Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tragic Loss

Our neighbor and friend.

Coast tightrope walker swept into ocean
By Associated Press: April 25, 2014, 8:22 PM

PACIFIC CITY, Ore. — Authorities say a Portland man trying to walk across a homemade tightrope between two large rock sections on the north Oregon coast is missing after a large wave hit him and swept him into the ocean.

Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long said Friday that 25-year-old James Michael Alejandro was climbing on a rocky area of Cape Kiwanda with several others Thursday afternoon when he connected a single rope between two large rock sections above the water and tried to walk it. Witnesses say he was briefly seen in the ocean but they lost sight of him.

A Coast Guard boat and helicopters searched by water and air but didn’t find Alejandro. Long cautions that coastal ocean currents are strong and large waves are common in the area.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Everyone's a spy now.

I'm probably the last kid on the block to get two-step verification, the Google service where if you log in on an untrusted computer, you get a text message to your cell phone for verification purposes.  You need to enter that too, or you're not you.

Since I'm on a company computer borrowed from another staffer while mine's in the shop, I took the opportunity to make it not trusted, meaning really no computer is (to me).  There ya go, welcome to spyville.

And yet we're just truck stop Joe and Jill.  There's future shock for ya, hello Alvin Toffler.

What's been happening?  Lots of course.

Dave Koski is legitimately excited about this number 2√2ø^-2  as in Emod * 2√2ø^-2 = S mod.

These so-called "mods" are tetrahedron shapes, components defined in Synergetics 2.  That's the magnum opus by Buckminster Fuller in collaboration with E.J. Applewhite since transplated to the web.  Dedicated to H.S.M. Coxeter aka King of Infinite Space.

David and I have yakked about such things for years, fun shoptalk (namespace, whatever).

I've been looking at a new title:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Back to the Future

David Pearce Snyder is on the ISEPP board so has behind the scenes influenced Terry in ways we'll never know about (grin).  He's lectured for ISEPP before and was as lucid as ever, in bringing us his view of the future, which is very metrological, in the sense of "metrologist", one who measures (Doug Strain was one of those too).

Demographically speaking, the North American population is aging and youth will be at a premium. But beyond that rather well know fact was the good news:  the gigantic onslaught of new tech that really takes time to accommodate, has been accommodated to the point where we might even thrive again.  We were in a dip, if you look at the numbers.

I really appreciated this big picture perspective.  My dad was a futurist and would have loved these ISEPP lectures, this one in particular I think.

Bravo Mentor Graphics and other sponsors, and Terry for picking winners way more than chance would allow.  We must be doing something right, eh?

What the talk was really about was the future of higher education, a topic of keen interest to me, given I'm in the teaching business, in Cyberia (cyberspace).  MOOCs started off on the wrong foot maybe, but much was learned.  Universities are adapting or going under, the usual thing.  I'm being vague as you had to be there.  These lectures get recorded, Glenn on camera.

The Heathman dinner was excellent as usual.  I let Christine have my other ticket as she's a stalwart and adds perspective to Wanderers a lot.  I get two tickets per lecture as another board member, but not an advertised one i.e. I'm not the big name futurist David is, though I did get two write-ups in The Oregonian as a futurist (only Metro section I'm pretty sure).  Small potatoes so far.

You don't have to go to a four year college to have a good life, but neither should you regret going if that's what you did or are doing.  Many doors are open.  This is not a bad time to be alive.

Monday, April 14, 2014

State of Society

During a our final review and approval of our State of Society Report during Meeting for Business recently, one Friend asked if membership issues had really been "divisive" as the report states.  The clerk called on a member of Oversight to test the validity of that word.  "Divisive is what fits" came the reply, in paraphrase.

I followed up later, as another member of Oversight, with more details, as there's no reason to leave Friends in the dark on this matter.  I wrote (by email):
As another person on Oversight besides [X], I can vouch for membership being divisive in the following sense:  

some see [sic] witnessing others becoming members should be only observed and conducted by other members, whereas others have no problem with non-members witnessing the entire membership process, even convening the clearness committee for that purpose. 

I'm one of those who sees no contradiction here as we value transparency and have no secret rites in our faith and practice i.e. members-only (other than to satisfy the state that we map to their corporation laws).  As a non-member, I have convened many a membership committee with no qualms about my ethics.  I celebrate people's heeding the inward call to serve, which takes many outward guises.
Recorded membership is one of many practices Friends engage in to signify their loyalty to the Religious Society of Friends.

Unlike the Tallahassee Friends, who according to our documents see becoming a member as a kind of detailed vetting, an integrity test, almost an initiation or hazing, I look for a willingness, an eagerness, to publicly identify as a Friend in a way that deserves the backing of some Monthly Meeting.  The meeting will not disavow so-and-so when they publicly proclaim to be a Friend.  That's the social contract.

However, we do not certify, as a meeting, that so-and-so has met a lot of deeply spiritual criteria.  Presumably so-and-so wrote a letter to Oversight and a clearness meeting was convened.  We do not require any criminal background checks, e.g. we are not assuring the public that Y is not a child molester.  We hope not, and will be surprised if so, but let us not mislead the general public into thinking a member has somehow been through some thorough quality assurance program in order to "come out" as a recorded member.

We do not hire expensive Internet services to study the public record, as we might if you want to work in the children's program as one of two supervisory adults, as required by our insurance company (another item of business during the same meeting).  As a third adult in the room, you would not need a background check or social security number.

No, that's not how the process works, in the case of something routine like membership.

We're encouraging people to come forward as Friends and deal with the consequences in the aftermath (for the rest of their lives perhaps).

We're not saying all of those consequences have already been dealt with, nor that so-and-so has reached the top of some spiritual ladder, nor even a higher rung.

We do not pretend to having criteria to measure your "rung level" on any spiritual ladder, though individuals on the Clearness Committee, or anyone, during the seasoning period between meetings for business, may express their reservations about Z e.g. if Z seems too immature and / or clueless about Quakers and Quaker history and/or does not behave in a way consistent with Friends testimonies, that's something to point out.

Given it's a social contract between the meeting, and the individual, both sides get to think about it.  Then to agree to this contract is not to make a lot of corollary claims about Z other than that she and/or he is now accepted as a recorded member.  He and/or she is willing to publicly identify as a Friend in a way a meeting agrees to back or certify.  We hope Z will not be hypocritical then, going forward.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wanderers 2014.4.8: WW1

Gordon Hoffman did a stupendous job synergizing with Wanderers, letting other old timers chime in with fascinating facts and factoids, adding texture and nuance to an already-tasteful presentation.

Gordon is qualified to call himself a truly vested individual when in comes to WW1, and right away we should point out that, at this point in history, extremely few people with USA passports, with USA citizenship, are seen to frequent the monuments to its war dead in Europe.  This is rightly seen by many as anomalous.  But then the USA stands out in many ways that leave Europeans somewhat perplexed, if not dismayed.

I'm truly not so-qualified, i.e. my insights into WW1 are still in early Big Bang inflationary stage, where I double my understanding every thirty minutes.  I've been reading a lot of history recently, lets say "of the Vienna Circle" to stay brief about it, along with that compendium, Human Smoke (on my Kindle).

Having Gordon's slide presentation plunk down in the middle of these studies really helped things crystallize for me.  Following the changing map of Europe is as hard as inverting a matrix or finding its eigenvalues.  Historians take in hyper-dimensional spaces for breakfast.  That being said, I have a lot more learning ahead of me (duh).  Thank you Gordon, for accelerating my process.

He handed around some small items from his collection.  Dick Pugh was there, another master of the show and tell, sorry to miss Mastin, and Glenn.  Terry, you should come to more of these.  But then it's such a small venue.  Anyway, it was what it was, which was fantastic and educational.

Gordon was and is a major galvanizer of the Saturday Academy subculture in which I've participated and blogged about at some length.  He's blessed with a surplus of attention, one could say, whereas a deficit of same has become the norm.  He shares his scholarship with the rest of us, and he enjoys the opportunities his life affords.  Search elsewhere in these chronicles for more.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Thirsters 2014.4.3 and 2014.3.27

We've been learning a lot about land use and land use planning at Thirsters recently.

Oregon is blessed with some forward-thinking zoning laws that most "states" don't have, being states more in name only.

Developers don't have as free a hand in Oregon to blemish and blight the landscape with their suburban monster malls and chintzy McMansion subdivisions of short half-life.

Our coastline is relatively unmarred with human ugliness, compared to California, the scarred state.

However, Washington County has been suffering from extremely weak leadership and went whining to the legislature when the District Court slapped down it's illegal land grab beyond the boundary, stealing class one arable land.   Most of Helvatia was saved, but only just, and the rapacious are angry over their defeat.

That land grab (rezoning) would have been a no-no in Governor McCall's day, but the Thoughtless Generation doesn't believe in planning ahead, as we've seen with Mt. Tabor and Tri-Met both recently.

A dumbing down has occurred. 

Boomers and younger are turning out to be semi-retarded in many ways, might be all those For Dummies books, hard to say.  More likely too much milk and super-size fries.  A fast food diet makes ya stupid.

Last week we learned about how Portland State University is staying remarkably respectful as a kind of go-between between Federal agencies and native populations of the North American southwest (e.g. Nevada testing area) with long term land use and sustainability on their minds.

Oregon has not yet fallen prey to the depraved, at least not as much as in other states where zombie "walkers" (corporations feigning personhood) stalk the landscape, imprisoning humans for profit and despoiling the landscape.  Arizona comes to mind, with a shudder, a state likely already lost to greed and terminal myopia.