THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 487 October 8 - 14, 2007
Highlights this week:
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October 8, 2007
I know it's no longer politically correct to celebrate Columbus, but for us ancients, Joaquin Miller's poem still resonates.
Over the last week I figured out the story line for Mamelukes, but in doing that I lost all interest in the column. I expect we'll all survive. Now I need to grind out the column (it's due in Japan and they have real deadlines). Then I can get to work on Mamelukes.
I believe, Dr. Pournelle, that this concerns you.
I Just received a phone call from Santa Fe. Robert W. Bussard passed away. I believe last night, but I was a bit stunned. The memorial will be the 13th in Santa Fe.
The Lady from his office wished me to know that they are committed to finishing his work on Potential Well Confined Fusion. Dolly is indisposed.
I know no more than this. Bob and Dolly are old friends. I hadn't seen Bob in some years, but we exchanged greetings at appropriate intervals.
|This week:||Tuesday, October
Cory Doctorow and copyright: See Mail.
October 10: founding of the Republic of China
I am grinding out work. Yesterday I managed some work on Mamelukes. All is well, if a bit slow.
Niven and I are plotting the next book. We still have not heard from our editor on Inferno II.
October 12, 2007
Friday the 13th falls on Saturday this month.
As expected, the Norwegians have decided to take whatever dignity and honor remains in the Nobel Peace Prize and hand it to Al Gore for his ringing statements about the ten hottest years of the century. Of course the statement was wrong, but this is the Peace Prize, not one for physics or chemistry.
Ten of the hottest years ever recorded came in the last eleven years, said Senator Gore in his Inconvenient Truth, the seminal work that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. It wasn't true, but Gore didn't know that, and those who did know it had no reason to tell him.
Meanwhile, the one power source that could power industrial growth is under renewed attack, largely from Gore's supporters.
Nobel's will stated that the Prize should go to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses." The Prize would be given "by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting." The other Prizes are given by committees selected by the Swedish Academy. Nobel never explained why the Peace Prize should be given by an entirely different group from the science prizes, but given the history of the Scandinavian countries and the stormy Union between Sweden and Norway, it's not hard to imagine his reasoning. Nobel wrote his will in 1895, when there were renewed efforts to break up the Union (ultimately successful in 1905).
We interrupt this narrative for interviews and lunch. Patrick McCray and Peter Westwick have come down from Santa Barbara to interview me about SDI and the L5 Society and the old days. I gave them copies of A Step Farther Out. Of course most of the story was on paper documents, not in electronic form. The papers we sent Reagan in 1980 - 1986 from the Council meetings were in electronic form before being printed, but they were stored on 8" floppy disks which are I fear unreadable now. Ah well.
It's near on to 3 PM and I have work to do. I am catching up. Sort of, and slowly.
The hottest years of the last century were in the 30's, which was also the hottest decade. Google "Gore ten hottest years". For visual data see http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/view/SIk76IsOtha6r4mhQs1ZI2-
|This week:||Saturday, October
We're sort of under the weather at Chaos Manor. All minor stuff. I'm reading about Renaissance naval warfare, and also reading some space operas. Space opera is a reliable way to make money without too much work, and done well can be good escapist literature. C. S. Forrester, AKA Cecil Lewis Troughton Smith did rather well with sea opera, and Hornblower stories are read to this day...
I have several decisions to make. First, do I want to do space opera on the grand scale, with Interstellar empires and faster than light travel? If so, what model? I have two such universes, the world of the First Empire following the CoDominium, and the corporate-dominated world of Starswarm. Of course I could just create a new one; the Empire was put together from the Langston Field and the Alderson Drive, and any interstellar world view I do will probably use those devices (although possibly not under those names); given those, it's possible to create an interstellar civilization. Like most I'd draw on history, probably the days leading to the Thirty Years War.
Another alternative is a solar system based space opera system, in which there is no faster than light drive. I have two such story series, the High Justice/Exiles to Glory series (those books will be bound together into a single volume available next spring from Baen); and the universe of Higher Education. Charlie Sheffield and I were contemplating a new book in that series, and it's all my fault that it never got done before he died. It's a pretty rich background for stories. Or, again, I could just do a new one, although it would look a lot like the High Justice worlds if I did; that grew out of an end to the Cold War without a hot war, and total disillusionment with the US government as it edged toward a corrupt kleptocracy grasping power and expanding its bureaucracies including the security bureaucracy.
So that's what I have been doing lately.
The electronic piracy discussion continues. See Mail.
"I put in a put play and made a quick $1700!" Ross Jardine has taught thousands to make money in the stock market. It's a beautiful thing, and this grocery clerk is now able to quit his day job, support himself, and own two houses by using this stock trading program.
I hear this radio advertisement and I think, where have I been all my life, working, pounding out words, when I could be putting in a put play and making a quick $1700 any time. I mean, I could live pretty well on $1700 an hour. Just sitting back and letting a computer program do all the work! Sounds wonderful.
Now I do have this question: if you are not allowed to sell snake oil as a cure for cancer -- even if what you sell actually contains oil from snakes -- what is the status of these radio advertisements for stock market software? "I can make money even in a down market. It's a beautiful thing!"
Of course there are questions of freedom here. If people are free to sell the software, and those who buy it and lose their money are then free to go to the emergency room of the local hospital, thus raising my taxes to keep the hospital open -- is there something to discuss here?
I am all for freedom, but with freedom comes consequences. The freedom to spend all your money on lottery tickets is, apparently, not the freedom to lose your house as a result: foreclosures are bad, and the government should step in. Freedom to buy a $600,000 house with a total income of $30,000 a year is apparently not the freedom to lose that house when you can't make the payments.
And so forth.
But it hardly matters. We are headed down a path of no return, to a Nanny State that leads to a world dominated by bureaucracy.
I have in mind a novel, set in such a future. So perhaps that does answer my question of what to do next, because I can see a world fifty years from now in which the only freedom is out in the Asteroid Belt. Space opera.
October 14, 2007
Getting the letters column done. Thinking about Mamelukes.
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 weekly 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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