Saturday, April 30, 2016

From the vault and the crypt: Claude Shannon

On 100th anniversary of his birth - Claude Shannon was born in Petoskey, Mich., and grew up in Gaylord, Mich. He worked as a messenger for Western Union while in Gaylord High School, and attended college at MIT, where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi.

Although the algebra of digital binary bits was first uncovered by mathematician George Boole in the mid-19th century, it was Shannon who saw the value of applying that form of logic to electronic communications. As a student of Vannevar Bush's at MIT in the 1930s, he worked on the differential analyzer, perhaps the greatest mechanical (analog) calculator. His paper, "A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits," which led to a long association with Bell Laboratories, laid out Shannon's theories on the relationship of symbolic logic and relay circuits....

When I was young, Shannon's work was a tough nut to crack, but it certainly was intriguing. As a high school boy, I was interested in the future -- maybe more so than now, when I live and breathe and work in what that future became. Grappling with Shannon's basic information theories was part of my education about the future.

Growing up in a Wisconsin city across the lake from Shannon's birthplace, I tried to plow through the town library as best I could. I wanted to learn about computers, automation, and the combination of the two that was known in those days (the 1960s) as cybermation. I discovered for myself -- by chance, really -- that the fundamental elements of those ideas were Shannon's inventions.

For the better part of Shannon's life, analog communication ruled. Of course, his greatest achievement was visualizing digital communication. Much of his greatest work revolved around defining information in relation to "noise," the latter phenomenon being quite familiar to anyone who often tried desperately to home in on radio signals before digital communication filters came into being. I came to appreciate that aspect of Shannon's work later on when, as a journalist, I had the opportunity to learn and write about digital signal processing.

Then I found out that Shannon had laid the groundwork for modern error correction coding, an essential element of things like hard disk drive design and digital audio streaming, and probably many things yet to come....

Day and night, data, messages, music, and more swirls around us -- all made possible to some extent by the idea of communicating electronically in 1's and 0's. It is something to think that a Western Union messenger could have conceived of this new world. [ this ran on his death... and was reposted on this blog in 2013]

True Water Beavers, Thoughts on

In 1967 my parents took a monthlong tour of Europe, leaving me, my brother and sister with my aunt and uncle in Milton Mass in some pseudo farm and horse country outside of Boston. This was a serious dislocation from my high school friends who I was sure we're having the most wonderful summer ever at North Beach In the day and the Point at night. All I had was records I’d brung along [Happy Jack, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, The Grateful Dead, Moby Grape and Sgt. Peppers(5a)] and a little turntable. That is like: background.

One night on tv there was a show about ‘hippies’. They had these guys on, and I would bet they were from the commune that John identified: The True Light Beavers. The joke was one of them had a basketball uniform top on saying “True Light Beavers”. I knew it was a put on. And I liked it. They took their name from the shirt they found at a Goodwill. Are you religious? The moderator asked. Yes, they said. Our religion is called the True Light Beavers. We worship garbage. I took this back to Racine with me, but I guess I came back with True Water Beavers rather than True Light. Rashomon!

When I got back people were glad to see me. (This was a first). And I told them what I saw in Boston. I was able to show them what I saw, cause I had 21 Fillmore posters.  There was a dance at Lakeside. Henken, Murray, Bob LaFrance, Bill Little and me found a tank on the outskirts of town. Got in it, and sang Fugs song. I can remember Baby You’re a Rich Man coming out on the radio, driving around, maybe, with John and Bob Stepien. I told all about the True Water Beavers.

[One night some of us decided to start both a religion and a band the following day. In the spirit of the Beavers we were going to make our instruments from organic matter. The next day, at the beach, where we were to meet up, I think only two guys but me showed up. I’d say Dave Murray and Bob LaFrance. Making instruments out of tree twigs was not easy We didn't have a quorum so that was that. ]

And then I assume it was the next winter and we were in film art class. And John and Al and Bob made a movie I joined in on. Like the Monkees or Hard Days Night. But one of y'all sure got the feel for stop-motion – it was rollicking -  sound track was Joan Collins…From Lawrence Welk playing ragtime (Rampart St Stomp)…and a title was needed for the film: and John selected: “So you want to be a Beaver.” So that’s the story from my recollection. -Jack

Wow Just looking for cucumber gazpacho recipe and I found reference to the True Light Beavers on Martha Stewart segment

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Daily Triple - Syria, Kurd flare up

click to enlarge

Happy Bard Day - Black Vespers' Pageants

On Shakespeare's birthday...

BLUE: Shakespeare is gone now, man, a long time. I ask: Who so ably hears...

RED: ... The signal of the spirits buzzing like Black Vespers in the aire?


From David Garrick's Ode to Shakespeare ...

When our Magician, more inspir’d,
By charms, and spells, and incantations fir’d,
Exerts his most tremendous pow’r;
The thunder growls, the heavens low’r,
And to his darken’d throne repair,

The Demons of the deep, and Spirits of the air!


There's to bard hisself.. I was thinnin' about All Along the WatchTower.. ran a concordance ["tower" ] on Shakespeare..and lo and behold an idea for a song: The Black Vesper Stomp.

Sometimes we see a cloud that's dragonish;
A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,
tower'd citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon't, that nod unto the world,
And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen
these signs;
They are black vesper's pageants.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Axe- The human condition

BLUE: That guy messed up the sparrow family - cutting down that tree.
RED:You know humans - as long as they have an axe, they have to cut something.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Herald Traveller Transcript Evening

The Boston Evening Transcript
by T.S. Elliot

The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.

When evening quickens faintly in the street,
Wakening the appetites of life in some
And to others bringing the Boston Evening Transcript,
I mount the steps and ring the bell, turning
Wearily as one would turn to nod goodbye to Rouchefoucauld,
If the street were time and he at the end o the street,
And I say,"Cousin Harriet, here is the Boston Evening Transcript."


Here's something i dug..Why? My kick is to read the newspaper. Briefly, I am master of the universe. Sometimes I see the patterns that forecast the future. Can you imagine me there doing that/ Here Elliot tells it but couched in a Sgt. Pepper-like sepia recollection. I think the readers of Evening papers were middle class, an upper. While morning papers were for working people.

But to 'sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn'' that could be people reading papers on the trolley on way home from work.  that takes me back too. When I went to journalism school they told us to watch the people as they read the paper on the subway. and i did. And there was the game within the game.

My blog is called Moon Traveller Herald, which is a riff on the Boston Herald Traveller (aka Boston Herald Traveller Record  American) - and here w e have the Evening Transcript.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

From the Vaults - Song for Spring

I discovered this in the basement. It bears resemblance to I Will See You In The Spring done by The Memphis Jug Band although it appears to be from another planet.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week of April 4 - Tony Conrad, Draw a bird day, more

Noting passing of Dream Syndicate's Tony Conrad Film and Audio astronaut of '60s Lower Manhattan. I don't know too much about him, but he was an influencer on the influencers. And I picked up on him when I was picking up on LaMonte Young. Like Ed Sanders, he would make his own instruments for his own purpose.

This is a bird drawing that remarks on human pattern: That the week before a ceasefire tends to be hellish, as sides push for advantage ahead of stasis. The drawing was my entry in the #drawabirdday activity.

From the vaults my poem for Jennifer Lawrence -
Thinking all week of lithe Aleta in the deep
A bit like Jennifer Lawrence in toga
Salvaging the wreck
Holding her breath
Holding the line and 
Heading up in the dark green current FOR MORE

I remember draw a bird day

They say the Syrian ceasefire is getting shakier and shakier. Russia may back Assad efforts to re-take Aleppo (loci of St. Paul's conversion). This is about a month into the sometime sporadic truce, and there hasnt been much progress on the diplomatic front. During 1st week of ceasefire about 150 were killed. Still, it could be worse, and, as far as ceasefires go, this is not the worst. The bird drawing here remarks on human pattern: That the week before a ceasefire tends to be hellish, as sides push for advantage ahead of stasis. The drawing was my entry in the #drawabirdday activity. - Jack Vaughan

April 4 1968 Martin Luther King Shot!

April 4 1968

the Racine
suddenly -

Martin Luther
King, shot!
April 4 1968 Martin Luther King Shot!

Head home -
'there's curfew'
the police
drive by me,

to remind.

True action

counter action

some short period of

long years

nefarious, evil
counter action,
counter action

waiting again

-jack vaughan

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Dark pools of flash disaster

In Feb Barclays and Credit Suisse settled with the SEC which uncovered their nefarious high frequency manipulations in their dark trading pools. What’s with that? To go figure a good place is Flash Boys. But it is not an easy read.

Flash Boys delves into the netherworld of Wall St trading in the 2000s – where the devil is in the latency, and professional ethics is shit out of luck. Writer Michael Lewis paints a picture of an obsessively complex world of finance that attracts the underside of human aspiration. That echoes The Big Short, his earlier piece and a quite successful film in 2015.

But here the technological complexity that serves the finance engine rather gets the better of the story - ultimately Flash Boys pales a bit in comparison to The Big Short, as a result. We have a worthy hero at the center of the tale in Brad Katsuyama of Royal Bank of Canada, but the story can be stumbly as it tries to convey his efforts to uncover the culprits in the dark pools of high frequency trading – that would be the people that have the wherewithal to eavesdrop on the market,  spoof your intention, and buy stock in mass quantities at prices slightly lower than what you will pay to buy it from them. Brad could be the Cisco Kid that heads them off at the pass – if the road to get there weren’t so durn rocky.

 I’d suggest that many of the wonders of big data today resemble the wonders of stock market technology that front runs it. Publish and subscribe middleware and fantastically tuned algorithms are common to both phenomena.  Network latency can be the boogie man in both cases. Yes, while nearly no one was looking, online big data made a high frequency trading market out of advertising. The complexity is such that few can truthfully claim to understand it. And that lack of understanding is an opening for a con, as it was in The Big Short and the Flash Boys.

 The people who will most find Flash Boys a worthy read are probably those that enjoy opening the hood on things, to see what makes them tick. It may not be a fast paced western serial but they can read it for fun. At the same time, anyone who owns equities would benefit from reading it… but I don’t think the read would fall into the category of fun.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

All things in moderation ...

BLUE: When I look at Charlie I can only think: ''All things in moderation.''
RED: I think "All things in moderation.. including moderation.''

SuperMarket in California

Met up with Dave and Jim at Henry's BBQ Palace in San Jose. Haas ba you? How are you Murray? Toady and yesterday clash with klang of our everlasting joy of togetherness. Then, time comes, Jim just return to SF - Dave to Los Altos. Which they do. And I walk under the overpass - and to the Whole Foods, to get some water, and what hits me but, Supermarket in California by great greybeard poet of our time Allen Ginsberg?

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