Notoreity, climate contradictions, slinky, guns and child murder, and other topics


Mail 754 Sunday, December 16, 2012


Training Mass Murderers

Lanza, just like Cho, Loughner, Holmes and the rest, is a creation of the commercial media.

Regardless of their other psycho-pathologies, they were all malignant narcissists, absolutely craving mass attention.

One of them commits a mass murder, seeking attention.

What does the commercial media do? They REWARD him with publicity which would have made the Beatles in their heyday, green with envy.

Crazy isn’t stupid. They take malignant narcissists who would literally KILL for publicity, then when they kill, they give them… PUBLICITY.

I don’t know how big of a stumbling imbecile somebody has to be in order to believe that if you respond to negative behavior with positive reinforcement, you DIMINISH the incidence of that behavior. Why do you think they tell you not to feed bears?

Some conspiracy theorists would say that all of this is to ENCOURAGE these kinds of crimes in order to further an agenda. I say it’s much more likely that the commercial media just doesn’t CARE. This is about MONEY, and despite all of the hypocritical duplicity about "gun industry profits", the commercial media spend more on paperclips in a year than the firearms industry grosses. "If it bleeds, it leads!" And if it needs to bleed MORE in order to prop up the bottom line, that’s just fine with the people raking in the ad and ratings revenues. Like I.G. Farben, their goal isn’t dead bodies… but they’ll cheerfully stampede across those bodies to get to that goal… and it’s plastered with dollar signs.

Chris Morton

Canada’s School Shootings Policy

Recommend we all study Canada’s policy to protect against school shootings. First of all, no mention would be made of the perp. No pictures, no interviews with family, nothing! There is a law against it. Secondly the schools are prepared. Each class can be locked from the inside. The teacher who secures the classroom then blocks up the door’s window if there is one, with a colored sheet that indicated "Secured" or slides it under the door. So law enforcement responding can look down the hall and see the SAFE rooms versus those not so declared. Perhaps your Canadian readers can tell us more.

David Barbee

I recall many years ago, perhaps in 10th grade, finding in the section on the assassination of a US President a line to the effect: “His name is known, but historians have determined not to publish it. There is no need to add to his notoriety.” I think they were referring to the assassination of McKinley but I am not certain.

Obviously such sentiments were abandoned long ago.


Japan is No Exception

Sadly attacks on schools happen occasionally in Japan as well. I remember one that hit the news a while back and dug up the link of the event on wikipedia.

Arondell Hoch

Dear Dr Pournelle,

In Japan, the typical scenario is that of a teenager flunking school exams and stressed out from cram school who snaps, murders his parents with a baseball bat and the commits suicide.

I doubt gun control (or lack thereof) is the issue: Canada has more firearms per capita than we do, but a much lower incidence of violent murder. Culture matters.

There are some studies that show news articles focusing on a mass murderer encourage copycat killers. Perhaps the press should agree to inflict damnatio memoriae to scum like Langa.

Fazal Majid



Does the top of the falling slinky fall at or faster than any other object dropped in 1g? I suspect:

a. the center of gravity of the entire spring is falling at 1g, b. the tension on the spring is additive to the force of gravity at the top end so it falls faster, and c. the tension on the spring is subtractive from the force of gravity on the bottom end, so it doesn’t move until the c.g reaches it.

Chris Spratt

Falling slinky

That reminds me of a problem we were given in Freshman physics lo these many years ago. What is the tallest brick smokestack that can fall over in one piece? Simplifying assumptions: the smokestack is a right circular cylinder; the shear strength of the mortar between the bricks is zero.

The answer is that at some point on the smokestack, the vertical acceleration will exceed 9 m/sec^2, and the joint will fail at that point. Once you see that, you can calculate where that point is. I’ve long since forgotten the number, though.

Joseph P. Martino


POTUS is making his move to disarm the citizenry concurrently with his purge of the military. The eagerness with which Obama is exploiting the Newton Connecticut massacre to ban "assault weapons" is sickening given FBI Homicide data that shows that only a tiny fraction of young homicide victims are killed with firearms.

Year of incident by Weapon used for United States

Return to selection page <> Download the tab delimited file Download data <> Printer friendly version Printer-friendly <>

Display Options:

<> Count Row % <> Column % <>


Age of oldest victim

0 to 5, 6 to 11

Count Firearm Knife Blunt object Personal Other/unknown Total

1980 101 43 45 307 181 678

1981 90 48 84 305 200 728

1982 107 36 68 362 166 739

1983 103 41 51 328 166 690

1984 80 44 51 319 145 640

1985 105 54 53 302 183 697

1986 92 32 55 365 183 727

1987 93 50 51 322 202 719

1988 133 40 63 346 220 803

1989 143 43 37 324 213 761

1990 123 40 45 362 179 749

1991 133 44 44 395 242 859

1992 141 30 64 374 187 797

1993 153 26 55 414 222 871

1994 156 33 39 445 198 870

1995 142 23 47 397 207 817

1996 111 25 50 456 235 878

1997 101 21 47 387 199 755

1998 96 33 55 385 203 772

1999 74 21 70 315 200 681

2000 67 28 67 348 179 689

2001 80 25 40 382 232 759

2002 117 31 35 340 188 711

2003 88 22 48 369 211 738

2004 69 29 57 331 188 674

2005 82 29 54 343 203 711

2006 79 26 53 327 222 708

2007 90 29 53 365 227 764

2008 89 21 60 349 252 770

2009 82 22 60 315 189 668

2010 72 25 61 311 209 678

Total 3,192 1,019 1,663 10,991 6,234 23,099

Suggested citation: Puzzanchera, C., Chamberlin, G., and Kang, W. (2012). "Easy Access to the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports:1980-2010." Online. Available: <>

Data source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Supplementary Homicide Reports 1980-2010 [machine-readable data files].

James Crawford

And by far the greatest killer of children in the US is the automobile.


Subj: Nassim ("Black Swan") Taleb: Learning to Love Volatility

I especially liked "Rule 4: Trial and error beats academic knowledge."

Perhaps nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American anti-intellectualism was wiser than we knew! Certainly wiser than we were taught by mid-twentieth-century … intellectuals.

"Rule 5: Decision makers must have skin in the game" is a close second.

I had not previously known the Roman rule, that engineers had to sleep under the bridges they built.


I have been reading this book and planned to recommend it. And do not forget Thomas Sowell on intellectuals, many of whom see themselves as The Enlightened and the Rest of Us as The Benighted.


Frack me! UK shale gas bonanza ‘bigger than North Sea oil’


“Reports suggest that the UK sits on one of the richest deposits of shale gas in the world. An unpublished but independent estimate of UK gas potential by the British Geological Survey suggests it may be more significant to the UK economy than North Sea oil. Cuadrilla initially estimated the UK has enough gas to make it self-sufficient for 15 years at current consumption rates – but this may be underestimated by a factor of four:”

“The combination of fracking and horizontal drilling techniques can be used to unlocked new reserves of exploitable gas. (The combination is also deployed to unlock renewable geothermal energy.) The consequences for the energy market have been dramatic. US gas prices have fallen by two thirds, the country is now self-sufficient on gas – and the United States enjoyed the largest fall in CO2 emissions of any major country as its power generators switched from coal to gas.”

Hmm. Fracking drops CO2 emissions.

Hmm. We’re not going to run out of fossil fuels anytime soon.


And of course there are plentiful energy resources in the United States if we were allowed to develop them. And with energy you can do anything. See A Step Farther Out…


Climate Report Draft Contradicts Itself


At risk of being the 37th person to send you this:

Apparently the most recent draft of the round 5 IPCC report contains in its chapter 7 an admission that, statistically, solar forcing (as measured by galactic cosmic ray-induced isotope levels in the geological record – solar activity affects GCR arrivals) seems to be a major component of historical global temperature changes, even if the exact mechanism is not yet known. It’s not the actual solar energy levels arriving; those only account for a fraction of the climate changes that strongly correlate with overall solar activity. The section goes on to name solar activity-linked variation in GCR arrival affecting cloud cover levels as a possible mechanism.

The draft’s chapter 8, meanwhile, written by a different group, gives the politically correct version: Their climate model that includes only direct solar energy-level variations ("total solar irradiance") fails to explain the majority of temperature changes since 1980, therefore the unexplained difference must be anthropogenic CO2. (Yeah, right.)

From the above story: "The report still barely hints at the mountain of evidence for enhanced solar forcing, or the magnitude of the evidenced effect. Dozens of studies (section two

here) have found between a .4 and .7 degree of correlation between solar activity and various climate indices, suggesting that solar activity “explains” in the statistical sense something like half of all past temperature change, very little of which could be explained by the very slight variation in TSI. At least the Chapter 7 team is now being explicit about what this evidence means: that some mechanism of enhanced solar forcing must be at work."

Three guesses how this contradiction gets resolved in the final version report. Meanwhile, though, the cat is out of the bag.

sign me




Egypt arming for attack on Israel?


The formation of a revolutionary guard personal loyal to Morsi would undermine the power of the Mamaluks.

James Crawford=

Or start a civil war. The SS had to have the night of the long knives to get rid of the SA. The Wehrmacht did not intervene.

Jerry Pournelle

Chaos Manor

I found myself thinking about the night of the long knives when the Adm commanding the CBG in the Med and the General commanding Africom were relieved for attempting to intervene in Benghazi then Petreus chose to resign in disgrace for having an affair that hadn’t been so secret rather than continue to lie about it.

Hitler had his Brownshirts. Mussolini had his Blackshirts. Obama has his Brown Bra Brigade.

James Crawford


Roman Roads

"What the Romans didn’t do for us"

I don’t like that headline. What the Romans did do was to adopt a local custom, or practice, and make it a normal way of doing things. My historical analysis may be unsound here, but did not the Romans attempt to invade the British Isles a hundred years prior to what the article refers to? Granted it was a failed invasion, I submit that they saw the technology used locally and also after reflection saw that it was a sound and useful technology. Maybe it took them a hundred years to figure out that what one nation can do another can as well (witness nuclear profusion). I think you have often said that once a thing is ‘proved’ to be possible, it is only a matter of engineering to make it feasible. I paraphrase.

The Republic of Rome was adept at conquering other nations and incorporating the subjugated nations’ technology and philosophy. Perhaps it took an Empire to conquer the Brits?

I dunno, I don’t often quote or reference the Guardian, although I do miss one of your contributors who did so…

I just wanted to ‘smack’ that one down, for old time sake.

I raise a toast to Dr. Erwin.

(misspelt of course)



Brian P. wrote some interesting comments on distributionism and, of course, most of his comments are correct. [] One thing you both missed is that socialism, communism, and all the other isms used to define the practice were created to exacerbate problems. These paradigms are designed to do exactly what they do, create a growing underclass and solidify the ruling class. Read Tragedy and Hope by Quigley or any of the other writings on how these political systems actually work to learn more. I do not believe for one second that consequences we observe from these systems are unintended; that’s part of the propaganda. Oops, we made a mistake, let us introduce more lackluster polices to fix it. Ooops we messed up again; we just can’t get anything right. Let’s kill off more dissidents, steal more wealth, and try this new policy, which will make matters even worse. These policies always follow this pattern and it is no more a mistake than when a conman rips you off and pretends he didn’t know it would happen and that circumstances are beyond his control. Through clever propaganda and manipulation of emotions, these systems gain popularity and power. The only remedy to these systems is critical thinking, analysis, and observation as Brian P. did with his letter. It was good of him to write it and good of you to publish it.

Through shrewd application of Hegelian dialectics, it is easy to confuse and mislead even intelligent people with these systems and the reasons intelligent people are misled are two fold. First, the intelligent person realizes he’s smarter than others and so he thinks the answers will come to him with less effort and he becomes lazy and does not want to concentrate fully on the problem, but still offers a half-baked statement about it and others run with that. Second, the intelligent person becomes confident that they are accurate, but confidence does not equate to accuracy and when we use intellectual systems. e.g. analytics, mathematics, it really does not matter how smart you are. A smart person can create new mathematical theorems and scientific theories; you don’t have to be smart to apply what someone else already invented. If you have the discipline and psychological fortitude, you can apply almost any paradigm. Obviously, more discipline and fortitude is need to apply Tensor equations than is required by the Pythagorean Theorem.

Because most people are even lazier than the intelligent members of society, they take the half-baked theories — presented with confidence — by lazy intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals and we get trouble as popularity for lackluster policies rises — consider the latest election. I believe that blaming stupidity or incompetence for our problems is the lazy man’s way out. "There was no plan to do this, he’s just stupid". And then, everyone can feel good about themselves because these people who are conning them are really so much dumber than the speakers are even as the speakers lose their freedoms, their fortunes, and their dignity. I hope to see more letters like those from Brian P.


Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo


Legacy of Daniel Boone

AW&ST 12/10/12: "One of the engineers on NASA ‘s Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle is an accomplished Ph.D. astrophysicist named Catherine Boone. Now working at Ball Aerospace , she helped Lockheed Martin develop a machine-vision system that Orion may one day use to dock with other spacecraft en route to Mars (AW&ST Jan. 9, p. 44). She is also a descendant of 18th century American pioneer Daniel Boone. There is something extremely fitting about one of old Daniel’s offspring helping pave the way into the Solar System. Apparently, it’s a very strong gene."


* * *

"Mad Science" means never asking, "What’s the worst that could happen?"

–Schlock mercenary


Phobos is hollow and artificial.


Don’t know how this will fit into the GUCT (Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory) I’m working on, but I thought I’d pass it along since as it may interest you…

That is the least goofy url that I could find about it, the UFO sites are a bit farther out with it… Here’s my favorite conspiracy minded one:

Lots of nice pictures and a timeline going back to the Viking missions.

BTW, although I don’t put much stock in this sort of thing, but it sure would be cool if it really is artificial and hollow. I think a manned mission there would be the best investigative start to settle the question once and for all… I would actually settle for another manned mission to the moon to settle whether it is actually hollow and artificial. Did you see this: ?


Doesn’t Richard Hoagland (Enterprise Mission) have some words on the hollow moon of Mars? My problem is that I know many of the people involved in processing the data from Mars, and I just don’t think they’re in on a conspiracy, and I know they’re smart enough that if there were one they’d know. Of course my judgment may be failing, but I thought this back when I was still smart…


APOD: 2012 December 10 – Time Lapse: A Total Solar Eclipse,


APOD: 2012 December 10 – Time Lapse: A Total Solar Eclipse:

Very cool.



I think this beats your bunny inspectors:

How Ernest Hemingway’s cats became a federal case The descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cats – dozens of them – freely roam the writer’s former home, now a museum. In a controversial court case, a judge says the felines must be regulated under federal law.


“The exhibition of the Hemingway cats is integral to the Museum’s commercial purpose, and thus, their exhibition affects interstate commerce. For these reasons, Congress has the power to regulate the Museum and the exhibition of the Hemingway cats.”


By this ‘reasoning’, there is nothing in the land which the Congress cannot regulate. Utter madness.

Roland Dobbins




A New Round

View 754 Sunday, December 16, 2012


Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, has announced that she will introduce a bill to ban assault rifles on the first day of the new Congress. This will begin a new round of the move to disarm American citizens, as the people of Great Britain were disarmed following the slaughter of children in a school in Scotland in 1996. It was my understanding that the Bushmaster at Sandy Hook was found in the automobile, not in the killer’s hands, but of course that may have been another false report; but he didn’t need the rifle. The two pistols with multiple magazines would have been more than sufficient.

I point out that a majority of Swiss households have assault rifles and ammunition readily available – indeed they are required to have them.

And far more than 20 school age children were killed by automobiles than by guns last year– indeed, cars are the leading cause of death for children of any age, and have been for a long time.

The Sandy Hook massacre will spark a new round of political debate, and it will be used in every political discussion for a year or more.


There are about 350 million Americans. Two percent are said to earn more than $200,000 a year, and raising taxes on them is a sine qua non for the President. It’s the only way to pay off the debts and continue to entitlements. Two percent of that is 7 million people. If we levied an additional $10,000 on each and every one of them, and all of that was paid without additional costs, the result would be an additional $70 billion a year. The United States borrows something like $40 Billion a month. How much revenue does the President expect to obtain from this?

Of course if the intent is not to raise revenue but to lessen the difference in income, that is another story. One does suppose that those who have very large incomes have many options on where they live.


A recent letter, which will be in Mail reasonably soon, reminded me that we are nearing the anniversary of the death of Dr. Harry Erwin, whose Letter From England was a regular feature of Chaos Manor Mail for decade or more. That sent me looking for my announcement, which I found in the January 3 2012 View. That issue also had my comments on the coming primary season. I really miss Harry Erwin and his commentary on the social and political scene in England.