Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nirel's Adventures

Tonight we adjourned to the Linus Pauling House (his boyhood home on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon), to listen to my friend Nirel (whom I haven't seen in ages) recount her adventures from around the world.

She'd started in Calcutta, with her two adult children, a young man and young woman, both beautiful, as she is, and rejoined with her yoga teacher, some hours outside the city, in a truly isolated area. After some weeks of this, they'd traveled to Goa by train, at which point the siblings went back to America, first the daughter, then the son. Nirel stayed on with her colleague. They were to work on a high end art book in Paris, about yoga and the human form.

Her adventures took her onward to Paris then, followed by Athens, the Greek islands, Amsterdam, Italy, Norway and then home (I'm abbreviating the trajectory, which was more of a pinball machine). Her culture shock upon arrival in Paris, after months in India, was severe, though she ended up loving Paris too. Italy, arrived at by ferry from Greece (some stories there), was beyond charming. Milano, where Bruno began, was in full fashion.

Her photography is superb and unvarnished, with special attention to signage, iconography, how they do hygiene. She's an inveterate anthropologist and loves humans enough to not weary of these journeys. This makes her lovely to be with, and it's no mystery why she has so many friends around the world, true admirers and fans (myself one of them; I wave to all of you others).

I left pretty early after the talk, wanting to buy Tara some tea. The venue was packed, as one would expect. This was a highpoint of 2010, I have to confess. I wish Tara could have come (she was definitely invited), and Lindsey too.

Walker got hit by a car again, at night in a crosswalk, light in her favor, and is pulling yet another all nighter at the DIY bike shop, getting the tractor bike back into shape for the big adventure. The front wheel was destroyed.

As some Cult of Athena guy, let me just say I feel surrounded by enlightened souls, praise Allah. These are amazing human beings (among other animals).

Speaking of other animals, they're kind to cows in India, but not to dogs so much. Bhutan seemed friendlier to dogs to me as well. Lots of anthropology here. Lets show Best in Show in Calcutta sometime (note to ambassador), also Goa?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

:: TG 2010 (CIO, CTO depicted, photos by CMO) ::

We're closing shop for a few days.

I've got some business meeting notes tacked on to the end of this post to Synergeo, in case you're looking for more CSN history.

Welcome back Nirel. I'm pleased they're planning to make that movie of your adventures.

I'll be staying with our CIO and his family unless the roads are impassable.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Belated Happy Halloween

Not SQL Records
:: click for larger view ::

Family and friends, including businessman / adventurer Sam Lanahan and chairman of Python Software Foundation Steve Holden, shared a Halloween dinner on Hawthorne Blvd (aka Asylum Avenue). We then adjourned to our respective digs. Kids came to our door.

Say, that Visible Warrior campaign and/or student exercise at Cleveland High, was enticingly relevant to our digital portfolio/transcripts, where you log what you're for (pro) and against (anti) -- not that those are the only two possibilities (segue to "precession" in Synergetics).

Imagine a transcript that said you were "checking out" (as in "examining") an issue or cause. That doesn't define whether you're pro or anti, just that you cared enough to delve into it. In terms of game play, instead of a high score, you might just have a "played it" check box (a short experience of some kind, perhaps interactive).

Yes, I'm somewhat implying your transcript is human-readable, which for the most part it probably would be. That doesn't mean you can have encrypted parts, or levels of access. You have some control over who sees what, a feature of the environment called privacy which we value in other contexts as well.

Since my last entry, I've been attending GOSCON, which was some about the new Electronic Medical Record. I yakked about my NoSQL "scrap book", with lots of meta records by doctors in "connect the dots" mode.

What I noticed at Free Geek was a paucity of open source fund accounting software. You'd think a Foundation or two would have gotten together and made it a reality by now. It'd save so much on charities, if they didn't have to keep buying the same bookkeeping software over and over. There's probably a lot of political pressure to keep an OSS solution from gaining traction, d'ya think?

Anyway, we're getting there. Launch date is still quite a ways away and we're already connected to plenty of game companies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Subscriber Channels

The edupunk movement uses open source course / curriculum materials as raw input to make these hacked, value added, channel streams.

I'm on the lookup for a channel suitable for such as Laughing Horse Books (and video collective): Obey Giant type material is part of the mixins (ala Shepard Fairey), plus recycling posters for past and upcoming music events.

A channel needs a good VJ sometimes, someone to break in with allusions and timely reminders. We're not just running what was stuffed in a can for this time slot, days or weeks back, even though many clips are golden oldie. The mix gets remixed.

I'm not against auto-mixing algorithms as some readers know though. The hypertoons archive comes with segue / bridge nodes organized by connecting-edge scenarios. These partially overlapping animations and/or live action streams of consciousness have a seamless quality, especially if tightly crafted to organize a namespace / reality, such as Uru. Geometry lends itself to teaching by hypertoon, as does Geography (a specific terrain).

My sources tend towards cartoon, some circus material. This relates to the carnival atmosphere of the original geekdom. There's also the underground comix aspect, the idea of superheros, goddesses, archetypal beings. Geography + Geometry. There's also the Martian Math angle, mixed with RBF's bluer lagoon (more Polynesian, with lots of dolphins and mermaids).

Perusing an Art Book
:: js inspects art book near Remote, Oregon::

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Fifth Tetrahedron

A family of space-filing tetrahedra fill this triangular prism (as well as those next to it). Another vZome by David Koski based on research by Michael Goldberg and others.

This family is in addition to the four space-filling tetrahedra cataloged by D.M.Y. Sommerville in 1923: the Mite, Rite, Bite and 1/4 Rite (using Bucky Fuller's nomenclature).

Dr. John Belt, SUNY, Oswego

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Operation DuckRabbit

:: duckrabbit ::

Calling my project Operation DuckRabbit is somewhat new. I'm alluding to Philosophical Investigations Part 2 especially, which is about the gestalts we associate with meaning. Despite all that "meaning as use" stuff, the importance of showing (not just saying) gets lost in the shuffle if we forget about duckrabbits and other such switcheroos.

My contention has been (and continues to be), that serious-minded philosophers would do well to look at one of the important gestalt switches in 1900s philosophy, what has come down to us in 2010 as Martian Math, at least in my neck of the woods.

The appended link to Notes for Teachers sets the stage: imagine a tribe (sounds like Wittgenstein already), that doesn't consider the Cube to be its model of 3rd powering, uses the Tetrahedron instead (topologically simpler, works well in a ball-packing context).

We get right to the foundations of mathematics with such a consideration, plus we turn the key in what might otherwise be a locked (inaccessible, or perhaps verboten) branch of literature, much of it philosophical and contemporary in nature.

Operation Duckrabbit is about recruiting those schooled in philosophy to apply their understanding of Wittgenstein to this gestalt changing challenge. As the late Dr. Arthur Loeb would remark, crystallographers have something to learn from this alternative more 60-degree-shaped bias. Instead of orienting everything around the cube, other gestalts emerge and hook together -- if one works at it, deliberately fosters the requisite changes in consciousness.

I think we're nearing a time when literacy in Wittgenstein's philosophy will include the concrete example of Martianversus Earthling math, though the narrative may assume a different guise. A lot of fruitful investigations branch out from this tension, this unity-of-opposed-concepts, more than just one or two investigators might handle.

We need more explorers in this "geometry of thinking", seems to me. There are real world implications, as unlocking Fuller's treasure trove (like a pirate stash) is to unleash a cornucopia (the inverse of Pandora's Box). What better way to be a hero then? And if you're already well versed in Wittgenstein, well, you've already got an edge.

Kirby Urner
Oregon Curriculum Network
Portland, Oregon

Notes for Teachers

Background Reading (a previous post to this list):

More about Martian Math c/o BFI blog:

Re: Operation Duckrabbit:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Filling the RITE

by Dave Koski with vZome

Whereas I've made much about the Mite, as dissected by Fuller into A & B modules, as the most primitive space-filling tetrahedron without overt handedness, we do have another contender, just by those simple criteria (tetrahedron, no handedness).

Because of its all-isosceles triangular facets, the Rite's component quarter tetrahedra (apex at the center of gravity) may all be rotated into one another, and so are minus overt chirality.

Assembled from two Mites, the Rite is itself a space-filler, as is the Bite (the other of two tetrahedral Sytes). These quarter Rites would have a volume of 1/16, same as a half-Mite (or Smite we sometimes say, or "characteristic tetrahedron"), also same as a K-module or 1/120th of a 7.5 volumed rhombic triacontahedron.

D.M.Y. Sommerville's 1923 paper, Space-filling Tetrahedra narrows it down to the three Fuller yaks about: Mite, Bite and Rite, plus this fourth one.

This fourth one, a quarter Rite, is believed by Sommerville to round out the complete list of Euclidean space-fillers.

Whereas the Mite will assemble the Bite and the Rite, this final tetrahedral space-filler is not filled by the Mite.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

On Wittgenstein and Fuller

Reprinted from the Wittgenstein Discussion Board, hyperlinks and graphics added.
"Mathematics hasn't been philosophy for 1000's of years Kirby, and in preparation to my reponse to Richard, Physics hasn't been philosophy for 100's of years." -- Robert Hansen
The context of the above remark is my ongoing thread about exploring alternative "foundations" in the realm of mathematics, drawing on philosophical work of the late 20th century.

Long timers on this list may recognize this as my pet topic. I am interested in language games that "revector" (change the meaning of) such basic words as "dimension" and "volume" -- not for all time for all people, but within one more sandbox or sandcastle on the beaches of possibility, another way to think and compute, design, get results, with a place in the sun.

We're talking about "forms of life" in other words, or call them "ethnicities" (the anthropological dimension is apropos when yakking about Wittgenstein).

The underlying plot line (you need one of those, to sustain interest and commitment) is that civilization got off on the wrong foot to some extent, in becoming so enamored with the cube as its favorite space-filling polyhedron.

We consider volume to be the product of three mutually perpendicular edge lengths multiplied together and assign a cube the role of "unit volume" as a result of this mindset.

To turn a 90 degree corner is to access a whole new dimension, making 90 degrees a somewhat mystical angle. Right angles are "normal" and to be orthogonal is to be orthodox (to believe all the right things). The cube is an ultimate bastion of conservatism, and to question its primacy is indeed to engage in a radical operation (or philosophical investigation).

This rectilinear beginning is now thoroughly taken for granted of course, gets passed along essentially unquestioned by one generation after another. It would take a rather willful and obstreperous youth with privileged access to education (e.g. Harvard) and a commitment to make a name for himself, to ever buck this trend. One in a million or billion might try this. Most would be quickly overwhelmed by the seeming hopelessness of their calling.

So yeah, along came R. Buckminster Fuller, born in the late 1800s, lived until 1983. He developed a philosophy which gave primacy not to the cube, but to the tetrahedron instead.

The latter is topologically simpler in having fewer edges, vertexes and windows (thinking of it more like a network than a "solid"). It's known as a "simplex" for this reason.

You may likewise use it to anchor a notion of 3rd powering i.e. volumetric growing and shrinking relative to linear growing and shrinking of its edges. Triangles may be used for 2nd powering the same way.

There's no logical reason that 3rd powering has to be called "cubing" and modeled as such. You need to get back to your mathematical foundations to "see" this -- as I've endeavored to do on several occasions on this list, in the spirit of Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics and Philosophical Investigations.

Assign the role of "unit volume" to a tetrahedron (a regular one) and some magical things start to happen. This shape plays well with others and although it does not fill space alone, it does in complement with an octahedron of precisely four times the volume.

Another tetrahedron, known as the Mite (volume 1/8) does fill space without complements (Aristotle was right, remember the mite -- a new slogan).

The cube is reintroduced in this language game, but with a volume of three this time.

The rhombic dodecahedron, which embraces the octahedron of volume 4, the cube of volume 3, has a volume of 6.

Simple whole number beginnings, not shared with any students in US elementary schools because the Way of the Cube is considered the only way, best way, and it's "my way or the highway" when it comes teaching math's foundations (the life form in question is totalitarian in that respect, Borg-like ("resistance is futile")) -- partly why math is often such a turn-off to those who think freely and creatively (e.g. artists).

It needn't stay this way, were "philosophy for children" to open more doors, challenge the dogmatists.

Yes, the current foundations are primarily dogmatic in their delivery, like a catechism. Philosophers could be chipping away here, restoring some mental flexibility, freeing us from overly straitjacketed thinking, a kind of paralysis that keeps us stuck, awkwardly trapped.

A few of us are doing that work -- a real uphill slog given how people glaze over at the slightest mention of anything "mathy". We obviously could use some more help. Consider me a recruiter for the cause then, looking for allies.

A favorite way to keep "tetrahedral mensuration" from making any headway in the current "devo" context (ultra dumbed down, ethically in the toilet) is to dismiss it as "trivially true" i.e. the mathematics is well above the threshold of "false" (cannot be falsified) but then it's just too easy and simple to merit the attention of high level guru-geniuses, the caliphate as it were.

Elementary school kids who might benefit from earlier exposure to spatial geometry with this newfangled approach, never get the opportunity. They don't even have a clue what they're missing.

I call this "verboten math" therefore, because people such as myself, Amy Edmondson (Harvard Business School), Ed Applewhite (CIA), David Koski etc., who put many years of work into this project, encounter mostly resistance and put downs, transparent delay tactics.

Fuller is still a frequent target of character assassinations, even though he's dead (especially because he's dead?). Once on the cover of TIME, he was more recently ridiculed in the same magazine for his ugly "lemon" of a car (so how many philosophers do you know who invented a car? -- another reason he can't be a real philosopher, like Hegel or Marx: he had patents and inventions (a huge dis-qualifier, by today's academic standards)).

Amy wrote a book (A Fuller Explanation) which Branko Grunbaum nastily panned, Ed collaborated on Fuller's magnum opus (wrote Cosmic Fishing about the experience (talk about uphill slog!)) and David Koski has mapped all of the Archimedean honeycomb duals to Fuller's more simply named and volumed "modules" or "cells" (among many other achievements).

I've posted a table of David's results to the Math Forum thread above, fingers crossed it gets through. My previous response appears not to have made it past the censor, was perhaps too vituperative in tone (par for the course on that list, but I'm held to a higher standard perhaps).

So where does Wittgenstein fit in again?

I think one meaning of "show" stemming from Tractatus days, relates to what in psychology we might call a "gestalt switch" -- except sometimes that gets too narrowly interpreted as a merely visual phenomenon, such as in the case of the duckrabbit, Necker Cube and such.

When LW talks about the world waxing and waning, from the perspective of the subjective viewpoint (in some sense synonymous with the world itself because that perspective or angle colors everything), he's talking about how meaning is "orthogonal" to facticity i.e. to the world of facts (of true and false). A gestalt switch or new way of seeing (feeling, being) may leave everything as it as, factually speaking, and yet the world has changed its meaning in some way. This relates to what we mean by Zeitgeist, as many people seem to come to similar realizations, or call them "currents in the collective unconscious" (lots of ways to talk).

I realize talk of "many people" may not sound solipsistic enough to fit the mood of the TLP, but by the time of the PI, I think we're looking for people who "breathe a different air" (to understand what's presaged).

We could connect to William James at this point, or any of a myriad number of writers more cogent than I on this topic. My core thesis about Philosophical Investigations and LW's philo more generally, was that it aimed to catalyze or induce precisely such gestalt switches (aspect changes). Hence: philosophy leaves everything as it is, contains no theses (except of a tautological nature), is about liberation from reflexive, unexamined habits of thought. It's an ethical work in other words (ethics = aesthetics, per TLP) and therefore religious in some dimension.

In the Fullerian world view, human beings have crossed a threshold in their ability to leverage eternal principles (nature's "rules of the road") such that they have the option to take care of themselves at a pretty high living standard, though that doesn't mean simply amplifying the wasteful and resource-intensive lifestyles of North Americans etc.

This ability to mitigate human suffering on a vast scale is actually within reach, from an engineering perspective, but at the level of perception and conditioned reflex, our language is keeping us imprisoned (would be the view -- a tough one to stomach, as so much unnecessary evil appears humanly contrived -- not so easy to blame the gods then, nor even "politicians").

We're still enslaved by the thought patterns of darker ages, and cling to older dogmas out of habit and a need for security. People don't like having their cages rattled. The idea that we actually could eliminate death by starvation from the planet is a huge threat to business as usual, which is entirely premised on 'never enough to go around' or 'enough is never enough' as they say in Over the Hedge (a fun cartoon).

Again in the Fullerian world view, getting more air time for tetrahedral mensuration was a "foot in the door" that would get the sciences and the humanities to open more of a dialog. He aimed to bridge that C.P. Snow chasm, seeking a common language for both sides to invest in. Literary critics want to read texts on many levels, not get too mired in "the one literal truth" (per Norman O. Brown). Fuller's text does not disappoint in this regard, yet the ability to grab literal meanings from his fish tank is still very much there.

Fluency with sciences and maths on the humanities side has the potential to skyrocket, given a philosophical language well stocked with core memes from those disciplines, organized according to some broad heuristics centered around syntropy and entropy as the countervailing tendencies.

Yes, you could see this as just one more metaphysics, a Neoplatonism we could say, but then doesn't every age need to keep upgrading and updating? Are such language games entirely dispensable, now that we've gone through a linguistic turn?

I would argue that "new ways of thinking" remain as relevant as ever, and that a lot hinges on our ability to remain flexible and non-dogmatic, not overly reliant on inherited mental habits.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Streaming SG

SG = spatial geography and/or spatial geometry. Geometry and geography are hard to tease apart sometimes.

Mites making Sytes making Kites... did you get that for your iPad or iPhone? That might not be available in your zip code area? These fall in the silly screen saver category, yet make a style statement. You're saying you're aware and you're branding with SG. You some kind of Neoplatonist? Wear it on your sleeve why not (like Goth jewelry).

CSN will do free advertising, with permission, for certain artifacts, such as geometry toyz. Some of these might be available in the gift shop, to heroic high scorers (better than yesterday's score anyway -- as you compete against your former self, measure improvements).

SG about "tetravolume accounting" was high priority in 2010, with practically no one producing. Hollywood was pretty bone dry. What about Buena Vista? Catalina Productions? 4D Studios? We were casting about, looking for high grade math casters (like myth busters or even ghost busters in some ways). Fine Grind Productions was another contender. Portland Center Stage.

We were not trying to keep it uninteresting to adults. No sense being boring.

Outreach to children might be through a different label (more than one?). Branding provides cues, to parents, to choosy viewers.

CSN shops have choices, as to where to subscribe.

Think of Linux repositories. Where do you get your updates and upgrades? Depends on the distro some. Likewise with SG on those LCDs. Some like a travel theme. Others go for that techno-psychedelic look. Or make it a mix.

Some shops do a lot of their own mixing. Some haven't the time.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Interlacing Test Pattern

Earlier in this blog, the CSN team celebrated the addition of the 7.5 volumed rhombic triacontahedron (RT) to our little zoo of inter-transforming polyhedra.

Most of our polyhedra are isotoxal, to find an arcane term for ya. Any edge may be transformed into any other by a series of rotations.

The 7.5 RT is measured as such relative to a tetrahedron of edges 2, representing the 2 unit radii of spheres in a closest packing arrangement.

The yellow rhombic dodecahedron (RD) depicted above, of volume 6, may serve as a casement for one of these spheres.

Its green face diagonals define an octahedron of volume 4, while its blue short face diagonals define a cube of volume 3.

The outermost cube, in consisting of 8x the inner cube, has a volume of 24 and is what we call the 2-frequency cube in Synergetics.

Synergetics, a philosophy (sometimes categorized as Neoplatonic), is a source for many of our streaming spatial geometry animations.

The above graphic was developed by David Koski using vZome, a virtual version of Zome.

As of 2010, we had few commercial outlets for these streaming mathcasts.

The powers that be were (on average) slow to relay this new kind of philanthropic programming through their networks, to hungry scholars around the world.

Two other RTs you might easily encounter in perusing our mathcasts: the RT of volume 5, with radius 0.9995, so very close to unit radius; the RT of volume 15 * root2(2), with edges 2.

Again, don't expect to find these volume numbers in any 2010 textbook. Tetravolume accounting has not been accepted by the mainstream. CSN traffics in esoterica, simply by virtue of the radical nature of its principal sources of content.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Non-Commercial Use

I was alerted to the above video by John Driscoll today, as we met at Lyrik. We discussed the Sesame Street model as an inspiration for hypertoons, long-running reveries that explore a database of video clips, stitching them together in real time, and/or asynchronously.

Programmers may need to (or wish to) insert local content, interrupting a feed from some distant source. The Shop's caretakers having mixing powers i.e. editing responsibilities. What's going on in the neighborhood? Curious customers want to know.

CSN is not about surrendering local control to some imperial center.

Given this blog is "prefrequency" in the sense that we're sketching an open source business model, providing the prior art, I'm OK with showcasing "non-commercial use" segments.

When syndicating for the CSN network itself, compensating artists will not be a verboten concept, even though we're a philanthropic organization, a charity, a worthy cause ourselves.

As the chief marketing officer (CMO), I'm not opposed to being rewarded for my architecture (new circuit designs for motherboard Earth), nor for my hypertoons concept. My thanks to Richard Hawkins for early encouragement along these lines (I entered a contest to win a Sun workstation, didn't win).

Dr. Nick has been educating me about the work of Mark Lakeland, local activist. The intersection known as Sunnyside Piazza is due for repairs. City Repair has scheduled an event for May 29th. This intersection is not far from Duke's Landing. Expect some photographs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meeting with CSO

Glenn (CSO) was perturbed by a petitioner in front of Fred Meyers (these days Kroger) today.

The petition was to help public schools, he was told, but the fine print revealed the plan was to stick a casino in some abandoned school, thanks to some amendment to the state constitution.

There seemed to be a lack of truth in advertising in this approach.

This triggered more discussion of the CSN model and the degree of state regulation that might be needed, in Kerala or wherever.

In a USA context, I can imagine vendors stipulating and/or designating a set of recipients (charities, worthy causes) as a way of positioning their own brands. Some of the obscure beer companies might take greater risks, with the causes they might support, leading to loyal followings among some specialized breeds of game player.

Not everyone supports Greenpeace, or even this or that religious group.

Could a local temple, synagogue, church, mosque and/or meetinghouse benefit from CSN infrastructure? The current model wouldn't forbid it, but local regulations and community standards well might. That's the thing about CSN: it might be more malleable than you think, or than your neighborhood might permit.

The basic model has vendor payloads, already tax deducted (if that notion is applicable), and heading to the CSN pool.

When you boot a game, thanks to some purchase of product X, you have possible objectives A, B, C. Choose your mission and be a star.

If you're quite new at the game or just practicing and score really low (perhaps intentionally), most if not all of the payload returns to the pool, available to future players (perhaps yourself).

If you advance through several levels, the causes you're wanting to benefit will be more highly compensated.

When you cross a pretty high threshold, then the vendor takes notice and celebrates your achievements with offers of branding on your Facebook account or wherever you're storing victories.

The last wrinkle is somewhat subtle. We don't want vendors begrudging players scoring high and committing payloads to chosen charities.

That's because these are charities the vendor set out to support, an original purpose of CSN being to benefit worthy causes.

In between, the CSN circuitry permits public participation in exchange for vendor goods and services, combined with support for the venue (the shop nets a percent for its operating budget).

One reward for taking an indirect route like this is the valuable psychometrics coming back from the field. You learn more about your customers, in aggregate or by studying their public-facing accounts (as would anyone). That helps you fine tune. Feedback is valuable.

Coffee shops will distinguish themselves by what assortment of vendors they've got, and therefore what beneficial purposes their games might support.

Not every vendor wants to spend time researching causes or lending its name directly to NGOs. In these cases, the Shop itself may be selected for the company it keeps. A vendor seeks trusted peers in the philanthropy business.

The model actually presumes give and take, cues from the field, shifting positions. When a vendor gets feedback, perhaps negative, for not supporting a specific cause, that's not a crisis or break in the system. That's what psychometrics are for: to give the Shops a clearer picture of where the customer base is at, vis-a-vis this or that issue of the day.

A separate aspect of the CSN business, though related, is the "reverie" streaming of curriculum materials. I mentioned the Periodic Table, cuts to other topics. Lots of artistry will go in to some of these.

How much goes for product placement in the sense of advertising is a part of the equations.

As someone who looks at marketing, I like to send my own logos across sometimes, adding my brands to segments I'm proud to be associated with. The idea of branding, of logos, does not offend me, though a particular logo or brand well might.

In your typical casino, the game is players against the house, with odds tipped towards the house. One may also play other customers in some games.

I'm actually not posing as a casino expert.

If you yourself are a worthy cause, i.e. you have the ability to play for credits to yourself, then the game has that casino-like flavor. On the other hand, if you have some control over where your losings go, once they become part of the casino's power to invest, then you have a different angle, perhaps that of a tribal elder.

In the CSN model, you invest your own funds through purchases of goods and services coming from vendors.

If the good or service is the game itself, rather than a perk for having put credit towards a class or course, then this too is more like casino gambling, where drinks and food may be off to the side and free of charge, courtesy of the management as it were.

These being Coffee Shops, the idea of procurement, with games more optional than the whole point, takes us away from a strict casino model.

However, if "the self" is a possible beneficiary, then perhaps some state regulations apply (depends on the state). Perhaps we're in Python Nation? What then?

My inclination would be to see some CSN facilities as non-profit schools, such that "credits to self" were seen as credits to a student working for privileges, access, opportunities to practice. Faculty are students somewhat more advanced along some specific path. The work/study model (of a scenario) still applies.

Some of these courses may be hard work, quite demanding. It stands to reason that one might find compensation of various kinds, and not simply for "being lucky" in some game of chance.

However, given the planned-for relaxed atmosphere, a more strictly controlled test-taking center might be required for some parts of the schooling. Other environments besides that of a Coffee Shop will be a encountered -- a truism.

Not all kinds of study are possible within some CSN venue.

On the contrary, NGOs recruiting personnel through CSN education programs will be showing or simulating environments outside the Coffee Shops domain.

This is what it means to prepare for assignments: you may study in a CSN venue, but you're preparing to do something else... the possibilities are myriad.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Buzz About Shops

I'm with Patrick of Portland Energy Strategies, yakking about what used to be Acme (see below). LinZ (handle) is a mini-Hubble when it comes to FreeCycle pianos, tracking 'em as if they were guide stars. I joined her in a rescue the other day, a perfectly good upright. How good was it when we were done with it though? Trae and I flipped her on her back to add wheels, and all her chords sounded when we did that. An expert I talked to said probably no big deal, he'd done worse. We had a legit piano dolly and everything, pictures in Photostream.

That same place with the piano (not Acme) is changing color again. Trae wants to continue a cross-hatching motif to signify his ownership of both buildings. Beyond that, he's like some fin de siecle painter, posing the question "why just one trim color?" He's settled on about four shades of turquoise, to contrast with the four shades of brown. GS and I interviewed him this morning while on some random walk (we're both Wanderers). Duke (the dog / owner) is doing better.

Speaking of dogs, the dog Manga in Logicomix out of Athens is not named for the genre, as Manga is also a Greek word meaning something like "jolly good fellow" -- or something.

The graphic novel I'm referring to is about the philosophy of mathematics in an historical context, exactly the kind of thing I promulgate on the Math Forum. This is Cult of Athena literature for sure, good table top reading (thumbs up, recommended) if you're collecting for your CSN shop.

My thanks to Trevor Blake, the renowned Bucky Fuller scholar (Esozone, Subgenius etc.) for cluing me in. I passed said novel on to Global Matrix Studios this morning.

One of the artists on the Logicomix team had experience with Tintin and Babar comix, both childhood influences. I sometimes refer to Don W. as "Captain Haddock" borrowing from the Tintin cast.

I've been out of touch with CHR etc., as we're not seeing a lot of philosophical ferment in the departments yet. University coffee shops will be streaming the content, but not until they see the relevance. OLPC commercials at the MIT Student Union? What could those have to do with 1, 12, 42, 92...? A puzzling question I realize.

Best wishes to JF, SB, LV, GS and to CTO Nirel. Praise Bob. CMO out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Cues

Fig 1: an IVM cube

Fig 2: centers of rhombic triacontahedra (orange)
and rhombic dodecahedra (yellow)
of relative volume 7.5 to 6.0

Fig 3: space-filling rhombic dodecahedra
in a checker-board of cubes

Geometric studies by Dave Koski using vZome by Scott Vorthmann.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Smart Bar LCDs

Some of you may remember the "smart bar" phenomenon. I was out of the country, never made it to Goa or wherever the headquarters was. The Coffee Shops Network, in being about philanthropy, is more about heart than mind in some ways. However, those LCDs need a steady stream of interesting content, more than just "weather, news and sports" -- we need art.

The "science-minded reverie" is an emerging genre. Video dissolves, plus my hypertoon thing, suggest a stream of consciousness or dream-minded state. Assuming the ambient noise of the shop provides sound, we assume no narrative "glue voice" to explain what we're seeing. In a theatrical context, we might have a custom soundtrack. The version behind the bar might be a re-cut or shortened version of what's available in full length.

During this morning's meeting near Mt. Tabor, I proposed anchoring many of the reveries to a concentric hierarchy of polyhedra. The five Platonics contain their own duals. By a process of combining these duals edge-wise, the rhombic dodecahedron and triacontahedron get produced, of 12 and 30 diamond faces respectively. The cuboctahedron, so far not produced, provides the stage and setting (like "the holodeck" on Star Trek), is more the backdrop than what's at the center of the action. Carving the rhombics into four tri-rectangular tetrahedra to produce "exploding diagrams" and other effects, creates additional fractional components, called "modules" in much of the literature. Other transformations apply -- I'm not aiming to be exhaustive in this context. Art schools will teach you this stuff. Golden cuboids etc.

Other reveries might center around the Periodic Table of the Elements. We might likewise look for and stream visuals regarding similar summary patterns at the nano-sized level, per Dr. Tomolia's suggestions.

Reveries drawn from nature will of course be among the most popular. Computer animations of sub-visible and/or purely conceptual phenomena need not monopolize.

CSN patrons sipping their coffees, teas, juices will have spaces to converse, LCDs in the background, unobtrusive with sound. Casual viewers will be reminded of chemistry, mathematics they might have learned, animals of the forest, flowers and their names, some information about them. Resting your gaze on one of these monitors will definitely provide you with information, sometimes teasers for longer-running specials you might want to order for more private viewing, where you could add more sound. The information may bore you or not be anything you care about. You are free to look away, to return to your philanthropic enterprising, your conversation, your drink.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Polyhedron of the Month

Here's an analysis of the 2-frequency truncated rhombic dodecahedron by David Koski.

rhombic dodecahedron (6) and cube (3)
in a zonohedral dissection of the
truncated 2F rhombic dodecahedron (45)
by David Koski using vZome

same shape, truncated rhombic dodecahedron
with square and non-regular hexagonal facets,
tetravolume 45, different viewing angle from above
(a vZome by Koski)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CTO in Paris

Thanks for the update Nirel!

Wonderful to get some pictures from India.

Note to readers:

CSN's chief officers form a voluntary, philanthropic association of catalytic and effective individuals. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Synergetic R Us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Upcoming Event

:: poster by James Jameson ::

Monday, February 8, 2010

Future Projections

I've been going over use cases with a pro in the business, former owner of the Venetian Theater in downtown Albany. The profit margin on coffee shops is extremely thin, especially if you subtract adult consumables such as mixed drinks, which most shops do not offer.

The budget for start ups will have to be for advertising, with the vendor beneficiaries winning the good will sweepstakes, for having taken some initiative. The games will be family friendly and we probably will not have those adult beverages, except maybe in the usual segregated areas, more like Spaghetti Factory in some ways. YMMV. Depends on zip code quite a bit.

What's on the LCDs is what matters most to some of the stakeholders, and we expect to find alcoves, diversity in tastes. Not everyone is studying the same topics or cares about the same things. Geometry cartoons featuring classic polyhedra, no matter for what product (if any), have their own cultish following. The NFL has another, partially overlapping fan base.

From the sound of it, one might expect universities to jump in, say the MIT student union. Screens showing hypertoons have that geeky aesthetic one would not be surprised to encounter, if wandering Cambridge or Woodstock (near Reed).

I have also suggested a military lineage, in that some mission-accomplished watercraft, equipped with great kitchens, might retire as tourist attractions in a next chapter, while prototyping whatever kind of philanthropic engine the management has seen fit to test out.

Some aircraft might go this route as well. Serving people in their seats, without leaving the ground -- the model for many a restaurant. Some who fear flying, might get used to it this way.

Decisions do not bottleneck through me praise Allah, except in the few venues where a management team might include me. Like with Visa, there's no uber-boss, plus I'm mostly just wearing a marketing hat (CMO is my title).

The sharpness of HDTV is something else to think about. They change the atmosphere considerably.

By this time one may have asked whether religious establishments might use this same infrastructure.

Many a monastery had and/or has a vendor aspect. By contributing jam, beer, honey, cheese or whatever goods to the local economy, in barter for wine, exotic beans (or whatever other provisions not obtainable through tended fields), a religious establishment was creating a market niche for itself, creating one or more brands.

This mixing of temple and commercial trade is/was not frowned upon in principle, across multiple branches (denominations) so long as the products remained benign and prayerfully considered (incense... special remedies). Putting any surplus into wise disbursements, as a result of concentration and study, is what religious academicians do as well as non-religious, however self-labeling.

The community service nonprofit (or NGO) is a close relative of the religious establishment, another arm for social service. Many lawmakers would rather have government not compete with more private players, whereas others see too much privacy as a source of abuse. Either way, one could see where a philanthropic institution might partake of this status.

In an effort to reach customers where these customers want to be (at sports bars for example), these market leaders will need to test working prototypes, fine tune. We already have many examples (e.g. BackSpace and CubeSpace). The payoff will be getting into the game early, in an adjacent space (close to sports bars in some ways, yet different).

My Cult of Athena memes were meant to guide an aesthetic. The Oracle of Delphi escaped Apollo, meaning these are relaxed venues, not too spartan. Read back in the archives if curious. This is a philosophy blog, is not just about business.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coffee Shop Schools

cooking school in cyberia

GENI.org geoscope

zonohedron by Dave Koski

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bookkeeping Cartoons

What's Next?
I'm at Muddy Waters listening to an afternoon performance by Amy Bleu while communicating with Saturday Academy regarding this "future math" option ("time machine" theme, summer math camp).

Regarding the post below, re Adrenaline Week, there's this hand-drawn thermometer showing whatever funds have come in, but is that really sufficient? Obviously one needs to account for the pennies, show what's coming in, what's going out.

In the utopian future of philanthropic coffee shops, the story might be given a more visual form. If someone makes an earmarked donation at the point of sale, some control panel shows that amount going to that particular bucket, adding to the total.

Because this is open source software, geeks know this visualization isn't fudged. These are real numbers tied to real accounts, and if you need the transactions in spreadsheet form, or as csv files, that might be arranged.

The model needs to be reconfigurable. Running a fundraiser for the house is different than hosting a teach-in and committing the funds to some worthy cause or charity.

Having the books in "cartoon form" is what CEOs and CFOs hope to get as well -- some synoptic colorful visualization that shows clearly what's going on with the company.

That's a difficult challenge sometimes.

Coffee shops might be able to pull it off though, given the relatively simple business model.

The software should be replicable to multiple shops and not completely ad hoc. Economies of scale enter in.

As CMO for CSN, am I able to write all this software and put it on line? Are my Python visualizations LCD-ready? Do I have all the Javascript written and ready to go? Nope.

I've been harping on this idea of more game-like front ends for bookkeeping systems for quite awhile now. Yes, it's a great idea.

Given the TV-soaked world we live in, I'm thinking a tilt towards the graphical might rescue the lexical. Making money management a kind of video game is not a waste of bandwidth, it's a way of including the TV-literate public.

Absent transparency, fundraisers tend to fizzle, as do the organizations behind them.

Amy Bleu grew up in Hawaii and plays a mean ukelele. She's donating any proceeds from sales, of CDs or T-shirts, to Muddy's. Maybe the thermometer will go up a tick.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Adrenaline Week

Forwarding from Myspace, regarding a coffee shop in SE Belmont area, Portland, Oregon:

, a non-profit work owned coffee shop, that supports independent artists and the underprivileged is having a benefit event all this week. They just opened their new expanded music and art venue out back called "Flipside", but after pouring all their effort into it they have fallen short on rent and have to pay it this week or they are out. We are inviting any musicians that want to play to come and help us rock this house. We have all kinds of different fund raising going on, but we want to invite people to come out and check out the space and support it. We are scheduling musicians from noon to 10PM everyday, and after that the amps have to be unplugged and we go acoustic. If you want to play, email lindseywalkermusic@gmail.com or cojo23@gmail.com. If you want to support a truly equitable socially just space come out and party with us and tell your friends. Muddy's has had dinners for the homeless recently that fed over a hundred and have had events to benefit the homeless. Lets give back to Muddy's when they need us. You know Liberty Hall just closed down and we now have another space at risk. Lets save this space and start a movement going back in our direction again. Muddy's and Flipside are on the corner of 29th and Belmont.

Come out and lets have a good time, or let us know if you want to play and lets rock this place radical style.