in this camp.  Yes, he read some Hegel.  And John Dewey, Rorty's hero through all his works.

This Old Left has more benign views of the New World's long term potential as it connects to the idealism of the Transcendentalists, although he doesn't invoke this school by name (Emerson...). William James and later "pragmatism" fall in the same line. Per this old left, fighting the Cold War was a good idea as Stalinism was terrible, like Hitlerism.  One could unite heros like James Baldwin (Rorty's pick) and later Muhammad Ali (my example), with some of JFK's best and brightest, going back to FDR.  America is not a "lost cause" and liberalism may include anti-communism.

At the beginning he writes:

National pride is to countries what self-respect is to individuals: a necessary condition for self-improvement. Too much national pride can produce bellicosity and imperialism, just as excessive self-respect can produce arrogance. But just as too little self-respect makes it difficult for a person to display moral courage, so insufficient national pride makes energetic and effective debate about national policy unlikely. Emotional involvement with one's country -- feelings of intense shame or of glowing pride aroused by various parts of its history, and by various present-day national policies -- is necessary if political deliberation is to be imaginative and productive. Such deliberation will probably not occur unless pride outweighs shame. 
The need for this sort of involvement remains even for those who, like myself, hope that the United States of America will someday yield up sovereignty to what Tennyson called "the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World." For such a federation will never come into existence unless the governments of the individual nation-states cooperate in setting it up, and unless the citizens of those nation-states take a certain amount of pride (even rueful and hesitant pride) in their governments' efforts to do so. 
Those who hope to persuade a nation to exert itself need to remind their country of what it can take pride in as well as what it should be ashamed of.
I would contrast that 2nd paragraph with where Bucky goes with his own narrative since WW2, with himself as an epic character ("great pirate" etc.). 

The desoveriegnization process Bucky posits is more Hegelian in nature, but less a natural "withering of the state" (Marx) and more a natural "canceling out" (draining of significance, desanguination) of older patterns of thought, in the crush (fusion) of our one-planet one-media "global village" (McLuhan) or blooming buzzing "radio garden" (a computer app).

Looking back, the states didn't "yield" regarding the ongoing terraformation or "Borgification" (Star Trek epic) so much as they became compacted together in a cosmic inferno (ongoing) of swiftly integrating circuitry ("networks and networking"), always with a risk of meltdown (overheating).  Bucky-the-cold-warrior helped keep it cold vs. letting it become a theater for hotheads.

Either way, by Rorty's narrative route or by Bucky's, we have a USA to look back on with some pride in its contribution to what we have today, going forward.  Bucky was awarded a Medal of Freedom, like at the end of a Star Wars episode, upon declaring an end to the USA we have known, and the launch of a Grunch sponsored version.


Sunday, May 09, 2021

Quaker Journal Entry

Backyard Vista

[ to dear Lucinda ]

You're probably in worship right now as it's 10:02 and we're still not at Laurelhurst. Carol gets off to a slow start in the mornings. If we don't make it by the end, feel free to come by and visit, and if you see any others who know us, feel free to extend this invitation. Carol had her 2nd vaccination last Friday. Tara has had both. Me only one. Our backyard area is big enough to accomodate socializing, with brief visits with Carol in her regal bed.
Outdoor In-Person Meetings

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Happy Birthday to Carol


Speaking of hexen (witches, wise women), happy birthday to Carol, who just turned 92. Our old friend Leela came by on her bicycle.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Hexen House

I'm thinking "hexen" is plural for "witch" like in German, am I right?  Yeah, the internet says I'm right. The connection between "hexes" and "spells" is tight, and the UNIX men embraced "wizards" as a thing they could be. So I wasn't joking in proposing "coven" as a bevy of mostly female software engineers. That'd be very Portland.

I've gone over this proposal some years back, on edu-sig.  At one of the OS Bridge conferences, we got lectured that our cosplay spoof job title culture was immature, starting with such as BDFL (Guido's title at the time).  So I'm likely beyond the pale in going with hexen running FANG or whatever.  Will the NYT pick up on Portland usage?

We were Blue House before, and still are, in the FNB namespace.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Cultural Illiteracy?

Despite the two volume Synergetics (Macmillan) from the late 1970s, the Wikipedia page on the Tetrahedron has no links to Bucky Fuller's philosophy as of March, 2021.  

Why this would seem an omission is that, alone among the philosophers, Fuller undertook to recast the regular tetrahedron as his unit of volume, even while preserving edges one.

Here's a volume formula, derived subsequently to Synergetics' publication, by Gerald de Jong, which takes the six edges of any tetrahedron and returns its volume in terms of "tetravolumes".  

The regular tetrahedron of edges 1 has volume 1.  The regular tetrahedron of edges 2 has volume 8.  

However, irregular tetrahedrons have tetravolumes too.  Indeed, Fuller defined a common conversion constant for going back and forth between cubic and tetrahedral volumes, named S3.

One discovery stemming from this use of the tetrahedron, is the result that any tetrahedron with all four vertexes at the centers of spheres in a CCP packing, has a whole number volume.  

Likewise, any Waterman Polyhedron* turns out to have a whole number volume as well.

Fuller twisted our customary concept of "dimension" around to make it mean something in terms of the tetrahedron, which is the topologically minimum volume in terms of V, F and E (vertexes, faces, edges).  

He described res extensa (the physio-spatial world), as well as res mensa (the imaginary world), as "4D" meaning primitively and minimally a container with four facets and four corners.

Why don't I add a link from Tetrahedron to Bucky Fuller myself?  I concede that Tetrahedron page to others, having learned the hard way (e.g. Math Forum) what wars to skip. I did add a link to Tetrahedron from Quadray Coordinates today, and likewise to Caltrop.

* defined as a maximal convex polyhedron centered at a CCP ball with its vertexes defined as all those CCP centers at radius R or less.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Veering About

The nearby Project Renaissance apartment, a curator's center, furnishes me with DVDs I should see, or see again. Although I've cut back on movie reviews, that's not for lack of watching.  You may have picked up I'm on another Adam Curtis kick.

One of my Facebook friends was a contemporary of Russell Brand's in Miami.  Russell's interview with Adam Curtis serves as a jumping off point for my latest video.

The genre "the making of" or "behind the scenes with" is often more entertaining than the film itself. Werner Herzog has some fun with the genre in The Making of Fitzcarraldo as I've blogged about before.

Glenn assures me "the making of" Slumdog Millionaire will delight me.

Then we dove into James Thurber, because the sketchiness of his cartoons reminded Glenn of Mr. McGoo, never seeing things quite right, but on the other hand, it worked for him.

This morning, I was reading an analysis, by Serena Mocci, of Margaret Fuller's somewhat conflicted "reports back home" from a conflicted Italy. Liberal democracies were yearning to breathe free, and America should prove a strong ally in any such endeavor, despite having become a slave state empire, about to swallow the Mexican states.  

There's still some good in there somewhere, that could express itself vicariously, by backing the legitimate struggles of Rome. Send donations, you liberals back home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Remarks on Curriculum

Categorization of Polyhedra

I've returned to an old theme for me:  tabular recordkeeping is at the core of civilization (silly-vization), and today that means getting steeped in databases, not just Excel.  Those who lose touch with tabular bookkeeping, drop out of the middle class, according to this theory.

Whereas I consider a school "elite" for offering SQL to middle and high schoolers, that's not the right standard.  That's like saying HTML, English grammar, parts of speech, times tables, are all dispensable, now that we have cartoons. I may have felt that way as a kid, as I adored cartoons and HTML was not yet invented, but looking back, I see "passing the torch" as a matter of relevant skills sharing, not only, but including.

The compromise, for me, would be more didactic cartoons, puppets and so on.  Big Bird never taught us about complex numbers and none of the muppets shares SQL.  Why?  Sometimes it seems the more vital the knowledge, the drier the bones.  Scare away the most imaginative and you'll have your ideal labor pool of the most compliant, seems to be the filtering mechanism.

Our sandbox is for learning SQL is of course SQLite3, given Python as sqlite3 built right in.  

This isn't just a practice space, but a place to maintain legitimate files.  The personal workspace of today and tomorrow has long included an electronic file tree, and those forced to adulthood with now exposure to filesystem trees have been cast by the caste system as people without office skills.  We call it the Digital Divide. 

You won't get to hold office if you have no office skills (e.g. SQL).  The school system helps separate the two groups, often without letting on that this is what it is doing.

Lists of airports, favorite websites, stamps, coins... the literature is packed with examples, more or less practical.  SQL is a whole separate language from Python, and seeing them both happening at once, in a single script, is most instructive.

On top of all this promotion of SQL in grade school, I put spatial geometry as a topic.  The polyhedrons, in particular, need to be filed away in various ways, and retrieved accordingly.  The inventory each has, of corners, faces, edges (V + F = E + 2) is an obvious starting place, followed by tags alluding to category, such as Archimedean, Platonic.

Do we endeavor to include Volume as a column?  Given an edge length, why not?  In fact, we might even carry two volume columns, as our "elite" curriculum is fluent around tetravolumes as well as XYZ volumes.  In fact, those Jupyter Notebook examples are done, open source, available.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Bellingham Museum of Chemical and Biological Munitions

Getting the timelines right, regarding the treaties and so on, is the next step. The photographic inventory is less important at this point. 

Some exhibits feature controversies without forcing the viewer into a point of view e.g. Douma (OPCW scandal), Skripals (novichok on door knob), Navalny (novichok in underwear).

We find lots of deception when it comes to who is short-circuiting what agreements, and so the museum has to structure some of the exhibits as debates among competing theories of truth.

Monday, February 08, 2021

American History Lesson

Dymaxion House Interior

We'd be in a different situation if architects hadn't decried Bucky Fuller's idea to let the aerospace sector get into mass produced housing (this was pre dome). Airstream is as close as we got, otherwise manufactured and mobile homes tried to fit the bill, with architects continuing to do old technology one-offs, pandering to rich clients who insist on their "one of a kind" vehicle of self expression, the ego (eggo) house.
Meanwhile, all cars look the same and more and more Americans have taken to living in them. The alternative future went down as "the industry industry missed". Fuller's design was all about making the mother in the family stress free so she could hang out with the kids, considered sexist in the age of unisex jobs and both parents working. The design would be affordable and so mortgage free.

School teachers who share American history are at liberty to bring up this vision, in conjunction with a lot of other interesting history, such as World's Fairs, Disneyland, EPCOT... Defunctland is a fun Youtube channel on all this, and I reference it pretty often in mine. 

There's also a certain geometry Fuller developed, which we might teach as a part of literature, since he mostly used prose for it. American Transcendentalism. His great aunt Fuller was likewise a feminist and a first editor of The Dial, which first published Emerson and Thoreau. 

As a Quaker with an interest in curriculum, I tell my trainees they're free to share all this history and geometry, as I'm doing. I actually make fun of schools that don't communicate any of this information, calling them all kinds of insulting things (e.g. phony, substandard) behind their backs (that's called competition).