THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
VIEW 102 May 22 - 28, 2000
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This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this place is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE.
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See also the New Order page, which tries to make order of chaos. These will be useful.
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Highlights this week:
May 22, 2000
You will note that the Atomz search engine is gone. It worked and was fine, but they ask for money after things get big enough, and the current one is free. It's not a LOT of money, and I'd have been willing to pay if anyone asked that I keep it, but my test got not one response, so I presume none of you care which search engine I use. So be it. I expect some problems with the older files that have the old search engine in them, but I am not going to do a seek out and destroy on all that. I am not even sure how to do it...
I intend to work on fiction today. Tonight is a big fete for Peter Hemmings who was the driving force founding the LA Opera. I'll take pictures, and I hope to have a short report for subscribers. We were also out at the Huntington the other day and I should be able to get up a couple of pictures there, too. This will take a day or two. I'm dancing as fast as I can...
We signed the contracts for BURNING TOWER, the sequel to The Burning City by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and we'll be starting on that shortly. If you don't have The Burning City you ought to be sorry...
Note that the new book is BURNING TOWER not THE BURNING TOWER. All readers of The Burning City should know why.
Dafydd ap Hugh finds Gladiator a good film but discovers the history is flawed, as I suspected from the trailers. I'll have to go see it, although Dinosaurs is more to the point for state of the art.
The net seems very crisp and fast today.
A source for rollup keyboards over in mail.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
LA Opera had a sendoff for Founding Director Peter Hemings last night. Good party , great concert. Made for a great night.
Probably the silliest book of the season is "Way Out There in the Blue" by Frances Fitzgerald. It purports to be a history of Strategic Defense Initiative. It's fantasy by someone who knows little of technology.
Richard Garwin, IBM Fellow, does know technology, or says he does. Predictably Richard Garwin, the man who seriously proposed that the US and USSR put hydrogen weapons in each other's capitals as deterrents, and could not understand why real heads of state would not take his proposal seriously -- the same IBM Fellow Richard Garwin who seriously proposed that the US scrap all deterrent forces except a fleet of 5-man subs with 2 ICBM's each which would swim around on the Continental Shelf with crews incapable of retargeting or launching their birds -- did a large and favorable review of this silly book in the LA Times.
Fitzgerald and Garwin and the usual suspects have never been able to act as if they believe there is any side to an issue but their own. Garwin has always been willing to use "any means necessary" to discredit his enemies. Garwin even went so far as to dream up a missile defense system of boost phase intercepts with inertial impact kill weapons based in the US. This required weapons that could travel faster than light, which gave Garwin plenty of laughs at his opponents. I recall him saying that General Graham and I didn't know about the speed of light limits, and laughing like hell. This was at a AAAS meeting. Of course no one but him ever described such an intercept system. Garwin also propagated the myth that we all believed we could build a "leak-proof" defense system, or that a system would be useless if it were not 100% effective.
The real point of Strategic Defense was to put stress on the already over-stressed economy of the USSR. They had opted to forgo investment in infrastructure to gain military power. The result was a nation that stretched across degrees of longitude but was held together by a single-track railroad and had few paved roads outside cities: Bulgaria with missiles. (I forget who first used that description. General Graham popularized it. He may have got it from me, or I may have got it from someone else and appropriated the phrase. In any event it was applicable.) By threatening to negate the missiles we made it clear that the USSR had no real pretense to being a superpower, or indeed a power at all: that far from being the Second World, it wasn't even all that high up in Third World powers except for its missiles. This is why Gorbachev was so desperate to get Reagan to call off SDI, and why things came apart when Reagan wouldn't do it. But that's the real world. There's another world view, that of Fitzgerald and Garwin.
This book and Garwin's reviews give a good insight into the minds of people who were intellectually important during the time when the Wall was a reality and killed people monthly. We really were afraid of losing the Seventy Years War and the USSR was a fearful beast capable of invading neighbors -- it had done so in Hungary and Prague and threatened to do so to Poland to the point where Poland invaded itself to satisfy the Russians. These works show the minds of people who, having worked as hard as they could to prevent the collapse of the USSR, are now trying to denigrate the efforts of those who brought that about. It's mildly amusing to see them flop about, but they are clever, and they might convince people who weren't there that there's some element of truth to the fantasies they spin. The worst of a well written book like this is that it is likely to win prizes and be taken for a serious work of history instead of a panegyric to those who almost lost us the Seventy Years War.
There is an additional story in this week's U.S. News and World Report about No Gun Ri:
May 24, 2000
Opening a discussion on computers to take to college in mail.
I discovered I never linked my essay THE GRAND INQUEST OF THE NATION anywhere here. It appeared in Intellectual Capital some weeks ago; this is the original from which the edited version was taken. I need a place to list unedited versions of columns, but I won't set that up today. Also over there is a copy of the monster email of which I got about 1000 copies...
And my rants on SDI have received a comment from Jay Keyworth, formerly Science Advisor to Reagan. I have collected my recent materials, and Jay's letter, and put it all over in alt.mail, since it has more than passing interest.
There's more on the college computer discussion.
May 25, 2000
First an urgent message about DDoS attacks:
Roland Dobbins <email@example.com> // 818.535.5024 voice
Null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate,
inane and empty of meaning for all time.
-- Pope Innocent X, on the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648
Heads up. Of course if you followed our advise and installed a firewall you won't be part of the problem. And so far the Net seems crisp and responsive this morning.
Regarding Office Assistant: I don't want to kill him. I rather enjoy Clippy's antics, and I like the dog (in 2000, not available in 97) even more. What I want is to be able to leave the Assistant turned on but tell him to stop telling me I am trying to write a letter. I know darned well I am writing a letter. I was writing letters before the people who conceived the Office Assistant were born. I don't need those whippersnappers telling me I'm trying to write a letter, and if I want their help I'll ask for it. That's what I want to turn off. I like being able to ask for help, but if I had a real live Office Assistant who kept popping into my office to say "It looks like you're trying to write a letter" I'd throw him out the Window and find another...
I got this on another forum:
Anybody interested in possible mechanisms and
madness-creativity links may profit from consulting Hans Eysenck's 1995 Genius:
The Natural History of Creativity from Cambridge University Press.
It's all true. I recommend the book to those interested in the subject.
May 26, 2000
This is a link to a ScienceDaily article about GWS. I thought You might find it interesting.
Interesting. Thanks. I sure don't know what's going on here, but apparently something is...
Important virus warning in mail.
May 27, 2000
I have been much afflicted by either unshakable head cold, allergies, or something horrible I don't want to think about. Head feels like it's in a vice, but usually nasal passages are clear, and the productive cough has gone away. Sore throat a week ago but that's gone. Temperature normal. Listless, sleepy (but not getting much sleep due to restlessness) and general debility. Pulsating rushing sound in the head at the opera Monday night. (That is, heard the crowd noises louden and soften in rhythm with my pulse.) I managed the energy to hike with Niven Thursday, and yesterday I had hardly the energy to move.
Last time this happened (stuffy head, unshakable head cold, not the rushing rhythmic sound which I never heard before) I used snake oil, which I don't believe in, but it worked: that was a couple of years ago.
There is an announcement of Symantec's cure for the new virus. See mail. I do not normally run press releases here but this seemed worth doing. There is both a description of the virus, and announcement of cure.
And an inquiry about ex libris over in mail.
May 28, 2000
We have domains again, after many adventures, thanks largely to Mr. Dobbins. The column will have a lot about NT PDC's, recovery from their loss, and migration to Windows 2000 server. We have 2000 Server running here now...
I found that my DC/X paper was unlinked, and have put it where it can be found again. It's mostly of historical interest, of course.
I am beginning to believe I have lost my mind. I distinctly remember linking my essay on the Grand Inquest of the Nation to something, in View or elsewhere, but today in looking for unlinked files I find it again. That makes no sense, but then I thought I had put up a number of my Intellectual Capital essays, as I wrote them rather than as they appear edited, and I can't find them either. I must be losing something. Well, it's Linked now. But this is goofy.
Well, I guess it's memory tricks. I put up the "Originals" of several articles, and I must have emailed the URL to subscribers without any links. Anyway, you can find them now... These are essays you might not have seen before, about communications in the future, the Treason of the Clerks, and Predicting the Year 2000.
I also found this which is pretty neat, but I have no idea where it came from. It has been unlinked until now. I may use it in other stuff.
On the Domain Recovery Story: I suppose I could blurb it as we do fiction. Dobbins vs. the Dead machine twice resuscitated, recovery without recovery tools, discovery of a splendid little tool to edit NTFS files when you can't boot the machine, and more; it will all be in the column...
Roland Dobbins takes a break, while Roberta works on her program. Me, I just log it while they do all the work... Actually, I was changing a CDROM drive in Princess. With all the other problems, that went out. Why not? Full story in the column...