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View 470 June 11 - 17, 2007

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Monday, June 11, 2007

I have got the Column and Mailbag done and off to the advisors for comments, so both ought to be available tomorrow. Apologies for missing a week.

The good news is that I have gone from suffering to recovering: last night I had no choice but to get the column done, and the effort must have been good for me because I had felt awful all day, but once I sat down determined to work things got better. Mind over matter? Whatever it was, I went to bed with the column done and woke up feeling better. I've spent the day catching up on stuff -- I still have a few administrative chores as well as getting this place up to date -- but tomorrow I should be able to start in on Mamelukes in earnest.

I did manage a few lines in INFERNO II that, I am proud to say, brought my wife to tears. Now if they will have that effect on all the readers!

In yesterday's View I have a note about a possible crucial experiment regarding global warming and CO2. The conclusion is yes, there's warming, but no, it's not due to CO2 in the atmosphere. Consider that the essay for the day. I make no doubt it will bring many responses. I have a couple already.

I also put up a lot of mail yesterday. I'll have more today; there's a goodly response to the article about China taking the Ruhr Valley. It's one of the more pleasant things about being me: I get intelligent people to comment on matters I just don't have time to dig deep enough into. I'll try to get that into today's mail.

A final note: I see that Paris Hilton has decided to grow up, and the furor has died out. She may come out of this a better woman. For those who thought my sympathy misplaced, you are probably right, although whether what I felt was sympathy for her or rage against the snide commentators who took so much joy in her suffering is another matter. I guess none of us from the Old South ever quite outgrow the dose of knight errantry we got with our mother's milk before we read Don Quixote.

=====================

A New Security Alert. Attention!

Dr. Pournelle:

Recent security alerts:

1) Yahoo Messenger has a patch out for a IM vulnerability. Active exploits out there. Infection will allow the attacker to install software on your computer (bots, keystroke loggers, etc)

2) Apple updates for OS/X and QuickTime (the QuickTime vuln also affects Windows users).

3) Updates to Mozilla products (Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey) to fix some serious vulnerabilities

4) Cisco router vulnerabilities have been patched

5) Microsoft updates due out tomorrow (Tue), some are critical.

And a report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group reports that April 2007 saw at least 55,643 phishing web sites. Report is here: http://www.antiphishing.org/reports/apwg_report_april_2007.pdf  .

Be careful out there.

Regards, Rick Hellewell

 

 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007   

  Relapse time. I woke up feeling about as I had Sunday, which is pretty bad. I did manage my morning walk and my stretches. One problem is that the neck pinch, which generates phony headaches, is back after a couple of months of being gone. Back to stretches, because I am damned if I am going to use the Vicoden. At least the sore throat is gone. But the sinus aches are back; of course the neck problem used to generate phony sinus headache reports, too, so maybe it's all the same thing. Nothing for it but to just keep trying stretches and the like.

Managed to review much of Mamelukes last night. I'll start work on it in earnest this afternoon.

Having been properly chastised for my sympathies with Paris Hilton -- actually my main emotion was disgust at those who had such great glee over her miseries real or imagined -- I see that she may in fact have learned something from all this. The latest stories about her -- which of course didn't get anything like the ink that the first stories got -- say she's  calmed down and somewhat repentant and determined to do something useful. Quite a conversion.

When I was a lad we grew up on stories of knight errantry, this well before I read Don Quixote. I don't recall any of those stories requiring that the damsel in distress deserve rescue...   Early upbringing dies hard.

==========

I see the President is back and using his influence to try to revive the latest Immigration Amnesty Bill.

I can think of a lot of other places where he could do more good. And I notice that what he is not doing is taking care that the laws be executed. There are plenty of laws on the books to deal with the immigration crisis. The Constitution requires that the President take care that the laws be executed.

If I were going to add laws, it would be a one-time bounty to any illegal who voluntarily reports for deportation. I'd go for $4000. With of course fingerprinting, Bertillon measurements, and other identification so that those who try to collect more than once have their previous bounty confiscated, get sent to Arizona for 90 days in the sheriff's camp, and sent back home again. For a couple this is $8,000, enough to get a start back home; and it's still cheap compared to what they cost the state and federal governments by being here.

My second law would make it mandatory for any illegal alien convicted of anything more serious than minor traffic be turned over to ICE for deportation; and of course mandatory instant deportation for anyone who already has a deportation order, is still here, and comes to the attention of the authorities in any way whatever. (Indeed, I'd put a $2,000 bounty on their heads. It will then be a race: turn yourself in before Big Dog finds you...)

My third law would be instant citizenship for anyone honorably discharged from the US Armed Services after 8 year, with the privilege of sponsoring spouse and children for citizenship through the usual process.

Try those and see what happens. I suspect the immigration crisis would calm down. The incentive not to have to pay the bounty to those who make it across the border should be enough to get some vigor in protecting the border.

============

Apparently people are beginning to realize that it's damned expensive to turn corn into ethanol for burning in cars, and drives up the price of food. Of course its the Chinese who have figured it out. US politicians aren't that smart.

===============

I am told that there are private sources for money supply.

 

 

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Wednesday,  June 13, 2007

Woke up feeling slightly better but the pseudo headaches from the neck continue.

 I note that the LA City Council believes that the city of LA is for illegal immigrants, to the point that the LA Police are not supposed to inquire about immigration status of criminals. This is "to gain the trust" of the illegals.

Perhaps Venezuela will bomb Washington to force the US to cede California to Mexico.

Barack Obama is out thumping for more ethanol fuels.

The Minarets of the Golden Dome in Samara have been destroyed by terrorist bombers. That should bring peace to the territory.

Eleven countries get a larger percentage of their electric power from nuclear than we do, although we invented the technology. We keep sending soldiers to Mesopotamia.

Bush goes to Congress to ask for new immigration laws, but has no intention of executing the laws already on the books.

Have all our leaders gone stark raving mad?

=================

My brilliant wife has found the neck brace. Last year when I had these pseudo headaches I ended up with a neck brace for several weeks. Whether it was the cure or not, it certainly helped. Now I'm wearing one again, and it does seem to help. Sigh.

==============

Don Herbert RIP

Good night, Mr. Wizard


http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/
TV/06/12/obit.mr.wizard.ap/index.html

http://news.com.com/Don+Herbert-TVs+
Mr.+Wizard-dies+at+89/2100-1038_3-
6190660.html?tag=st_lh

============

A number of subscribers have asked for formats other than pdf for Another Step Farther Out and the California 1912 6th Grade Reader.  I confess I haven't the time to make conversions. Obviously I have them in Microsoft Word format but they haven't been formatted for actual display. I suppose I have a way to convert them to Microsoft Reader format but I haven't done that in years and I have forgotten how to do that.

I'm not unwilling to provide other formats but I am unwilling to put several days into the conversion until after Mamelukes is finished.

Suggestions and volunteers welcome.

 Dr. Pournelle.
You wrote, "A number of subscribers have asked for formats other than pdf for Another Step Farther Out and the California 1912 6th Grade Reader."
I have to wonder if these requests are because Adobe reader has become such a bloated memory and CPU hog?


If so, I highly recommend Foxit reader. It is much smaller, much faster, and at least as capable as Adobe reader. It's also free.
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
Claud Addicott

 

MS Reader Format

Jerry,

 There is a plug-in for Word 2000 & up -  <http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/rmr.mspx>
  to covert Word to .LIT format.

 Bill

I guess I recall that, but I haven't done anything about it. The problem is getting the chapter formats and table of contents right. I'll have to look into it.

==================

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday,  June 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Roberta

Flag Day

http://www.spikedhumor.com/articles/110218/
The_Most_Terrifying_Video_You_ll_Ever_See.html

purports to settle the question of what to do about global warming: DO SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS THE WRONG THING TO DO, because the worst that happens that way is we lose money, but if we DO SOMETHING, and only if we do something, WE WILL PREVENT THE END OF THE WORLD!  SO get out there and get the government regulating things, and TAKE ACTION, because it is irresponsible to do nothing.

The "SOMETHING" we must do is unspecified; which is to say, he assumes we know what will prevent the END OF THE WORLD. All we have to do is go do that.

But in fact, if we DO SOMETHING and it actually causes global depression, in a world with nuclear weapons, the result may not be so pleasant after all. We may end up with a nuclear war, or a nation that uses nuclear blackmail to get more than its "fair share" of the resources are made more scarce by the measures we are taking. In other words, the downside of DOING SOMETHING isn't just "unpleasant"; it may be DOOM; and that downside for that action is about as likely as the END OF THE WORLD which he postulates will happen if we do nothing and the global warming people turn out to be right.

It's worse than that. The trend now is warming; but not long ago the trend was cold, Ice Age, and I assure you that the return of the ice will be worse, far worse, than a few degrees of warming. With warming we have to migrate north, and lands to the north become good cropland while present temperate zones are harmed. It ain't good, but the the Ice is worse.

So when we DO SOMETHING perhaps we ought to think about doing something about the coming ice, just in case; since that's the really worst case, far worse than warming.

As for me, I want to Do Something: I want to find out what's happening. I want to spend enough on instrumentation and data to make it damned clear whether we are warming or cooling or just in a cycle we have been through before, and what is causing whatever is happening, and what the REAL effect of CO2 reduction would be.

I want to Do Something: I want us to have the resources, chiefly the energy resources, to take action no matter which direction things are going. To do that we need nuclear power plants. These won't add CO2 to the atmosphere anyway.

I want to start prize programs and X projects that will get us lower cost access to space and space solar power satellites. Those won't add CO2, but they'll sure give us some resources to DO SOMETHING once we are certain we know what it is to do. We can slow the coming Ice Age if it's Ice this time. And we can generate energy that doesn't add to greenhouse gasses.

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

     -- Robert Frost

==============

Subj: DO SOMETHING about Global Warming

But surely the impulse to DO SOMETHING about Global Warming -- even if the SOMETHING is useless or counterproductive -- is simply a manifestation of the well-known tendency of Americans -- and especially of members of American elites -- to express Pareto's "Type III Residues"?

Is it really useful to get yourself all worked up over the faulty logic of derivations like Anthropogenic Global Warming?

http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/DSS/Pareto/PARETOW3.HTML 

Rod Montgomery==monty@starfief.com

Precisely, but that is a level of thinking that is not usual. The academic in the video really believes he has presented an irrefutable argument; the fact that no one has enlightened him is more a function of the kinds of people he talks to than anything else.

====================

We're off to the beach house. Roberta thinks I have allergies. I am still wearing the neck brace and that sure feels better.

 

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Friday, June 15, 2007

I am safely at the beach house. Took Roberta to her birthday dinner at the Green Flash last night. It's one of the best sea food places in the beach area, actually one of the better places in the country. I wouldn't go there for steak and burgers, but for fresh fish and calamari it's as good as any I know of.

Took a trip out to Fry's and got a ViewSonic 19" Monitor on sale for $169. I am not sure it's what I wanted; these letters are a bit small on the screen at best resolution. The text looks good, but it's a little hard to read. I'll have a review in Chaos Manor Reviews. I also got a Microsoft wireless "Comfort Curve" keyboard, this in aid of not having to dismantle the similar setup I keep up in the writing room AKA Monk's cell. I do like the Comfort Curve sculpted keyboard. I do wish it had collapsing spring keys to improve the tactile feedback, but I can definitely work with this. More on that in the column.

This afternoon it's to work on Mamelukes. I'm still wearing the neck brace. I think I got way out of alignment on the DC trip and it's taking a while to get back into shape. The antibiotics have cleared out any bugs I might have -- There ain't no bugs in me, there ain't no bugs in me... -- but I may have a virus. Or I may have allergies. The beach ought to cure those if so.  The house is well cared for by our old friend Joe Zeff. When he came over yesterday Sable was so glad to see he she could hardly contain herself. When a 65 pound Husky (and now almost all muscle, very little fat, we can count her ribs) wants to tell you she's glad to see you, you pretty well know it! Joe's sister was elected president of the LASFS, Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. I wasn't there. I had mixed emotions on that election: her opponent was Christian McGuire who chose me as Guest of Honor at the NASFIC he chaired. Not that opponent is the right word. LASFS is fortunate in having a stable of competent people willing to take office and run the club. It also contains some of the best convention managers in the US, and I am counting in the professional organizations and their management when I say that. Anyway, congratulations to Marcia.

The water and sky are blue, the breezes are nice, and I sure am glad we got this place back when real estate prices were depressed.

===============

Like a vampire the immigration amnesty bill has arisen one more time. The Republicans obviously have a death wish. Over 70% of the American people, including a majority of Democrats, do not want amnesty bills, and do want the existing laws enforced. Despite all this both parties continue to try to remake the United States into a country in which there is no sense of unity; which has historically been a formula for urban unrest followed by a military takeover to prevent civil war.

And the Majority Leader of the Senate of the United States now says that he has no confidence in General Petraeus. The Republicans have allowed the Democrats to force the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs out. We live in very interesting times. We have sown the wind. It will be interesting to see what whirlwinds we reap.

It looks very much as if both parties are now conspiracies to take control away from the American people. Who will rescue us?

==============

http://www.universetoday.com/2007/06/
14/no-stars-shine-in-this-dark-galaxy/

and

http://www.flyingmag.com/article.asp?section_id
=13&article_id=811&print_page=y

may be of interest.

=============

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-06-06hm.html

Muhammad is now second only to Jack as the most popular name for baby boys in Britain and is likely to rise to No 1 by next year, a study by The Times has found.

http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1890354.ece

=============

 

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Saturday,  June 16, 2007

If you want a picture of the future, read this:

http://www.nowpublic.com/nightmare_at_reagan_national
_airport_a_security_story_to_end_all_security_stories

The purpose of the TSA is to make the American people understand they are now subjects, not citizens. Bush has accomplished this much if nothing else. We are no safer for the TSA -- airplanes are not hijacked now because of better cockpit security and getting rid of the rules that forbid passengers to defend themselves. The airplane security rules in effect before TSA coupled with stronger cockpit doors and better instructions to the crew would have stopped 911; the billions spent on employing otherwise unemployable deficients who demand "respect" when they know they are contemptible could have been better spent on real security; but that is not the purpose of TSA. The purpose of TSA is to humiliate the American people. Does anyone suppose that the present system is the best way to secure air travelers? It is obvious to those with the power to change it that it is nothing like the optimum way; but that does not matter.

It is not only Bush. The Democrats won't abolish this idiocy. No one seriously running for office would.

Of course if the supervisor had actually done the job it was hired to do, the incident would never have happened at all, since it was very clear to everyone in the room, supervisor included, that the sippy cup was no threat to the passengers or anyone else. But that would have required a modicum of intelligence and might actually have merited some "respect" and this creature was not capable of that. But be sure to "respect" the TSA employees. 

At the moment an actual kowtow knocking your head on the floor would be considered sarcasm and disrespect; but I wonder if some of you will not live to see that become the usual required obeisance to Federal "law enforcement" officials in future? You cannot lie to them. You cannot "disrespect" them no matter how stupidly they act. You are subjects, and do not forget it.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/fbi_terror_watc.html will not make you feel better...

Thanks to Hortensia for the references, as well as

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9deb730a-19ca-11dc-99c5
-000b5df10621,dwp_uuid=73adc504-2ffa-11da-ba9f
-00000e2511c8,print=yes.html 

Freedom, not climate, is at risk

By Vaclav Klaus

The writer is President of the Czech Republic

Published: June 13 2007 17:44 | Last updated: June 13 2007 17:44

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now. ........

Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

- "H"

It is all of a piece. There are those who want to control other people, and persuade themselves that they are doing a "service" when they do so. In the old days aristocrats were supposed to have a modicum of good sense and judgment, and the oath of fealty ran both ways, down as well as up; the lord was supposed to bear true faith to his subjects. Of course heredity was not a reliable way to select those with such awesome powers, and was replaced by counting noses to select the top people, who then select those they think fit to be the lords. So long as those on top did not stay there, and were as subject to the laws and restrictions as any others, this worked passable well, since those in charge did not have a great incentive to expand the command powers: after all, they too would be subject to them at some point.

But we now have career "civil servants" and career politicians, who will never be subject to the laws that govern the rest of us. Our masters have little incentive to restrict the scope and power of government. And if we thought taxation without representation was bad, think about what taxation with representation has achieved. Of course there are those taxes we vote on ourselves and those we vote on other people; and of that latter there is no limit nor incentive to have a limit. Let the rich pay. And any tax reduction is of course a "gift" to those who formerly paid them. We need those additional taxes. How else are we to pay the TSA?

================

An interesting drama played out at the beach. Drama is not the proper word. Farce might be more appropriate.

First, about 9 AM two San Diego Police on horses rode by, headed south on the beach. Then a cruiser came by on the paved road near us. Our place is on the Bay Shore Walk; you can't drive here unless you care to drive on the sand, but there is a paved spit nearby with parking.

A few minutes later an unmarked Mercury of the sort my wife drives -- these are favorites for unmarked police cars and detectives -- came up and parked more or less illegally. A uniformed SD officer got out and walked down south carrying a clip board. He vanished into a house a few houses down the beach.

An hour later the two mounted police came back up along the beach shore. Their horses were magnificent. One was a palomino gelding, beautiful animal. As they rode along the shoreline I wondered aloud if they had to pick up the poop, and if so, where they put it.

They came up to discover the illegally parked unmarked car. One used a radio. They laughed. (This is about 50 feet from us, on the road out to a spit in Mission Bay.) The other sent a text message on a Blackberry or something like that. Five minutes later a marked SD SUV with a lone female uniformed officer appeared, drove out onto the sand, and did a U turn. The officer got out. Opened the back. Produced a pitch fork and some kind of bag. Proceeded to retrieve the poop and put fork and poop into the back of the SUV. Then she drove out the spit to where the two mounted officers were waiting. They talked. About the poop? I don't know, as they were too far out on the spit to overhear. I wondered how they selected the person to retrieve the poop. Roberta wondered how much poop you have to pick up to merit a promotion.

Two more mounted police came out onto the spit; whereas the first two were both men, this was a male and female pair (the female officer was riding a mare). All four now stopped to look at the illegally parked Mercury. They talked for a while. Then one began writing a ticket. They put the ticket on the right side of the windshield. All four then rode west toward the ocean beach. As they passed I called "You do know that car was left there by a uniformed officer?" One of the MP's laughed and said she knew that. They rode into the -- well, not sunset since this is still before noon. Into the west.

Ten minutes later the uniformed officer came out to his car from whichever beach house he had been visiting. He stowed his clip board and drove off. Roberta thinks he had not yet seen the ticket. I think he saw it and was ignoring it.

I would love to know the rest of this story, but I don't suppose I ever will. So it goes.

=======================

 

 

 

 

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Sunday,  June 17, 2007

A peaceful day. Alex and Frank came down, and we overate at the local Denny's. I had a "Meat Craver's Slam." I have got both letters page and column done, and my sinuses seem to have cleared up.

Home tomorrow.

===============

 

Sleepless night, alas. Packing up, out of communications until evening. On the way home.

 

 

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