Using a Drone to Support a Historical Society

Work at Nemacolin Castle always makes me think about ethics, because history is a tale told by a few, and voices yet uncovered serve to shape the narratives we use to address our challenges today and tomorrow, or something like that. Reposting because it probably belongs in this 50 State Banana sandbox.

I was sick all week. I am going to work with a historical society. I was scheduled to attend a Sip n Learn session, a tour given by a docent, and start picking up the art of the spiel. I don’t drink, so my motivation was fairly straightforward: I like to volunteer. I take drone photography, so they want me around.

I use the drone to document artifacts and structures. I hope to help with some weddings, tours, and events. In the event that anything I wrote outlasts my living body, I try to clarify my ineptitude when I put on a hat and try to assume the role of a historian. 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.

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 ubiquitious 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.

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 1. was built on the eve of the War of 1812.

Figure 1. 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. Nevermind 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. Vines on an old house

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