Monday, May 20, 2019

Anthropological Investigations


Yes, I've been studying Brexit.

Geography and bureaucracy are different dimensions.

I'd put more eggs in the geography basket.

We'll always have bureaucracies but they come and go at a faster rate, on average, than geological phenomena.

That being said, geographies also change suddenly.  In terms of time scales, it's understandable why these two get confused.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Recent Studies

I don't consider myself a "gamer" in that I've not had much time to play computer games.  I don't hang out on Reddit, or 4chan, or 8chan for that matter.  However, as a student of anthropology, I do embrace Memetics as a discipline.  I study Meme Wars in other words, a kind of war it's OK for a Friend to study.

People who want to use the word "Conservative" to label their world view, tend to fight over that label.  The William F. Buckley camp, typified by the National Review, wanted nothing to do with the John Birch Society, and this camp had the loyalty of Ronald Reagan, and Goldwater. 

A bone of contention: the JBS claim the President Eisenhower had been a Communist.  When the Tea Party came along, and then Breitbart.com, we saw further jockeying for position.  I've been looking in to all that this morning.

Uncle Bill phoned from Seattle, eager to come down on Amtrak for a visit, like he does.  This time, however, he wants to being his motorized gadabout, park it at Union Station somewhere (lets hope baggage claim will take it), and have me take him around with just a cane.  I've been somewhat skeptical on this score.  We've always done it with a walker.  He talked me into it though, and is coming tomorrow.

Glenn and I just had a beer together at Cork & Tap, our new watering hole.  Kroger has set these up across the nation, including at our corner Fred Meyer, now a part of that chain.  The $3 a pint price cannot be beat, and because they're union, they tend to refuse tips.  Is that what the John Birchers would call socialism?  I'm there quite a bit. 

Glenn has been studying the life and career of Christopher Alexander, the architect, who has a long history with U of O (University of Oregon).  I taking this all in vicariously.  I also learn about architecture from John Driscoll, already a blog character, as is Glenn.  We talked about concrete, and "aircrete" as well.  We've been continuing this conversation for awhile.

I've been taking my Meme War studies into UBI territory (Universal Basic Income), tracking the president Yang campaign and exploring essays on Medium.  I've even written a few things.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Town Planning (reverie)


My dad was a town planner, zooming out to regional, and winding up doing educational planning, which includes organizing teacher trainings, budgeting for WiFi and so on.  This was well before 5G, in Lesotho, where he later retired. 

Lesotho is adjacent to the Orange Free State in South Africa, on current political maps.  Bloemfontein was pretty close, by car.  I've done Bloem to Maseru and back many times.  Dad was killed in a car accident on that stretch of road, in 2000, my mom severely injured.

Living in so many countries, I got used to storefront development along highways, which had no restrictions against such business corridors, and to large "shanty towns" as we called them.

Whereas most transplants in the Philippines from a foreign country, meaning families like ours, would avoid getting too deeply in the domestic affairs of the host, my mom was never like that.

She dove into volunteer work in Carmona (in those days more of a shanty town), and latter worked with the Zabbaleen in Cairo.  She's always had a strong community service ethic.

The Zabbaleen, by the way, were an are an interesting sect of mostly Coptic Christian, and had been relegated to the job of scavenging, or trash collecting, for much of Cairo.  Let's let Wikipedia tell it:
The Zabbaleen (Egyptian Arabic: زبالينZabbalīn, IPA: [zæbbæˈliːn]) is a word which literally means "garbage people" in Egyptian Arabic.[2] The contemporary use of the word in Egyptian Arabic is to mean "garbage collectors". In cultural contexts, the word refers to teenagers and adults who have served as Cairo's informal garbage collectors since approximately the 1940s. The Zabbaleen (singular: زبال Zabbāl, [zæbˈbæːl]) are also known as Zarraba (singular: Zarrab), which means "pig-pen operators."[2] The word Zabbalīn came from the Egyptian Arabic word zebāla ([zeˈbæːlæ], زبالة) which means "garbage".
My parents were there at the time of Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated, much to the disappointment of so many.  I remember wandering the streets of Cairo back when the ousted Shah of Iran was staying in Cairo as a guest.

I've wandered around in a lot of cities, especially Rome.  One could say I grew up wandering in Rome, both alone and with friends.  My parents considered Rome a safe city and did not practice any overprotective child-rearing techniques.

The movie industry throws together city vistas not designed to stand the test of time. These are just props. Wild West towns were close to movie sets in terms of presenting impressive facades, sometimes backed with very modest buildings.  I'd like the made for TV experimental towns to feature traveling experimental communities.

The Yurt People will be taking those acres over there, for three months.  You like 'em, everybody does. A few may stay behind, a few here may want to join them.  However it's not required to make up your mind on the spot.  Give it some thought.  You don't have to run away and join the circus.

When you have a large dome (possibly rural) or a warehouse (industrial part of town), you can afford lighter weight partitions (walls).  You're already inside the "castle" like in some universal studio somewhere.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tent City (the TV show)


Vets have distinct tents, like you see on the Portland waterfront at festival time, full of long tables and beer drinkers.

Get your food from the food carts, redeeming the crypto-credits you got for living in an experimental prototype community of tomorrow, a refugee camp of sorts, like a military base, for people fleeing the crumbling older economy.

We have much affinity for base personnel and actually film the TV show on bases around the world (with permission of course).

Ordinary Americans turn out to be quite extraordinary, as the famous TV show MASH helped us realize. Celebrities visit often, making cameo appearances. Product placement dominates.

One of the chief attractions of the show is no ads during broadcast. It's all paid for ahead of time. Something unusual in prime time.

I wonder if President Gabbard might help me with this. She's acting president from around now until 2020, when I'll pick someone new. I get to pick my own president from now on, letting people know up front that I'm a science fiction writer and Martian Math teacher, fully aware of the fact that my fantasy team is not actually the team in charge. 

The team actually in charge gets full time coverage and doesn't need my help.

We don't only film in military bases branded with US iconography (stars and stripes motif etc.) as we're frequently invited to the military bases of other countries. 

Product placement is such that many camps use the same products, and besides, we're making up our own decals and not presuming to take command of what the admirals and generals get to control, i.e. we're not staging military parades or pretending our campers are necessarily tied to a specific military. 

When we repaint a fighter jet for Quakers to train in, it's with permission from the manufacturer. Part of the product placement, which is intrinsic to the screen writing. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

On Gamification Again

Wittgenstein's puzzle was "how do words mean?" i.e. by what mechanism. He wasn't looking to brain science, nor occult "mental processes" nor even to logic, so much as to grammar. 

He realized that words gain meaning not by pointing to essences (St. Augustine's model) but by operating, by doing, in the context of what we could choose to call "games". 

Lifting a paint bucket up a ladder is what conveys what "ladder" means. The meaning of "paint" inheres in how we use it. One ends up describing little fragments of action, against the backdrop of rules. 

The grammar of "games" is useful because we say we're "following rules". This was considered serious and good philosophy in time, not idle wordplay. Real insights derive from studying his work (I would aver, many agree).

Another link to "game" and "games" is through my writings around the Fuller corpus, as Bucky invented "World Game" as his antidote alternative to war games, already ongoing. 

 "What if we are all on the same side, sharing just the one spaceship (i.e. Earth), what simulations might we play then?" 

We want humanity to succeed as a whole, not watch some winner take all in some "you or me" debacle.

In a recent Youtube I aim to address those who might be offended that World Game is a trivialization, precisely because of these "game" connotations. We seem to make light of the human condition. 

But then Great Game is in the literature already, loosely referring to the same global jockeying for position that Fuller did. 

He wasn't being all that original, which is to our benefit as we like to transition more than we like to abort and reboot.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Of Poets and Programming

:: more about Ezra Pound network ::

Usually it's a bad idea to try a serious upgrade of one's platform, right before a public presentation.  My lecture would last four hours, and was but an hour away.  I chose to upgrade the entire base.

Correction:  I had an older base (3.6) to fall back on.  And I needed it.  This morning, doing a postmortem, I've decided to completely blow away py37 and reinstall from scratch.  That's a somewhat daring maneuver (not really, in my case) but I don't lecture again until Tuesday.

On the Youtube front, I went down the Ezra Pound rabbit hole a little further.  You might think I'd have explored it thoroughly, before having said Modernist poet's visage pop up all over, in my body of work (Youtube corpus).  Was it the same sense of derring-do that led me to upgrade my Spyder?

What happened was Spyder became slow as molasses.  "Full disk" joked a student.  Indeed, but that wasn't really the problem.

Ezra was thrown in a cage for having made some wrong choices.  He had some monetary theories that piggy-backed on his fame as a poet, and these led him into the murky ideologies of the 1900s, with the usual mysticism around banks and banking.

That turned him into a Henry Ford Sr. for awhile there, in terms of spouting antisemitism, but Ford got away with it and then changed his mind (he was no historian -- successful business folk tend to be self educated and interested in crusades).

Ezra changed his mind too, or said he did, but it was too late.  He was sentenced to a hell hole of a mental hospital, that actually had some nicer parts too.  He was later released and he fled back to his friends in Italy, who'd been on the losing side in WW2.

What is the relationship between poetry and taking risks?  James Jesus Angelton, an early admirer of Ezra's, heard the calling of paramilitary service, yet he fought on the side of democracy against the specter of some future USSA (a USA subjected to a USSR style tyranny).  Then the USSR went away.

How could these two Yale friends end up on opposite sides in the matter?  I don't really suppose they did at this point, meaning that's a big oversimplification.  Angelton took his thinking to a next chapter after WW2, the Cold War chapter.

Indications are Ezra got late-in-life updates thanks to Bucky Fuller (a cold warrior as well).  They hung out in Spoleto and near Venice, as I understand the story.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Campus Blimps


One of my Refugee Science advisors reminded me on the phone today that the blimp has a future.  One of the blockchainers I know taught me a similar lesson:  when large groups gather, for such as a folk music festival, the needs of WiFi users may be best served, by a blimp (tethered).

A blimp need not be designed for passenger humans.  They're a relatively inexpensive way to provide cell services, but also an eye in the sky.  The dynamics of refugee camp asylums, as we know, is campers are welcome to look through the same eyes, like Oregon does with its freeway ODOT cameras.  People are much less worried about surveillance when it's not about "us versus them".

These elementary observations, about the web cams, reminds me of lessons from Occupy.  These are not prison camps so much as livability experiments, and in democracy such as those in the camps are able to shoulder self governance.  How self governance gets established is in part facilitated and catalyzed by software.  People have shared access to data, about what's happening on campus.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Documentary City

At first, I envisioned doing a review of The Century of the Self only.  I plowed through the whole thing, and got a lot from it, yesterday.  National Beer Day according to Ad Week sources.  I imbibed my allotment (loving Big Brother -- kidding) and later, after crossing paths with a major Tweeter, I took in said Self movies.

I woke up this morning thinking Youtube had been talking about Qaddafi for awhile.  People spell that all kinds of ways, but yes, I mean the Libyan leader.

Long timers with this blog, or speed readers, will discover Urners (family name) getting involved with Libyans in the 1960s and 1970s, and with Egypt later, then Bangladesh (also largely Muslim if you're tracking by #religion).

Dad was an urban and regional planner, eager to share his newly minted skills with the developing world.

Responsible leadership sees a need for planning and shares plans as a demonstration of providing leadership.  Beyond this value in the moment, if the plans are any good, they're even followable.  That's what planning had figured out:  how to manage growth through zoning (different from micromanagement).

Given the family associations and interest in recent history generally, I went back to the start and followed Hypernormalization (by Adam Curtis) through some number of rabbit holes.

I'm actually still exploring in that one.  These documentaries are long, multi-parters.  As they should be, given the complexity of the subject matter.

However, another Adam Curtis movie, and I only just recently connected the dots, is The Power of Nightmares, which gets a lot of internal links in my own personal blogosphere.  I saw that one in a real theater, one of Portland's finest, in the basement of an art museum.

I was blown away by how the narrative came together and curved back on itself.  Spherical thinking.  What I blah blah about in my own Youtube channel.

I'm not going to recap all these movies in one go.  However they do criss-cross over the same time period (all mentioned so far).  It would make sense to go for a recap.

Given the need to keep the stories manageable, within the longer multi-part series, one can't take every trailhead or follow every leading.  There's an opportunity cost to investing too much attention in ways that won't pay off at home base, as someone base-minded might put it.  You've got a story to tell, meaning you've got a story to cut away.

The "negative tetrahedron" that gets cut away in the Self movies, might include Werner Erhard as a bridge to this negative Universe (outside the scope of these documentary movies), wherein R. Buckminster Fuller shows up, and my whole branch of the storytelling (with ties back to the CIA in several directions, mostly notably through Ed).

So in the 1970s I'm tracking Erhard through Walter Kaufmann at first (Princeton) and then, having experienced said est Training in New Jersey (while still at the university), continued volunteering in New York, while serving the Dominicans as a high quality high school teacher.

When the Centers Network switched its attention to Bucky, I noticed, and got more noticed, at around the same time.

Later, in the 1980s, I would move back to Portland and see my first Adam Curtis movie.

Is he still making them?  It's not too late to criss-cross again, although maybe he feels he sufficiently covered the Bucky chapter in the Cyberspace (Cyberia) episode, as I saw a geodesic dome or two fly by, in some Tron-like rendering -- or was that an acid trip?

Anyway, thank you Adam Curtis, for making some really interesting, if dystopian, documentaries.  I'm planning to finish watching Hypernormalization next, then probably do a proper review of that one by itself.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Adventures in Video World


I'm reminded of Adventures in Radio Land (earlier blog post) wherein I take up some of the same themes.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Box Oriented Programming (BOP)

Concentric Hierarchy

In English, "box" (like "ox"), registers a container, likely a cube, but even more likely the generic hexahedron of all right angles.  Could be brick shaped, oblong.

A useful exercise in a literature class, when introducing "namespace" as a concept, would be to say something like:  for the purposes of today, we're going to use "box" to mean "any polyhedron" (teacher holds up a tetrahedron as a demo "box").

That hardly seems a stretch as what's special about a box is it's a rigid container with well defined edges, corners and faces.  A box is a polyhedron already.  The only change we're making is we're enlarging "box" to mean rigid shapes with potentially fewer or more corners, edges, facets.

What we've really accomplished, with all this talk, is rescuing the generic "object" of Object Oriented Programming, from being something flat and UML like.  Not that I'm against flat, 2D representations of objects as circles or little clouds (flat, curvilinear).  I'm OK with flat.

But at the end of the day, we need to get off the plane and be true containers, little boxes.

Then of course we know that boxes may contain boxes.  Boxes come in flavors.  Indeed, the "hat box" was already round.  Those are cylindrical.  When our family lived in Rome, we could buy fresh milk in tetrahedrons.  The cartons were easy to make, and sturdy.  The plastic bag system was less secure.

Some of you may be thinking "Russian Dolls" when I talk about boxes inside of boxes, and that would be fine.  We're in the realm of compartmentation, the "division into separate sections or units" by whatever means.  Architecture.  Cell biology.  Mitochondria live inside the cell (city) wall.

In Minecraft, the worlds are pretty ruthlessly XYZ, meaning boxes of the hexahedron kind rule.  Then students jump into an Escher like floating kingdom, an underwater oasis populated with planaria.  Flatworms I guess they are.  Instead of XYZ, it's "IVM" as we say in American literature.

Remember this is a literature class, and we're using "box" in place of "polyhedron" to become more accustomed to the "namespace" idea, which translates as "shoptalk" or even "dialect".  The problem with "dialect", often, is that we expect different pronunciations, whereas in some cases it's more a matter of vocabulary.

Now go back to OOP with your boxes and talk about "types" as before.  The "string type" hatches string instances.  Those types that hatch instances, such as string, also form a type:  the "type" type (we're talking Python now, but any OOP language will be similar).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Oregon Curriculum Network


These two instructional videos were produced rather far apart from one another in time, though not in space.

I keep coming back around to the same points, in this case the efficacy of "Thing Oriented Programming" (TOP == OOP) for representing polyhedrons in particular.

What's somewhat unique about the Oregon Curriculum Network curriculum is that it contextualizes and takes advantage of the Bucky stuff, instead of ignoring it.  This helps level the playing field in some ways, as the Python gets applied to something unfamiliar to almost everyone, yet it's not that hard to grasp.

OCN is a project I sponsor on the side.  I don't yet have it out there as a nonprofit, though it easily could be.  CSN (Coffee Shops Network) is another such project.

The "more with less" revolution has allowed me to share the content globally, and mostly by word of mouth.

Absent high pressure advertising, we get organic growth, versus a flash in the pan passing fashion. 

Those taking the time to seriously integrate their materials within the context of this revamped humanities curriculum, will likely appreciate how STEM-friendly it is.  PATH meets STEAM.

We're able to go back and forth over the C.P. Snow chasm, which was always a goal of Synergetics.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Multnomah Village Meetup

P1080459

Bradford Hansen-Smith had piloted his car through major snow, the I-system providing only one lane each way through major stretches.  Such is North America in winter.  The further north you go, the more frozen water you get, with neither pole really having time to thaw out, though over longer cycles a permafrost will get mushy.

Terraformation sounds like a noun, but then English is good that way, making everything sound over and done with, stones in a graveyard.  Nouns, as far as the eye can see.

There's something to be said for immutability, software engineers will attest.  But lets not forget:  the planet is still forming, it's not "done".  Best we be nimble and quick in our thinking, not stodgy, as she isn't.

Back to Brad:  he's showing circle folding as a method of exploration, almost meditation.  He wants to equip you with specific techniques and then set you off to explore a territory.  Circles and creases. Edges, faces, vertexes.  Topology at its most primitive.

In my Youtube about our meetup, I talk about how it really isn't Origami.  The circle meditations are meant to be journeys of discovery whereas in Origami we have a specific goal or objective and know that following a set of stepping stones will get us to our destination.

I encouraged Brad to hit the groove of doing more Youtubes, as I've been doing.  When it comes to Show & Tell, there's no real substitute for both showing and telling.

The workshops out here are on Orcas Island, which we hear about a lot, as cool and trendy.  People who migrate around doing conferences as a lifestyle, a way of earning one's way by speaking at some of them, like to get away to these nooks and crannies of Planet Earth.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Creature Feature

I've been vlogging up a storm, note the V, where a "vlog" is a "video blog".  What you're reading here is more conventional.  Capturing all these motifs in language is subject to misfires.  Like I don't really think I qualify as a vlogger.

There's some huge critter in my ceiling.  Is that a racoon?  I'll bang with a broom...

Spring day out.  St. Patrick's Day.  For me, there's a lot of yang in this yin.  You can find it on Youtube.

I think I need a ladder (I have one) to figure out some hole, likely in the southwest corner.  I doubt there's any ingress through the chimney.  The critter is between floors, not in the attic.

Bang!  Bang!  That's the broom noise.

By "vlogging up a storm" I just mean I'm continuing to publish Youtubes at a rate of more than one per day (if we just look over the last couple days).

I've been weaving in my trademark themes, but these days adding more autobio, taking advantage of my current stash of accumulated online slides.  I feel like my grandpa Tom, who put a lot of work into their trips through Europe.

I've seen a lot of physical slides go by the wayside, along with papers and other such physical media.  I understand that the way we preserve stuff now, digitally, has many advantages.  Grandpa Tom stored his slides in a tropical climate in a shed.

I remember going to Bangladesh and helping mom and dad pull up stakes.  They'd stored family belongings, including old papers, like dad's CO application, only to find them being eaten, but whatever bugs like that kind of stuff.

When Derek or Glenn have a chance to act as a spotter, I need to find out where a creature this large is getting in.  Or is it more than one?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Quaker Narrative (continued)


I'm continuing to follow quaintly Quaker threads, family-friendly, even though we're talking about slaves, sex, and alcohol.

Kids have seen Breaking Bad by a tender age, if left alone with the remote. I'm not pandering to a kid audience necessarily, as when I dive into Codesters I'm also talking to my adult peers, other teachers such as myself.

The prohibition against trafficking in military soldiers (mercenaries, idealists...) kept Quakers on the margins of the English Empire's great defense industry.  Steel, railroads, ship design, other dual use skills and products, kept the families alive.  Early US Navy ships had at least one Quaker ship designer behind them I'm told, by my Uncle Bill (mentioned towards the start of the above video).

But what about alcohol, widely considered a sinful substance or a source of sin, one of the devil's best tools, when it comes to undermining a happy family life?  I know I drink, and I'm a Quaker, but I also see how it corrupts and destroys once no longer used in moderation.  The Alano Club is one of Portland's main rehab hubs, as featured in the movie about John Callahan, a celebrated son of Portland.

Some Quakers were involved in the rum trade is what I'm thinking, but I'm still at the trailhead on this one.  I probably know more about Quaker whalers than I know about Quaker rum runners.  Plus I've stumbled on stories on Quakers on the other side, hoping Prohibition will stick, and/or seeing the uphill battle law enforcement had been given.  Money flowed freely around and through the cops, just as it does today.

However, unlike many if not most Quakers, I'm not one to moralize against casinos.  I see the archetypal significance of like Donkey Island or whatever we called it in Pinocchio, a scary place where the wages of sin were pretty nightmarish. I admire many an underworld figure who works on making sex, drugs, rock & roll, less lurid, less formulaic, but Puritanism is not to be scoffed at, as a demonic power.  Smile.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Quaker Informed Science Fiction


In the first video I bemoan the apparently Quixotic attempt by the design scientists to change the world for the better, by making waves of a nerdy nature. Who cares about polyhedrons right?

In the middle of that telling, I veer off into talking about the rise and fall of Quakers as a political force.

The anti-slavery stance was less the death knell, in terms of political influence, than the wish to establish a Peaceable Kingdom with N8V ("native") peoples.

Pennsylvania was soon overtaken by people of a different mindset.

In the second video, I take up the epic saga of Quakers fighting outward wars, up through the alternative national service camp chapter.

These latter could serve as a source of ideas for service camps to come. Or not.  We're of two minds (at least) when it comes to the "camp" meme, so lets just explore and take inventory in a science fiction context.



This third video was recorded before either of the other two.  You can follow the "service camps" thread back through time in these blogs, and even longer through the history I reference.



Tuesday, March 05, 2019

A US State Department Utopia

In between times of wondering if slavery in the USSA means crushing my business, I wonder about something else:  could the old USA legally make civilian boarding schools for future diplomats?

They're public schools, and free, and not as exclusive as one might think, once they prove popular.  Boarding schools feed into national service, which is mainly military only for a minority (ballistics is also a peacetime physics).

You're immediately thinking I'm naive, who could afford it, but changing the sheets in a government run hotel, with someone from another nation your housekeeping peer, is not a snapshot of some high roller casino gambler lifestyle ala James Bond 007.

When I say "for future diplomats" I mean everyday people, the brightly lit bulbs (if getting enough joules).  They need the usual in terms of food, clothing, shelter, if expected to perform in their roles. We all learn about Theater and sharing props among productions.

I'm not saying everyone eats caviar and drives a Rolls Royce. We can't all be Rajneeshees (Oregon joke).  Institutional wealth is not the same as individual wealth.  I have access to Maker Spaces as a payer of property taxes to Multnomah County.  Provided I'm allowed to have an income after taxes, not a given.

I'm saying a civilian trained as a diplomat is your average New Yorker, gruff maybe, but not inexperienced with the "diversity syndrome" (that from which we suffer post the Babel event).  New Yorkers rub shoulders across many ethnicities without being too uncool about it (not always the history). 

But not all of us live in New York City, and besides, what if we like to camp?  America was created by people fond of the Great Outdoors, by which they don't mean cast to the elements.  Think of a high tech yurt.  That was the all American prototype, never mass produced in this Parallel Universe (the one we're in).

And yes, in case you were wondering:  I am suggesting a percentage of the student body not be from the USA at all, in terms of citizenship, but on scholarship and there to develop friendships and relationships with American born (or otherwise naturalized).

Yes, you're correct, I'm just trying to recreate the international schools upbringing I enjoyed through much of my youth.  Except I wasn't in a boarding situation until after high school, which was a normal pattern.

I want to make the international school experience a "brought to you by the USA" opportunity, with no shortage of other nations wishing to follow suit.  I want to democratize an opportunity that would seem to oft be wasted on a spoiled elite.  Wouldn't the world benefit?  Why don't more citizens get this opportunity?

Nice fantasy (right?) and you may point to rare institutions such as West Point and suggest we have something like that already.

But did you, growing up, ever realistically imagine joining a faraway campus life for the purpose of becoming a citizen diplomat? 

Maybe as a privileged person you good imagine a good life in the foreign service, through the State Department, but did your public school ever beacon you with such a promise?

Working backwards from this fantasy, I'd posit the State Department would be very strong in this Parallel Universe.  Families see Diplomacy as a high calling and they understand comes with elements of risk.

However, such sentiments run strong in many religious sects already, wherein the kids get pressured to do missionary work.  So it's not hard to conjure in the imagination a USA that offers diplomacy skills much as some religious orders offer training in yoga, meditation and the martial arts.  

Throw in driving and horse-riding skills. 

Driving might include using electric ATVs in unpaved terrain.  Cut to recruiting commercial (at a theater near you).

I know, I know, it's all starting to sound a lot like Spy Camp, once those gadgets get thrown in.  From the outside, a remote high tech campus based on domes and yurts, with "foreigners" present, might as well be some kind of spooky intelligence operation.  But can't we just call it a public school?

Other nations would have evolved in this direction, with a popular Chinese Peace Corps program almost wiping out any shortage of eyeglasses and dental work for middle America's urban poor. Detroit was a successful pilot study.  Chinese went home with a more realistic picture of what poverty in America looked like, before Better Times.

However injecting that much life into a Peace Corps dream would take some doing, right?  We don't hear any presidential candidates boasting of Peace Corps vet status. 

Most media-groomed youth are reconciled to a world their forefathers have thoroughly messed up, by going off half cocked many times in a row, acting out of ideological predilections (reflex conditioning).  Americans are now circling the wagons, preparing to be hated much as the Nazis were.

But that's a different fork in the science fiction.  In this picture, we're looking at a US less besieged, less anxious about the trouble a few have caused in its name.  As a pioneer in civilian services, the new US banks relatively less on fear of its armed forces, when it comes to cajoling cooperative actions.

I'm not just broaching this topic out of the blue by the way.  I'm back to one of the ongoing themes in these blogs. 

For example, you may have maybe seen my pushing for all-the-way-remote study and research facilities.  Search on "XRL" and take a gander.

These Global U villages are not gulags.  People go there by choice, to do science and to discover more about sometimes stressful environments. 

These motivations are well known and quite credible, so we've got some realism going there.

I've heard a lot about the mosquito issue in places around Great Slave Lake (northern Canada) and have wondered about a geodesic dome enclosed mini-campus as a potentially mosquito-free interior, whereas going outside might merit a hazmat suit.

We'd be pioneering lifestyles in which livable interiors would be carved out of insect kingdoms, but not in such a way as to destroy the balance.

There's a "prime directive" aspect to these remote living experiments:  to seek minimum impact co-existence strategies, and to eventually quit the site all together, leaving little to no trace.

I'm not saying I'm against semi-permanent settled communities, more the norm, just that I'm also interested in eco-villages with a pre-planned site time.  This may sound unrealistic to some but is both a movie industry and traveling circus standard.

Picture a miniature Burning Man type community that wanders the globe is an approximation. Yes, product placement may be a part of it.  Remember the Expos.

Monday, March 04, 2019

He Won't Get Far on Foot (movie review)

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot is the full title of this movie, directed by Portland director Gus Van Sant.  The movie reeks of Portland, in a good way.  Glenn tells me Gus was editor of Willamette Week when Callahan was doing his one frame comics for them.  That would explain Gus, also the screenwriter, casting himself in exactly that role (Willamette Week editor).

John Callahan was a famous cartoonist in a region known for cartoonists.  Matt Groening of Simpsons and Futurama fame, Bill Plympton... the Oregon Historical Society did a whole exhibit on the cartoonists of Oregon, including political cartoonists.

My friend Gus Frederick has made a hobby career out of learning this history, fanning out from the colorful Homer Davenport of Silverton, an influential cartoonist if there ever was one.

This movie is a biography of Callahan.  I haven't read any of the reviews and don't know exactly how closely fiction follows fact.  The acting is top notch and heartfelt.  What we get is an empathetic and serious look at Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step Program.  For that reason alone it's a goldmine of memes.

For the first time in my many decades in Portland, I learned of the Alano Club of Portland only a few weeks ago.  Jimmy Lott, friend and former neighbor, was playing there.  I didn't know until I got there that this was a place for recovery from alcoholism and other substance addiction ailments.

And now here was Alano Club at the center of this movie.  I'm still just beginning to find out about my own time and history.

Callahan's sobriety coach Donnie, played by Jonah Hill, is really believable.  I feel like I know the guy.

Lots of archetypes haunt this story.  One could say cliches, but then we all follow templates.

Callahan was brave, and Portland remains proud of him, and of this movie.

Thanks Glenn.  Great soup.  I supplied the Terminal Gravity IPA.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Viral Videos?


These are too niche market to go viral in the conventional sense.

However the 2nd video ends up with the virus as a topic, in the tradition of Martian Math, which looks at microbial life and smaller.

Here's a link to the Codesters example I'm showing.

Or is the virus a bio-machine?

 It's certainly robotic seeming in some ways.

The 3rd video delves into the virus topic also, coming from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.



Monday, February 25, 2019

Stress Tests

Crushing Time

Today I rejoined the Flextegrity thread, a company I link to from my Grunch.net page, for some serious stress testing at an engineering firm Sam has worked with before.

My speaking part would come later in the day, when I'd be the focus of the camera.  I did have some one liners, and a joke, that the lattice would just spring back into place after all of four thousand pounds of crush.

We'd been mock wagering on the outcomes of these crushing experiments and by this time had seen enough to all know my prognostication was wildly off.

The lattice does spring back after enduring closer to two thousand pounds, once initially stressed to work some kinks out and make it settle (like pre-washing jeans).  I'm talking about the steel ball lattice, with the springy joints.

That's right, we were crushing specimens of C6XTY, newly minted, in pure copper, steel and aluminum.

Copper was spared the crushing treatment.

We were not testing alloys in this case.

Crushed Ball

Those of you up on your metals are likely guess the aluminum failed sooner in the crushing process.  You would be right.  The schedule included crushing both individual balls and matrices (i.e. lattices) thereof.

I should probably explain what I mean by "a matrix of metal balls," which is what C6XTY might be seen as (the material is not the meat of the matter when it comes to branding; I've only seen plastic versions of C6XTY until recently).

Tension members hold the balls at a set distance from one another, but somewhat flexibly.  The substance isn't especially brittle.  The lattices didn't splinter apart nor fling particles.  Some smaller parts would fall out.  Of course we all wore safety glasses.

The two lattices we tested got progressively more deformed, with some detachments here and there.  This was feedback for the designers to study.  Findings inform future iterations of the flextegrity concept.

I could see driving my truck (had I a truck) over a bridge of C6XTY (were there such a bridge).  What a lattice is good for depends on the frequency (scale).

If we drop the scale down to nano, then we might be looking at something naturally occurring.  The tension would be provided by the electrical fields themselves, as in crystals.  That's more like what I yakked about at the Pauling House.

Having arisen early for this experience, waking to snow outside and taking the buses with Glenn, I was powered by a single cup of coffee.  When we got to the tests on the tension members, I excused myself and went to lunch, wanting to be in good shape for the pending interview. My camera battery had died by then.

I'd booked the Linus Pauling House from 1 to 3 PM and that's where and when I got to give more of the bigger picture, from my perspective.  Sam invited me to expound.

A philosophy scholar out of Princeton, by 1980 I'd made my way into high school math teaching, and tackled Synergetics, the Bucky Fuller magnum opus and a philosophy.  Princeton philosophy wasn't teaching about Synergetics, but this was the kind of dense and difficult prose a philosophy trained reader is supposed to be able to digest.

Thanks to my having taken this turn in my studies, I would encountered, over the years, a network of like-minded, likewise embarked on similar studies.  Such was my entre into a small subculture.  My presence at this crushing was a long term consequence of my involving myself in a philosophical endeavor.

Observing the Experiment

For example, Kenneth Snelson, a native of Pendleton, Oregon, then a resident of Manhattan, reached out to me in the 1990s, having found I was one of the first and most earnest in getting the Bucky stuff put on the web, the World Wide Web a new invention at the time.

I'd started Synergetics on the Web, now housed behind Grunch.net, and served as the BFI's first webmaster (that's BFI as in Buckminster Fuller Institute -- Kiyoshi and I helped snag the domain name, bfi.org).  I did some primitive hand-coded HTML, as a volunteer, creating a first home page.

Kenneth knew if I took Fuller seriously, I'd take "tensegrity" seriously, and that was a term to which Kenneth was attached in a karmic sense.  We struck up a friendship and over time I got more familiar with his angle on things. I became his volunteer webmaster as well.

I like to think I helped Kenneth find peace after a disappointing falling out with his mentor Bucky, at Black Mountain College, in part just through knowing he'd found a friend who would listen.

I acknowledged the hurt feelings and we would talk about them, meanwhile debating about his, and Fuller's, future place in history.  I like to believe Ed Applewhite spending some time with Kenneth was evidence of my successful diplomacy.

I later (by email) introduced Kenneth to my new friend Sam Lanahan, and later Julian Voss-Andreae.  Both got to have some in-person time with Kenneth.

However the story of flextegrity (what Flextegrity the company puts out), does not end with its deriving from tensegrity.  Sam had studied Kenneth's work and introduced curvilinear elements, in addition to straight rods.

The flextegrity lattice, in being a lattice, also derives from, or embodies, whatever Alexander Graham Bell was exploring, his "kite" structures, also used to make a tower.  Bucky knew the same structure as the "octet truss" (which he patented), and only discovered Bell's work later.  Such are the mysterious workings of the zeitgeist.

Crystallographers tend to call this lattice the FCC (face centered cubic) and mathematicians the CCP (cube centric packing).  An expanding cuboctahedron. of successive layers (1, 12, 42, 92...), says it all.

Flextegrity the company is about encouraging materials science engineers to join in researching omni-extensible synthetic lattices, one might call them.

One may grow them (weave them) in any direction.  Sam's books express this vision.

Think of bricks.  Stone masons have long had a space-filling, compression-based model, but it's all about compression.  You can't lift brick walls by crane, whereas that's exactly what Sam arranged for in an earlier test of the plastic version.

Concrete with embedded rebar is another load-bearing model.

Flextegrity, the company, would like its lattices to compete in this space, but before that might happen, it needs to crush a few.

The hired videographer was a professional, bringing his own lights on tripods, but new to the whole flextegrity business.

A high degree of ad lib was enjoyed by all around this filming.  Sam sat off camera, nudging me with questions and/or reminding me of what I'd left out (such as who I was, and so on).  This movie won't be out for some time.  I'm glad I got to play a part.

Hat with C6XTY

Friday, February 22, 2019

Pythonic PR



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Politics as Theater

A specific namespace in the educators community includes STEM, for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It's really not all that powerful an acronym in that it doesn't define any college department structure.  More it rolls off the tongue, is easy to say, and so serves as a shorthand.

From Andrew Hacker, author of The Math Myth, I picked up PATH has whatever is not STEM (~STEM).  Remember the C.P. Snow Chasm, the gulf that had opened between the sciences and the humanities, or liberal arts?  PATH would, for me, become Philosophy, Anthropology, Theater and History.

Now as with STEM, the gluons (glue particles) are such that these don't really come apart.  We can pretend Science is atomic, independent of Technology but of course it's not.  These letters stand for co-definitional things.  Likewise with PATH:  everything Philosophical partakes of the other three, and so on.

What I want to zoom in on here though, is Politics, where does it go?  The exercise is to shoehorn everything into STEM or PATH, as a mental exercise.  Answer:  under Theater.  Politics is a form of theater.  And what about war?

The conventional grammar has it that when politics, meaning diplomacy, fails, we get war.  What this grammar overlooks are all the political and diplomatic tricks aimed at sparking war, not preventing it, but that's another story.

Anyway, war is mostly engineering.  It's a demolition science.  There's psychology involved, which is Science and Anthropology.  Indeed, Anthropology, being a science, belongs with STEM as well as PATH, which is why STEM becomes STEAM and then we intersect the two, as if playing Scrabble.  You might say we could intersect on the T instead, but I'm saying the A stands for the same thing in this crossword puzzle, whereas T is for Theater and Technology respectively.

  S
  T 
  E
P A T H
  M 

      P
S T E A M
      T
      H

Politics includes many tropes, pomp and circumstance, large gatherings, intimate interviews, meetings behind closed doors.  A lot of the action is "off stage" as it were, yet we have a sense of the stage, or multiple stages.  Just about all that goes on could be considered Theater, with History what Theater leaves in its wake:  recorded performances.  That's the raw material anyway.  Then come the movie and media critics (historians).

To get more Hegelian about it, we might suppose a Logic (folded into STEM, say under M) that more or less determines what happens, per the laws of Making Sense (which degrades into various money-oriented language games once the cameras are rolling).  History supposedly traces our building of God's Kingdom or some Promised Land.  We'd like to think so.  Enter Philosophy and teleology.

What do we mean by "teleology" anyway?  Synergetics Dictionary says something about "voltage pressure".  We can leave for some other discussion more of an investigation into what that all means.  We'll consult a number of philosophers.  Theologians may weigh in.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Riddle of Peace

Another Fuller Schooler, one of my fellow fish in the think tank, suggested I check out Washington and the Riddle of Peace by H.G. Wells.  I've been checking it out.  I've been letting Kindle read it to me.

This morning, I did a circuit check with my guy in Chicago, before going live next Friday.  That's Python business, not for pay.

Tomorrow is my usual gig with the middle schoolers.

Yesterday, an interview with a Princeton candidate.  Alums get tapped for that from time to time.

A bigger for pay gig is around the corner.

In the meantime, as I prepare for a next round, I'm making sure Digital Math gets more of a chance going forward.  I've made Youtubes recently about:

Digital Math:

Casino Math
Supermarket Math
Neolithic Math
Martian Math

These are garden variety "guy with a camera on Youtube" videos, added to the shuffle.  They're about average in length.  No multi-hour documentaries.

The spread (range) of these clips depends on many factors regarding search terms and "word of mouth" -- a misleading phrase as much text is unspoken, spreads by Facebook and so on.

I don't pretend to know what happens with these "note in a bottle" experiments in most cases.

OK, time to walk up to the Linus Pauling House.  Our think tank doesn't have a specific headquarters (a specific building) but if it did, the LPH fits the bill.  Maybe we're a network, with campus facilities around the world.

Mom is on the phone talking to someone about "the Urner effect" meaning to include my dad's work as well.  I'd say it's pretty subtle.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Nickel and Dime Fundraising

Glenn and I met with some hot shot B Corp guy, a producer of fundraisers, or so we were told.  I'm something of a fundraiser myself, for the Coffee Shops Network, not unlike Avalon and/or Quarterworld, both within walking distance.  But then Oregon Lottery is even more prevalent, so if you're willing to limit your horizons...

Asking for a refill on something may trigger a requirement to see a doctor first.  Insurance will stipulate these kinds of hoops.  At some point, if you're hanging on with high age numbers, on some drug, you'll make their numbers look better if you hang on even longer.  There's nothing like a 102 year old smoker to sell cigarettes.

I mention matters Oregon Health related because I'm a go between on some prescriptions. That's why having an Oregon ID, like a driver's license, is important.  Does your state not provide ID and do motor-voter?

That means if you're authenticated enough to have Oregon ID, you can likely vote.  Actually, voter registration is another process, it's just that your status as a valid voter or not is established with the DMV, so that your rights won't be challenged at the ballot box.  Long lines often have to do with thinking a piece of mail to some address proves something.  Even a utility bill may not be enough.

CRU has Oregon ID, so I'll be able to see if it's between now and a next refill that she needs to see a doctor, or the refill after that.  I left voicemail on a non-urgent line with her clinic, in case I need to get involved parties talking.

Oregonians do a lot of research around diet and treat the "medicine is food" mantra pretty seriously, even if that changes the meaning of both "medicine" and "food" to some degree.  The legal profession has its conventions, however folk subcultures cannot always afford to abide by the standards of a court, when deciding what's junk food and what's not.  And so on for "STEM education" and all the rest of it.  When we talk about standards, we want to speak with a standard bearer.

My work with Food not Bombs is high up on my resume, because of the camp settings that might want to recruit my ilk, Friends with cooking experience.  A sense of good nutrition is implied.  However I'm not a French chef and don't expect to be Food Coordinator every year.  I recall doing that one year, for Gathering of Western Young Friends, however I recall having help.  When people have high expectations, they won't leave it to a noob to get everything right the first time.  I felt like I was on an episode of The Apprentice or something.

In the Coffee Shops Network business model, the "scone company" (selling scones over the counter, with coffee or other beverage) is allocating some Good Will money to charity, through each purchase, a well-known set of line items on charts of accounting. 

However here the buyers of the scones get to use their chits (crypto-credits) towards winning at Z, and depending on score (I skipped the step of game selection), will be able to commit Y combinations of crypto-whatevers from their game winnings, and commit these to charitable causes the coffee shop supports.  One's reputation (profile) develops as a consequence. 

If you later feel ashamed you supported Q, go back and delete or annotate.  We all recognize the fact that characters evolve over time.

Hey, what if you don't approve of CSN outlet 1234 supporting causes ('A12', 'B40', 'Z14') as causes (think of a juke box, options to play)? 

Then don't go there, and if you're the scone company, withhold your scones and sell them through someone else instead.  We call that a free market.  We're not refusing counter service on the basis of ethnicity.  We're like a bar in that sense.  Whom one has to 86 is handled by the local community. 

There's no CSN "supreme court" beyond various standards bodies I'm not discussing here.  Founders have input.  Philosophers weigh in ("weighty Friend" model).

Perhaps another CSN outlet is more the right look and feel for this scone maker? 

The proprietors have a lot of discretion as to how they tilt their portfolios.

Remember:  an end goal of all this is to get customers in the mood to play philanthropist, with small amounts (we can talk about big amounts through other channels -- small amounts add up, so to the recipients may not be trivial), and without needing to set aside much personal budget. 

If you do coffee and scones anyway, but didn't get to fund Scouting, or the Big Parade, now you might get to, because computer circuitry and databases have made "nickel and dime" fundraising a reality at last.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Producer Mode


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Consumer Mode



OK guys, you can be honest.  Should I retire the Android?  This HTC has served me well but is a pain in the butt to recharge.  I have an iPhone 6 ready to spring into action as the replacement device.  You might want more details.  I'll let you off the hook; they don't matter.

Carol and I finally got out, after the snow day yesterday, her wheely walker and chair both in tow. Last time we started out:  battery dead.  Call AAA.  This time:  success in the full mission (the bank, the bookstore, the supermarket).

Speaking of supermarkets, I had no idea Fred Meyer was a Rosicrucian.  That came up in this article (screen shot above), which I'm still digesting, about hippies long before anyone had heard of the word.  Quakers are prone to experimentalism, I'll admit that's baked in to the jargon.

I didn't fill a whole shopping cart or anything.  I wheel Carol around while she keeps the basket in her lap, limiting us to how much we can carry.  She had letters to mail as well.  The walker stayed in the back seat of the car the whole time.  While she sat in Powell's (on Hawthorne) I moved the car from near the bank (also on Hawthorne) to Fred Meyer's (the supermarket).

Carol turns 90 in a few weeks.  She's in her 90th year she tells everyone, as when you're 90, you've already done 90 years.  We look back on our age.

I'm still in the traffic jam occasioned by the government shutdown, but then a lot of infrastructure is creaky slow, even with offices reopened.  We're back to gridlock and things not working, on many floors.  I'm not "an overseer" (as Quakers say) who gets privileged access to report on what it's like everywhere.  I'm very much in a specific zip code.  I do have a restart date.

In the meantime, I have lots to do.  I'm experimenting more with Youtube, trying out different variations on a theme, fiddling with hyperparameters.  People who go to school to be on camera get feedback from their peers and faculty.  Youtube is a different kind of school, but then the first thing is to get noticed.  Fortunately, I have a lot of math teacher connections.

Carol wants pretty much the same dinner every night, though I'm not saying without exceptions.  There's a default meal plan that's pretty simple, let's put it that way.  Simple habits, no frills, that's all encouraged in Quakerism, so I'm not complaining about "too plain".  On the contrary, simplicity has many merits.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Pythonic Andragogy

"Pythonic Andragogy" is a title I used a lot, as a tag line too.  I like it.  "Andragogy" is in contrast to "pedagogy" and is the study of how to best foster learning processes in adults.

High end computer science is merging with mathematics through topology, wherein scenarios or paths between proofs might be nudged into each other, irrespective of implementation. In place of Bertrand Russell's propositions, we have "types", each with its own morphology.

Lower end computer science is merging with desktop publishing in various ways, most notably in the form of Unicode.  Learning about the Python string type, meaning characters, like you're reading now, means understanding how the many world languages are encoded.

A language or namespace or world provides an environment wherein functions secretly "do" whatever this world allows them, in terms of powers.

Happily, 👽👽👽 {EXTRATERRESTRIAL ALIEN} and other such Emoji have been folded into Unicode as well.  These feature in my beginner curriculum materials (and never completely go away).

My Pycon workshop for teachers in Chicago spelled out the game plan:  we spin lore into tech both as memory glue and as a "lessons learned" medium.  The Story of Unicode is upbeat in my treatment, whereas Tabulation, leading to SQL, takes us into the sad business of tagging people for the purpose of abusing them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

They Shall Not Grow Old (movie review)

The film's title has an ironic double meaning:  we won't forget them, they stay fresh in our minds, and... they were cut down as youth, sacrificed to the war gods.

This movie is not about the big egos who used wars to enshrine their place in history.  These were the working people, abducted from civilian life, commanded by the wartime economy, to grab a uniform and hop a ship to the front, to be executed, wounded, or returned home.

The film achieves its effect as a storytelling project by letting the people who were there share their memories.  These were BBC recordings spliced together.  Then was the magic of doctoring the film, mainly to overcome the ravages of time.  Some of the most under and over exposed film was in the best condition, as no one had bothered to make copies (the originals were available).

Those who've done homework understand this telling was orchestrated by Peter Jackson, the director of all those Lord of the Rings films in New Zealand.  NZ was indeed the HQS for this project.

I'd always wondered, since childhood, why older films were always played on fast forward.  Yes, I understood they used fewer frames per second back then, so why not project at a lower rate?  For some reason, variable speed playback was beyond the abilities of Hollywood and TV land for many decades.  In this movie, that problem is overcome.

The version I saw was an encore performance in a busy commercial multiplex.  The projectionist forgot to use the 3D lens or something, so although we were all wearing our glasses, the first ten minutes or so were just blurry.  Probably someone from the audience went out to complain, as then the screen went black and came back in 3D.  Color would come later.

Jackson, the director, both introduces the film and then reappears after the credits for thirty minutes, to explain the project in more detail.  He establishes his credentials as someone who has always cared a lot about WW1, his grandfather having been a career soldier.

Although the archives Jackson was given to explore is full of a huge amount of footage, the end goal was a feature film with a sane pace.  He decided to focus on the experience of an average British soldier in the trenches in France.  He collages together many episodes to tell a generic tale of mounting a tank-led assault on the enemy line.

The German side is not demonized.  The pervasive sense, in the absence of a lot of media, is no one knows what's going on, least of all the soldiers.  Soldiers have a blend of stoicism and fatalism to choose from.

Whereas there's no glamorizing of the war, the film is honest in letting the men speak for themselves.  Many express gratitude they were able to experience this great tragedy close up, for all the pain it caused them.  The most bitter voices don't get as much say.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mini Confab (Fuller Friends)

Need to Get Me One

We didn't organize any formal event this time.  An unveiling of Tetrascroll might merit the term "formal" but that's also work, in the sense of logistics and heavy lifting.  This was more a "breezing through" i.e. D.W. Jacobs on his way south in a rental car (Nissan Altima) having landed in PDX one brilliantly sunny (and cold) afternoon.

Trevor Blake joined us, my having shared with Doug the viewpoint on my back "flextegrity garden" where numerous specimens of the various versions, especially C6XTY, decorate the space.  Sam Lanahan, the inventor, was much in our conversation.

In front:  the C6XTY pyramid, with the colored lights.  Makes my place easy to find, or at least recognize.

We're not zoned as a storefront type of business, but managing supranational networks from home offices is perfectly fine, and is what goes on in many a neighborhood.  Even working from coffee shops is fine if you make sure you're encrypting everything to the proper level so as not to jeopardize confidentiality.

After lunch at the Bagdad, we adjourned to Synchronofile headquarters, cram packed with specimens, mostly articles, books, things of that nature.  I resolved to finally get my own copy of American Dreamer: Bucky Fuller & the Sacred Geometry of Nature.

One of my practices these days is to sweep my radar picking up on sacred geometry teachings that consciously employ Fuller's signature terminology, now that his shop talk is world readable.  I'm finding a few, such as Grayham Forscutt.  Scott Eastham will help me find more.

Doug and I then later adjourned to Back Stage for a night repast.  We hadn't seen each other for about ten years, so I had a lot to catch up on, especially with regard to his travels in Eastern Europe.  He left me a copy of his play, which play Eastham recommends in his book as a wonderful first exposure to Bucky's thought, in both English and Polish.

P1080051

I talked about Ed Applewhite a lot, his suspicions around est, and my involvement in same.  We talked about a lot of movements and surges, political parties, cults, religions, you name it.  As contemporaries living through a lot of the same history, it makes perfect sense that we'd be comparing notes on our respective experiential scenarios, partially overlapping, as Fuller used to describe the "time tunnels" or "world lines" or "worm holes" we make through the various dimensions, as "pattern integrities".

Friday, January 11, 2019

Real Humans (movie review)

Technically speaking, Real Humans is a TV serial, not a movie, however my umbrella tag "(movie review)" makes a useful search string, so I'll keep to it. What adds a layer is the production is natively Swedish with subtitles hacked on by some mysterious process VLC could decode.

Having one's culture mirrored back through another's is something I got used to, living in the Philippines.  Sweden is a parallel universe.

The setting is more or less the present, in terms of USB ports, laptops, computer viruses, cell phones. There are no cloud AI personalities selling train tickets (hi Julie), or if there are, they're not front and center, because in this parallel universe they've figured out some stuff ours hasn't (yet).

It's our world with the small, added, some might say world-breaking, feature of conscious robots, called hubots in this world.

A very movie-literate person might be flashing on Kubrick's AI and the TV series (movie-launched) Westworld. When great care is taken to have the hubots seem real, the cinematic problem of creating robots goes away, as you need a way of acting like a robot.  Same in Walking Dead:  you don't need crazy fancy computer effects.  Just cast ordinary people and teach them a few tricks.

I say the above without in any way intending to trivialize the brilliant work these performances embody.  Real Humans does a wonderful job of inventing how humans would act, if artificial.  Of course they get grumpy about their 2nd class status, wouldn't we?

They take their cues from us after all.

Civil rights for robots is where things logically go, once you have them established as "matching humans as closely as technologically possible".

Real Humans explores implications, no matter how absurd from our world's viewpoint, with empathy and humor.  The teen boy develops the syndrome of having a crush on an android and beyond that, really having more sense of attraction to this non-human species.  A hubot gets religion and can't get enough church.  The killer blond (no the other one) wants to adopt.

Speaking of which, the hubots don't age except in the sense of wear out.  Odi's battery goes bad and he has to stay plugged in, exactly like my Mac Air (except I don't think it's the battery necessarily).

We do not see any children nor baby hubots, nor pets (rather amazingly).

I'm not saying that's a flaw in terms of keeping the plots manageable and a core story in focus.  Who is the evil genius who figured out a way to make hubots self aware?

But isn't that a necessary component of biomimicry in this instance?  Would we suspend disbelief if seen by others to be talking to our dolls (short answer:  sure, happens every day).

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Integral Design Institute

I'm not sure that's exactly the name, which is reminiscent of Ken Wilber's thing, but then we have only so many ways of permuting academy names with "integral" and "design" in them.  I think of an architecture firm, but the goal is outreach and skill sharing, in a way Oregon says it would like: make vocational work great again.

Glenn is the principal in that he has the most capital, in terms of knowledge and tools.  He's set up an entire factory in an old mining town, after most had moved away.  He knows about the issues around unreinforced masonry buildings in earthquake subduction zones -- the kind of thing we talk about at Wanderers all the time.

The one he has his eye on today is in a good place and would be ready for business tomorrow were his backers to make a successful bid.  These plans are completely distinct from Linus Pauling House scenarios, which are ISEPP business, a different institute with a long track record of educating Oregonians.  Terry has brought a lot of the heavyweights through here, not just to speak in auditoriums but to visit the schools.

Speaking of schools, I'm interested in alternatives to driving to other counties (sometimes) when delivering after school content.  A lot of the costs are borne by the instructor, in terms of both time and mileage.  An alternative model is where students come to the venue.  Yet another model brings another principal into the loop via closed circuit TOIP (television over IP), i.e. using Zoom or one of those.

Nirel and Glenn are having a meeting about the property in question.  But does Portland as a city have an existing plan to assist creatives.  In the face of high rent, finding studio space just to work on projects has become difficult, especially if you need to sleep somewhere else.  Boathouses have some serious drawbacks.  A lot of apparently vacant commercial space has issues.

The thriving business in Portland is storage units.  As creatives get pushed into downsizing, they fill the units, but aren't able to work in them.  ActiveSpace was to be a solution.  We couldn't sleep there.  Portland Knowledge Lab rented digs, but then the promising WiFi solution fell through (Metro chapter).

Glenn and I went through a chapter looking for a kid-friendly training space when we thought AFSC was trying to expand (quite the opposite).  The commercial space on Hawthorne, near the School of Rock, would have been much higher profile than most Quakers could handle I think.  AFSC isn't built to be that front and center, except in Philadelphia perhaps.  Or am I wrong?

Monday, January 07, 2019

FEMA Testing Mode

Control Center

"FEMA Testing Mode" is local code for practicing emergency routines, which are not routine by definition. Carol is operating in the kitchen, feeding herself, as if there's no one home, even though I'm here and closely supervising.  "What if I get called away to Seattle?" is the name of the game.

At a higher level, we have an entire Co-op near Movie Madness (rental videos) devoted to practicing disaster relief routines in its spare time. A lot of them are seniors, and such exercises count as exercise, even if the theme is the nervewracking suspense of their not being an earthquake yet.

By the way, the online dictionary I checked was fine with either "nervewracking" or "nerveracking" and never stopped to talk about how that "w" snuck in (or got dropped, as the case may be). I've got comments turned off to model an old-style Quaker journal, but I bet some of you know more than I do about these fine points in English.

I've got Spirited Away frozen in time to my left, where Carol left it before dinner last night.  Glenn hasn't seen this film and I grabbed it yesterday as we discussed both the live action and animated versions of Seven Samurai (Samurai 7).  There's a good segue here.

Having kept my vow of abstinence from August to 2019, as committed to the blockchain or whatever, I've had a few ceremonial cold ones.

I don't have the every morning routine of climbing Mt. Tabor at the moment.  That reminds me, time to send Patrick some proposals for some Jupyter Notebook workouts.