Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

Multnomah Meeting, "Quakers", was close to full today, though we did have some empty chairs, which is good.  I came early for Sunday Morning Adult Discussion (SMAD), an ongoing group with a rotating facilitator.  Today's theme was "respect" as in "what is it, and what would it be like to both receive and give more of it?"

I was able to get my new smartphone on the Wifi easily.  MMM is open to members of the general public, although there's a password, like at a Coffee Shop.

As I was chatting with the Web Keeper a member of Oversight entered the conversation to share about difficulties getting passed the login.  Multnomah Meeting somewhat unfortunately decided it needed to restrict login credentials to the select few able to view the monthly newsletter.

From my angle, that's unnecessary overhead, and a newsletter could be subscriber-based only if not web-published.

Getting would-be recipients of regular publications to join a listserv is easier than trying to maintain website login credentials but then I'm not involved in this Monthly Meeting's IT Committee and had nothing to do with the move to FGC Cloud Services either.

My injuries from the fall on Mt. Tabor must not be too serious as I was able to walk with a fairly normal gait both too and from the meetinghouse.

I shared that code for computing Easter on the mathfuture list, in one of the end notes.

In the spirit of sharing the Easter theme of rejuvenation, even resurrection, one of our medical doctors went over the use of our in-house defibrillator.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Twists and Turns

Uncle Bill's Visits

 I've been feeling on a longer leash, as no longer a dog's caretaker, and spent an extra long time downtown yesterday, meeting Uncle Bill's train, having lunch at Ringler's and re-depositing him at Union Station, with a quick run through Powell's.

Uncle Bill has a walker and parking is scarce, however that proved the ideal combination.  I used the City Park by the Multnomah County Library and he was able to make it to Ringler's, on Burnside from there, passing by Jake's in route.

The 15 minute spot near the book store proved the ideal pickup point and he was back at the station in time for the 4:05 PM, having arrived, early, from Seattle, on the 1:50 PM Coast Starlight.  He was just out having an adventure, a former mining engineer at ninety-one.

Then I stayed downtown, a luxury, until Patrick could join me, at a Rogue outlet near the Python User Group meetup.  I went back to Powell's and studied their current Python book collection in particular -- I'm talking about the computer language, popular in code schools and one I've taught for a living.

The Portland Python User Group talk was high quality, about civil engineering, the scipy stack, Anaconda and Jupyter Notebooks -- a lot of the same stuff I'm into.  I left feeling confidant the information I've been sharing with Californians (a night school gig) was on the money.

I also reconnected with one of my code school students.  I offered a course in Accelerated Programming as a public service, at PSU's Business Accelerator Center.  Since then, I've been in contact with other brain-stormers in the code school business, an exciting area these days, maybe taking off in Portland, once named Capital of Open Source by Christian Science Monitor.

What happened today was less smooth sailing however.  I hit the micro-gym, then Mt. Tabor, and all was going fine until my routine descent.  The weather was decent, better than decent.

One of the sloping sidewalks near the park entrance is uber-slick with seasonal moss, very ice-like, and down I went all akimbo.  The right ankle got stretched yet again.  Both ankles have taken some abuse of late.  I was hoping to minimize the stress, not set myself back again.

:: slip zone -- newly exposed moss ::

I hobbled to the Hawthorne bus 14, re-buying the Trimet Ticket app, this being a new phone (HTC running Marshmallow). I was in the role of a grimacing cripple, and only just made it to Townsend Tea on Division, where I met up with Lindsey per our plan.  I used the torture taxi to get there, but then only found parking blocks away.

I'll go for ice and warm packs and take some ibuprofen.

Hey, it coulda been worse.  I didn't hit my head.

At the tea house I pampered myself with an "infantile regression" drink:  bubble tea made from coconut-flavored roiboos with succulent tapioca pearls, sucked through a fat straw stuck through a plastic diaphragm (more packaging than Lindsey could approve).  Yes, it's a silly drink, imbibed mostly for entertainment, but it helped me keep my attention on Lindsey's new plans and off my sore foot.

At the User Group I asked about hexapent tiling, how frequent in his line of work, rubbing shoulders with ESRI and so on.  At the data sampling level, poles in the ground, cell towers, the hexagonal tiling suggests itself, but when modeling the coordinates are always XY (lat / long) or XYZ, so in that sense, the data is not using quadrays or anything like that.

Patrick and I are engaged in discussions of mesh-netting the Everglades, extending cell service to "wastelands" where no Verizon customers are likely to hang out.  But in the Internet of Things era, cell service subscribers may be ownerless devices, too numerous to individually have owners, like chips on a board.  Spread out across an ecosystem, these devices chirp and chat about who is sharing the forest.  Pythons?  In the Everglades, those have been a problem.  Patrick is working on it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Dog's Life

Sarah the Dog

I've been giving Sarah a long life even though she stopped being able to walk some time ago. '

She's had a healthy appetite, for food, for life more generally. Having a companion at my feet as I kicked back in the big chair, was archetypally satisfying.

However she's gone downhill rather precipitously in the last few days and I think it's time for compassionate end of life care i.e. it's time to take her to the vet to be euthanized.  I have some pain killers but that's a stop gap.  She's clearly become more miserable, not to mention skeletal.

Most people would have put her down months earlier.  A judgement call.

Thank you Sarah, for your long life with our family and all you contributed to our world.

You've been a fantastic dog.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Equinox 2016

We all fit around the Pauling House table this time, many of the usual suspects.

Steve Mastin was the first to leave eager to get home while still daylight.  Daylight savings time has only just begun.

Steve's estate is getting pummeled by steady 25 mph winds with gusts up to 60 mph.  We call these the "east winds" and they funnel through the gorge, bringing a cold blast to the East Side especially, as in Gresham (where Steve lives) and Troutdale.

I'd picked Lindsey up at PDX International earlier.  She was coming in by shuttle bus from Corvallis / OSU, bringing impressively heavy bags.

I fought traffic on the Banfield to my exit at 43rd, as we talked about her first semester and pending tour, stopping at Blue House on the way to John's Landing, where we sampled Szechuan Chef and Pier One Imports. I was in chauffeur mode, glad to perform some service for an MVP.

We'd had Szechuan within walking distance of Blue House:  Lucky Strike, in the same building as Hawthorne Theater.  One might think the loud music events within the same building would making fine dining impossible by I never found that to be a problem.  Thick brick.

Lucky Strike closed because the rents went up.  My Chinese food experts circled this place on Macadam as worth a try, along with another place in Sellwood.

Lindsey checked in with a health professional next, also on Macadam, while I took pictures of the handsome river front properties, right across from Ross Island. She loaded up on supplements to help her through a next sojourn in Kathmandu (Patan).

The earthquakes were a year ago.  She was there then too.

She has yet more supplements to pick up in Lake Oswego.

Lindsey's lot as a foreigner is somewhat lonely and difficult in that densely urban environment where she's seen as a "walking ATM" as she puts it.  She has a tight budget to pay her teachers, but to outsiders that looks like deep pockets and an open invitation to further capitalize.

She's learning Newar Charyra Nritya and getting credit towards her BA in so doing, with a PhD to follow most likely.

Barry brought the pork ribs, which Marianne Buchwalter praised, asking for the recipe.  He uses a large grill, which starts open then closes for the tenderizing phase.  He uses only salt and pepper for seasoning.

Nirel and Lindsey -- who showed up on foot after I'd left her cashed out on the couch -- fell into an earnest conversation.  Nirel is well traveled, including in India.  We'd all three been under the weather, starting about two to three weeks ago, when I ferried Lindsey to a mosque, more homework for OSU.

Then the master of ceremonies (not me) suggested we all join in a single conversation, which we did.

Lindsey took the stage given her interesting karma (life path). Dick Pugh suggested she get her degree in cultural anthropology, although switching from religious studies at this point is not really in the cards.  Marianne asked me who Dick was (we don't all know each other).

Marianne had just finished a writing course taught by the author of a novel Zazen, which I added there and then to my Kindle.   By "Kindle" I mean several devices, least of all my actual Kindle which sits unused and discharged, despite its handsome graphite display.

I favor using my Samsung tablet for reading what I buy for Kindle, using the Kindle app.  Otherwise I might read on my phone, until recently a Droid Razr from Motorola.  I just switched to an HTC One M9 which I think will fight me less (it's also from Motorola, but is a much more advanced Droid).

Of course Marianne and I talked about our children and grandchildren, we always do.

Nirel and Marianne then stuck up a conversation in French.  I tried to listen in.  I chatted with Steve Spiegel about Italy.  We'd both toured there in various capacities, me as an elementary then middle schooler, from the late sixties to early seventies.  I was in Manila by the end of ninth grade, with a sojourn in Bradenton, Florida at Southeast High.

I brought the lentils again.  Glenn brought his signature chili.  Good seeing Christine.  S'been awhile.

Remembering Chuck Bolton.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Global Matrix

The Global Matrix
A Cognitive Map of Cyberspace

The Global Matrix is designed to be a universal and scalable modeling system based on an integral architectural logic.

All the components of the Global Matrix: 

    ▪     search engine
    ▪     graphics engine
    ▪     databases
    ▪     networks
    ▪     geographic information systems

All share the same Integral Architecture.

This is possible because the integral design process reveals a deep connection between structure, process, and order.

A good design should be simple, powerful, and elegant.  Our current computer technology is very powerful, but sadly, neither simple nor elegant.

Simplicity makes for ease of use, elegance makes for an integral landscape, eliminating the need for costly complicated “brute force” algorithms, which simplifies the modeling of GIS and weather systems, cellular growth, radial vectors, bifurcative networks, neural nets, genetic and quantum logic systems, and nanoscale architectures.

Integral system logic and design have the potential to revolutionize all aspects of the computational landscape.

The global matrix integral logic system is the culmination of twenty years of research and design by Glenn Stockton.  Glenn is a former crypto-analyst and linguist at the National Security Agency.  He also attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wanderers 2016.3.8


I'm working night shift on Monday and Wednesday, leaving Tuesdays open again, meaning I'm able to join the Wanderers meetups at the Linus Pauling house every other week, and this Thursday I hope to make the ISEPP lecture.

Accounts differ as to how and why the Wanderers were formed, however the best explanation is Terry Bristol, president of ISEPP, was always bringing these big name lecturers to Portland and he needed a cast of ready cognoscenti who could engage said lecturers in witty repartee.

The upcoming lecturer is a big name, the CEO of Mentor Graphics, Dr. Wally Rhines, however he's not from out of town as Mentor Graphics is locally based, and has been a loyal main sponsor of Terry's lecture series.

Big name lecturers have included Jane Goodall, Lisa Randall, Carl Sagan, Lynn Margulis, James Burke, Michael Cousteau, Richard Leaky, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Hawking, Ilya Prigogine, Mario Livio and many more.

In addition to direct funding from Mentor Graphics, a charitable nonprofit, The Mentor Graphics Foundation, makes sure high school aged students and their teachers have access to either free or very affordable tickets.  Many a young mind has been expanded through this program.

Regardless of whether Wanderers are helping out with a speaking engagement, we try to stay in shape intellectually.  Tonight Barry Redd, a retired banker, spoke on the topic of Dark Energy, while Dr. DiNucci, at one time with NASA, performed the role of fact checker.  He's also president of Humanists of Greater Portland.

I'd seen a TED Talk recently in which "believers in homeopathy" were singled out as advocates for pseudo-science.  I'd used the word "homeopathic" recently in an essay, thinking it meant something like using a little of what one is building immunity to, in order to stave off an onslaught of same.

For example, in training on cowpox, the body develops the ability to repel smallpox, a known principle in vaccinations.  Also the body has ways of training T-cells and weeding out those which can't tell the difference between self and other.  One would need some "other" to chew on in that case.

However, the Wanderers set me right:  what I'm imagining is "homeopathy" is not that at all.  I'm off base in thinking I know what it is (a pseudo-science, the TED Talker was right).  Thank you Wanderers.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Uncle Sam Smartphones

 Students lucky enough to get exposure to RSA (the algorithm) along their math track, like at the exclusive Phillips Academy, are likely having more informed debates in their classrooms, regarding the Apple vs. FBI standoff.

They're certainly better equipped, concept-wise, than less privileged kids who might not even get any SQL, even in all four years of high school (!).

An aspect of that story I see differently reported is:

(A) when the passcode is miss-entered more than 10 times, the phone wipes away its data (99% of the stories put it this way)

(B) the phone doesn't have to wipe out anything except the decryption key, leaving the phone encrypted forever (1% put it this other way).

One might argue the difference between "erased" and "indecipherable" is negligible, but I think it's an important distinction to make.

The "erased" mental model leaves people with an over-simplified understanding of why the FBI couldn't get to the data in that case: it's gone.

The "forever encrypted" mental model reminds the public of something else: the data is still there, just the code is uncrackable. That means ordinary people have access to uncrackable codes? Sure thing, but not everyone understands that, even in 2016.

Those who understand RSA will have a better appreciation for how this might be mathematically possible. One needs a pair of numbers to unlock the scrambled data (N, d). Lose the d, and all is lost, unless N were too small in in the first place. RSA may fall in the future, when quantum computing is more a reality but as of today it's still "military grade" (uber-secure) and embedded in every web browser.

My own view on the matter is a state should not be precluded in principle from running businesses, applying its own decals and ideals, and that Uncle Sam smartphones or whatever could be handed out, perhaps free of charge, to underprivileged, say through public schools.

We all should cell phones, if only for safety reasons. We use them to report suspicious, potentially terrifying activities. If you're family can't afford one, Uncle Sam will step in, even offering classes in how to use it.

The USG branded models be FBI hackable of course (a feature not a bug) and will come with many other benefits only the US is in a position to deliver: a wide range of special apps, foregrounding the many benefits of US citizenship. You'll be able to vote, pay taxes, and check your social security benefits, all from your Uncle Sam smartphone.

My suggestion does not solve the specific problem of the San Bernadino iPhone, however I do think patriots who want to make a statement of support, should be able to go to Walmart or other outlet and buy whatever ideologically correct phone suits their persona.

The USG might even mandate its smartphones be used at work, by Federal employees. The FBI will get to "eat its own dogfood" (practice what it preaches).

Sure, would-be criminals will prefer privacy over affordability and convenience, but then ordinary citizens have access to the same cryptographic techniques they do, no license or background check required.

That cat is well out of the bag.

RSA is no longer under any patent restrictions.

Freely downloaded apps make it easy to encrypt practically any data or communication. We crossed that bridge a long time ago, in the days of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and so on.

Extrapolating further: I'd like to see Uncle Sam with its own chain of hotels, a rental car company, an airline... These businesses will need to be open source / open book so people learn from their transparency. They're still have to turn a profit, to pay their own way. They're a source of revenue for the country.

We've taken privatization a long way; let's try going the other way for a change. In the Kingdom of Bhutan, the army helps pay bills by distilling alcoholic beverages, sold in the commercial market.

I'm not talking about the government nationalizing the oil companies or the banks. The USG already runs hospitals (the VA) and a postal service, prisons, a lot of schools. Why not a competitive phone service as well, accessible to ordinary consumers, not just Federal employees?

These businesses could serve as role models, showing other capitalists how it's done. Those who always criticize the government for not understanding about business, will have less of an argument.