Coping: With the Frontiers of Futuring, The Dallas Hit

(Gig Harbor, WA)  I’m pleased to report that I have finally figured out how to do more with our project than simply look at language and count words, see which ones are rising, and which ones not (and from there imply future).

The problem is (I can’t tell anyone (but chief programmer Grady and Chris McCleary who uses the technology as a tool in the forecasts from the

Reason?  It may be patentable.

After writing it up and sending it to Grady  (Can we code this?) the (greedy, capitalistic) thought occurred to me:  Is there a buck to be made in this?

I mean, of course, besides the obvious:  When we get tools of futuring built that really work, will we be able to make oodles of money by playing options?

That’s the obvious revenue stream, of course.  But, there’s another one:  Namely using the technique to forecast events on behalf of government.  “Here comes what looks like an earthquake is such-and-such area in this timeframe, and a revolution over in this country, in this different timeframe…”

It’s all Holy Grail stuff of seers through the ages, but I think I’ve reduced it to mathematical mumbo-jumbo, so we get to see how creative Grady is in writing math in a report writer (or as additional fields in the database, makes no difference to me where, just that the calculations are done).

So that’s pretty cool.

Dream Do Matter, But an Old Theory Problem Arises

Meantime, Chris has to be gloating about the “hit” from the National Dream Center’s forecasting efforts.  From an overnight email:

Non-PA Headline #13 said, “Chaos ensues in Dallas in wake of …Bomb threat at Dallas/Ft Worth Interntl Airport.”

Behold a bomb threat on a plane from Dallas-FtWorth on August 24th:

You need to click over to this page and read the scoring discussion Chris put together.

We’ve known that something was coming with Dallas – as we discussed that quite openly in our Sunday Special: Quakes, Dallas, and Damn Futuring.

So is that it for the Dallas pop?

Maybe – but maybe not.

This is an old problem of futuring that I described a long time ago that may be thought of as “event masking.”  OK< two problems, then…

First:  Let’s say you have evolved a new way of predicting the future.  (There are several such techniques, including ours).

And let’s say that you see data that includes words like “subsidence” “coastal” “cities” and “water.”

And then you write up a futuring forecast that includes all these terms and reflects the dire nature of whatever the worlds subsidence, coastal, and so forth, conjure up in the mind of the analyst.

Then you issue a forecast, and when it’s wrong (insofar as it doesn’t occur exactly as forecast) people become highly skeptical of all such forecasts….humans don’t score well in the probabilistic thinking realm.  They love black/white, hard forecasts.

But the forecast was still good.  The language basis might be right, but the interpretation can still be off. 

So instead of states sinking beneath the waves, you might get a note from someone like our Winnipeg news analyst fellow who politely sends this:

Dear Mr. Ure,

It seems that Mexico City is not the only locale subsiding as groundwater reserves are depleted. Chinese researchers have released an open access paper this year that contends some regions in Beijing have shown accelerating rates of subsidence from 2003 to 2010 based upon satellite measurements which the researchers claim is due to excessive groundwater extraction. The dry numbers can be pictured with skyscrapers if one plugs in the supplied coordinates to a mapping provider.  

Just so!  Instead of having new lands rising, continental subsidence (of land) and so forth, we see continental subsidence of water, and new lands that are indeed rising but it’s relative to the global receding groundwater problem…

That’s one problem of futuring:  The  inversion problem.  When you’re looking at the future, it’s like looking through the wrong end of the telescope.  So sometimes the forecast made can be “upside down” of what eventually happens.

And then there’s the second problem of a small/near event masking a larger/far event.

Take the DreamCenter forecast on Dallas, as an example. 

The forecast was (damn) good.  It “hit” in the right window, and seems to have met all the expectations. 

But the experienced futurist (or someone like me, straddling dementia and schizophrenia) might look at it and wonder if a week, or a month from now – or even a year from now, there will be a much larger news event that will “fill the same language parameters” as those laid out in the DreamCenter “Dallas” body of forecasts?

I guess we shall see  as that Dallas language should drop off now.

However, in the meantime, I can tell you with 100% confidence that the approach behind the project is not simply “news story propagation” based on existent events.  The data can be manipulated in a particular way to actually forecast future events accurately although we won’t know to what degree of accuracy until Grady figures out how to code three pages of math discussion and a handful of graphs to explain the concepts.

Say, Grady, is it done, yet?

OK, that’s like walking into Edison’s lab and asking “Tom, got that 40-watt compact fluorescent in the Edison base for 120 volts AC built yet?  I need it by lunchtime…”

Edison would look back and ask the obvious:  “What’s AC?

Fortunately, ol’ Grady’s a bit smarter than that.  He’s more likely to shoot back with something like  “You want warm warm white or cool white, on that?”  Which sure as hell makes my life easy.  Leaves time for golf.

Jack of Golf, Master of Muscle Memory

As a way of rewarding myself for getting the (admittedly arcane) math notes off to Grady (timed out at 13:00 local, and 13 has always been my ‘hot’ number in life), Elaine and I took to the golf course to see what a six-year hiatus from the links has done to our skillsets.

Neither of us has been invited our on the PGA tour…for reasons that escape me.

So there we were, playing with the in-laws on the cheapest course I could find (a 9-hole shortie course) and we stepped out and using high-speed high def video, I was able to capture some great shots, like the one to the right which capture’s Elaine’s T-shot on the first hole with the ball launch toward the trees at about head-level.

Before you send in the critiques of her swing, remember this is a tiny course:  The pin was only 100-yards on this and barely a weak-man’s 9-iron.  (Yes, I’m that guy.)

The lady in-law scored 30 on the 9-holes – she’s really good, doing par, except for one episode of six-put disease.

Mr. in-law carded a 37.  He’s usually better than this, we were assured.

Ure’s truly turned in a miserable 46 and Elaine was at 56…but we repeated that we’ve haven’t picked up sticks for six years and neither of us has taken a single lesson, ever.

Think you could quit golf for half a dozen years and then shoot what’s effectively a 92?

By the 5th tee, absence or not, things were coming back to me.  Suddenly things clicked into place.  My magic was back.  It wasn’t skill, though….

It’s called muscle memory and some people are blessed by it.  By the time we got to the 7th  I was back to my old Boca Raton game:  Launching a 138-yard 7-iron from the tee onto the green, 10-feet below the pin exactly down the middle of the fairway.  Except for the embarrassing 3-put, it would have been par.

Wikipedia has a pretty good discussion of muscle memory:

Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a melody or phrase on a musical instrument, martial arts,[1] or performing different algorithms for a Rubik’s Cube.

Muscle memory isn’t just something that matters in golf, but here’s how I use it:  When you do something especially good (like hit that 7-iron shot that goes nice and high (75-feet vertical and 150-yards forward) you pause right after the shot and sort of let your body remember how that worked.

Then, even years later, you can go back to that “it all worked!” moment that your logical brain thanked the body for delivering….and in the future, you can call up that level of performance any time you want by letting your physical body/muscle memory bring on the results.

This is NOT theory, this is the real schiznit.

The first guy I heard about this from was my buddy Bill from back at Cruising Equipment (in my DC power instrumentation days).  Bill ran manufacturing and I ran sales.

We got to talking one day about this and that and Bill told me he used to bowl.  I politely asked what his best three game average series was (mine was about 135).

Oh, uh…300.)

“WHAT!!!???  OMGH!!! You shouldn’t be here, you should be on the PBA tour…no one rolls a perfect game three times in a row…”

It turns out that Bill does exactly that and he’s one of the most talented athletes ever who ever lived in terms of bowling.  He considered himself having a really “off” day if he rolled a 250 or 260. 

I asked him why we wasn’t out on tour…and turns out he just doesn’t have much interest in it. 

Being a very mart guy, and he could see that spending his life pushing balls down an alley and knocking over pins wasn’t going to be a real mind-stretch.  Manufacturing high precision six-layer SMT PCB’s for precision power instrumentation and teaching even idiots in sales (ahem…) how to use pc/MRP was (in 1999) a wee bit more challenging.

His explanation of how muscle memory works, though, was one of the most interesting lessons about sports I ever heard (and remember, as a news guy, I’ve interviewed literally hundreds of sports figures in my career…and not a one of them had Bill’s grasp of how their “personal magic” in sports worked.  Bill owns his.

About three or four years ago, I had a chance to pick up an old skill and try my hand at it…flying.

“The moves” of flying an airplane aren’t terribly complex, but they do require muscle coordination and you can imagine my instructor’s surprise when we went up and after not touching an airplane for 35-years. I did basic required maneuvers and held altitude to within 50-feet – tight enough for a commercial check-ride.  High bank, back to back 720 degree turns, the whole thing….within 50 vertical feet of assigned altitude.

Surprised the hell out of both of us.  THAT is what muscle memory is about.

Even now, when I let the plane sit for 60-days and then go fly, it all comes roaring back.  Not because I am smart…but because my friend Bill gave me such a wonderful gift – the understanding of muscle memory and how when you get it perfect you stop for a moment to give your muscles time to “memorize” what they just delivered so well.

Then you can call it up at will. 

I can personally attest that it works in golf, flying, marksmanship, and even woodworking and music.

Before you invest a lot of time and money trying to learn something, invest some serious energy in mastering your muscle memory.

Not too much has been written about the topic lately, but in a world of couch-locked sheep, who don’t get off the butt much, what do you expect?  Still, old books are an often overlooked resource, so something like Sybervision: Muscle Memory Programming for Every Sport might be located for under $5 bucks.

It’s estimated that one hour of muscle-memory training is worth 10+ hours of conventional training, so the stuff really works.

And if you use it?  Don’t thank me.  Thank my friend Bill.

Peoplenomics tomorrow will explain a team approach to job-hunting based on some core lessons in how the sales process works… so you can involve the family – and how to make it quick and effective.  More money, higher paying job?  No problem…

Then more here on Thursday… write when you break-even


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George Ure
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