Sunday, May 26, 2024

Memorial Day, 2024

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

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

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

Nantucket Island, 1909

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

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

Diana wrote, recently (edited): 

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 05/26/2024

05/26/2024 --

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Human intuition

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

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

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

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

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

So, let's look briefly at three articles. 

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

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 05/15/2024

05/15/2024 -- 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Old L.A. and the U.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Plaza Church 

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

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

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

But, in the beginning: 

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

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

Old Plaza Church
and the LA City Hall

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

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

Quoting the WPA site: 

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

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

Fort Moore Hill to 
the west of the 
Old Plaza Church

The PWA site on Fort Moore hill: 

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

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

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

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

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

Quoting the PWA site: 

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

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

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

Wikipedia quote: 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Labeled photo, 1869

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

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


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

Remarks: Modified: 05/01/2024

05/01/2024 -- 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

More than STEM, we need MSET+

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

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

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

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

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

LSU COLLEGE OF SCIENCE CELEBRATES
20 YEARS OF HONORING TRAILBLAZERS
IN RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 04/28/2024

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

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Royce in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wild Woman of the West:
Sarah Royce

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

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 04/27/2024

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

Monday, April 15, 2024

Bluebells in Dorset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 04/15/2024

04/15/2024 --  

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bamford UK

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

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

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

Bamford UK

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

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

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

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

Remarks: Modified: 04/14/2024

04/14/2024 --  

Saturday, April 13, 2024

On data and types

TL;DR -- Recent events in computing have many worried or concerned. Some are running after the opportunity for new ways of being mean-spirited and domineering. A little word of magic might be "transform" which has been touted many ways. Of course, this goes into the mathematics. We can shed a new light on the issues but have to go back further than the 20 years of the mess making. We go back to 1837. That is how old many of these ideas are. Over time, we'll come forward with a proper history of computing and its enabler based upon mathematics. 

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In the 21st century, we have had over 200 years of experience of data on individuals in the U.S. Why we use the U.S. is due to the historical aspect of this discussion. Now, people have been tracked all over the place. Russia (Czar on down) has been good at this. Their novelists told the tale. Tolstoy may have acted like a peasant (serf), but he was none. And, we have information on his life and activity, some of it given to us by the man himself. No doubt, there are lots of the peasant class who never got any attention. 

So it went across the whole world.  The U.S. started their systems from the getgo, 400 years ago. In some towns, at least the birth, marriage, and death were recorded for a person. Many have less information or none. Some have more, including books about their lives. Other places did similar recording. But, the U.S. is unique for several reasons to discuss. 

For now, let's remind ourselves that data handling involves technology. The colonial U.S. used pen and paper. Some of those records have been digitized which is not of interest until there is an effort at transcription and labelling. Sometime in  the 19th century, there was a change. We found a way to print records; too, the typewriter came to be. Both of these increased the quality of the record, somewhat. Though, such an evaluation would require us to discuss content versus configuration. There have been some posts on that, but a more full exploration of the topic is on our to-do list. 

Sometime in the 20th century, the computer came to be. GIGO (garbage in; garbage out) was coined to account for how willy-nilly use of the technology did not contribute to quality. The data industry got better at handling errors (of many types to discuss); however, abilities of the artificial elements outran our capacity for pursing quality and pushed us toward a lackadaisical approach. We are now paying the price. 

What the 21st century just brought must be linked back to the mobile device that came into existence in 2008 which represents what can be called "edge" computing that we'll hear more about as time goes on. Not only was data accumulation increased, there was no way to do the proper deed of curating nor was there any inkling of desire to recognize the coming problem. In 2022, things changed when a focus on machine learning (ML) reared its head. ML is mathematics in action. Below, we will briefly touch upon one huge issue. 

First, though, that little system (let's use ChatGPT - and call it CG) hit the airways and the cloud (which we'll go into in depth), millions signed up. Myself, I was not aware of the event and the reactions for two months for many reasons. One of these is that this stuff is old hat (below), and I made my peace with the technology decades ago. But, when I did become aware, I looked back and forward and sideways. The first was refreshing my memory of the long trek of technology; the second was considering all of the possible ramifications, most of which would turn out to be unintended consequences of an other than positive nature. 

However, insightful people saw immediately that this was toy stuff. Too, it was more for entertainment and gaming. Folks in the real world of metrics and accomplishments of notable scope saw the surface nature. Myself, in terms stated above, we saw more configuration than content even though the purveyours of the mess touted that they had assorted hundreds of millions of parameters in their effort at having the machine learn. 

That statement goes along with what people think of in terms of power (omnipotent) and knowledge (omniscient) and a few more. Why was that a choice? It turns out that studies show that removing the "crap" (so now, we have CICO) is not possible given the current state of computing. And, in terms of complexity, most likely never. 

So, we get to the gist, immediately. People have been solving problems from the getgo. Where was the user respected and given proper control beyond the playing around aspect of "prompt engineering' which would not converge to any "truth" of value. 

We will address all of this again. But, let's go back a few years. A huge player touted that they went with "transforms" and accomplished remarkable results. Sure, like the "fakery" of several types. That is not a new concept. I have written that several times. This is old math. 

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So, let's step back a couple hundred years. Oh yes, think of what was going on in the U.S. at the time. We have lots of posts about events on these shores and the people involved. In the west, Jedediah Strong Smith had been out west for a while having crossed the continent by foot and horse (and water, at times). He was about to meet his demise in KS on his way back. 

There's a lot more. We will look at a book (below) which is a summary of the collection by the Bourbaki writers who used a common pseudonym. These were books that covered mathematics from an axiomatic basis while developing what might be called a standard view. We are skipping around more detail while we focus on the mathematics largely behind the CG and its peers. 

The author, quoted by Bourbaki, in 1837 writes about the growing interest in transforms as they showed promise. There are many names to mention, however the techniques of Fourier which we will look at later are an example. Now, he says that anyone using the techniques can generalize and obtain new truths. Too, he uses the metaphor of adding "a stone to the structure" which very much applies to what we are seeing. 

We will go into the AIn't part, regularly. But, as a reminder, there is no creativity involved except on the part of the human. There ain't no creature in the box. There is something, oh yes. Superb mathematics which was not possible before the computing. 

In this sense, we need to review the claims. All of the methods are of old age. They were very difficult to grasp and never easy to handle by manual computation even with a sophisticated slide rule. Early computing spent a lot of time to learn how to approach the use using methods that are called numeric processing. Algorithms are the name of the game. And, these were never simple. 

Note, too, that the author (Chasles) addresses the issue of being confounded by the results. Remember last year's discussions about black box and lack of understanding. Well, that state of confusion was a contrivance, mostly unexpected. In some cases, we could look for actual intentions to have this effect. 

This year, 2024, has been encouraging in terms of people recognizing the problems and trying to figure out how to go forward. We'll be putting our hat in the ring there.  


Overview of Bourbaki's look

Now, who is the author? Michel Floréal Chasles was a French mathematician. He might seem to have been obscure, but in the U.S., he was recognized for his work. He lived from 1793 to 1880. His name is enscribed on the Eiffel Tower

Remarks: Modified: 04/14/2024

04/14/2024 --  So, in the post, I mentioned some good news. But now, bad news? The IEEE Spectrum gloated about perplexity.ai. So, I had to go look. And, my first two tests failed. That is, the thing pulled from the appropriate sources. It was too creative or something else in the output. ... My suggestion to you guys doing this stuff: some of us would prefer that your give us some summary without the embellishments (as your approach is not creative) with footnotes. In fact, the footnote ought to be the phrases that fed into the summary. Oh, cannot be done? Then, let's go back to the drawing board. This old guy has time and knows how to do this. It's related to my work on truth engineering.  
I'm referring to a context sensitive encyclopedic approach. That is, without the "omni" aspect that seems to excite the younger crowd. Want to know the real "Omni"? We can talk that. ... Some of my grief is that the thing is following what might be misguided text, anyway. The hope would be that enough sources would be good enough to pull toward something useful. Or, do curating before hand, as many are saying (the older xNN experts). ... 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Settlements, temporary and otherwise

TL;DR -- We continue a theme but will branch out to fill in the middle of the marvelous country started 250 years ago or so but which actually goes back 400 or so. Let's prepare to dampen the bad influences of technology. 

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In our look at the expansion west, we have targeted a few cities in order to have a closer look. At the 250th comes closer, we will add in a few more from the vast middle. 

Continuing with the west coast theme, this view from about 1945 shows an aerial view of the LA City Hall from the west where the camera is positioned over part of Bunker Hill West. And, the view shows the buildings over a wide area that disappeared in order for the high-rise offices to dot the skyline. We can identify the families who are associated with the houses as we go along in our research. 

LA City Hall, ca 1945
Photo, courtesy of
the Los Angeles Public Library

There are many reasons for our interest in the development of this area one of which is the long history of the U.S. Development of the west started after the Revolution (250th coming up) and accelerated within a few decades. Thankfully, photography came along to capture history in the making. 



High rise corner

In this photo, one cannot see the Mirror Building nor St. Vibiana's. But, that area to the right was where the supporting work for the Butterfield Stage Line occurred. Stage coaches stopped by on their way to San Francisco from Texas and back the other way. 

Warning: Technology now stands to be more untruthful than not. Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole. 

Comparative shadows

Hence, we need to establish some provenance in terms of more than photos or other artifacts. What does that mean? Well, to be discussed. Wikipedia has a page on Main Street, LA which is an example of what can be done. 



Remarks: Modified: 04/07/2024

04/07/2024 --  

 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Winter ice cooling Dodge City beer

TL;DR -- We point to an article/answer on Quora dealing with cooling beverages of the alcoholic type in Dodge City, say around the time of Marshal Earp. The article points back to Wisconsin, but ice collection happened all along the northern border in the winter months. The technology of cooling has an interesting history which we will look at in order to get a focus beyond the shenanigans to the computational crowd. 

---

Quora has accumulated a lot of great articles over its  years. These are written as answers to questions. Of late, we are seeing more with pictures from the past. Photos, that is, which we hope are of sufficient provenance to use for research. Right now, this problem is only an idea, for the most part, as fakery has been easy to spot. 

But, it's getting harder. So, we will be addressing that from a technical sense. For now, we will be looking at old photos. We have referenced articles of Erik Painter several times, mostly with respect to the over 100 years of frontier experience that brought the U.S. (us) to today from the start 400+ years ago. The frontier experience exploded post the U.S. Revolution. There are lots of tales to tell about this as we look at the expansion across the interior. On the other side of the matter, Erik Painter has posted well-written articles about Native American culture and the impact on it that the past 200 years has had. 

Today, though, we go to Dodge City, KS. Here is a link to the question and answer: 

Erik showed photos of ice being gathered and shipped. The railroad arrived in the area in the early 1870s. So, shipment would have been regular. Ice could be stored until almost the end of summer under the proper conditions up north. We will look at that further. 

This photo is of a drawing of what an iced railcar delivery adult beverages would have looked like.  


This was a great answer as it pointed to a part of the culture of the early times. A recent article described how some in New Hampshire are trying to keep the "traditon alive" and has photos depicting some of the work and processes. 
Ice Harvesting in
New Hampshire

Switching to a more family-oriented topic, this is actually an issue of technology which is more than the computational flimflam of late. There will be a later post on the history of ice cream in the west as John's family had an early diary in southeast Kansas with an outlet in Oswego, KS in the latter part of the 1800s and early 1900s. As the technology improved, they shipped on the Katy railroad all the way to Kansas City.  

Looking at the history, Washington even had a taste for the sweet and icy stuff. New York had a parlor for this product in the 1770s. But, the interest in cold refreshments go back much further. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/31/2024

03/31/2024 --  

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Judy Garland

TL;DR -- Bunker Hill West has a lot of history that we must not forget. Fortunately, a few Facebook groups are helping by providing period photos. One of these showed Judy Garland in 1939 working in her flower shop in LA. The photo was from the time that she was filming her famous movie. Her mother thought that she ought to have a Plan B.   

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For the most part, we will be looking at LA, in particular Bunker Hill West. I saw a photo recently that showed Bunker Hill in the late 1800s and recently from nearly the same view and will use it in a future post. The theme is the long reach of New England using the west coast as a focus as we look at families that went west leaving traces across the country. 

As is obvious the culture in the west differs from that of New England, many ways. There are huge similarities, too, which we can discuss. The 400ths might have shown up, but coming up shortly will be the 250th of the U.S. Western settlements started as colonials moved away from the coast. The interior had major activity early on, where St. Louis became the organizing point for bringing points west into the fold. 

Photos became almost regular around the time of the Civil War. What one is seeing now on social media is old photos being uploaded. FB has innumerable groups whose main meme is that. We have mentioned California many times. Several sites showing photos are covering the west coast. And, as mentioned, many times, new photos of the same view, or taken near by, allow us to consider the history. 

We will look at San Francisco, as well, including the Presidio. That goes with our interest in New Spain. 

Now, to Judy Garland (Wikipedia, WikiTree) who was a household name, at one time. She was born in Minnesota which came out of the Northwest Territory. And, she has a southern New England pedigree. See the WikiTree information on her. 

As we go forward, given the 400th and technology's support for research, we can use Judy's pedigree to help study northern and southern New England's relationships. Some of our earlier posts have started to address that topic. Many are about families from the north and the south meeting as they transitioned west through generations after the Revolution. 

According to FamousKin, Judy is related to the Gilman/Ladd (and Dudley) family of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But, the tie-in is prior to the migration. The site used Alan Ladd, the actor, as the focus. 

What caught our eye on FB was Judy working in a flower shop. The photo was on a FB page devoted to Relics of  LA which we have referenced before. There, also, is a florist's site that has a post titled Did you know that Judy Garland was a florist? She worked in her shop during the time that she was filming the Wizard of OZ.  


Her shop was on Wilshire Blvd; she started it when she was 15 years old. As she became more involved with entertainment, her florist activities went to naught. 

She is a good example for Women's History month. Her mother got her involved with flowers as a Plan B in case entertainment didn't work out. 

May 16, 1939:

Quote - Judy Garland News and Events: The photo and caption above appeared in the papers throughout most of 1939 and into early 1940, promoting Judy and her alleged business, “Judy Garland Flowers,” supposedly opened by Judy and her mom, Ethel.  The photos were all posed and shot by an MGM studio photographer, possibly on January 22, 1939.  Obviously, Judy was too busy at the studio to spend any real-time arranging flowers at the shop’s location on 5421 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.  The location was eventually turned into a bakery.  The building was torn down in the 1980s and a Staples store now occupies the space.

Remarks: Modified: 03/30/2024

03/30/2024 --  

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Geertruida de Haas-Lorentz

TL;DR -- Running through links on a topic can lead to interesting finds. By a circuitous route, we ran into a colleague of Einstein who lived in the Netherlands and several other finds. Their work showed that inexpensive experiments can do the job. A related post continues our discussion on content versus configuration. 

-- 

Technology is our interest, and it's without limit. Today, we were researching relativity as it applies to some of the modern turmoils. Mainly, this is to set a basis for future discussion and work. In his book on the Evolution of Physics which he wrote with Infeld, Einstein discussed the rise of the modern views, from the perspective of the 1930s. 

One thing stressed was the importance of knowledge and the means for obtaining and managiing such. That applies across the board and usually was a human endeavor. Now, we have other wrinkles coming into sight. These are not new which we will go into. 

But, on reading material, I ran into the old topic of content versus configuration. Or, vice versa, as it's a two-way street. In fact, the TGS work has been important in following the ins and outs of technology as the web and its use became more sophisticated. Mentioning acquisition of knowledge? Mostly, that seems to be associated with the artificial. But, no, people need to  learn to. 

So, there was a hit on a search for a algorithm that pointed to a website (HyperPhysics) managed at Georgia State. The site uses Java and Javascript to provide demonstrations of algorithms related to research in Physics. It has a goal of providing information of a technial nature to teachs of High School Physics. The Georgia site also links to HyperMath which of the same approach. Both of them are great. 

Another link goes to Physics World which is all modern and mostly reporting. However, the articles are a great collection. One of them motivated this post. 

Given that this is Women's History Month, we wanted to feature Geertruida de Haas-Lorentz who provided an experiment to a French museum. It had been done by her husband and Einstein in 1915 and showed a connection between magnetism and "angular-momentum of electrons" using a simple device. Geertruida herself did experiments that tested Einstein's proposals about Brownian motion. 

Her father was the Nobel Prize winner for his theoretical work that supported Einstein's relativity research. 

This was Einstein's only experiment as his work was theoretical (and cultural). 

Back to content and configuration: old (This week's finds ...); new (Azimuth). 

Remarks: Modified: 03/24/2024

03/24/2024 --  

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Boston first

TL;DR -- The 17th of March is associated with St. Patrick with green rivers, too much food, and parades. That same day in 1776 was when the Brits left Boston. The story is that they believed that the colonials had brought in firepower sufficient to be effective. We mention something that happened a few years later in Russia. Why? What's to believe? 

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The Nutfield Genealogy blog noted that this day of St. Patrick's was when the British were run out of Boston: March 17th in Boston ~ Evacuation Day or Saint Patrick's Day? Hence, it is featured yearly. 

The post reports that a fake fort had been assembled on a hill overlooking the town. That motivated the evacuation. The departure of the British forces occurred on 17 March 1776. 

For us, we like to point to the series on the Siege of Boston that Dr. Frank published in The Massachusetts Magazine

Now, a historic follow on? The Russian field marshal, Grigory Potemkin, was to show a region to Catherine the Great. This was in an area with which we have become more familiar of late. The tale told is that fake villages were set up along the route that she was to be taken. "Potemkin village" came to be. How much of this is fictional has been researched. 

But, Catherine's journey to the Crimea was in 1787. So, the fakery of the colonials preceeded that of the Russians. 

The topic? Now, we have witnessed several years of another type of fakery (AIn't's output). This deals with technology and its perils which we will be discussing further. 

Now, taking another view of things here. What we are dealing with is computational systems using sophisiticated mathematics in new ways with unexpected results. None of this is magical in origins. Rather, some choices were made with immature minds that impacted all of us. Major tsk on that. In the meantime, we can control the situations involved to some extent. Human nature, on the other hand, fortunately is not merely endless St. Pat's Day frolicking. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/17/2024

03/17/2024 --  

Friday, March 15, 2024

Questions and such

TL;DR -- Bridging across 400+ years will continue to be of importance. So, our quest will be an ongoing process. Technology? The next two years will provide more of a view to the issues. Right now, we can only intimate. In reality, hype abounds. AIn't adopters will be in for a reckoning. 

-- 

It was a year ago, when we found out about the new information about Thomas and Margaret that was available via digitization of records in Sherbourne, Dorset, UK from 400 years ago. WikiTree used the opportunity to split out their Profile of Thomas into two people: one was at Cape Ann who is unknown, essentially; the other is the one who married Margaret Frier. 

The work and discussion had been done while I was distracted by what became to be known at GenAI. There are several blogs on this. But, we're at the stage to move on and do it right. Not that what had been done before was done wrongly. So, tsk, guy, at WikiTree who passes judgment. We'll take it from here with respect to these two gentlemen or one (our choice - until we really know).

On the first (AIn't), look at the series here under my name: True State of AI Tools, 2024. We started this last year after assessing what OpenAI's toy/tool brought. The jury is still out: those who don't know, let's discuss rationally; those who are on the bandwagon, just be aware of the faults that shake the foundation (oh yes, let's to go Einstein's introduction of the mathematics of Relativity to do this, General, that is - and then come forward to the current nonsense).

On the second (Cape Ann, &c - btw, that's what was used in the time of Levi-Civita), how will the research and change proceed? Well, we got started in 2009 but formalized the effort in 2010. By 2012, it was obvious that there were all sorts of opinions, worthy of note (okay?, we'll discuss - we do not like the top-down dominance that seems to appear - more later). So, this happened. 

  • What we know - notice, November of 2012. What took so long? Well, search in this blog on Content and Configuration. I was dealing with new content related to history and people. This was after transitioning my brain from technology, especially advanced computing. And, configuration? I used CMS; later, I pointed to GitHub (with Co-Pilot, is even better of a foild for discussion) as an example. Two hats? Okay. One person's content might be another's configuration. And, so forth. Science and engineering are full of examples. 
So, switching to the 1st, a monolith of knowledge? Nope. The whole framework is idiotic. We'll show this, eventually, if we live long enough. Too, GenAI? Purty pictures. Read about the difficulty of doing something real, as I show with the knowledge-based engineering work that actually bumpled up against the world successfully by meeting constraints intelligently. And, the word salad? Oh yes, perfect grammar, perhaps. But. meaningless. Anyone finding meaning is demonstrating what the Gesalt view was about. 

Going on. Later, we figured that we had enough and started the following using a different format at Google's Blogger. Posts are meant to be conversational through time. Pages (see our Page map) are static. We did this page. Both the post and the page have been annotated with respect to the current topic of needed changes. 
  • Frequently asked questions - notice, later. We did not know a lot, even then. But, we thought that we ought to organize this into questions. These might be reworked to have a good set of questions. However, they'll each be updated. 
So, we have started the work. One thing was to add an opinion category, OpEd. One thing that we noticed over the past decade plus. When we started, the internet was still somewhat open which allowed satisfying queries to be made and tweaked to obtain some semblance of an answer. Now It's been trashed. So, that will slow things down. 

Before now, we also saw lots of site with reseach done earlier. Lots of that disappeared. We had collected lots of links over the years and need to prune these out. But, for some, trying to see what happened will be of use As, that was not work to be wasted. If the stuff is available elsewhere, we want to be cognizant of the work. 

Remarks: Modified: 03/15/2024

03/15/2024 --  


Saturday, March 9, 2024

Women's History Month, 2024

TL;DR -- March is the month to look at the women's history in all of its aspects. 

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March is Women's History month in the U.S. and many other parts of the worlds. We have had a post for this the past two years. 

Each post links to other articles on the subject or on something related. 

The below is a list of current material from sites or periodicals which are becoming broader in scope. 

Next post, we will go back through our posts since 2010 and pull out those about a woman. An example would be our posts in 2022 on Emily Noether and on the Wartime Quartet. Or, our various posts on Elizabeth Gardners (several generations). 

Remarks: Modified: 03/15/2024

03/15/2024 --  Added photo of Pres. Carter signing a Proclamation in 1980. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Restructuring

TL;DR -- It's been over a year since the generative modes made their appearance. They look good. But, fail mostly. Some say, these are best for fictional situations. Not fact nor truth. Does not have to be that way. People are the clue. At the same time, technology brought a change to our worldview. We are now going into restruction. It will be multi-pronged and not done overnight. 

--

Last year, in February, I did my first evaluation of ChatGPT. Then, I did several sessions on various topics, including lower-level mathematics. Many of these dealt with the overarching issues that seem to get little attention. So, the generative age started. 

The first use of Bard was in June of last year: Getting technical. There were several reasons for preferring this system from Google. Now, it has morphed into Gemini which I have accessed a couple of times which was enough to get the difference. We will continue this analysis

Finally, I put together sufficient thoughts to begin a relook at the history of computing and AI from the perspective of someone in the trenches. The first article of a series was titled: AI, not solely ML. This was #1. So far, there have been #2 and #3. The fourth is in the works. The intent of the series was to set up the framework and the necessary subjects so as to discuss a patent and its use. 

The main factor to be discussed will be knowledge-based engineering.  

But, we have the whole of computing to consider within which is embedded things being artificially simulating. Our portal (TGSoc.org) was to serve as an exhibition for custom made as opposed to hugely automated. We will be looking at that, perhaps with CoPilot of GitHub. In any case, there will not be a total turnover to the artificial of responsibility. Though, we will watch others and comment. 

Of course, the motivation is not merely technical. Last year, we learned of new data (from Sherborne, Dorset) and will begin to incorporate this into the Gardner story plus our website's support Gardner Research

Remarks: Modified: 02/29/2024

02/29/2024 --  

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Foreign Policy Association (FPA)

TL;DR -- This post is about the FPA which is 100 years old and which has a mission fostering discussion about the U.S. and its foreign policies. Their purpose is to inform, engage, and inspire. Timely discussion about the upcoming election is one goal for 2024. 

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Recently, we were reminded of the FPA and its offshoot discussion group. On reviewing their material, we had to write this post since it deals with U.S. policy, is over 100 years old, and has transitioned into the new age by having a web prescence. The reminder was via meetings held regularly at an educational institute. But, lots of organizations have sponsored meetings. As well, this is an open forum and relates to foreign policy of the U.S. 

The About FPA page of the Foreign Policy Association covers their mission plus it gives a brief history starting in the 1920s. The FPA was "founded in 1918 as the League of Free Nations Association" which was post WWI. Among the incorporators were John Foster Dulles and Eleanor Roosevelt. Both of these are of New England heritage. 

Before going further, let's stop and look at another group that was here and abroad: Lyceum Movement (post dated in May 2017). This started in the U.S. in New England and spread across the country. We read of small towns in the interior of the country being part of the movement. The focus was literature. Along that same line, there have been many attempts at magazines during the time of the U.S., some of which were literary in focus: Magazines and people

Getting back to the FPA, naturally, topics of interest have changed over the years. For 2023, the topics were quite contemporary. Some of these may have been in vogue longer than other. The image shows the topics being discussed in 2023. For all of the topics, there are resources which include recommended reading as well as a listing of discussion groups that might be near the reader. 

Over all of this time, the FPA has been doing "Opinion ballots" and reporting the results. We will do another post on these results. 

Let's close with the Mission Statement of the FPA: ... "serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues." 

So, their pseudo-motto might be: Inform; Engage; and Inspire.  

Remarks: Modified: 02/22/2024

02/22/2024 --