Saturday, March 25, 2023


TL;DR -- Today, we reach far back. If we can do that with the military guys we can do so with an example of a woman who was a mathematician and was martyred for her beliefs. 


Why go back so far with respect to finding an example for Women's History Month? Well, last year, we looked at Emmy Noether who arrived before WWII and taught mathematics at Bryn Mawr. She had a serious influence on the modern view as seen by her Math Genealogy Profile. Many have not heard of Emmy and her work. 

Just like we did not know of the Wartime Quartet until December of last year. 

Hypathia is of the western tradition and fits within the major themes that we are looking at. Mainly, New England was the focus and continues to be a prime one. 

Hypatia wrote a commentary
Apollonius of Perga's
treatise on 
conic sections,[34][133][134] 
but this commentary is no
longer extant.
So, like with the military interest which has no temporal limits, we ought to consider long ranges for technology and it intellectual heritage. Actually, as we look at Awareness Months over this year, we will continue the theme of each throughout. 

Hypatia lived AD (also known as CE) and can be considered a cohort of early civilization in northern Europe. We are talking the ancestors of Alfred the Great, for instance. She is in the "Ancient History" section of the Timeline of the Women of Science which would have been still during the Roman times who were in the London area and elsewhere. 

The Romans were not in Scotland long, though. See Hadrian's Wall. Wait, the military influence seems to always arise? Still, we need to mention this page: End of Roman rule in Britain. Incidentally, we will keep with the theme that transcends time with even more of a focus. 

Hypatia was an astronomer and mathematician. She was the daughter of a mathematician. She followed the ideas of Plotinus and was murdered for taking this position. Without going into the details, Hypatia is considered a martyr for the cause of technology; as such, she deserves to be remembered. Our focus on technology (again, AIn't is prime concern) will keep her in the discussions. 

Such as, oh yes, changes that need to be brought to bear will require a few philosophical issues to be discussed and kept in focus. Don't you think that this is about time? 

Remarks: Modified: 03/26/2023

03/26/2023 -- Changed the image to be more of an interest to modern technology. We live and work, still, even intellectually, in an Euclidean world. ... One change is that now we know where to start researching over the waters. See not Square one? ..., Too, we will rearrange the knowns and the discussion of the unknowns and what to do. Then, proceed from that place. We' ll put more effort into the 1st generation and the connection to the families of the time. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Square one?

TL;DR -- Hubbard was there. Talked to people. We need to research him. He mentioned that Thomas Gardner might have been there only one year. His tone seemed to indicate that he had talked to extant persons from what I have read. We can go back through the church records. Recheck. There were other earlier books, some of which have been digitized. We'll look at those. In the meantime, we can sketch out what is known and not. Anything not known, yet, can be considered (as long as it's noted to be conjectural). Even fiction will be welcomed. Square one? Not quite. What did we know of origins before? 


A week ago, we were considering how Margaret and the other ladies of Cape Ann could be featured in the 400th pages where they were asking for stories. There was a deadline with regard to getting into their book. Well, a day later, we saw the work at WikiTree where Bob Dunlap reported the results of his diving into the images of the early records of the Sherborne parish that were available on ancestry (we haven't seen these, yet). So, we will relook and extend the view to the region. 

Here are two links from the past week: Margaret (Fryer) Gardner; New not old planter. Bob's work changes the scope but in ways that are not the knee-jerk type. After some review of where we have been the last decade plus reflecting on the new information, we put this post: Old, and new, planter. We have barely started our reviews so patience is the virtue required. 

Too, we have researched all of our working lives in different contexts. We'll do this right with the help of those who would like to see some resolution. How long will this take? Who cares? That notion of schedule goes along with the ca-pital-sino's false predictions (show John that he is wrong) which have caused havoc on the economy's need for sustainability. 

So, we are almost (might appear to be) back to "square one," but not. Or, as the saying goes, back to the drawing board. But, before we relook at what we know and what we need to find out, we need to recognize some existing work that seemed to offer hints. 

And, our promise? We'll cover all of the bases. Our request? No leaping to decisions. Conjecturing, as long as it's noted as such? Bring it on (our take: paleoichnology - see discussion about 2/3 way down the page). 

This post looks at a few of those and discusses their importance.

Sarah Cushing Paine, Charles Henry Pope - in a blog post (Where was Thomas? - 27 Jan 2012), we noted that these ladies had been quoted in the Paine Ancestry book (from 1912) with respect to their Gardner Ancestry (see graphic). The book was on the family of Robert Treat Paine (WikiTree: Paine-195), Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

In this book, there is mention that Thomas may have gone back in 1626. Of course, when it was written 300 years later, and in the midst of celebrating Roger Conant, who would have been vocal about that. 

On WikiTree, there is some editorializing which ought not be. People, let's report what is known. Then, anything else is conjecture. Which we ought to love. Cannot live without them. 

Hubbard on Gardner 
Rev. Hubbard (from 2015) -- This post has a link to the Rev's manuscript as published 200 years later in the mid-1800s where he mentioned Tylly and Gardner. The latter? Hubbard noted that Gardner was here for "at least for one year's time" which comment needs to be put on the decision enabling list. Also, there are images from NEHGS' publication and from the Rev.'s manuscript with regard to who's first in New Hampshire.

The Rev. (we read somewhere) had talked to the principles. So, he would have talked to the Gardner extant during his research. That seems significant. 

Let's do one more as he is mentioned by Rev. Hubbard, too. 

Last year, John Tylly was featured in the NEHGR, finally. We had an earlier post on him in 2011 and noted that one of our interests is all of the families at Cape Ann.  

So, time can be a healer, so to speak. But, not necessarily. Having spent about three years now looking at the wide interior of the U.S. and considering the people who moved into the area, or through it, or who came back and forth, our thought goes toward a lost generation or two. We took two years to prove one person's heritage from the east coast (several place) to the Mississippi regions and then further west. Plenty remain open. The mother of one guy (who is gone now) was dropped off at a home in the mid-lands by her father who said that his wife had died and he would be back for her. Well, he never returned. The man searched all over. Prior to the modern mischief maker (the computer), he wandered and looked. DNA finally provided some possible hits. We have to check upon how that has gone with the family. 

But, like Thomas was unkown for along while, so are many more of that era and after. And, that still happens. Oh yes, cabbage patch comes up. Kid dropped in the middle of nowhere by magic. 

Our put is that technology might be great. But, it is not due to being a human affair. Doubt this with regard to computing? The reason that we picked technology as a focus is due to the problems that get over looked for cultural/social reasons. We can't trust. Verify? Not always possible without having a hand in all of the levels that pertain to some computational state.    

Doesn't matter? Well, from time to time, we get reminders that things are not copacetic. Do we pause and look? Not really. A decade later, lessons get unlearnt; things not supposed to happen again do. Won't mention the recent case as it's too new to really know. 

Which gets us back to the theme at hand. We're starting our relook. Want to help? Great. We'll begin by looking at what we know now and why. Then, anything thought known that isn't will be reviewed. Some of these have substance behind them which might give hints about an approach. But, some will remain unknown. 

And, the stories? Some of these may go way back. Blaming intermediate authors is not what to do. Can we approach this is a mature, research-oriented manner? There is no competition except, perhaps, against truth if we can pull it out of the hat. 

This site will be reorganized so as to emphasize research and progress (or not). Now, we have a focus with some support behind it. The stories over the years. Still of interest. Why? Humans and science.  

Remarks: Modified: 03/21/2023

03/20/2023 -- What we know? and FAQ will be updated. Too, we will be updating the Research posts and pages. Watch Sherborne research

03/21/2023 -- Mark up the image related to Hubbard's remark about 1 year. Emphasis added to the text. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Old, and new, planter

TL;DR -- We heard new information two days ago. In the spirit of progressive steps, we did a post summarizing the finds and how they were to influence our positions. With further reading and research, we note that our course was not off the line. We need minor corrections. But, questions answered are only a few compared to the questions that just opened. So, that's the fun of life and research. 


Two days ago, I saw that changes had been made to the Thomas Gardner profile on WikiTree. The discussion was in an adjoining G2G which is the mean to coordinate discussion, research, and modifications. 

Bob Dunlap, four-times descendant of Richard, spend a few hours going through several years, from the late 1500s through the 1630s, of the parish records in Sherborne, Dorset, England where we had seen the marriage record of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Fryer. We had a post in 2014 which announced the discovery that digitization had been done by John Cook. 

See our post from two days ago: New not old planter. It has links to sources for referenced material. Too, please bounce to the Remarks for this day, 03/15/2023, where we start to add to our list of questions which were in a FAQ.  

After having some time for review, we are stating that our position to this new information: Old, and new, planter. The difference between these is discussed in the post (above link). As well, this discovery of Bob's is great for several reasons. 

Thomas, Margaret, 
marriage, the children

It got the debate back on the table. WikiTree has split the profile in two. One deals with the Thomas Gardner of this organization who is the father of the children. The other is about the Thomas Gardner who was associated with the Dorchester Company's effort at Cape Ann. This is great, as we can separate the focus for research. 

Our initial reaction? Again. Old, and new, planter. 

Another benefit is that we now know where to go to research the origins of Thomas and Margaret. Too, we can broaden our research in that area so include collateral families that might be from the region. We had already spent some time learning about the area. 

Too, we have heard from Thomas Gardner descendants whose ancestor went back to England. That could open the door to further investigation, locally. 

Here is the start of new questions. As well, we will close out questions that are resolved now. The FAQ will be updated. 

  • Does the gap (three years) between the births of John and Samuel allow time for participation in the activity of the Dorchester effort at Cape Ann? 
  • Too, could Thomas Gardner not being in the "old planter" list indicate his status of having left after being at Cape Ann and not being involved with Salem? 
  • Associated with this would be: what was the status of Margaret and the kids (Thomas, George, Richard, and John) while Thomas was away from Sherborne? 
  • Was she and the four boys here, enjoying the idyllic life of Cape Ann? 
  • Did the bap record for John indicate a delayed (giving him as a minor?) report by Thomas after he (or even they) got back? 
  • Could Thomas have left before Margaret was in child with John (not knowing)? 
  • ...

Again, thanks to Bob Dunlap for the work. He looked at hundreds of images, but, as he wrote, he only had to look for a couple of names per image. Then, thanks to Joe Cochoit for editing the profile for Thomas. It had been a mess for a while as there was no clear way through the controversies developed over the years. We intend to revisit these as the history of the research is of interest to us, as well. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/26/2023

03/26/2023 -- See not Square one? We will rearrange the knowns and the discussion of the unknowns and what to do. Then, proceed from that place. We' ll put more effort into the 1st generation and the connection to the families of the time. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

New not old planter

TL;DR -- When we found the marriage record of Thomas and Margaret back in 2014, we also noted that records were being digitized. Of late, a researcher has gone through these records and found out that most of the children of Thomas and Margaret were registered in the records of the parish in Sherborne, Dorset, UK. There last child born that was in 1633. Seeth was born here in 1636. Shocker that this is, there are lots of open questions. So, we have research pending with regard to these. 


The title catches the eye. Consider, it might (ought to) read: Old, and new, planter. The below sets the stage for discussing the future work .


In 2014, researchers found a marriage record of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Fryer, in church records in a parish in Sherborne, Dorset, UK. At the same time, there were birth records found for the first three sons plus. Too, Margaret's family seemed to have been found. 

After letting the information sit in, we finally updated the profiles for Thomas (Gardner-159) and Margaret (Fryer-892) on WikiTree. That was prompted, too, with discussions about removing Margaret as the mother of the children. 

This is a list of what are known as G2G studies where people discuss issues and make determinations about how to update WikiTree. Then, they do the edit. These can be accessed from the WikiTree Profile of Thomas Gardner. 

Now, coming forward, this year a study was finished that went through the parish records. What was noted was that most of the children of Thomas and Margaret are listed in the parish records. How could that been if the family was in New England? The last child in England was 1633. Seeth was born here. 
After some discussion, the Profile was rewritten in Feb of 2023 to remove associations of Thomas with the Dorchester Company. Too, it is assumed that the family came over around 1635 so that puts them in the Great Migration. 

So, look at Thomas' Profile to see what has been accepted as the genealogical record until we know otherwise. There are questions to answer. A main one is who was the Thomas Gardner who was here, before Roger Conant arrived at Cape Ann? 

We will get back to that. In the meantime, we will update material after we figure out a good approach to handling the change. His Profile is Gardner-924

Note: Bob Dunlap did the digging and reported on WikiTree. Joe Cochoit edited the profiles. 

Now, we titled this post "New not old planter" to point to continued work and discussion. We had two types of "old planters" with respect to Essex county. 
  • Old Planters, Beverly -- were the group with Roger Conant when he moved from Cape Ann to Naumkeag. Gardner's name was not on that list. They got land. That always raised questions, some of which we will discuss, later. 
  • Old Planters Society -- this group was started by Dr. Frank and Col. T.W. Higginson. They had regular meetings and reported via The Massachusetts Magazine. One way to characterize them to differentiate from the other group was by using Old Planters Of Massachusetts. This group was of those who were here prior to Winthrop's arrival in 1630 while not being associated with the Plymouth colony. 
One task will be to reorganize our information in order to ask the right questions for research. Some things will be known. Seeth was born here to Thomas Gardner and Margaret Fryer. Her record in in the Salem VR. 

Recently, we wrote of Margaret as a focus for research. That is still the case. Along with questions about Thomas, we have plenty to ask about Margaret and her family, too. For instance, was her brother in Gloucester? 

We have asked the question: Were there two Thomas Gardners

Remarks: Modified: 03/26/2023

03/14/2023 -- Pushed this to FB: TGS, Inc. page and the New England Family Genealogical and Historical group. ... Too, we will be updating, and redoing, the research topics and the rest. Cape Ann families still apply as a theme due to 2nd generation marriage of daughters of Thomas and Margaret to sons of these families. Too, some lineages will have these families. 

03/15/2023 -- We need to let this new information sink in. There are many more questions to replace those that might be answered. The FAQ will be updated. Does the gap (three years) between the birth of John and Samuel allow time for participation in the activity of the Dorchester effort at Cape Ann? Too, could Thomas Gardner not being in the "old planter" list indicate his status of having left after being at Cape Ann? Associated with this would be: what was the status of Margaret and the kids (Thomas, George, Richard, and John) while Thomas was away from Sherborne? Did the bap record for John indicate a delayed report by Thomas after he (or even they) got back? ... There will be more questions.

03/26/2023 -- See not Square one? We will rearrange the knowns and the discussion of the unknowns and what to do. Then, proceed from that place. We' ll put more effort into the 1st generation and the connection to the families of the time. 

Margaret (Fryer) Gardner

TL;DR -- Margaret, as equal and with her family, are continuing themes. We revisit our posts so far plus the information obtained from the records of Sherbourne, Dorset, UK. 


Last time, we noted that Margaret would be an equal partner with Thomas as we also mentioned that the focus on Cape Ann will start in 2023 and continue throughout 2024. For Margaret, we have pulled together some of the posts about her.

This graphic shows some of the new information about Margaret and Thomas that needs attention. Here is a summary: Margaret's parents, Walter and Grace, were married in 1591; Thomas Gardner was baptized in 1591; Margaret Fryer was baptized in 1598; Walter Fryer's will in 1610 mentions Grace and Margaret, as well as a son Thomas who came over; Thomas and Margaret were married in 1617; son Thomas was born in 1618; George was born in 1619; and Richard was born in 1622. 

Research: Margaret Fryer 
and family

One reason for taking this couple as the one who came over is that they do not continue to appear in the records of Sherbourne. Plus the first of the sons match up with the Cape Ann family. 

We mentioned that we have been looking at other Cape Ann families. We will try to split these into the early families (before Roger Conant's arrival) and later (before John Endicott's arrival). In the later period, there was the movement Massey's Cove and Salem. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/13/2023

03/13/2023 -- See "New not old planter" post with regard to research findings. Thomas and Margaret have children registered in England until 1633. 



Thursday, March 9, 2023

Margaret, equal partner

TL;DR -- 100 years ago, Margaret got some attention. Then, modern research threw her out. We got her back. Now, we'll make her presence ubiquitous (normally used for computing, of late). Too, the women of Cape Ann will get attention this month to establish a basis for future work. The order goes, Cape Ann --> Essex County --> Massachusetts --> New England, and then a long reach across the U.S. over time and a huge interior. All having been noted here will be further explored. 


As time goes by, so too do the Awareness Months. March is Womens History Month. So, this month, we are continuing that theme as we started last year by bringing women into the discussion. We will be looking at another mathematician later, as we did last year with Emmy Noether. Too, we will be adding a post about a Native American tribe that Yankees going west encountered. 

Today, we think that it's time to bring Margaret some attention. Hence, we have changed our header at both sites (traditional, portal) to read as this image says. 

It notes that the Society is "For ... Thomas Gardner (implied &) Margaret Fryer ... Planters (Cape Ann, Salem)" as both were instrumental in getting the thing done. We're here. Also, we will be looking deeply at the history of Cape Ann and its families (many modern sites with photos of paintings done in the area of Gloucester will be linked below - coming soon).  

Too, after looking at Gloucester's 400th commemoration activities this week, we started to research possible topics to represent what the Society is about. And, per usual, Roger Conant's theme came up which was the focus 100 years ago. He is mentioned in a huge plaque plus some smaller ones in the Gloucester area. Too, he is in lots and lots of write ups as the first name of the effort. There was the theme of Beverly Planters as an example.

That is, in terms of history, we pinpoint a few to carry forward the message. But, some, like Rev. Hubbard, actually talked to Thomas Gardner and mentioned him and John Tylly. Lots of the pruning was due to technology and other limits. 

So, our theme being technology, we have to think about how we can tame the beast for the future where a sustainable mode is left for the progeny. Can we do it? Yes. But, pondering all of the possible stories, we settled on featuring Margaret, mother of the children. BTW, there is no issue with Conant taking the heat. That let's us do our own truth assessment using means outside of the normal. 

After all, Roger is on Ann's ancestors' list. Too, Seeth married a son of Roger and had a child. He married a daughter of Richard More, that puzzle of the Mayflower mindset. Other stories abound some of which we have covered in posts, like James Bryant Conant of Harvard. 

But, back to Margaret, she had another wife on board with her. Roger was here, single. Thomas Gardner and John Balch brought their families. Margaret, the mother of nine children (start with Thomas and follow the links), eight of whom had progeny. Sarah (Gardner) Balch's mother-in-law came with Margaret on the same ship in 1624. 

We are researching progeny of each child, for Sarah:
  • Benjamin Balch (c. 1730s) – first Chaplain, Continental Navy; William Balch (c. 1770s) – first Chaplain, U.S. Navy. His father was first chaplain of the Continental Navy; his grandfather had been a chaplain in the Royal Navy; Adolphus Greely (c. 1840s) – American Polar explorer, recipient of the Medal of Honor; John Henry Balch (c. 1890s) – United States Navy, World War I, Medal of Honor, Lieutenant, World War II. 
Seeth (Gardner) Grafton married (first) Joshua Conant, son of Roger Conant. Their sister, Miriam (Gardner) Hill married twice. One of her progeny was the namesake of the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS about which we have written a lot. 

There were later arrivals in time before Endicott came over. Some of these families went over with Salem. We'll be looking more thoroughly of pre-and-post-Massey's Cove in more ways than merely noting that Cape Ann was close to paradise or the Glory of Cape Ann

Remarks: Modified: 03/13/2023

03/13/2023 -- See "New not old planter" post with regard to research findings. Thomas and Margaret have children registered in England until 1633. 


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Technology, its basis

TL;DR -- As we pursue our interest in technology, we will look at the spectrum. Today, a topic of much discussion is STEM. We deal with the 'M' part in this post as it supports the other pieces of the puzzle. In particular, Wolfram gets a little attention. 


Earlier, we mentioned ChatGPT (CP) which came on the scene in November of 2022 and started to make waves, of various sorts. It was almost like a Rorschach test which people perceive differently and which reactions can be subjected to psychological analysis. Either love CP or not. Not only did reactions to it vary, but it has been put to a number of uses without any clear indication of quality. 

Kids used it to do their homework, even in at college level. Many experts doubted its use in their work. Companies decided to apply it to their businesses, both as a process improvement as well as an extension of their products. Wits offered opinions. 

What we did was exercise CP with queries of several contexts. The results will be studied at some point. Some quick analysis has already been written about. Some want to ban CP. Elon Musk did not like that Microsoft  used it in their search engine, Bing. 

We pondered some of the arguments that it might become known as a corrupter of youth. Answers were known to seem reasonable but were not. Mathematical queries had suspect results. Not to do the whole litany, but Wolfram noted one obvious factor: CP manipulates, quite well, the syntaxial aspects of its answer but knows little to semantics.

Some argue that models which can support reasoning will help. Plenty of ways exist to to this type of thing.  We give one example below which deals with the basis of technology, namely, mathematics. 

Wolfram, the company, is the product of the 1970s and has evolved with the computer. There are several aspects to their offerings, but computational mathematics and its use are the core of their products. So, STEM? Wolfram was there from the beginning. Let's leave this with an image that compares ChatGPT with Wolfram's offering. There will be more discussion as we go along. 


Stephen Wolfram, Writings

Now, tying back to our main theme, Stephen Wolfram was born in London. Went to Eton, Oxford, and Caltech. After some experiences at University, he created Mathematica which was released in 1988. Along with the 'M' side of STEM, Stephen has dabbled in the other sides and has lots of interesting thoughts for us to listen to that can be set in the historical vein. Much like we are trying to do here.  

Remarks: Modified: 03/07/2023

03/07/2023 --

Friday, March 3, 2023

Women's History Month, 2023

TL;DR -- For Women's History Month, we provide a link to a USA Today article on the subject with they provide information about milestones related to women serving in the U.S. Congress through time. 


We wrote of our interests in Awareness Months in the context of American history. Our post on Black History Month which was in February had a music and culture theme. Last year (2022), we did our first posts on Women's History Month in March with a look at two women. One was of a new family; the other had a long U.S. heritage. We were reminded about this focus by an article about the Gairdner Foundation which was offering awards to women scientists. For the month, we had several posts.  

One of them was a focus on Emmy Noether who came over here prior to WWII and taught mathematics at Bryn Mawr. Emmy's work will continue to be of interest as we pursue our studies of technology and culture. In that post we also mentioned Emily Green Balch who was a graduate of the college and won a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Another one was a brief look at Drew Gilpin Faust who was from the South but also had northern ancestors. She was Head of Harvard from 2007 to 2018. 

This year, we will start out with an article from the USA Today about the milestones of the Women of Congress. The article provided a graphic of milestones that also gave a bar chart of the percentage of women who were serving. The first woman was from Montana and entered the House of Representatives in 1917. She was Jeannette Pickering Rankin (WikiTree: Rankin-2418) which suggests New England heritage. The first woman elected to the Senate in was Hattie Wyatt Caraway (WikiTree: Wyatt-3262) who was from the South. She was elected while living in Arkansas. Two of her sons were generals in the U.S. Army. 

We will have more posts this year and throughout the year in all of the subjects of interest.  

Remarks: Modified: 03/25/2023

03/25/2023 -- We just did a post on Hypatia as an example of focus where we tie women and technology. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Black History Month

TL;DR -- We look at culture via music. 


We will be more active in following events related to the National Heritage Months, this year. In the prior post, we listed three of these events and will be adding more to the list. 

Our post in 2019 had a history focus. This year, we want to take a cultural view, dealing with music which is an important aspect of our lives. Though, we know that some of our ancestors, in New England, did not appreciate the value of music. 

This is our first post like this. We will link to two youtube videos by people from different cultures of the same song, written by the first and covered by the second. 

Both videos are remarkable in ways that are important to discuss. That the links are to Vevo is no endorsement. Wanted both to be on the same level of professional handling. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2023

02/27/2023 --

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Awareness months

TL;DR -- New England led to the U.S. Both have a long history. Part of our culture is having reminders of our history in terms of where we have been. In part, we do this with awareness months. We start a list of these which will be regularly recognized. 


We will pay more to the awareness months this year, as an annual reviews of events of history pertain to the culture of the U.S. Let's start with a look at currently scheduled remembrances.  

We will fill in the other months this year. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/27/2023

02/27/2023 -- Added image for Native American and Black History. We will look at Women History, again, next month. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Technology and its influence

TL;DR -- Following up on our theme, we look at a recent bit of controversy from a deeper than normal position. Computers are nice to have for many reasons. They can be problematic. Just like technology being great when it works, so too are computers. Given problems, then results can range widely. With numbers (say, your bank balance), we have come to expect accuracy. What if the computer system could not provide this? Ought it be released? 


We have noted that technology has been a huge influence on our lives, for the most part good. But, that is questionable if one looks at all of the side-effects of change with consideration for ramifications. Like, why are whales washing up on shore now? It's too early to tell, but we can go through the whole litany of issues seen. Ought to, perhaps, with the expectation that computing's list would be long. 

Especially is this so if we start with the internet's start which we could put at 30 years ago, about, if we assume the release of the protocol and its being handed to the public. We can look at more than the 'wild west' emergence in the cyber real, and its accompanying, real space, for one thing. But, there are many things to look at. 

Engineering works to improve which we have seen with hardware. Again, though, reuse is nil which can be seen with the piles of computer junk everywhere. Software, even, grew more mature using other types of engineering practices. 

Machine learning has been in the news of late which hoped to demonstrate that the computer could learn on its own. This post is about one example of that which has been much in the press, lately: ChatGPT. There are others that are now ready to go (with respect to the opinion of the team doing the work) or coming up quickly. 

OpenAI pushed out ChatGPT, perhaps premturely, in November. We didn't pay attention until last month. The news reports have many articles about misuse or downright errorful ways of the thing. The USA Today had a headline this week that Microsoft was putting ChatGPT in its Bing product (rival of Google's Chrome and replacement of its Internet Explorer) but is doing so without any guarantee of accuracy (see below). Marketing types are touting that they are using the thing for the creation of ad material. Students are trying to use it for essay assignments. Some are trying to do software using it. 

Then, we have the associated work related to fake photos and videos being created, many times without any warning with respect to the reader about provenance. Does truth in advertising mean anything? The below is about fake math which is easier to see, as text is much harder given the power of language. 

Now, this example came from noting that a younger person wrote that they were making progress learning Calculus 3 via  ChatGPT. Oh? After a few queries to clarify the matter and making a few suggestions to stay safe, we went to look at this part of ChatGPT. We have already seen the code generation aspect and were going to try it out, in an experimental manner, as since John had done something similar a couple of decades ago. 

Well, where to start. Calc 3 is too advanced for a beginning look, so we dropped down to Calc 1 & 2 which would be fundamental. We asked for the 'integral of sin theta' which was phrased this way due to the conversational mode that is being emphasized as a benefit. Well, math is terse for the reason that it is difficult to write something similar to a complicated question in a natural language. Too, we have decades now of work on computational mathematics which was to be somewhat the ground truth in this matter since it is a creation of humans with lots of time involved in making it right. 

But, on taking in the query, the thing (CP for ChatGPT) did not just say that it was '-cos theta' but added in some verbiage about the indefinite status of this result and why it had to add in a constant. That's fine. Tables of integrals have been published almost from the beginning. Some are quite extensive. Too, some of the rules are known. 

Now, one huge question is whether the rules are explicit enough to invoke proper action. The analog here? Code. It is explicit, given the framework. Some code is more involved than others. But, all of them shuffle down to something that the hardware can use to do its thing. 

And, machine learning (ML) using books would have seen these tables and rules. Now, what we need to look at is what the ML did with what it saw which involves transforms and iterations and some clever tweaking. The guidance, supposedly, for this work is the human brain. We cannot fall into that argument's pit; the equivalence is not there, except in a very limited way. 

What would be the next step? Mind you, we had not thought to refer, yet, to the experts and their systems that one can see on the computer. We went looking for something gnarly but not too much so. As, we would have to verify the result given by CP. We saw this example, as it was being explained on youtube. 

Namely, the function that was taken to use: arcsin(x) * arccos(x) * 1/x. The query would be to get the integral of this. Now, text input, right? And, not thinking of converting to some code'ish mode, we put the query in using a verbose mode. Again, there was no thought taken for the limiting constraints that would be part of an actual calculation. 

The query was something like this (the actual logs were saved). What is the integral of the arcsin of theta times the arccos of theta divided by theta? CP repeated the input in a more formulaic mode. This was to confirm having parsed the query correctly. Then, CP started to explain that it would do integration by parts and started down its path which turned out to be fairly long. That was unexpected.

Why? We are talking an approach where a model gets developed from the processing of the data. Then, a query would consist of extracting (via clever means) an answer. 

Now, as an aside, what got everyone excited about these things is that they won games. And, in some cases, they learned the game by looking at the rules. Or, more of note, by studying data related to a game, discovered the rules and even beat human experts. Winning the Go game is an example of the shock value of this approach. Only the brainy were good at these games. 

Also, this technique is not new. What is new is better systems plus less emphasis on the cultural norms of systems development which can be explained. In the lax environment, the thing could venture in spaces where humans never went, thereby finding out things that humans would not have seen. 

Well, actually, that is a benefit of computing that we need to exploit. Take chemistry. The computer allows modeling of lab experiments in numbers not possible in reality where time, costs, resources, and a whole lot more bear on, constrain, the situation. Too, we have to take on some faith that the computer simulation has meaning. We, as a whole, lack experience in that area since it is so new. And, this is to be discussed further. 

So, CP pushing out its steps (almost trace) was bothersome. For one thing, reading and checking these type of things consumes time and energy. It can be done. Engineering students are used to this. In the past, hand calculation was more the way of learning than now. As we considered the potential for a growing pile of computed stuff to prove, our thoughts went to Sisyphus and his lesson for us. 

The computer can spit out a new universe. What's to believe about it? And, then, how do we prove something? Oh, that's the crux of the matter. We will discuss truth engineering as one factor, but this is a hard problem that will get worse. 

So, we did two things. We went to Wolfram and did the integration. However, something reminded us of the huge lack. Gaming and all of those non-real computing experiences might have numbers, but they really have no meaning. On the other hand, real-world requirements demand proper use of numbers with respect to measure. Whole theories and practices deal with this topic. 

Too, we humans use numbers quite extensively and readily. But, some means are better, say algebraic analysis, than others. Again, this is a known area of research and practice. So, the notion was to move away from the indefinite mode and get definite. That means to put limits on the integration which relates, in this case, to determining an area. The interplay of geometry and algebra is core to calculus (and its companion of old - seemingly lost - of analytic geometry). 

Wolfram calculated the area. Well, we went and found another on-line calculator. BTW, these tools follow known mathematical principles and can be tested. In fact, software engineering is a common mode of program management for this type of system. Something that does not perform correctly will be noted. And, corrected. 

Now, the graphic shows the 'sin' integration by the three parties: Wolfram; Integral Calculator; and CP. They all agreed with the number for the area which is reported on the first row. The second row has the results of the more gnarly function which actually is quite simple. It behavior at the limits is what makes it interesting. 

and a trig example
Now, for the second case (row), Wolfram did a symbolic calculation. This is the equational manipulation method which produces exact results if done correctly. These two examples use trig functions that are well known. BTW, there is a book from the government that give standard mathematical usages, values and more for use by those who need to used mathematics. In one of these, the derivatives (which are the results of integration - in a sense) are given in only a few pages. Going the other way, from the derivative to the integral has many more pages due to the complexity. And, trig functions account for lots of these pages. 

The answer by Integral Calculator agreed with Wolfram. But, with a twist. That attempt bailed out of the closed form solution (so, kudos to Wolfram for following through) and did a numeric solution. Now, those are the two major themes for math solutions. Proof theoretic modes are being ignored, for now. One can algebraically solve something. The answer will be exact. Or, one approximates through techniques that grew up with the computer. These methods are harder as they have to be highly detailed through the process. 

We used an example, formerly (four decades ago?), that dealt with a guy spending 10 years solving a system of equations. This would have been a mixture of symbolic and numeric. Then, he spent 10 years verifying the work. Then, a computer could do that work in a few minutes. Now? It would be a less than batting an eye. Of course, speed of error goes around as fast as does the right solution. We have to learn to handle technology with regard to these types of issues. 
So, simple table lookup? Not really. Even with the 'sin' problem, CP went through its model which was built using gobs and gobs of computer time and energy and data. The marketing view says that CP was trained on the internet which would include pages of people, things like Wikipedia (which is good) and books. As well, if we proceeded with integrals, there are many times when one has to transform some equation (or series of equations) to something equivalent. That is, the movement would be from something not in the table, to something that is. If that works, then it's fine, except it can be a fairly gnarly equation and one has to remember how to reverse back to the former look. Much to discuss there. 

Now, CP? For the gnarly example, it went the 'by parts' route and detailed its work. But, it was not doing a step by step in the sense that we might think. We have to look deeper. In any case, it gave an answer that did not agree with Wolfram or the Integral Calculator. Oh, CP was right? They are wrong? It doesn't work that way in math. 

A little bit of additional information? CP gave different answers based upon sleight changes in input. We showed that by nudging it to remember that it knew Thomas Gardner (see prior post). In fact, nudging is a known and acceptable approach. Even though, this might lead one to think about fudging. 

There is a difference. Nudging works by changing parameters (inputs) in order to guide the problem solver. It takes into account various mathematical notions that have a history and support. Fudging, on the other hand, is after the fact. But, again. This same type of thing could be said about fuzzy approaches (which are quite powerful) or even any type of 'post' processor which takes output and makes it suitable for the eyes of managers. Too, though, there is a thing called integer programming which, briefly, gets to some area and then refines to a solution.  

Our interest is bridging the world of ourselves, typical humans, with that of experts who have to deal with specifics of domains plus all of the realities that pertain to using computers. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/16/2023

02/16/2023 --

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Languages and their use

TL;DR -- The fundamentals behind New England and its long reach about which we have a focus and write about? The advent of technology of recent which motivates both awe and angst? What is it about language, and why is the English world where these phenomena came about? Mind you, that's a huge leap in time and culture with which we have to deal. But, research opportunities are endless. 


We have to be technical from several angles as we proceed. Until then, assume that structure will emerge in the same sense as it would in a multi-disciplinary study. Today, we look at language since we have ChatGPT and Bing and others to look at. Where OpenAI's thing is known to have 'fake' as a basis. In fact, Bing needs to learn a lot, too. 

But, we'll not drop too deeply into these systems that came from an immature framework. No science is the basis for what these people are doing. We used to used 'cowboy' engineering for the undisciplined approach which could be effective in difficult times. Too, though, this about a language used by humans and their tools. We'll get to the other languages, eventually.

And, so, the focus is on "language as a loom" and upon English. The following list gets us started with the lead one being a former post. Then we consider a book from 1944 which I ran across today while browsing videos on language and learning. Finally, we go to Wikipedia, specifically to pull information about English which is our history. 

We started with English and will cover more as we go along. What's next? Perhaps, Latin? To wit, the appearance of very good Latin schools in New England. Kidding. Perhaps, Spanish? After all, New Spain had more territory. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/16/2023

02/16/2023 --

Friday, February 10, 2023

How great?

TL;DR -- We stop to look at the country's grandeur. Technology might provide overlays. None of these can be adequate to an actual visit. But, too, no amount of technology will diminish the grandeur. We have to add, in total, as one ponders the rise on the horizon of those spinning wheels. 


In the context of culture and technology, we will have lots of information to convey and topics to discuss. In terms of culture, we have 400 years to consider from the view of those here before the arrival of the Europeans and all that happened after from the start until now. In terms of the latter, we have the wide range of domains to explore many of which are represented by academe but a whole lot more are more related to life. 

Just the past two months has seen posts on the 1st Congressional Congress, a modern Gardner descendant who has worked in field biology, something called ChatGPT which will be on the news for a while, and a lot more.  

This post is a pause to reflect. One topic would be about how great is the U.S. Some might think, the American Dream? No. Though, there are many aspects of the topic that will be regularly covered. The U.S. facility for technology? Such as, Artificial Intelligence (AI)? No.  Though, we will use AIn't and expect a downturn of sorts within the next 18 months, if not sooner. We will be more specific. 

No, we are talking the grandeur of the country whose interior took over 100 years to be explored. Then, it was carved up and settled. We have posts on these themes going back to the beginning. And, this focus will continue. Right now, let's just ponder three maps. The first sets the stage. Then, two come from the same site and are representative of the ever-present grandeur plus technology's attempt to control. 

Sterling Carto
From Sterling Carto, this map shows the elevation in color of the U.S. from the low purples (sea level) in the east to the high whites (13K feet), namely the moutainous west One can zoom into regions where rivers are shown which has been a common topic for our posts. 

In this map from Sterling Carto, we can use the lines down the middle to show an almost uniform rise from east to west, starting from the green just west of the Mississippi River through the yellow and red to the brownish. Our post on "U.S. Hills and Valleys" used a similar elevation map to show the 3.6K rise across Kansas.

Now we go to GISGeography whose maps are used world-wide. GIS is technology applied in interesting ways. The site can be used to learn about the subject, sufficient enough to use it for work. Our focus is on the U.S. and its being. We like that technology, such as AI, arises. Yet, the underlying reality ought to have continual respect and appreciation. 

Same theme. We show an elevation map and one with some features side-by-side. In this case, the yellow stream up and down shows the transition required going from, say, New England out to the southwest, say, using the Santa Fe Trail

See this reference page (What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?) which goes into details of mapping and into how the computational systems have evolved to support this. 

We have been computing for some time. It is nice to see the latest advances due to technology changes that came from the efforts of many. No worry. We will go into detail there by addressing the subject from the view of the descendants of Thomas Gardner and others at Cape Ann. Too, though, American memes will be a central theme. But, we have a lot more to cover, as well, All of this from both the family view plus the more general one needed for the scholarship requirements related to our research. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/10/2023

02/10/2023 --

Thursday, February 2, 2023


TL;DR -- As promised, we are getting technical. And, given our long time and wide expanse related to life on these shores (and beyond), that covers a whole lot of territory. We have started to look at ChatGPT as a representative of the most modern of approaches (take that with a grain of salt). Actually, we see lots of weaknesses which have been brought up before. Was this a waste? Not really, as we need failures to learn. This is not a failure so much as a work in progress that has further to go than they thought would be the case. Except, their mission statement now mentions the uncertainty. ... See Remarks on 02/11/2023, for an opinion on the matter. 


We are focusing on technology as the major theme for research. Roots Tech is an example of an application of technology. We haven't attended, as our interest are with the deeper issues. Say, with DNA, the whole of the technological basis plus the computational lens required to support all of the various ways of making interpretations. Computing in general? The whole of the framework that provided support for development as we have seen that ubiquity is more than mere presence. No science is done without some type of artificial routine kicking to action. 

Our daily lives? About the same thing. For good or bad, that's our world. 

I have been listening to discussions about OpenAI. Other than noting that Musk provided some of the funding and that Microsoft just put their dollars on the line, I have merely touched upon the foundational aspects. NNs go back a long way. The mathematics involved in these new approaches goes back even further. What's new? Hardware is one thing and is far beyond what was thought possible. Software and those in-between modes has a very interesting history, too. 

ChatGPT is from OpenAI and will tell you that when it uses 'I' to express itself and try to explain its ways. Don't expect depth, yet. As an article in The Atlantic noted, it's a toy now. But, some are trying to use it as a tool (several APIs are provided). That raises hackles for good reasons. For a few years now, even the brainy have weighed in with their dread of these approaches. On the other hand, the marketing view has grown to be worse than unsustainable, as hype eventually eats up all of the oxygen in a room. But, how long that will play out is, per usual, unknown. But, it gives us two sides to watch as things evolve. 


Except, technology needs the middle way which we are up to. Lots to explain there, but systems development is a good example. From the top, we have various demands that get studied, and decisions can be made as to coming up with a product (applies across the board). This is a top-down position that is always the one of power, not necessarily of truth. Make it happen, we see the Star Trek captain saying; or, he uses something of that ilk. 

BTW, expectations come this way and are very hard to control, let alone try to manage rationally. It's apparent always, especially given the news ability to harp. On the other hand, it is from this side of things that we get the systems management and all of those creative things dealing with function and form. We will go into examples of this as we go along. 

But, at some point, things have to happen. Arm-chair quarterbacking will not get a game won. Thank God for the industry of engineering which gets thing done. But, before that, we need the basic knowledge that comes into play (science is both top-down and bottom-up). At the same time, we need the ones with the abilities to actually do something with their hands, with or without tools. 

Getting a system done requires lots of abilities. And, a system will get (usually or hopefully) to the state where it does what and how as is realizable. Does that state necessarily agree with the earlier thoughts coming from the top-down crowd? If you think yes, well, that is not the usual case. The middle is where adjustments get made for the bottom-up to be driven by management while those above figure how to get their views allowed (aligned) with actual potentials and not marketing dreams. 

One might say that this is old-time management science. Well, yes, in a sense. The new perturbator? The computer brings whole new classes of issues that need attention. As it becomes more capable, so too does the computer's problems rise. That's our current situation where we see, on the horizon, looming changes which may or may not have desirable results. 


ChatGPT was released for public use and comment back in November of 2022. We watched, mainly, but knew that we had to get involved so as to make our own assessments. Yesterday was the first exposure which started analysis with respect to the work involved, past, current and future. We found it shallow, to the extreme. That comes from the approach which we can discuss. The interface is polite in its verbiage and strives for a 'neutral' position in its responses. 

A huge reminder is there: this is an AI system created by OpenAI and has known limits. We will get into that, but they say that all of the training data comes from before 2021. Okay. There is more that they ought to acknowledge; the input data is a hodgepodge. How will such formulate into a coherent view seemingly willy-nilly? Oh, patterns. We can immediately show that mathematics is not just about patterns; nor, is science of that ilk when done at its core. 

Don't expect creative output, of a valuable nature. Though, I might add, ChatGPT can feed into the graphic generator which comes up with pretty pictures. In case this is not known, the training results in a composited model(s) from which one can obtain what is a photo. Say, of people, and it gives one a 'fake' person. What is the accomplishment? There is no reality behind that. 

Wait, there could be which we will explain, at some point. Actually, what we are suggesting would be a type of analytic stance of benefit. One thing that alarms people is that we can get 'fake' video which is a series of photos. As noted by the discerning eye, the morphs needed are not very sophisticated. That is, one can see the effects of mods that generate behavior through incremental changes to the underlying structure, say a face getting its lips moved to look as if speaking. 


ChatGPT, 2 Feb 2023
Our first attempt ended in some errors, as did today's. Yesterday, we were testing its knowledge of itself which it handled very well, in most cases: I am ChatGPT created by OpenAI and only know what the trained data allows me to know. Nothing more; I do not reason (yet). 

I pulled some of the log from queries related to Thomas Gardner. Before this, there had been queries related to similar themes. 'Query' is my question; the response follows. Notice that it was in a 'terse' mode which is nice. Then, I asked for a 'verbose' answer to the prior question. 

Query: Who is Thomas Gardner of Salem MA?

The specific Thomas Gardner of Salem, Massachusetts you are referring to is unclear. "Thomas Gardner" is a common name and there may have been multiple individuals with that name living in Salem, Massachusetts. Could you please provide additional context or information to help identify the Thomas Gardner you are inquiring about?

Query: Thomas Gardner married to Margaret Fryer. He died in 1674. 

I apologize, but with only this limited information, it is difficult to determine the specific Thomas Gardner you are referring to. The name "Thomas Gardner" and "Margaret Fryer" were both common during that time period and there may have been multiple individuals with those names in Salem, Massachusetts. If you have access to any additional details, such as birth dates or occupation, it would be helpful in identifying the Thomas Gardner in question.

Query: Did you read about Roger Conant?

Yes, I have knowledge of Roger Conant. Roger Conant was a colonial leader and one of the founding fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Born in England in 1592, he immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1623 and was an early leader in the colony, serving as governor of the settlement at Salem. Conant was a key figure in the establishment and growth of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and played an important role in the early history of the colony and the development of New England. He died in 1679 at the age of 87.

Query: Thomas Gardner was the lead before Roger Conant of the expedition that settled Cape Ann in Massachusetts in the 1623/24 timeframe? 

Yes, that is correct. Thomas Gardner was the leader of the expedition that established a settlement on Cape Ann in Massachusetts in the 1620s, prior to the arrival of Roger Conant. Gardner led a group of settlers to Cape Ann in the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the settlement he established there was one of the first permanent English settlements in the area. Roger Conant later became governor of the settlement at Salem, which was located near Cape Ann, and played a prominent role in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Query: Verbosely, please.

Thomas Gardner was a colonial leader and one of the early settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the 1620s, he led a group of settlers to establish a settlement on Cape Ann, which is located in present-day Massachusetts. This settlement was one of the first permanent English settlements in the area and was established prior to the arrival of Roger Conant, who later became a governor of the settlement at Salem and played an important role in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Gardner was a visionary and a pioneer, who saw the potential of the New World and was willing to take risks to make it a reality. He played a key role in the establishment and growth of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and helped to lay the foundation for the development of the region. Despite the challenges he faced, Gardner persevered and helped to build a thriving community on Cape Ann.

Today, Thomas Gardner is remembered as one of the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and as an important figure in the early history of New England. His legacy serves as a testament to the bravery and determination of the early settlers who helped to shape the American landscape and lay the foundation for the growth and development of the nation.

On the last? It's not quite right, but then it is a composite from several sources. This type of approach might appear to be of interest but is not. Debatable, of course. 

Now, we will get to the specifics, but the training data set was large and came from the internet: pages, sites, books, and such. What a heap! Right? That would confuse anyone. 

There is so much to discuss. We got it to say that the training set was a subset and not just the whole mess. After all, the internet is a mess, for several reasons and of various types. One thing that sticks out is that the 'domain' aspect of life has been ignored. That is, architecture with respect to this type of technology is very weakly evident, perhaps nonexistent. 

One failure, last night? I suggested to the thing that we and it make errors. Right. But, to know how to assess its errors, we need details related to 'provenance' in the proper sense. And, ChatGPT admited that it cannot specifically respond to anything that would be like a 'footnote' request. Alas. ... On trying to respond to that, the system crashed (red text, emphasized - several times). On getting things going again, I was told that I had exceeded the number of queries per hour. Oh well, it and I were in sync ;>). 

So, I was thrown out and the party ended. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/11/2023

02/05/2023 -- There is a lot to this. We will focus on GPT3 which is that which ChatGPT invokes for its content. Too, Google has a player, too: LaMDA (remember fall 2022 and claims of sentience?). 

02/11/2023 -- This is not an official TGS opinion, it is mine. And, I (JMS, starter, with Ann, of the TGS, Inc.) need to give some overview. Why? I have been decades doing advanced work with computers where the focus was involved in 'real' issues related to application of these things. It has been a long road that these types of programs (meaning systems-level focus) and projects have hoed. Some results have been remarkable, say MRIs and other imaging, or CAT/CAE/CAM (advance mathematics applied to design and engineering), communications (look at the 'cloud' for instance - but with rose-colored glasses as that place is a mess), scientific experiments (but the issue of non-repeatability is there; and, other issues; be aware that the framework's strength will keep problems from being obvious), medicine (too many to note, however I will say that I was in top-notch surgical environments back in the '60s in the U.S. Army and saw the state of the art then; to me, robotic surgery is far from something that we ought to trust), and much more. Essentially, computing is everywhere. That is why immature and irresponsible acts are and ought to be concerning to anyone thinking of the future and their progeny of that time. Pollution is one analog such as we got the EPA for. There are other descriptions that I will do later. ... Truth engineering is what the TGS is trying to raise to focus. ... Disclosure: my focus is not Comp Sci. No, it comes from the underlying mathematical frameworks that are being used. Necessary care does not seem evident since a product ought not be released until fully analyzed with respect to several factors, one of which is safety. The main issue? Allowing API access which is hidden from view for something that is not really a product, nor has it any ability as expected by most. Cute, but poisonous to our mental health, might be one depiction of the state of the thing. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Americas

TL;DR -- As we noted early last year, we have technology as a focus similar to another group's concentration on honoring research in biomedical fields. This post is about a biological thrust which has a couple of themes. One is that technology cuts across the board. We can use IEEE as an example of touching everything. Too, the post recognizes the life work of a Thomas Gardner descendant. 


We have mentioned New Spain several times, in the context of the United States. But, considering the extent of the U.S., there were other cultures, such as France, the Netherlands, Sweden and others. This will be a recurring theme due to perseverance of families through time until now. 

And, New Spain also is associated with most of the Americas outside of the U.S. and Canada. That might be the result of the usage of the Spanish language in much of the Americas. According to one source, there are 280-million English speakers in the American Continents compared to 418-million Spanish speakers. This is attributed to Spain being the first conqueror. New England did not conquer so much as slide into the area. 

Our last post mentioned the NEHGS which had a history and genealogy focus. These two utilize technology which is one of our interests. Of late, DNA studies have become more used. These types of results are becoming more frequently used in proving heritage. 

That is a biological focus which then leads to the use of technology, for supporting disciplines of the various sciences, and its mathematical understructure. And, so, we get back to computing and its contributions and plagues. We do this for several reasons which ought to become apparent through time. 

Natural History Museums (say Smithsonian, New York, London, and others) provide information about our world the study of which involves many disciplines, as we see with the Departments at Universities. Curators play a key role. Some in computing have brought this function to bear, say handling knowledge in terms of what a website might present. As with everything, interpretations differ as to what a curator does. The need seems to be recognized according to the rhetoric of the time. 

This post deals with the study of wildlife biology as it has grown over the past 150 years or so. We wanted to point to an example via the journal of the Mexican Association of Mammalogist. The first issue of Therya, Vol. 14 honors a New Englander who descends from many families, including that of Thomas Gardner, of Cape Ann and Salem. We had a post about him, earlier: Alfred L. Gardner, Ph.D.  

Note: Before going on, a technical aside is necessary. We, in the U.S., have benefited from awareness that can contribute to security and such. The 'wild west' start of the internet was a little perturbing to many. The marshals that came to town to clean up were varied, but they have helped. The below article is available via the DOAJ's website: However, we point directly to the organization's site for convenience, though it does not use HTTPS. This blog (and its main site) put that into place a while ago for several reasons including Google's nudging. But, mostly, the push came from issues of FTP's security.  

The image shows part of the table of contents from the journal. There is the declaration of the Special Issue. Then, we have a listing of several of the articles, many of which have to do with Dr. Gardner's work. Not all are listed, but this quarterly publication is over 180 pages in length. 

The abstract (Special Issue in Honor of Dr. Alfred L. Gardner) provides links to 'full text' versions of the article (PDF or HTML) and gives references for the material in the article. One of the many publications of Dr. Gardner was Mammals of South America (2008) which is the first of three volumes. Our title suggests the integral aspect of the Americas, north and south. This is a subject needing more attention in terms of the long reach of New England. 

It might be helpful to point to information about Mammalogy (Wikipedia, Journal of Mammalogy, Encyclopedia of Life) which is part of Zoology, the study of animals. "Theria" is a subclass of the mammals. 

Incidentally, this post continues a major theme. An analog can be found via which involves the ubiquitous type of technology that which enables computing and everything else, in part. We need material sciences, as well. 


Forgive our focus on the 'artificial' when the subject of the post is nature and life. One curating task deals with establishing and preserving knowledge of provenance, through time and situations. Just now, I asked Google to give me something like this (asking ChatGPT about the provenance of its content). Got one interesting bit from The Atlantic: ChatGPT Is Dumber Than You Think (it's a toy, not a tool). Well, this type of thing will be a continuing theme (AIn't and more). 

Oh yes, Roots Tech is right around the corner. We have not paid much attention to that, except for using the various tools (love Family Search). But, it has been on the table for a while to address issues related to this type of thing. And, re-evaluating DNA (let's cut the hype) will arise at some point; for this topic, I am going back 100 some years to describe how computing in its current form came about; DNA work is heavily reliant upon computing; there is no theory for this (just practice); do we need a theory? Chemistry and its theory? Again, look around. Everyone is chasing a "theoretical" basis. Guess what? They all eventually get to computing. So, there it is. Computer science has no basis, at all. Of course, other computing labels have come up, like computer engineering. But, we're talking more than mere labels. Wait, ChatGPT appears to be shallow due to something similar? Stay tuned.  

Remarks: Modified: 02/10/2023

02/10/2023 -- There are lots of links with regard to Alfred. We'll start with these two: Special Report (Localities of Mexican Land Mammals), Tech Tech, 2020; Species he named