Saturday, August 01, 2020

Ecology of Systems

Sometimes it's fun to re-compartmentalize i.e. keep thinking in terms of "subjects" (as in "academic subjects" aka "disciplines") just different ones. Be inventive.

For example the way psychology managed to squeeze into the liberal arts and overlap religion; that sure changed how people compartmentalized. 

You didn't have a large medical establishment working alongside the church to address "mental illness" (Foucault talks about all this of course). 

When I studied Wittgenstein's stuff at Princeton under Rorty et al, I kept bopping back and forth between Philosophy and Religion departments for classes, yet I think his investigations also fall between Anthropology and Psychology (both still young disciplines in his day -- he wrote about both).

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Americana


I think literature teachers are possibly a little shocked how I:

(a) go for film on top of other texts and 
(b) weave through specific films

The film here is Citizen Kane, already in the film school Vaults of Parnassus, so what's the fuss there? The scenario (hike) is through the two DVD set, meaning the movie, and then the American Masters series on Hearst versus Welles, WGBH, Sloane Foundation. 

Why?  Two reasons right off the top:

(a) Welles is already important in our Martian Math sequence, for his scary performance of the Mars Attacks story, meaning War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (easy mnemonic there: Wells and Welles) 

(b)  WGBH American Masters also did Thinking Out Loud about Buckminster Fuller, around the same time, another high quality documentary.  We'll be watching them both, perhaps back to back, with some discussion of the documentary style.

The reasons don't stop there.  Here in Silverton, Oregon we have a lot of excellent history, and fellow Wanderer and historian Gus Frederick has curated a lot of it.

He's our local expert, I'd say world expert, on Homer Davenport, the powerful political cartoonist and Arabian horse enthusiast whose career intertwined with Hearst's on many levels.

In other words, I'm trying to branch out to pick up more and more history, such as the Spanish American War, such as the Anti Imperialist League (Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie...), such as the American war in the Philippines, not that many decades before the American war in Viet Nam....

Once we've studied Hearst as a model, we'll jump to other oligarchs.  I'm not the only curriculum architect able to connect the dots around here.

I just want to be sure to underline this section of the pipeline:  Welles on CBS doing War of the Worlds, and the whole arc of Orson's career, vis-a-vis that of his contemporaries.  He knew Hemingway...

Another puzzle piece:

In this placed based curriculum we study the Columbia Gorge for at least these reasons:

(a) geology since Missoula Flood
(b) the invention of scenic photography with the Gorge a target
(c) submerging Celilo Falls, and the civilizations that converged there
(d) Sam Hill's commitment to state of the art road building along the Gorge
(e) hydropower dams, grids, ecology (along the Gorge and elsewhere)
(f) Hanford and the Manhattan Project and the chronology of nuclear testing (including with human subjects)

That's a lot of reasons to take in the Columbia Gorge, and we're just getting started.

DVD Set

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

RSA > USA

Having traveled around in South Africa some (not a lot, didn't get to Joburg at all), I'm going to say this:

(a) the racism picture is more complex there
(b) the solution space is further evolved there

I go back to this story:  feedback I got when in RSA, regarding earlier relations with Quaker AFSC, was that Americans were too quick to elder others, drawing on their own civil rights history as definitive and all encompassing, a source of lessons for others to learn from.  In other words:  Americans suffer from ethnocentrism.  I wouldn't step in as their lawyer at this point.  "English too" I'd pile on.

But then English, in having been a real empire, did grow up worldly, and to this day NPR turns over to BBC the more serious world news telling.  For night owls.  Nerds.  And English are one of the ethnicities in the RSA mix.  Like I said, more complex, more nuanced.

Yes, I'm a Die Antwoord fan. I met a new relative (extended family member) from there who expressed embarrassment over their antics.  I was in drop jawed awe over the brilliance of Chappie for example.

Seriously, when my parents were co-clerking a Yearly Meeting, prior to the accident, I got to sit in on some reminiscing and post mortems.  We weren't far from Maseru, the family headquarters. Dawn taught a labyrinth workshop.

Apartheid was in the rear view mirror already.  Mandela.  Bishop Tutu. Truth Process... So much water already under the bridge.  I visited the Quaker Peace Centre and met the Routledges. We were later guests in their home in Cape Town, when Madlala was Deputy Minister of Defense (an unusual position for a Quaker, somewhat Mithraic). This was during the 1999 Parliament of World Religions. Dawn also took in a transmission, from the Dalai Lama, in Durban.

What I learned from Hendrik W. van der Merwe especially was about the delicate cybernetics of it all.  As a mediator, like a ref, he'd literally swing his chair around to side more with the police officer, if the power dynamic suggested he should throw his weight in that direction.  I think "precession".

Friday, July 17, 2020

CareWheels: Retrospective

DigitalHomeTechConvergence

From my Facebook profile, today:

Me:

Thinking back to CareWheels and spin-offs. This was to be a home monitoring service whereby elders, seniors, I'd add unsupervised teens and children, any age really, with caveats (not infants), would stay in their homes but send off lots of signals just by moving around and doing stuff. It's not about spycams which no one has time to look at or space to store.

It's about medical cabinet open close, bathtub use, shower on/off etc.

Ron Braithwaite could tell you how Machine Learning informs a human staffed set of dashboards (humans working from home also, they monitor each other), with dispatch teams at the ready for both scheduled and unscheduled home visits.

Like if the pill dispenser isn't activated within a time frame, or the bathtub gets turned on but not off... or a stove burner. IoT. Protocol might be to call first, contact a signed up neighbor if no response, only escalating as makes sense.

You don't dispatch a team at the drop of a hat. Patients at especially high risk for some medical condition will presumably have sensors for that, e.g. blood pressure or whatever. It's up to you and your doctor what level of monitoring is indicated. Some people opt out of some options.

Machine Learning has only gotten better since this infrastructure was first envisioned.

Ron Braithwaite:

Yeah, CareWheels was a fantastic idea. In fact, it was one of the driving reasons why we were going to move to Canada.

Honeywell owned (owns) a bunch of patents in this area, which they have never done anything with (TTBOMK), so we thought we would make it happen in Vancouver, BC with the help of a couple of non-profits.

The basic idea was to use machine learning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_statistics) to determine when things usually happened and how long they would take, using simple sensors all over the place, wiring up an elder’s home to allow them to age in place.

I worked out a deal with Canada’s largest non-profits working with elders and another working with those who were disabled to provide a computer and modem on each end, targeting those who were primarily house-bound both as clients and as care providers.

When our machine learning algorithms detected something unusual, they would contact the assigned care provider, who would attempt to contact the client and, failing that, then contact designated family members, and (worst case) emergency services. In addition, the care provider was tasked with making contact with each of their assigned clients every day.

Just as an aside, did you know that 90% of all calls to emergency services by elders are for socialization? People get lonely living at home, so having someone - anyone - calling them daily takes a huge load off emergency services.

At any rate, the way it worked is that each sensor for each person had a specific typical time value associated with when the sensor detected activity. If the elder typically uses the restroom for 45 minutes at 9am, but doesn’t exit the restroom after 90 minutes, somebody needs to check up on them, just to make sure they haven’t slipped in the tub and broken their hip. The Bayesian algorithm learned the pattern of each client, so we were looking for exception conditions for that specific person and avoiding the problems rule-based expert systems.

Perhaps the most heart-breaking tragedy of getting turned away by a Canadian Immigration agent (I have always assumed it was because I’m an obvious hippie, but I really don’t know) was having to call the first person I had hired as a caregiver. I had interviewed several and picked him to lead the caregiver cohort, for a variety of reasons. Not the least being that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury about 12 years previously and couldn’t get a job, even though he was not cognitively impaired. He sobbed into the phone as I told him that we were turned away and it wasn’t going to happen.

I still think it is a viable service and I would love to contribute to the project if someone else were to resurrect it.

Thanks for reminding me of this, Kirby. This was fun to dredge up old memories of tilting at windmills.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Oregon as a Campus Context

West Side Roof

The roofer guy, who came here to give me an estimate on the Owens Corning system solution, said I'd first need to get the west side walnut tree cut back.  My upbringing in the subtropics leaves me somewhat too comfortable with the advance of nature vis-a-vis these temporary human abodes.  I've been thinking about Logan's Run, the later scenes, when they're out of the bubble, in the former capital.

In the meantime, I'm still thinking Asylum City as a code term for Campus, which is just as well a Base.  Depending on how we want to shade things, or colorize them, we have these different lingos.  The Vortex and Woodstock festivals, Oregon's Country Faire, the failed Rajneesh Puram experiment, all feed into my alchemical cauldron when I cook up visions of schooling options in eastern Oregon.

Your actual campus might be somewhere remote.  You would learn to operate a windmill and solar panel powered campus, with various backup fuels, new kinds of batteries.  Attaining self sufficiency to some high degree is one of the challenges, but this isn't Biosphere 2.  

There's no attempt, in these experiments, to somehow dome over the entire community, even if domes do feature, as theaters and planetariums perhaps.  Or as greenhouses.  Gymnasiums.  How were these structures delivered?  Do we want to experiment with Bucky's vision, and use helicopters quite a bit?  How about dirigibles?  Is the campus served by blimp?

Thursday, July 02, 2020

All Classic FM

Thursdays at 3.  All Classic FM.

I'm doing a lot more on Facebook than I used to, whereas I've throttled back on making Youtubes a whole lot. That's a stash in inventory ready for service if and when.

I'm eager to keep that "3rd culture" meme going, not my invention, as there is some camaraderie among international school students that transcends "culture of origin".  

I tend to recreate such microcosms, or seek them out, when left to my own devices, hence all the AFSC work.  We "3rd culture" folks tend to feed, or feed on, a kind of loneliness that goes with Lonely Planet (the sense of tourist at large, like a National Geographic veteran).

Speaking of global awareness, I'm still enjoying radio.garden the website app.  There've been chapters wherein it stopped working, but at the moment it's blaring away in my ear.  I'll get my OPB this way. Since I stopped driving as much during Covid, I'm not getting those hits off my radio.  

Or am I on KBOO at the moment?  Playing Blackbird by The Beatles, instrumental only.  

I'll note when I hear call letters (station self identification).  The app lets you point to dots on a globe, then snarfs the feed (assuming the station streams) via tcp/ip.

Domestic adventure:  Carol was in the car already when I realized I'd locked my keys inside.  The ladder helped, but don't try it, as probably not in the way you think.  

Also:  the snake got out again, but I found him.  

Oh wait, I think this might be Portland Classical.  Yeah, All Classical FM.  Listening through optical fiber, playing on the Asus Windows tablet, the current Blender machine.  I'm blown away by what people can do with Blender.  

Everyone is a Michelangelo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Quoting Myself on Facebook

Once you get to garb and/or language it's looking more and more like ethnicity. Italians aren't a race on the check box forms, but there's still citizenship and/or heritage.

The computer game experience of designing one's avatar helps kids appreciate the Mr. Potato Head aspects of genomic expression. Permute at will.

We have lots of ways to draw Venn Diagrams, based on a variety of attributes. Midgets could be a race (regardless of skin tone) if we wanted, but we don't want. That's why they say "race is a social construct" because "we" keep changing our minds about what "we" care about. You can't say Latino is a race in recent census forms.

The so-called "races" come and go. In Bible school, they link races to sons of Noah. Those diagrams keep changing as well. Making "Jews" be a race was a project with far more subscribers until recently.

Do people think all native Americans, from Eskimos in the north to descendents of the Incas around Peru, form a single race? Not usually, as that wouldn't be convenient. That would turn too many Mexicans into Indians and we can't have that.

BTW, sickle cell anemia is also endemic around Greece and people of light skin tone (POLST) are afflicted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Queued

Twitter tweet:




Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Chinese Wisdom

Given the time of year, some of us on Facebook were checking out stories from that time, in Beijing, China.

One thing I'm acutely aware of is my "brain TV" and its ability to dramatize situations I never witnessed. Television is good at taking over this process, providing guided meditations, often synchronized to a narrator, but not necessarily.

My imagination has an ability to "flit" so when I picture that cliche scene, say of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, I get away with a pretty low budget rendering.

Nero doesn't have to look like anyone in particular. Why invest a lot on a cliche?  That's a waste of brain power.

However, if I'm cast in the role of movie director, with a reputation to uphold, then I don't want to take a cliche like "the Tiananmen Square Massacre" and spend gobs of time and energy on some poor slob fantasy version. I should get trusted accounts from eye witnesses, film footage, stills.

Today, with lots of camphones, assembling more accurate mental summaries is in theory possible, provided a public so equipped.  Cameras have a role to play in verifying weapons agreements just as surely.

My attitude towards mass surveillance is share the view with the masses.  I'd like to ogle at Picadilly Circus or Times Square as much as the next guy. What's the harm?  Let us watch.  ODOT, our department of transportation, shares those freeway cams.

Fiction is the time-honored best way to let oneself off the hook.  If you want license to imagine and project, unfettered by facts, choose fiction.

However, lets not focus exclusively on unpleasant or unhappy memories.  The ability to fill in or render, when necessary, is what the imagination is all about.

We may develop our skills, as a TV and film critic, questioning a director's choices, and yet never critique our own onboard programming systems.

Do you believe everything you see projected, in front of your own mind's eye?

Still in Plato's cave are we?

In my quest to self improve, I'll turn a critical eye on my own imagination, letting my editorializing eye know that it itself is being supervised.

The old game, of observing the observer, like a dog chasing its own tail, actually yields positive results if engaged in with gusto and a healthy attitude.  A system is more likely to register improvements when under sincere scrutiny.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Summer School Update (OCN)




You might have thought I'd be a Blender user well before now. 3D Graphics is expensive, in terms of hardware and I haven't had the budget, is part of it. I do single frame (still) renderings and run those together. Blender does the same thing. I was using POV-Ray (povray.org).

Anyway, our paths crossed (Blender's and mine) in June of 2020 and I immediately fleshed out School of Tomorrow (a repo on Github for one thing) to include Blender, as both a front and back end.

There's a Part 2 to this one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Fresh from the Troll Farm: Russiagate Sausage

The Russians were expecting the election of Hillary Clinton—and preparing to immediately declare it a fraud. The embassy in Washington had attempted to persuade American officials to allow its functionaries to act as observers in polling places. A Twitter campaign alleging voting irregularities was queued. Russian diplomats were ready to publicly denounce the results as illegitimate.
This story makes it sound like The Atlantic has special knowledge of what was to be official Russian policy.  I've seen no evidence for this claim whatsoever, which seems like a brand new conspiracy theory, impossible to prove false.  It just seems very very unlikely.

The implication is that Putin and the Kremlin (per "Russian diplomats") were planning to officially reject the outcome, were Hillary to win, pulling something like a "Juan Guaidó is the true prez of Venezuela".

I don't believe Putin / Kremlin / Officialdom in Russia planned anything that seriously dumb. They expected Hillary to win by a landslide or at least to win (says The Atlantic). 

That their plan was to take to the world stage announcing they didn't accept the verdict of the American people would have been a laughable mistake. Russians aren't that nuts.

The whole Guccifer story put together by Crowdstrike also deserves skepticism (which I've lavished on the story in my U2oob channel).

The author cites no sources for this conspiracy theory linking official diplomats to some queued Twitter campaign that never materialized.

Here's another unsubstantiated gem:
For their part, the IRA’s minions immodestly credited themselves with having tilted the trajectory of history. The U.S. government obtained an email from an IRA employee describing the scene at the St. Petersburg office on Election Night: “When around 8 a.m. the most important result of our work arrived, we uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne … took one gulp each and looked into each other’s eyes … We uttered almost in unison: ‘We made America great.’
Why should I believe this stuff? What email where from whom, obtained how?

This is just trolling.  I'm adding The Atlantic to my list of highly suspect fake news outlets, along with Business Insider.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Test Piloting

My frequency of posting has dropped somewhat, ditto Youtubes, but then for years I didn't do any Youtubes.  After a spike in productivity, lasting over a year in that genre, I'm not insisting a uniform distribution here on out.

Carol turns 91 tomorrow and is here in Portland riding out the Covid Storm.  Whatever that means.  You had to be there, right?

By "test piloting" in the title I mean with respect to various curriculum segments, which I try out.  My privilege has been continued access to a range of age levels, from say middle school, occasionally younger, up to adult.

The curriculum segments I test are disproportionately weighted towards communicating a brand of American Transcendentalism I favor, a kind of culturally literate philosophy that takes in fascination with phi and pi, and a lot more besides. 

I'm speaking of the "Bucky stuff" of course, which could be used as a broad umbrella, getting out there to circus tent dimensions.  In other words, I'm not trying to limit myself unnecessarily.  I'm still getting my feet wet in a lot of swimming holes where others have swimmed (swum?) for years.

More recently, I've been revisiting the ubiquitous-on-Twitter (and elsewhere) World of Data Science. What Bayesian World have we accessed, wherein all this kind of stuff is the case?  What is the likelihood of the world I inhabit.  Be that as it may, it appears that I do, but perhaps my problem is overly fixed beliefs?  Am I insensitive to continuing revelations?  These are the questions a data science is always posing, to both self and others.

What is the likelihood that the Concentric Hierarchy as I call it, should be dismissed as irrelevant, as noise?  I'm not saying that happened.  On the contrary, the great thinking of great thinkers has continued to make an impression in our shared civilizational template.  I'm in pass the torch mode, working to save (salvage) what I'm able to save.

Given that I have a kind of platform, and take that seriously, I continue doing homework a lot, piecing it together.  I'm always looking to other faculty and students for feedback in this cybernetic, global university I sometimes nickname the Global U.  Before that, I envisioned myself working for the Global Data Corporation.  I wanted some kind of tribal jurisdiction for it.

My Heuristics for Teachers on Wikieducator shows how I'd partitioned a generalist curriculum using the compass directions of future versus past, logistics versus risk assessment, given each of them quirky names: Martian, Neolithic, Supermarket and Casino respectively, with the suffix Math for each one.  Casino Math was the math of probability, confidence, assurity and so on, per this particular partitioning of course.  I embedded it in the Silicon Forest somewhere, with geocaching (treasure maps).

All of which is to say, I've made something of a career out of testing curricula, and I'm fine sharing that with my latest testees, as we know this is the common process, whereby we all update one another.


Friday, March 27, 2020

The "World Game" meme




Continuing several themes in my channel into this next chapter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Magic City

Magic City

I was sure I'd scrabbled together some Birmingham pix, from when Alexia and I visited Tara, could couldn't find them in any album, hard as I looked, so I made a new one today.

I'm embedding sans Flash widget, my usual, as Flash is being phased out.  Changing all my slideshows will be a long process, if I ever get to it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St. Patrick's Day 2020

I drove my mother, almost 91, to and from her INR appointment.  That's where they check your blood and adjust your dosage.  I'm on a blood thinner too.

Portland is in the early stages of facing down the Covid-19 thing meaning St. Patrick's Day is mostly canceled.  I'm having a Terminal Gravity IPA.

As I was sharing with Carol on the way home, Dawn Wicca my wife passed away on this day some thirteen years ago, in 2007.  I like to think she'd be happy about her family, her two daughters, and myself.  How is Tom doing these days?

Deep Scholar

Beyond happiness though, is working through our cosmic destiny in various ways.

Eve and I are chatting about Koyaanisqatsi (and the Simpsons parody thereof) and King Arthur by email.  She's in a locked down area of California.  Daughter of Karl Menger, wife of the late George Hammond, both blog characters.

Keeping social distance is the new courtesy, the expected politeness.  But they should be calling it physical distance, as in this age of social media, social distance means something else.

In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on what I'd consider positive memetic material, healthy messenger sequencing.  When genetic material goes viral, that's often bad news.  Memes are both easier to spread, and easier to counter.  That's why they say our evolution is more mental than physical these days, and meme based more than gene based.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

American Lit for High Schoolers



My humble goals for K-12 get spelled out in more detail. From the humanities side, it seems important to dive into the virology story right where Fuller crosses paths with Casper & Klug. The multi-disciplinary nature of virology is even bringing architects to the scene.

More glory came to Fuller posthumously, with the naming of buckminsterfullerene.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Midsummer's Dream in Portland



I'm posting this in the wintertime, still February. I thought I'd share something relatively upbeat, with a festival atmosphere.

When I think about the positive connotations of an asylum, I think of festivals and celebrations.  Maybe the dress code is a little crazy.  I've never been to Burning Man proper, but I've been to satellite events happening elsewhere, attended by some of the same people.  I'm sure that's another source of the vibe I'm attempting to somehow capture.

The party archetype connects to Dionysus, to Bachninalia, in Western Civ. The stereotype suggests Roman excess, drunken orgies, like in Fellini's Satyricon.  That's one extreme.  Somewhere in that mix we get the more sober engineers, the event planners and producers, charged with keeping people safe and responding to emergencies.  Actually I'm conflating roles.  Think of theme parks, and family fun.

Do refugee camps share cartoons with the kids?  Do they feature circus tents?  How about theaters?  When you're looking for ways to manage crowds, have them settle down, the usual solution is entertainment, which is oft times informational.  Film festivals.  Documentaries.

In my Coffee Shops Network business planning, we encourage people boning up, becoming informed, studying, which could mean watching lots of Youtubes.  Because then it's your job, in proportion to your level of performance in gaming (think "language games") to commit funds (your winnings) towards various programs, some in progress, some storyboarded.  To the extent our clientele is well informed, they're more likely to commit their winnings wisely.

When you help fund a program, you'll be in some cases looking forward to jumping into the action.  I commit to a somewhat science fictional Trucker Exchange Program, in some dimensions an outgrowth of my Business Mobile (BizMo) fleet fantasy.  We do location scouting in our bizmo caravans, sometimes with bigger trucks to follow, heavy equipment, in order to construct a new campus location.  In some cases, we'll provision by helicopter, per Fuller's visions in Shelter magazine (4D Timelock etc.).  My science fiction revisits many familiar themes, already prevalent before I joined the scene.

Where shall we put the new experimental prototype community of tomorrow?  Are we learning about an ecology?  Are we in Antarctica?  In the Amazon?  Will airstrips be involved?

Breakfast at Tom's

I was talking with Hayden about Libya at Tom's this morning. We were reminiscing about our time in Rome together, as young boys.

I was pointing to the painting of Portland decorating the north wall of this neighborhood diner, mentioning the Steel Bridge as an early icon in my consciousness. Although I was born in Chicago, my memories really start in Portland.

Dad moved us here from the University of Chicago when he joined the Portland planning bureau. However he'd always dreamed of working overseas in "developing countries" as we called them. He jumped at a chance to work with Libyans.

Hayden reminded me about Colonel Gaddafi's famous Amazonian bodyguards (all women). I remarked he was indeed a colorful character and recalled his setting up a tent for a meeting in the UN in New York, which made for entertaining theater.  I wasn't in the habit of demonizing the guy, as many around me would.

A story broke recently that a certain crypto company based in Switzerland had a compromised back door. We were told some of the things the CIA supposedly learned in this chapter.  Do we believe the news?  I'm sure most of us do.

Libyans took the blame for the downing of a commercial 747 over Scotland.  That wasn't discussed in the article I saw however.  The stories were more focused on the German nightclub massacre.  Libyans were overheard congratulating themselves, we're told.

Our family moved to Rome, where I first met Hayden, in the 1960s, so that my dad could practice the profession of planning, his client being the government of Libya.  When Gaddafi took over from King Idris, the work continued unabated.  Libya needed plans.

We saw the lives of most Libyans improving over the years.  I never actually never made it to Libya myself, nor did dad ever go back after the 1970s.  His career took him to the Philippines, Egypt, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Lesotho.

Hayden is visiting this part of the world because he's a cat lover and owns a special cat, worth a considerable sum, that he hopes to breed.  As of this writing, he's optimistic that kittens may already be on the way.  The special cat will stay here tonight.  I'll add a picture.  [Update: the cat is staying with the breeder up to the last minute, will go directly to the airport, so we won't get to meet].

Dad didn't live long enough to see Libya demolished and looted, its weapons shipped to Mesopotamia to fuel the wars in that region.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Wanderers Presentation: Auto Automation

Our small group, a side-effect of the ISEPP Lecture Series, gathered to learn as much as we could, in a short Thursday morning, from Gordon Hoffman.  He has followed the autonomous vehicle story for many years, enjoying the contests, and studying in his lab.  Gordon is a paradigm autodidact, nowadays tackling issues around higher frequency power grids and communications speeds (4G, 5G...).

I arrived a few minutes late, and Gordon graciously caught me up, as we were but one or two slides into it.  Daimler featured prominently, as one of the companies seriously exploring truck automation and optimization possibilities.

Daimler Trucks also a boasts a Leed certified North American headquarters on Swan Island, at the industrial center of the Port of Portland, close to the action at a ship to rail and truck interface.  Port of Vancouver is nearby to the north, along the deeper Columbia, with its Pacific Ocean access.  Seattle's is the nearest behemoth port along the Pacific.

Gordon painted an appealing picture of electrified fleet vehicles quietly, efficiently, autonomously plying the road ways, periodically checking themselves in for cleaning and maintenance.

Street side parking would be mostly a thing of the past, as would be car dealerships, and vast central business district parking garages. People could enjoy 24/7 driverless cab service, stepping nimbly from vehicle to vehicle, everything cybernetic and programmable.  The energy savings alone would be enormous.

Maybe they would still rent old fashioned muscle cars for occasional joy riding.  People still ride horses recreationally, after all.

Gordon also shares my interest in the spread of high voltage DC lines and the ongoing integration of electrical networks.  Growth in Asia has been impressive whereas North American engineers encounter endless red tape when it comes to any so-called "national energy policy".

So interested is Gordon in the driverless truck convoy idea, that he inquired about doing military service as a guinea pig himself.

I have also made guinea pig noises about wanting some truck tours, in the context of my Trucker Exchange program: trucking-related tours of duty for academic credit, like a peace corps, with built in opportunities for citizen diplomacy (like at truck stops especially).  I've shared some of these reveries in my YouTube channel over the years, in these blogs, and on Medium.

As Gordon pointed out in his concluding slide, New York City went from being knee deep in horse manure, with a stench people today would consider unbearable, to a more pristine gas mixture, in under two decades, thanks to affordable motorcars with internal combustion engines.

The horses went into retirement.

Could today's emissions infused-collective breathing soup be purified even further?

Could the human pilot of a city automobile be going the way of the elevator man?

Between today's vehicles and full autonomy, comes a lot of pilot testing.  Whatever the long term future, the morphing of our driving experience is already changing full tilt, with GPS, backup cameras, dashboard apps, many new sensors.

I chirped up about Disney's EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), not the theme park that was actually built by his brother, and part of the original plan (for greater DisneyWorld), but the planned community, with built-in turnover.  I've been "infected" with that vision myself, though it's not just one such Prototypes City that I'm hoping to still see.

Bucky's gargantuan stadium-shaped Old Man River City (picture tiered bleachers scaled to garden apartments) was about prototyping, and is but one example.  However mega-projects went out of style in many areas, but for military endeavors in some cases.  Within the context of experimental townships and campuses, programmable transportation solutions could be tested and fine tuned.

Gordon has appeared in my blogs before, as one of the Wanderers, and as an early board member and instructor for Saturday Academy, an experimental school that brings together younger students (pre-college, usually) and career professionals.

I've learned a lot from my association with this academy over the years, from field testing some of my curriculum ideas around computer science and geometry.  For example, I got to work with the Hillsboro Police Department, West Precinct, where Saturday Academy was hired to share free, open source computing with underprivileged immigrant kids, or with whoever signed up for the program.

In addition to diving back into electrical engineering and smart grid devices, Gordon is looking into Python (the computer language) and its data science ecosystem (such as Jupyter Notebooks).  Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a role in the equations, as our technology rolls forward...  or backward as the case may be.

Real intelligence is still needed, to help steer the zeitgeist in a human-friendly direction.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Exploring Our American Heritage



I keep expecting the Jesuits at Central Catholic or one of those, to invite me to one of their seminars, in walking distance, or maybe a series on curriculum concepts. I wouldn't be the only presenter of course. I have no monopoly on American Heritage.

I understand where the "public schools", made to toe the line in Math (Common Core etc.) and unlikely to innovate in Literature, might not touch this stuff.  I've worked on the math textbook publishing side, and know there's little room for making waves.  We were attempting to sneak in some coding (Logo and BASIC back in those days), and already that was too much.

However the private schools have more leeway and I'd think the Vatican would be grooving on Beatnik Bucky's Greenwich Village not-so-square style mytho-poetry.

Just kidding, I'm not surprised by the silence.  Quakers are good at silence too, judging by their (our) own PR.

I'm better positioned to affiliate my content, a brand of Transcendentalism, with Quakerism, even though I have plenty on my resume thanks to Catholicism.  I'm referring to my years working for the Dominicans (Jersey City), and later for the Sisters of Providence here in Oregon.

I've also worked in a number of local Catholic schools in Greater Portland, sharing a STEM curriculum that's pretty much devoid of "eutrigon" type thinking but not entirely, given Turtle Graphics live on (thank you Seymour Papert et al).

Sometimes I work it in around the edges (the geometry memes) such as by making C6XTY assembly and disassembly (fun) a point of the class.

That approach especially worked with Saturday Academy, which come to think of it is connected to Portland University (Catholic).  I was able to field test Martian Math during two separate summer schools, in the luxury computer science lab at Reed College.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Curated Chess Channel



After our family pulled up stakes in Rome, mom & dad served as camp directors at this AFSC summer camp for people in the Middle East interested in ending conflict. We built a swimming pool together, or started off in that direction. The terrain was solid rock and we only got a pool in outline. It might have made a nice basement for some future building or condo. I haven't been back to Ramallah to see if I could find any trace of it.

Anyway, that was the year Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer faced off for the world championship.  I came to this channel in the midst or revisiting those games, which I was also tracking at the time.  We would work until it got hot (early to mid morning) and then knock off for ice cream at Rukab's.

I was going from middle to high school that year, and once we got back to North America, for job hunting purposes, I started life as a freshman at Southeast High, Bradenton, not far from the Tropicana place.  Dad found work in the Philippines and I finished my freshman year in Manila.

I was used to being uprooted by that point and so was the school (ISM, formerly ASM).  Families were always coming and going in that capital.  My friend Glenn Baker would show up in our senior year, fresh from Islamabad and before that Turkey (with an interlude in Virginia or one of those).

Monday, February 03, 2020

Let Them Eat Soylent

Star Trekker

Kirby Urner
In a late bid to run as president, I'm handing out free bags of Soylent at the Krobar today, then dropping out of the race, with 0% of the vote. You know where to find me.

Kirby Urner My own approach is to cast Persia as the leading anti-nuke weapon power center, leaving the imams and ayatollahs to feel shame for disgracing Islam if they're hypocritical about their fatwah against weaponized atomics, a tool of satan. Suits my purposes to have a non-aligned network (pro UN Nuke Ban Treaty) on my side. California / Oregon (Cascadia) has already passed legislation in favor of the Persian stand.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Geek Lore


When it comes to CrowdStrike, the conspiracy theory is not that they have some server in Ukraine, but that the Mueller report dead ends in a cold case with no public evidence. The conspiracy theory is what's in the Mueller report itself, in the form of an as yet unsubstantiated indictment.

Dr. Hill says whatever evidence there is may just have to stay classified, and it's the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community that we don't have to do any messy trials or present evidence to establish guilt. Just trust us.

That an indictment is an allegation, still unproved, has been lost in the fray. Spin doctors knew it would be. They count on journalists repeating allegations as fact, that's how Russiagate built so much momentum in the first place.

We know the GRU hacked into the DNC because CrowdStrike said it did, and provided an elaborate story that proved CrowdStrike has even more prowess than the GRU when it comes to hacking the hackers. 


The indictment reads like a commercial (oh, and the Russians had to stop and research Powershell commands while hacking the DNC Exchange Server, nod to Microsoft).

Problem: the whole story is opaque and unsubstantiated. Is Guccifer 2.0 really the GRU in disguise? Of course! Why? Because CrowdStrike says so, and says it has the evidence to back it up.

The FBI rubber stamped their report (redacted) and thereby signed over the investigation to a private company, much as the wars in Mesopotamia were turned over to Blackwater and Halliburton/KBR.

Now that the justice system has been privatized, along with the military, the question remains: how do you use the Constitution to restore the Constitution? I'm not sure it has such self-rebooting powers.


Click here for Part 2.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Friday, January 03, 2020

Occupy History

Dec 29, 2019, 1:46 PM 

Occupy History Project: write your own recent history up to where Tulsi becomes president. Here's mine:

Smedley "War Hero" Butler, champion of the unpaid WW1 vets (their delayed pay called a "bonus"), exposed the Business Plot under FDR, delaying the coup until 1963 when the mob installed IMPOTUS #1: Emperor Johnson.

By Reagan (IMPOTUS #5), the oligarchs were firmly in control, Uncle Sam RIP * now needed to fool people into fervently believing in this new Imposter Government (IG), with bogus elections (deliberately broken) and lots of taxation without representation (we're all Puerto Rico now). Ollie North types were in control of foreign policy (shades of Nixon).

By 9.11.01, with no credible defenses, no real leadership, the sham had worn dangerously thin, and wars of conquest and distraction, in the New Rome tradition, led to bombing the Middle East on vague pretenses, and amazingly, Yugoslavia (Clinton's gang bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade you might remember, typical coke head behavior).

We're now under Naked Emperor #10. The joker-heads like Bolton think war against Iran will keep us all looking the other way. Whipping the public into a mad cow frenzy over Iran's supposed "nukes" is priority number one.

Then Tulsi came along, representing the abused misused military, and suggested we restore the Constitution and not seek war against Persia.

The fading Clintonistas tried some of their old tricks, but were out of effective magic. Tulsi beat Trump in a landslide becoming the first female president, 2nd president from Hawaii, and America started getting back to taking care of its own people. We all lived happily ever after and yadda yadda, Amen.

* a Medal of Freedom winner even said so ("the U.S.A. we have known is bankrupt and extinct") out loud, in print, at the time -- not in the news, smear tactics had been perfected.

OK your turn.