Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Technology assessments ...

TL;DR -- 2023 set the tone for expanding upon the reality of the computer. Depending upon various factors, we can see a range from highly optimistic all the way to marvelous. How can this be? Mathematics as the enabler being used without proper understanding of the underlying limits. That discussion needs attention, imperatively, and now is the time for such an effort. 


We put a label of "portal to truth" back in the 2017 timeframe somewhat tongue in cheek. However, at the time, we had been following technology for decades, principally from the viewpoint of advanced computing whose history tracks the marvels. Being a member of IEEE, we also had access to facts and opinions from the beginning. 

People have mostly been the source for wisdom and knowledge. That is, until we saw the advent of the xNN/LLM models in 2023 on a massive scale which resulted in some interesting social phenomena that need study, analysis and discussion. We can report on that. 

The first cut was oriented toward the engineering and technical camp as it stressed that artificial intelligence, say as envisioned by John McCarthy, was more than machine learning. What we saw was a highjacking by one section of the entire discipline. That seems to have abated somewhat. 

But, the underlying dynamics are still there, needing attention. We have completed the third of a five part series which sets the basis for a dialog, using insights from the technical side of what seemed to be a marvelous emergence of capabilities beyond limit. 

We'll quit using AIn't, in other than a limited sense, and bring mattes to fore that need to be in the analysis. The framework essentially is mathematical modeling and computational modes that support this. And, the work can be pinpointed by time over more than two centuries.

In other words, the biological basis for cognition and intelligence is still under study. The xNN/LLM are approximative models that are quite limited despite appearances otherwise. Even when joined with robotic efforts, we are still talking "toy story" than mature assessments. Or, for that matter, immaturity is to be on the table. 

The software industry attempted to define what this meant from the view of systems. There was a Software Maturity Institute created more than two decades ago. We need to look at that. At the same time, since the internet has been available to general use, we have seen a shambles come about, with a few good things. Granted, how one would assess the progress of the past two decades is dependent upon several factors as well as things that are opinion based. But, as we noted, opinons matter. There is no aspect of human life that is without opinion, even science. 

Ah yes, first principles? We will venture there. Basically, they are what a group decides. We'll cover this topic from all necesary angles. 


This series of articles is on themes that need to be discussed. I have been discussing these themes for the past few years in various forums. 2023's events related to what was called "AI" motivated the series. The articles are about KBE (knowledge-based engineering) which followed after KBS (knowledge based systems; like KBS, KBE unfolded in a commercial environment and was proven many ways and times in the real world. 

A major theme? We need truth engineering in a non-academic sense. Details are where truth is assessed. 

Auxiliary information  can be found at the Sperry Univac Knowledge Systems Center until a more permanent home is established. The 1st article, above, was mentioned in Gardner's Beacon, Vol XIII, No 2 (Dec 2023). 

Remarks: Modified: 02/13/2024

02/13/2024 -- Added image.  

Monday, January 29, 2024

Electronic print

TL:DR -- We started with developing a footprint early. There is still a lot to do. Stay tuned. 


We had a post 10 years ago with the title of Electronic footprint which provides a list of areas where something had been posted or utilized. It was in 2014 when we got introduced to WikiTree. Rootsweb had been regularly used from the beginning of our work in 2010. Now, it's gone and supposedly will appear in the ancestry realm at some point. We'll see. 

We remarked about reprints of Dr. Frank's book. People had been doing that type of thing on the web which is really a type of plagarism. But, in 2023, we saw massive plagerism taking place without much comment, except there may be a belated reaction in the near future. 

Speaking of which, the recent ACM Comm had an article reporting analysis on LLMs which, coupled with xNNs, were the main mischief makers in 2023. It's worth a read. 

Shortcut Learning of Large Language Models in Natural Language Understanding - the paper was a thorough review. As we have made mention in our comments about this technology, there is no "creature" emering in this AIn't or anything else of a magical quality going on. Nope, this is mathematics that needs to be brought to attention, fully. And, from a brief survey, that is happening. MIT and Carnegie Mellon are offering courses that are introductions to the mathematics involved in machine learning. 

Ourselves? See this: Physicalness and mathematics. Right now, this and related papers will be indexed at our site. Some pointers go to a blog based in WP.  

Technology is our project with the computational aspects on the top of the list. 

 Remarks: Modified: 01/29/2024

01/29/2024 --  

Kansas Day

TL:DR -- Kansas joined the U.S. in 1861. There is a lot of history to look at, including families. 


Today marks the day that Kansas joined the Union, in 1861. So, this is Kansas Day in these parts. We had have several posts on Kansas over the years. Here are a few. 

  • John Brown - He was here more than once. We have written about the era of "bloody Kansas" in several posts. John and his battle at Black Jack will be mentioned in a post, soon. 
  • Lawrence - This city is mentioned several times. Kansas was a Massachusetts project which had the goal of keeping the area slave free. 
  • Trails - There were several trails. One was the Santa Fe Trail that cut diagonally across the state. 
  • Frontier century - Associated with this is the Lost Generation or two. Families came west prior to record keeping. 
  • Early work with Native Americans - A mission was established in the southeastern corner of the State in the early 1830s which was not long after Missouri came to be. 
  • Incorporation - Founded in 2910, the Thomas Gardner Society incorporated in Kansas in 2014. 
  • ... 
Lawrence, KS
by Alexander Gardner

Of course, further words could be said about the trappers who came through and the cattle that ran through the state on their way to being shipped back east by train. Too, trains were a large part of KS. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/31/2024

01/31/2024 --  Added image from the Frontier Century post. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024


TL;DR -- Boone was there, in the times of the French-Indian affair, the Revolution, and after. He was of a type that can be known as longhunter. They wandered and brought back information. And, turned around and led people west. This post is of the 250th theme. We are about two years away from that celebatory event. 


Four years ago, COVID became a reality. There had been little glimpses earlier. People were talking about an illness in China. We came home from a regional jaunt and heard, on the news, that people had been identified in the area where we had bee as being diagnosed with the disease. Okay, not long after, there was the respite put into  place. Rather, it was lockdown with rules put into place which went on for a few months. 

We had already been supporting history and genealogy work. Some of this had the flavor of finding paths taken by families as they went west. Or, from our perspective, as they came west. Earlier, we had seen entry into flyover country from several directions. The Ohio River ran from PA down to MO. But, it was Daniel Boone (see post Boone himself and search results - Boone) who figured in a large way. He was involved in the Revolution. Prior to that, though, he had explored westward our of the southern states. 

As we had noted, our focus was on the coast for a long while as we caught up with the 400 years that had passed by. Dr. Frank's work was a launching point bot from the family research and The Massachusetts Magazine which printed for eleven years and was discontinued when the Spanish Flu hit as well as WWI came about. But, we had done some work with families who went west. See Flyover Country, for one. As an aside, we are considering how to update Dr. Frank's work with respect to recent findings brought to us by technology. 

Fortunately, about the time of the pandemic, we were getting more inquires with regard to people coming west. Here are some examples (these posts are not in chronological order): Jedediah Strong Smith; Judge Thompson; Col. T. W. Higginson; and St. Louis as the site of the partitioning efforts. Too, though, we tracked several families that followed Boone west. He, BTW, ended up in MO with his son coming further into KS. 
Boone, wandering

Now, let's look at Boone and what he represented. He was a longhunter. These guys went out on their jaunts for months at a time. And, during that period, they were self-sufficient. When they returned, they brought back information and some artifacts, such a pelts. 

We are talking about the area, for the most part, that was east of the Mississippi River. There were explorers out further west, some from the Candian regions. Jedediah was out in California in the 1830, by foot both his and his steeds. He passed through St. Louis on his way. Later on, as we know, two massive killing periods happened out west: beaver; buffalo. 

The numbers of venturers was small. But, where Boone was, a Cherokee chief by 1769 was complaing about the influx of the long hunters. Mainly, they were noisy. And, other stories abound. 

But, getting to our interests, we are finally concentrating on Tennessee. It is a huge state. All together, it touches nine states. Its northern neighbor, Kentucky, touches seven states. We follow families who went west through both of those areas. Too, their border was a dividing line during the U.S. Civil War. We have not discussed that topic in detail, yet, but intend to at some point. Since we're in KS, there is a pre-civil-war history involved with families in the area. 

Back to the longhunters, they are similar in spirit to those who sailed the seas as we saw with New England. We had an earlier post (Final migration) that quoted authors on the subject. There were many trails west, as the railroads later showed us. Jedediah, in CA, had travels that map out the current highway system. Culturally, we would point the travels of the Native Americans over their long time on the continent. 

Other types of early travelers have been touched upon during our research. About a century before the area depicted in the Flower Moon movie, a mission was established in SE KS to aid the Osage and, eventually, other tribes brought into the area. Several local sites were the local for negotiations and treaty agreements. 

Back east, the history goes back 400 years. In the interior, we are talking the long reach of New England over a 250-year period. A lot of families arrived later; but, many carry the history int heir genes over the entire period. Both require attention. So, there's no end to research. 

Lately, we have had a focus on CA, for several reasons. Some of the interest has to do with family being there early. But, we have seen lots of older photos being brought to the fore. Recently, we did a post about a photo taken in downtown LA in the 1880s. We have one from this week to add. But, the area of the photo was where Butterfield had his stage coming into the area prior to going up to San Francisco. His first arrival was in the 1850s. Change is on theme. Some things remain. Many, most do not. 

Society needs its adventurers. Of late, there are new types that we will be discussing. Despite that, we still need the old ways for many reasons. 


Example? Technology has developed a thrust and lust for the virtual. That theme needs constant attention for several reasons. One deals with the respect for the land and the people involved across all of the time frames that will be associated with the U.S. and its history. 

Now, AI and even AIn't? History can be retold in more interesting ways using technology. Yet, the truth of the matter remains an open issue that hopefully we'll be able to address more fully if we determine the necessity as we ought. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/27/2024

01/27/2024 -- 


Monday, January 22, 2024

New England, in LA

TL;DR -- Continuing the theme of the west coast, we look at the LA area. A Cogswell reference was one motive. Then, reports about early downtown LA are always interesting. 


In FB, a post with the name of Cogswell (kin) got our attention. And, the setting was the western coast. So, what not to like? 

Los Angeles, CA has been mentioned in several posts on FB. One post dealt with Pasadena with respect to a Cogswell/Rhoades house. On looking further, the Cogswell was William F. (Wikipedia, Stanford U. bio) who was a painter born in New York with early Massachusetts ancestors. 

Source: California History (Facebook)
Sierra Madre Villa Hotel

This property was written up for being designated as a Historic Monument or Landmark in 2007. At that time, only one building (the laundry) was still on the property. The Water and Power website has early photos of the Pasadena area, inluding this hotel. This photo is from the Huntington Digital Library. 

View, 1877 to 1880

The area is now known as Sierra Madre, CA. This description of the property's history is from the California Historical Resources Inventory

The house is the only structure that remains from the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel. The Hotel was the first of its kind in Southern California. In 1874, William Rhoades and William Cogswell purchased 473 acres of the old Rancho Santa Anita, eventually planting the hillsides with flowers and orange groves. In 1877, they built a 70-room hotel, with a glass veranda, on the property.

Newspaper articles, interviews, and photographs document the use of the house as a laundry and employee housing for the hotel. Around 1900, other hotels had been built nearer the center of the city, and the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel became obsolete in its remote location. The property was divided and sold off in the 1920’s. The “Old House” has been the only remaining structure from the hotel since the late 1940’s.

Another post (California History) was about a Belmont Hotel in Los Angeles being in a photo of a cable car on 2nd Street. The view was west where one could see the area (see Bunker Hill, west) and the hotel plus the San Gabriel Mountains. This was in 1886. In 1887, the hotel burned to the ground. The hotel was later rebuilt (On Bunker Hill - Hotel Belmont 251 S Hill). 

The following photo was colorized. It shows that Los Angeles (its downtown area) was hilly. 
Source: California History (Facebook)

There are several themes that could relate to this post and further research which we will be getting into. We have 400 years to look at while we also get deeper into Origins.  

Remarks: Modified: 02/04/2024

02/04/2024 -- Found lots of more images and stories. The response to a query of "Los Angeles, CA" and the current map at Google shows Bunker Hill (Wikipedia) supporting a collection of tall buildings. By the way, the largest is 70 some stories or so. The Wells Fargo Building (54 floors) stands at the highest point of the hill. 

This view is from an area east of DTLA, say, down in the valley. 

see Bunker Hill, Los Angeles

The Water & Power Associates have a great collection of early DTLA (downtown, LA) including those from several eras of Bunker Hill which is the focus of study for many reasons.  

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Ten years ago

TL;DR -- We will start with marking by category, put in a header about the coming changes, figure some reasonable modification to apply, and get them into place. At the same time, we will reconfigure with technology updates in mind. 


Ten years ago, we were four years into this medium exercising our reading intake. Sometimes this was via expressing opinion (see this post in December of 2023 - Opinions count?) which is everywhere. Papers have the OpEd (we added this category) for a purpose. Other times, we were reporting results that we had no reason to doubt. Thanks to the good work of Bob Dunlop we know more about Thomas and Margaret and the family than was known before. 

To recap, we have been using this post (In Summary) as a reminder that our websites will be updated and that we'll keep using the blogs for information with respect to what we know (our first post on What we know was in November of 2012). In the next few weeks, we will have more information on what needs to be changed. In terms of some of the OpEd type, we'll put in a header with respect to the status as we will keep the information for future reference. 

One thing that we noticed when we started is that there was a lot about Thomas Gardner on the web which was 19 years old at the time. One could see the different generations (web evolving) of these. So, from the start, we captured URLs and, as one would expect, is a huge collection. One a recent review, many of these have disappeared or merely moved. This is the same problem as we get generally and which there have been solution attempts. One example if who also provides access to on-line books. In terms ot we pages, one can see the page. But, links are not pointing to active sites. 

As an aside, many have gone from static pages to a wholely database approach. That goes back to an old argument of compute or store. Remember, we have a technology focus. It is becomeing clear that we have to know the history. Some things under the covers are old. Perhaps, we would use many if talking the infrastructure that is reliable. Be that as it may, there is a use of the static page. Our sites use this method with some database facilities, like WordPress. This discussion comes under Content versus Configuration which we will continue with the focus having a priority on Content though we dabble with Configuration. 

Back to the subject, notice in March of 2014, we had some OpEd posts dealing with Cape Ann. Some of those may have been conjectures based upon the work done so far. At the time, the basis was minimal which was offputting. By this time, the internet was changing too. Search parameters had been altered by those who provide such (user input to these changes was minimal - let's talk requirement - the current uproar will get that back on the table). 

An interesting twist is with the LLM (xNN), we can work with a coPilot to reconfigure the site. Or not. Basically, my attempt would be to sandbox changes or try enhancements. Then, the sites would be redone manually. Why? I'm more custom than not. There is too much on the web where mutal admiration societies build monolithic sites that go against the dreams of people in general. And, one huge aspect of that is the American dream whatever that might mean. With respect to our view, the 400 years of effort by some families still here has to have some meaning. And, quite frankly, that has been visible to me since I started this. 

The redo of Dr. Frank's work is an example. We'll not throw stones as some on WikiTree might. Actually, I don't see that genealogy by itself is of much use. We need history plus a whole lot of science to come to bear and that means more than genetics. Look at our technology writeups for some notion of the issues at hand. 

So, we'll be using the OpEd category. First, when we identify pages that need to be updated, we'll put it in the category with a header. Then, as we dive further into the research, we will start a new series of pages. BTW, going back to set a proper basis will include an errata listing for Gardner's Beacon and The Gardner Annals. 

So, we will be doing this all year. Right now, let's see what is involved and get some notion of the changes needed. 

BTW, it was in September of 2014 that we did this post: Marriage of Thomas and Margaret. It's our most-read post and note OpEd. However, the images involved had been indexed. Only the first few of the sons were mentioned. We were waiting for further transcription and indexing, and time ran away. There is always more to do than can be done. So, the 2023 surprise was quite nice, actually. 

Our position (OpEd): Thomas was here. Rev. Hubbard didn't mention that he was referring to other than the one of Salem. We'll reconfigure here and expect further work to fill in the pieces. Or not. 

Aside: Over this 10 year period, we did not ignore AI or AIn't. In a sense, there is much ado about not much. Weeding out the hype will leave how much edible stuff? Do we know that a priori? 

Remarks: Modified: 01/13/2024

01/13/2024 -- 

Monday, January 1, 2024

New Year

TL;DR -- Years provide a stopping and starting point. Mostly, this applies to bureaucratic or legal matters. But, there are other ways that one might consider the transition. For 2024, lots of things are pending attention. 


It has been a long Holiday weekend. Seemed to have started on Friday. That gave time to wind down 2023. Now, we can start 2024 activity. 

Too, we're enough past COVID to put it into storage. Except not, as we will have a yearly revisit with the thing. 


The graphic shows that we had 85 posts for the year. It was 2019 when we bumped up our posts. Before then, the highest year was 2014 with 48. We will be editing the posts to bring them up to date with the latest information. 

Somewhat, as we can push many of the older ones into an archive if they are not relevant. But, with respect to the "science" of genealogy and family history, we may use others that need change as material to support discussions. 

Our last post, which will be updated throughout the year, touched upon the subject: Opinions count? For one thing, we are telling the story of America and the U.S. as are a lot of other families. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/01/2024

01/01/2024 --