The poor and the rich; Moore’s Law changes everything

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an editorial page article, about the latest Nobel Prize in economics winner, Angus Deaton. ; the prize is for finding ways to measure the extent of poverty in a world of rapidly rising technology. Deaton’s ideas on why poverty is shrinking – we’re down to 9.6% worldwide — are in his major book,

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

Although poverty is shrinking, a great deal of attention has been given to income and wealth inequality in reviews of his works; Deaton himself says:

“Life is better now than at almost any time in history,” writes Mr. Deaton in the book’s opening. “More people are richer and fewer people live in dire poverty. Lives are longer and parents no longer routinely watch a quarter of their children die. Yet millions still experience the horrors of destitution and of premature death. The world is hugely unequal.”

The Economist article is a bit more “economic” rather than editorial, as might be expected.

The tricky work of measuring falling global poverty

THIS is the best news story in the world,” said Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, of the announcement this month that the proportion of the world living in poverty is now in single digits, at 9.6%. The claim has rekindled a long smouldering debate over the reliability of such statistics.

Counting the poor is no easy task. The Bank bases its poverty figures on household surveys, which are undertaken by developing countries every few years. In the years between surveys, the Bank takes the last set of survey figures and shrinks them by assuming that the fortunes of the poor improve at the national growth rate. But the benefits of economic growth in many developing countries often accrue to the rich. In India and China, inequality has been increasing in recent years. From 1981 to 2010, the average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa saw no increase in their income even as economies expanded. Because there is no household data since 2012, it is impossible to know if these trends towards greater inequality have since changed.

Still, there is more concern for rising inequality than joy over the fall in the number of those in poverty. The US defines poverty in percentages, not in the actual wealth of those “in” or “out” of poverty; and as far as I can see, virtually no one pays attention to something I pointed out fifty years ago in my Galaxy columns, and repeated in A Step Farther Out, technology gives to the poorest of us real choices not available to the wealthiest on Earth not all that long ago. Kipling’s wonderful; novel Captains Courageous which every school child once read with joy (and ought to be reading now, in my judgment) describes how a 1900 California railroad baron, one of the wealthiest men in the world, discovers that his formerly lost at sea son is alive and on the East coast; and how he takes his private train across country, at a frantic pace, to rush from San Francisco to Boston in a day or so; a feat no other man alive could have accomplished. Now any lower middle class father could do that.

When I was growing up, and just after I got out of the Army, I could and did hitchhike across the country; sometimes I was uncomfortable on the road in the middle of the night, but it only took me two days to get from New York to The University of Iowa, and the trip cost me nothing at all – indeed a truck driver bought me breakfast.

My income at the time was zero. I don’t know what the truck driver made, but the ratio of our incomes was infinite; yet I got to Iowa City as fast as Leland Stanford could have not many years before I set out on the George Washington bridge with a portable typewriter and a barracks bag – everything I owned.

I am over 80 and still have teeth. I have survived brain cancer thanks to radiation therapy. I have mostly recovered from a stroke last January, and I received no better treatment for that than would anyone else appearing in the Emergency Room at St. Joseph’s in Burbank. Back when I hitchhiked across country no person alive could have survived my brain cancer, or recovered from my stroke.

Yes, there are income discrepancies, and vast inequalities; but perhaps we should once in a while count our blessings, and contemplate the requirements of keeping what we have, and adding to the real opportunities we all are given, rather than resenting what we don’t have and the rich can afford. Civilization sometimes a delicate flower, and more easily killed than you might suppose. Ask anyone during the Thirty Years War in Europe; or ask any non Res Guard survivor of Mao’s various drives and campaigns; or those who lived under Stalin .

No campaign for income equality could have given me teeth at 80, or survival from brain cancer at 77, when I was a young man hitchhiking across country to the State University of Iowa, where, incidentally, I got through without going into debt by working at various jobs including board jobs (no money paid) in Reich’s Café; impossible now for those not rich. Board jobs were outlawed by minimum wages. Minimum wages were imposed to help reduce inequality.

The number of people living in poverty is growing smaller. Much of that is due to technology giving us all, rich and poor, more choices, some of which were formerly impossible. I would bet that Moore’s Law has done more to reduce the number of people in poverty than all the wage regulations since the beginning of time.


Ginni Rometty: Forget digital—cognitive business is the future

A new era of cognitive business is here.

IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said that a new technological era is upon us, one that marries digital business with digital intelligence. It’s what’s known as cognitive business.

“Digital is the wires, but digital intelligence, or artificial intelligence as some people call it, is about much more than that,” Rometty told Fortune Editor-in-Chief Alan Murray at the Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. “This next decade is about how you combine those and become a cognitive business.”

“It’s the dawn of a new era,” said Rometty.

There’s a vast amount of information out there, from the Internet to your computer hard drive, but nearly 80% of that information has been invisible to systems and computers until now, explained Rometty. For instance, while there may be millions of songs and movies digitally stored, a computer hasn’t known what’s inside those files before today’s technological innovations.

Artificial intelligence has been around for decades but it hasn’t been until recently that its power’s been unleashed. IBM’s IBM -0.99% Watson is symbolic of this era and is able to demonstrate the power of digital intelligence, said Rometty. Systems can now understand, reason, and learn. See: Watson’s breath-taking performance on Jeopardy! in 2011 when it took down the gameshow’s top two contestants ever.

There’s still a long way to go before digital intelligence becomes the standard, but Rometty recommended five areas where a business can benefit now if it starts building a cognitive business:

1. Drive Deeper Engagement: Help clients behind the scene for better customer experience.

2. Scale Expertise: Companies spend lots of money training employees, this could be scaled more effectively.

3. Put Learning in Every Product: Build products that adapt to each consumer’s needs.

4. Change Operations: Streamline your supply chain to help margins.

5. Transform How You Do Discovery: From pharmaceuticals to financial industries, research will be the foundation of many many segments will work in the future.

“Instead of being disrupted, be the disrupter. I do it inside my own business,” said Rometty. “You will be the disrupter if you choose to do it.”

I bet she makes a lot more than the girl who cleans her floor and washes her dishes.


Re: A perspective on uncertainty and climate science


There was a guest post on Judith Curry’s blog a couple of days ago that was quite good (title & URL follow).

A perspective on uncertainty and climate science

Some excerpts.

“Word “around town” is that science is truth. Sorry to damp the zeal, but science is NOT truth. By definition, science equates to varying degrees of uncertainty, with hypotheses and theories bookending the uncertainty spectrum – to some, a rather boring outlook.”

“In time, it is not difficult to see how we come to believe the little fantasy world we have made for ourselves in attempt to make sense of nature’s vast stomping grounds.”

“The motivation for adjusting data is honest; at least we hope it is. A recent increase in the frequency of data adjustments in temperature trends has raised red flags, with findings of undocumented changes, questionable extrapolation practices, and computer-initiated “homogenization” changes made according to assumptions. Some argue that where assumptions might have trumped accuracy, the number of errors is so small as to not present a problem. Yet, it seems yesterday’s data sets showed variability over the years. Now the warm 1930’s and 1940’s have been erased, relegated to mythology. We shiver as we are told of the “warmest years on record” by hundredths of a degree, and with minor data re-calculations, “pauses” in observed temperature trends disappear overnight, and we are told to accept this, and we do, in light of all the uncertainties. Can this be???&tag=chaosmanor-20”

““Photo-journalism and social media have enhanced our understanding of the world. They bring to our eyes, and our hearts, the enormity of global changes that imperil our future.” This eloquent statement, said to me recently by an acquaintance, was followed by an attempt to boost the credibility of her words – “And I’m a Republican”! Yes, I understand the political framing, much as I rebel against it – as it has no place in science – but that is today’s reality. And she was on to something; indeed, photo-journalism and the power of social networking have scripted our perceptions and redesigned reality for our consumption. But, behind every photograph of a stranded polar bear, of mountain glaciers shrinking, of drought-ravaged landscapes, of tornado-inflicted devastation, of flooded neighborhoods, of pounding seas and calving glaciers, hurricane-pounded surfs and ice-locked shipping ports, our impulse to assign cause to effect confounds our ability to reason, to see the story behind the sensation.”

I can only hope this approach continues gathering steam enough to overwhelm the BS.



Every school child knows, or should know:

There were farms in Greenland and vines in Vinland during Viking times.

Cannon were brought across the frozen Hudson to General George Washington in Harlem heights in December, 1776.

The Hudson hasn’t frozen hard enough to walk on in over a hundred years.

No model we have predicts all these events.


Microsoft delivers new Windows 10 ‘Threshold 2’ test build for PC users (ZD)

Microsoft has made Windows 10 test build 10565 for PCs available to Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring.

By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft | October 12, 2015 — 17:58 GMT (10:58 PDT) |

Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build — No. 10565 — to PC testers on the Fast Ring on October 12.

The previous build on my Surface Pro 3 was 10547; 10565 is installing now.


The Aviationist » No, the Turkish Air Force has not shot down a Russian aircraft near the Syrian border (at least, not yet)


The reports of a shoot down might be exaggerated or just premature.

James Crawford=

We don’t seem to be at war yet.


How to Detect Killer Asteroids.



Roland Dobbins


Subj: NK can hit US with LR nuclear missile

Among other things, the Chinese aid proves that NK is intended to distract us from the other things China is doing.



We have no SAC but the boomers patrol the seas… Of course they cannot fight a war so much as wreak terrible vengeance.


Education: It Mostly Doesn’t
Most jobs only require a basic solid high-school level education, and a lot of people are simply unsuited for high levels of academic achievement.
As far as public education goes, the major factors are:
1. The native ability of the student
2. The socioeconomic status of the parents
3. The socioeconomic status of the other children in the school.
That’s it. Throwing money at administrators and fancy buildings etc., having teachers with PhDs in education etc. does basically nothing.
However, this simple reality has been clouded by vested interests.
Wages and living standards are headed down, because of too rapid immigration (nobody beats the law of supply and demand, not even PhDs), outsourcing industries to low-wage countries, and bailing out Wall Street and starving real productive enterprises of investment. But this doesn’t sound good, so the rich often blame the schools: ‘oh we have to import foreign workers because the American schools are so bad that there aren’t enough skilled American workers’ (hahaha). ‘The inner cities aren’t failing because there are no jobs and no money, no, it’s because the schools are so bad.’ etc.
However, the educational bureaucracies and unions have bought into this. They like promoting the fantasy of teacher-as-miracle-worker who can magically transform ordinary people into the next Einstein and single-handedly turn East St. Louis into Geneva Switzerland.
And in the short run the educational mafias made some bucks off this fantasy. They got big raises and lot of plum administrative jobs (where you don’t even have to do any of that grubby teaching stuff).
But now the bills are coming due. Having claimed that schools are more important than they really are, now teachers are having to take responsibility for what is really not their fault. The inner cities still failing? Facebook still wanting to replace its entire workforce with H1Bs? It must be the fault of the schools! It must be the fault of the teachers!
Too late, as their unions are broken and public funds are diverted to private or charter schools, teachers must be realizing what a toxic bargain they made when they joined with big business in blaming so many of our societal ills on the schools…






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




The Education dilemma; Feeding The Blob; More on LENR; Storage, Power; and new computers; ISIS; and much more.

Chaos Manor View, Saturday, October 10, 2015

10/10/1910 Date of the founding of the Republic of China; usually referred to as “Ten-Ten”


I have been making progress on fiction, and have had less time for this place; trying to catch up


There Will Be War Volume 10 is filling faster than expected. There are still a few fiction slots open, and we are looking for serious previously published non-fiction on future war; previous publication in a military journal preferred but not a requirement. Can be any length but under 5,000 words preferred. Payment on acceptance of a flat $200 advance against pro rata share of 25% of cover price royalties. We purchase non-exclusive anthology rights only; original works not excluded but no extra payment for first serial rights. Like the previous works in the There Will Be War series, this is a reprint anthology.  The introductions to the works will be original.  Previous volumes have sold well. Volume will probably be published (eBook) in December; hardbound volume next year.


Thousands of LAUSD teachers’ jobs would be at risk with charter expansion plan


If a proposal for a massive expansion of charter schools in Los Angeles moves forward, the casualties probably would include thousands of teachers who currently work in the city’s traditional public schools.

As new charters open, regular schools would face declining enrollment — and would need fewer teachers.

Under the $490-million plan being spearheaded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, 260 new charters would be opened in the city in eight years. The goal is to more than double the number of students attending these schools, which are independently run and mostly nonunion.

See the most-read stories this hour >>

The Great Public Schools Now proposal makes no mention of recruiting instructors from the ranks of L.A. Unified — even though the foundation acknowledged this week that the charter growth would require about 5,000 instructors.


Better L.A. Unified schools would be best weapon against charter push

The plan talks about hiring from an expanded Teach For America and other groups that work with young, inexperienced instructors.

If the plan is carried out, “Los Angeles will have the strongest set of teacher and leader development programs of any city in the state of California,” according to the proposal.

The Broad Foundation said this week that teachers are key to the success of the proposal.

“We are in the process of listening to educators and community members to determine how best to support the dramatic growth of high-quality public schools in Los Angeles,” spokeswoman Swati Pandey said. “We know that without great teachers, there can be no great public schools. We’re eager to engage and support teachers as part of this work.”


Test scores complicate the debate over expanding L.A. charter schools

The fate of teachers is becoming a major political issue in the debate over charter expansion, with L.A.’s teachers union at the forefront of the opposition.

“The charters are specifically looking for educators who have not had the experience of being in a union, which means that, by and large, they’re looking for teachers who may find it more challenging to raise their voice about curriculum or school conditions,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

Union leaders said they believe the charter expansion also is designed to dilute its political strength by reducing the number of dues-paying members. Teachers unions and their allies have squared off with Broad and his allies in recent and costly school board elections. Additionally, the union does not support the types of changes and accountability measures favored by Broad and others.

The number of teachers in L.A. Unified has shrunk to about 25,600 over the last six years from about 32,300. About half that decrease stems from the growth of charters, according to the district. Charters enroll more than 100,000 students, about 16% of the total in the nation’s second-largest school system.

Charters typically employ younger, less-experienced teachers who remain in the classroom for a shorter period of time, according to research from UC Berkeley and a 2015 analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass.

The Broad proposal, which would set aside $43.1 million for a “teacher pipeline,” refers to Teach For America as the “strongest human capital partner” for charters in Los Angeles. That group recruits recent college graduates and provides training that consists of six weeks before they start teaching — more in some cases — combined with ongoing support and course work.

The plan also looks to other fast-track programs, the New Teacher Project and the Relay Graduate School of Education, as avenues for hires. The New Teacher Project recruits those who want to change careers as well as recent grads; Relay is an emerging program developed in conjunction with charter leaders. It’s based in New York City, with regional campuses in five states, not yet including California.

Younger teachers offer a workforce that charters consider more flexible and one that is willing to work at a pace that may be unsustainable over the long term, some experts said.

“I completely understand why charters go for those kids — they are great, energetic young adults who want to make a difference, who are willing to work 60-hour weeks,” said Stephanie Medrano Farland, whose company, Collaborative Solutions for Charter Authorizers, helps school districts oversee and assist charter schools. “There are no limits because they have no union contracts. That also means they burn out.”

The California Charter Schools Assn. points to the success and popularity of charters as evidence that their instructors are serving students well. Los Angeles charters, on average, tend to perform higher on state standardized tests than traditional schools.

“Great teachers change students’ lives. Charter school teachers do that every day and the evidence is in their students’ progress,” said Jason Mandell, a spokesman for the charter group. “Teachers are the heroes of the charter school movement.”

And supporters applaud the idea of expanding the talent pool, especially given a looming teacher shortage in California as many instructors reach retirement age and the number of applicants to teacher-education programs has dropped.

“On one hand, teachers unions claim we need to replace thousands of teachers over the next decade,” said Jim Blew, president of the Sacramento-based advocacy group StudentsFirst, which supports charters as well as vouchers to allow students from low-income families to attend private schools. “On the other, they say there’s no room for teachers from organizations with proven, documented records of creating quality teachers…. L.A. needs more great teachers, and everyone should welcome them regardless of who recruited them to the city.”

The Times’ new education initiative to inform parents, educators and students across California >>

The Broad proposal, which the foundation called a “preliminary discussion draft,” specifies a need for 2,413 teachers. But a spokeswoman clarified this week that about twice that number would be needed to staff all the new charters.

Even in choosing among young teachers, charters have distinct hiring preferences. Many rely on nontraditional sources, said Kate Walsh, president of National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based advocacy and research firm.

The issue is partly philosophical, Walsh said. University-based programs focus extensively on the history and theory of learning, whereas charters want more practical training for their recruits, such as how to keep a classroom quiet enough for students to learn effectively, Walsh said.

Some experts insist that there’s value in having a range of experience and ages among teachers in a school, to reach students in different ways. Some also stress the value of a faculty with less turnover from year to year.

At KIPP LA, a well-regarded charter group with relatively strong test scores, 69% of last year’s teachers returned to the classroom this year, according to the group. In L.A. Unified, 94% of teachers returned, according to the district. Half of those who left were retirees. Among new teachers, 92% returned.

“If you’re tapping teachers who have very little preparation and you have lots of them in schools, without veterans to support or mentor them, the turnover rates are typically high,” said Ken Futernick, professor emeritus at Cal State Sacramento, who has studied the role of teacher quality in school reform. “Teachers learn to collaborate in teams over time. And the constant churning of teachers coming and going makes it difficult to create a successful school environment.”

(The Broad Foundation has given money to the California Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to support Education Matters, a new Times digital initiative devoted to more in-depth reporting on schools.)

As noted previously, large grants to existing unionized schools produce no observable benefits to the pupils, but simply vanish into the blob.

‘What happened with the $100 million that Newark’s schools got from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg?” asks a recent headline. “Not much” is the short answer. In her recently released book, “The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?” journalist Dale Russakoff attempts to answer the question more fully.

“The goal of improving education in Newark,” she told the Hechinger Report, “is not a hopeless one. But viewing it as something that can be imposed from the top down as opposed from the bottom up, or at least in combination, was really a very central flaw.”

The Facebook founder negotiated his gift with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and then-Mayor Cory Booker in 2010, and it flowed into Newark’s public-school system shortly thereafter. The bulk of the funds supported consultants and the salaries and pensions of teachers and administrators, so the donation only reinforced the bureaucratic and political ills that have long plagued public education in the Garden State.

Mr. Zuckerberg is not the first private donor to fail at reforming public education by working with government—and he won’t be the last. Such efforts date at least to the 1960’s, with the Ford Foundation’s ill-fated campaign to decentralize New York City’s public schools by giving community boards the power to fire and hire teachers and principals.

The teachers unions opposed the effort, as anyone could have foreseen. Union leaders called a citywide strike that paralyzed the system and forced Mayor John Lindsay to call the whole thing off. It was an early sign that two great liberal causes—reform and unionization—could not be reconciled. But many foundations and individual donors haven’t learned the lesson.

Note the sign carried by the marching teacher:


You may translate that as you will; my translation is “Give us that money, don’t worry about the pupils.” Of course that is not said; but it is the effect.

The truth is that you cannot give every child a world class university prep education. The choice is to give none of them a world class university prep education, or select those who can profit from it and give such an education to them, while giving those not selected something less – which could still be substantial. See The California Sixth Grade Reader ; some examples are given in a previous Chaos Manor View . It is possible to give a reasonable education at rather low cost. In my case, in Tennessee in the 1930’s, Capleville School had 4 teachers for 8 grades. There were two grades to a room, and about 25 students per grade. We all learned to read, to sit quietly while the other class had their turn, and do reasonably well at arithmetic.

The Catholic school system has escaped some of the horrors of the blob, but it is succumbing to it. For a good picture of how it used to work (and a very good read) see The Crazyladies of Pearl Street It is by my late friend Rod Whittaker, who wrote as Trevanian; I forget which name he used for this book. It is about growing up in the Depression, but it describes the Catholic schools Rod went to in the 30’s.

My point is that what man has done man can aspire to; we once had decent schools, and for a lot less money than we spend now. Entitlement has become the ruling principle, and Entitlement For Teachers rules over any possible entitlement for students, although of course the demands are made “for the children”. Any attempt to point out that some students don’t learn as well as others usually results in charges of racism and demands for more money. Zuckerberg tried doing it that way: feed The Blob. The result was almost indistinguishable from nothing.

So long as teachers are unionized, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy will see to it that The Blob does not change, and sending money to the schools will not result in better student performance.

Feeding The Blob results in a bigger and fatter Blob, and quite possibly harms the students. It certainly does them no good.

My wife comments that all the teachers come from the same institutions and receive the same certifications by the same process; you are hoping to change the way they teach, but they do not know other ways.  The ones who learn stay; but there will be turnover, as those who cannot adapt seek other employment.



More on LENR theory from Dr. DeChiaro

Hello Jerry,

The previous link was just a ‘state of play’ presentation.

This is Dr. DeChiaro’s commentary on LENR theory:

I don’t know the ‘chain of custody’ of the piece.

It looks to be quotes from Dr. DeChiaro, but I didn’t see any quote marks.

I am obviously not qualified to comment on the ‘scientificalness’ of the content.

Bob Ludwick

I have no more data, except to say that the Office of Naval Research continues to fund Pons and Fleischmann in hopes that they will discover the mechanism generating the excess energy in their experiments. I am told by usually reliable sources that there is some, and no one knows why. That brings hope that some low energy Nuclear Process is happening, and we can harness it. We have long known that we could build. By brute force, a hot fusion plant that would produce more energy than it takes to sustain it, but with existing technology it would be a stunt and cost far more than the value of the energy it produces. One of the costs would be operational and thus continuous. No one I know thinks we’d learn much from building it. Doc Bussard believed we could use fusion plants to recharge spent fission fuel, and had considerable success in his work, but since his death not much has come of it.

I have faith that we will come up with ways to produce low cost energy, and with sufficient energy all other problems such as pollution and water shortages become, if not trivial, at least more easily solved; but I do not know what path will lead us there. I make no doubt that before the end of this Century we will have new energy sources that do not involve fossil fuels.


I got an email advertising Discover: 5TB Hard Drive $149 and commented Wow! To my advisors. Most said good deal, but it elicited some interesting comments.

Eric noted that we had not long ago built an NAS Raid with 4 4 TB drives (it is now one of the primary backup systems for Chaos Manor, and said:

At the time the drives for the NAS were ordered, 4 TB was the sweet spot for price/capacity, especially for models specced for NAS use.

    There are much, much higher capacity drives out there now but when you look toward the bleeding edge some special considerations come in regarding what applications the drives are suited for. This column discusses it briefly:

    Eventually there will almost certainly be drives of such capacity suited for mainstream use but right now the capacity is so far ahead of demand in the consumer sector that there isn’t much motive to advance on that front. The area where drive makers are concerned about competing is performance as SSDs become big enough at a low enough price to be the entire internal storage system for most PCs. If it suddenly became fashionable to have a massive library of 4K video on your home network that would be a great development for drive makers but that is going to remain a limited market. A 500GB-ish SSD is plenty big enough for most people’s apps and epic sized games if they don’t insist on having their entirely library on hand at a moment’s notice. Such SSDs are likely to get down near $100 in holiday season promotions.


And David Em added

When Digital Domain opened its doors in the early nineties, one of the owners gave me a tour. If I remember right, he proudly showed me a whole room dedicated to their 1TB of storage, complete with its own cabling and data wrangler.

— David

Spinning metal storage has lasted a lot longer than ever I thought it would: I saw early on that “Silicon is cheaper than iron” and foresaw the development of huge SSD drives; of course this was in the 80’s, and my idea of massive was megabytes (a 5 Mb drive was then rare, and ours was in a structure the size of a two drawer file cabinet; house light dimmed when I turned it on). SSD still has not caught up with spinning metal, but it’s hot on its heels.


I was impressed by the new Microsoft lines announced, particularly by the new keyboard with key separation for the Surface Pro 4. Since the keyboard works with the Surface Pro 3 I already have, I have pre-ordered one—the one with fingerprint recognition, which I like a lot. I figure I can wait until I can actually see a Surface Pro 4 before deciding to upgrade my Pro 3, but that keyboard looks to be a life saver. It appears to be very like the Logitech K360 I am writing this with; I don’t use the Surface Pro 3 as much as I would like to because I still hit multiple keys in my two-finger typing, and then spend more time correcting sentences that in writing them. The K360 and autocorrect reduces the number of mistakes dramatically; alas I have yet to find the easy access to autocorrect that I have in my Word 2007 on Windows 7, and a K360 for the Surface Pro would be absurd. I have made a number of recoveries from the stroke, but touch typing wasn’t, alas, one of them, and it slows me down a lot. I do like the new Microsoft products.

Peter Glaskowsky said, after the rather impressive announcements by Microsoft of their new line of Surface Pro Tablets

Skylake was designed to deliver the features and performance that Microsoft requested for what became Windows 10, and I’m sure Intel was also thinking about input from Apple that led to Mac OS X El Capitan.
I was reading more details on the Dell systems here:
These new machines have some distinct advantages over the new Microsoft Surface Book. They have 4K-resolution displays (even on the XPS 12 tablet!), Thunderbolt 3 (which is also USB 3.1 on a USB Type C connector), battery life up to 18 hours (approaching Montalvo’s 20-hour target; I think this is the first time I’ve seen a machine that gets more than 12 hours without an external battery pack), support for the “minimum Adobe RGB” color gamut (I don’t know exactly what that means, since only Dell uses the phrase, but it must be good! :-), and the prices start at relatively more reasonable levels ($1,000 for the 12 and 15, $800 for the 13).
I’d say Dell has undermined the wow factor from the Microsoft announcements.
.                    png

After some discussion of the significance of Skylake, Eric said:

    I linked the piece because I thought these were notable, coming on the heels of the Microsoft news. The new normal. It’s been a while since there was much excitement in PC hardware outside the gaming sector. One thing I predicted is happening, that SSDs from the big OEMs would start hitting the mainstream when PCI-e connections and price/capacity made it impossible to ignore any longer. It had been frustrating to me how long it took for factory installed SSDs to be made available on more than a tiny range of models. I knew plenty of people who wanted new systems but had grown accustomed to SSD after I’d upgraded their existing PCs. They knew they wanted this on every PC going forward but didn’t want to void their warranty for it.

     At the same time, OEMs were largely pretending SSDs didn’t exist. They weren’t even a pricey option on the configuration choices for most models. My belief is that they were faced with a dilemma of how to make the mainstream shoppers appreciate the difference when it meant advertising higher prices for lower capacity. Using very small SSDs combined with traditional spinning platter drives introduced management issues for users that PC OEMs really didn’t want to deal with after many years of selling systems with seeming bottomless pits of storage capacity. Most users are perplexed if you ask them over the phone to put something on drive D: rather than C:.

    The hardware and software vendors weren’t much help. SSHDs (Solid State Hybrid Drives) were supposed to let them get past that issue but drive vendors were charging a lot for very little cache, resulting in a limited improvement the OEMs were reluctant to attempt selling. Intel tried to promote using small SSDs as caches. This offered better capacity than the SSHD approach but Intel’s software was so unreliable as to be useless. I never spoke with anybody who got satisfactory results with it. Microsoft might have helped by making aspects of this native to Windows but either Intel didn’t want to do this or Microsoft never thought to ask.

    Microsoft also dropped the ball on integration of SSDs with hard drives. Apple had a terrific solution in their Fusion Drive feature added Mac OS X. A system could have both types of drive and Fusion would make them appear to be a single volume of their combined capacity and manage which items lived on the faster storage without any understanding or effort by the user. (It also helped that Apple wasn’t intimidated by the price issue.) If a little used app came into more frequent use, it would be migrated to the SSD, entirely behind the scenes. It just got faster in response to user activity.

    Microsoft had most of the pieces needed to do their own version of this, already in Windows 8. Yet they never went the extra steps to make this automatic and easily incorporated by the OEMs. So SATA-connected SSDs will never become a mainstream feature on brand name PCs, despite their popularity among those who build their own or have a more technically adept person they can rely on for the upgrade. With PCI-e connected SSDs, the performance gain is so great (and the price/capacity issue reduced) it can no longer be treated as something for just niche products.

    I think SSDs could have reached a much bigger segment of the market by now if the vendors and OEMs had been more on the ball. These were the same people lamenting the lack of reasons for consumers to buy new PCs, completely failing to promote the biggest improvement to PCs to become available in many years.

    As I understand it, Adobe RGB can be 36-bit or 48-bit, so I’m guessing they’re saying they can accurately display the 36-bit color space, which is a huge improvement over when this became an issue in the 90’s.

    I’m expecting 4K to become the new 1080p as production volumes ramp up. 1080p will move down to much lower priced laptops and mobile devices, with 720p-ish resolution continuing to turn up on just the very cheapest devices. Not that any of us are surprised after seeing this progression so many times.

    HP has nice new models, too.—12-a001dx-%28energy-star%29

Eric Pobirs

My conclusion is that we are in for significant changes again as we go through another iteration of Moore’s Law. When things double in power after the previous doublings, they become awesome; that’s the nature of exponentials. Hardware has already outrun software. Now it will double in power several times more. And there’s lots of competition out there…


One of the most prolific contributors to Chaos Manor Mail is Joshua Jordan. I am very grateful for the research he does and his comments; but I find I can’t always manage to comment on each missive he sends; yet they deserve more than short shrift. Here, alas, is the short shrift they don’t deserve:

: Alex Jones Interviews Matt Drudge

I know your time is limited, but I think you’ll find this interview is worth your time. Maybe skip through the beginning and get to the interview itself; it’s worth it:

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo


Massive China, Russia, ISIS update

Things are moving at blinding speed in the Middle East right now.

China may be sending forces to Syria to work with Russian forces:

Even as evidence emerges that Turkey is working with ISIS, NATO seems ready to deploy troops:

Russian media also mentions the NATO deployment and says Turkey will be cutting a gas contract with Russia:

Brzezinski wrote an op-ed in FT encouraging activities that I suspect will cause animosity and lead to that world war I’ve been mentioning from time to time in some of my emails.

Notice Brzezinski seems underestimate the Chinese and notice the goals of his “strategic boldness” constitute “cooperation”, something Putin already offered. Therefore it is clear that one or both sides want “cooperation” on their terms or a misunderstanding exists. If we have a misunderstanding, I think we need to clear it up immediately. If we have are at crossed purposes then we need to create a compromise.

This is the 21st century and we are great powers. We need to set the example; not dump metal and chemicals on one another like glorified primates tossing excrement at one another in the tree tops. But, that’s just my opinion and I suspect I’m in the minority.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Trump says that Putin wants to eradicate ISIS.  The US wants ISIS eradicated.  Let the Russians do it.  Alas ISIS gets a vote here, and they operate close to our only friends in the Near East, the Kurds.  Iran and Russia are becoming closer allies; and Iran does not love the Kurds, and has some fears of Kurdish power in Iran.  And it gets more complicated.

ISIS – the Caliphate – has declared war on us.  I could destroy ISIS with two divisions – it used to be I needed only one – and suitable air support including A-10 and other gunships. We could then give ISIS holdings we have conquered in former Iraq to the Kurds, with Baghdad having no say in the matter.  Ignoring the Caliphate as they plan to make war on us – and while they grow, mestastizing into other lands – does not seem a good idea, tactically or strategically; nor does abandoning the Kurds to the tender mercies of Iran and Russia.

More Government Harassment

On the heels of the Secret Service wanting to embarrass a Congressman:

Now an edit to Wikipedia accuses McCarthy of having an affair and the IP address came from the Department of Homeland Security:

Of course, DHS will investigate itself and of course if we have Congressional hearings we can’t expect any results. After all, nothing came of the IRS scandal and nothing came of the ATF scandal or any of the other scandals. We’re a third world country now; this is the new normal.

And, Sean Hannity wants Newt Gingrich to come back and be speaker of the House. Apparently one does not need to be a member of the House to be speaker. Wasn’t he speaker during NAFTA? And we’re coming up on TPP? I suspect Hannity was having a laugh.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

I confess I would very much like to have Newt back as Speaker. It won’t happen of course, but he was the best Speaker of my memory. Full disclosure: Of course he was also my friend.


The United States Navy just hit the iceberg:


The United States Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery has issued a warning about “male privilege” and is teaching ways to combat it.


You can go read the article if you want, I doubt you’ll find anything encouraging.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

We’re moving closer to war with China:


China said on Friday it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation, as the United States considers sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

A U.S. defense official told Reuters the United States was mulling sending ships within the next two weeks to waters inside the 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as territory around islands it has built in the Spratly chain.

China claims most of the South China Sea, though Washington has signaled it does not recognize Beijing’s territorial claims and that the U.S. navy will continue to operate wherever international law allows.

“We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing.


Freedom of the sea is important to us and the Chinese want to deny that freedom. This is a powerful index of incompatibility.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

This is hardly a surprise.

A Leaked Budget May Finally Show How the Islamic State Makes Its Money

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

I lived in India. I did not live there long enough to have difficulty assimilating back into my culture, which many people who stay too long often report. but I lived there long enough to think that I’d seen quite a lot that I didn’t think was possible. and now we have the dirt mafia. The only thing I know of that we’ve ever conceptualized like this in the west is the mineshaft gap in Dr. Strangelove.

How India’s ‘Sand Mafia’ Pillages Land, Terrorizes People, and Gets Away With It

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Having never lived in India, I never learned of the Sand Mafia; I am hardly astonished to learn they exist.


US says no to encryption law – for now (ZD)

US administration will not seek law to force tech companies to decrypt customer communications, says FBI chief.

By Steve Ranger | October 9, 2015 — 13:33 GMT (06:33 PDT) |

The US government has decided not to call for new legislation to force tech companies to decode the encrypted communications of their customers – for now at least.

Police and intelligence agencies have become increasingly concerned about the use of end-to-end encrypted communications services by criminals because it is all but impossible to decode the conversations.

With more traditional methods of communication there is usually a way for the service provider to allow police – with a warrant – access to the data. But end-to-end encryption means the only place the message is unscrambled is on the smartphone itself.

“Changing forms of internet communication and the use of encryption are posing real challenges to the FBI’s ability to fulfill its public safety and national security missions. This [is a] real and growing gap,” said FBI director James Comey in a written statement to the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Comey told the committee that terrorists are using social networks to find recruits and then switching to end-to-end encrypted networks to continue their interactions.


It’s been ten years since Sony Music infected the world with its rootkit

Oct 31 2005: Security researcher Mark Russinovich blows the whistle on Sony-BMG, whose latest “audio CDs” were actually multi-session data-discs, deliberately designed to covertly infect Windows computers when inserted into their optical drives.

The malware installed by Sony blinded infected computers’ immune systems. Any file that began with “$sys$” became invisible to the operating system, not displayed in directory listings nor process-managers. Antivirus programs could not see files that began with this string. Immediately, other virus creators started renaming their programs to start with $sys$, so that they could operate under the stealth-cloak installed by Sony. These opportunistic infections were also invisible to antivirus programs.

In the end, we discovered that more than 6,000,000 malware-infected CDs were shipped, comprising 51 titles. These infected 200,000-300,000 US government and military networks



Can Philosophy Be Justified in a Time of Crisis?

Nathan J Robinson

Harvard University
September 3, 2015


In this paper, I take the position that a large portion of contemporary academic work is an appalling waste of human intelligence that cannot be justified under any mainstream normative ethics. Part I builds a four-step argument for why this is the case, while Part II responds to arguments for the contrary position offered in Cass Sunstein’s “In Defense of Law Reviews.” First, in Part I(A), I make the case that there is a large crisis of suffering in the world today. (Part I does not take me very long.). In Part I(B), I assess various theories of “the role of the intellectual,” concluding that the only role for the intellectual is for the intellectual to cease to exist. In Part I(C), I assess the contemporary state of the academy, showing that, contrary to the theory advanced in Part I(B), many intellectuals insist on continuing to exist. In Part I(D), I propose a new path forward, whereby present-day intellectuals take on a useful social function by spreading truths that help to alleviate the crisis of suffering outlined in Part I(A).

David Couvillon
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; 
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; 
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; 
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; 
Chef de Hot Dog Excellence;  Avoider of Yard Work

I don’t dare comment…


We’ve seen this before but it is worth bringing up again:

Perth electrical engineer?s discovery will change climate change debate

This will come as no surprise to you or your subscribers, but it’s interesting that it is coming into the public realm now.

Richard White

Austin, Texas

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”

Well, duh!

“While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990’s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case.”

“But the political obstacles are massive.”

Richard White

Austin, Texas


Ubeam sort of explains its claims

    A while back we  talked about a wireless power company’s extraordinary claims for their product. They now say they’re able to discuss the details but I’ll reserve judgment for a shipping product.

Eric Pobirs


Clinton Email Bloodbath

I don’t know how much worse this thing could possibly get before people realize that something is severely amiss. The NY Post did an excellent just summarizing comparatively recent events on Clinton’s ongoing email scandal:


Hillary Clinton’s “there’s no evidence of that” line of defense over her e-mail mess continues to crumble in the face of . . . new evidence.

For all her talk of how using a private e-mail account for her work running the State Department was just fine, it’s now plain she left top-secret information vulnerable to hackers.

More evidence is likely to come out. The FBI’s probe has now expanded to include another private server she used, a backup service with Connecticut-based Datto Inc.

And now The Associated Press has confirmed that her main server was the target of repeated cyberattacks from China, South Korea and Germany. And those came after she left office, when her team belatedly agreed to use some threat-monitoring software.

In other news, a FOIA request from the watchdog group Citizens United has uncovered the fact that Hill’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, was forwarding classified info to the Clinton Foundation — so staff there could support Bill Clinton’s work in Africa.

Add to this new details about Hillary’s e-mails with longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal — e-mails that somehow didn’t make it into the data she finally handed over once word broke that she’d failed to share her work product with the government.

Her extensive communications with him include the naming of a CIA source (obviously classified) as he pushed for action in Libya — action that would benefit his clients.


◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

It is fairly clear that her mail server, and the Benghazi affair, are indications of her character and competence.



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