Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Paradigms and Eeyore: Why we can’t change; DARK is a privative



“It isn’t going to work,” Says Eeyore; the quintessential pessimist, implying that “we never did it that way before”.  

How about the things that we have always done this way that aren’t working, never will, and which imply, no ensure, that we will have to deal with the same old problems forever?  I guess that if we’re lucky, we’ll get new intractable problems compounded on the unresolved problems that we just ignored because “We’ve always done it this way.”  Ah!   New!  That’s progress!   

No, that’s an over filling “in box” of unaddressed issues.  Eventually, the problem with the buggy whip factory becomes mute…  But is that anyway to run a planet?

Nobody likes big surprises to what they expect to happen next.  Human nature (which I have so often said; ain’t all it’s cracked up to be) defines our comfort level with new things.   Young people are better at this (they have way less invested in the status quo) than older people.  I’ve come to the conclusion that corporate management, and designers who have taken a long route to positions where they get to make decisions, are mostly old people; in other words; cowards, afraid of change.  

Having said that; I've seen plenty of things designed by people (probably some young, some old) that obviously the designer has never gotten within ten feet or a half hour of actually using (that's a different problem).

120 years ago, some really clever people invented photography.  They captured images of the real world in a way that had never happened before they made their photos; a big change.  The apparatus that they used required the exclusion of any and all stray light from impinging on their light sensitive  “film”.  Therefore, black everything.  Black cameras, black clothes they wore and black tents they could duck under behind the lenses to see and capture the image.  Black everything (for good reason) was associated with photography.

 Later we put the film inside a light impervious camera…   But the cameras stayed black.  Later, we invented a movie camera and a VCR, something to show images (pictures/photos on a screen or your TV) all the equipment still stayed black. Then we got DVD players (guess what?) they are black.  Furthermore, the controls are black and they have dark gray letters and symbols on the keys.  The remote controls are black, even the letters on the keys are dark gray.  

Wow!  I guess we’re still terrified of stray light!  How often have you had to turn on a light to operate your DVD or the damn remote?    I’m sitting at a computer that shows images, pictures on it’s screen; the key board is black, the letters on the buttons are dark gray, requiring that I turn on a light to see them. 


DUH!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Langton’s Ant

    
If you knew everything in the present, exactly, and you also knew the “laws of nature” could you predict the future?  We live in a dynamic system that we can measure, and we know all of the rules we can measure, so like predicting the eclipse of the sun, can’t we predict more complicated things as well?    
A conventional dynamic system (CDS) is defined as a system where all the parts (every part) are described precisely as to position, and motion, (and by implication; the rules that govern their interaction - what they can do).  The rules are that we don’t make up outside influences; they are all defined in our complete and precisely defined system.

The Rule takes the system one step from its current state to the next (possible, ergo defined state) step.  If we’ve done everything right, this will be predicable.
If we work with a planetary solar system, (this means all the planets, their sizes and densities, distances, velocities, moons, gravitational constant, etc), it’s pretty complicated.  But we can, and do, predict eclipses and the position of our planets and moons millions of years into the future with excellent accuracy.  Even the Mayans did this 1,400 years ago for eclipses, (hold that thought*).  So this means we can predict at least some parts of the future; we live among predetermined systems, right?
Consider a far simpler CDS, it has only four or five defined parts and only three rules.  The parts are a graph paper like grid (two parts?) and a locator of the  starting point, the initial state.  The rules are:

   Rule 1). Each step in this CDS takes the locator one square forward.
  Rule 2). At a white square, turn 90° right, flip the color of the square, move forward one unit
 Rule 3). At a black square, turn 90° left, flip the color of the square, move forward one unit

This called “Langton’s Ant*.  The ant is the locator that moves one step at a time, following the “rules”.  This can be run on a very simple computer program (OK, the computer is complicated but it is doing a very simple step by step process).
This is much simpler than planets, moons, velocities, orbits, distances and all their interactions as they whizz around our sun.
So when you run it, it should be very predictable, right?  Info in, info out; always the same result…  Nope.  Try, unpredictable for the first few hundred moves then a strange locked in pattern to infinity. 
This simple CDA leads to complex behavior. Three distinct modes of behavior are apparent.
Simplicity.  During the first few hundred moves it creates very simple patterns which are often symmetric.
Chaos.  After a few hundred moves, a big, irregular pattern of black and white squares appears. The ant traces a pseudo-random path until around 10,000 steps.
Emergent order.  Finally the ant starts building a recurrent "highway" pattern of 104 steps that repeats indefinitely.

All finite initial configurations tested eventually converge to the same repetitive pattern.  No one has been able to prove why this is true for all such initial configurations. It is only known that the ant's trajectory is always unbounded regardless of the initial configuration.
Here is a super simple CDS that results in a pattern that no one could predict, and even now that we know what happens, we can’t explain why, we had to run it to see it happen.
 So the debate about the future being determinable from the present is over.  Now do a CDS with 200,000 atoms in three dimensional space…. You know, like a virus.

          *The Mayans could predict the eclipses with great accuracy (at the same time that most Europeans believed the earth to be flat and the center of the Universe).  But before you get too laudatory of the Mayans’ scientific abilities, at the same time that they could do this, they still had religious mythology about jaguars eating the sun.  Their CDS still had outside influences, Gods.


If you’d like to see this in action, go to:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langton%27s_ant

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GRATEFUL DEADHEADING: A GARDENER'S REVELATION Guest post By Chris Bolgiano



Pinch. Snip. Snap. Severed, spent flowers drop into the compost bucket like guillotined heads into a basket. I pretend they are my bad habits, bad temper, bad hair. If only it was so easy.
In the dusk of my life, I’ve arrived at a garden plan that puts my cutting herbs on my deck. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, basil, tarragon and oregano, plus a scattering of spring onions, live in four large planters on coasters and one stationary, soil-filled horse watering trough. Mixed through all the pots are flowers. First come the early season, self-seeding volunteer annuals like violas and little native poppies, then later the verbenas, petunias, calendulas, marigolds and other hummingbird and insect-attracting annuals available every spring from the local greenhouse.
In the twilight of a summer’s day, I go out on my deck to groom the herb garden. I’ve already put in some cool morning hours working the four long beds in the vegetable garden that supplies most of our meals, either fresh, from the root cellar, in the jars I can or the bags I freeze. Growing your own food was basic to the “Back to the Land” movement in the counterculture of the early 1970s, and the husband I were basic back to the landers.
A life lived close to nature offered the only real promise of inner peace in a war-centered world. So we moved from suburbia to the backwoods of rural America. Our generation was going to change the world through flower power and eating low on the food chain -- low as in on your knees cultivating vegetables and those powerful flowers.
Forty-some years later, going “Back to the Land” has taken on a darker meaning. The flower power that once seemed so gentle has revealed itself as the relentless force pushing up daisies in Nature’s perennial garden. For years I’ve called myself an aging hippie, but what looks back at me in the mirror is an aged hippie with liver spots. It’s the “hippie” part that matters, I tell myself: peace, love, and folk rock and roll.
Growing old happens to everyone who lives long enough, although I did think it would take a lot longer than it actually has. No one ever seems quite ready for it, despite its universality. It’s while I’m deadheading on the deck at dusk, in our tiny clearing in the midst of forest, that I muse over old ideals and measure how far I still have to go.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell a flower that’s done from a young unopened bud, and I end up plucking off promises for the future. Sometimes when I go away, the flowers go to seed and even clipping every deadhead doesn’t bring back any blooms.
No matter. I pour time like water onto the plants, moving my fingers tenderly through them, giving and drawing nurture. Every decision I’ve made, every path I’ve chosen, has led me here, to these plants on this deck on this dwindling summer day. Light slowly fades and cool air flows down the mountain. Everything around me is beautiful, perfect, even the dead leaves and withered flowers I pick off the plants, because they are a part of the endless, sacred cycle.
Deadheading has become a ritual of mindful mindlessness. Here is where I realize what I already knew, what I’ve learned from all these decades but could not find through conscious searching. Here is where I contemplate, not just what a long, strange trip it’s been, but how grateful I am to have arrived, even with a bad hip.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

DonDon Jr. "It wasn't his fault he's innocent"

Dear DonDon Jr.:

At 39, You are no kind of "kid". 


You are a billionaire son of the President of the United States; have I got your attention yet?  If not, maybe you should go to jail. 


Criminal stupidity/ignorance/privilege, (and ignorant of your privilege), unethical behavior (because that's what you learned at your Daddy's knee), are not defenses. 


So this is your definition of "INNOCENT"?   Gee, words are important.  I've talked about the definition of words; nobody's listening to me, they are listening to you.  


But, DonDon Trump, your dad, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Conway, Spicer, Tillerson, Sessions, and FOX are changing our dictionary to their liking every day.  They think that facts are malleable, alternative, fake, real, temporary, inoperative, made up, and made up by people THEY don't like... Words have to have an agreed upon definition or there is no communication.  You happen to be stuck between your dad's idea that reality follows from what his delusional mind concocts, and what he has the capacity to remember long enough to Tweet in the middle of the night (do you worry about his sleep habits?  When was the last time he saw a real doctor?).


But words are important;  their definitions after the fact, and in the moment of their utterance.  Your words like:


“If it’s what you say, I love it,”      are important.  


They signify your willingness to violate our laws about foreign influence in our electoral process.   You aren't a kid any more.  You are not innocent.  You are: ignorant, privileged, (and ignorant of your privilege), and unethical.  Now if your motives were pure, we would forgive you.  As it is, not so much.  You have admitted that you were attempting to encourage a foreign, hostile, enemy government of the United States to help you steal the election of the President of the United States. Am I right?   


Can you refute ANY of these statements?  What color orange jump suit do you prefer?



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brand Destroyed Up Date Up Date

By attaining the public position of president of the United States, DonDon has for the first time in his life, subjected himself to the scrutiny of people who will not be bullied or bribed into changing an honest assessment of his character, methods, knowledge, and demeanor. 

Thus, for the first time, the truth about him is in the public domain where he can’t control it. 

And, no, finally making an appropriate response to the Nazis, KKK, and white supremacists' actions in Charlottesville, Virginia, because someone told you to and after most of the people in America learned that you were absolving them of their American Apartheid agenda;       Doesn't count!

And 24 hours later...

Especially, if you then clearly reveal that you believe in the false equivalency of "many sides" are equally bad.  


           Brand destroyed.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trump’s Infectious Delusions


Trump said that Obama was born in Kenya; he wasn’t, and saying it didn’t make it true.  Trump said that his inauguration crowd was the largest in history; it wasn’t, and saying it didn’t make it true.  Trump said that climate change was a Chinese hoax; saying it doesn't make it true.

 


Trump now says that the USA has withdrawn from the Paris climate change accords; many American businesses and individual states have either complied with, or have invested time and resources into compliance.  These American entities are unlikely to trash those investments and immediately start pumping CO2 out as fast as they can.  Trump saying that we have pulled out of the agreement does not make it substantively true.  


Have we fallen into the Trumpian delusion that when he says something it has to be true? I think we have.  Is his disease communicable?  I hope not.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vote with your wallet Number Two: Hannity Addition

Dear Sirs: (Add the company of your choice) May 28, 2017

It has often occurred to me that many people in the media have been given a platform. They abuse this honor in order to say outrageous things just to stir things up and get attention (and therefore exposure), even though many of these things are demonstrably false, or slanderous, or just plain mean and hurtful.  Sean Hannity does this, even repeating lies that he knows to be damaging to innocent people.  He even gets paid an obscene amount of money for doing it.  Money that ultimately comes from you.  Maybe this pleases you.

So, when I read about Hannity making another of his ridiculously inciteful (not to be confused with insightful) pronouncements; I thought that I'd make a list of his sponsors so that I wouldn't make the mistake of ever patronizing any of their products. 

    You Mr. Advertiser/Sponsor are on that list.

I am sharing these observations and the information I have recorded with as many people as I can; as often as I can.   I am encouraging others to follow my lead; in any case, you are not getting any of my money, ever. 


Sincerely, (Your name; feel free to copy any part, print and send to your favorite. A hand written name after "Sirs:" and a note added after "Sincerely," adds weight to any communication. P.S. Snail mail is probably the most effective, I signed my letters, you should too.) 

The following are the sponsors of the Hannity program:

 

Pharmaceutical,   Hulu ,  Hyundai,  Jenny Craig,   John Deere,
Liberty Mutual,   LoanDepot,   Mercedes-Benz,   Mission.com,   Mitsubishi,
Nutrisystem,  Optum,   PC Matic ,  ProFlowers,   Publishers Clearing House ,

Sandals,  Shari’s Berries ,  Terminix,   UNTUCKit,  Vanda Pharmaceuticals,