Friday, April 09, 2021

Hexen House

I'm thinking "hexen" is plural for "witch" like in German, am I right?  Yeah, the internet says I'm right. The connection between "hexes" and "spells" is tight, and the UNIX men embraced "wizards" as a thing they could be. So I wasn't joking in proposing "coven" as a bevy of mostly female software engineers. That'd be very Portland.

I've gone over this proposal some years back, on edu-sig.  At one of the OS Bridge conferences, we got lectured that our cosplay spoof job title culture was immature, starting with such as BDFL (Guido's title at the time).  So I'm likely beyond the pale in going with hexen running FANG or whatever.  Will the NYT pick up on Portland usage?

We were Blue House before, and still are, in the FNB namespace.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Cultural Illiteracy?

Despite the two volume Synergetics (Macmillan) from the late 1970s, the Wikipedia page on the Tetrahedron has no links to Bucky Fuller's philosophy as of March, 2021.  

Why this would seem an omission is that, alone among the philosophers, Fuller undertook to recast the regular tetrahedron as his unit of volume, even while preserving edges one.

Here's a volume formula, derived subsequently to Synergetics' publication, by Gerald de Jong, which takes the six edges of any tetrahedron and returns its volume in terms of "tetravolumes".  

The regular tetrahedron of edges 1 has volume 1.  The regular tetrahedron of edges 2 has volume 8.  

However, irregular tetrahedrons have tetravolumes too.  Indeed, Fuller defined a common conversion constant for going back and forth between cubic and tetrahedral volumes, named S3.

One discovery stemming from this use of the tetrahedron, is the result that any tetrahedron with all four vertexes at the centers of spheres in a CCP packing, has a whole number volume.  

Likewise, any Waterman Polyhedron* turns out to have a whole number volume as well.

Fuller twisted our customary concept of "dimension" around to make it mean something in terms of the tetrahedron, which is the topologically minimum volume in terms of V, F and E (vertexes, faces, edges).  

He described res extensa (the physio-spatial world), as well as res mensa (the imaginary world), as "4D" meaning primitively and minimally a container with four facets and four corners.

Why don't I add a link from Tetrahedron to Bucky Fuller myself?  I concede that Tetrahedron page to others, having learned the hard way (e.g. Math Forum) what wars to skip. I did add a link to Tetrahedron from Quadray Coordinates today, and likewise to Caltrop.

* defined as a maximal convex polyhedron centered at a CCP ball with its vertexes defined as all those CCP centers at radius R or less.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Veering About

The nearby Project Renaissance apartment, a curator's center, furnishes me with DVDs I should see, or see again. Although I've cut back on movie reviews, that's not for lack of watching.  You may have picked up I'm on another Adam Curtis kick.

One of my Facebook friends was a contemporary of Russell Brand's in Miami.  Russell's interview with Adam Curtis serves as a jumping off point for my latest video.

The genre "the making of" or "behind the scenes with" is often more entertaining than the film itself. Werner Herzog has some fun with the genre in The Making of Fitzcarraldo as I've blogged about before.

Glenn assures me "the making of" Slumdog Millionaire will delight me.

Then we dove into James Thurber, because the sketchiness of his cartoons reminded Glenn of Mr. McGoo, never seeing things quite right, but on the other hand, it worked for him.

This morning, I was reading an analysis, by Serena Mocci, of Margaret Fuller's somewhat conflicted "reports back home" from a conflicted Italy. Liberal democracies were yearning to breathe free, and America should prove a strong ally in any such endeavor, despite having become a slave state empire, about to swallow the Mexican states.  

There's still some good in there somewhere, that could express itself vicariously, by backing the legitimate struggles of Rome. Send donations, you liberals back home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Remarks on Curriculum

Categorization of Polyhedra

I've returned to an old theme for me:  tabular recordkeeping is at the core of civilization (silly-vization), and today that means getting steeped in databases, not just Excel.  Those who lose touch with tabular bookkeeping, drop out of the middle class, according to this theory.

Whereas I consider a school "elite" for offering SQL to middle and high schoolers, that's not the right standard.  That's like saying HTML, English grammar, parts of speech, times tables, are all dispensable, now that we have cartoons. I may have felt that way as a kid, as I adored cartoons and HTML was not yet invented, but looking back, I see "passing the torch" as a matter of relevant skills sharing, not only, but including.

The compromise, for me, would be more didactic cartoons, puppets and so on.  Big Bird never taught us about complex numbers and none of the muppets shares SQL.  Why?  Sometimes it seems the more vital the knowledge, the drier the bones.  Scare away the most imaginative and you'll have your ideal labor pool of the most compliant, seems to be the filtering mechanism.

Our sandbox is for learning SQL is of course SQLite3, given Python as sqlite3 built right in.  

This isn't just a practice space, but a place to maintain legitimate files.  The personal workspace of today and tomorrow has long included an electronic file tree, and those forced to adulthood with now exposure to filesystem trees have been cast by the caste system as people without office skills.  We call it the Digital Divide. 

You won't get to hold office if you have no office skills (e.g. SQL).  The school system helps separate the two groups, often without letting on that this is what it is doing.

Lists of airports, favorite websites, stamps, coins... the literature is packed with examples, more or less practical.  SQL is a whole separate language from Python, and seeing them both happening at once, in a single script, is most instructive.

On top of all this promotion of SQL in grade school, I put spatial geometry as a topic.  The polyhedrons, in particular, need to be filed away in various ways, and retrieved accordingly.  The inventory each has, of corners, faces, edges (V + F = E + 2) is an obvious starting place, followed by tags alluding to category, such as Archimedean, Platonic.

Do we endeavor to include Volume as a column?  Given an edge length, why not?  In fact, we might even carry two volume columns, as our "elite" curriculum is fluent around tetravolumes as well as XYZ volumes.  In fact, those Jupyter Notebook examples are done, open source, available.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Bellingham Museum of Chemical and Biological Munitions

Getting the timelines right, regarding the treaties and so on, is the next step. The photographic inventory is less important at this point. 

Some exhibits feature controversies without forcing the viewer into a point of view e.g. Douma (OPCW scandal), Skripals (novichok on door knob), Navalny (novichok in underwear).

We find lots of deception when it comes to who is short-circuiting what agreements, and so the museum has to structure some of the exhibits as debates among competing theories of truth.

Monday, February 08, 2021

American History Lesson

Dymaxion House Interior

We'd be in a different situation if architects hadn't decried Bucky Fuller's idea to let the aerospace sector get into mass produced housing (this was pre dome). Airstream is as close as we got, otherwise manufactured and mobile homes tried to fit the bill, with architects continuing to do old technology one-offs, pandering to rich clients who insist on their "one of a kind" vehicle of self expression, the ego (eggo) house.
Meanwhile, all cars look the same and more and more Americans have taken to living in them. The alternative future went down as "the industry industry missed". Fuller's design was all about making the mother in the family stress free so she could hang out with the kids, considered sexist in the age of unisex jobs and both parents working. The design would be affordable and so mortgage free.

School teachers who share American history are at liberty to bring up this vision, in conjunction with a lot of other interesting history, such as World's Fairs, Disneyland, EPCOT... Defunctland is a fun Youtube channel on all this, and I reference it pretty often in mine. 

There's also a certain geometry Fuller developed, which we might teach as a part of literature, since he mostly used prose for it. American Transcendentalism. His great aunt Fuller was likewise a feminist and a first editor of The Dial, which first published Emerson and Thoreau. 

As a Quaker with an interest in curriculum, I tell my trainees they're free to share all this history and geometry, as I'm doing. I actually make fun of schools that don't communicate any of this information, calling them all kinds of insulting things (e.g. phony, substandard) behind their backs (that's called competition).

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Superbowl Sunday 2021

Granite Sculpture

Today is Superbowl Sunday, but I only caught the last 10 seconds, nothing in play as the Buccaneers were up by a lot.

My day was spent doing office work, bouncing off a new guy, and writing a piece for Medium.  Then I was in Python teacher mode, and online, with my bevy of teens.  After that ended, I composed a thank you for Session 4 email, then tuned to CBS on my upstairs digital receiver ancient television (not flat).

I've been using the term "buckaneer" somewhat informally, meaning "someone into the Bucky stuff", aware of the pirate motif.  I've got my pirate ship USA party also, no candidates, only planks. Only structure and substance. Mostly ghosts.  Appropriately.

I haven't made sense of the Biden Administration's position yet, on where the grid is to get its nuclear fuel. We're not giving any cartel a monopoly on enrichment, the last anyone checked.  

Is nuclear fuel a problem?  The percentages we're talking about are less concerning than the ignorance of the journalism surrounding the whole issue.

The Quaker prof in an elite school, is how I rattle around in Blue House these days. The Oregon Curriculum Network has had a headquarters here for over 25 years by this time.  The products are everywhere online.

They were talking about activist profs working with Antifa in recent maneuvers.  You've got my blogs here saying I haven't met any leadership, and my circles around Occupy Portland in 2009 were different. I'm not trying to be in the streets or in any rallies or meetings.  Portland treats the pandemic seriously.

However I still get to be an activist prof, even if I'm not taking my cues from locals exclusively.  I've stopped trying to contribute to the racism conversation, for example, given how rickety that whole concept is. Once the house of cards starts falling, there's no need to stick around to watch them fall. You know how entropy works.  

It's hard to be against something that doesn't exist.  They say "atheist" is a misnomer for that same reason.  However I can be against apartheid, such as I've come to know it.

Speaking of apartheid, my Class of 1980 at Princeton still takes some pride in pioneering the BDS movement against apartheid South Africa at that time.  Our focus was the D in BDS: Divestment. The holder of investments:  Princeton University.  The nature of the assets invested in:  companies making money on the basis of that apartheid business model.

The attitude to take towards the nuke supply chain, is stringent vigilance and note sharing. We know the nuke weapons are illegal per the UN, and expect collaborating agencies to take stock in which private sector business are willfully rogue.  Their use of nationalist symbols as a thin cover helps to call attention to the job sites (the inventories of banned radio-toxins).

Iran's role in all of this is not that different from anyone else's.  Comply with the TPNW and assist in the spread of prohibitive costs to the Dr. Evils out there.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Protocols of Covid

Torture Taxi

Given I'm an in home care person for an elder, an Urner family NGO, my radius has been limited. 

Pizza in the backyard, with six feet interdistance, is permitted by the rules.  It's our own health that's on the line, so we don't have to talk about altruism.  

We have no special access to vaccines outside the standard protocol.

My strategy is to hang out with other "fragiles" i.e. people unlikely to survive SARS2. These tend to be elderly with underlying conditions, or other conscientious caretakers thereof.

When the pandemic started, I fell back to a shopping service and eschewed the local wet market (in one corner, there's an animal products section.  We trust the food handlers to follow the covid protocol too).

The UBI we're after is the UBS of Education Automation, the safety net scholarship program whereby humans retrain.  I didn't say "learn to code". Indeed, I've been going in the other direction, from coding, to truck driving.  That's a vector.

Truck driving and coding are not antithetical disciplines.  A bizmo or business mobile, which could be a truck, has to be smart about operating costs versus benefits.  GIS/GPS plays a role.  Once you factor in Dispatch, the model is very software intensive.

We just took the Savannah "torture taxi" (named for the infamous extreme rendition program), over to Providence and back, where Carol gets her blood test, in a parking garage (top deck, not basement).  

The previous owner of this 1997 Nissan worked for Gulfstream, in Savannah, where torture taxis were made. She defected and ended up a refugee in Portland, here in Asylum District.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sunday, January 03, 2021


As we moved to mail-in ballots for all, in all states, making them more like Oregon, I expressed skepticism that such a large infrastructure switch could be made smoothly.

I'm like a geek from IT, one of the janitors, and when people imagine huge changes in how we do business (like Medicare for All, a wonderful idea) I wonder if we have the management skills to pull it off. You don't ask a kid who can barely tie her or his own shoes, to run a decathlon.

Although many say the election ran very smoothly, with nary a Russian in view this time, we could see signs on the horizons that sudden rule changes and impromptu decision making, required for the conversion, might become a basis for future challenges. The machinery might work better than ever, but that many people voting from home, could be painted as treachery.

What treachery? We're in the middle of a covid pandemic. Did you expect us to stand in line for days or what? We did the practical thing and went all out, sending ballots to every house in the state. The lists aren't that coordinated.

Yes, some went to dead people. Are we saying those dead person ballots were abused? Because if your household got an excess of ballots, or ballots for dead people, that's not a crime yet. That's an irregularity and doesn't change the outcome. Because pandemic. Because it's a scramble. Not all states have the tight integration with DMV for example (motor vehicles).

But the losers are not in a forgiving mood. Trump says we shouldn't let covid rule our lives. He must think we're sissies for voting from home. Those were Democrats, socialists, not Americans really, who adapted to the pandemic and changed practices quickly. We're going to call fraud. The system was never tight, and it's not like we're watching ballerinas. There's always room for more FUD.