Monday, 13 November 2017

Toomas Karmo: DDO Conservation: Remarks in 2017-11-13 Town Council, as "Delegation"

Documents of interest to students of the David Dunlap Observatory and Park conservation file. Clockwise, from upper left: online developer promotion from http://myobservatoryhill.ca/, as visible in my Firefox on 2017-11-13; signboard developer promotion as noted at Major Mackenzie and Yonge around 2017-11-05; a mortgage agreement, under which the developer has in 2016 December borrowed, on the security of the 32 lost hectares, from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 135 million CAD, payable on demand (this is a public document, available from the Land Registry); a terrain map, ultimately derived many months ago from http://www.richmondhill.ca; online political promomotion from http://www.karencilevitz.ca, as visible in my Firefox on 2017-11-13. - The map shows the lost 32 hectares (with streets and house lots drawn in), the conserved 5-hectare "DDO Panhandle lands" (as a long-and-thin parallelogram running south from the Trapezoid; the long sides of the parallelogram are aligned exactly north-south, whereas the four edges of the map rectangle run obliquely to the four cardinal directions, with north roughly on top), and the conserved 40-hectare "DDO Trapzoid" lands. The conserved "Trapezoid" portion is coloured in green. I have myself outlined in brown that part of the lost 32 hectares, comprising McMansion-style house lots, which is most egregious, and which I might reasonably have expected to save in sacrificing the bulk of my life savings when financing the Richmond Hill Naturalists' unsuccessful 2012 and 2014 Ontario Municipal Board appearances. It is this brown-outlined part that poses the greatest light-pollution threat to the three DDO telescopes (one of them being still the largest telescope on Canadian soil, and on the night of its 1935 First Light the second-largest in the world). - The online political promotion reads, in part, as follows: "A lifelong volunteer and community activist, Karen [sc Town Councillor Karen Cilevitz] served as Chair of the DDO Defenders for 6 years, leading this grassroots community advocacy group in protecting and conserving Richmond Hill’s iconic David Dunlap Observatory Campus and surrounding lands as a public legacy. Her dedicated work on the DDO file, and her work with residents and residents’ groups defending the Town against over-development, led Karen to run for public office. She prides herself as a steward of our natural environment  /.../". The asteroid named in her honour - asteroids are named for any essentially reason at all, by their discoverers, who can therefore confer on them names of friends, or associates, or whatever, pretty much at will - may be researched by Googling on the string 108382 Myke Wolf. (Myke Wolf made the discovery, He befriended Karen. His own legal position, including an allegation of personal name change, may be explored if necessary (I do not myself find this line of investigation strongly relevant to my own forensic work) by Googling on such things as the four-word string, with two pairs of quotation marks, "myke wolf" "parthenon technologies".) - Further legal or forensic background on my relations with the problematic pro-DDO-development Town Councillor Karen Cilevitz, and on my relations with the arguably misnamed "DDO Defenders", may be had from my server spaces http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/ and http://www.karen-vs-toomas-legaldocs.ca/.
Shots of a few of the fourteen or fifteen streets under development in the lost 32 David Dunlap Observatory and Park hectares. That greenspace is now becoming a subdivision of some 520 or 530 homes (with a few dozen extra units of housing now possibly also coming, as apartment add-ons above residential garages).  Anticlockwise from upper left: "Callisto Lane" (Callisto is the second-largest of Jupiter's moons); "Telescope Gate", and (what is especially objectionable to the many conservationists interested in light pollution) "Night Sky Court".

Web promotion for the three current principal non-government players in the David Dunlap Observatory and Park conservation case, as downloaded around UTC=20171114T1520Z to my Firefox. Clockwise, from bottom left: (1)  http://www.ylab.ca/faq-links/, (2)  http://rascto.ca/content/fighting-light-pollution, (3) http://www.ddod.ca/. - Regarding "(1)": I should have mentioned in my 2017-11-13 Town Council presentation (from podium, as "Delegation", with supporting letter reproduced below) that the Town is now moving in an appropriate direction, proposing in Staff Report SRCS.17.23 (available from http://www.richmondhill.ca/, as an input document for the Council meeting of 2017-10-23) to make the laboratory-cum-workshop spaces of  DDO available to a local analogue, "YLab", of the Toronto-based Hacklab and the Kitchener-based Kwartzlab. To the best of my limited knowledge - I found out about YLab only on 2017-11-13, through a lamentable personal failure of curiosity - those spaces are now getting the right sort of tenant. - Regarding "(2)" and "(3)" jointly: It makes good sense to have the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) back at DDO, and now with the DDO Defenders (DDOD) as a partner. The "joint" in the DDOD Web page writeup, as reproduced here (my readers should enlarge the image with a mouse-click) is a testament to successful diplomacy by various individuals, in discussions to which I have not been privy. Yes, yes, yes, say I, applauding as an outsider, albeit as a member both of RASC and of DDOD: let there now be joint astronomical outreach at DDO, under the aegis not of one organization but of some plurality. - We may hope that in future, RASC and DDOD will be able also to say something jointly about the vexed question of DDO light pollution. In the page from the RASC server which I have chosen to display here, light pollution is discussed indeed, but without reference to the awkward fact that RASC's Toronto Centre promoted itself at DDO without ever, to my knowledge, uttering a single effective public word, from the 2008 DDO sale right up to the present day,  regarding the light-polluting effect of the subdivision now being erected on the lost 32 DDO hectares. Well, my fellow RASC members, now is the time for you to speak up, particularly since you are likely now free from the legal agreements you unwisely signed around 2009 with the developer (back then you unwisely became, in essence, the developer's tenant and the developer's public-relations asset): are you, like those of us who ponder light pollution, unhappy now about "Dark Sky Court", "Telescope Gate", and the like, as depicted in the second of tonight's three graphics? - DDOD was to the best of my knowledge similarly silent on the light-polluting damage of the subdivision from the 2012 Ontario Municipal Board settlement, which paved the way for a subdivision, right through 2016. Over that long period, the general line, the генеральная линия, at DDOD was that the OMB settlement was on balance a good thing, through having saved 45 of the 77 DDO greenspace hectares. To my mind, this was like arguing in some hypothetical Soviet human-rights case that Mr Yuri Andropov is kinda-sorta a Good Guy, since he has released, say, 45 out of 77 dissidents, while keeping only 32 in his big Permskaya Oblast gulag. - In 2017, DDOD did manage to speak up in the Council chamber on light pollution, albeit timidly: Karen Cilevitz's successor as DDOD head, Dr Ian Shelton, at that point expressed unease about the light-pollution effect of certain proposed add-on apartment units, to be perched (such was the developer's new proposal, to an upset Council-chamber public) atop already-approved residential garages. DDOD thereby took a step in the right direction,  even while saying nothing about the bigger light-pollution problems - for instance, the problem  marked in my brown outline upon the map in the lower right-hand corner of the first of tonight's three graphics.


Revision history:

All times in these blog "revision histories" are stated in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time/ Temps Universel Coordoné,  a precisification of the old GMT, or "Greenwich Mean Time"), in the ISO-prescribed YYYYMMDDThhmmZ timestamping format. UTC currently leads Toronto civil time by 5 hours and currently lags Tallinn civil time by 2 hours.
  • 20171118T0410Z/version 4.2.0: Kmo found to his distress that he had to repair another broken hyperlink, to the Town of Richmond Hill homepage,. - Kmo reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 72 hours, as here-undocumented versions 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, ... . 
  • 20171118T0404Z/version 4.1.0: Kmo repaired a broken hyperlink to the DDOD homepage, in the caption for one of his top-of-page graphics. - Kmo reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubsantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 72 hours, as here-undocumented versions 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.3, ... .  
  • 20171114T0349Z/version 4.0.0: Kmo added a further graphic, regarding YLab, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), and the DDO Defenders (DDOD). He also added further and better particulars on his corrections of grammatical errors and typos, in his work at the Council podium, and made it clear that he had spoken to Council as "Delegation", rather (as he had been expecting before the event) in "Public Forum". - Kmo reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 4.0.1, 4.0.2, 4.0.3, ... .
  • 20171114T0305Z/version 3.1.0: Kmo made some additions of forensic or legal substance to his caption for the graphic showing case-relevant commercial and political promotion, in respect of Asteroid Cilevitz 108382.
  • 20171113T2248Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo added a further graphic, mainly showing commercial and political promotion pertinent to the conservation case. 
  • 20171113T2113Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo added a graphic showing streets under development in the lost 32 David Dunlap Observatory and Park hectares. 
  • 20171113T2124Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded the text of his letter to Mayor and Council, a little ahead of his normal upload schedule. (The upload would normally have been scheduled for around UTC=20171114T0001Z. But it was necessary for Kmo to travel to the Town offices in the one- or two-hour interval preceding UTC=20171114T0001Z.)


[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past months shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity, at any rate when coupled with my erstwhile, out-of-date, Web-authoring uploading browser, to generate HTML that gets formatted in different ways on different downloading browsers. Some downloading browsers have sometimes perhaps not correctly read in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS) which on all ordinary Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect CSS problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Finally, there may be blogger vagaries, outside my control, in font sizing or interlinear spacing or right-margin justification. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]


[Some of my readers, especially conceivable readers in municipal or provincial or Canadian-federal decision-making circles, may find it helpful to have an upload of my letter to the Mayor and Council of the Town of Richmond Hill, as prepared for the 2017-11-13 "Public Forum" portion of the Town Council meeting. The letter is usefully read along with my many other earlier postings, on this same server, regarding the David Dunlap Observatory and Park heritage-conservation file. I have taken the liberty of tweaking my electronic *.pdf-format submission to the Clerks, made at UTC=20171113T1659Z, now correcting two or so small errors in grammar, and correcting roughly ten typos. Upon speaking from the podium, I submitted to the Clerks' table a hard copy of my letter, with my various grammatical and typographical corrections marked in blue ink, in case the municipality was retaining hardcopy files. - Readers seeking documentation, including audio and video, on public meetings involving Mayor and Council should click on the calendar icon https://www.richmondhill.ca/.] 



Submission by Toomas Karmo
for Town of Richmond Hill
Council Meeting of 2017-11-13,
for Inclusion in the Public Record 



The Town has kindly gone to trouble in advising me, in a preliminary way verbally on the evening of 2017-11-06, and then formally in an e-mail of 2017-11-07, that a revised version of SREIS.17.021 will be submitted to the next meeting of the DDO Park Project steering committee, early in 2018. I hope to report back to Council, either in Public Forum or as a Delegation, once that submission has been made by Commissioner Italo Brutto's team.

-0-0-0-0-

At this present 2017-11-13 meeting of Council, I must not so much repeat myself (by underscoring, as I just have, the importance of getting SREIS.17.021 right) as put onto the public record my concerns regarding a possible malign future path for DDO. I would urge both Town and taxpayers to maintain vigilance in the face of some looming threats.

Already we, the taxpayers, have lost 32 greenspace hectares to a developer, in a chain of events which has involved not only a skewed Ontario Municipal Board process in 2012 and 2014, but an outright  2017 July redrawing of Cultural Heritage Landscape boundaries. This adverse chain of events has undermined, perhaps fatally, our conceivable potential case for UNESCO World Heritage List designation. The UNESCO Paris adjudication would surely have to pay heavy regard to local enthusiasm, or lack of local enthusiasm, for conservation - at the David Dunlap Observatory and Park just as in the case of our close UNESCO World Heritage List parallel, the successful Joggins Fossil Cliffs case from Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Whereas the people of Cumberland County could, and did, hold their heads high at Parks Canada and in Paris, this can no longer be said of the Town of Richmond Hill, and for the various elements in our community - here I direct specific attention to that opponent of full heritage conservation, Councillor Karen Cilevitz - who let our 32-hectare fiasco happen, and in the context of the closed-doors process which was a 2011-through-2012 OMB mediation even approved it.

If we are not vigilant now, the following further bad things may soon occur:
  • The developer may unfortunately (in my private, uninformed, opinion) try to follow through with the plan foreshadowed in its application or communication to the Town a couple of years ago - with the plan, namely, to establish a temporary subdivision sales centre in the Administration Building. Such a desecration of national scientific heritage would trigger a legal picket from me, as I have already on one or two previous occasions publicly warned. Picketing is legal insofar as it conveys information to the public without impeding public foot or vehicular traffic. In the event of a legal picket, everyone will suffer, with the Town's reputation taking a particular hit.
  • The circa-1865 Elms Lea mansion, or "DDO Director's House" - not mentioned, however briefly, in SREIS.17.021 - may unfortunately be put to something other than its now natural municipal use. The natural municipal use would be to support Richmond Hill heritage conservation in some way, optimally by becoming our Town's much-needed museum space. I would here remind the taxpaying public, and our Mayor and Council, that our current heritage centre on Church Street, worthy though it is, is too small to serve as a museum, and that our municipal historical artefacts are currently therefore housed out of public sight, in closed storage.
  • The Administration Building may, once renovated, unfortunately be put to something other than its now-natural municipal use. The natural use would be as housing for two things, and two only: (1) In its office space and auditorium space and library space, as housing for materials and activities supporting astronomical research (including citizen science) and astronomical outreach. (Under this heading would come the offices of some astronomical-outreach entity or entities, conceivably including the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a recent strain in their diplomatic relations with the Town notwithstanding.) (2) In its wood-workshop, metal-workshop, optics-workshop, sometime photography-darkroom, and electronics-lab spaces, materials and activities supporting some York Region equivalent of the type of citizen technological innovation (important for Ontario's entrepreneurial development) and non-astronomical citizen science successfully pursued by Kwartzlab in Kitchener and by Hacklab in Toronto.


[End of letter submitted to Town of Richmond Hill;
end of blog posting.]  

Monday, 6 November 2017

Toomas Karmo: DDO Conservation: Remarks to Mayor and Council at 2017-11-06 Committee-of-the-Whole

David Dunlap Observatory Administration Building, as photographed with my iPhone3 on one or two of my visits this late summer or this autumn. Clockwise, from top right: west facade, showing discolouration on two rooftop domes; north (or, less likely, south?) facade, again showing discolouration of a rooftop dome; a ground-floor windowsill on the east facade, showing torn screen, deteriorating paint, and possibly rotting wood.

Other David Dunlap Observatory buildings, as photographed with my iPhone3 on one or two of my visits this late summer or this autumn. Clockwise, from top right: the 1930s pump house, as temporarily moved from the now-destroyed 32 hectares to the DDO parking lot (on at least one of my visits, I found the pump house incorrectly secured, with a window opening now uncovered, and therefore now inviting intrusion from conceivable delinquent community elements); the Radio Shack; the Great Dome catwalk, showing discolouration from corrosion.  - Not shown in this pair of photos is another heritage building, the circa-1865 "Elms Lea" dichromatic-brick farmhouse, or "Director's Residence" (a kind of Victorian agrarian mansion, with two fireplaces, and in my own DDO days with a wine cellar). On my visits, I found my approach to Elms Lea legally barred by a sign, not necessarily any longer accurate, identifying the building as a private residence. A question for authorities monitoring Elms Lea's ongoing compliance with the Ontario Heritage Act is the condition of its formerly 1930s-elegant interior. An upstairs master bathroom, with marlenedietrichesque, or I suppose joancrawfordesque, 1930s black-and-white floor tiling, is rumoured (I do not know how accurately) to have been subjected to an anachronistic alteration in recent years. I speculate that if there has been such an alteration on that particular element of décor, then other alterations, in that same spirit, and even in conceivable contravention of the Act, may also have occurred. I do believe on what I take to be good authority that in or a little after the 2008 DDO sale to Corsica Development Inc., Elms Lea became the residence of some relation or friend or acquaintance of Corsica. - Corsica legal team, notably advocate Mr David Bronskill: please comment if you are able to add constructive remarks.


Revision history:

All times in these blog "revision histories" are stated in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time/ Temps Universel Coordoné,  a precisification of the old GMT, or "Greenwich Mean Time"), in the ISO-prescribed YYYYMMDDThhmmZ timestamping format. UTC currently leads Toronto civil time by 5 hours and currently lags Tallinn civil time by 2 hours.


  • 20171107T0441Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo added two graphics. - Kmo reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • 20171107T0256Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded the text of his Committee-of-the-Whole communication.


[CAUTION: A bug in the
blogger server-side software has in some past months shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity, at any rate when coupled with my erstwhile, out-of-date, Web-authoring uploading browser, to generate HTML that gets formatted in different ways on different downloading browsers. Some downloading browsers have sometimes perhaps not correctly read in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS) which on all ordinary Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect CSS problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Finally, there may be blogger vagaries, outside my control, in font sizing or interlinear spacing or right-margin justification. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]

[Some of my readers, especially conceivable readers in municipal or provincial or Canadian-federal decision-making circles, may find it helpful to have an upload of my letter to the Mayor and Council of the Town of Richmond Hill, as prepared for the 2017-11-06 Committee of the Whole. The letter is usefully read along with my many other earlier postings, on this same server, regarding the David Dunlap Observatory and Park heritage-conservation file.]  




Submission by Toomas Karmo
for Town of Richmond Hill
Committee of the Whole
Meeting of 2017-11-06; 
Comments on SREIS.17.021
(Staff Report on DDO Maintenance),
for Inclusion in the Public Record


1. Preamble

The staff report SREIS.17.021 is available from the http://www.richmondhill.ca meetings calendar, as a document for the Town of Richmond Hill Committee of the Whole meeting of 2017-11-06.

SREIS.17.021 gives useful guidance on what might be considered half of the current DDO heritage-conservation problem, namely the infrastructure framework of the observatory. The other half, concerning the three telescopes themselves (a 1.88 m reflector in the Great Dome, a 0.6 m reflector in the central dome of the Administration Building, and a 0.4 m reflector in the south dome of the Administration Building) falls outside the scope of SREIS.17.021. This second half will have to be the subject of ongoing scrutiny by the heritage-engaged and astrophysics-engaged taxpaying publics.

Such taxpayers will be above all seeking to monitor ongoing maintenance of the 1.88 m reflector. Is, for example, the necessary periodic lubrication continuing, at a minimum of once in six months, on a properly formal schedule which such taxpayers can in due course monitor - in the final resort  making, should other legal avenues fail for them, a request for current DDO work orders, or similar current papers, under Freedom of Information legislation?

Such taxpayers will also be paying due regard to the status of the three Administration Building domes - noting not only the deterioration of their exterior paintwork since 2008, but also raising questions regarding their contents. Such taxpayers will take an interest not only in the south and centre domes, with their respective telescopes (one functional, another possibly needing repairs to its declination motor and its RA readout) but in the north, currently empty, dome. Taxpayers will note that this dome was wired in the 2009-through-2016 era, very likely by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, for current-day astronomy. The wiring comprised good quality, current-day, conduits for power, for coaxial cable (as appropriate for a video feed), and for T100-or-similar Ethernet. They will then ask: What can now be done to bring the northern dome into astronomical service, so that the current recent investment in good-quality cabling is not left sitting idle?

2. Factual Errors in SREIS.17.021

Before the Town of Richmond Hill can formally accept SREIS.17.021, three errors must be corrected. Failure to make corrections, as preparation for the Town Council meeting of 2017-11-13 to which this present 2017-11-06 Committee of the Whole is a preliminary, leaves the Town perhaps not duly diligent, and therefore potentially exposed to the potential taxpayer grievance processes detailed at https://www.ombudsman.on.ca.

(A) SREIS.17.021 erroneously asserts that the Great Dome was completed in 1939.

The report uses the misleading, arbitrarily neologistic, terminology "Observatory Building". The phrase "Great Dome" was current in the 1930s. In later years, "Observatory Building" was never applied to the "Great Dome". But perhaps "main dome" would now do, as an alternative to the cumbersome, archaic-sounding "Great Dome" - "main dome" in the revised report, to distinguish this structure clearly from the three domes on the Administration Building. It has already been noted in this communication that of those three, two currently contain telescopes (making the use of "Observatory Building" for the main dome misleading, as conveying the false suggestion that DDO has just one telescope).

But my formal, potentially Ombudsman, concern here is not with the neologism, but with the error in history. The main dome was completed not, as SREIS.17.021 asserts, in 1939. Rather, it was completed in the couple of years leading up to 1935. In repairing SREIS.17.021, it would be sufficient to mention the date of the ceremonial opening of DDO (main dome included), namely 1935-05-24, and to add that astrophysical observations from the main dome started in the following month, in 1935 June.

(B) The Radio Shack dates not, as SREIS.17.021 asserts, from 1950, but from World War 2. Mayor and Council should today note that the Shack was used by the Canadian defence authorities, not for radio but for wartime naval researches into magnetism; that the Shack acquired a new lease on life in the late 1950s or early 1960s, when it was repurposed for radio astronomy; and that the Shack served a third purpose in the 1980s (perhaps also 1970s), as the home of station VE9LHM, licensed under the "Experimental" provisions of Canadian radio-transmitter law for operations on 20.5665 Mhz and 14.6555 Mhz, as a voice link to the DDO outstation which was the "University of Toronto Southern Observatory" (UTSO) at las Campanas in the Chilean Andes.

VE9LHM was in particular instrumental in conveying news of Supernova "SN1987A" monitoring from UTSO to DDO. This supernova remains the most intensely observed supernova in astronomical history, being the most visible since the Tycho Brahe supernova of 1572 and the Johannes Kepler supernova of 1604. Its discovery was due to DDO-and-UTSO staffer Mr (later Dr) Ian Shelton.

Due consideration for the role of DDO in Canadian science would lead to the eventual erection of a tablet at the replicated Radio Shack, remarking not only on the well known 1960s-era Radio Shack work on the incoming ergs-per-second-per-square-centimetre measurement of radio source Cas A, but on its role in SN1987A.

For the purpose of repairing SREIS.17.021, on the other hand, it would suffice to sketch just some of this Radio Shack history, lightly, in just a sentence or two, taking care above all to correct the erroneous reference to 1950. 

(C) SREIS.17.021 is correct in drawing attention to the inaccessibility of washroom facilities in the Administration Building. SREIS.17.021 errs, however, in writing (on page 9 of the *.pdf file) that there is just one washroom in the building, "on the basement level". There are in fact three.

On the upper floor is a ladies' washroom, communicating through a door with the small ladies' anteroom on whose north wall is a full-length mirror. Access to the washroom is from the corridor east wall, eastward through the anteroom.

On the basement level, near the foot of a basement staircase, is a large gentlemen's washroom. It is this that is the object of the SREIS.17.021 incomplete reference.

Also on the basement level, as a small room communicating through a door with the furnace room (in other words, reachable from the basement corridor by first entering the furnace room), is a further, until the 2008 DDO sale formally unisex, toilet-or-washroom.


[End of communication; end of present blog posting.]

Toomas Karmo: Russian History Appraised, on a Sad Centenary

Servant of God Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine de Hueck Doherty (Екатерина Фёдоровна Колышкина; 1896-1985), in a photo said at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Doherty to be from 1974.

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his  grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3/5 is "mediocre pass", 4/5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 3/5. Justification: Kmo had time to upload some rather material of rather limited scope and ambition, worked out to a reasonable level of detail.


Revision history:

All times in these blog "revision histories" are stated in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time/ Temps Universel Coordoné,  a precisification of the old GMT, or "Greenwich Mean Time"), in the ISO-prescribed YYYYMMDDThhmmZ timestamping format. UTC currently leads Toronto civil time by 5 hours and currently lags Tallinn civil time by 2 hours.

  • 20171107T1612Z/version 2.1.0: Kmo added some remarks on the 18th-century rulers Peter and Catherine. - He reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, ... . 
  • 20171107T0228Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo brought the piece to an essentially finished state. He reserved the right to make further tiny, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • 20171107T0101Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time to upload an almost-finished piece. He hoped to bring the piece to an essentially finished state by UTC=20171107T0401Z.

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past months shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity, at any rate when coupled with my erstwhile, out-of-date, Web-authoring uploading browser, to generate HTML that gets formatted in different ways on different downloading browsers. Some downloading browsers have sometimes perhaps not correctly read in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS) which on all ordinary Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect CSS problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Finally, there may be blogger vagaries, outside my control, in font sizing or interlinear spacing or right-margin justification. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]



People around the world will be thinking of Russia on the sad centenary which is 2017-11-07, seeking possibilities of healing. 

In the twentieth century, Russia was bad news for everyone:
  • Although the Romanovs set a troubling example, they did embody a possible future for Russia, perhaps as an  eventual modernizing constitutional monarchy. As bad luck would have it, however, some small number of people in Russia, in the Romanov circle - as I am  imagining it, twenty or so - took a disastrous diplomatic decision in 1914 or so, from which some of the subsequent international disaster then germinated. Their decision was to ignore the so-called "Durnovo Memorandum" of 2014 February (http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/durnovo.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyotr_Durnovo), in which  Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo had urged allying Russia with Germany. Had P.N. Durnovo's correct diplomatic advice been heeded, World War I might still have been fought, with terrible consequences, but the so-called "October Revolution" might have been avoided. One imagines the war fought to a mere stalemate, with Britain depressingly humiliated, Kaiser Wilhelm left in power, and Russia still governable by Romanovs.
  • With the "October Revolution" (more accurately, the Big November Putsch), a criminal clique assumed power. The head of the clique, "V.I. Lenin", was not himself recruited from the criminal classes, and yet he knew how to use criminals in encompassing his goals. It is possible that he was himself poisoned in 1924 by his (in a straightforward Tsarist legal sense criminal) lieutenant "J.V. Stalin". - I use the scare quotes around the names of both "Lenin" and "Stalin" because these are assumed names, taken on by this pair of individuals for merely operational reasons.
  • With the 1914-1918 war fought to a disastrous conclusion - Germany not only humiliated, but terrified by the spectacle of a Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and therefore willing to elect any leader who could credibly promise to oppose Germany's own Bolshevists - the stage was set for the rise of the Reich, with its eventual Shoah. 
  • With the Reich ready to start a fresh world war, the exiled, and correctly pacifist, Prof. A. Einstein unfortunately, in his legitimate worries, alerted President F.D. Roosevelt to the possibility of launching a Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project, while confined to mere fission weapons, in turn made possible the 1950s development of fusion weapons, with the USSR now a thoroughly active player. Since history does not furnish plausible examples of powerful weapons left unused, we may reasonably fear the use of fusion weapons in warfare - it hardly matters whether by the USA, or by modern Russia, or by someone else altogether. Such a use would accelerate the advance of our already encroaching Dark Age.
So much, then, for history. Russia continues to be a locus of infection, (a) being still ruled by criminal elements, and (b) now furnishing attractive models to such unprincipled Western leaders as Donald Trump. 

Along what steps might remedies be sought? Politics is rightly called the art of the possible. We therefore cannot aim very high. I do put forward two modest thoughts, which I hope my readers in the Russian organs of state security can in their turn forward to the higher-ups. 

(A) The person calling the shots - Mister You-Know-Who - can now do pretty much as he pleases, provided he does not alienate his lieutenants. And if he continues consulting excellent doctors, and looking after the lieutenants, he has perhaps another thirty years on his throne. He therefore has a luxury not known to presidents and prime ministers in ordinary parliamentary jurisdictions, namely the luxury of planning within a generous timeframe. (The responsiveness to public opinion secured in a parliamentary system, such as I personally favour, does come at a steep price: when our parliament is sovereign, our leaders end up doing much of their planning in four-year chunks, forever fearing their next election.) Might Mister You-Know-Who not now consider acting constructively, in a way which will secure him a favourable mention in history books? It would be too much to ask him to play the spiritual warrior, retreating to a life of penance within the cloisters of some Valaam or Zagorsk after a loudly, brilliantly, penitential abdication. But might he not consider elevating some Romanov into some admittedly Potemkin, in other words into some admittedly powerless, small state-ceremonial position? From such a diminutive seed, it might be possible eventually for others, even long after Mister You-Know-Who's own death, to achieve an eventual Romanov restoration, as a duly constitutional monarchy along Scandinavian lines. Mister You-Know-Who would himself in that case acquire a deserved posthumous reputation for sagacity. Even I would applaud, although I imagine I would be constrained to clap, ever so politely, from beyond the grave.

I have already remarked on this blog (on 2017-10-16 or 2017-10-17, in my posting on Prof. Garrison's memorial reception, in a bullet point starting with the words "I am most desperately sorry for the current situation in Russia") that Russia is in growing trouble once its oil runs out. Siberia, in other words the Asian segment of Russia, may by then be tempted to throw its (by then feeble?) political lot in with China. The European segment of Russia, on the other hand, will have to be saved somehow, in 2080-era terms that would have made sense also to 18th-century Peter and Catherine. The task, in that near future even as back in Peter's and Catherine's day, will be to keep Russia, somehow, admittedly without betraying Russia's own Byzantine cultural roots, in something of a (loose) Western orbit. Every little scrap of work that can be done now in a circumspect Peter-and-Catherine spirit will serve as a bulwark. In making its preparations, European Russia needs every little factory now preserving research-and-design skills, in however poor and feeble an imitation of Germany or of Asia's industrial powerhouses. European Russia needs every Department of Physics or Department of Mathematics now preserving, perhaps through the benign inertia of institutional memory, some part of the old Tsarist and Soviet scientific culture. European Russia needs even every little private nouveau-riche Russian secondary school which, conceivably amid snobbery and  patriotic chest-thumping, is teaching some Latin, or again is pursuing modern European lang-and-lit with some due vigour (perhaps by cultivating appropriate links with counterpart schools west of Russia, as when its pupils are sent out on academic exchanges). The planting of a tiny, ceremonial, Romanov seed now, while arguably less important than the preparations I have just mentioned, may nevertheless prove in its own way constructive.

(B) We all know how compromised the current Russian church is. But might something now be done to foster its healing? There is a potential role here for the one in-process-of-canonization saint for whom I actually possess a (second-class) relic, Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine de Hueck Doherty (Екатерина Фёдоровна Колышкина: born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896, she died in Ontario exile in 1985). A short, clear, biography of this occasionally difficult Ontario religious leader-cum-domestic-prima-donna is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Doherty. In pondering her life, we must remember that to be a saint is not to be impeccable. The saints are gloriously individual, each conveying in his or her own finite way some delimited aspect of the Godhead. Such a thing has been compared to the streaming of sunlight through ecclesial stained glass.

Katya, as of recent years styled by the Vatican canonists "Servant of God":  pray now for us now, and pray for Russia. 

The reader might on this Big Anniversary benefit from thinking less about "Lenin" and "Stalin" and their Putsch than about the movement Katya founded, right here in Ontario. A guided tour of her movement's mother house can be had from http://www.madonnahouse.org/Tour/. I hope my readers in Russia, including those who work in the contemporary organs of Russian state security, will be able to spare a few minutes for inspecting it.

[This is the end of the current blog posting.]  


Monday, 30 October 2017

Toomas Karmo: Part Q: Philosophy of Perception, Action, and "Subjectivity"

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his  grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3/5 is "mediocre pass", 4/5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 2/5. Justification: Kmo's material this time was much sketchier than usual.


Revision history:

All times in these blog "revision histories" are stated in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time/ Temps Universel Coordoné,  a precisification of the old GMT, or "Greenwich Mean Time"), in the ISO-prescribed YYYYMMDDThhmmZ timestamping format. UTC currently leads Toronto civil time by 4 hours and currently lags Tallinn civil time by 3 hours. Tallinn reverted to its winter time on the last Sunday in October. Toronto is going to revert to its winter time on the first Sunday in November.
  • 20171031T0137Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo brought the work to a state that counted, given its very modest aspirations, as adequately finished. Kmo reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20171031T0050Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo made some ongoing improvements of substance. He still hoped to bring this work to an acceptably finished state by 20171031T0201Z.  
  • 20171031T0001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time to upload semi-finished work. He hoped to bring this to an acceptably finished state by 20171031T0201Z.


[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past months shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity, at any rate when coupled with my erstwhile, out-of-date, Web-authoring uploading browser, to generate HTML that gets formatted in different ways on different downloading browsers. Some downloading browsers have sometimes perhaps not correctly read in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS) which on all ordinary Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect CSS problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Finally, there may be blogger vagaries, outside my control, in font sizing or interlinear spacing or right-margin justification. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]



This week I carry on with the "Philosophy of Perception and Action". But instead of answering the homework set last week, I attend to rather urgent housekeeping. The homework answer (I think of it as less urgent) will have to wait until perhaps next week. 

As a precaution against administrative accidents, I really should now write up, and upload to the comparative safety of the blogger-cum-blogspot server, my ideas on Wittengestein's "Private Language Argument", adding also a bit of context. 

And in fact doing this now not only preserves my ideas against accidents, but helps make the overall course of my writing predictable to readers. The more dully predictable my writing becomes, from week to week, the easier it becomes for my persistent little week-to-week handful of readers to digest it.

For the time being, it suffices to upload a mere a "philosophical fragment", detailed enough for those of my readers whom I imagine to be in Departments of Philosophy, without reaching the level of detail appropriate for the overall blog-reading public. I had three such Departmental "fragments" at the end of the posting of 2017-05-22/2017-05-23 (headed "Part B"). Here, then, is a fourth.  (I upload it as my "Part Q". Last week was already "Part P". So this project is dragging on and on, to the point at which I almost fear I might end up having something like a "Part Y", a "Part ZA", and a "Part ZB".)  


__recall the intersubjective comparison from Part H,
  2017-07-17 or 2017-07-18:

You (the Gentle Reader) and I, as two fellow specimens of Homo sapiens, are together seated at the edge of a sunlit lawn. You have no way of knowing whether my greening is the same as your greening, or on the contrary is the same as your, so to speak, "redding". But suppose (I write tonight briefly, almost as a throw-away) that your greening is indeed like my redding, and your redding indeed like my greening. Then there is no content to the question which of us has "accurate colour vision", and which of us has "systematically distorted colour vision".
 
  __in Part xx, 2017-xx-xx or 2017-xx-xx, I did put on record the necessary
    caveat, stating that this material would have to be looked at again,
    and would at the right juncture 
     have to be made the subject of something like a partial retraction
    __((quote caveat))))
__we are now at that juncture 
__spose u and i are looking at a glass of tomato juice     
  on a sunlit lawn
  __or again at 2 square of cloth, with wooden top-dimpled R
    and wooden top-dimpled Cyrillic Ya
__I have already suggested that no content to qn which
  of us is seeing the tomato juice and the grass "in their true colours"
  (_and similarly for R and Ya: but I will here just stick to
    greening and redding)
__now I make a more subtle point
__I can construct a hypothesis  re your greening and redding
__two COMPETING hyps re yr greening and redding
  (_in "Part H", 2017-07-17/2017-07-18,
    I only had ONE of these, namely the first of the 2 I am about to give) -
  that
  yr greening and redding are the same as my redding and greening,
  and that
  yr greening and redding are the same as my greening and redding
__now I suggest, rather radically,
  that in one sense there is not, and in another sense there is,
  content to the very question which of these
  competing hyps re "what the other person is experiencing" is true
  __this rather radical suggestion
    is what I isolate as the defensible, correctly clear,
    content of that sometimes opaquely explained thing which is
    Ludwig Wittengstein's private-language discussion
    (his puzzling "beetle-in-a-box" discussion)
__re "there is not":                     
  no true choice for a Deity who creates both of us,
  but has not done so yet
  (_no choice whether to "in future make these two subjects mismatch in their
    subjective experiences of grass and tomato juice"
    or to "in future make these two subjects match 
    in their respective subjective experiences")
__re "there is":
  suppose, having created me, the Deity then GOES ON to create you
__from my own standpoint - in the frame of reference
  established by my
  own greening and redding - I can ask, "does the
  greening/redding second of the two
  subjects created by the Deity match
  my redding/greening, or on the contrary match my
  greening/redding?"

****

__this point is admittedly subtle,
  and therefore hard to bring into sharp focus 
__trying as hard as I can here - perhaps not quite successfully - 
  I ask us to compare, as a parallel, a feature of
  the frame-relativity of space 
  (_it is a feature
    common both to an Einsteinean and to a merely Newtonian
    conception of space)                                         
__recall our own Milky Way Galaxy (in which our own
  solar system sits, quite some distance out from the
  centre) and its near twin,
  the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), about 2.5 million light years away 
  (_and easily examined with even the lowest-quality binoculars,
    from even the most light-polluted big-city site)
  __M31 and our own Milky Way Galaxy are falling toward each other,
    thanks to their mutual gravitational attraction
  __they are two large galaxies dominating our "Local Group",
    comprising a couple of dozen galaxies in all
    __the "Local Group" is vanishingly insignificant in the
      overall panorama of observable galaxies, 
      since this panorama comprises 
      perhaps over one hundred thousand million galaxies
  __although the cosmos overall is expanding,
    these two here-mentioned galaxies are too close to each other
    for their motions relative to each other to accurately reflect
    the overall cosmic expansion
    __to appreciate the overall expansion, one would have to look
      beyond the too-tidily-tight "Local Group"
__here, however, we ignore the grand topic of overall cosmic expansion, 
  confining ourselves to the cozy embrace of the Local Group 
__let us call "here" the place in fact presently occupied by
  the Milky Way Galaxy 
  and "there" the place in fact presently
  occupied by the Andromeda Galaxy
__then GIVEN the existence of the Milky Way Galaxy and the
  Andromeda Galaxy, the following is a contentful counterfactual
  supposition:
  * "It is the Andromeda Galaxy which is here, and the Milky Way
    Galaxy which is over there"
  (_call this the Counterfactual Possibility P)
  __indeed there is a physically possible situation in which
    the two galaxies exchange places: if the two galaxies
    were to receive a momentary impulse from
    a pair of short-lived appropriate forces, arranged
    approximately as 
    what classical-mechanics textbooks call a "couple" (forces
    antiparallel, with each force perpendicular to the line joining
    the centres of the two galaxies), then the two galaxies
    would begin - I imagine the forces soon gone - mutual circular
    orbital motion around their common centre of mass 
    (rather than, as in the actual cosmos, merely accelerating
    toward each other) 
    __after a suitably long time, they would actually trade places
  __even without supposing a temporally protracted process of
    exchanging places,
    we can say, "It COULD have been that the Andr Galaxy is
    the one that is here, and that the Milky Way Galaxy is the
    one that is over there"
__and yet suppose the Big Bang had never occurred
__no Deity contemplating what would have happened HAD there been
  a Big Bang could in that no-Bang contingency say,
  "Well, there are two coordinate possibilities:
  on the one hand the possibiliity that Galaxy A is in Place A
  and Galaxy B in Place B, on the other hand the possibility
  that Galaxy A is in Place B, and Galaxy B in Place A"
__the contingency P is itself only contingently existent
  (_requiring, for its existence, the existence of those
    eminently contingent entities which are Galaxy A and Galaxy B)

****

__a further parallel, albeit a looser one, will help
  with this so-difficult topic, 
  albeit to just a modest degree
__cf Toomas Karmo contingent-nonidentity paper from Austr J Phil 1983,  
  and also Lloyd Huberstone reply Austr J Phil 1983
  (_http://aap.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048408312340991?src=recsys&#.Wfe6nK3SO58)
  __my point in Austr J Phil is that
    although all identities are necessary, some nonidentities
    are contingent
  __"all identities are necessary" in the sense that for every S X,
    and for every S Y, if X is the same S as Y, then not possibly
    X is a distinct S from Y
    (_classic example: Hesperus is the same heavenly body
      (namely Venus) as Phosphorus, 
      and it is not possibly the case that Hesperus
      is a distinct heavenly body from Phosphorus
  __and yet some nonidentities are contingent:
    we can find Ss X and Y such that
    X is a distinct S from Y,
    and such that possibly X is the same S as Y
    (_the distinct twins which could have been born as the same human,
      had the zygote not split early in the pregnancy;
      the distinct tunnels which could have been one and the same
      tunnel, had the two boring machines been steered differently)
  __in such a situation, we have a contingency (that there is just
    one human, or just one tunnel) in which our own actual
    situation would NOT - since all identities are,
    to repeat, necessary - be an available contingency 
    __so we can so-to-speak "inspect a remote contingency" 
      without having our own situation inspectable, as a real contingency, 
      from that remote perspective
    __it is as though a "possible world" w in which X is the same S as Y
      is reachable from our world, whereas our world is NOT from
      the w standpoint a possible world   

****

__this leads me to a further rather radical suggestion re  subjectivity
__consider a situation in which two human animals,
  Alfie and Betty, are jointly positioned at the edge of a sunlit lawn,
  and are both in a state of temporary swoon - as it might be,
  from the temporary pollution of their shared local atmosphere with fumes
  of chloroform 
__let us take it as given in this scenario
  that when the chloroform wears off,
  you and I are going to be seeing the lawn and juice
  in seeing events in the Alfie and Betty bodies - with one of us
  seeing events in the one body, the other of us events in the other
__two competing hypotheses, within the scope of the scenario as so far given: 
  (a) that u are
  going to be seeing grass and juice in seeing events in the Alfie body,
  and I am going to be
  seeing grass and juice in seeing events in the Bettie body;
  (b) that u are
  going to be seeing grass and juice in seeing events in the Betty body,
  and I am
  going to be seeing grass and juice in seeing events in the Alfie body
__I suggest, again rather radically,
  that in one sense there is not,
  and in another sense there is,
  content to the question which of THESE competing hyps is true
__so here again, as already in the case of greening/redding, 
  we have a "in one sense there is not and in another sense there is"  
__re "there is not":
  no true alternative now,
  as the chloroform acts
__re "there is":
  upon the chloroform's wearing off, spose I am seeing grass and juice
  in seeing events in Alfie's body
  __then from my own standpoint - in the frame of reference
    now established by my now seeing events in Alfie's body - I can say,
    "Well, it COULD have gone differently: I COULD have awakened
    to find myself instead seeing Betty-body events"

****

__I want to put the situation for the first of my
  two radical suggestions in a slogan like this:
  "Just as 'hereness' is not a fully real feature of the cosmos,
  but only a feature which gets its reality from the
  given existence of frame-defining things like the Milky Way Galaxy
  and the Andromeda Galaxy,
  so the 'respective subjective qualities'
  of greening and redding are not fully real features of the
  cosmos, but only features whose reality derives from 
  frame-defining things, from actual greenings and reddings"
__I want to put the situation for the second of my
  two radical suggestions in a slogan like this:
  "Just as 'hereness' is not a fully real feature of the cosmos,
  but only a feature which gets its reality from the
  given existence of frame-defining things like the Milky Way Galaxy
  and the Andromeda Galaxy,
  so the 'respective subjective identities of you and me
  vis-a-vis those animals which are Alfie and Betty'
  are not fully real features of the
  cosmos, but only features whose reality derives from 
  frame-defining things, from actual experiencingss-by-me
  and experiencings-by-you"
__can some reader(s) take this idea further,
  making my two slogans clearer than I have here succeeded in making them? 


[This is the end of the current blog posting.]