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.