Work at Nemacolin Castle – Nerd Offering – Verticals Plug – Weekly Gallery

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Dorito bird up

Work at Nemacolin Castle

I was vaccinated, but I got hit anyways. I am still in recovery. I battled illness for three weeks before I visited the doctor. A pilot is part of a UAS system, so the system was down, so to speak. Flightworthiness testing ‘n’ ‘at.

I am going to work with a historical society again. I use a cinematic drone to document artifacts and structures (figure 1). I hope to help with some weddings, tours, and events. If my writing outlasts my body, I try to clarify my ineptitude when I put on a hat and try to assume the role of a historian. I know I’m wrong eventually. Working with historians is always fascinating, but history is not the same as physics. You can count on fingers, not necessarily on feelings. History is an aggregate of perspectives ground in artifacts.

That’s why science seeks reproducible experimentation for the purpose of establishing controls in measurement. Math proceeds from proof. My point is, imagine the American History story told by a distant ancestor or a society that told everything through the lens of an extreme minority, like Creole Svengali or something, but that minority swelled and overran all other groups because of a disease or other process of natural selection.

Horrors: Some nerdy American milquetoast like me, and because of the extant lack of competing or corroborative narrative, remains the only source available, in the form of a lazy anecdotal brain scan while I’m in cryogenic deep freeze on the way to Alpha Centauri, for lunch. Dig deeper. Take criticism constructively. Seek it if necessary.

Figure 1. I like to take nice photos with drones

Outsider Perspective

I tried to become pancultural. In my youth I studied abroad and lived with people whose customs were quite different than mine. America has a predominantly white, ignorant population. All the suburbs look the same. The trend towards homogeneity through social engineering creates a double consciousness. We are attached to a persona created by data used by unknown systems. I might want to be totally able to seek equality and social justice – I think poverty and social welfare in the US that I have seen, especially DC, is abhorrent and wrong – but I am tied to my own physical history. I have been homeless. I know it sucks to be poor. I know what it is to spend everything you have to work, and then lose everything anyways. I know the world can leave you an orphan.

I put myself in the position of an elderly North Korean woman who cares for a disabled grandchild. That’s my meditation. I imagine her life of devotion to the child’s well-being. I imagine myself gathering wood, working in a field, hungry, resolute, resourceful and stronger than I am. When I think of real people in an “enemy territory”, I always go back to grandmotherly kindness. I inherited this cogent persistent image from the Madonna and Child, a form of sacred love, that of a mother for a child, from the religion I was raised to follow, but I started taking an interest in all the heathens my preacher hated. I was an exchange student in a Muslim household and my Protestant Christian parents divorced and remarried to Jewish people. I picked up other traits, but the iconography of Roman Catholicism is ubiquitous thousands of years on. After I decoupled from the fears I was taught to feel if I tried to empathize with others whose lives were ruled by other deities, I tried to dive deeper into global forms of sacred ideas, archetypes, and that lead me straight into psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis lacked a grounding in physiological research, and so I felt psychology itself was sort of wack, like Freud on cocaine. If you study Freud, then find out twenty years later he was flying on cocaine, it makes sense. It was a hidden variable, but it was there. Data science is like finding out what weird things the world is actually integrating.

After I found an academic detachment to religion, I wanted to explore Native American religions owing to a seemingly inconsequential – yet here I am parading it around again – percentage of Cherokee blood in my veins. My great-great-great-grandmother was Cherokee. Her husband was a Settler from Europe. That makes me ~1% Cherokee.

What did his family think about him marrying a white woman. What of her family? What did her tribe feel about the Settlers. I was told that kidnapping was a scourge in their community. My great-great-great grandmother and her husband apparently committed suicide. The note the sheriff had found said they shot themselves because of all the racial hatred. So, naturally, I think racism is wrong and will always reject its intrusion in discourse.

I have always wondered if the note was real, if it was planted, if there was a particular group or individual who could carry blame. I will always be uneasy about not knowing. If I have unanswered questions about my own past, I know I am incomplete. It is this indeterminism that defines me ultimately, this incomplete knowing. Visiting historical sites keeps forums energized. Nothing is ever as original as it seems.

I studied Native American religions in an undergrad course but strayed into pedagogical studies that corelated physical education opportunities and improved academic records, improved graduation rates. I looked at the resources that helped those positive outcomes happen. I turned it in, got a provisional F and a reprimand, but an opportunity to rewrite. I went ahead and made it shine.

The rewrote term paper on dice and other primitive games and gaming artifacts went over well. I had a spirted delivery. So, within 24 hours and presented it with an overhead projector, a heavily sourced report, and some slide media. I had it in the works anyways, a draft. I passed, I made a compelling document about the connection between play, exploration, learning, and its purpose in metanarratives. My interest sprang from a driving interest in particle physics research. I was trying to understand quantum physics, so dice worked pretty well as a visual aid. I never tired of studying people and physics, but some answers remain elusive.

So, as I cover gym today, I wonder how students are doing in school. Are they curious about the world? I know I am.

A Questionable Historical Value

Beyond that, I hope my work is never mean-spirited. I traveled and lived abroad because I could…have a chance to learn about cultures and people. I considered multiculturalism as a necessary investment in my psyche, for the sake of mental health, so that I could make the world a better place. I have no accent. My efforts bear fruit, I guess. I am “an outsider”. It helps me when I talk about racism. I saw Muslim Malaysians and Chinese immigrants having racial problems. I tried to find historical context to understand the problem, and I just conclude that humans have issues they need to address in order to survive is up against efforts to ignore climate change and other issues that have us at the precipice of global catastrophe.

I have no home except under a blanket of stars. My rootlessness is comforting and real. When I use the term “ethnocentric” as it applies to my own thoughts, I feel compelled to enrich the expectations of a readership but know that I feel less at home among a town than I do a planet. Just know I am uncomfortable being labelled, but I accept the taxonomy for the sake of expediency. Above all, I support others. Supporting others ends wars. There are others whose voices are not heard. Find them. It ultimately forms treaties and civilizations.

I was scheduled to learn tours at a local castle with centuries of stories tied up in it, but I was taken down a peg by seasonal respiratory illnesses. It’s like a cairn to descend or ascend into higher or lower worlds of the metanarratives to come, and so forth and so on.

What You Know Affects What You Perceive

I used to think that ‘ethnocentric anthropology’ allowed for a relativist interpretation, but it is apparently weak enough a concept to be co-opted by white supremacists. I used it because I thought it included a self-awareness of the researcher as a noisy signal. Because I’m not a historian, pretty noisy, that’s my m.o.. I used it because I thought researchers accepted an understanding that they operate within a quantum field: the observation is affected by the observer. The observer is affected by the observation. There is synthesis, antithesis, and various constructs based on any other observation or interlocution of perspectives converging on an event, an established fact. War will always provide anchors for history. Bodies in the ground never speak again.

When I studied literature in college, we separated artistic period by wars. Artistic movements began and ended around the times of certain wars. There was always a war handy. There was always art. It seems sort of careless, until you understand the context. “Fine art” was commissioned. Education was a privilege. Women were property. Beauty was a prize, and the poor be damned. Those things were true when the castle was built atop a Native American trading post. This house in Figure 2. was built on the eve of the War of 1812.

Figure 2. Old front door of house on Front Street, built in 1811

It suffices to just give this war the year. It doesn’t even need a people or reason to exist. For example, post-Modernism arose after WWII. My cultural references reveal info about me. The observation affects the measurement.

Ethical Use of Drone Technology

I study drones, a source of wonder and excitement for me, a learning tool. I also know the drone is the military equivalent of an apex predator in the wild. It is Sun Tzu’s highest hill with the dawn at your back, hellfire awaits. I know that my work feeds war and peace in unknown minutia, and in this respect, I feel we share a common destiny on Earth. We are inexorably tied to the earth, and our future is uncertain because of our destructive tendencies. Never mind asteroids. We are awash with the Butterfly Effect. We are our own most unreliable and ridiculous frenemies. The vagaries of power render many futures unattainable. Lost in a rich white guy pissing contest.

When I go to Google Earth and wander slums in Mumbai or Cleveland, I see failure. I see really inefficient telecommunication and electrical systems, too. Historically, rich white dudes sent the poor to die. But what of the earth. The rich send the poor to die. People pray on the struggle. The struggle becomes sacred. The indemnity is an illusion, an air-gapped capacitor occasionally useful for a power surge, or whatever. If our nations are driven to move wealth into accumulative streams, it has forgotten the currency of life is not preternatural.

White supremacists take symbols from other culture and twist them with hateful ignorance into something degraded and steeped in misery. When I read history, I do so with a contextual awareness that allows me to critically analyze text and media with a view through a perspective that I do not necessarily share. I have crossed paths with sound academics and foul Holocaust deniers alike. You can’t use me for hate. I ran a youth hostel in Europe for a year while most of my friends were eating ramen and studying for undergraduate diplomas. I just hit a little different.

When the internetz happened in the 1990s, people were digging much deeper than before into stories. They found hidden voices that don’t make the narrative. Our history reflects a power structure that favored rich white dudes. That’s established fact. That’s why the books are full of rich white dudes. Our last president was a racist rich white dude who promoted misinformation that accelerated disparity and misery. My academic work reflected a cultural relativism born of a need to be a citizen of Earth. Full stop.

I have an interest in data. Data accumulates int knowledge derived from useful information. Sometimes new perspectives give old data a new way to reveal information. It’s a force feedback system. So, my thoughts on history are my own, and they are affected and biased to a degree because of my history, and my station within a dynamic community.

If anything, my crude interpretation of history could be a source of research in the futre, time and time again. Into this continuum, the Great Work of survival absorbs my

When I want to learn about the history of a place, I go into the Old Knowledge (OK) Corral. I go into the microfiche. I dig into estate sales. I walk cemeteries. I read. I loiter at events and accept letters, anecdotes, gossip, folklore, and legend. I even have an octogenarian penpal with whom I do nothing but share stories. I make libraries matter because I use them. The preservation of the historical records of a particular community relies upon accuracy and objectivity.

I walk around in my town with a general idea of what happened here over the past three to four hundred years. I moved here and spent time in local libraries. Before that, when the Native Americans used my block as a camp for a trading post atop a promontory overlooking the river, this was the home of the fisher cat, the mountain lion, the bear, to trout, and eagles.

Kalman Filter Study Update

I was in bed much of the week. More next week.

I spent the week studying a paper that uses a hot-rod Kalman filter. I was able to find a couple of unanswered questions and decided to dive in. So, I am deforming my winter sabbatical with a refresher in Newton’s method, p-adic numbers, and RF design tools. That would be my nerd offering. Sometimes I get good ideas chasing bad, or the other way around. I was looking at the way ML is chipping away at pieces of these algorithms, literally. Replace all processes with neuromorphic photonic chips, free energy and a complete absence of body odor. Lambos for everyone, roads made of crypto.

Seriously, the NIR field can affect Rydberg levels all up in here. Obfuscate as needed.

Choosing a relatively small set of states seems to help.

Measurement estimation

Optimization efforts, cost function, a priori distribution, a posteriori distribution, antique Monte Carlo, and optimization models (undeveloped yet).

State and Measurement Update

Learning libraries. Pre-training for gain, for noise in process, in signals, in payload.

Figure 2. Imagine this vine as the problem with flight planning an optimal route through a cluttered or dynamic environment. You don’t need most of these vines at all.

Drone Cinematography Classes!

So, everyone who attempted the test passed and earned an FAA TRUST certificate. We tested through a site administered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University because I support their UAV technology courses.

The three days I participated as a volunteer instructor at Verticals were as follows: April 28th, May 5th and May 12th, 2022. I guided students through the process of learning how to safely fly drones in uncontrolled airspace. Two students flew my professional drone over the nearby Monongahela River, by an old truss bridge. One landed the professional drone, wow! On the first day! We planned a video with storyboards and a huddle on production elements. They brainstormed, scheduled shots, got gear, and produced the footage. One the last day, students edited and shared footage.

I basically hustled parts, minor repairs, battery charging, and network connections to and from supply to the production locations. I answered questions. One team was outside the building, another inside. I invited students to explore their own styles. They had fun. The teams erupted with creativity and effort. I had hoped to use the course module in a creative writing lesson or a programming lesson. The presentation that I use sort of serves as a class rubric, but I supply the students with worksheets to plan their productions step-by-step.

I learned some crucial limitations and opportunities for the next session. The most valuable thing is to have a report formatted to assign communication channels, teams, roles, and work schedules. Safety issues were routinely handled successfully. All craft and pilots, tablets and other parts of the Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) made it back in the box, so to speak. All inventory recovered, repairs and orders made, all data shared in the cloud, students back in their districts, rooms ready for the next class.

Verticals Plug

  • How to fly recreational drones with basic and advanced maneuvers.
  • How to plan flights for capturing media.
  • Get the soon-to-be mandatory – and EASILY OBTAINED – TRUST flyer certificate from the FAA, online for free.
  • How to film, edit, and share a video you make with drone footage and apps.
  • How to fly a drone with Scratch Python block code.
  • Provide information about industrial drone applications and jobs

Local Resource in Action

Community groups will have some authority to determine the nature of its flight operations in local airspace come this fall 2022. As long as a responsible pilot is connected to the group, the area can develop flight operations that best suits the needs of the group. A FRIA is basically an area supported by a Part 107 drone pilot or more qualified pilots. The FAA determines the location and quality of FRIAs.

I can see a drone academy being a part of an 21st-century community, so I am studying what we need to do to qualify to become a FRIA. I have a break from school in a month, and I like to read legislation. One of the problems is that it’s not 1986 anymore. These rules were written before the Internet absolutely debased the concept of community. It used to involve, at the very least, physical mail for remote correspondence, on land lines, even. Brick and mortar have given way to ones and zeros. The architecture is in an electric field instead of a dirt lot. “Model aviation” was a concept that existed before FPV, before streaming, before smart phones, before laptops. Ridiculous changes continue to occur and need to occur more quickly because of climate change.

  • (1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • (2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
  • (3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
  • (4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
  • (5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
  • (6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.

Time to learn

Topics in the Verticals Youth Empowerment program include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, drones, digital fabrication, coding, media production, design studio, blockchain, and crypto. Courses in the topics are presented alongside fitness and wellness resources. The center director is retired NFL pro-football player William James, who stepped off the gridiron and into a new life arena. William has an amazing base of supporters, collaborators, volunteers, and stakeholders who help make this happen. Very grateful.

Verticals Youth Empowerment Center is designed to stimulate young minds, give parents an inclusive environment in which to socialize, and to offer youth a sense of pride in themselves and their community. There are other facilities in the works.


Weekly Gallery

Rerun from last week

I had a chance to fly a couple of places. Nemacolin Castle has a beautiful Ginkgo tree on the grounds. The Birmingham Bridge is simple and beautiful.

Ginkgo tree, apparently “a gift from the Empress of Japan”, unverified yet intriguing data, indeed.
Birmingham Bridge and Southside Riverfront Park

Fly Your Ideas



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