Friday, May 28, 2010

Past Glories

[ Synergeo 59679, hyperlinks added, typos fixed. Note use of "tetrits" and "cubits" is quirky i.e. peculiar to this namespace; idea is alternative models of parsing volume ]

What seems clear from Steve's work on that chart is the coolness of some Great Stella or one of those (is that what he called it?), an application for viewing the various cube sizes (in his case).

You could just flip a switch and get everything in tetrits instead of cubits, with volumes computed on the fly. Of course having a "volume" requires some definite convex hull (with relative concavities) to be defined as an "having an inside" group. The notion of "facet" and/or "window" has to be there.

These conventions have been well established by now, so most of us just take for granted what a "system" is, to the point of not needing a name for one.

Synergetics makes use of this pre-existing infrastructure to swap in a unit tetrahedron on some channels, doing spatial geometry a different way. Having the spatial viewer accommodate both approaches, with a toggle or switch, is what we've been doing implicitly for years, but without much help from the software.

My was coded in Qrays (quadrays, tetrays) at the Python level, yet in scene description language (POV-Ray's) or VRML, the convention is of course xyz. The conversion constants were worked out enough for that namespace to work. Many images were rendered.

I'm not saying toggling to Qrays and IVM volume are synonymous features. One could imagine various applications for which no vectorial features were required.

The Qrays were from David Chako, our team on Synergetics-L. I've used the term Chakovian Coordinates sometimes. The static web pages I developed during those years were about Quadrays. FoxPro Advisor published an article on my use of those in the FoxPro language. The move to Python came later.

Anyway, just getting some notes down. Our collaboration with Waterman was most intensive around there, with work in Qhull and so on, lots of insights from Gerald de Jong who did some work in Pascal. Getting some cool renderings was a breakthrough.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Architect

We're meeting with John Driscoll today, thanks to Dr. Nick. Chance of Rain, now Magnolia, was our venue (just off 32nd & Hawthorne). John has bicycled across North America, from Boston to Astoria (as Sam Lanahan has, going the other direction). More recently, he rode from Bolinas CA to Vancouver BC. He pulls a bike trailer. I need to introduce him to resident faculty (see below).

John has been living at the doorstep of a GMO HQS in the Netherlands, in a former fishing village north of Amsterdam. We discussed world food policies and the pervasive corruption of science.

John's idea for hexagonal parking lots is interesting. We discussed the commercial, for some electric car company that shall go nameless in this context. Glenn spelled out some connected ideas, which he's been kicking around with the Bonnie Slope people (Buzz et al). Glenn also explained the Flextegrity product.

Global U rad math teacher LinZ showed up between assignments before our meeting was over and asked John questions about cross-country biking, including through Central and South America. She was hit by a car yesterday, sustained contusions, plus the bike itself (Dawn's favorite) was rendered unridable (bent frame).

LinZ resourcefully scrounged a loaner from the bike collective in order to perform assigned duties this morning, which involved pulling a trailer. She is now patching holes in her clothing from the crash, plans on building another bike from scratch this afternoon with help from the resident mechanic.

She's starting with a quality frame rescued from a garden (freely offered via the Internet) some ten months ago; is also hoping to maybe learn some new horticultural skills from the herbalist who hit her, in trade.

All members of this household have by now been in serious accidents with motor vehicles. I'm grateful we're going by train on our next trip out of town. I'm developing a healthy hatred for car driving, given the lifestyles it spawns.

The new campus facilities we'd like to build will not be premised on such a heavy use of fuel oil.

Wasting energy connotes a low subcultural IQ, a substandard curriculum.

Intelligently designed communities provide students with opportunities to walk their talk, promote internal consistency, do not instill hypocrisy as an academic virtue.

Some trucking companies are moving to better optimization algorithms (I was just viewing a demo last week, written in FoxPro), even as people think twice about mindlessly rewarding Obnoxico's "less with more" behaviors.

An economic "system" that rewards squandering is not really a "system" to begin with.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tomorrow's Food

In addition to Susan Greenfield's debate about how to best cultivate our brains (a kind of farming, one might say), is the debate around how to best cultivate our primary and secondary food crops (the latter being fed to animals which in turn serve as food).

Genetically engineered seed crops are not simply cross-bred varieties. They are new, largely untested biological phenomena with the potential to wreak havoc, as they cannot easily be recalled. Most soy, corn and cotton planted in the USA is genetically engineered.

Some analysts contend that USA agriculture is already in a meltdown as a result of buying in to these strategies.

India has endured a terrible experience with Monsanto's cotton product, Bollgard, and has wisely banned further introduction of mutant crops pending independent study.

The identification of foods and medicines in ayruvedic culture suggests that the FDA has been too cavalier in distinguishing foods from drugs.

The barriers to entry have been low, while the "science" has become increasingly suspect, given the conflicts of interest bedeviling the industry.

The corruptibility of science is a theme of Michael Chrichton's book State of Fear as well as War Against the Weak by Edwin Black (quoted in Chrichton's appendix). Phony science was also a focus of Dr. Susan Haack's ISEPP lecture. Civilizations may back slide and decay, as they surrender to moral decadence.

Experience with tobacco companies sets the pattern: they'll tell you their product is good for you until forced to admit that it's actually killing you (and even then, it's your fault if you believed their claims in the first place).

Demonstrating cause and effect is more difficult with transgenic materials.

Farmers and consumers are starting to see they have a common interest in moving away from mutant mono-cultures in favor of more diversified organic methods.

Because Congress is slavishly obedient to retro agribusinesses, labeling laws have kept consumers in the dark about whether their food is contaminated with these unwelcome and uninvited "guest" breeds.

This was by design, to prevent boycotts and/or "voting with one's dollars."

I'm providing a "neg" position for debating purposes. Those taking the "aff" (affirmative) position have a right to be heard as well.

Public schools are an appropriate forum for these debates. There's mathematics involved, so here's another chance to "get relevant" by encouraging informed discussion about what goes into those school lunches.

We owe it to tomorrow's people to not shut down all the important conversations in favor of computer games with no purpose. Purposeful gaming (ala world game) and simulations are another matter. Where's the game about crop cycles (vs. circles)?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tomorrow's People

Cyber Tots

Dr. Susan Greenfield hit the ground running when she got to Portland, addressing a Mensa group, then hopping on Don's boat with her entourage for a visit to Island Cafe.

Despite differences in time zones, she was ready for Sunset High School the next afternoon, then her big appearance at the Schnitzer, to deliver the final ISEPP Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture of the 2009-2010 season.

This is where I first joined the action, providing the laptop for the podium. This Win7 Toshiba, a sponsor contribution, also served admirably in Baltimore at the Space Telescope Science Institute in service to Holden Web.

Susan's message is well crafted and she presents it in a humorous idiosyncratic style. Phrases like "lets give this a think" and "just to be brutal about it" pepper her discourse. Dr. Greenfield's Powerpoint skills are polished and her content is creative. Our mostly Anglophone audience had no trouble following her arguments and concerns.

Her message: we owe it to our progeny to question and debate the upsides and downsides of so much time spent with screens. The dangers she sees in them reflect parental worries across the board: too much living through cyberspace results in a deterioration of attention span, inter-personal skills, cognitive ability, individuality, empathy (those drone pilots come to mind).

We run the risk of producing zombie robots, easily manipulated by media and therefore easy prey for fascist, totalitarian or mindlessly materialistic ideologies (she talked about "affluenza" quite a bit).

Combine this loss of identity with drug use, and you have a recipe for infantilizing the brain, reducing its capacity for judgment perhaps by impairing the brain's frontal lobes.

Brain-centric mythos runs deep in Anglophone cultures and listening to Susan is like finding a missing puzzle piece or a decoder ring. Here's a world view English speakers will recognize.

She's at the opposite end of the spectrum from Aldous Huxley (Doors to Perception) in a lot of ways, in seeing psychotropics (e.g. psychedelics) as detracting from human potential. The brain is already plenty plastic and adaptable and doesn't need artificial enhancers for optimum performance, is her thesis. Walking with Nobby would be another candidate opposite, though with a shared focus on dementias associated with aging.

Access to a nutritious diet with exercise, combined with ample opportunities for gross and fine motor skills training, is what will provide society with the people it needs to move forward in a positive direction.

Drugs represent a desperate escape and their widespread / uninhibited use is symptomatic of a broken curriculum combined with incompetent leadership. Once you factor in legally prescribed psychotropics, you get a clear picture of a dysfunctional civilization.

This aspect of her message was a tad on the conservative side for a youthful Portland audience, which is looking forward to legalized cannibus (as she calls it). During the Q&A, one young woman took the bull by the horns, saying she actively encouraged the use of psychotropics and what did Susan think about this?

Susan claimed to be non-judgmental and scientific in her answer, but of course she continued to share her own ethical code, which is to mentor against elective (optional, recreational) drug use, mainly because of unintended side effects and the dependencies which develop.

I would agree with Susan that providing more ample opportunities to people in dire straits is a civilizational responsibility. I wish I'd had time to talk over my Coffee Shops Network (CSN) business model, which uses cyberspace to raise funds for activist NGOs, social service providers, worthy causes around the world.

Students still get to play those challenging computer games, but then so many are instructive, informative, topical -- as well as identity-building, as committed winnings may be added to one's profile. The social atmosphere provides free schooling opportunities with peers right there in the same venue, counter-balancing the isolating / solipsistic environment of the study carrel or private dorm.

Whether said coffee shop serves alcohol or other controlled substances to cardholders would vary by zip code and commercial license. The CSN blueprint (class template) allows for plenty of individuality at the instantiated object or establishment level. Dress codes are likewise a variable.

Around our table at the Heathman (ISEPP dinner, Susan, a Baroness, our guest of honor), we discussed the Wanderers session on telekinesis quite a bit (four of us had attended) and wondered to what extent brain science still has any ties whatsoever to what used to be called the study of "paranormal" phenomena. Back in the 1960s or 1970s, one might imagine the audience asking more questions about "ESP" but that way of talking didn't come up at all here in 2010.

I'm not especially surprised that the tenor of the questions has changed over the decades, as the invention of cyberspace has filled pretty much the same explanatory niche, suggesting how we might partake of a shared noospheric un/consciousness i.e. how we creatively reshape our identities within various partially overlapping threads within the Zeitgeist -- like on Facebook.

The suspension of disbelief required to accept TCP/IP as a service provided to and by the world game playing agencies is easier to pull off than a belief in magical notions (although this varies by subculture). Yakawow about some "second world" is therefore a path of lower resistance, more omni-economical to pursue, at least among Anglos and Gringos.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fresh Fruit

Fig 1: 14 Rhombic Triacontahedra around One

Depicted above is a 2-Frequency rhombic dodecahedron (shaded), of tetravolume 48, anchoring a bevy of rhombic triacontahedra of tetravolume 7.5 at its 14 vertexes.

In terms of our home base ball packing, the IVM, the uniradius spheres would be smaller than these rhombic triacontahedra. This distance across the rhombic dodecahedron, from face center to opposite face center, would be two sphere diameters (hence 2-Frequency).

Because rhombic dodecahedra fill space, what we see here is the nucleus of a repeating pattern or lattice. The rhombic triacontahedra occupy positions in a body cubic centric packing or BCC, with eight around 1 at the corners of a cube. Note that the triacontahedra touch one another at vertices only, do not have shared edges or faces.

Fig 2: Nuclear Rhombic Triacontahedron

Here is a nuclear rhombic triacontahedron (shaded) surrounded by its eight neighbors at the corners of a cube (shown in outline). The edges of the cube define the short face diagonals of the 2F rhombic dodecahedron depicted in Figure 1.

Recall that the volume 6 rhombic dodecahedron and volume 3 cube both decompose into constituent Mites of volume 1/8. The volume of two Mites is equal to the volume of four K-mods, which are the T-mod shaped tetrahedral wedges dividing the 7.5 RT into 120 constituent members.

The Mite itself dissects into two A-mods and one B-mod, each of volume 1/24 and each equal to the volume of the T-mod, that which divides the RT of tetravolume 5 into 120 wedges.

The volume of the K-mod is 3/2 larger than 1/24, i.e. is 1/16 or half that of a Mite. Four K-mods have the volume of a Syte (two Mites).

David Koski supplied these pictures, developed using Scott Vorthmann's vZome. He has a long-standing interest in rhombic triacontahedra and their dissection into phi-scalable modules.

Fig 3: Duotet Cube of volume 24 (eight touching one)

Monday, May 03, 2010

United Nations / WILPF

Carol (my mom) is in New York City these days, attending United Nations events.

The UN Secretary General addressed her group yesterday, on a topic he cares about deeply: reducing the world's total complement of nuclear weapons. If all goes as planned, she'll get to have dinner with Amy Goodman.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Civil Action

We're checking in at the start of our Oversight Committee meeting. I declared my plan to get Tara to St. Francis dining hall, for First Day community service.

Peter offered to drive us, meaning I won't need to use the "torture taxi" (Nissan Maxima).

Lindsey and I compete to not burn peak oil unnecessarily. Transporting heavy equipment (e.g. the Bose Tower) and trips to the ER are the two exceptions she makes for herself.

My client for private lessons tomorrow (in the piano room) is willing to bicycle to my side of the river, which I appreciate -- way better than either of us driving. We're studying scientific computing with Python.

The oil spill is taking up bandwidth at Meeting this morning. Sonya wanted more details. Our Sunday Morning Adult Discussion (SMAD) was on the topic of fear, though Mendel was mostly mocking the fear-mongers, many of them TV personalities.

While Tara works at St. Francis, my hope is to interview some of the principals engaged in civil disobedience at Washington School. I need to grab my camera.

I've already met some of these people through Radical Women and Vegans not Pigs.

As it turned out, Vasu Dev aka Dru Jones was at the site. He didn't know me and my bona fides only went so far, but he let me take his picture while he spoke of the inspiring meetings at the camp the night before. Although the police had patrolled quite a bit, no force had been applied.

Dru sees Washington School as a future part of ToonTown, meaning he thinks in terms of storyboards and animations, had been to school in these subjects (also mask making). His bicycle with trailer was clearly labeled Food Not Bombs, and he knew Darren was leaving.

Perhaps I'll catch up with Ibrahim later. Dru says he was a strong presence in the meeting.

Dru Jones
Dru Jones

Saturday, May 01, 2010