Music and The Origins of the Tech Era

The scientific community created this technological age but where did that impetus come from? If you ask many of the people like Larry Page it was music – he said it was music.

So if these people who have this attachment to the arts created this technological age we’re living in then in order for it to thrive we need the arts, the same way they needed it.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Startalk – National Geographic 1-30-2017

This conversation continues …

 

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The 16 Lunar Gates: Logic in Motion Part 2

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              Last and First Quarter Moons

Part 1 of this series began at the first quarter phase of the Moon on 01-16-2016. Today we’re at the last quarter which is as illustrated above, the visual and geometric opposite of the first quarter. These two positions of the Moon are also the second primary set of binary/polar relationships after the new and full Moon positions. Today, in part because few people farm we’re not as directly connected to the practical value of these polar relations. The full moon is hard to ignore but we’re generally not familiar with waxing, waning or gibbous(when’s the last time you heard someone say that word). Ironically, while science pays less attention, there are many people who are aware of at least the crescent moon phases for religious reasons.  Still, our awareness doesn’t change the fact these relationships encode the same valuable knowledge as boolean math and logic gates which power computers. In Part 3, we’ll take an in-depth look at how digital logic drives the relationships which govern how the Moon’s orbit presents the Sun’s light to us.

 

 

 

 

African Information Engineering Part 3

This is the last of a three part series(links to: Part 1 and Part 2)  taken from a forthcoming publication. Dr. Peter Chen is a world reknown computer scientist. His 1976 paper on data modeling is one of the most cited papers in the the field. Chen pioneered an abstract way to describe a database known as Entity-Relationship Modeling(ERM). In 2014’s highly automated and digitized world, with so many people  living in developed urban area you’re likely using some service or device whose designers directly or indirectly used ERM or one of its descendants. If you plug into the grid in any way, “likely” becomes certainly.  A 2002 paper reflecting on the long-lived success of ERM, says:

Many people asked the author how he got the idea of the Entity-Relationship model. After he kept on  getting that kind of questions, the author thought it might be related to something that many people in Western culture may not have. After some soul searching, the author thought it could be related to his Chinese culture heritage. There are some concepts in Chinese character development and evolution that are closely related to modeling of the things in the real world.

From Wikipedia:

Peter Chen, the father of ER modelling said in his seminal paper:

The entity-relationship model adopts the more natural view that the real world consists of entities and relationships. It incorporates some of the important semantic information about the real world.

He is here in accord with philosophic and theoretical traditions from the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (428 BC) through to modern epistemology, semiotics and logic of Peirce, Frege and Russell. Plato himself associates knowledge with the apprehension of unchanging Forms (The forms, according to Socrates, are roughly speaking archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties) and their relationships to one another.

As we saw in Part 2, Shabaka, several hundred years before Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, had preserved this knowledge that had been codified in Memphis much earlier, perhaps several millennia.

ERM deals with the structure of databases but the Memphite technology is also applicable to the dynamics of a database. There are two sets of symmetrical operations that can be performed on most databases

  1. Create-Delete
  2. Retrieve-Update

These operations, identified in 1983 are known as CRUD and remain in widespread use. The web’s HTTP protocol is based on a similar set of four operations.

  1. Post-Delete
  2. Get-Put

Every day you use the web, you’re using techniques of African Information Engineering!

Following in Leibniz’s footsteps, physicist Stephen Wolfram is seeking to make knowledge computable. One tool he’s using is the cellular automata like the one below

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Perhaps connections between African Information Engineering and cellular automata can help African cultures get back in the game.

African Information Engineering Part 2

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Part 1 explored the connections between talking drums and information theory. In Part 2 we look at how early human information system engineers in Africa developed classification and communication systems which reflected the inherent symmetry in nature. We also show how those earliest IT systems served as the foundation stones for the binary number system at the heart of all of today’s digital technologies. The call and response initiated by nature’s symmetries is the timeless dance subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, materials, cells, organs, organisms, people, communities, nations, planets, stars and galaxies perform each moment!

The origins the talking drum of are deeply intertwined with the origins of language(gestural aka dance and verbal ) as well as the origins of science and math. Humans have been astute, systematic observers and recorders of natural phenomena for a very long time. Wikipedia’s entry on Science notes that:

knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thinking, as shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, and buildings such as the pyramids.

Unfortunately, the article goes on to say incorrectly

However no consistent conscientious distinction was made between knowledge of such things which are true in every community, and other types of communal knowledge such as mythologies and legal systems.Before the invention or discovery of the concept of “nature” (Ancient Greek phusis), by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural “way” in which a plant grows,and the “way” in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.

While unpacking all of the various misunderstandings, deliberate distortions that have occurred over the last 500 years is beyond the scope of this post, it is important to identify and correct the unscientific notion that early human thinkers were rooted in and blinded by religious views. Effective systems of classification were essential to survival, preceded religious use and continue to be woven into belief systems. Just because NASA referred to man’s first Moon mission vehicles as Apollo didn’t mean they weren’t capable of distinguishing the spacecraft from a deity or were not scientific. Similarly today, China’s moon spacecraft Chang’e and rover Yutu are named after the moon goddess and her pet rabbit. When  Yutu started malfunctioning, scientific diagnostic procedures commenced. When it appeared that the rover might not recover, an anthropomorphic message from the rover was sent out by officials. But I digress. From pre-dynastic times, the Medu Neter(Egyptian hieroglyphics) provided an extensive database of flora and fauna derived in large part from gestures. These dances reflected the recurring theme of symmetry pervasive throughout nature. Symmetry includes common dualities like day and night, hot and cold, dark and light, up and down, left and right, front and back as well as more specialized meanings in physics. Nobel laureate Phil Anderson once said “It is only slightly overstating the case to say that physics is the study of symmetry”. The movement-stillness/left-right,up-down of the dance became the sound-no sound of percussion. High and low pitch sounds emanating from different body parts, the ground, rocks, trees became accents, annotations of the movements. This was before verbal languages took form. We know that drums were without a doubt the first manufactured instruments. It may very well be that talking drums developed in parallel with or even preceded verbal languages in some places. Regardless of when they were first created, it’s clear that they were giving expression to an existing gesture/dance language. We know that this database existed in pre-dynastic Egypt at least as far back as 4000 BCE. It was the google-like, real-time, location-based knowledge repository of its day and found expression in the geographical-political life of the nation as well as within the structure and organization of the various libraries and temples.

We can thank the 25th Dynasty(approx. 700 BCE) Pharaoh Shabaka for recognizing and acting to preserve what he recognized as vital, ancient ancestral knowledge.

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The Shabaka Stone provides us with a clear record of the ancient origin of the previously mentioned Roots of Digital Technology which Leibniz recognized as ancient in the 17th century and Stephen Wolfram is applying today. This science known as the Memphite Equation which relates all phenomena in the world to the interactions of two sets of symmetries. In Greece a watered down version of this became known as the classical elements and provided a foundation for students of alchemy such as Leibniz. In the centuries since then we’ve seen incredible advances increasingly specialized fields of science but at cost. For the past half century there’s been a trend toward more unified approaches particularly those where information plays a central role. Stephen Wolfram’s computational knowledge is one such approach.

The Roots of Digital Technology

Digital technology really did get started in Africa as this Ted Talk asserts.

these facts are not generally disputed. Moreover there are still lessons to be learned by looking at STEM through the lens of African history. The Art of Memory by Frances Yates are helpful in this regard as is Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Cultures by Claudia Zaslavsky. 

Crystallography Pioneer Mentored Other History Makers

Physicist Donald Anderson Edwards not only made significant contributions to his field, he mentored others who did likewise:

  • Joseph McNeill – a engineering physics major was one of the Greensboro Four . It should be noted that Franklin McCain, another member of the Greensboro Four, was also a STEM major(dual degrees in chemisty and biology).
  • Dwight Davis – is a distinguished cardiologist “who has played a leading role in medical education at Pennsylvania State University for almost 25 years.”
  • Ronald McNair became the second African-American astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle. His plan to be the first human to record an original piece of music in space was cut short by the Challenger explosion.

Don’t Be Like D-Jay

… practical, everyday reasons to love STEM …

When you don’t love STEM, you can’t make or distribute your own products.
When you can’t make or distribute your own products you have less control.
When you have less control you make less money.
When you make less money, you get desparate.
When you get desparate, you resort to pimping.
When you start pimping, you end up like D-Jay.
Don’t end up like D-Jay.

Embrace STEM. End up like

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James Edward Maceo West

Along withGerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone in 1962. Nearly 90 percent of the more than two billion microphones produced annually are based on the principles of the foil-electret and are used in everyday items such as telephones, camcorders, and audio recording devices among others.

Interconnected Inventions

When you are texting or using Twitter, Jesse Russell is one of many who deserve a tip of the hat. While he did not invent either texting or Twitter or even 2G communications as many mistakenly believe, Jesse was

a pioneer in the field of cellular and wireless communications. In 1988, Russell led the first team from Bell Laboratories to introduce digital cellular technology in the United States.

Russell_Jesse_wm

History Makers

The spread of texting would not have been possible without Jesse’s invention and Twitter’s 140 character model was based on texting. Non-obvious interconnections between inventions happen all the time. The Connections TV Series and book

demonstrated how various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events were built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology.

Wikipedia

Biologically we have many ancestors. Sometimes it’s clear where a particular trait came from but often it’s not. Still we can tip our hat.