THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 452 February 5 - 11, 2007
Highlights this week:
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February 5, 2007
I am dancing as fast as I can... The mailbag and a special report are up at Chaos Manor Reviews. I've done the draft of the column and I'm getting comments from my advisors. Niven has done another thousand words of Inferno 2 and I need to work on that. There's a ton of stuff on Global Warming -- the debate is NOT over.
It's a great life if you don't weaken.
The Border Patrol Agent who was sent to prison for shooting a marijuana smuggler in the arse (maybe; it may be that the guy was shot by his own people for losing the cargo) was beaten up over the weekend, a predictable event. Clearly the US Attorney intends to send a message to anyone who tries to actually enforce border security. There was no need to send this man to a prison full of illegal aliens; but it was done. It is hard to believe that this is incompetence. If it is incompetence, the officials ought to be dismissed as useless. If it is something else, the Legions should take notice. This can happen to you.
There is considerable discussion of the Global Warming situation over in Mail. I suppose I ought to close this discussion on the grounds that little more will be forthcoming, but I keep hoping that people will realize: We Really Do Not Know whether its heat or ice we face in the future. The odds may be a bit higher for heat but they aren't anything like 90% certainty. Those living anywhere between Minnesota and the Atlantic coast are probably aware of this today. My daughter in law says it was -7 (with wind chill) in Fairfax Virginia at noon...
|This week:||Tuesday, February
A long and perceptive essay, mostly of interest to scholars I suppose.
And for fans of the bizarre: http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2007/02/astronaut_lisa.html
(This story seems to be all over the morning papers)
Subject: Commercial Quantum Computer?
I do not know if this is true or just an elaborate hoax, but if it is true, who cares about dual core machines? :)
Indeed. But in fact I know nothing...
And now it is time to get to work on fiction.
Subscribers: you will shortly get a note about content in the closed areas. It took me long enough to get something there, but it will be done before the end of the week. Thanks for your patience. You will get email giving details on how to access this.
I have up to now put the columns and mailbags up in the general section as they are done. One possibility is to have a few days delay: that is, stuff goes into the subscriber area for a while before getting out into the open. I have been reluctant to do that, and at present do not plan to do so. Instead I have been working on other material to put into the closed area. Anyway, stand by.
February 7, 2007
The Honorable Paul S.
Dear Senator Sarbanes,
As a native Marylander and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.
My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.
Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.
Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year. Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.
Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.
If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.
Your Loyal Constituent,
As I watch the House Armed services Committee hearing with General Pace testifying, I see the end of the Republic looming. It was shameful to see a lady wearing a strange hat and a sign around her body reading “No $$ for War.” I find such behavior distasteful. I remember attending one of those meetings 10 years ago (in civilian clothes) and given strict instructions about what I could not wear. I remember being in the same elevator with Rep. Patricia Schroeder and keeping my mouth shut, despite violently disagreeing with her on a number of issues.
It is a shame we have so little reverence for our republic’s process, much less for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is only a question of time now until such niceties of public participation are cast aside.
February 8, 2007
More hard work on Inferno 2.
I should have some good news for subscribers; you'll get mail within a few days.
More comes out on the Border Patrol agent cases. It's pretty clear that the US Attorney in the El Paso area is not on our side. Just what his motives may be is not clear to me. Congress is digging into it.
The Global Warming issue may be "over" and no more debate needed, but dissent continues to surface. Depending on your computer models to determine the temperature of the Earth -- it takes a computer model; think about how you'd go about getting a single figure of merit to reflect the average temperature of the Earth for any given year, even if you had millions of accurate measurements from different places -- you can come up with warming or cooling trends. We're all pretty well agreed that it is now warmer than it was in 1776. We're all pretty well agreed that it was a lot warmer in 800-1000 AD than in 1776. Whether it was warmer in 1100 than it is now is not so easily determined.
Since you can change the data from the past by deciding what it is you will include and what you will exclude, you can produce almost any trend you like. Any of those trends is defensible. None is definitive.
See http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/02/he_is_the_very_.html for some details on models.
And that's the way it is, except on peer review committees determining who gets the grants.
February 9, 2007
I will be sending a mailing to subscribers this weekend. If you have spam filters you might want to set them to let this come through. I'll be sending a reminder to non-current subscribers, too. I have some content in the Subscriber Only area, including some draft work in progress.
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Sir Richard Branson comes through as a benefactor to the human race. See mail (it's the third item in a string of them, but read them all.)
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I seem to have far too much to do, but I am slowly catching up. Niven and I went up the hill today (about 4 miles round trip with 800 foot climb), then to lunch, and we now have a scene by scene outline of INFERNO to the end of the book. It's not all written down but we see where we are going, including all climaxes (philosophical, dramatic, and comedic). But here it is weekend, the International Edition of the column is overdue and must be out, and a new weekly installment of mail and the column are due. I'm still dancing as fast as I can.
I am trying to replace the hard drive in my t42p ThinkPad. It's the only problem I have with that machine: I'm running out of disk space.
Mechanically this is no problem. I know how to do it. The question is whether Norton Save and Restore (Ghost on steroids) will move the proprietary hidden portion of the Lenovo software as well as the XP operating system and files. There seems to be some question about this, and I don't have a definitive answer. Worse, I am not even sure how I can test to see that it was done.
It's made worse by my discovery that the external case for my new internal disk drive doesn't work; I am not sure what the problem is, but I sure am not going to install that disk in that case. I need to get another, but I'm running out of time. I suppose I should save the rest of this for the column, but if any of you KNOW about Lenovo t42p systems and what hidden software is there and how it can be transferred, please let me know as soon as you can.
|This week:||Saturday, February
I seem to be on the track for figuring out how to do the t42p disk drive upgrade. It may be easy. It may not be. The complexity has to do with how to transfer the service (hidden) portions so that it all works. I think I know how to make that happen.
I am sort of running out of time, and this is a very busy weekend. I am still dancing as fast as I can. I do have the mailbag for next week done, and a draft of next week's column. Niven and I have got a scene by scene outline (in our heads) for Inferno 2 complete with philosophical and dramatic climaxes. I think I said that before, but I'm too busy to go back and look. And Sable has come up to lick my hand as I try to write this. She had her grooming this week (it was finally warm enough to wash her) and she's beautiful.
It's a great life if you don't weaken...
We are missing some back material, but I have updated Joanne's Diatribes. She gathers some remarkable information.
February 11, 2007
Today I have to get out the International Edition of the column, as well as Part Two for Chaos Manor Reviews, so it is going to be thin. Meanwhile I have been bombarded with inspiration: thoughts for scenes for Inferno 2.
And I have a bunch of Subscriptions to process so that I can send a mailing to subscribers. And, to add to it all, it's pretty clear that I have to do a book I contracted for years ago, HIGH TECH WARS, looking at such matters as military effectiveness in the high tech age. Provide for the common defense: what does that mean in today's age? Is teaching an army how to rule without the consent of the governed part of providing for the common defense? How many of the governed must consent before you have consent of the governed? And what does it mean to begin with? It's pretty clear that building a constabulary that can rule Iraq, and Bosnia, and perhaps Chad and Somalia without the consent of the governed is possible; but is that part of the common defense of these United States? These are matters that need discussion and I don't see too many people discussing them. Most of the new books on the modern military talk about what we can do; not what we ought to be doing or what makes sense.
Thomas More says in a Man For All Seasons that they ought not be talking to the king about what he can do but about what he ought to be doing. Thomas Cromwell, however, was a lawyer who knew the law, and he was careful to show the king what he could do, and to tempt him with power; and to build an executive machine that allowed the king to do as he would, including execute Sir Thomas More.
And -- do we want a military that looks to legalisms? That thinks like lawyers rather than like soldiers who are supposed to think about honor? It is no longer fashionable to study Dumezil and the great themes of Western myth and legend -- or even to think that the West is worth studying at all compared to savage societies and other examples of diversity -- but someone ought to be thinking about such matters.
Anyway, there is a lot I need to do; but this afternoon I have to get the international edition of the February column done.
There is a bit of mail and a new installment of Joanne Dow's diatribe.
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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