THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 381 September 26 - October 3, 2005
Highlights this week:
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September 26, 2005
We will have a new debate on what to do about Iraq, but first an interesting item from The Guardian:
Subject: I don't believe this, but it's . . . interesting.
I don't believe this, but it's . . . interesting.
- Roland Dobbins
You may or may not agree with the aphorism Mr. Dobbins has chosen to accompany this. Marvin Minsky once told me that programming in a Wirth language was a bit like putting on a straightjacket so that you couldn't hurt yourself. Marvin preferred LISP, although he was known to use APL sometimes. But then Marvin was writing programs to investigate AI, not to control ICBM's... Perhaps it is time to have a new language debate. I am still of the opinion that if our operating systems and software were written in something like Modula-2 (expanded and with better I/O libraries), with strong typing, mandatory declarations in the heading sections, and both type and range checking during compilation we would have far fewer bugs, and far fewer security holes. It would run slower but the hardware is taking care of that; you would not notice the speed difference now. And some of it would run faster because it wouldn't be patched so often. With strongly typed and structured languages, the compiler catches many of the bugs; and once it is compiled it generally does what you expected it to do. As for speed, you can always go in and hand optimize loops if need be.
But that is for another debate another time.
Of course Katrina was pretty much Bush's fault: At least Al Gore told the Sierra Club so. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/9/12/215525.shtml?et=y
As to what happened there:
-- Roland Dobbins
Leaving me at a loss: does anyone reliably know what really happened? I have pointers to this article from several of you; thanks all.
We also have this:
Subject: Katrina datacenter blog
It's a lot calmer of late, but there's a blog being kept by the people at DirectNIC in NO who kept their datacenter up & running right through Katrina to the present. They apparently have been working with the city to get at least basic datacomm set up for the recovery work. There's a picture gallery from their vantage point in the business district and from their various sorties into the city. Unfortunately, there's also any number of items about being hassled by both the NOPD and the military patrols. Check http://livejournal.com/users/interdictor (mirrored at mgno.com) for a running journal from the middle of the hairball. -- Bob Halloran Jacksonville FL
And on another subject:
For those that say the Chinese are only
repeating Mercury should read this. Each Shenzou leaves a piece of the space
station up there.
And if you want to know more about SWIFT:
Jerry: You might want to post this URL, for people who want a little more information on Swift.
"Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students."-- Hector Berlioz
Good article, with good pictures.
Recently, after a LASFS meeting, a group of us were talking about the current job market in Southern California. While it does appear to be picking up in some areas, one of the problem areas is for people with a strong admin background, such as myself.
You kindly offered to post a letter from me about this, along with a link to my resume, if I would send it in to you. I am taking you up on that offer!
I'm a retired US Army NCO, with over 20 years experience. Almost all of my assignments required a great deal of administrative expertise and office management. I've worked in positions in the Law Enforcement, Human Resources and Military Intelligence field. Trust me, I can multi-task and think on my feet.
My resume is available at:
Thanks for your time and help, Jerry!
He's not even exaggerating. I don't mind being a reference if one is needed.
|This week:||Tuesday, September
There is much to do today, and like housework, it never shows when it is done. I have to clean off my desk so that I can have space to pay the bills. I need to check with the IRS to be sure my quarterly payment got to them: a truck with thousands of quarterly payment checks went into the Sacramento River. The IRS is graciously waiving late fees provided that you pay quickly now. Generous of them.
I have an interesting collection of mail, some of it excellent. One item is Francis Hamit on explicit instructions on how to publish your work as e=books. If you have thought of doing that, you really must see his letter. I expect I will collect all of Mr. Hamit's advice on these subjects into a single Reports page, but for now they remain scattered through mail.
I find that Google rates this as a site with rating 6 (out of 10) but I get various interpretations of what that means. I doubt I will spend any effort to raise that number. We have a nice community here, and I am content that it grows by accretion rather than suddenly by stunts. After all, I don't have advertisements here.
Except two: www.byte.com which you mostly know about; this week there's a long bit on video and codecs that you ought to read if you haven't; and one other, a source for a nasal pump that works; one reason I am so far behind in getting my desk cleaned off (and with the column coming up, too!)
It is allergy season, and I may have picked up a cold as well; without this gadget I would not sleep through the night. As it is, I find I have two nights in a row first used it at bed time, then in the middle of the night, and again when I got up. It works, and I am breathing normally again.
Truth in advertising: if you buy one of these through this link, I get a small commission. I didn't ask for that, the company offered it after I started sending people over there. I'll take the money, but I don't promote this because I may make a few hundred dollars a year out of it. If you have allergies, or bad colds, or anything that gets your head all stopped up, this is the remedy; It Just Works.
More later, but it is clean up the desk time. After I take my pills. And fill the humming bird and oriole feeders. And put out bird seed including peanuts for the blue jay. And -- well, I said was work that didn't show much after effect. We did get in our walk.
More contradictory witness data from New Orleans. I am very confused:
All is well, but it is very busy here. I'll have a long letter from a serving officer on his view of Iraq and our future grand strategy. Unitil then I have errands to run. Apologies.
Meanwhile go to
and read, then comment. My thanks to Charles Brumbelow for finding this gem.
September 29, 2005
The kitchen appliances seem to have died and the morning has been spent getting the plumbers in. At least I have my walk. You will be interested in a serving officer's views of the War on Terror.
There is also a reply from the Young Jacobin academic, and my long reply.
Next major item: the language wars. Stay tuned
In another conference I was asked when the neoconservatives ceased to be allies of the conservative movement. My answer:
Once the cold war was over, some of us wanted to revert to the notion of avoiding entangling alliances and not being involved in the territorial disputes in Europe.
The idiocy -- sheer stupid idiocy -- of our involvement in former Yugoslavia, a place where we had no conceivable national interest and where we were unlikely to do any good whatever, should have been the tipoff. Then too there was the Israeli matter: never a criticism of Israel, always the notion that without the USSR in the pictures we had some great stake in settling the Israel/Palestine mess. Why?
The neo-cons ceased to be realists in foreign policy in the mid nineties. Moreover, they continued agitate for continued U.S. subsidies to keep Israel socialist. Leave out the notion that it is Israel: keeping them socialist through subsidies is an ideological matter. Israel would be a lot better off without all the socialism. Conservatives know that. Neocons do not seem to.
From the collapse of the Soviet Union on the neocon strategy diverged from traditional conservatism.
Eventually the egregious Frum was permitted to read out of the Conservative movement all those who did not support the new neocon Imperialism. I gather National Review has begun to regret that, but not enough to apologize to Stephen Tonsor for allowing the egregious Frum to insult him in the pages of NR.
It was easy to see that the neocons were Jacobins after about 1995.
[I must have been in a stupor when I first typed the above: I said Jacobite, not Jacobin. The Jacobites were Stuart Restorationists; a different political obsession altogether. See Stevenson's KIDNAPPED for details.)
September 30, 2005
Subject: FW: Your computer is not sleeping
We've been asked if you should leave a computer turned on during thenight.
We now have the answer.
Your computer is NOT sleeping while it is unattended during the night!
Click on the web link below to see what goes on if you leave your computer running overnight.
Astonishing! I never knew...
How to become a terrorist
Hilarious. But really, Tempest, meet Teapot. Teapot, this is Tempest... I find that everyone with the possible exception of the professor acted like a sophomore...
At this point I probably ought to write more on the subject, but it seems so very obvious.
October 1, 2005
Next week we will open with a new short essay by "Young Jacobin." Those of you who subscribe already know this. If you subscribe and did not get today's mailing, (1) check to see if your mailbox is full; most returns are for that reason, and there is nothing I can do about that. (2) If your mailbox is not full, send me a not using the usual address and subject and the word "subscribe" in the subject matter. Include your subscription name, your subscription address, and a name and address that will definitely reach you. I want to clean up the mailing list once and for all. And (3) check the badmail page; which I will update shortly.
We have just seen SERENITY. It will be the movie of the month. Fair warning, my wife says I owe her three chick flicks. She liked it; Wheedon does women well. But I will still have to take her to 3 chick flicks. There is a bit of violence here and there...
October 3, 2005
I see that Ebert and Roeper give Serenity two thumbs up. They should. Mostly I took the day off. Tomorrow a new letter from a young Jacobin.
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, 8,000 - 12,000 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. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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