Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Another Adams

TL;DR -- Butterfield got our interest. Now, we are following some of the threads. One of those came back to the Adams family. 


We just wrote of John Butterfield and the Mirror Building in Los Angeles (LA), CA. We had written eartlier about his overland mail business running across the country (St. Louis, MO to San Francisco, CA) which was quite successful until the Civil War closed off access to Texas. Part of that business was part of another business that continues to this day, American Express. We saw that Wells and Fargo were partners, and competitors, of Butterfield. 

In terms of the long reach of New England, Butterfield was a descendant of the same immigrant as was Pres. John Adams. We have looked at a few more: Adams cousins which looked at Pres. John Quincy Adams and Grizzly Adams (the real one). Ann has in-law associations with this Adams family. 

Back to the past, for several reasons, there have been funded research projects looking at these historic companies and their assets. The Mirror Building's listing as a heritage site came from such a study. As well, the western express companies were scrutinized. Among others, Wells & Fargo had a trunk line in LA that tied into Butterfield's line. Monies ($3.5M) for that came from supporters of their own Express company and from Adams Express which is now Adams Funds

We had to look into that further. Alvin Adams, with partners, founded the firm. During the Civil War, an offshoot of the company ran mail in the Confederacy. 

When Butterfield terminated his business, Wells & Fargo took over the assets. The modern representative of this entity is one of the largest US banks.  

Remarks: Modified: 09/26/2022

09/26/2022 --

Mirror building

TL;DR -- John Butterfield was involved with several businesses, some of which still exist today. Today, we look at his facilities in Los Angeles CA that support the Butterfile line. When travelers got that far, then had already trekked from St. Louis, MO or Mephsis, TN. Where Butterfiled hung out is now the building that houses the Los Angeles Times. 


We have had several posts about John Butterfield and his work. This post is about his facilities for the Butterfield Overland Mail in LA which were at the Mirror building which was the home of the Daily Times of LA. Coming forward, Times-Mirror published the LA Times for which the poster (John) worked back in the early 60s while a student at UCLA. 

Butterfield Overland Mail
Company- 1st stage arrived
at LA on 7 Oct 1858
Our original interest in Butterfield's stage line was the start of a leg, either in St. Louis, MO or Mephis, TN. Then, there was the long trek of many days across the southern border. The travelers endured a lot; the photo is of the southern part of the route - dusty, hot, and dangerous. 

The Civil War interrupted the southern route as TX became part of the Confederacy. The nothern alternative was a little more treacherous in terms of terrain and weather: Winter won. Many took this northern route (Mark Twain) until the rails were in (Ralph W. Emerson). 

We will get back to Butterfield and his heritage and associations. For one thing, he's kin of John (and John Quincy) Adams. Another of his business interests is in operation: American Experss. The Times-Mirror Company, for a long while, was owned by a New England family. 

One continuing theme is the long reach of New England. 

Remarks: Modified: 09/26/2022

09/26/2022 --

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Gardner's Beacon, Vol XIII, No 1

This issue of Gardner's Beacon continues with the context of our previous issue with respect to a regular presentation of ongoing work as well as reviews of common interests. ...


Technology, AI


GB XIII, 1 (PDF w/links)

GB XIII, 1  

(the next issue will cover origins and 
the beginnings of the new story of Thomas and Margaret)

See Vol. XIII, No. 1 of Gardner's Beacon for links to Sources.

Remarks: Modified: 09/13/2022

09/13/2022 --

John Dewey

TL;DR -- How did we miss John Dewey? We will have to look into the matter. He, of long New England pedigree and major cuz. 


While getting Gardner's Beacon, Vol. XII, No. 1 ready, we are looking at our technology focus. In doing some research, we realized that we had ignored an example of the long reach of New England. So, let's correct that by introducing the guy who will feature in some future discussion of what John calls AIn't.  

  • John Dewey (1859-1952) (Wikipedia, WikiTree) - Born in Vermont and educated in New England, he worked in psychology and philosophy. Dewey will be of interest with respect to our analysis of technology and its ways and means. 

Perhaps, we were keeping our focus on the earlier crowd, such as Charles Sanders Peirce. Dewey had pragmatists leanings. Too, his work on Kant will apply. 

Remarks: Modified: 09/13/2023

09/13/2023 -- 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

To Bard or not

TL;DR -- We're approaching a year since the release of OpenAI's system. There are many others in the mix. After a little review of the situation, we [will] look at an interchange with Bard (of Google) with respect to core items that are usually ignored. [As such, we] We will demonstrate that such oversights are not tenable now (the piper always arrives; karma unfolds its retribution or reward). 


Technology is a focus that we have adopted. We see it and its influences all around. Of late, machine learning (ML) has risen to attention after decades of preparatory  (saw this; forgot to fix; Boston influences caused the "r" drop ;>) work. Well, a side note would emphasize the improvement of hardware over that time period as being of primary importance. 

Actually, we can thank gaming and its emphasis on graphics that is fast and representative beyond merely providing stick figures [plumbed out and shaded]. Recently attention has grown even more in this area with the stock of Nvidia bursting out as a consequence of its last quarter's boom in revenue. Nvidia made chips for the graphics processing used in gaming (GPU) which are now [which now] have another alternative that has potential. That relates to a better way to handle the processing of numbers. 

ML requires huge expenditures of several types, including computer time. One expectation is that the new Nvidia chip will get things done faster or allow more work within the same timeframe. But, what is ML and why is it getting attention? That is one topic that we will cover. Is this topic related to artificial intelligence (AI) which has seen so much coverage in the press? Yes. 

Right now, there are two items to present. Over the past few years, we have had several posts which covered various aspects of this new way of doing business. We have plans to continue that emphasis but more thoroughly and with regularity. 

  • Technical - The history goes back to the 1950s in the early days of computing. A major division of approaches then related to our understanding of intelligence. The next bullet looks briefly at the overview issues. For now, here are two recent posts: Getting technical; Year to date, 2023. ChatGPT of OpenAI was released in November of 2022. It attracted the attention of millions of people who started to experiment with the system. Now, several months later and after an intitial negative reaction by the academic world, we now see this system being used as a tool by students under the auspices, and guidance, of professors. One important topic will be how to get academic knowledge covered by these systems as the first pass ignored such a requirement. 
  • Cultural/Philosophical - Given the intelligence focus and that this deals with the core of human abilities, we have to relook at how philosophy is important to computing. Such a recognition was lost which we will discuss. Too, this does apply to the U.S. and its history and people. At the same time, we are talking worldwide influence due to the role that the "cloud" architecture plays in this area. All of this is both technical and more general. ChatGPT has a peer from Google named Bard. We have mentioned work with both of these. There are others. But, consider Bard looking at Kant who was a pivotal entity (in his time and now). The pre-Kant look considered ethics and its importance. The post-Kant look bring to bear some serious issues, some of which seem to induce pessimism. An example of that is the dystopian view that seems to have erupted with strong emphasis of late, as seen in certain quorums found on social media. 
As well, Kant brought "critique" to bear in his look at metaphysics. In regard to ML (or AI, for which we have used AIn't) there have been people on both sides of the arguments. We particularly have like Dreyfus' position (see this post: Alchemy and AI). 

This post is brief. Going forward, the breadth of the topic will require several threads to be followed, simultaneously. We will try to keep that coherent. On the other hand, the fact that the computer and its AI is ubiquitious demands that we pay attention to details as well as motivations. 

Sounds difficult? Not really. Think of the 400 years that have been documented here of which only a minor part has been studied. That will be changing. Again, new ways will be central to the new work. 

So, on to the future. 


Note: This was typed up in about 15 minutes (late in the evening of 09/06/2023 with a limited amount of time available) and pushed to Quora and Facebook. The typing, per usual, is by touch while composing in the mind using the editor provided by the blog. Use Word (or other) and cut and paste? There used to be issues with text markings and such. But, the style is so not what is being done by xNN/LLM that I'll continue (a human is doing this; cannot be replicated; we'll test that someday). This am, I looked at the post via smartphone. Saw a few errors (nothing major). Per usual, I make corrections later and then change the "Modified" date. Why this topic and choice? Technology's lure and promises versus its downsides which I have observed up close for decades. No magic there, folks.  

Remarks: Modified: 09/07/2023

09/07/2023 -- A few changes, wording, grammar. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Alchemy and AI

TL;DR -- This post is about Dreyfus and his arguments about what computers can and cannot do from a philosophical position. Dreyfus was a student at Harvard. He taught at MIT and Berkeley. The post provides links to some of his material in the interest of future work related to technology. 


We have a technological focus to pay attention to. Of late, the main topics have related to the xNNN/LLM approach that has been called "generative." In November of 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT upon the public. It got acclaim and criticism. The former is still there as companies rush to make money on the idea, even though AI has had a troubled past in some cases. 

Criticism range over a wide domain. For one thing, students got to using it to do their work. Again, companies have been using it where "fiction" is not an unlikely find. For instance, where PR doesn't have a firm basis. So, people came up with analogs, such as "lies" or "hallucinations" to describe the careless output. Well, actually, sophisticated, albeit misdirected, mathematics was doing the work. 

A sister approach became quite adept at creating "fake" photos that could fool people. And, movies being a moving stream of photos, there were "fake" videos.  

Since then, there is a newer version of ChatGPT. It has scored well on some tests. But, at the hard problems where guts and smarts are necessary, we still see low scoring. No one, in their right mind, would trust their lives being run by these new deals. Though, management decisions now are setting up the future for just that event. 

Of all of the issues at hand, that is the one that really bears some attention due to its potential for errors. Oh yes, bias has come up in discussion as it seems to be inherent to the approach. There are many things to discuss, as said. 

In the below, we will use "AI" to mean "artificial intelligence," in toto. We coined AIn't about two years ago with respect to the adulation being given xNNN (and its manipluative ways) which is only one aspect of what has been considered to be important to AI.  

So, is any of the critical opinions other than new? You bet. The following is a summary. 

  • Hubert L. Dreyfus (1929-2017) is one example. He studied transcendental and existential phenomonology at Harvard and in Europe. He talked to some of the greats (Heidegger, Sartre, ...). He also was a professor at MIT which was the hotbed of the early development of AI. As we will see, he and AIers did not agree. 
  • While at MIT Dreyfus wrote "Alchemy and Artificial Intelligence" which was published by RAND and is available at the DOD site. Later, this paper became a book, What Computers Can't do
  • Later Dreyful publish an update since AI had made seeming progress. His new title was What Computers still Can't do. There is a "preview" available copy of this book at GDocs. In the commentary, there is this great quote about this work: ... was widely attacked but quietly studied. Dreyfus's arguments are still provocative and focus our attention once again on what it is that makes human beings unique.
  • Hubert Dreyfus's views on artificial intelligence (at Wikipedia) has a great summary of the discussions and related themes. John McCarthy, early AI pioneer, mentioned that Dreyfus had good concerns, however his presentation and argument style was offputting. Which, in McCarthy' opinion was too bad as some necessary discussions were not to be. 
And, that is where we are now. Dreyfus's ideas will figure in coming work. Too, one
thing that might be the result of this cycle of AI which has had several is that AI might now continue into the future as something that is recognized though without proper definition. It means different things to different people. But, over these decades, there have been many cases of AI involvment in progress and effective work. In fact, it's daily on the computer horizon and touches operational situations more than we might realize. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/23/2023

08/23/2023 --

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Reworks and recaps

TL;DR -- During our thirteen years of working, we have had a few readjustments. We are at that time, again, and will be organizing the posts and their information content. At the same time, we are now into American History fully having been given a shot in the arm by the COVID constraints. At the core and toward the periphery, and everywhere else, we will see technology's influence growing, regulary. Probably, too, that will be more steady; after the pop of this latest bubble related to AIn't. 


This post collects together stories that are American at the core.  We will add to this for a while. Then, each of these deserves some further study and comment. 
  • Royal connections --  This comes from the Nutfield Genealogy blog that is about as old as this Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. one. We have been working on applications for D.A.R. for a while which has lead to many stories of historical interest. From this work, we continued exploring our theme "the long reach of New England" in many directions which seems to be endless in scope. This post is about a Spanish Lady (with uncountable titles, almost) who applied for D.A.R. membership through a Scottish connection. 
  • Salton Sea -- This huge affair (see article at Wikipedia) in southern CA is well known by visitors and locals. Is it naturally there? This is an answer that was found on Quora with respect to the subject.  

Our first post was on the 25th of September of 2010. We had started to study the family lineage the prior summer (2009). As the winter was amongst us, we started the Wikipedia page, Thomas Gardner (Planter), on the 10th of January of 2010. BTW, one can use "View history" to see the edits through time in detail with regard to the change and the person doing the change. This page needs to be rewritten (see the post, In summary) as does many of the blog posts. Before the blog, we had started the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. website (summer of 2010). Our first issue of Gardner's Beacon was in the spring of 2011. Our first redo was in 2012 (movement from Microsoft's cloud). We will have more recaps on all subjects as we go along. 

As we research Sherborne records and modify the story, we will also identify places where we cannot tell the story without some speculative modes. These will be clear. We will watch to see how others might conjecture. The thing with the internet and the process used by most publishers to verify information, we expect that those things published will be in good order. However, on the other hand, anyone with a creative bent is free to write to their heart's content. The future will be fun, even with technology muddying up the water. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/20/2023

08/20/2023 --

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Cols. Joseph Hodgkins, Nathaniel Wade

TL;DR -- After reading of the Society of Cincinnati, it seemed apropos to find a case close to home with respect to finding some to add to the prospectii list. In one case, only the daughter had children some of whom have descendants alive today. The other has male descendants bearing the name. In the first case, there is another organization that may offer memberhip. In the other case, a little more research work is required.   


The subject matter of this post deals with close relatives and demonstrates various types of studies that can be done to find interesting stories. We begin with the story of one book that led to a TV series. 

Part of this motivation was the prior post on the Society of the Cincinnati which organization allows one member (male) per each Patriot that is qualified. The qualification, briefly, is being an officer for the Continental Army. There are additional requirements, one of which is having served to three years. At the same time, the daughters have their own organization but allow multiple members for each Patriot. Our interests, in part, deal with the time and conflict, in general, the unfolding of the U.S. from them to now (we're talking 247 years), the movement of families, and historic/genealogical studies and consequence of these research, such as related memberships.  

So, it didn't take long to pull this example which deals with our favorite town, Ipswich MA, after Salem, of course. The post looks at two families who are related, but there are many others involved. 
  • Let's start with the book, 1776, David McCullough, which deals with the times and letters of Col. Joseph Hodgkins (WikiTree) and his wife Sarah Perkins. Hodgkins served under Col. Nathaniel Wade (WikiTree). They were both at Bunker Hill and served for more than three more years. Joseph and Sarah had children, however only one daughter had children who grew to adulthood. She married the son of Col. Wade, and they had children with descendants who are alive now. 
  • Society of the Cincinnati membership claims comes down through the sons. So, that would not be a sustainable claim. On the other hand, female descendants of Joseph and Sarah would be eligible for the Daughters of the Cincinnati should they be able to prove their lineage. Our  hope will be find an extant male descendant of an officer who meets the prospectii requirements. 
  • The blog, Historic Ipswich, provides commentary and a copy of some of the letters. We have had used this blog as a resource several times. Our last post was on the founding of Ohio by a team of veterans from Ipswich. But, the Smithsonian Museum of American History displays a house that was taken from Ipswich
  • Taking this a little further, we can look at the D.A.R. and S.A.R. databases. Col. Joseph Hodgkins is not in the D.A.R. database, but Col. Nathaniel Wade is there with several applications being done by his descendants including through his son, Nathaniel who married Hannah Hodgkins. For the S.A.R. database, Joseph Hodgkins has a record but no applications. S.A.R. has been trying to identify all Patriots. The Col. Nathanial Wade record shows no applicants with the Wade name. 
This is an example of how families were involved in the Revolution. The two Patriots were from the same town and served together. Their children married. There were many cases like this. So the families kept an association through the years. D.A.R. allows supplemental applications after a primary one is verified and one becomes a member. 

One motivation can be membership approval. However, the larger picture related to history is very much tied into the families who were there. That type of research will be better served with the improvements in technology than we had before where paper chasing was the theme. But, the larger problem was figuring out where to find the paper as well has hoping that such might exist and actually be of use. 

Now? One of our interests is technology for reasons that John has dealt with that for decades. STEM is pushing this type of thinking without any regard for other issues. Such as? Take philosophy which was thrown to the background (for reason that can be discussed). See the Knowbility post. It's a beginning. Briefly, one problem is that assumption computing have no basis. Oh sure, these issues can supposedly be overcome through demonstration. But, rationalaity is going to have to be deconstructed and put back on its pedastal. That work has been waiting in the wing for several decades now. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/12/2023

08/12/2023 --

Society of the Cincinnati

TD;DR -- We have had regular posts about the Revolution and descendants of the Patriots - D.A.R. and S.A.R. This post is about a Society that recognizes the officers of the Continental Army.  


We have run across the Society of the Cincinnati a few times in our research and have mentioned it in the blog (five posts). The latest post was from our helping a friend apply to the Baronial Order of the Magna Carta which is a member society of the Hereditary Society Community. At the time, we discussed a house in New Hampshire owned by the Society of the Cincinnati (Two houses) but did not look further at the Society. 

This post corrects that oversight and is motivated by research performed for a recent post (Knowability). We had been reading an editorial in the American Ancestor magazin and also saw an add for a recent book: Biographies of Original Members and Qualifying Officers

This is the intro to the Society at their website. 

The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members. Now a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the principles and ideals of its founders, the modern Society maintains its headquarters, library, and museum at Anderson House in Washington, D.C.

The research arm of the Society has a list of the officers who have known descendants: The American Revolution Institute. Gardner Research will be pay ing more attention to the work of this Institute as we would like to identify officers who are not represented. There is a process that allows such work to be documented and verified. Like we have seen with the Daughters of the American Revolusion (D.A.R.) who honors Patriots who supported the Revolution, Patriots with known descendants who have joined D.A.R. are a small percentage of the total. A perusal of one research effort (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors) will give one an idea of the quantity of prospecti having a modern descendant who qualifies and can establish the fact.

The Society of the Cincinnati is for gentlemen. A comparable organization has been established for the ladies: Daughters of the Cincinnati

Remarks: Modified: 08/12/2023

08/12/2023 --

Thursday, August 10, 2023


TL:DR -- This post introduces a topic of long-standing debate which pertains closely with how we ought to consider technology and choices related to it. 


Can we know it all? Can any one? Or any thing? That latter case? One might point to the new approach to AI which is doing just that, albeit the source for knowledge is the collection (of stuff, over about three decades) on the internet. A good look at that might get one to realize one huge issue: how much is believable?; or, knowable, for that matter? 

And one consequence is that we see failures and have since one major release in November (ChatGPT). Of late, the six months of experience (with multitudes making updates and supposed improvement via learning) brings out another observation: failures are increasing despite an attempt at training by the public. 

We might add, you cannot train out the crap that was originally introduced. 

Earlier, we mentioned Charles Sanders Peirce and his work which will become more usable. There are other Americans of note to bring into the discussion. We learned of one yesterday: Frederic Brenton Fitch (Wikipedia). He was a mathematical logician and is the maternal grandfather of D. Brenton Simons (Wikipedia) who is CEO and President of the NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) which we all know and love. It's been around for a while having had an illustrious start in the 1830s. The NEHGR is a phenomenal publication providing historic and genealogical information that has been verified, somewhat.  

This is brief, but Prof Fitch is known for his paradox about knowability. There are many sides to this issue. We will look at each of those. Why? They are interwoven with the debates about computing and what we have been calling "AIn't" since there is more promise than actual realization with the current approaches. 

Aside: Fitch, too, had a Paradox: (1) Possibility (blog of Bas van Fraassen). Simons mentioned him in his commentary in the summer (2023) edition of American Ancestors

One dynamic is business versus academic. Or rather, proprietary information versus science. Who owns knowledge that is applicable to us, generally?

Another aspect of S. B. Simons' background is that he has New Amsterdam heritage (van Deusen). We will look at that. Too, he has an ancestor who was born in Lawrence KS (E. L. Simons) and went to TX and became a paleontologist of note dealing with primates. Notice the drifts that we will be considering. S. B.'s ancestor visited seveal continents in his pursuit of knowledge. 

Earlier, we mentioned a Thomas Gardner descendant who was a field biologist with many publications and species named after him. 

But, technology and computing? They are inseparable. As said, we are picking this up as our operational interest with regard to all aspects some of which get little consideration in today's environment of rah-rah money chasing, silly boys rushing and breaking things, issues related to undecidability being shouted down by the bullying environment, and other things best left for later.  

Remarks: Modified: 08/09/2023

08/09/2023 --

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

To date, mainly

TL;DR -- This post looks at two major themes: origins and technology. There will be others to look at later. The issue of origins came about due to additional digitization of records which is an advance in several technologies. Going forward, technological improvement will be more generally available and useful to the point of being problematic since the matter of complication always lurks.  


Right now, as we pull Gardner's Beacon, Vol. XIII, No. 1 together, we are looking at themes from this year's work and at major themes from the beginning. We have two huge changes coming. One deals with origins which has been a puzzle. This year we have need information to process which requires that we rework the story. The other category needing attention is our future focus in a world of increasing technology. Of course, the principal portions will deal with family and country. But, there is also culture and the roles of the U.S. Included here will be technology. 

With regard to origins, we applied a rule that we saw early: those here need to focus on U.S. records and do it right; that related to the other side of the big water is the responsibility of those there. With technology now, we can broaden our scope. In fact, we need to in order to fill in the pieces that have puzzled for centuries. Sherborn records have been quite helpful albeit shaking the foundation. Gardner research will step up to helping with the work and related discussions. We have used the WikiTree Magna Carta project as an example. However, ancestry's work on images is to be acknowledged. 

In terms of the second point, we have the colonial times to research, including New Spain: Hernando de Soto, for example. Then, there is the time of the colonies leading up to the Revolution whose remembrance is coming up in 2026 (247th of the U.S.). Along with the development of the country, we can look at education (Harvard and its Leaders, for example). 

After the Revolution, we have subjects like the frontier and lost generations to research. This came up while researching applicant heritages for DAR/SAR. Research now will have heavy computer assistance that will continue to get better over time. Noticable prowess that increases is one piece of evidence, such as we saw the the November of 2022 release of ChatGPT.  


One of our recent posts has gone up the list of reads to be second overall since the beginning which was back in 2010. We went to look at the numbers by time and confirmed the report. The image shows the first five posts on the list (see the menu area on the right of the blog). The most popular is still about the marriage of Thomas and Margaret (2014). Since then, we have seen the baptism of all of the children come to the fore due to digitization. The second item is this post: A(rtificial) I(ntelligence) researched properly (2021). The occasion was the usual review that we have done with respect to choices along the way with respect to how we handle and manage technology. The thing to note is that the post was over a year before the arrival of ChatGPT. Later, posts cover the topic of the generative approach. We will use the term xNN/LLM as we discuss this further. Then, we have the one from yearend of 2011 where were going back over the activity of the year. The 2013 post (Plus or minus the arrival) was from our research dealing with origins. Turns out that this topic is still on the plate. Then, early on, we looked at Gardners of various types. That was in 2010. Again, this is a recurring theme.  

Remarks: Modified: 08/22/2023

08/22/2023 -- Added image and verbiage about technology, especially AI. 

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Life in the U.S.

TL;DR -- Hernando de Soto toured the southeast even before New England got started. Coronado went through the middle of the country up to KS. So, that's a look at New Spain. We have started to do awareness months. One for Native Americans was started lately. A new way to know is to watch vloggers. We look at one vlogger who has been visiting the reservations and discussing the life of those there. This represents our people focus which will become regular now that we have buckets-of-bits filling the airways in various ways. 


Earlier, we did a post on Coronado's visit to the middle of the U.S., a few centuries before its inception. Then, we looked at Hernando de Soto's jaunt through the southeast. While doing that, we pointed back to earlier civilizations, such as the New Spain of the adventurer. Then, we had others, such as New France. 

We now take a pause to consider those who were here before, as experienced by Coronado and Hernando. And, the American Dream comes up. What is this dream? The first link is to a video done by a vlogger who has been in many locations and talks to the locales. For this video, he was on the Navajo reservation. He has been on several with a consistent view of the area, inhabitants, some history and a discussion with a modern descendant. 

We have this interest as the argument is that everyone is an immigrant. Some are newer than others. So, with our 400-year view, we will begin to include Native American (Awareness month is November) as a subject. One motivation is the notion that coming to the U.S. is to find riches and fame and such. Well, not, though only seven percent actually serve in the military, we might discuss how a National Service obligation for everyone might be of use. 

In this video, a grandmother (indigenous) does not have documentation to fly to see her grandson who is serving in the military. At the point where this discussion takes place, we had already seen mention of the Navajo code-talkers of WII. How can this be, that this woman cannot get recognized? 

If the link does not go there, around 12:50, the video maker asks, can anyone help? 

       How do we get granny legal documentation to fly?

This type of thing is more common than we might consider reasonable. In particular, this post looks at one example. The media mode of youtube will allow further efforts with this type of thing, assuming that we can keep a handle on proper scrutiny with respect to how the viewpoint and message might fit. The video is a good example; the vlogger has accumulated tons of examples of his visiting sites in order to talk to people who are there. Good stuff. 

People will become more important as buckets-of-bits attempt to get more attention. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/06/2023

08/06/2023 -- Started this back in the time of the Hernando de Soto post. Finished text. Added image. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

Preview, Gardner's Beacon, Vol XIII, No 1

We are working on the next issue of Gardner's Beacon which will be No. 1 of Vol. XIII. The context of this issue will cover the topic of our current work and discuss an important change in the focus for our research. Related posts: Year to date, 2023; In summary (and What we know). Origins (questions of whence) will continue to be on our list of topics. We will use "new directions" as the theme for the needed work with a nod to the publisher of Ezra Pound. With regard to that, Harvard will be part of the theme, too. Life in the U.S. will be regular. Plus looking at the colonial times and onward. As will an increasing technical view that will be properly focused. 


Presentation of
GB XIII, 1 (coming soon)  

See Vol. XIII, No. 1 of Gardner's Beacon for links to Sources.

Remarks: Modified: 08/05/2023

08/05/2023 -- As we go along with the work to collect and publish, we will add commentary here. 

08/06/2023 -- Added a couple of links, on Life in the US and on the technical view. And an image. 

Friday, July 7, 2023

Year to date, 2023

TL;DR -- We have looked at Bard and ChatGPT. The latter had our interest while records at Sherborn were scrutinized. We found out unexpected data about Thomas and Margaret that was sufficient to raise questions about what we know. We had already started the FAQ way back. So, with these two subjects for work, we can deal with technology as we adjust the story to account for the new information. In short, that is not something to moan about; no, it's right in line with how work ought to proceed. 


This is a continuation of the last post (Intro to Bard).  Bard is the generative LMM approach being tested by Google. As we have said, technology is our interest which is a broad field. Of late, interest has gone with unbounded enthusiasm toward what we call AIn't; in particular, though, we will look more at ChatGPT which came on the scene in November of 2022. 

This post recaps activity in two areas, but, first, here is a brief summary of posts related to the subject:

  • How dumb is AI? -- this 2021 post reported on an article that was in the IEEE Spectrum. The IEEE.org is a technical organization that is over 100 years old and deals with the core of technology (namely, power and its meaningful use). AI and knowledge processing rely upon the work of IEEE folks to provide computational resources. 
  • Current challenge -- this 2022 post discussed several topics; one of these was the Harvard Business Review's look at AI. Too, at the time, the ACM.org which consists of folks from academia and from technical management was paying attention. 
  • A(rtificial) I(intelligence) researched properly - this 2021 post did a recap on the technology use of the TGS, Inc., since the beginning. This bullet is here as it is a parallel activity to what is discussed below.
  • Two searches to support future work as references: AI (the theme of today's news); truth engineering (principles from engineering services related to computational systems and their issues).   
Having set the framework for the next items, we can look at what happened this year. Then, we will discuss some next steps with Bard.  
  • In February of 2023, we were asked about  ChatGPT since there was a lot of discussion by educated folks about its abilities. By that time, the enthused had already run down the road with uses even to the extent of introducing packages using the system. On the other hand, we were more cautious as there had already been issues made known. There was a clever little phrase associated with the issue: hallucination. To us, the underpinnings are mathematics which we can lift to general awareness. So, some of the behavior is due to the way that the conversational aspect is tuned. Then, we have a positive tone that was assumed to be the right one for this type of interface. Know-it-all is what I think. Technically, we are talking a type of 'interpolation' and will be explaining what we see. But, there is another issue. The push to have unsupervised learning which is motivated, somewhat, by omniscience considerations (look at the Singularity arguments as a huge factor in this discourse). But, the input was crap for several reason. So, why would not the system trained on the bad data has issues, too? Somewhat, one could talk "liar" as the resulting paradoxical behavior except that there is no consciousness involved nor the choices related to that ability of humans. Frankly, it's a mess. Crap cannot be trained out after it pollutes the thing. The method dropped the limitations that might have been brought by supervised learning. Lots to discuss. 
  • At the same time that we were looking at ChatGPT and being involved in discussions, a researcher stepped through the Sherborne records and found that all of the children of Thomas and Margaret had been baptized in England. There were two things for us to look at. One had to do with Gloucester's 400th. If Thomas and Margaret were there, we needed to write this up. We had expected to use 1624 and were waiting for material that supported that year. The researcher reported his findings on WikiTree. Their response was to split the Thomas Gardner profile into two persons. The father of the children was married to Margaret Fryer. He was written up by Dr. Frank. The other profile has little information except for reporting the data and the two profiles. Research will fill in the pieces. How did we miss this work? Well, the involvement with catching up on ChatGPT took some time and attention. We were only a couple of weeks late to the show and made our remarks about the state of affairs. 
We are working on the issues. Rev. Hubbard wrote (1680) that Thomas Gardner was at Cape Ann early. And, the Rev gave no indication of two people. Dr. Frank (and others) noted that there was talk of two gentlemen. But, Thomas could have come back and forth. 

Now, an interesting twist is that both ChatGPT and Bard have erroneous data. How do we make this known so that there is a change with supporting remarks left behind? We need to look at the whole affair and the technical details. So, we're working on that, too. 

But, what to train it as being correct? There's the rub. We have put remarks in various places with respect to the current work and the coming changes with no timeframe specified yet. That seemed to be the reasonable stance. 

You know, that has been our approach from the beginning (see the FAQ, link above). We are trying to establish the proper basis. All of the current literature cannot be just cast off. We need to look at motivations and at the basis for decisions made in the past. After all, that would pertain to future decisions. So, we'll hold steady as research proceeds. We already have posts with regard to this work. 

Expect, that technology will play a part, too. After all, it will be the future that is impacted with what we do today. Let's do it right, or as right as we can given our situation and resources. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/06/2023

08/05/2023 --  The post on reseraching AI (3rd bullet, 1st list) has risen, of late, to being on the top-watched list. Too, we are working on GB XIII, 1 which will cover our work so far this year. ... With respect to Thomas and Cape Ann, we will adopt "new directions" as the theme. 

08/06/2023 -- Pointed to the Getting Technical post which references work with Bard. Recently, we have give Bing's little thingee a run through. We want to do a little technical bit, on a subject that is newly framed, at each of these and do a comparison. One future theme will address how to get these things to settle down in order for them to help us hone our reason and understanding (ala Kant, for one). Right now? It's a mess, quite frankly. 


Intro to Bard

TL;DR -- ChatGPT has been on our radar since February of 2023. Bard has been a recent interest. We will be comparing these two. In this post, we provide the trace of our interchange with Bard. Future post will carry the discussion further. 


We have looked at ChatGPT of OpenAI, a few times, starting in February of this year. In our first interchange, we had to tell ChatGPT about Thomas Gardner of Salem MA. Since then, we have used it for a few other subjects, including some arithmetic/algebraic problems. 

Of late, Google has been allowing testing with Bard, its generative large language model. We have compared the two approaches.  

Turns out that ChatGPT is problematic but has the personality (adopted by choice of the designers) of someone who knows it all. It can even be argumentative. 

Bard, on the other hand, is more circumspect as one would expect. It says that it can, and does. fail. And, has other warnings about its use. 

Today, we asked Bard some questions with respect to Thomas Gardner. The trace is below with the questions and answers marked. 

----------------------   Bard interchange ------------------------------

In your training, did you run across Thomas Gardner of Salem?

Yes, I did. Thomas Gardner of Salem was a prominent figure in the early history of Massachusetts. He was one of the "old planters" who founded the colony at Naumkeag (now Salem) in 1626. He served as a deputy to the Massachusetts Bay General Court and was a member of the Salem church. He was also the father of nine children, including Samuel Gardner, who was a prominent merchant and landowner in Salem.

Thomas Gardner was born in Sherborne, Dorset, England, in 1592. He came to America in 1624 as part of the Dorchester Company, which was granted a charter to colonize Cape Ann. The company's first settlement was at Wessagassett (now Gloucester), but it was abandoned in 1626 due to poor soil conditions. Gardner and the other planters then moved to Naumkeag, which was renamed Salem in 1629.

Gardner was a successful merchant and landowner in Salem. He owned a large farm and several buildings in the town. He also served as a deputy to the Massachusetts Bay General Court from 1637 to 1658. In 1644, he was one of the founders of the Salem church.

Gardner died in Salem in 1674. He was buried in the Gardner Burying Ground, which is now part of Harmony Grove Cemetery. His gravestone is no longer extant, but his name is listed on a memorial plaque in the cemetery.

I am glad that I was able to learn about Thomas Gardner of Salem in my training. He was a significant figure in the early history of Massachusetts, and his story is an important part of the state's heritage.

What about the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc.?

The Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1999 to promote the study of the Gardner family and its history. The society publishes a quarterly newsletter, Gardner's Beacon, and organizes genealogical conferences and workshops. It also maintains a website with a wealth of information on the Gardner family, including biographies, family trees, and historical documents.

The society's mission is to "foster interest in the Gardner family, to promote the study of its history, and to preserve its records." It does this through a variety of activities, including:
  • Publishing a quarterly newsletter, Gardner's Beacon
  • Organizing genealogical conferences and workshops
  • Maintaining a website with a wealth of information on the Gardner family
  • Providing grants to researchers studying the Gardner family
  • Promoting the preservation of Gardner family records
The Thomas Gardner Society is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Gardner family. Its website is a great place to start your research, and its newsletter and conferences are a great way to connect with other Gardner researchers. If you are interested in learning more about the society, you can visit its website at https://thomasgardnersociety.org/.

Here are some of the specific things that the Thomas Gardner Society does:
  • Publishes a quarterly newsletter, Gardner's Beacon. The newsletter contains articles on the Gardner family, book reviews, and news about the society's activities.
  • Organizes genealogical conferences and workshops. These events provide opportunities for Gardner researchers to share their findings and learn from each other.
  • Maintains a website with a wealth of information on the Gardner family. The website includes biographies, family trees, historical documents, and links to other resources.
  • Provides grants to researchers studying the Gardner family. The society offers grants to help researchers with the cost of travel, research materials, and publication.
  • Promotes the preservation of Gardner family records. The society works to ensure that Gardner family records are properly preserved and made available to researchers.
The Thomas Gardner Society is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Gardner family. Its website is a great place to start your research, and its newsletter and conferences are a great way to connect with other Gardner researchers. If you are interested in learning more about the society, you can visit its website at https://thomasgardnersociety.org/.

Again, more subtle in expression?

Sure, here is a more subtle description of the Thomas Gardner Society:

The Thomas Gardner Society is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the study of the Gardner family and its history. It does this through a variety of activities, including publishing a quarterly newsletter, organizing genealogical conferences and workshops, and maintaining a website with a wealth of information on the Gardner family.

The society's website is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Gardner family, as it provides access to a wide range of information, including biographies, family trees, and historical documents. The society also organizes events that allow Gardner researchers to connect with each other and share their findings.

The Thomas Gardner Society is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the Gardner family. Its website and events are a great way to connect with other Gardner researchers and to learn more about the history of this important family.

Here are some of the specific things that the Thomas Gardner Society does, expressed in a more subtle way:
  • Publishes a quarterly newsletter, Gardner's Beacon. The newsletter provides updates on the society's activities and features articles on the Gardner family.
  • Organizes genealogical conferences and workshops. These events offer opportunities for Gardner researchers to share their findings and learn from each other.
  • Maintains a website with a wealth of information on the Gardner family. The website includes biographies, family trees, historical documents, and links to other resources.
I hope this is more subtle. Let me know if you have any other questions.

As to the veracity of these responses, we will be looking at that. The next post looks at this activity plus research findings that will be use for testing these approaches. In this case, we will need to get Bard updated. Getting that done will be an interesting exercise. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/26/2023

08/08/2023 -- Several articles in the Communications of the ACM give some good insights. For one, these things are terribly expensive to train, using lots of bucks and kilo-watts of power plus adding gobs and gobs of CO2 to the environment. Then, they "hallucinate" and approach success of truthful response about 80% of the time. Or did. As there is a concept called "drift" that indicates that further training which would improve matters actually make them worse. 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

247th of U.S.

TL;DR -- With the approaching 250th of the United States and the time of the year, the focus is on Patriots and their times as well as their progeny since then to now. This year is the 247th of the start of the revolutionary activity that was public. There had been prior activity that was taken by the ardent though at considerable risk to themselves and their families. 


In the colonies, here, there were stirrings earlier, but it was in July of 1776 when those there got to the notion of independence, what it might mean, and started the process. This was the time of the remaining of the 4th generation, the majority of the 5th generation, and the starting of the 6th generation. 

As we have noted, it was the 5th that bore the responsibility of establishing the United States. 

Today, we gather research material, such as Dr. Frank's writings to support future research work with regard to the three generations. Below, we provide information from the 1907 edition. The 1933 edition is about the family of George Gardner, who as a 2nd generation son of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Fryer. 

We point to The Massachusetts Magazine in which Dr. Frank wrote, for each issue, about the regiments that served at Bunker Hill. Works of Dr. Frank include the following:

In the 1907 book of Dr. Frank, the 5th generation starts with #87 Habakkuk Gardner (1707-1763) who died before the start of the Revolution. Next was #90 Capt. John Gardner (1706-1784) who served both in the French-Indian conflict as well as supported the Revolution. The last person in this generation in the book was #137 Samuel Gardner (1763-1796). 

Before we sample some of the Patriots from the 5th generation, let's look at other resources. Some of these will be by region, such as the original colonies that became States. Researching the Revolution brings one into contact with lots of information. Some States made an effort early to gather data from records with regard to their citizens. This list is from Massachusetts. There are seventeen volumes. Below we will be looking one of these, Volume 6 (Fr - Gy), where we will find information on the Gardners. 

Index to on-line volumes (thanks to archive.org - seventeen volumes)
Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution

       v1 (A - Ber), v2 (Bes - Byx), v3 (C - Cor), v4 (Cos - Dry), v5 (Du - Foy),
       v6 (Fr - Gy), v7 (Ha - Hix), v8 (Hm - Jy), v9 (Ka - Lsu), v10 (Lua - Mop),
       v11 (Mor - Paz), v12 (Pea - Raz), v13 (Rea - Sey), v14 (Sha - Sth),
       v15 (Sti - Toz), v16 (Tra - Whe), v17 (Whi - Z)

First, though, let's point to two other resources. The Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) and the Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R.) both accept applications from descendants of Patriots. One of the contributions of these groups is that they help verify lineage. Right now, we are talking over 12 generations for many of the older folks up to 17 generations for the younger set. For the latter, D.A.R. has an organization called Children of the American Revolution. 

These are the research facilities offered by both groups which we will use below. 

Now, using generation five, let's look at those whose service was mentioned in Dr. Frank and link to the on-line information about descendants. Both groups will show lineage details except for the last three generations. 

Though both the fourth and the sixth generation have Patriots who supported the Revolution, our current study focus is on the fifth. 
We have used one book and have included only Patriots that are in the MS&S and the DAR database which means that a female descendant has applied successfully. In our research, we have found many Patriots who are not documented in the normal fashion. Then, some did not have descendants, or the descendants have not applied successfully. 

Using the 1933 book, we can add a few more Patriots. These follow the descendants of the daughters. In this case, we use information from Dr. Frank and MS&S and/or DAR and/or SAR. 
For this month, we will look more at Patriots after having a post that gathers all of the material about the Revolution that we had had so far in our thirteen years of work. 

Too, we will be looking at earlier incidents. We already have looked at the Crown's training of the officers via their involvement in the French-Indian conflict. But, some events like the Boston Tea Party are of interest. There is now an effort by the NEHGS to find descendants of the participants. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/26/2023

08/26/2023 --

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Getting technical

TL;DR -- Technology covers a whole lot of territory. STEM is an universal theme. We looked at Bard of Google with respect to its abilities, in particular looking at the importance of knowing about computational lenses, truth engineering, and psychether. ChatGPT of OpenAI had little to say. 


We have had several posts on technology which covers a lot of area. It is the main focus for the future along with  human relations. Our interest now is the full scope. So, we are interested in science and experiments, including field work. We have looked at how rivers could be a boon and a bane during travel or from other aspects. Transportation is always of concern. The latest aspects of technology deals with STEM related work, especially those related to advanced computing

We will avoid the use of AI (and AIn't) and talk algorithms, instead, in their myriad of ways of being. Today, we spent time with Bard of Google. Earlier, we mentioned ChatGPT in several posts. While we were teaching ChatGPT about Thomas Gardner, a researcher was digging into the records at Sherborne Dorset. Those two bits of work will be integrated after a little more research. 

So, today's activity culminated work with Bard that had to do with three topics: computational lenses, truth engineering, and psychether. After some training, the final summary by Bard is found in this post: Bard rocks. Related posts can be seen on the Blog Archive for June 2023. 

If one overlooks the influence of current themes, there is a cohesion here. Bard also provided an example of how the three might be used in one context. Here is an attempt (by Barfd) at defining emerging concepts. 
  • Computational lenses are tools that allow us to view data through different perspectives. They can be used to identify patterns and trends that would not be visible otherwise. For example, a computational lens could be used to track the spread of misinformation on social media or to identify areas of bias in a dataset.
  • Truth engineering is the practice of designing and deploying technologies that can help us to identify and verify truth. This could involve developing new algorithms for detecting fake news or creating platforms for fact-checking.
  • Psychether is a field that studies the psychological effects of technology. It can be used to understand how our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by the devices we use and the data we consume.
One of the issues related to the attempts at Bard (and ChatGPT and a number of other examples) revolves around a drive for "omniscience" which forces the mode of training against everything in order to be able to answer questions about everything. And, that will not work. We see it now with the problems related to the release of these models. The Large Language Model may allow nice interchanges with people, but it's based upon summaries and cannot handle details. 

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. 

Did this choice have to be sustained? Well, it cannot be. But, switching to more locally derived data sets would allow some serious work to be done. We have already shown that. There will be more later. 

  • computational lenses deal with supporting major human endeavors with advanced systems as we have watched evolve over the past five decades. It is a metaphor with a particular focus in mind, namely human-machine interchanges. Other approaches that we have seen deal with things like computational physics where we have a twin relationship (twixt the object of the phenomenal world and its virtual/digital twin). Physics modelers and simulators abound as do many others, as we see in medicine. 
  • truth engineering was defined in a white paper at Boeing by John and was motivated by work in knowledge based engineering where very difficult design decisions were made with the support of computational resources. Engineering likes to use tradeoffs for the hard problem of balancing factors. The means for doing the work vary, but the viability of the process requires professional engineers in the loop who provide expertise and value judgment. Issues related to this concept are at the core of the discussion and experimentation with regard to machine-oriented decisions. 
  • psychether is a portmanteau created by John to suggest the importance of the ideas of Jung (MD, psychiatrist) and Einstein (Relativity), as they both were instrumental in their area of expertise with regard to grappling with universal issues, for resolving current dilemmas and to bring more attention as to how this may be the case.   

As noted, Bard was great. On the other hand, ChatGPT of OpenAI had little to say about any of these topics let alone attempt an integration. The purpose here was to use the terms in a conversational mode as allowed by the LLM in order to build coherent phrases as needed by the various viewpoints to which the concepts would apply. 

Again, our focus will be on technology with an undetermined, as yet, focus. My leaning is to advanced computing and its ubiquitous set of issues. 

Remarks: Modified: 08/08/2023

08/06/2023 -- We're getting GB XIII, 1 together. So, here is a summary of some tech work. Some of the material came from a session with ChatGPT. I marked these with italics, today, and added an image from the first search on Thomas Gardner. Notice, in the "Disclosure" there is my brief overview. This list is in reverse order by time. "psychether" was coined in the mid-1990s in a discussion. "truth engineering" was about 2000 when there was post Y2K efforts at defining the future. Y2K? Remember the fear of the 2000 rollover of the computer calendar. Then, "computational lenses" was about 2003 in reference to my work dealing with computational mathematics where we worried about the maintaining of accuracy and veracity through transforms needed for various algorithmic processes. The world is not homogeneous. The situation for the last was a presentation at a technical conference. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Zebulon Pike

TL;DR -- As we look at the period of expansion after the Revolution, we will try to identify those who were involved in the early period. Zebulon Pike is an example. We have mentioned him and will later, as well. But, let's catch up with some additional information. There is a pointer to Volume II of his notes dealing with his second excursion, to the west. One example was to find the source of the Arkansas River. 


We have mentioned Zebulon Pike (Memorial Day, 2022) as we were looking at the first Mission for American Indians in this area. Zebulon was through the area in the real early 1800s in his trek to find the source of the Arkansas River. He coined the term, "The Great American Desert", which many would see as they traversed the interior via the Trails

He also determined the headwaters of the Mississippi River. And, died early, 1813. In the journey into the Rockies, he attempted to climb the peak that was given his name. He and his party were taken captive by the Spaniards in the area. His notes were lost and never recovered. 

So, Zebulon Pike (Wikipedia, WikiTree) redid his journals by memory. These were collected into three volumes. We will point to each. His book was The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike to Headwaters of the Mississippi River Through Louisiana Territory, and in New Spain, During the Years 1805-6-7. Zebulon did his rewrite by 1810. 
  • Volume 1 - Courtesy of Project Gutenberg. 
  • Volume 2 - with notes (1895). Of the Arkansas River period. Courtesy of Google Books. 
  • Volume 3 - Index, courtesy of Project Gutenberg. 
BTW, his family is  of New England. His ancestor was an opponent of the Salem Witch idiocy. 

Remarks: Modified: 06/27/2023

06/27/2023 -- Added link to Volume 1 and Volume 3.