THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 443 December 4 - 10, 2006
Highlights this week:
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December 4, 2006
This week's Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag is up. The week's column is done and will be up tomorrow.
I got up some Chaos Manor mail yesterday. Tonight after I work on fiction I will get up more; I get a lot of interesting mail here, and I do try to keep up.
I am also planning an essay on the recent attempt of prominent Senators to coerce Exxon into no longer supporting climate research that doesn't go along with the "consensus" theory; in other words, to implement BuScience and punish anyone who doesn't agree with the unscientific ravings of Hansen and company. I say unscientific ravings to differentiate the actual scientific reports that come out of NASA and Hansen's shop; there is some good science there, but then James Hansen has decided that his interpretations, which do not take any account whatever of data contrary to his views, are correct and anyone who doesn't agree is a monster who wants to end life as we know it.
This is horrifying.
I have said this before.
We do not know whether the Earth is warming or not. It appears to be warming; the probability is I would guess 65:35 in favor of warming. That is not certainty. There is a significant probability that far from warming, we are headed for Global Cooling and possibly even a new Ice Age. It is worth a great deal of money to continue doing scientific research -- not accompanied by ravings about rolling the dice and vituperation against those who don't agree with whatever hypothesis the non-scientist staffer who write most of these reports believe -- to determine what is happening.
The matter is important and we don't spend nearly enough on real research. Data gathering. Routine data gathering. Instrumentation in many places that currently are not instrumented. More measurements of Earth temperatures at ground level and various altitudes. More weather measurement satellites.
The problem is that the theorists are sure there's warming, and glom on to any data supporting that view; but the people who do the actual measurements have far less certainty about Global Warming, and many of them doubt there is any at all.
The Earth may be warming. It may not be. It's important to know whether the prospects are heat or ice because what you do about it will depend on the answer, and whatever you do about it, it will be so expensive that once you are committed to doing it, it will be damned hard to stop. The sunk costs phenomenon (Cognitive Dissonance, we used to call it in my grad school days) keeps us doing things we would not start; and it works in science as well as in military affairs and personal life. "Would you buy that stock at this price?" "Good grief, no!" "Then why don't you sell the stock you have?" "But I paid more for it..." Etc.
I do not think that intimidating those who finance climate research not in line with the consensus position is the right way to solve what is an important problem.
Political pressure to DO SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS WRONG is not a very good idea.
And particularly when the "something" is Kyoto, which will not even address the problem if the consensus position is right as rain. You may take it as given that anyone who favors the US signing the Kyoto Treaty has no right to an opinion on the subject of science and science policy. You'd be better off soliciting advice from Daffy Duck.
I know there are good arguments for assuming the consensus position to be true and looking for ways to prepare for that. In some places the preparation is not expensive and just makes good sense. But international treaties that can't be enforced and whose actual effect is massive transfer payments among nations are not preparation for global warming nor even an effective way to slow it down.
Second: Given that there is Global Warming, we ought to find out what is causing it. That again takes research, and poisoning the wells on any research that doesn't fit the current politically correct view is not going to be helpful.
Third: There's a lot of CO2 accumulating in the air. It's an open ended experiment that we'd be better off not running. The question is, are there effective ways to limit it? What extracts CO2 from the atmosphere? It dissolves in the oceans. Is there a way we can get it out of the water and into something that sinks? (Hint: yes.)
And can we slow the warming? Well, yes, paint the roofs white, at least in tropical areas. There are other ways to increase reflectivity. Why aren't we looking at them?
In other words: there are useful things we might be looking at. Suppressing research funding is not one of them.
Lots of mail will be put up tonight. Now it's time to walk the dog and think about Inferno, Mamelukes, and Lisabetta. If you missed my early thoughts on the election, they are here.
I will be putting up Chaos Manor Mail tonight but late, after The Closer... Had a good walk, an old friend is back from the VA Hospital after a bad stroke. At 91 he talks as he always did but his right side isn't in good shape. But his mind is fine. Pleasant conversation. Sable tried to join in but eventually lay down in the yard while we talked.
Gift Cards & Crooks
The crooks have found a way to rob you of your gift card balance.
If you buy Gift Cards from a display rack that has various store cards you may become a victim of theft. Crooks are now jotting down the card numbers in the store and then wait a few days and call to see how much of a balance THEY have on the card. Once they find the card is "activated", they then go online and start shopping. You may want to purchase your card from a customer service person, where they do not have the Gift Cards viewable to the public.
I did confirm this information and the victims are losing between $25 and $500. Please share this with your family and friends...
Sandy Community Relations Specialist Bakersfield Police Department 1601 Truxtun Avenue Bakersfield, Calif. 93301
|This week:||Tuesday, December
The first segment of the December column is up on www.chaosmanorreviews.com . I am doing the International edition now; that consists of Part One, some of Part Two, and Winding Down which I save to the end of the month. The international edition has to go out by the 7th of each month so that it can be translated.
I am working on material to go in the closed section for subscribers only. If you have suggestions as to what you'd like to see (whether you subscribe or not; I mean, what would get you to subscribe?) please let me know. There's only me, so I can't to a LOT but there are some things I can put up.
Subject: Raiders of The Thundering Third,
Video shot by one of our troops:
It is illuminating.
We threw out the last of the Thanksgiving turkey and leftovers today. It's about time. Now I need to go to Trader Joe's for some lunch stuff.
Subject: No ho ho
"Christmas decorations have been banned by almost three out of four UK employers, for fear of offending staff from other faiths, a survey says"
You might also contemplate the brouhaha from "Kramer" and the Laugh Factory, and Gloria Allred and lawsuits and who owns the N-word. Last night a Negro comedian declared this N***** Night at the Laugh Factory, and was fined $300 bucks and banned from the Laugh Factory for three months for using the word. The story was on the front page of the LA Times. Of course it was. I mean, it's big news when a Negro comedian says N***** in public, isn't it? Of course if you really want to hear the word stand out on Hollywood Blvd and listen to the drive by music at 120 db. But oddly enough that isn't news and no one wants millions because of having to hear it.
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
I am still waiting for someone to offer me a million dollars to eat dog food while calling me names. Heck, I'll eat nothing but dog food for a week and you can razz me at every meal. Just have a certified check ready...
The other day I managed to bollix up the TV in the back room (we don't have one in the living room and never have) so that channels 38 to 49 had no sound. I couldn't do anything to get it back. Meanwhile, the TV in the bedroom simply stopped working: there was sound, good sound, but no video whatever.
Time Warner sent out a nice fellow who showed me what I had done wrong with the back room TV. It had to do with settings for the deaf or something of the sort. In any event it was fixed by pushing the right buttons in the right order.
He fussed with the bedroom set for an hour. Never did get it working. We both concluded that the set sounded and looked healthy, but there was no video. I thought I'd have to replace it: it costs a lot just to have someone look at a flat screen TV. The technician left muttering to himself; he had swapped cables, used a signal generator, we got no video except that if you turned it off and back on for about 100 milliseconds there would be what looked like a text message bar at the top but then that vanished.
Went up to the monk's cell to work. Came back down. Bedroom TV was on. Worked fine.
Roberta had looked at all the cables and pushed the power cable -- it comes from a line lump power supply -- in firmly. Voila! I have been afraid to pull that cable out and look at it to see how it could be in far enough for audio but not far enough for video, but there it is. Pournelle's law is that 90% of your problems with electronics will be cables. I should have remembered that. Fortunately Roberta did.
The Dream Palace of Educational Theorists by John Derbyshire
It is curious: we all know all this, little is said and nothing is done.
The link takes you to YouTube. Search on Kambon is also interesting.
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
From another conference:
If any of you are at all interested in the current economic crisis (huge deficits, American debt being sold overseas, financing consumerism with debt) then I urge you to download and pay attention to the three Powerpoint presentations in the link above. Agree or disagree you will at least see what has the economists concerned.
I have no simple answers to these problems. But in a republic it is important that we all understand that there are problems.
If you need pen supplies try Pendemonium. They have a lot of good stuff at reasonable prices.
And I am off to work on Inferno after lunch with Niven.
Lord God yes.
December 7, 2006
Jerry: Pending the availability of a security fix, Microsoft advises users "not [to] open or save Word files that you receive from untrusted sources or that you receive unexpectedly from trusted sources"
I have done a fairly long note -- it is not well organized enough to call it an essay -- in reply to an essay on Iraq, Viet Nam, and dominoes forwarded to me by military friends. You will find all this in mail.
I will be gone for the day, and I have the deadline for the International Edition of the Column tonight, so there won't be much here until tomorrow.
I do not think you will regret watching this.
NASA is talking about building an International Moon Base. It will take forever and cost near infinite money.
If NASA were serious they would support legislation: A ten billion dollar tax free prize for the first American company to keep 31 American citizens alive and well on the surface of the Moon for three years and a day.
NASA need do nothing else. We would have a base in well under ten years. But of course that will never be done. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy will see to that.
We are safely back.
If you have not seen this, http://www.japantoday.com/jp/comment/864 it might be worth your attention. Of course no such hypothesis should ever be taken seriously.
December 8, 2006
I'm going great guns on Inferno. Did several hundred words in my pajamas. The darned book is taking over my life, which is as it should be. The interesting thing is that now that I know what I am doing with Mamelukes -- at least this volume, and I think for a couple more, but certainly this one -- I want to get moving on that, too.
Meanwhile, your subscriptions are keeping us going without having to worry about converting assets until I get the books done. I hope what you see here is worth it. I am working on some material for the closed subscriber section; but thanks to all the subscribers who say it's more important that I work on my books. I don't intend to neglect that forever.
Apparently I can work at the beach house. I did 1,000 words on Inferno and a draft of next week's column installment in my pajamas. Indeed, I didn't get dressed until Roberta had to send me downstairs for groceries. I guess I can knock off for a walk now. First a bit of mail...
Subject:- zero day flaw in Media Player
Microsoft has announced a zero day flaw in Media Player. It is dangerous because of the ability for its email products to automatically launch the media files.
Turn preview off. Turn reading in text only mode. Do NOT click on unexpected media files, particularly from people you do not know. And make sure they really ARE from the person it claims to be from if you recognize the name.
And Anarcho Tyranny in action:
"Inappropriate physical contact."
December 9, 2006
Subject: BBC NEWS | UK | Britain 'tried to keep Iraq army'
Looks like Bush and his cronies weren't listening to sound advice right from the outset:
but I would wager that this is accurate. It took a real commitment to Jacobinism to do things the way we did in Iraq, and it took astonishing ignorance of history and human nature to suppose that if you sent a million young men home without jobs or pay but with weapons they would simply blend peaceably back into the population. Lord God, we didn't do that with the Japanese and German armies!
Cochran says that the Bush Administration did less due diligence in invading Iraq than any of us would do in researching safety features of a new family car. Of course the Country Club Republicans have never had to do any such work; they hire people to do it all for them. Perhaps I am merely bitter.
I told them so, the Brits told them so, many of the Generals told them so (recall the US Army broadcasts telling the Iraqi generals to keep their troops in barracks and they would have an honorable place in the building of a new Iraq?); but apparently no one in power was listening. Between the arrogance of the invasion and the arrogance of power -- increasing the debt, spending like drunken sailors, increasing earmarks as if they were free, covering up everything possible, -- the Republicans forfeited the right to rule. Alas, the Democrats have not earned it. And so it goes.
If you read Bremer's book it is all in there. You know before you have read 100 pages that disaster is coming.
|This week:||Sunday, December
Someone actually gave me credit. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/magazine/10section3a.t-9.html
I have been clearing off open tabs in Firefox. Here is one you really have to read:
It will tell you some of what's going on in the "Global Warming" debates, including some rather unfair tactics by Big Science whose grants are at stake.
I have had a productive few days at the beach. We need to get back home. Sable doesn't get to come with us, and she misses us (although we have a dog runner to see that she gets exercise). More to the point, we see people playing with their dogs, and we miss her.
I am accumulating the parts for a new "sweet spot" Vista System to write about, and I am about to acquire an Intel-based Apple MacBook Pro. I need to get back to work on that. But mostly I have done very well with both Inferno and Mamelukes, and I need to keep grinding.
Subject: UN downgrades man's impact on the climate
From the Telegraph:
"UN downgrades man's impact on the climate"
-- Right now the Republicans and Democrats in Washington seem, from the outside, to be an elite colluding against the voter. Peggy Noonan
Good article, and I have always found Peggy Noonan to be an astute observer. I much like her observation.
- Roland Dobbins
Without his intervention, Communism would have had a much firmer foothold in an industrializable nation in the New World. The consequences of that could have been severe. Most forget that in 1973 the Seventy Years War was far from over, and its outcome was far from certain. Both Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger thought that Communism would eventually win, and the best the west could do was to negotiate long term truces while we slowly lost. Carter and his National Malaise, the "era of limits'; all those were in effect, and had a full Cuban style communist regime allied with the USSR set up in Chile, the course of history would have been different.
Unlike most dictators, Pinochet made the mistake of trusting liberal reformers. Once the national peril was over, and it was safe to let go, he accepted an amnesty and immunity for life in return for simply standing down. The result was an object lesson for any future dictators: never let go. There is no honor among those who claim to rule because they are the enlightened who have eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They decide what is right and what is wrong, what is honorable and what is not; and their promises are worthless. This was the final lesson Pinochet left for history.
It is said that 3,000 were killed during his dictatorship. That makes him a piker; and while we cannot know what Allende would have done, we know what Castro has done; just as, thanks to Orwell, we know what the Stalinists did in "republican" Spain; what happened in Hungary in 1956.
Once Allende was in power his regime would have been subject to the Brezhnev doctrine, which under Carter would have trumped Monroe. Recall Prague Spring where "the Czechs acted like Poles, the Poles acted like Hungarians, and the Germans acted like swine." Pinochet saved us all from that.
As to Pinochet's accumulations of money in overseas banks, given the trustworthiness of liberal reformers, who wouldn't have an insurance policy?
But it is conventional and politically correct to detest Pinochet and mourn his victims, and give no thought to what would have happened had he not acted.
FIrefox yet again. Good grief. I installed the Google Notebook, and once again Firefox did it to me. All the displays changed. The number of tabs on each row changed, and I was back to a horizontal scroll. I knew how to fix that -- it's in the upcoming mail and column -- and now when I hover the mouse over any tab it immediately opens what's on that tab. It used to give me a tooltip but no, now it has to thrash the system to bring up the new tab. I HATE THIS.
Apparently the goal is to drive me back to Internet Explorer. I can' find the setting that gets me back where I was before it allowed the blankety blank thing to update a bunch of extensions. After that I had to disable some old ones because they were incompatible. Now it's doing this. Firefox, you are driving me mad. How about letting me PAY SOME MONEY and get some instructions and STOP CHANGING THINGS once a week? Ye gods.
I haven't been able to get the Google notebook working but I suspect this new tab behavior has something to do with it.
Harsh, scary words
We'll head for home in the morning. Updates tomorrow, probably evening.
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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