Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (movie review)

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History sometimes hands us a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm in a big way.  The context is women's suffrage, and human rights more generally, in the face of longstanding religious and ritual practices.

Americans were seeing the rate of change of the rate of change on the increase, per future futurist Alvin Toffler's Future Shock.  Comic books were a harbinger, leveraging low cost publishing with high dissemination rates, a forerunner of the World Wide Web.  People were hungry for superheroes, and not all of them could be men.  Wonder Woman to the rescue.

However, the story is more circuitous, in that privileged, educated, elite Americans needed to feel the brunt of the dominant majority's anxious ire, its defense of a brittle integrity, before a more literate and psychologically well-founded formula could be supplied. Female superheroes had been a flop hitherto.

Literature has always played on the edge, like HBO today.  Who pays for a diet of pabulum?  WW would need to be a tad risque. Only risk takers risk risqueness, weirdness, queerness.  People queue for what's quirky and quixotic.

Dr. Marston was the guru, the brains, but not a genius at drawing.  He could communicate what he wanted to see, down to the smallest detail of rope thickness, how tied.  But he didn't work in a vacuum, as comes out during his inquisition, in the form of flashbacks.  He's also the front man for a committee, they're a threesome. Or are these women his human subjects?

This inquisition into private lives was even before the Red Scare, which blamed civil rights activism on Russians "sowing discord" among right-thinking Americans.  Prohibition was already in full swing.  The film shows the state of unfreedom that went along with that amendment to the US Constitution, since repealed (although many languish in the prisons thanks to Cannabis Laws).

Marston was not accused of being Communist (McCarthy came later). He was "polyamorously perverse" (to play on Norman O. Brown) in ways that less disciplined more jealous individuals would be unable to coax into a long term molecular family, with kids, a house in the burbs, personal cars etc..  They were living the dream.

However, the nuclear model was about the only one permitted were sex to be involved, despite Biblical precedent.

And besides, wasn't allowing two wives to one man a sliding backwards in any case?  Women were finally coming to own property, after centuries of being owned, as property.

The movie studies these questions, like an earnest student, as we follow this family as only an omniscient camera can, we come to be immersed and perhaps enamored of its charms.  The bottom line is choice. Is compliance voluntary?

The "true story" doesn't need a lot of help, only framing.  When the bullying intensifies, the molecular bonds bend and break under pressure.  Chemistry happens, at every level.

After Dr. Marston died of cancer, his Wonder Woman superhero underwent a sanitizing facelift and became less controversial.  But then her meme was readopted by the feminist movement, and now, with the recent Wonder Woman blockbuster out there, the whole story comes out, behind her genesis.  The Smithsonian Institution helped with the research.

What's always been obvious is the dominant majority feels entitled to use "kinky" "commie" and "pinko" as relatively synonymous, along with "freak" and maybe "egghead". These are the lowlife people we have license to bully, to punish, sometimes only vicariously through horror films, wherein the transgressors face the consequences of depravity (much to the audience's cathartic pleasure).

[ Joss Whedon consciously set about to overturn the whole formula when the protagonists smoke dope, yet don't face extreme rendering, their just deserts, in CGI. ]

Marston enjoys a pretty good life and his creativity lives on.  I'm guessing his story, and that of his wonder women, will filter into common knowledge at least among the comic book aficionados, our future leadership.

Molecular families of the future will have their own reasons to celebrate this superhero's genesis story.

I recommend viewing this in double or triple feature with both Kinsey and Manji.  The former is about a sex researcher facing a lot of the same push-back as the Marstons did.  Manji, possibly hard to find in your neck of the woods, is twisty-turny tale of Japanese trying to sort through their love triangles and finding it no easier in Japan.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Probability Computations

Training Data

I'm impressed how scikit-learn lets us compare models, such as classifiers, using cross-check validation.  Having scikit-learn is like having a staff of professional statisticians, which may be dangerous if one knows nothing of the pitfalls in that discipline.  So lets make that a responsibility, now that we have these free and open tools.

Sometimes, to give one muscle group a rest, one works out with another.  I use this technique when mining Youtubes.  This morning, without any premeditated plan, I found myself back to the JFK conspiracy theorists (researchers) and decided to snarf down some lengthy testimonials.

The idea of two Oswalds having their identities conflated in the rush of the initial investigation, with a justice system bearing down, doesn't seem that far fetched.  The ostensibly guilty party, a one time defector, now sympathetic to Castro, was close to a comic book caricature of the type needed, if "lone gunman" (LG) was the true hypothesis p(LG | BS) = p(BS | LG) p(LG) / p(BS) where BS = backstory (its probability) and our prior.  Monte Carlo + Markov Chain = the Metropolis algorithm.

Regarding public opinion, I find pollsters too focused on a "general public" whereas the more interesting surveys are of those who've had the time to look in to some matter.  Of those who've spent at least forty hours studying conspiracy X, how many believe Y?  P(Y | X) in other words.  I'm not saying "general public" surveys are unimportant, but lets remember sub-populations who've spent a lifetime driving cars, are the ones we like to write our car reviews. We listen to experts, by definition (I might say "trusted experts" but then "listen" doesn't necessarily mean "believe").

Those in the know are seeing Bayesian thinking flying by, which might be considered "trolling" ("trawling"?) among the frequentists.  Am I trying to piss off some segment in the peanut gallery?  Some might be preparing to feel offended.

By the way, I do think "trolling" and "trawling", though not at all etymologically linked, are conceptually connected.  To "trawl" is to drag a net (dragnet), sometimes across a bottom (bottom feeding) in hopes of turning up some interesting low frequency events, such as two-headed fish in the Columbia Gorge (another specimen for the tribal museum perhaps).

Yes, these same statistical techniques (some call it deep learning) might be used by 911TMer types to study relative probabilities of various scenarios, though in this case we start with the low frequency anomalies, of reinforced buildings melting after bee stings (not to minimize so much as to emphasize their narrow locality or non-existence in the case of WTC7).  I'm not the big expert in this area as I've mentioned repeatedly.  You will find I revisit this thread repeatedly.

Finally, lets turn to Russiagate and the probabilities there.  The "troll farm" or "trawl farm" has been dismissed by Rush Limbaugh as an insignificant provocation.  This might be seen as a left / right flip, as in Castros day, the right wingers were keen to push Castro as the culprit behind JFK's shooting, as to them, the whole point was to gain back their gambling valhalla.  Oswald was looking like the right narrative, given his overt Cuban ties.  One would think a loyal Limbaugh, ostensibly "conservative" would take the radical view that the FBI was going up the wrong tree.

The explanation is fairly simple:  the current president is being cast as high up in the KGB (that's science fiction language, my excuse being Rush uses it), or as being case handled by the Kremlin, so letting the FBI's trolling turn the Internet Research Agency into a low frequency unveiling, of a true spy scandal, is against the White House's best interests.  No one said the executive branch is forbidden to act in its own defense after all; that's why the designing engineers put in at least three government branches.  I the FBI is the weapon of the DNC, as some allege, then clearly the RNC (Rush an ally) is going to back the White House, a highly prized set of offices.

I've been critical of 911TMers for denying they're conspiracy theorists, as there's nothing wrong with theorizing about conspiracies, and a lot of people get paid to do just that, plus get a government pension.  No one should have to apologize about the bare fact of wanting to investigate, do detective work.  The a real investigative journalist would use "conspiracy theorist" in the pejorative is the height of irony.  The quality controls come at a deeper level:  what is the actual quality of the research?  Is this professional grade stuff, like much of the JFK stuff is?  Or is this from an amateur newbie just getting in to the research business, maybe cutting teeth on Pizzagate or on a scikit-learn toy data set?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sharing Slides

 by D.B. Koski using vZome

Some Bucky fans came out of the woodwork for this one.  We've got a new Wanderer in Camus, WA.

Terry showed up with his video gear and kindly provided recording services.  I gave him the slides on a thumb drive.  He may eventually have time to cobble together a video.  In the meantime, this was actually a dress rehearsal for another anticipated talk.

My topic:  the concept of Dimension in Synergetics.  I've talked about this a lot over the years.

Not many read Synergetics, and those that do need some guidance, from those of us who've done the homework.  For example, when Fuller says "4D", he means something different from a geometer like Donald Coxeter, whom he much admired, nor does he mean what Einstein meant, though he greatly admired Einstein also.

I was keen to show that Synergetics did not dead end with the two volumes published in the late 1900s.

Those few willing to work in "tetravolumes" have continued to make new discoveries.  David Koski in particular has specialized in collecting some "low hanging fruit" as we call it.

That the S:E (ratio of S to E modules) equals VE:Icosa (two shapes related by the so-called Jitterbug Transformation) is nowhere mentioned in Synergetics.  The decomposition of volumes into sums of phi-scaled modular subvolumes has also been an active area of exploration. 

These subvolumes may be constitutive in terms of adding in "linear combinations" to give precise bigger volumes (as when sizes of S make a Tetrahedron), but without fitting together as "solid" puzzle pieces, though sometimes they do that too.

Steve Mastin, with training as a crystallography, was intrigued, and thanked me for giving him more insights into this esoteric and off-beat corner of intellectual history.

Glenn also liked the slides, saying they were well organized.

Later today, I went to a new assignment, a public school, to teach MIT Scratch as a part of the after school program.

C.J. Fearnley has been in touch in the background.  Today he tracked down some Karl Menger citations I'd been trying to find.  Excellent.