THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 493 November 19 - 25, 2007
Highlights this week:
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This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
November 19, 2007
The big computer news is that Amazon has released their Kindle ebook reader; I'll have more on that in the column. The Kindle is more than a reader, it's a substitute for the whole mass market book distribution system. Whether it can manage that formidable task is another story, but it's certainly a valiant attempt. See the column for discussion.
Not only have I sent in Inferno I and Inferno II complete with notes and instructions, but over the weekend I have pretty well come up with the scene series to finish Mamelukes. The only thing keeping me from finishing that book is the minutia of life: paying the bills, living with what amounts to a tunnel in my right ear (i.e. adjusting to Bell's Palsy), and the rather frenzied holiday season coming up. I figure about 40,000 words will do it. That's 40 days of work at 4 pages a day average.
If you try to access this site from inside the Department of Homeland Security, you will get this screen:
You can access Drudge, Slate, and a bunch of other places. Apparently I have managed to irritate someone, probably with my stories of Security Theater in the TSA.
Now for our walk, then back to work. I need to pay some bills and then get to grinding
The news from Baghdad and Iraq is good for us, and not so good for al Qaeda. We can debate the costs and benefits of the war later; but it does appear that we can gain a far better result in Iraq than many of us feared. American GI's have a way of coming through. It used to be said that the Romans never lost when they found politicians as generals half as good as the troops they commanded. We seem to be following Rome in many ways.
Up the Legions!
There seems to be a flurry of "peak oil" articles. One of these days I'll have to write an essay on this, but do note: it hardly matters what oil resources we have in the United States, since we are not allowed to extract them. Not from Alaska, not in the Gulf, not off shore. Instead we wage war in the Middle East.
The war cost us a trillion dollars and sent oil to $100/bbl. At $100/bbl there are a LOT of oil reserves, assuming anyone is allowed to extract them. I said in 1974 that oil is far too valuable a resource to set a match to; it's worth far more than just something to be burned to make space heat in New England, or to generate electricity. Or even to be burned as gasoline. Certainly it's worth preserving, regardless of its availability.
But since no one pays attention to the future -- no one can but government now that we no longer have great aristocratic families -- we will go on burning oil until the price affects the media lords, and then, perhaps, someone will look to our grandchildren's inheritance. (And not with silly things like geothermal and wind, both of which have their places but which don't scale to being a national energy policy.)
Space solar and nuclear power do scale to national resource levels. Eventually we will have no choice but to use them. Until then, we'll putz around, making corn too expensive to eat, and playing with wind and rooftop solar (calculate the energy required to make batteries able to store enough rooftop solar energy to run your house at night even in very favorable locations). One day, perhaps, we'll get serious about energy, but so far our answer is to send in the Legions to stabilize hideous regimes that will sell us oil at outrageous prices -- and to move the HQ of our energy companies to states run by the more reasonable emirs...
Two notes on Kindle: Starswarm is the only one of my books available (which is odd, I would have thought both Heorot books would be) and there are some serious limits on how one can acquire books for Kindle.
More in the column and after our walk.
I strongly advise all of my readers to wait for my column on the Kindle; it will be up this week. Don't buy it just yet...
|This week:||Tuesday, November
The house is filled with painters. Actually there are only a couple of them, and they're in the back part of house, painting a small bedroom that we'll use to house our grand daughter on her visit next month. Roberta has been saving for this for some time. The problem is that the room is next to the monk's cell, meaning that I won't be working on Mamelukes up there today.
Sable watched them for a long time, but decided that they were friendly and watching people sand walls and window frames is boring. On the other hand there are strange people in the house so she can't go watch the back gate.
Roland keeps telling me I need to modernize this place, being stuck in 1996. Given that when I began writing 1996 was way off in the future, that's amusing, but he's right, so we're looking into ways to revamp this pair of pages. It would help my 'ratings' if Mail and View were funneled through a single page. Or I suppose it would. My problem, as I've explained before, is that this day book isn't like most "blogs." It doesn't largely consist of stuff put up by other people, or links to other stuff. It consists of a day book ramble interspersed with mini-essays, sometimes complemented with a longer and more formal essay, and accompanied on another page with mail I thought interesting enough to share -- again with comments and sometimes mini-essays which need to link to View. It's a complicated mess, and it just grew.
And there's a lot in the archives. Those who haven't looked at the Reports Summary Page might want to do so. There's just a lot there, some interesting, some historical. And of course there are the View and Mail archives, some of which are interesting, but finding anything in there is tough.
So yes, it's time to reorganize. I look forward to it with both anticipation and dread...
But here we have:
I understand perfectly. As I said, fear and dread with some anticipation...
November 21, 2007
This is certainly behavior calculated to bring about disrespect for the law, and contempt for the judges. When the judge is contemptible, should he be able to punish for contempt of court?
I am moving along on Mamelukes. I now know where the story is going, and how this one ends. As I said, about 40,000 words ought to do it; I will be done by the end of January and perhaps earlier.
On the other hand, if I can manage to change over to some kind of data base driven system it might make it easier to FIND things here. There's a lot of good stuff scattered through this site, some of it really good indeed (as for instance all my old Intellectual Capital columns), and you shouldn't have to spend so much time spelunking to find it. On the gripping hand, there's only so much of my time.
Another consideration is the Google rating system. I have forgotten how to find that, but last time I looked I had a 6, I believe. I suspect that if View and Mail were reached through a single page, I'd have a higher rating. I'm not entirely sure what good a higher rating would do, but it might bring me a few more people who would like to be here. I have no desire to attract enormous numbers; or rather, I'm not willing to do what it takes to do that. On the other hand, I am sure there are people out there who'd like to be here and have never heard of this place.
I confess to being a couple of years behind the times. I don't pay much attention to del.ic.io.us and even less to digg, but I understand that sometimes it's hard for those who do to make the proper linkages or whatever. (My understanding of what those sites do is minimal; Leo uses del.icio.us or however it's spelled to cache topics for discussion on TWIT, making it easy for the participants to get at least partly familiar with the matters before we start recording, and that's all to the good; I gather there are other uses, but I don't know them. And I know nothing at all of digg other than that apparently any mention of me gets a firestorm of hate mail. I guess I can live with that.
Finally, the atom feed from here gets messed up periodically, probably by my habit of going back and putting in bookmarks to places in my daily daybook musings after they have already been published. This drives the collecting software crazy, and since I didn't write it and have to rely on the kindness of readers to maintain it, I don't know what to do about it. When people refer to something I said, it seems courteous to make it easy for others to follow their arguments, and that's a habit I don't seem to be able to break.
In any event, I will move slowly...
I have forgotten how to get one's Google (and other) page rankings. Is there a simple method? I am certain I did it not long ago, but I didn't make a note of the procedure.
"Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe."
-- Roland Dobbins
Now we've done it!.
Coming to you from beautiful (actually it is) downtown Tehachapi. Richard and Herrin live up here and hosted the Hopper and Pournelle clans for Thanksgiving. We had three of the boys, Herrin's parents from Albuquerque (he's business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony). It's the first time we've been away from home for Thanksgiving since we were married. An odd experience, not having the kitchen to clean up and wreckage to strike away on Black Friday...
And off for home shortly. A pretty drive through the Mojave Desert.
And an interesting scam story:
I have a juicey story for you to put on your site, obviously with holding my identity completely.
I have just received an email in my POP3 email account from my yahoo.com email account advertising VIAGRA! Somehow, someone got into my account and is using it to spam other people. Lucky I got my own email and found out about it before it got to too many people. I am in the process of contacting yahoo.com about this annoying error and security breech and I am going to deregister all my accounts with them. I had the accounts due to faulty POP3 email accounts and lousy email and Internet ISP's!
Juicy enough for you, or should I email what I got from my own email address just to make it all the better?
from cary at @photoafrica.co.za with receipt requested. Guess what happens if I reply or allow the receipt?
In any event I don't intend to find out.
= = = = =
Does anyone know of a program I can run that will make VISTA believe that my DVD drives are also CD drives, and it should read CD's when they are put into those drives? There are two, and VISTA simply refuses to believe there is a disk in the drive if it's a CD. It has no problems with DVD drives. This is part of the VISTA Death Watch: I am going to have to uninstall that program since many programs I want to install come on CD, and Vista simply cannot see the program or any other CD disk in either of its drives.
Perhaps I can buy a CD ONLY drive and install it in place of one of the DVD drives?
Vista didn't always do this. At one time it saw both CD's and DVD's in those drives. Now it won't. Uninstalling the drives and letting Vista find them again does nothing whatsoever to change the situation.
It is EXTREMELY ANNOYING.
Another inquiry and answer on learning to write... see mail.
From another conference:
I keep hearing this trite analogy, and I have no idea why people that use it find it so persuasive. It doesn't offend me in the least, and it doesn't map onto the B-W IQ gap for one very important reason: the IQ gap is tied into social goals that African Americans themselves feel are important and not being met.
A better analogy would be materialist Jews who despise their own inability to stop accumulating wealth, and blame the malevolent Amish for excluding them from the secrets of their simplicity.
Finding the source of this unwanted drive to succeed would be the first step in putting it into proper perspective and repairing it.
The campaign against truth continues, but I do note that William Saletan at Slate, having ritually denounced Watson, is having second and third thoughts, and often makes sense:
Another participant observed:
Our current available most powerful way to elevate the IQ of the general population is to bribe the dummies to not reproduce. Eventually we will also have genetic engineering as an alternative technique.
But bribing the dummies to not reproduce delivers an additional benefit: A reduction in total population. The world has too many people now. We can accomplish two goals at once if we offer money for sterilization.
The original "eugenics" program founded by Sir Francis Galton did not seek to discourage others from having children: he wanted to establish funds to encourage bright people to have more children. In particular, scholarship funds for bright couples who marry at age 20 or so. They were to be paid fairly good bounties for having and raising children while continuing their education. The idea was to let them have kids without having to drop out of school and make a living.
In the US the eugenics movement pressed for sterilization of "dummies" and mental deficients -- three generations of morons is enough -- and ended up ordering sterilization of people more downtrodden than dumb.
One of the early proponents of this kind of eugenics was Margaret Sanger, she of the Planned Parenthood and Birth Control persuasion. The early US eugenics movement was discredited and with it the entire notion of eugenics, although abortion rights did come out of it.
Isaac Asimov was a strong advocate of population control. Larry Niven once told him, "Isaac, you only persuade normal and bright normal people; you're contributing to the dumbing of the planet. Are you sure you want to keep that up?" Isaac, who had read "The Little Black Bag" and "The Marching Morons" was taken aback, but he recovered quickly and I never detected much change in his writing after that.
Couple denigration of positive eugenics with egalitarianism, and the rich and successful are easily persuaded not to have kids, since the only thing they can leave them is expensive private school education.
The result of all this is a realistic fear that the US will not be able to sustain a First World Civilization after another couple of generations. Perhaps that is false, and H Beam Piper's fears of decivilizing societies were unf0unded; but as I observe the Capital City of these United States, and the rapid changes all over Southern California, I wonder.
Subject: Problems with CD/DVD drives
I have had similar problems with my cd/dvd drives under both Vista and XP pro. The solution I found is contained in the Microsft KB article:
Although the article refers to XP using the Guided help on the page cleared up this problem with Vista Home Premium.
Hope this helps.
I tried that; alas, the problem remains. Vista sees the drive. It simply refuses to believe there is a CD in the drive. It has no problems with DVD's. This is infuriating.
Does anyone know if they sell CDROM drives any longer? If I buy one and install it as a third drive (or even remove the DVDROM drive and replace it with a CDROM drive) will that work? Will Vista see a CDROM drive?
It has to, sometime: I have installed programs using this setup. But not recently. First Vista couldn't recognize a CD in the DVDROM drive, but it saw it in the Plextor DVD-RW drive; now it will not see a CD in either drive.
I hate this. A lot.
|This week:||Saturday, November
I am supposed to be at LOSCON, but I woke up with a sore throat and my back stiff, and Roberta isn't feeling all that well, so I have asked Alex to make my excuses. Next year I think I will take a room down at the convention hotel, because I'll have a book to promote.
I'm not in bed, so I'll get some work done: dismantling the Vista machine and testing the drives.
|This week:||Sunday, November
I took the day off.
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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