THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 254 April 21 - 27, 2003
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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 page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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April 21, 2003
This weekend is Henry Vanderbilt's Space Access meeting in Phoenix. I'd intended to go, but we have another duty Saturday in San Diego.
It's gloomy out, and it may rain.
I'm installing Office 2003 Beta today on the new Canterwood system, which ought to be interesting.
Phillip called, and our granddaughter got to be part of the White House Easter Egg Roll, which happened today. No pictures yet but I'm hopeful.
Iraq owes about $150 billion and can make about $20 billion a year in oil revenue. Something has to be done here; precisely what isn't clear. At least some of Saddam's debt ought to be cancelled as encouragement to those prudent enough not to lend money to him and a lesson to those foolish enough or immoral enough to do so.
How much gets cancelled and what gets paid isn't clear.
I heard that Halliburton and Bechtel got contracts without a lot of competition. Since as I understand it the only real competition for a job as big as rebulding the Iraq oil industry would be from French owned Slumberger, it's not hard to see why...
Calcium keeps girls slim ,
art&SubContentTypeId=3&ContentID=21803 Health24 - News
Whether calcium comes from dairy products or supplements, girls who consume the highest levels weigh less than girls who consume lower levels, a new study says.
"Dairy and calcium intake is associated with the level of fat and weight among adolescent girls," says lead author Rachel Novotny, a nutritionist at the University of Hawaii.
Similar findings have been found in animals, adults and in very young children, but this is the first time it has been found in young girls, she adds. These findings support the idea that calcium, especially from dairy products, helps control weight and fat.
"Skin fold thickness" measured Novotny and her colleagues from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu studied 323 girls, aged 9 to 14 years old. The researchers collected data on what the girls ate and their amount of physical exercise. They also measured the girls' weight and the amount of fat just above the hipbone near the bellybutton. This so-called "skin fold thickness" measures abdominal fat.
Naturally, the girls who consumed the most calories and did the least physical exercise weighed more and had more body fat. However, after Novotny's team looked at calcium intake, they found that despite differences in calorie intake and amount of exercise, girls who consumed more calcium weighed less than girls who consumed less calcium.
One glass of milk a day helps In fact, the investigators found that as little as a daily increase of one cup of milk or a small piece of cheese, about 300 milligrams of calcium, resulted in 1,27cm less of abdominal fat and as much as 0,9kg less of body weight. "I have reason to believe that the same effect occurs in boys," Novotny says.
Novotny presented her findings on April 13 as part of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences program at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.
A cause of American obesity? Over the past several decades, the consumption of dairy foods in the United States has decreased, Novotny says. "This may be contributing to our high levels of obesity. These findings could have a measurable impact on levels of weight," she adds.
People should be encouraged to add more dairy to their diet, which will help them control weight throughout their lives, Novotny says.
"Nothing will help if you eat too much"
"This study presents exciting results that adds to the previously published literature on the effects of higher calcium or dairy intake on body composition, particularly fat mass," says Dorothy Teegarden, a professor of nutrition at Purdue University.
She adds the result of this study provides further evidence that higher calcium intake may play an important role in reducing the growing problem of obesity in the United States, particularly in children.
However, Dr Robert Heaney, a professor of medicine and bone expert from Creighton University, cautions that while high calcium intake can help, "nothing will help you if you eat too much." - (HealthScout News)
The Wall Street Journal
April 18, 2003
Science Journal by Sharon Begley
Real Self-Esteem Builds On Real Achievement
At the annual meeting of psychology researchers in Boston three years ago, two scientists weighed in on a question that seemed to be as much in need of investigation as whether the sun rises in the east.
The pair had asked a professor to send weekly e-mail messages to students of his who had done poorly on their first exam for the class. Each missive included a review question. In addition, one-third of the students, chosen at random, also received a message -- advice to study, for example -- suggesting that how well they did in the course was under their own control. The other third received the review question plus a "You're too smart to get a D!" pep talk aimed at raising their self-esteem, which everyone knows boosts academic performance.
Compared with the other e-mail recipients, the D and F students who got the self-esteem injection performed notably worse on later tests.
It has been 20 years since self-esteem became a household word and an educational mantra. The watershed moment came in 1986, when California funded a task force to increase the self-esteem of state residents, based on arguments that the $245,000 annual cost would more than pay for itself in reduced welfare dependency, unwanted pregnancy, school failure, crime and drug addiction.
Subject: Segregation Alive & Well in 2003 By: Jessica Peck
Independence Institute For Immediate Release April 18, 2003
Segregation Alive & Well in 2003
By: Jessica Peck
We walked into the room and were told to leave. Our offense? Having the wrong skin color.
This is what happened this weekend at the University of Colorado when organizers of a forum dedicated to exploring the effects of racism, saw two individuals who "presented as White", make an attempt to participate in the forum open exclusively to "People of Color."
The workshop, one of a series hosted by Stop Hate on Campus (SHOC), a student-fee funded group on the Boulder campus, was titled the Internalized Racism Workshop. It "was not designed for White people," we were told. Instead, my friend and I could go to a workshop being held concurrently for individuals of our own skin color. When I told the workshop organizer that we had attended that workshop the day before, he was apologetic, but reiterated that we were not welcome to stay for this one.
When I asked just exactly what "internalized racism" was, a young woman in the room spoke up, "well, if you don't know, you haven't experienced it, and you shouldn't be here." The room erupted in laughter.
It was a shocking moment. As a graduate student who has dedicated the last two years to researching the role of race in higher education, I was being taught perhaps my most important lesson: segregation and separatism are alive and well on our college campuses.
|This week:||Tuesday, April
The Bush administration, say academic specialists on the Middle East,[ is responsible for one of the worst disasters in history]. They proceed to compare American leaders to some of the worst mass-murderers in history.
* Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University: U.S. political leaders are "destroyers of civilization" like Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.
* Michael Sells of Haverford College: They are "barbarians" whose "criminal neglect" makes them comparable to Nero.
* Said Arjomand of the State University of New York (Stony Brook): The U.S. government's "war crime" renders it akin to the Mongols who sacked Baghdad in 1258.
And another correspondent says:
> Not satisfied with enabling the ethnic cleansing of >> Palestine, the US is now into museum looting and >> library burning, to its own profit, as indicated >> below. When will the world unite to "liberate" the US >> (to use one of its favourite propaganda words) from >> this evil regime intent on moving from world >> domination to world destruction?
Which is pretty wild. The US didn't do any looting, that was the Iraqis themselves, some pretty well organized, so well organized that I suspect they have buyers in mind and may well have been financed.
Where are the world's largest collections of stolen property? Some would say in Oxford and London, at the Ashmolean and the British Museum. We could also say that if those treasures weren't there they would probably be lost forever; many of the treasures of ancient Greece vanished after being left behind.
And we don't want to neglect the Louvre, which has plenty of art acquired by Napoleon's soldiers.
But in fact the US didn't do any looting here, and had the Turks allowed the 4th Infantry into Iraq on schedule we might have had some troops available to prevent it.
Iraq collapsed far more rapidly than most believed it would, and certainly more rapidly than we could prudently have planned for.
And given the organized nature of much of the looting, one suspects that recovery is only a matter of money...
Pump That Oil
The French, magnanimously, are now willing to "allow" the US to start pumping Iraqi oil, although at least one proposal would be to have the UN continue its welfare for bureaucrats program usually misnamed "Oil for Food" or some such idiocy; it's a subsidy for bureaucrats and most of the money went where it wasn't supposed to go. There is absolutely no reason to revive this program. Let it die and let the bureaucrats earn a living. They weren't able to keep the oil money out of the hands of Saddam and Company, or from going for weapons: why should we now bring them back at high salaries to suck up money that they never earned and can't earn now?
Iraq needs its oil revenues. It has about 10 years worth of oil revenue tied up in debts, some of which may well be forgiven -- one reason the US ought to assume control over Iraq for a few weeks is to repudiate a bunch of debts and contracts, obligations entered into by the dictatorship and of no value to Iraq itself.
The US doesn't need Iraq's oil, but we do need it flowing again. The US economy is in part driven by the price of oil, and Iraqi oil on the open market would be the best thing we could do for our economy now; let the money go to benefit Iraq. We don't want their money. We do need to have them in the market and now.
A couple of years ago I saw on one channel or another a movie about an English woman who became the wife of a Turkish Sultan. In one scene she is astonished because one of the soldiers has a spoon in his headband. (He would have been a Janissary, whose ranks corresponded to titles like "Chief maker of the soup"). Eventually the Sultan is killed on campaign and his guards pretend he is still alive, and bring the body back seated upright in a carriage.
I never saw the titles of the movie and I don't recall who was in it, but some of those details are authentic. I would guess this took place about Napoleonic times or perhaps earlier, but I didn't note who was the Sultan.
Does anyone know what movie this was? A Google search hasn't been profitable for me.
OK, apparently it was called Intimate Power and the lady was French rather than English. A low budget film, but what I saw of it wasn't at all bad on details. There seems to be another version called "The Favorite" but the only change may have been titles. I see there are used VHS tapes and I may buy one. Some of the details seemed quite authentic, such as the Janissary commander wearing a spoon as a badge of rank.
The "Neo Conservatives" were at one time rather easily identified as the people who wrote for Commentary magazine: former liberals who became staunch Cold Warriors and eventually Reagan Republicans. Mostly Jewish although there always was a strong Catholic element. And for a time Commentary was not only the leading but very nearly the only intellectual conservative publication around that had much readership.
Now it's a bit harder to say who the Neo Conservatives are. Newt Gingrich is now called one of them, but what is "neo" about him? So far as I know he never was a liberal.
Now the New Conservatives are saying there is a great dispute between the Pentagon (at least as represented by Perle and Wolfowitz) and the State Department, and "the State Department is undermining President Bush's policies and robbing us of the fruits of military victory."
I see that Mr. Gingrich and the "neo conservatives" have revealed an agenda for remaking the Middle East into a place more of our liking. The entire plan is not clear, but it goes considerably further than we have gone, and involves taming Syria and Lebanon at the least. There is no doubt we can do that, but some questions remain.
Who shall be our Caesar once Syria and Lebanon have been brought to heel? Or will we break the Command up into parts? Upon what meat will those our Caesars feed? Will they be expected to raise the costs of their occupation forces from the peoples governed? Will we farm the tax? Perhaps auction the tax in auctions held in Washington or Miami?
Will the occupation forces be under the regular military authority of Central Command, or will we bring in someone else, and one someone else or many? Will there be a Viceroy with real powers, or will control be kept in Washington? Long service or short term? Appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, of course, but will appointive authority also be shared with the Senate and House? Will some posts be Senatorial and others Presidential?
The proposal dismisses the UN and the European Union as participants. We can all agree to that, but what will be the structure? Will we govern by right of conquest?
Will our current volunteer Army be content to remain as an Army of Occupation? What of the reservists and National Guard units? Or shall we recruit an entirely new army, say from the region, using Syrians to govern Iraq, and perhaps Palestinians to govern Saudi Arabia once that becomes a target? Or will we go to the Philippines and Samoa for recruits? Or perhaps recruit an army here in the US, but one kept overseas; the reward of 14 years of faithful service will be citizenship, pensions after 28 years.
Transportation to be kept in the hands of USAF and USN citizen volunteers, of course. We certainly don't want that kind of army to come home on its own, led by Septimius Severus...
Those are some random questions that come to mind. If they seem far fetched, think on it: if we really do intend to remake that part of the world, how do we go about it, and which of my questions is frivolous?
I have my quarrels with the Department of State, and particularly the lame brained scheme whereby Ambassadors are not the personal representatives of the President, but career officials with no political background and often with ideas entirely at odds with the American people and their elected President. Were I President I would refuse to appoint any "career" person to the rank of Ambassador. Charge d' Affairs would be high enough for someone the President wouldn't normally appoint. And yes, I know, the result would be political hacks as Ambassadors. Frankly the record of such political hacks, like Claire Booth Luce, is as good as the records of "career" diplomats, and often better. People with political backgrounds, advised by professionals, are likely to have the ear of the President; cookie pushers from State often do not.
Leave all that for another time.
For the moment, I ask again: what do we intend to do in the Middle East? I ask seriously.
While we are at it, what is to be done about Pakistan where they hate us but are, for the moment, under the control of someone who either doesn't or is smart enough to cooperate in any event.
Fred on Everything has some interesting suggestions about education. Unacceptable ones of course -- too rational. http://www.fredoneverything.net/TwoCultures.shtml
Fred's proposal needs discussion. I don't have time this morning but it will do no harm to point you to it. Education is a matter of some importance here, particularly if we are going to occupy the Middle East for long periods of time.
Think this: if schools don't induce patriotism among the long term volunteer soldiers, what will?
April 24, 2003
Roland Dobbins and other Internet/Network security professionals often send me notices, many of them very timely. Because they are dealing with the problems, they generally send a largely unformatted notice substantially as they got it. These can be long, and often are detailed. This is the sort of thing that when needed is needed badly, but for some readers it's not anything they can act on, and long messages in Mail or View are distracting.
There are also formatting issues; note that on the security page, these notices are likely to be formatted as I get them, with little attention to aesthetics (not that this place goes in big for pure aesthetics to begin with).
In future security notices will go on a security notices page, and I'll put a pointer to new notices here in View.
The first of these, about Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, is up now.
"U.S., N. Korea talks near collapse" NBC, MSNBC and news services, April 24, 2003
Roundtable talks between the United States, North Korea and China are on the verge of collapse after the Pyongyang government for the first time admitted possessing nuclear weapons and claimed it had reprocessed spent fuel rods, moving a step closer to building more such weapons, senior U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday.
>THE PYONGYANG delegation also threatened to export plutonium, the product of reprocessed fuel rods, unless the United States agreed to direct talks, a demand that Secretary of State Colin Powell again rejected on Thursday.
He further warned the North Korea regime against making threats and repeated Washington's insistence that a "nuclearized [Korean] peninsula is unacceptable."
We told Saddam he better not have any nukes. He didn't, but he's dead now, along with his family, or so it seems.
If the leadership of North Korea offers plutonium for sale on Ebay, what will we do? And what do you think the likelihood of North Korea admitting inspectors will be?
I am not entirely sure how to stand down from this. Were I the Glorious Leader of North Korea I would be sending some of my biological heirs to safer places, but I would also be thinking hard: "if I let in the inspectors, they will probably start the war by decapitation strikes; they did that with Uncle Saddam. If I don't let them in they may decide to decapitate North Korea anyway. " Then I'd cast the I Ching.
April 25, 2003
Down at Beach. Ginny Heinlein memorial tomorrow. Updates here and mail later.
I am using Front Page from Office XP and it doesn't work right, or at least not as I expected it to, at least on the Tablet PC. Very odd. Like a lot of Microsoft's "improvements" the Outlook program now tries to do things it thinks I want it to do. Since it's not very smart that can be a problem. PutriDOS rides again.
I have tons of mail, but the tools for dealing with it are pretty primitive here.
April 26, 2003
Ginny Heinlein's memorial will be this afternoon, when her ashes are added to the Pacific where Robert's were scattered.
From: Paysecurity <email@example.com>
it's a scam. The website it leads you to isn't done by the Paypal people. It isn't secure, either. DO NOT go there and do not send anyone any information.
Note also that you did not get it as a result of anything I did, or of subscribing through Paypal. It goes to people on lists that didn't come from here at all. They also have some random references they use.
We've said this before but it's worth saying again. Don't hand over financial information to anyone, and don't assume that just because they mention people you have heard of they are legitimate. More later, but be warned.
April 27, 2003
This month seems to have flown by. Off for home, then next week is WINHEC.
And I am back home, with a great deal of mail to look at, much of it spam. They have an exhibit of medieval torture instruments at Balboa Park in San Diego. Clearly we need to find some spammers to use as test subjects to see how it works. Even with a high speed connection, downloading a few hundred messages not only takes time, but with the fastest systems jams up when Outlook is doing its thing and testing for all the rules and such. And of the 368 messages, at least 250 will be spam. Those people, and the Direct Mail Association executives who protect them, are robbing us of our time; why can nothing be done to them?
There is a pretty good discussion of philosophy of science over in mail. It rambles a bit but I think was worth the effort to get the views expressed.
From Neil Schulman
Fascinating. Simply fascinating.
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