Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Of Arrogance and Pronouns

We've been treated to a lot of "I talk" meaning the "I" is very insistent on what pronouns we use to refer to it. 

However the pronoun that interests me more is "we".  There's this silent "we" I often want to demur from being any part of, yet polite conversation dictates that the speaker has a right to its "we" usage. We're not to question it.

Where this linguistic tension pops up in its most pithy form is in the American idiom "what we whiteman?" I often hear myself thinking this when some self-flagellant testifies to the war crimes of his tribe. "We bombed them anyway".  With the tacit assumption of shared guilt.  That's where the arrogance comes in.

I'm sure y'all know what I mean.  Sometimes one just needs a safe space to not get involved in all these "we" groups out there, that want to just assume you're their partner in arms.

Monday, July 19, 2021

More Pythonic Andragogy

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Friday, July 16, 2021

One Dimensional Thinking

Take the color dimension, for example.  A corporate kindergarten mindset, frequented by unimaginative bureaucrats, wants the ethnicity picture simplified as follows:  a laminated panel of emoji faces, randomly ordered as red, yellow, brown, black, white.  

You are one of these, or a mix.  Unless you insist on filling in Other, just pick the one you're the most of and don't make a big fuss about it.

Anti-Racists despise this simplification to five or nine or twenty-nine colors.  A single color dimension is insufficient to map a complex territory.  

The mono-dimensional thinkers just what to impose an order they understand.  If there's strife within that order, e.g. yellow versus brown, that's OK, because at least it's according to the framework.  

It's when world events seem to have nothing to say to mono-dimensional thinkers that they get nervous, as they should, as they aren't "the meek" about to inherit the earth many imagine themselves to be.  No points in heaven for the five color race game, sorry.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Finite Structural Analysis

I learned from an architect recently that finite element analysis software is what's to blame for the logjam in giant dome experiments.  

We were all fully expecting Whole Earth Catalog types would be vying for a world record, in terms of height and diameter, if not at Burning Man, then perhaps in the deserts of Arabia (because there's uninhabited land for it, but also engineers used to large scale experiments).

Apparently, large scale domes, big enough to cover small towns at least, would build up anomalous stress points if constructed too regularly, or too strictly by the book, according to some well-known grid pattern.  

Here then that is what we want to test, in building precisely these structures.  

How well does the software predict reality?  You never know until you try it.

Fortunately, the budgets involved are not gargantuan, and the real long term benefits, in terms of gained experiences, are bound to pay off down the road.

We're not talking covered structures necessarily i.e. domes with coverings.  The focus is the skeleton and its pull and push points.  Said skeleton is likely made of repeated sub-triangles, or LCD triangles.  These were the kinds of structures Buckminster Fuller prototyped, when traveling from one university to the next.

Although honored in the field of architecture with various prizes and awards, Fuller worried about how much this discipline, supposedly concerned with the problem of sheltering humanity, had become the creature of those mainly seeking to erect monuments to their own egos.  

Skyscraper graveyards dominated the urban landscape, with contemporary humans living homeless in their shadows, in a post-apocalyptic dystopia.  Architecture seemed more about the afterlife, perhaps not surprising given its roots.

Once we get to coverings and enclosures, the more ambitious experiments will be underwater.  How big an underwater dome makes sense, and for what reasons?  Don't let structural analysis software give you premature answers.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

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