Thursday, May 30, 2019

Silicon Forest Curriculum Network

Jake Vanderplas - Keynote - PyCon 2017

I've been sharing about the Oregon Curriculum Network with a wider audience this afternoon, on Medium

I trace several trends in industry in order to back up my claim that my curriculum is state of the art, worth exploring

I'll likely be adding some pictures and of course fixing typos.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The House of Tomorrow (movie review)

Nana, a Fuller fan, is sheltering her ward (her grandson actually) in an almost-literal bubble, a multi-faceted domicile based on the geometry of an icosahedron:  a 1970s classic geodesic dome one-off, mostly wood, and semi-deep in a quasi-dark forest. Cue "she's some kind of witch" music. 

Per Education Automation, the place is wired (pre internet) to "in-cast" (screen) the Bucky stuff 24/7, so both Nana (the guardian) and her ward (main protagonist) are by this time thoroughly brainwashed (Nana has been into Bucky a long time), but without being too dysfunctional, a testament to the curriculum's holism.

The dome is marvelous and well-maintained and both enjoy a high standard of living.  The movie viewer is quickly introduced to Bucky's alternative (aka "parallel") universe, with its own solutions to the problems of transportation, shelter, and social relationships (we use a different world map in Buckyverse, to visualize our global predicament).  The viewer thereby partakes of a bit of the brainwashing, to the point of gentle claustrophobia (think "laughing gas" -- it's a comedy).

Tourists come to see what the house of tomorrow might look like (they all live in the houses of today).  To the young boy, these tourists represent the great outside world beyond the granny matrix, full of people the grandson's own age, some oppositely sexed, all differently programmed.  He recognizes he could learn a lot from these aliens.

Although home schooled, our hero has a bicycle and frequents hardware stores.  He's not a prisoner, except of his own conscience, and is free to leave.

He feels the natural urge for companionship and adventure and ends up landing a gig as a geometry tutor in one of the tourist houses.  Thanks to his STEM-intensive upbringing, he knows his "Mr. Euclid" (as Fuller referred to him), clearly way better than the more humanities oriented dad (which explains why a tutor is appropriate). The movie does not really get into Dr. Fuller's alternative unit of volume, as that'd take us too far off on a tangent.

They enjoy pretty good living standards in suburbia too (including top notch health care), with semi-private rooms for the siblings and a den for the single dad, ample leisure time.  The single mom is a heavy drinker and TV watcher (the dad has custody of the kids), but is friendly and fun.  She helps enable the final party with a donation of alcohol.

Beyond a lot of drinking, the film stays away from the weed economy.  Prohibition was still only partially rolled back, back then. Although police get involved, it's to break up the loud party (on what pretext again? -- lots of citizens were freely enjoying their right to assembly), and not to bust any otherwise law-abiding Lutherans for weed.

No one is sent to a for-profit "Grunch prison" ("Grunch" was a Bucky term, and stood for a dystopian post-nation-states global conglomerate, controlling all the money, that stages a lot of TV shows, including many with nationalistic programming, such as shocking, awesome wars).

The kids pack into state-approved mosh pits and express their rebelliousness in safe controlled ways.

To my ears, the Bucky sound bites on the videos were dubbed in.  What I heard was someone imitating Fuller's voice, saying the kinds of things he said.  Am I wrong?  Was that a permissions issue?  Was the Buckminster Fuller Institute (not of Minnesota) involved?

When it's time to really party, the dome interior is certainly the more inviting. Neither a suburban home, nor a church basement social hall, was as suitable a venue as grandma's bewitching house, for the new punk band's debut. The Rash.  The geometry tutoring was also about practicing chords, recapitulating that age-old synergy betwixt music and math, so appreciated by the Pythagoreans.

The less sheltered geometry tutor and his death-defying tourist friend express their anxieties and desires in an authentic and culturally approved manner.  The police arrive and help catalyze a new bond between the sixties dad and his punk son, as both show similarly defiant tendencies.  A new (vector) equilibrium is being established.  The two cultures have been bridged, and healthy circulation established.

That the Bucky stuff is actually punk-friendly comes as a heartwarming realization at the end.  Good movie. I saw it as the second movie in a double feature, with Fire first.

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, 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.