THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 491 November 5 - 11, 2007
Highlights this week:
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November 5, 2007
A penny for the Guy!
Busy weekend. Working on mail, column, and Inferno II, including maps and dramatis personae for both Inferno II and Inferno I.
The mailbag is up over at Chaos Manor Reviews. I'll be working on the column today, including a short review of Richard Garriot's Tabula Rasa.
We noted the brain washing at the University of Delaware. My friend Fred Reed has an even more contemptuous view and sees this as part of a trend. I am told that I say it too often, but alas there are too many opportunities to say that we sow the wind.
I'll be back with Chaos Manor Mail (which is not the same as the more computer/technology oriented mail at Chaos Manor Reviews) after our morning walk. I also have some observations on the Writers Guild strike.
Are there too many foreigners in this country now ?
10% : NO
70% :معهد الأمن العالمي بواشنط
Peter Glaskowsky says
> A penny for the Guy!
And it's over $4 million tonight, a record. Ron Paul has become a serious candidate, overnight.
|This week:||Tuesday, November
Michael is over today to continue the work of clearing out Chaos Manor. The Great Hall is almost livable again. My office desk shows through the clutter. I will probably need one more cycle -- Office, Back Room, Cable Room, Great Hall, moving stuff from one place to another and getting rid of what isn't really useful. Does anyone really need a version of LISP that will run on CP/M and and S-100 bus? But if it's gone it can never be replaced. And so what? Only --
Well, you get the idea. But it is getting better in here.
I have finished the column for the week, and the column mail is posted. I have fallen a bit behind on Chaos Manor Mail, and I suppose I need to put up a bunch of stuff with Short Shrift rather than commenting on it, although some inspires comments. If I had time to make them---
November 7, 2007
Still working to get Inferno II out the door. We also have errands. The International edition of the column is due shortly, and that means book reviews.
Comet Holmes , normally a dim dustball even as imaged with a powerful telescope, has erupted like a nova, brightening a million fold into a naked-eye object in a matter of weeks.
Where did it acquire the energy needed to pop into a cloud the size of Jupiter?
Hot Fudge Sundae?
I am swamped. I have doctor's appointments this afternoon. I have Inferno I revisions to finish to get that out the door. I have to build a Dramatis Personae for Inferno II. I have some final polish for Inferno II. I have to get the International Edition of the column done. And I need to keep this place up.
It's a great life if you don't weaken...
Meanwhile, there is more about Global Warming and the like. Climate Science like Regulatory Science and much of Economic Science has moved into the realm of The Voodoo Sciences. See my essay on the subject.
My T42p IBM Laptop has returned from its second trip to the warranty center. Story in the column, but I want to emphasize that IBM/Lenovo warranties work and are convenient.
And now to try to catch up.
I've watched oil prices rise ($98 today), but haven't seen or heard any comments on the contribution a declining dollar has made to the situation. If the dollar has fallen 34% since 2000, that would mean that oil (in adjusted dollars) is only about $64 per barrel, which isn't all that bad.
Am I missing something here? It looks like a weak dollar issue, not a supply/demand issue.
Well it sure makes me wish I had bought more $20/bbl oil futures some years ago. And it was pretty clear a couple of years ago that gold would be a good investment: when the government runs the printing presses to cover debts, the value of the currency falls.
For some time the US has been buying stuff from China and paying with debt and capital sales. The results were predicable. When you owe lots of money, you can either work harder, produce more, and sell the products to satisfy the debt -- or inflate the currency. Democratic governments almost always choose the second course of action. Democracies essentially transfer all possible debts and taxes to someone other than the majority of voters.
The US is in a particularly interesting situation given the maturity of the Baby Boomers: more and more people must be supported by fewer workers, and the elderly need not only subsidized livings, but people to push their wheel chairs and assist them in assisted living. US productivity is rising; perhaps it will keep up with the increasing demands, but meanwhile the government is transferring increasing amounts of money from the productive to the retired and unproductive. How we keep this up is an interesting question. Perhaps the economists can help.
I don't seem to be able to manage the screen settings for my IBM t42p: I set the screen resolution, but it doesn't fill the screen. It did at one time. When I do function f7 the list of options about internal and external appear, but then it goes away before I can change anything.
I don't seem to be able to find a way to get full screen on the local display. It's fine on the external, I think, but the regular laptop screen is not full screen, it's just a part of the screen.
Clearly there are some settings and I can't find them. I suppose I can use up some time searching for all this but so far I haven't found anything and it's driving me nuts and using time I don't have.
I know there are a number of t42p users out there. Someone help?
=== Cancel Previous Transmission
I seem to have fixed it by the simple expedient of turning the machine off with the power switch. When it came back up all was well. Not sure what all that means.
November 9, 2007
The ethanol imbecility continues, and I despair of rationality in these United States. We are all for Free Trade in industries where US workers were becoming middle class. We're happy enough to export the jobs of the mill workers and sewing machine operators. Ethanol is different. We can import all of that stuff that we want at far lower prices than we are paying for domestic ethanol. We've doubled the price of corn, we're destroying the water ecology of half the continent, and it takes enormous amounts of energy to make the fertilizer to produce ethanol domestically. Meanwhile sugar countries like Brazil -- and Cuber for that matter -- would love to sell us ethanol at much lower prices, but we have a big tariff to stop that. And, of course, we subsidize ethanol production here as well. All to the benefit of a few big companies (and, yes, some small farmers).
If anyone wants to know how democracies fail, look at our energy policy, or lack thereof. We have invested a trillion dollars in a war to stabilize oil supplies -- does anyone sane or insane suppose that we would have put the entire might of the empire into Iraq if it weren't for Middle East oil? -- when a fraction of that invested domestically would have given us energy independence. I said all this back before the invasion when the costs were thought to be about $300 billion. Three hundred billion is a lot of money, and that much invested in nuclear power, developing domestic oil resources, and sponsoring X-Projects on efficient transportation using electricity would have given the US energy independence; and if $300 billion wouldn't do it, the $1,000,000,000,000 -- one trillion dollars -- the war actually cost certainly would have. We'd also have Solar Power Satellites and a Moon Colony (you build the Lunar Colony on weekends and third shifts while constructing Solar Power Satellites).
Note that it wouldn't have mattered who won what election. We still wouldn't have energy independence or have made the investments to become essentially independent.
If that isn't depressing enough, think about what's happening with the Great Global Warming Scam. We can't just establish a Technocracy. Science generates bureaucracies, and Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy governs there too. The bureaucrats will always run the show, and the scientists and technologists will be subordinate to them. The Great Global Warming Scam coupled with the Great Ethanol Scam to make some people (think ADL) very, very rich. It also enriches those who sell carbon offsets.
Follow the money.
The good news is the bad news: it's Bell's Palsy, apparently. We still have an MRI coming to confirm it, but all the symptoms fit perfectly. Loss of control over one side of my face, inability to shut my right eye (fortunately I can close both), strange tastes and sensation of thickening tongue although no physical exam can find a thing wrong with my tongue and throat; ringing in one and only one ear, hearing problems in that ear, and drooping right eye making me think there is something wrong with my glasses.
That's actually good news: it's not cancer and I didn't have a stroke.
But if I have seemed distracted in the last few weeks (and anyone spending time in Hell would be distracted anyway), that's what's been wrong. That and being worried that it was something a lot worse than Bell's Palsy.
All of which makes me feel a lot better.
Niven says we're done and I agree. Of course I still have a map and a Dramatis Personae to compile for Inferno II, and I will take one more pass through the book to be sure that the style is consistent throughout; but in essence it's done (for the third time this year).
On that final pass: one of the requirements for a collaboration is that someone goes through at the end to be sure that it's all in one style. With Mote, which was our first, and done with Selectric typewriters, this was a real chore, and took me a couple of weeks of 8-hour days. (Those were the days when I could and did work 14 hours a day, doing my science columns for the National Catholic Press, Analog short stories, and everything else.) Now, with small computers, we rewrite each time we read over the work, so it's pretty polished by the time there's a "first" draft.
And now it's time for our walk. Sable says hello. She's impatient.
I wrote The Voodoo Sciences about 30 years ago. At the time I thought it might have some effect. Actually it did: not long after, a new Congressman named Newt Gingrich called me, and for a while there I was his friend and science advisor. If he had stayed on as Speaker, I do not believe the Republican party would have self destructed in an orgy of greed and incompetence, nor do I think we would have been as thoroughly engaged in sending the Legions to the Middle East; but alas, that didn't happen.
Steve Possony used to tell me "You either believe in rational thought or you don't. If you do, you must act as if you do." I keep trying to remember that.
Liberals used to believe in rational discussion and persuasion. I find that harder to find in any politically aware group. But hope springs eternal, and despair is a sin.
|This week:||Saturday, November
Veteran's Day Tomorrow
So what would you do about this situation if you were a justice of the peace? (And do we need a return to local JP's or Squires so the courts aren't burdened with all this?)
November 11, 2007
Armistice Day: 11:11 11/11/1918
I took the day off to catch up with other stuff.
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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