Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2006. Ripples Algorithm
Applying algorithms to ripples is as necessary in art as in science. Those applied by artists are invisible and unconscious but omnipresent. I googled for measurements to better understand M. C. Escher’s linogravure (1950) Cercles dans eau in relation to Andrew Davidhazy‘s photographs of the ripple effect of a drop disturbing the calm surface of a body of water.

I wanted to compare the measurements for the angles at which both these images were captured. I had layered them but they were not the same at all. This image was viewed on my Flickr account 2,843 times from October 22, 2006 when I first uploaded it to January 29, 2007. I finally printed it out in December 2006 at Apple Printers in Duncan, BC. The print quality potential at the shop is excellent but the image did not stand up to a printout! The layer of Escher’s print is too bluntly cut off and I was disappointed in the edges of my globes. So I opened all my original files again and went to work to clean it up. I realized that the angles at which Escher and Davidhazy captured their images, were different.

Andrew Davidhazy’s photographs of water splashes

“concentrate on the after effects of the impact of a drop of water on a shallow layer of the same liquid. He documents an aspect of fluid mechanics. This is a recoil or rebound effect of the surface responding to the sudden disturbance caused by a drop of water hitting the surface. The recoil column of water rises to surprising elevations above the surface and then due to surface tension effects it breaks up into droplets that fall back into the host liquid under the pull of gravity.”

Of course, I knew Escher’s original print was a double-ripple on a mirrored surface clearly reflecting branches of a tree without any leaves against a white sun. The serenity of Davidhazy’s photo could not be interrupted with an entire tree! But I would have liked to have had a better resonance between the angles of the ripples. There was more than one question. How do you measure the angle of perspective of the ripples? How do you measure a ripple affect? The first is basic Renaissance perspective but the second . . .

When professor Mikhail Nesterenko describes wave algorithms his descriptions are written in the language of computers and science: mathematics, engineering and physics but there is something of the philosophical that engaged me . . . almost poetry.

In this <a href=”http://www.photoblog.com/user/oceanflynn/2006/12/19″>image on my photoblog</a> I layered a sections of his description with a detail of M. C. Escher’s print. So which kind of algorithm is used by Escher and Davidhazy?

“Wave algorithm satisfies the following three properties:

  1. Termination: each computation is finite
  2. Decision: each computation contains at least one decide event
  3. Dependence: in each computation each decide event is causally preceded by an event in each process
  • initiator(starter) – process that execution of its actions spontaneously
  • non-initiator(follower) – starts execution only when receives a message

Wave algorithms differ in many respects, some features:

  • Centralized (single-source)
  • – one initiator; decentralized (multisource)
  • – multiple initiators

Topology – ring, tree, clique, etc.
Initial knowledge:

  • Each process knows its own unique name
  • Each process knows the names of its neighbors
  • Number of decisions to occur in each process
  • Usually wave algorithms exchange messages with no content


Andrew Davidhazy also works with digital strip panaroma of 360 degrees views

For more on stunning visual effects of fluid mechanics see Alex Liberzon’s site here. . he is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, Faculty of Engineering of the Tel Aviv University.


December 11, 2006

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Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.


The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.


M.C.Escher, Ignatius Sancho and the NGC

Each painting seemed to open into a virtual space like Escher’s print gallery offering infinite possibilities of alternate space-time continuum. During storms, or on the quiet days entire rooms full of Baroque treasures were mine alone. I accumulate hours in front of particular paintings returning again and again. Good art never stops answering back. Bad art just stays there repeated how pretty it is. It took years but eventually I could conjure individual works of art in my mind, then entire rooms and finally after ten years, the entire gallery. But that wasn’t enough for memory work. I taught myself to go inside certain paintings, through a detail, perhaps just a reflection in a glass where the blue skies and brick buildings across the street from the studio appeared in miniature, complete, unexpected, like a secret painting within a painting. The more I learned about social histories the more that seemingly inconsequential details revealed links to expanded pictures behind the easel. Without knowing the theory at the time, I was breaking through the Hegelian linear history of art into a more rhizomic web of inextricably linked stories. Eventually the absent became so forcefully present that at times the artist’s intentions were completely subverted. His hero shape-shifted like a trickster and the conquered started to speak.

Only recently I read about the story of Matteo Ricci who wrote A Treatise on Mnemonics (1596) in Chinese for the governor of Jiangxi Province. Ricci lived in China as a Jesuit missionary from 1582 to 1614. I am not sure where the concept of the memory palace as mnemonic device began, perhaps in ancient Greece, but it was developed in medieval Europe. Although I began with an actual building, the National Gallery of Canada and its permanent collection, it became my mnemonic device. By systematically building a virtual architecture in which each element is associated with a fragment of memory, any memory can be restored by taking a virtual walk through its hallways and rooms.

Spence, Jonathan. . The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci.