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.


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.