Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Martian Computing

Colonizing Mars

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Not So Early Adoption

The decision to not share about the concentric hierarchy in public schools, in K-12, came from an authority I so far have not encountered, and nor would I trust it initially if I did, as I disagree with the decision. 

Another possibility is it -- the nested polys with volumes expressed in tetravolumes -- just fell through the cracks.

Perhaps the decision was to not share in K-12, as that ghetto-neighborhood is already packed to the gills with tested content and prereqs, but in higher ed, we have more room to share.  Note to Earlham.

I think maybe the "fell through the cracks" narrative has merit.  There's a chicken-egg issue with booting any new content, like starting a startup.

The decision to share about the concentric hierarchy in some public schools is the one I'm backing.  We're free to start in the literature department, or in history.  We're also free to continue questioning the slow adoption by others, demonstrating a competitive spirit.

If computer science (a) exists and (b) takes an interest (in that school, does it have its own server space?), then we're free to widen the circle.  Look for schools that share Blender (

Teachers of mathematics are welcome to keep their distance, as they have been doing.  We'll be drawing on their knowledge base, while trying not to disturb their SAT, AP and ACT preparations.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Public Schools Embrace Design Science

Not all at once mind you. A blend of computer science + the humanities is ready to roll forward without disturbing the math teaching rank and file, which are boxed in by standards.

Our impact on other STEM subjects is more by osmosis and organic growth than because of any top-down campaign led by think tanks, not that we don't have our own think tanks and ways of advertising.

Some public schools have more freedoms than others, when it comes to sharing American and/or World Literature and History. We do not all share the same notion of "cultural literacy" and the resulting diversity is considered a positive.

School of Tomorrow. Oregon Curriculum Network. 4D Solutions.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Steering in Cyberia

TrimTabers are plowing through Fuller's Earth these days.  "TrimTabers" is not really an English word, although "trimtab" is, at least according to Collins English Dictionary.  

I find many dictionaries have "trim tab" as two words.  Either way, the meaning traces to maritime origins (but has aeronautical applications as well), as "the rudder that steers the rudder" (or smaller plane that acts on a bigger plane -- with "plane" meaning "piece of the wing" and not short for "airplane"). The trimtab steers the wing or rudder in which it is embedded.

Cybernetics was likewise linked to the verb "to steer" i.e. ""kubernetika" referred to "steering as a skill".

To some extent, Buckminster Fuller (aka RBF) likely helped "trim" and "tab" stick together in a single string, as that was his usage, with "Call Me Trimtab" his famous epitaph.

But even with TrimTab a brewery in Alabama (I have some souvenir empty cans, shared on Youtube), we don't say "TrimTaber" a lot (and should it have two "bs" as in Tabber and Tabby Cat?).

By TrimTabers I mean participants in Curt's TrimTab Book Club.  I'm tempted to write BookClub in camelCase, to allude to TrimTab in camelCase. At least Simple English Wikipedia writes camelCase in camel case (not all sources do).

The other week we had Siobhan Roberts as our guest, author of two biographies connected to our own readings.

John H. Conway was her most recent subject and she had some interesting anecdotes about him.  

Donald Coxeter (also known as "H.S.M. Coxeter"), based at the University of Toronto (Conway was at Princeton in his final days) is the late great geometer to whom Synergetics was dedicated, speaking there of RBF's magnum opus.

These days we're plowing through Fuller's Earth, as I mention in my opening.  That's a book wherein RBF gets together with a few kids, with a tape recorder and a camera going, operated by a small crew.  Their plan was to turn the voice recordings and photographs, along with Fuller's hand drawings into an easy to read book.  The one we're now reading, almost forty years later.

We'll take our time with this book, but it's pretty short and I've been reading ahead.  The kids he's hanging out with know he has a reputation as a futurist, which is akin to a prophet or soothsayer, but with strong grounding in science.  Fuller stresses has faithfulness to science, but in a way that would dismay many teachers: as a source of skepticism versus axiomatically accepted mathematics.

We may be used to pitting science versus religion, but not science versus math.  

He encourages his young proteges to get good grades by pleasing their teachers (what he did ultimately), by giving them the sought for answers ("when in Rome...") but in the mean time, they had the inherent right to exercise freedom of thought, which could mean harboring and cultivating a counter-narrative.

Fuller sets an example by exercising his own freedom to diverge from convention, by converging to something else:  to the tetrahedron, his central construct for conceptuality itself, and his unit of volume.

How esoteric is this history and will it be taught in American high schools?  Not in all of them certainly, but then propagating curriculum ideas is relatively easy these days, so lets expect a few to take it up, perhaps under Lit.  American colleges too, will in some places be picking up the slack.

In the Google Group archives, not public at this time, we intertwine our various threads.  There's a Zoom meetup and a publishing / prototyping aspect.  Some of us are Canadian, as was Coxeter.

Fuller isn't giving spooky Greek metaphysics a free pass, even though it masquerades as beyond questionable.  The infinitely long lines of mono-dimensional thinness come in for some scrutiny. Why don't we reject the Cube World as a world of phoniness and fake news?  Obviously such questioning of the dominant paradigm is enough to perturb the authoritarians, especially given he's passing this torch to kids, in the open.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Centrum Censorious

I take umbrage that Moderate Rebel Max Blumenthal would diss a Blogspot blog as inherently less professional than whatever else he was pointing to in the linked Youtube.  Blogs started as long ago as mine didn't have this wide range of choices or sport the current vogue look.  So what?

On the other hand, the Rebels are making the good point that NATO is the immature school boy with its hands in the wrong jar again.  Their mockery of Nemo who whomever is appropriately scathing.  The "west" likes to pretend it's above censorship ala some imagined Chinese model (not that there isn't one, just it wouldn't be exactly as you imagine).  On the other hand, "censor" was an appropriate privilege and job title within the Roman-Catholic Empire.  Other euphemisms pertain.

I quit the Mathematics Research Educators group yesterday, public on Facebook.  The admins just couldn't be bothered to include a "pensive cowboy" in the conversations.  That's my Youtube persona:  a guy with a black Stetson a lot of the time (not always).

The education research I'm doing centers around mainstreaming various aspects of a "Bucky math" that's embedded in American literature and that some universities are now starting to grapple with.  They don't like having to play catch up, but in an open source economy that may become their role.  

Remember how GNU / Linux grew from the need to continue practicing one's craft even after enjoying tools covered by license fees unaffordable to individuals.  Everyone needed UNIX but relatively few could afford to pay Bell Labs.  Once ordinary people could use Cyberian power tools, the playing field was leveled like never before and a new kind of democratic meritocracy could begin to experiment with itself.

Our "open source textbook" approach is not new.  I get peer reviewed by my peers even as I pump out the Jupyter notebooks from JupyterLab, while urging my high school students to do the same.  There's no reason to censor my School of Tomorrow content, which extends various entries in Wikipedia and Wikieducator.  We're more delayed than stopped, by the Pearson + NCTM conspiracy.  Given the American literature context, we will continue to "debritify" i.e. escape the tyranny of NATO + English programming.  Does that mean widening the distance twixt NPR and BBC?