The Star Road takes its toll.

View 848 Friday, October 31, 2014

“I have observed over the years that the unintended consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

Irving Kristol

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009



It has not been a good week for space development. The Wallops Island explosion destroyed not only a 60 year old Russian-made rocket, but some 48 experiments being sent up by NanoRacks. My son Richard is Senior Vice President at NanoRacks.)


I am now hearing radio announcements that Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two has crashed in the Mojave desert.

The star road takes its toll.  (Click on the map; this was posted after the Columbia disaster.)


Good views from space:


I suppose there is no surprise here:

Maine Says Nurse Hickox’s Roommate Had Ebola

Obama Leaves Maine Without Meeting Defiant Quarantine Nurse




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Importing Ebola; World Policeman or World Quarantines Incubation Site? Election fraud?

View 848 Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“I have observed over the years that the unintended consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

Irving Kristol

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


It has not been a great week. Monday starts well, but it was late before I got to anything like work. I did manage to do the Five Tibetan Rites, and hoped I’d be able to repeat that daily this week, but so far I have not. Tuesday was consumed with doctors and examinations and then shopping, and it was dinner time before I got home. Today was consumed by locusts mostly.

The eye people have decided that I will get at least one more iteration of new tri-focals before cataract surgery. That’s a bit expensive – even at Kaiser my glare free photo grey tri-focal glasses run to several hundred dollars – but it does put off the cataract surgery for a while. I am told by people I trust that modern cataract corrections are nothing like what I recall from the days when Bob Bloch get the procedure and then needed to be driven everywhere at night. I don’t know precisely when that was, but I do know that I drove him to the grand opening of Star Wars at Fox, so it would be possible to find the date that way. At least he could see the movies (and I made some money on it: after I saw it I bought Fox stock, although alas I couldn’t afford a lot). Now, I am told, the procedure is simple, over with quickly, and you’re better off. But I’m still glad to put it off for a bit.

I was also examined for skin problems, and got spritzed with liquid nitrogen in many places, all of which are now uncomfortable as they decay then heal. Frostbite is a good treatment for pre-cancerous conditions…

But I appear to be in pretty good shape for an 80 year old brain cancer survivor, even if I do tire more easily than I like. They tell me I’m good for another decade.


Importing Ebola

Hello Jerry,

Seems like Ebola is not becoming epidemic in the US rapidly enough to suit the Obamunists, so they are planning to import it in wholesale quantity:

Sounds like a plan—if the plan is national suicide. Or, more precisely, national murder.

A more striking example of ‘benign incompetence’ would be hard to imagine. Apparently a backup to the previous plan of sending the 101st Airborne from Fort Bragg to the center of infection in Africa to ‘fight Ebola’. After all, if you need a ‘quick reaction force’ to ‘fight’ something, isn’t the 101st the first outfit that would come to YOUR mind?

Bob Ludwick=

The Obama Administration says that we cannot quarantine against Ebola.

Obama warns against strict quarantines for Ebola workers

By Lesley Clark, Nancy Youssef and Tony Pugh

McClatchy Washington Bureau October 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama called for health care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa to be treated as “the heroes that they are,” amid continuing confusion and public anxiety over state health measures that call for some to be confined to their homes.

Obama warned there may be future cases of Ebola in the United States and that the only way to bring the risk to zero is to contain the outbreak at its source, in West Africa.

“If we’re not dealing with this problem there, it will come here,” he said at the White House, joined by his Ebola response coordinator, Ron Klain, and sharing a stage with doctors and nurses who have been to West Africa. “What we need right now is these shock troops who are out there leading globally. We can’t discourage that. We’ve got to encourage it and applaud it.”

Without naming any states, Obama warned against overly restrictive monitoring measures, saying, “If we’re discouraging our health care workers . . . from traveling to these places in need, then we’re not doing our job in terms of looking after our own public health and safety.”

Obama’s remarks came as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday ordered that all U.S. troops who travel to Liberia to help build Ebola treatment centers be quarantined for 21 days afterward, even though the service members will not come into direct contact with Ebola patients. The measure exceeds the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Hagel noted that the troops are not volunteers and described the measure as a “safety valve.”

And in Maine, nurse Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined without her consent in New Jersey after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, said Wednesday that she won’t comply with health officials in Maine who want her to remain in her home and avoid public contact. Hickox went home to Maine after New Jersey officials released her on Monday.

Read more here:

Of course these heroes will cooperate with the health authorities and would never risk transmitting Ebola to anyone in the United States.

Ebola doctor ‘lied’ about NYC travels

By Jamie Schram and Bruce Golding

October 29, 2014 | 3:21am

The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.

Dr. Craig Spencer at first told officials that he isolated himself in his Harlem apartment — and didn’t admit he rode the subways, dined out and went bowling until cops looked at his MetroCard the sources said.

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

Officials then retraced Spencer’s steps, which included dining at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village and bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn.

The military will quarantine the soldiers sent to the plague zone, preferably in another country; but the military is held responsible for its actions. That does not seem to be true for non-military heroes.

I think I would rather be the world’s policeman than the world’s incubation site for Ebola survivors,


And of course we understand how Ebola propagates.

Questions remain about how Dallas nurse got Ebola

By Ashley Fantz and Holly Yan, CNN

The nurse wore a mask, gown, shield and gloves as she helped care for a dying Ebola patient in Texas.

And a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she tested positive for Ebola, health officials are still trying to figure out how exactly she caught it.

"Something went wrong, and we need to find out why and what," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.



Mad intelligence

Dr Pournelle

"Public thinkers such as politicians and members of the media who comment on them are the first generation of our society to have been badly schooled without being aware of the fact."

Rev. George W. Rutler, Mad Intelligence: The Secularist Response to Islam

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith

The definition of a Dark Age is not one in which we have forgotten things; it is a time when we no longer know we ever knew them.  We appear to be entering a Dark Age for a fairly large part of our population.  Of course that makes self-government nearly impossible, but the smart one in charge have a remedy for that.

War Has Been Declared against Us

Dr Pournelle


Geert Wilders: War has been declared against us.

Islam delendum est?

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith




Don’t you wish you got all the government you pay for?


Royals panties confiscated from Kansas City lingerie shop by Homeland Security

Copyright infringement is the reason feds pop up at lingerie shop, which was trying to find a way to support Royals during World Series against Giants.

Ladies, don’t put on those panties without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball!

In an underwear-related manner that is apparently a matter of national importance, the Department of Homeland Security descended upon a women’s lingerie shop in Kansas City, Mo., according to The Wichita Eagle. The federal officers were there to stop the business – Birdies Panties – from making undies with the Royals logo during the team’s Cinderella run to the World Series.


2014 Margin Of Fraud


The midterm elections are a week away, and many of our hopes to reduce further damage to the nation are tied up with the Republicans taking the Senate. Right now, they nominally look like doing so, barely –’s "no tossups" average of recent polls shows a

52-48 R result. (I’m counting Orman, barely leading in Kansas, as a D.)

However, it’s way too soon to relax. RCP has ten of these races listed as "tossups", IE the average-of-polls margin is less than 5%. RCP’s split with tossups is 45 R, 45 D, and 10 too close to call.

Those ten tossups are of extreme interest right now. They break down as


AR R+5%

LA R+4.5 (in the likely runoff)

KY R+4.4

CO R+3.2 (universal mail-in ballots with minimal verification) AK R+2.2 IA R+1.7 GA R+0.5 (Libertarian 3.7%, runoff if less than 50%) KS D+0.6 (stealth D) NC D+1.0 (Libertarian 5.0%, no runoff) NH D+2.2

On the face of it, a 7-3 R split. But, read,

and worry. Of 27 statewide races decided by less than 1% since 1998, the D’s have won 20. That’s a 74% D win rate in close races over the last 16 years.

My working hypothesis is that in states where they control one or more major urban centers, the D’s are able to at need manufacture (dead voters, illegal voters, invented voters, non-voters voted-for) on the rough order of 2% more votes than would otherwise exist, and in close recounts they can then (unless actively and knowledgeably prevented) manufacture the additional votes needed to win.

My conclusion is that we may well see "surprise" D wins in any or all of Iowa, Georgia, Alaska, and Colorado (all possibly involving recount-till-D’s-win), with Colorado possibly unusually blatantly fraudulent due to the now universally mailed-out ballots being bought and sold.

So, a word to the wise. Absent a significantly higher than predicted R turnout in close states, next week’s result is like to be a "miraculous"

narrow D hold of the Senate. (I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker either, currently tied in the polls but with all those dead voters in Milwaukee and Madison polling solidly against him.)

(Oh, and while I’m at it, a Libertarian vote in North Carolina this election looks to me pretty much a vote for two more years of Harry Reid as Majority Leader. NC D 43.6, R 42.6, L 5.0.)

So, assuming I’m right, what then? The D’s won’t likely have been overly subtle about it, given what’s at stake.

Interesting times.


But it is racist to suggest that voters identify themselves. Or so I am told. Vote fraud is imaginary anyway, even if Cook County did once deliver more votes to a presidential candidate than were there were registered voters in the county…

We’re illegal – and We Vote!



Charles Murray interview 

Hi Dr. Pournelle,

My takeaway from the Charles Murray interview that you linked (the emphasis is mine):

“…we need to live in a civil society that naturally creates valued places for people with many different kinds and levels of ability. In my experience, communities that are left alone to solve their own problems tend to produce those valued places. Bureaucracies destroy them.”

My experience is that Mr. Murray is correct.


My experience has been that for most of his life Dr. Murray has been correct.  I am no admirer of the Social Sciences, which I usually call The Voodoo Sciences, and I generally pay little attention to Sociologists and their natterings, but Charles Murray actually deals with facts and scientific method.  He also writers well. 

The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives.

Not everyone on the left wants to quash dissent or indulge President Obama’s abuses of executive power.


Charles Murray

Social conservatives. Libertarians. Country-club conservatives. Tea party conservatives. Everybody in politics knows that those sets of people who usually vote Republican cannot be arrayed in a continuum from moderately conservative to extremely conservative. They are on different political planes. They usually have just enough in common to vote for the same candidate.

Why then do we still talk about the left in terms of a continuum from moderately liberal to extremely liberal? Divisions have been occurring on the left that mirror the divisions on the right. Different segments of the left are now on different planes.

A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There’s nothing "moderate" about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no point in trying to change anyone’s opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.

The rest of this essay is worth reading.  And Losing Ground is still very much worth attention.


And to change the subject considerably:


Woot woot woot

Yes! Got it right!

and the paper:

Stephanie Osborn

Interstellar Woman of Mystery <>

You may now stretch your mind….




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Summing up the Ebola situation: Safe for now.

View 848 Sunday, October 26, 2014

“I have observed over the years that the unintended consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

Irving Kristol

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


The first Ebola crisis is ended. Both nurses who contracted Ebola from the Texas Patient Zero have been pronounced virus free and released from hospital. More on that below, but it appears that the first two people to contract Ebola in the United States have recovered from it, and there are no more infections.

It is not so clear with the New York Patient Zero, but all the authorities are certain that nothing more will come of it. Meanwhile the procedures have been revised, new equipment shipped to various hospitals, and more stringent check on people coming from the plague zones have been ordered.

Apparently our loss of devotion since the days of Bismarck has not entirely changed the situation. God looks out for fools, drunks, and the United States of America. It would be wise not to count on this to the exclusion of using good sense.


Ebola-there is a lot we don’t know

Dear Jerry,

A few points about the Ebola discussion:

Contagion should have nothing to do with symptoms. Symptoms are just a marker of systemic viremia. There are viruses that can be spread from an asymptomatic person. One important aspect of symptoms is that you are less likely to spread a virus present in body fluids if you aren’t sweating profusely, vomiting, etc.

I would not have been quite so sanguine about exposing the President (despite my political persuasion) to Nurse Pham unless they clearly had demonstrated a zero (undetectable) virion count by polymerase chain reaction testing. Just because she has antibodies protecting her and killing the virus in her body does not mean she can’t spread live virus. It is unlikely, as she wasn’t vomiting on the President.

A key point to know is the number of virions necessary to transmit the virus; this is one (1) for Hepatitis B. I don’t know what it is for Ebola (it may not even be the same number for different strains). It may be higher than one as there can be a lot of virus in blood, vomit, etc.

I note the deaths of Medicine Without Borders doctors; Dr. Fauci has stated on television that disease spread can be controlled with proper precautions, citing zero deaths in MWB healthcare workers. I guess he really didn’t know.

I believe we should also be concerned about the US Gov’t mandating established clinical trial regulations on Ebola vaccine and treatment tests in Africa. The possibility of death from treatment would have to be quite high for me not to risk it if I had or were exposed to Ebola in Africa. I have heard that one trial being contemplated is to use three groups: one getting one Ebola vaccine; one getting another Ebola vaccine and one getting a Hepatitis B vaccine as a "control" group. This in a disease that is 40-70% fatal. We don’t even do this in most Oncology studies where death rates are high. Many people in Africa believe the vaccinations cause Ebola; what will they think when they are in the trial, get the Hep B vaccine and then get Ebola.



Michael Montgomery, MD


As to the dog of Nurse Pham. We know Ebola can be carried by (probably originated in) Monkeys. I don’t don’t think we know anything about Ebola and dogs (can they get, do they get symptomatic, what is the incubation period in dogs, etc.).

Blood tests and observation would be prudent.


Dr. Pournelle,

Interesting to read posts by Interstellar Woman of Mystery and Brian P. I have seen similar numbers re: strains and relative mortality for Ebola, although the mortality for Marburg was closer to 90% (although I read that last epidemic of Ebola). Some brief observations:

1) I don’t think we have a great understanding of virulence/modes of transmission. So far none of the people that lived with Mr. Duncan and presumably had more exposure have developed Ebola. As the others have pointed out, would seem to indicate viral load is much higher in the preterminal phase. And while it is not a true aerosol, I am able to tell you from personal experience vomit and stool travel much farther and deposit in places you would not think possible. And certainly, if a patient had an underlying lung condition such as sarcoidosis or tuberculosis these people will frequently bleed into the alveoli so that a cough can make a true aerosol (even without abnormal clotting). Given that we do not know all the modes, I think CDC was premature declaring that Nina Pham had broken protocol and that was the cause of her infection. They never explained her breech, and they didn’t account for Amber Vinson’s infection.

2) It follows that we cannot be sure that our protocols are as effective as they need to be to prevent wide spread infection from primary cases. Even if they are, the costs of monitoring and testing are prohibitive. It follows logically that we should try to limit the number of index cases, i.e. limit access from people from the epidemic areas. Nigeria is a relatively poor country with limited health care and they have made quarantine work. "If there are no Moties, there will be no Motie problem". If there are no index cases in the US, there can’t be an epidemic. At the very least people from affected areas should have a minimum of 24 day quarentine from the last possible day of exposure, and these plans need to be in place before traveller’s are admitted to the US. Returning citizens should have to meet the same standards.

3) I cannot see how limiting access to the US inhibits our ability to treat Ebola in situ. Médecins Sans Frontières and other NGO’s manage to get access. We can certainly mobilize govermental health care to go there. So far the only effective treatment seems to be plasma transfusion from survivors and possibly a monoclonal antibody cloned into tobacco plant. Neither of those need patients in the US to test or treat. Makes the logistics a little harder, but certainly no harder than trying to identify and track several hundred potential contacts for every index case.

4) Since there appear to be some strains with much lower morbidity and mortality, it begs the question if these could be used as an effective vaccine. I am sure people are investigating but I have not seen anything in the Emergency Medicine or general Internal Medicine literature yet.

Hopefully, we will adopt some realistic control measures. Robert Heinlein had a story line in his book Friday where he postulated spread of plague as a major world wide pandemic largely due to very brief travel time in relationship to incubation times for infections. Might be different if we had a very sensitive and fairly specific point of care (or immigration) test to identify people in their preclinical phase of infection. In then meantime I would suggest we set up a treatment center somewhere between 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and 1 First St. SE.

Thank you,

Doug Lewis, MD

The real danger of ebola…

Recently you said "Of course the real danger is that the plague will enter the Middle East and South America."

WIth respect, the real danger is that it will enter India. India has a population of a billion, and half of them are chronically malnourished – this means that their immune systems will be running on low and they will be much more susceptible to infection than well-fed people. In addition, the heavy crowding and extremely poor levels of sanitation would be tailor made for Ebola to spread. Ebola seems not to be airborne (for now), but, a few sick people throwing up in the Ganges…

I suspect that the Indian government knows this and is prepared to shoot suspected Ebola immigrants on sight… But you’ll never hear about it in the mainstream press….

Globus Pallidus XI


Ebola sick-in

Dr Pournelle

Bellevue staffers call in ‘sick’ after Ebola arrives

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith


And this sums up the Ebola situation. The crisis is supposedly over, although we do continue to import people from the plague zones, and we are sending soldiers there.




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.