Mail 737 Monday, August 13, 2012
From a Democratic and liberal perspective:
Well, Ryan certainly makes this election a clear choice.
From where I sit, Mr. Romney has apparently chosen to run for President of the Republican Party rather than President of all the people. By which I mean, I tend to doubt that any political party (included my own) has all that firm a grip on reality, so I favor sloppy compromises rather than insistence on principles pursued so consistently that it involves ignoring other people’s principles. Better to seek approaches in which as many of us as possible can, at least to some degree, see our own values.
I had thought that was part of the conservative approach, along with a reluctance to overturn slow historical developments for a swift, untested change of course. But apparently, these days, not.
Allan E. Johnson
I would greatly prefer a time when elections were not crisis situations. It is not good for any one faction to govern for long. Unfortunately we have come to the point where neither party is satisfied with the trends and want to change them. Freedom and entitlements are not compatible. Entitlements make for dependence.
My preference is for government at local levels to be responsible for the safety net. I am not responsible for Iowa’s unemployed farm hands, nor should Iowa be responsible for failed aspirants to a position as a movie star. Subsidiarity and transparency and the knowledge that local resources is all you will have will suffice while limiting dependence. Or so I would prefer.
In 2008 the American people chose Hope and Change. They got change but it may not have been what they hoped for. The selection of Ryan for VP makes the meaning of this election clear. That is to be preferred. What I would really prefer is that the election be so decisive that everyone understands we are abandoning the road to serfdom and returning to liberty and responsibility. That is probably too much to hope for, but I remain stubborn.
‘If one reads the Federalist papers, one understands that the Founders feared capture by self-interested "faction" above all else, and most fearful of all was capture by a faction that made up a majority.’
Limiting the power of government is the only remedy: a government that can do great good can do great harm in the wrong hands. But that invites a far longer essay than I have time for tonight.
I disagree with your choice of words — or word in this case.
"But I have some reason to believe that both Romney and Ryan are closer to my views of American foreign policy – we are friends of liberty everywhere but guardians only of our own, and if you would have peace be prepared for war – than to the neoconservative imperialisms. And whatever their foreign policy views they are likely to be superior to what we are doing now. There isn’t a good simple description of our current foreign policy, which seems to be based on finger wagging, stating that something is unacceptable while clearly accepting it, telling everyone what they ought to be doing without paying much attention to what they are doing, and in generally promoting democracy by wishing for it without quite realizing what it would mean if implemented. Perhaps I am overly harsh, but I don’t think so."
It seems to me that "harsh" was not the right word. You might have placed "sober" or "sensible" in there and the paragraph would have been more correct and true. Of course, I would agree with you that I do not think you are being overly sober or sensible — were you to make that change.
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Oddly, you are not the only reader who has said that.
And Now It’s The Weather Service
Dear Jerry -
Since you have commented on the Department of Education SWAT teams, you will be interested to read https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=bfd95987a1ad9a6dfb22bca4a19150cb&tab=core&tabmode=list&=
It seems the NOAA is in the market for 46,000 rounds of handgun ammo.
A macho bunch, those weathermen.
Great heavens. Imagine TSA officers with SWAT gear outside your door at 4 AM. Only it’s the Weather Bureau and you’re accused of breathing out too much CO2?
‘If you are insured by Progressive, and they owe you money, they will defend your killer in court in order to not pay you your policy.’
Some adult language:
A remarkable story. I have not seen this one before.
The coldest fusion of all.
It was a remarkable story at the time. The Navy has quietly continued to fund fundamental research into cold fusion. I have seen no credible results.
Subj: OSCON 2012: Kaitlin Thaney calls for open science
>>Some of the most expensive research that has been done is managed by post-it notes and poorly annotated excel spreadsheets… Where is my ability to reproduce experiments?<<
I can hardly quarrel with that.
Subj: _Thrust Into Space_ PDF on the Web
The hosting site doesn’t look like a pirate site; it looks like a wannabe e-publisher whose day job is marketing consulting:
Strange that the book-description page has no link to the book, but does have links to slide decks associated with the book.
It does seem a tad peculiar, though, for an epublisher to give only a street address on its contact page. The consulting site’s contact page also gives a phone number, and if you look closely at the bottom of the consulting site’s page, you’ll see a "ContactMe" link to a page that offers a fill-in-to-email form.
Anyone know any of the author’s heirs, to check whether the PDF is authorized? There seems to be only one or two reasonably-priced used copies of the book-on-dead-trees, plus a bunch of copies offered for $200. each.
Personally, I’d gladly pay a reasonable amount for the PDF, if I knew where to send the money.
Max Hunter’s Thrust Into Space is still an excellent introduction into rocket propulsion science. Max and I discussed getting Thrust Into Space back in print, but he wanted to rewrite some parts, and nothing ever came of it. I have no idea who has scanned and published this, which appears to be the same as the copy Max gave me when we worked together on SDI and the DC/X. Perhaps the National Space Society has better information. Max and I corresponded irregularly until his death.
Mamelukes eviscerated, or at least emasculated
Check this out.
Just as the heirs of Kemal Ataturk who safeguarded Turkey’s fragile, secular, democracy for almost a century have been purged, the Egyptian military is being subjugated by a militant Islamic government.
I need to start mass producing and marketing fallout shelters.
Democracy in Egypt will not be friendly to Israel.
Take a look at the mi-fi from either Verizon or AT&T. They connect to the cellular network, and then create your own wireless hotspot. I used the Verizon one (before I got my iPad 3 that does the same thing), and would get 10mbit connections when in LTE.
And, there is no carrier software to install. Phones, iPads, computers just connect to the wifi network (up to 5 devices).
With the new shared data plans, it’s actually pretty affordable.
It is more than I need, but for those who do need it it can be a good deal. If I were on the road more I would seriously consider it. As it is, the USB 3G works well, is simple to carry, and I buy what I need.
Mr. Heinlein’s letter to you and Larry Niven
…about The Mote In God’s Eye appears in this sample of the Virginia Edition of his collected works:
Happy birthday, sir, and may you see many happy returns of the day!
Subj: Microsoft’s Lost Decade
>>By the dawn of the millennium, the hallways at Microsoft were no
>>longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through
>>nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence; instead, life
>>behind the thick corporate walls had become staid and brutish.
>>Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as
>>key to career success.<<
Did not W. Edwards Deming predict that a corporate culture based on internal competition, ranking of individuals and short-term thinking would lead to destruction?
I think Microsoft lost its soul when Bill Gates left. It may regain it.
On helping the Iraqis, or anyone else, to democracy
I don’t believe it’s possible. We’re not willing to occupy Iraq long enough to ensure that at least a generation grows up with us in control, making over Iraq in our image, much like England has managed in a number of places, most notably, India. Which we did after a fashion in Germany, Japan and S Korea. All the welfare mommas spitting out welfare babies with made up names that comprise the Democrat party base won’t put up with it. It’ll cut into their EBT payout.
John S Allison
I have said this for decades. But the examples of our success in Japan and Germany dance enticingly before our eyes. What man has done man may aspire to. But we will not pay the full price. See Kipling.
Subj: Capitalism in Space
which links to a longer piece by the same writer at National Review Online.
I remember seeing a video of an interview of Elon Musk, of SpaceX, in which he observed that all the Russian rocket programs are run by Cold-War-vintage engineers, who will be either retiring or dying over the next few years, with no competent younger engineers stepping in.
Consequently, Musk expects Russian space-launch capability, especially in reliability, to take a steep nose-dive soon.
In another interview, Musk expressed profound disinterest in having anything to do with the Chinese, since the Chinese would immediately steal any technology they learned anything about.
Political Ramblings from Wisconsin
My job affords me the opportunity to talk with people in a technical support capacity across the country (indeed around the world) and sometimes locations will come up in the conversation. When Wisconsin is mentioned, almost always I’m asked "How do you feel about Scott Walker?" and "Can you send him over to fill-in-the-state, we need that kind of leadership."
I usually reply that I’m a strong supporter, and I’m sorry, but no, you can’t borrow Governor Walker, because we still have more work to do in Wisconsin.
Much to my suprise, while on a family vacation out east, last week, – touring the 911 Memorial, Statue of Liberty & Times Square – the above conversation took place several times on the streets of New York City!
While unscientific in the extreme, these examples perhaps can give hope that there is a stronger conservative sentiment waiting to be tapped than one might believe.
On the VP process – WI Representative Paul Ryan has lately been mentioned as a "strong" possible candidate (for what that’s worth). If so, I hope that Mr. Romney will select someone else. While Rep. Ryan is the conservative’s darling – assuming that Mr. Romney wins the election, Rep Ryan will be in a position to accomplish considerably more in the House than he ever could as V.P.
Belated Birthday Wishes!
Joshua Robinson receives PhD from OSU
Joshua, working primarily under direction from Professor Michael Hartman, designed and built an award-winning neutron spectrometer that is now a part of the Oregon State University nuclear reactor facility. He has received his PhD for this work.
After a long struggle (where Joshua was targeted without regard for his excellent student and research performance) and with help from OSU Professor Jack Higginbotham and also the dean of the OSU graduate school, Joshua Robinson has received his PhD degree in nuclear engineering from Oregon State University. He would have graduated sooner and at significantly less expense if these unprincipled actions had not been taken against him, but we are very pleased that he was able to finish and we are very thankful for all of you who helped him.
The other two Robinson students who were targeted by Art Robinson’s opponents at OSU, are Matthew Robinson and Bethany Robinson. It is hoped that they, too, will complete their degree work. Concerned OSU alumni and OSU staff members are making efforts to help them.
Professor Jack Higginbotham, a distinguished nuclear engineer (and 25-year faculty member at OSU) who recently served as President of the OSU Faculty Senate, has suffered both personally and professionally from unprincipled attacks made against him in retribution for his efforts on behalf of the Robinson students and for his efforts on behalf of other students who were being treated improperly. His position has, however, improved because of the public pressure from supporters.
While tragic for the students, for their professor, and for OSU, these events should benefit OSU in the long run. All large institutions, even those with the noble goals of OSU, must learn to deal correctly with the occasional misdeeds of individuals within their organizations.
The Robinson family of six young people and their father now includes Dr. Art Robinson, Dr. Zachary Robinson, Dr. Noah Robinson, Dr. Arynne Robinson, Dr. Joshua Robinson, Miss Bethany Robinson, and Mr. Matthew Robinson, with Matthew and Bethany still to complete their formal educations. All seven have unusually outstanding academic records.
The Robinson family is deeply grateful for the help of the thousands of Oregonians who stepped forward to help Joshua, Bethany, Matthew, and Professor Higginbotham. Your help has made it possible for these four outstanding Oregonians to continue with their life’s work.
This was sent by Dr. Robinson to his friends and supporters.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.