THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 263 June 23 - 29, 2003
Highlights this week:
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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June 23, 2003
I'm putting this up Monday night. There was a lot of mail Sunday, go read that, and I'll get something up here later today.
A reader points out that only a science fiction writer could manage to put something up on Monday night the day before. It's one of those tricks we have...
I am working on some notes about Bertelsmann, Napster, and intellectual property, but it may take a day or so. Meanwhile the action is in mail.
Meanwhile, I have a question. You may answer it anonymously if you have a definitive answer:
Why do I get many copies of the same spam, each with a different subject and "from", all ingeniously designed to get past my spam filters and appear to be an actual message. Things like "The server is down" as a subject. What is the point of this? Does anyone seriously believe that, having gone to the trouble to filter out the real subject of the spam (usually Viagra or some form of masculine organ enhancement), I will now buy some of the product because I saw the advertisement in a preview pane? In other words, what is the incentive for all this futile ingenuity? Do they merely count coup, and if so, how can they know if they were successful? Why do people bother with this exercise in futility?
Understand, I know that they are hiding their real address and the subject to get past spam filters. What I want to understand is who will both have spam filters in place, yet buy from these wretches if they manage to get past the filtering system designed to keep them out? I can't think there are five hundred people in the United States who would actually do that. If I want Viagra, God knows I have no shortage of places I can get it; and if I don't, why do I want to be bombarded with offers? And why would I or anyone be stupid enough to refinance my home because of an offer that lied up front about its origin and subject? Why trust the wretch who sent me the offer?
One thing about empire: at some point an influential count or duke (Commissioner, or Administrator or Assistant Secretary) will become annoyed with the spammers and make them go away. Under the present system everyone in the nation is guilty of some crime, and can be displayed under arrest in public places. It's only a matter of someone influential enough wanting them to see another Perp Walk on national TV.
We continue to feed a trooper a day into the Iraq meat grinder. It's a small cost except to the one fed and his family, but it mounts up: units have to toughen up under continual danger and losses. Add the heat and it can get serious.
The proper way to occupy Iraq is to build a comfortable enclave with good defenses and secure perimeter, garrison that, then bring in a client army to do the actual occupation. The client army should be from a state in which, or near which, we maintain a substantial garrison, so that the homeland is held hostage (although we would NEVER say it that way) to the good behavior of the field army doing the dirty work. There are plenty of countries that would like to rent out their soldiers and would actually welcome a substantial US force in their midst. They don't intend disloyalty to the Alliance, they want in on it; they would like to be part of the hegemony.
The advantage of this is that most of our troops either get to come home or take their families to the client state where it's a lot more pleasant than Iraq in the desert (116 F at 2 PM average last week), and the body bags don't go to the US. In fact, most client states will simply bury their troops where they fell rather than send them home.
We could also recruit a few regiments of Iraqis, train them to be MP's, and let them do most of the dirty work. Using crack armored and mechanized infantry for police patrols is not their best use.
Bring the army home, or send it to a pleasant client state. They're a bit tired of this:
Last Sunday, a front-page story in the New York Times aroused attention throughout the Pentagon. Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell, 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, told a reporter: ''You call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building.''
And just after I wrote that, I received:
Subject: New Model Army
Exchanging fire w/Syria, too:
----- Roland Dobbins
So it looks as if I am not alone in those thoughts. Let me give you another: if we have to go in to Syria, an Iraqi army would be helpful; and indeed we can occupy Syria with Iraqi auxiliaries and Iraq with Syrian. Those are a bit close, so perhaps we send Syrians to Pushtan Afghanistan, Afghanis to Iraq, and Iraqi to Syria. Or perhaps we can recruit some Bosnians. We are only now learning the tricks of the empire trade; but as the Germans said of the United States after Kassarine Pass, we learn fast.
And no sooner had I written that than
Subject: 70% deployed?!
------- Roland Dobbins
I find that high speed connections save time but not as much as I would like: most pages now have about 7 popups, and while you can block them, each has to be requested, is sent from a different server with DNS lookups, and takes time; so that a page can take quite a lot of time to appear. I suppose this is the price of all that free information. It has to be paid for somehow, and popups and banner ads, blocked or not, are part of the price. Ah well.
Understand: I don't SEE the popups. I have perfectly good software that stops that. It's waiting for the page request, DNS lookup since the requested popup page will not be on the page we are trying to get, waiting for another page request, etc., until finally the page I want to look at is allowed to load: it is THAT which slows things down. Not the silly popup itself, which will download and display rapidly once located if I allow it (which I generally don't).
Of course we don't do that here, which is why you get these pages fairly quickly. It's also why we gently nag you about subscriptions, but I don't do it very often.
For a general discussion on popups, go here and then follow the links.
I have posted over in reports an essay by G. K. Chesterton on love and marriage vows. Like much of Chesterton it is both humorous and serious. It was a bit long for mail. I will put discussion of that in the reports page.
|This week:||Tuesday, June
Another long day. There is mail. And I still need to write about Head Start, and some other matters. But for the moment, see mail.
There's a discussion of journalistic ethics along with some views on popup advertisements over in mail.
If you want to be depressed, see
I see the Brits have lost troopers in the south of Iraq, and Iraqi saboteurs are able to cripple the electricity system (by blowing up oil and natural gas pipelines) all through central Iraq. Some pundits seem to think this is a surprise for our military people.
I can't think it was much of a surprise. The question is what can you do about it?
These are issues that ought to have been considered before we went in, but it's beginning to look as if we never thought that far ahead. I am not astonished by that, either. We don't think Empire and imperial interests, and our military is still an army trained for service to a republic, but being used for imperial actions.
But it has long been known that good soldiers don't make good policemen. The mission of the police is to keep the peace. The mission of the military is to break the enemy's will to resist in an organized manner, and cause him to flee the field. In this enlightened age we no longer pursue the enemy and kill all his survivors (think Shibboleth for an early example), so there are residual elements of resistance. This was to be expected.
What these people can do is cause misery to their own people. Make enough people miserable enough and things get unstable, and then, they hope, there will be an uprising against the American occupation, and we will be thrown out. The same hope fuels the Palestinians. It hasn't worked there, because the Israelis have no place to go (although the Palestinians suggest New York and Florida; amusing because in the case of some of the settlers in Gaza, they came from Long Island to begin with). It might work in Iraq since most of our troops don't want to be there in the first place, and would like nothing better than to come home. (If you missed that see above.)
And the news media are making the most of it. Where are those weapons of mass destruction? As if that mattered. The fact is that we know:
Everyone in Washington must have known all that. Surely no Congressman was unaware of any of it. There are probably people in the New York Times and the Washington Post who didn't, but even there the top layer of people have to be that smart.
And it's all water over the dam anyway. We are in Iraq now, and the question is, what do we do now?
Me, I'd serve notice: you don't want us here and we don't want to be here. So long, it's been good to know you. Have a nice dictatorship. We're keeping control of some air strips and some oil fields. You can have the profits from those oil fields if you can find anyone to run your country we don't mind giving money to. Don't build any WMD or nukes. Sayonara.
All we need from Iraq is oil flowing to keep the world price down. If need be we can pump their oil, pay for it at $20/bbl (assuming we can find someone we're willing to pay).
Then come home and concentrate on energy independence in twenty years. We could do that.
I am not sure we can pacify Iraq in twenty years. Or two hundred.
Of course we won't do that. So what do we do now?
(For reaction including some who are aghast, see below.)
And this from another discussion group:
> It might interest you that the son of IQ and the Wealth of Nations co- > author Tatu Vanhanen is now prime minister of Finland, since today. He has > been asked by journalists what he thinks about his father's ideas and has > declined to comment - probably wisely. While Finland may be lesspolitically > correct than some countries, PC isn't unheard of here either. >
June 26, 2003
Once again I am overwhelmed, but there is lots of mail, and I do have some essays in the works on other matters.
June 27, 2003
Last night about 2:00 AM the Adelphia Cable Modem service died, or else the Hawking router died, or both. Previously the router was working but the cable modem service wasn't: the only way I was connected was to pull the plug on the Adelphia. Since that had happened before, and it took them a couple of days to make it work again, I figured it was another iteration.
Then everything stopped. I left it for the morning, but it was no better when I came up here.
I can't connect through that Hawking dual at all. No Way. So I pulled the plug on it and connected the Megapath iDSL line to the faithful Netwinder, and connected the Netwinder to the LAN, and here I am, back where I was before I got the Adelphia Cable Modem. I suppose now I should try troubleshooting the router.
Well, mucking about got the Hawking router working again with the iDSL line. Now to see if the Adelphia Cable Net is also working. The Hawking Router manual says the red light should flash 5 times during the Power On Self Test. It took 3 tries to get it to do that, making me wonder about the unit. Sigh.
And apparently the Adelphia thing is working too. The Hawking Router's problem seems to be related to switching from one WAN to the other. The symptoms last night of the Adelphia failure were large downloads pausing and then dying; they'd start all right, but not continue. That was fixed by pulling the Adelphia WAN connection and forcing everything through the Megapath iDSL line. Then later in the night apparently Megapath failed also. When that happened the Hawking collapsed (a guess) and needed to be recycled.
As of now both services are working and so is the Hawking, and it was able to switch from the slower iDSL to the faster Adelphia cable modem without being reset -- that is I hot plugged in the Adelphia while the Megapath iDSL was carrying the load, and the next time anything went out it was through the cable modem.
I don't have an explanation.
While we are at it, I have much mail saying you certainly can address a D-Link router to 192.168.1.1 which doesn't astonish me: I can only say that while I was doing my initial setup and was still unfamiliar with what was going on, I called DLink Tech Support and said "I have an internal net that used 192.168.1.1 as the gateway; I want to address your router to 192.168.1.1, disable DNS services, and then connect your router in where the present routing system is connected. That should work, right?"
And was told that you can't address the router to 192.168.1.1 so no I could not do that. I was in a hurry, we had the Hawking unit, and I took them at their word. The moral of this story should be obvious.
I continue to endorse the DLink routers as good enough, and I'm happy to hear that you can address them that way, and if the Hawking gives me any more trouble I'll be using the DLink.
All my high speed connection problems have gone away without my having to do anything other than reset my router and modem. You reset those by cutting the power. Since they are both on an UPS I need to put a switched power gizmo between the router and cable modem and the UPS to make that even simpler.
The Hawking router has a light that is supposed to flash 5 times on POST. Why I had to try that several times before it would do it is not known to me: their documents don't have much explanation. So it goes.
June 28, 2003
Roberta took off for the Beach House, leaving me trying to clean up stuff here, and I am way behind. Niven has given me BURNING TOWER to essentially polish up and finish, since the action is carried on to the end now.
I have other small stuff to do and the column is looming. Time to Get To Work.
In another place I have been recorded as saying that the Road Map to peace in Palestine leads nowhere. That's reinforced by the latest FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East) advertisements on settlements, which say "Why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live in Judea and Samaria," begging the question of how they acquire the land and "security" measures including shooting at Arabs gathering olives in fields they have owned for generations. Since FLAME seems to represent the neo-conservative policy views, we may expect the Road Map to fail. Hamas and Sharon are to play chicken to see which one can hold out the longest without killing someone on the other side. I can't think that one of them won't blink first.
As to Jews in Judea and Samaria, sure, there's no justification for saying that Jewish settlers can't come buy land and live in peace, and become citizens of a Palestinian State; but I wonder just how many would want to? The settlers FLAME is defending didn't buy the land, and intend to remain citizens of Israel, defended by the IDF; and they have the right to bear and use weapons that a Palestinian would be shot on sight for displaying, particularly if the Palestinian carried the Uzi into an Israeli village in Israel.
Last Saturday we had lunch with the retired Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. He was born in Haiffa, and his family had a house there; in 1948 they fled the fighting. Israel confiscated the house, and because he was absent on May 14, 1948 at midnight (I may have the exact date wrong but it is a specific day) he was "absent" and abandoned the property and can never get it back. But he was on the Cathedral throne at St. George's in Jerusalem for many years: as he says, just how was he "absent"? He was easy to find.
I am sure that by now some third party has bought his house, and there is no title insurance in the Holy Land.
And I am glad I don't have to come up with a Road Map to peace, because I don't think the people who actually control things -- Hamas, and Sharon, and Islamic Jihad, and Likud, and FLAME, want "peace" other than on their own terms. So I find myself predicting that the Road Map will lead nowhere. It is one prediction I will be happy to find I was wrong about.
The Iraqi meatgrinder continues. One wonders just how long the troops will put up with it. Soldiers may join armies for a variety of reasons, both economic and patriotic; but soldiers fight for their comrades, not for abstract causes.
There is a scene in Caesar and Cleopatra -- one of the finest movies ever made, this is the Claude Raines/Vivian Leigh picture from Shaw's play -- in with the mob is stoning the Legions. The soldiers stand impassive, in ranks, at attention, as one after another falls to the civilian mob.
Then a trumpet sounds, and a wave of death moves across the public square. So it may yet be in Iraq. Someone will sound a trumpet.
In 1979 as part of the Camp David Accords we sent troops to the Sinai Desert to patrol the demilitarized zone.
In 1998 when I went to the Middle East I asked why they were still there. No one had an answer.
They're still there now.
Even if you believe that it is in the interest of the United States to keep the Egyptian/Israeli peace, it is not obvious why US troops ought to be sent to one of the worst places on Earth and kept there. What threatens the peace? What do these soldiers guard? Against what? A sneak attack in the Sinai desert?
No one seems to know what they are doing there. Perhaps it would be cheaper just to send the money they spend and leave the troopers at home?
I particular, learning crafts. This is expensive, and time consuming, but if you are making progress you can stand it; but lately it is taking to allowing you to make all the difficult stuff you attempt, thus using up all the resources, but although the item was significantly higher than your skill level, YOU LEARN NOTHING. This means that after 10 successful attempts you have to go get rid of the junk you have made, buy more stuff -- and you haven't go anywhere. The first time that happens it's a quirk. The fifth time that happens it is time to go back to Everquest. I don't know what they think they are doing, but they have managed to get me really really bored with this.
I know they want people to be logged on for long periods doing nothing. If that's not what they want, then why do it this way? If you make the stuff that's at a level higher than your skill you should learn something. If you fail to make it, you don't lose ALL the resources needed for the item. Sometimes you lose none. Making an item at above your skill level while learning nothing is the worst possible outcome. Since I can't think the designers don't know this, one wonders what the point is? To discourage people from learning skills?
Has anyone noticed that she has been indicted for manipulating her stock by denying that she was guilty of insider trading -- but NOT charged with insider trading.
IE: they accuse you of something. You say you didn't do it. Then they indict you for lying, although they have not proven that you did it -- and they don't even try, and don't charge you with the initial crime. You denied it, and we know you did it, even if we can't prove. What happened to presumption of innocence? Well, we assume you innocent of the original crime in that we don't jail you, but we know you really did it, so we charge you with lying about not doing it.
Now she may or may not be a revolving bitch, but of what is she guilty?
She is also charged with lying to federal investigators, but not under oath. Assuming she was lying, why, precisely, is that a crime?
When I was a lad we had the right to tell cops and investigators any damn thing we wanted to. Perjury was lying under oath. Just bullshucking the authorities wasn't a crime.
But we were born free.
about New Witch magazine. If you do spells while computing you must read this first.
June 29, 2003
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