Saturday, September 30, 2023

Moldering bones

TL;DR -- Moldering? Bones? Yes, more later. 


Or as the Brits might write, mouldering. Recently, we wrote of a colleage who worked in metals and who died after retirement: David E. Jakstis. The theme of the post was David's role in the development of truth engineering. This, not merely tongue-in-cheek, is what aritificial intelligence will be when it matures. 

Moral: Truth? That which money does not control.  

All of this discussion relates to technology as it advances along what many call a bleeding edge. New Englanders ought to know of this type of thing. After all, prior to the Civil War, events in "Bleeding Kansas" stoked the fires of abolitionism and led to the eventual conflict. We will go back to that theme, already having had several posts related to the subject in its difficulties. 

But, that time of John Brown (whose soul is mouldering) and now? Yes, indeed. 

This is a brief note and will be expanded with details and links. 

Remarks: Modified: 10/02/2023

09/30/2023 --

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: 10/18/2023

10/18/2023 -- More on the theme: Los Angeles, againBunker Hill, west

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 supported the Butterfield line. When travelers got that far, some had already trekked from St. Louis, MO or Memphis, TN. Where Butterfiled hung out is now the building that houses the Los Angeles Times (or did until recently - need to update that).  


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: 12/16/2023

09/28/2023 -- Adams Express. Example of New England activity that covered the country. 250th themes apply. 

10/15/2023 -- Los Angeles Relics is a Facebook group with photos. This one is from 1888 and pre-auto. It's of First Street between Spring and Main. That's where the LA Times building is plus the City Hall is in the area. 

10/18/2023 -- More on the theme: Los Angeles, again; Bunker Hill, west

12/16/2023 -- Updated photo of LA: First between Spring and Main. In the photo, the Massachusetts Boot and Shoe House was the retail arm of the W. L. Douglas Shoe Company of Brockton, MA. William Lewis Douglas served a term as Governor of Massachusetts. 

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: 09/13/2023

09/13/2023 --

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.