Sunday, May 26, 2024

Memorial Day, 2024

TL;DR -- Following our Memorial Day theme, we look at two organizations: an American one that formed after the Civil War; a British organization that served in the Burma campaign. 


In our last post on the Memorial Day theme, we listed some posts from the Mays of our existence starting in 2011. In 2019, we started to have a Memorial Day post. This time we look at news about Nantucket Island and the Gardners. 

Melissa Berry published an article this week on GAR Civil War Vets. The Grand Army of the Republic group was formed in 1866 and lasted until 1956, according to the article, after the last member died at 109. Melissa provided the below photo which was of the GAR Thomas Gardner Post 207. 

Nantucket Island, 1909

For more information on the Gardners of Nantucket, see this Guide to the Gardner Family Papers, 1717-1960


Switching to another century and continent, we have been corresponding with Diana Davidson about technology and Gardner history; her family descends from the Gardners of Nantucket and lives in England, near Dorset. The family descends from Edmund Gardner who was of the Whaling family. We will write on this family a little more, but for now let's shift our attention to WWII.  

Diana wrote, recently (edited): 

My Grandfather was Charles Frederick Gardner. He volunteered to fight in WW2 but claimed that he was thought to be “too old to fight”. 
As a Member of the Leander rowing club and a Cambridge blue, he was passionate about rowing and had always kept himself very fit. He was also as a Member of his local branch of the Territorial Army when he lived in the U.K. 
He volunteered to join the Chinditz and led a group of Africans who had been drafted in to fight the Japanese in the sweltering heat of the jungles of Burma. 
I did not know of this group but was somewhat familiar with our joint efforts with the British in the Burma campaign. The following is more information on the British organization under which C.F. Gardner served. 
Chindits Text Banner Special Force Burma 1942-44


Each year, we will mention that Memorial Day has become a general time of reflection on the dead with visits to graves and the placement of flowers. Too, it's the unofficial start of summer as most of the schools have started their break. 

Remarks: Modified: 05/26/2024

05/26/2024 --

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Human intuition

TL;DR -- In our technology thrust, AI is a regular feature needing attention. Recent papers suggest that a proper maturity is being sought by players of importance. One of these is the US DOD in this case represented by its US Army with respect to issues of using data from research, classification and control. 


This post is short for various reasons. We just want to report some recent articles plus another from 2019. These deal with humans and artificial intelligence. Or, we'll use machine learning for the last one. 

Essentially, discussions come down to one question: who ought to be in charge? Humans have been for all of time that we know, some humans that is. And, there are many things that we do not control. Just look at the storms (tornados) that rip across the interior of the U.S. on a regular basis in the spring. 

There is a new player, though, the machine. Hence when it learns, marvels seem to appear. We'll skip over that as the press has been full of stories along this line for almost two years now. For one thing, we just remind everyone, there is no creature emerging from the antics of artifical modes such as we see with heated circuitry. Too, "smarts" is debatable. Yet. 

There has been no end to the discussion. We are leaning toward the thought that humans and their talents are such as to be of importance in this matter. That has been on the table for a while. We might just be seing evidence that technology can help us in the matter by establishing the ways and means that people can use to raise their focus and involvement.

So, let's look briefly at three articles. 

  • Demystifying data mesh -- this article is from June of 2023 which is recent and targeted toward the C-suite. McKinsey is a consulting firm of note. They discuss "data mesh" which comes out of data science which is a type of predecessor of machine learning. There are several key themes to the topic. One thing is that machine learning is highly dependent upon the quality of the data that is being used to teach it what is supposed to know. Another is that the mode of control, whether decentralized or centralized, has a huge impact. One theme is that business purposed need to keep the human element involved. For one thing, decisions need human involvement. Then, usual practices that are human-oriented must come into play. 
One might ask, where did this notion come from? 
  • How to Move Beyond a Monolithic Data Lake to a Distributed Data Mesh -- from May of 2019, this article was written about the issues of data science which evolved to be the thingc concerned with data and its managment. It addresses the importance of viwpoint; as well, works like "trustworthy" and "truthful" are used. In 2024, we all remember a year of trying to deal with and to understand the "hallucinating" world of machine learning in the guise of the large language model (LLM). The author stresses human involvement as essential. 
Where would such insightful thoughts find its influence?  Late last year, the USDOD announced its guidelines on AI. In that report, machine learning was noted to be problematic. Hence, people with training and expertise were seen to be the key factors in maintaing stability as a way of computational life. This month, a team of engineers for the US Army brought their focus to the public. 
  • Human Intuition and Algorithmic Efficiency Must Be Balanced to Enhance Data Mesh Resilience -- from May of 2024, this article stresses that humans need to be involved in decisions made by a machine. This involvement can range from small for inconsequential, regular processing. However, as the stakes rise, so too ought the human oversight. It is interesting that "intuition" is utilized. This article references the one of the former bullet. The context is military which brings in imporatnt differences not considered in normal business, for the most part. 
These three are merely represenetative, as many other articles on the subject have come to fore. In short, they represent a normalization of thinking after the shock of the recent release of AI. ChatGPT is an example. Now, these are being called GenAI. Some use LLM for the language processing that is involved. 
The balance for
data mesh resilience 

For the most part, these approaches are applied mathematics. Some of the issue that arose are due to lack of understanding of the underlying operational approaches which can be overcome by education and public discussion. It is refreshing to see that the complicated world of the military hs the insight to note the importance of human talent and training. 

But, taking the U.S. and its 250th coming up, we can look at the military experience as a whole and consider how the culture has changed. The U.S. military will face even more complexities as time goes on. Using machine learning as an assitance ought to be a natural step forward. These papers suggest that and ought to be on everyone's table for reference.  

Remarks: Modified: 05/15/2024

05/15/2024 -- 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Old L.A. and the U.S.

TL;DR -- We continue to look at CA via two cities in order to learn more about the Spanish period that preceded the entry of New England's influence into the area. Period photos are the enabling technology. 


We have been looking at two CA cities, LA and SF. Early on, we had Jedediah Strong Smith representing the eastern culture in his wanderings across that country. He was there in the 1830s. Later, we looked at the Butterfield Express which brought people, goods and mail from St. Louis, MO and from points in between, such as TX and AZ, to LA and onward to SF. This was in the 1850s and was quite successful despite the arduous nature of the trip. However, the Civil War interrupted the business for a few years, but post that conflict things boomed again. 

There were several motivations for looking at this area of the country which include the early explorations when it was a territory of Spain, then the initial comings and goings by sea and land, the acceleration of the New England influence after the Civil War, and, in particular, an area of DTLA that was known as Bunker Hill. As we have mentioned, it now is full of sky scrapers (high-rise corner), but the area represents changes that were fast and furious over the years. However, a huge change was the introduction of the railroad across the country. We can read of this: Samuel Clemens took the trip by stage coach; later, R. W. Emerson took a similar trip by rail. Clemens disliked the journey so much that he returned to the east coast by sea which was no mean feat either.  

W e have mentioned, before, the Cathedral (St. Vibiana's) that moved from the base of Bunker Hill to being on top in the latter part of the 1900s as urban renewal took its toll. The older building still stands, near the LA City Hall and serves the function of an event center. Today, we saw an early photo which was from before the time that the Cathedral was built. It is a smaller Catholic church with an interesting history with respect to our continuing studies of the other colonial experiences in the founding of the U.S.  

Before going further, let's pause to recognize and honor the work of the Water and Power Associates (WPA) which has collected photos related to the history of Los Angeles. This is their mission statement: 

to inform and educate its memberrs, public officials, and the general public on critical water and energy issues affecting the citizens of Los Angeles, Southern California and the State of California.

The below photos and information are courtesy of their virtual museum and collection of period photos. 


We start by looking at an earlier church (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles - Wikipedia). It is on the left of this photo that looks north on the Calle Principal which is now Main Street (Wikipedia) and which has been mentioned many times. We can consider the area to be at the foot of hills to the west of DTLA such as Bunker Hill. 

Old Plaza Church 

Zanja Madre
The caption for the photo at the WPA site mentions the "Mother Trench" (Wikipedia) with this caption:

The "Old Plaza Church" facing the Plaza, 1869. The brick reservoir in the middle of the Plaza was the original terminus of the Zanja Madre.

As mentioned, LA is a very dry place. So, water was brought in early and has continued to be of concern as the population abounded, and still abounds, almost without bounds. 

But, in the beginning: 

The Pueblo de Los Angeles was an official settlement of Spain. They had three types of settlements in Alta California: presidio (military), mission (religious) and pueblo (civil). The pueblos would provide the commercial and agricultural needs of the military as an alternative to the missions. (source Wikipedia) 

When researching Jedediah's experiences, we looked briefly at the military aspect of the community. The Old Plaza Church and St. Vibiana's are examples of the religious. In some of the early photos that we show below there were other churches appearing as New England's influence grew. But, for now, let's look at travel and trade, again. Butterfield is mentioned in one of these photos. 

Old Plaza Church
and the LA City Hall

In our earlier look, we mentioned how his coaches came into the area where the Times-Mirror building is now. Let's use a photo of Main Street looking south to set the dimensions. The photo is from 1928 which was not long after City Hall was finished. We see that the civic building is just down the street from the church. 

And, the facilities used by Butterfield (and his cohorts) would have been just on the other side of the City Hall from the church. 

Quoting the WPA site: 

The Overland Mail Company operated by John Butterfield (the founder of American Express) rented space for a station until it built new quarters in 1860 at Second and Spring--the present location of Mirror Building. The Wells, Fargo and Company also had their office here and Phineas Banning (Wikipedia) operated coaches to Wilmington and San Bernardino from the hotel.

But, that brings up another view to consider. We will be looking more at the history of Bunker Hill, eventually. It is just south of Fort Moore Hill which is in the background of the church in this photo. From this perspective, one can see why there was an effort to tunnel through these hills to go west. 

Fort Moore Hill to 
the west of the 
Old Plaza Church

The PWA site on Fort Moore hill: 

Fort Hill (also known as Fort Moore Hill) was a prominent hill overlooking the pueblo of Los Angeles. Its commanding view of the city made it a strategic location.

Fort Moore was an historic U.S. Military Fort during the Mexican–American War. Its approximate location was at what is now the Hollywood Freeway near the intersection of North Hill Street and West Cesar Chavez Avenue, downtown. The hill on which it was built became known as Fort Moore Hill, most of which was removed in 1949 for construction of the freeway. The hill was located one block north of Temple Street and a short distance south of present day Cesar Chavez Avenue, between the Los Angeles Civic Center and Chinatown.

The fort is now memorialized by the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, 451 North Hill Street.


Now, getting back to Butterfield, the building where he started was built in 1835. That is very early as the area was still under Spanish control. This next photo is from 1865 and shows the state of the building after additional floors were constructed. 

1865 view after
addition to 1835 building of
Isaac Williams (Wikipedia)

Quoting the PWA site: 

The Bella Union Hotel was considered the first hotel in Los Angeles. It became the Clarenden in 1873 and the St. Charles in 1875.

Constructed in 1835 as the home of Isaac Williams, a New England merchant who moved to Los Angeles three years earlier, the one story adobe became the last capitol of Alta California during the Mexican era when Governor Pio Pico purchased it for his office.

After the conquest of Los Angeles by American forces in 1847, the building was used by Lt. Archibald Gillespie, who commanded the occupying forces. Later it housed American troops, and after they left, it became a saloon. By early 1850, the building was operating as the Bella Union Hotel. Later that year, it became the county's first courthouse and beginning in 1858, it was the region's transportation hub. The Overland Mail Company operated by John Butterfield (the founder of American Express) rented space for a station until it built new quarters in 1860 at Second and Spring--the present location of Mirror Building. The Wells, Fargo and Company also had their office here and Phineas Banning operated coaches to Wilmington and San Bernardino from the hotel. 

Wikipedia quote: 

On October 7, 1858, the first Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach from the East, arrived 21 days after leaving St. Louis, Missouri. "Warren Hall was the driver, and Waterman Ormsby, a reporter, the only through passenger. In that era it was the region's transportation hub: Wells, Fargo & Co. and Phineas Banning's coaches to and from Wilmington and San Bernardino had offices there.

By way of comparison, the Sante Fe trail went from Independence, MO through Fort Larned, KS on its way to NM after passing through Gardner, KS. That trek, western MO to western KS took three weeks of hard work, daily. The coach trip took the same. Mostly, the horses did the work. However, think of the difficulties of the trip compared to our modern times and its highways. 

Isaac Williams is an example of the multifaceted gents who were into fur searching, trading and then ranching. Earlier, we looked at William S. Bent, New Englander, and his adventures in the middle of the country; he was a cohort of Kit Carson and others. Williams was close to the same time and followed Jedediah Strong Smith out through the Mojave Desert to the lower coast.  

Connection: One owner was Obed Macy (WikiTree) who was a Thomas Gardner descendant of a Nantucket Island family. 


Let's do one more photo as the three-story building that started as the Bella Union Hotel (Wikipedia) and became the St. Charles Hotel was there for a long while. And, it has a storied history that needs some attention. We will look more closely. The Daily Mirror sent an artist to visit the St. Charles and published a sketch March 16, 1936. It was demolished in 1940. 

As well, we will look at Bunker Hill houses and other buildings and identify those built by New England families. There are many photos to browse through which show the houses to be quite demonstrative of culture and money, considering the problems of LA and obtaining building materials. In one case, a mansion was converted to an apartment hotel and operated for years. 

Labeled photo, 1869

This photo is from one end of Bunker Hill which sweeps around to the right. It mentions the Times building and the "old" Overland Stage Corral. The Civil War interrupted the flow of traffic. This was several years after that conflict. Notice that the 3rd Street dig for the tunnel had already started. 


So, as grounding or control, here is a modern view of the Bunker Hill area and its surroundings from Kenneth Hahn State Park (Times article). 

May human curators reign for a long while. Thank you, Power and Water Associates. 

Remarks: Modified: 05/01/2024

05/01/2024 -- 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

More than STEM, we need MSET+

TL;DR -- STEM ought to be MSET+. Too, we see science in practice everyday. A Thomas Gardner descendant was recently honored at LSU. On the other hand, an old name from Harvard is apropos to analyzing the times and their turmoils with respect to computing. It's time to raise the level of discussion. 


The conglomeration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has gotten a lot of press, of late. Magic ensues when one considers the potential based upon the proficiency of the practice. 

Wait, nope. Nope. AIn't is all of the evidence that we need. The main mess is attributable to mathematics. You know, the sequence ought to be this: Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Technology (MSET). Okay? 

So, this post is to start a discussion and the followup actions, over a large scale. First, though, we will mention two parties. Second, we will have a brief look at how the two mix in this day and age. 


In this photo, we see Alfred L. Gardner, Ph.D. giving his acceptance speech for the award. To the right is the Dean of the College of Science, LSU: Cynthia Peterson. The award dinner was held on 19 Apr 2024, at the Baton Rogue, LA campus.  


Alfred is Ann's twin brother; they are descendants of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Fryer and are 1st cousins of Dr. Frank in being descendants of Samuel. Alfred has been supportive of our efforts with regard to accomplishing the mission of the TGSociety. 


The second person is Benjamin Peirce (SEP article) whose son, Charles Sanders Peirce, we have paid attention to. Today, we honor Benjamin, himself. We have had lots of posts on technology over the last decade and many just from the last year. GenAI and its foibles were the theme. Mainly, the problem is that AI is not some creature. Look, we are dealing with buckets-of-bits. Even if there is the robotic side of things, those are buckets-of-bolts, albeit plastic many times. 

So, let's clarify the issue using Benjamin's work. First, observing over the past two decades has shown a decline all around. Quality has gone away. The only way to find it now is with the "bespoke" methods that are custom done by those who care. Companies are whole-hog adopting AIn't with deleterious results that can be seen all around. 

They are forcing their customers into untenable situations. Actually, they are treating their workers even worse. And, at some point, the illusional mindset that is allowing this will burst its bubble. We'll see tears all around. 

So, may we prepare? No less an authority than Bourbaki noted the importance of the Peirces. As said, we ran into C.S. Peirce long ago in the context of computational intelligence. But, his father is noted as being instrumental in taking Hamilton's notion (quaterions) and bringing it forward. Look, this was in the mid-portion of the 1800s. What happened since then? We will look at that. 

For now, here are two sites offering Benjamin's paper: MAA Mathematical Treasure; Linear Associative Algebra. We will focus on Benjamin and his son, for a bit, as we get the situation described. 

Benjamin and his son are Thomas Gardner descendants, too, with two children in their pedigree: George and Seeth. So, we will be looking at that further, too. 


Now, to a brief bit of the necessary discussion, our last post was the forebear of the message: map-territory. That is partly philosophical in nature. But, mathematics threw out the old way. Let's bring it back. 

The reason for these two being tied together stems from our interest in truth engineering which will be another piece of work on the table for taming AI which is computing and mathematics going aground. That is, they got grounded but in an improper way. 

Remarks: Modified: 04/28/2024

04/28/2024 --  Added pointers: Quora article on quaternions; the SEP article on Benjamin. 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Royce in America

TL:DR -- Wild people coming into America and going west. We look at one family. The parents venture out to California where the Gold Rush was starting up. They both die there. Their son ends up in UC and then goes back to Johns Hopkins. Then, he goes back to Berkeley to teach and transfers to Harvard. At the time that an LLD was conferred upon him, Royce gave a series of lectures where are pertinent to today's turmoils of technology. All of this because of the importance of the concept of the map not being the territory. Or, better, the territory is never the map.  


In pursing our theme of technology, from all angles, we were tracking down the path of map-territory's (Wikipedia) domain and all of its characteristics. There were lots of articles over the years which have touched upon the subject. But, none of these expressed anything to do with "being" and its importance. 

Before going further, let's pause to look at related posts that are attributable to our work: 
These post cover our own thoughts about how the topic applies to the themes of the post. The post at FEDaerated was motivated by Alan Greenspan's book on the topic. Now, we are addressing the concept from the totality of AIn't and the problems related to its appearance in Nov of 2022. Whicn means that we will be looking, in depth, at computing and its mathematical bases. 


Actually, later, we found one reference to "being" in the Wikipedia article. It pointed to this reference of a series of lectures given at a College in Scotland. 
On looking at the article, we saw a reference to early California: California, from the conquest in 1846 to the second vigilance committee in San Francisco [1856] A study of American character. This book was published in 1886 by Josiah Royce

Per usual, we went to look at his family and summarize their journey to the West Coast. 

Josiah's parents were Sarah Bayliss (1819 - 1891) and Josiah Royce, Sr. Sarah was born in England and came over with her parents when she was "six weeks old" where she went to school. She and Josiah (who was an immigrant, as well) married in 1847. They headed west and got to Iowa in 1849 but trailed the wagon train of Gold Rushers (who were in a hurry). This got them into the "desert west of the Great Salt Lake" in October of 1849 and got caught in the winter of "the Sierra Nevada mountain range." They were rescued and arrived in before snow closed the pass. 

Josiah, Sr died in 1889. Sarah kept a diary and wrote Pilgrim Diary ("republished in 1932 as A Frontier Lady"). This work "chronicled her family's journey to California during the gold rush." Sarah died in 1891. 

The Royces had three children, one of which was Josiah, Jr who became a philosopher and taught at Harvard. 

Wild Woman of the West:
Sarah Royce

Now, about their son, we have lots of material to refer to. Harvard wrote of his death. He attended UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins. He started to teach at Harvard in 1892 after a stint of teaching at Berkeley. An LL.D "was conferred upon him" by the University of Aberdeen where the above-referenced Lectures were given. He also received honorary degrees from Yale and Oxford. 

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) provides an in-depth review of his work and thoughts which could involve lots of time. But rather than wander that road, let's consider his view on the map-territory concept and some indication of its use. Namely, technology brings the issue to fore: When the map becomes the territoryAlfred Korzybski and Gestalt Therapy


Connections? His advisors included William James and Charles Sanders Peirce, both of whom are of New England, related various ways, and about whom we have written. Especially, on Peirce and his father

Remarks: Modified: 04/27/2024

04/27/2024 -- Referenced this post in terms of MSET+.   

Monday, April 15, 2024

Bluebells in Dorset

TL;DR -- Today, we look at the southwest, in particular, Dorset. Motivation? Bluebells. And, look at St.Aldhelm's influence on schools in the region. 


Yesterday, we looked at the other end of the country: Bamford UK. We were motivated by a photo. And, having ventured into the region via the internet, we looked around and found our old friend, the Domesday Book. With respect to that, we saw that William I spent time up there. At the same time, we noted local families that relate. So from that, we looked to include views of the UK areas as we roam, virtually for now as well as report little tidbits that pertain to our work. 

Well, Microsoft pushed this photo. It was supposedly of the bluebells of Dorset UK. We have to look further at that. Lots of photos have been taken, but we found one that had been published by a local school. So, let's look at that. 

Bluebells in the countryside,
Minterne Magna, Dorset, England, UK

This area is near Sherborne, the town of Thomas and Margaret. We have looked at the area before after reading on Folger's report that John Gardner had said that his father told him that they had been from Sherborne. That post is from 2010. But, we were new and accumulating information more than trying to do analysis. The tide has turned. Folger used "Nantucket tradition" as they knew on the island. 

Skip forward four years, and a record relatred to the marriage of Thomas and Margaret had been found. Last year, further research brought forth to light the birth records of most of the kids. That find brings back to fore a major conundrum. We knew of this. Dr. Frank thought not. So, we'll try to help research further. Lots of the historical recordings seem to be wrong. 

For us? We'll say that Thomas came over, perhaps more than once. So, it's one gent. In the meantime, we will work on the progeny as we had already started: Descendants. Too, we will go over the waters and research. In the meantime, we'll explore via the internet which is an unexpected gift that came out of research. At the same time, we will weigh in on technology and its misuse (AIn't, for example). 


Okay, earlier we noticed this school: Sherborne School (private). It was founded in the time of the Wessex realm by St. Aldhelm. The school lost patronage or whatever was the reason and ceased to be. Then, in 1550, King Edward VI brought it back to life. In modern times, George and Elizabeth visited to help them celebrate their 400th. It is now a boarding school affiliated with the Church of England. 

We will be back to look at St. Aldhelm and his cohorts later. 

For now, we mentioned another school: The Gryphon School (State). This is a much later school which came out of a merger. However, one of the three schools was affiliated with the old days: St Aldhelm's Church of England Modern School, Sherborne. This school had started in 1877. The amalgamation (as noted in the UK) was in 1992. 

Note: Bluebells are UK flowers. Some places in the world have them but not to the same extent. The plant is Hyacinthoides non-scripta. It's cousin, the common hyacinth of our spring and of the Dutch market is oriental.  

Remarks: Modified: 04/15/2024

04/15/2024 --  

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bamford UK

TL;DR -- A photo pulled one into research which got back to an old theme of William I's time which is way back. So be it, as we're looking at origins, more thoroughly. 


One of the irritants of the new way fostered by the errant release of TCPIP is a provider who pushes out photos for whatever reason. Usually, they don't say. Thankfully, I have mine filtered down to landscapes. So, it seems to be a game of: do you like this place? Loaded question. Well, after a few years, the thing has learned to not include people in the scene. And, location choice has been honed. 

Today was a charmer for several reasons. It was titled "Bamford UK" which looked to be north. So, I went to Wikipedia, first. The content was rather staid as I suppose we expect from an older English culture.

Bamford UK

What caught my attention was that the place had been included in the book of William I when he surveyed the land in order to rule better; one impact of this was the distribute his supporters across the land. Eventually, through his progeny, that came to include Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. And, too, we will have to look at the impact on the Continent. 

But, the main name was on the lists that I see of ancestors. Okay, what of the area? Well, Wikipedia, again, was ready to answer: Derbyshire Domesday Book - tenants. Of course, "in chief" is added as this was a land look not head count, specifically. Then, it was Banford. 

Again, lots of familiar names. We have addressed this effort of William before. This recent find is significant as recent events have changed our focus. We are no long only looking on the Americas. Now, we want to look at origins, in more depth, about which topic we have had lots of posts. 

Note, we know that Thomas Gardner was from Dorset which is in the southwest. But, there are lots of families in trees when going back that far, many of whom are from the north. And, we might like the beach. But, the northern mountains demand a little more attention. 

Remarks: Modified: 04/14/2024

04/14/2024 --